Me at my heaviest, about 260, and me today at 165!


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A lot has changed since the last time I updated my Sparkpage, it's way overdue for an update! At my heaviest, I was 260+ lbs. When I joined Spark I was 235 lbs. Today, I am 163 lbs and, more importantly, no longer obese. It took a lot of hard work, discipline, sweat, protein, fruits, veggies and whole grains and two years' time to get there, but I did it! Looking back, sometimes I don't even know how it all happened. Then I realize it didn't just 'happen', I had to work for it. It didn't happen overnight, (as much as I wished to wake up a skinny mini), but two years later I'm glad for the slow, steady journey towards my new life.

When I look back to who I was, I don't recognize that girl. She was sad and lonely, tired and sluggish. She was always wishing and wanting, but never doing. Today, I'm full of life and energy, surrounded by people who love and support me. Today, I don't just try - I DO. This journey has made me realize that everything is possible for everyone. All it takes it one step forward.

I'd been fat for as far back as I can remember. Food has always been a pleasure for me. As a kid, if I wanted food I'd get it. My mom and my Nonna, especially, were my greatest food suppliers. They did it out of love, I know, because food made me happy and they only wanted to make me happy. Despite that, as a young kid I was just like everyone else. I was active, outspoken and fearless. But, as I got older, I got bigger. I hid in baggy t-shirts and jeans, and went out less and less. The light in me dwindled. When I got to high school, I could barely fit into the desks and hated having classes upstairs, because I'd be breathing hard and sweaty and everyone would see. I tried to hide it by holding my breath, like I wasn't dying for oxygen after one flight of stairs, but it didn't hide the fact that I was big. I developed an anxiety for going out. The idea of being in a public place made me sick. I always tried my hardest to make it seem as though I was never out of breath, never physically taxed from walking around the mall or going up some stairs, things regular people could do without skipping a beat. It was always so important to me, like I had to be viewed as the exception to the rule. It was important for me to blend, to be one of the crowd, to be normal.
It got to the point where the hatred for myself and the health risks hanging over my head became too much and I knew I had to do something. One summer, I did weight watchers and learned portion control from that. I hate counting things, though, and eventually stopped, but continued to measure my food and make good choices. Without a job and unable to afford a gym membership, I took to walking in the trails by my house and working out in my laundry room using workouts I found online. I lost 70 pounds without ever stepping foot into a gym. This past December, I finally got a gym membership and have lost another 27 pounds since joining. I didn't buy into weight loss programs (we had the weight watchers books from before), I didn't spend money on a trainer, didn't follow any fad diets or cut out foods I loved. I just ate clean and exercised. People hear that and refuse to believe it, because how could it be? Where's the secret???Sometimes even I don't believe it myself. I have to look at pictures constantly to remind myself of how much I've changed.

What amazes me, seeing how far I've come and how I got to where I am, is that there never was some secret to it all. Everything was always available to me, I just had to look for it and use it. Google became my greatest ally. I learned so much about nutrition, fitness and how the body is affected by both, and it brought me to Sparkpeople, which also has SO many educational resources regarding health and fitness, that I could do it on my own terms in my own time. It's crazy, unbelievable and just plain magical, but it's true. I even have to remind myself that I'm not that girl anymore, that I'm an entirely new person. I've finally found myself.

I'm still very much on this journey. There are so many things I've yet to accomplish -- like running that 5K, wearing a tank top without shame, confidently wearing a...bathing suit *GASP*!!!!! And there are still days where I just feel hopeless. But then I remember I never got anywhere from sitting around and moping and wishing. Sometimes you just have to kick yourself in the butt :)
A great quote to end this off with:

"Success is not a race, be patient.
Success leads to success.
Success is always a work in progress.
Success doesn't come to you--you go to it.
Success is a journey, not a destination. Focus on the process.
Some people dream about success... while others wake up and work hard at it.
Success is achieved and maintained by those who try-and keep trying.
Everyday is a good day to SUCCEED!
If at first you don't succeed-try, try again"

~ Joanne

Member Since: 4/3/2010

Fitness Minutes: 518

My Goals:
To get healthy and get my BMI into the normal range. -- ALMOST!! In the 'overweight' range :)

Fit into a size 18 and say see you never to 20/22. -- REACHED! And surpassed, currently a size 14/16

Get under 200 lbs. -- REACHED! :) woot!

Run a 5k race.

My Program:
Basically, I'm eating more fruits and vegetables and natural, whole foods. I'm also paying close attention to nutrition labels so that I'm not eating empty calories. I pay close attention to fibre and protein content so that I remain full longer with the food I'm eating, as well as to sodium and sugar content so that I'm not eating too much. I also try to keep each meal between 400 and 500 calories, and then 100-150 calories for snacks (2 per day, in between meals) so that I meet my calorie goals for the day.
I'm trying to get those 8 glasses of water in a day!

As for fitness, I have an elliptical so most of the cardio I do is on there. I usually do 3x per week but now that I'm done school for the summer I'm going to try to get on there everyday, 5x per week at the least. I also use a stability ball a lot for strength training. We just recently got a Wii Fit, so I'm using that too, plus it's a great tool to keep track of my weight loss and a great motivator!

Personal Information:
My name is Joanne, I'm from south-western Ontario, Canada. I'm now in my 3rd year of university, majoring in English and minoring in Psychology. I love to read, write, listen to music, go for walks and just hang out.

Other Information:
The quote that basically changed my life:
"Failure is hard, but success is far more dangerous. If you're successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever." - Po Bronson
- Saw it on a Starbucks cup one day and realized I should chase my dreams instead of doing something safe and stable. You should get out there, take risks and do something you love instead of settling for something that you're just good at.

Read More About HOWTHEDAYSOUNDS - Profile Information moved here. (Updated May 3)

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 Pounds lost: 174.0 
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    Thanks so much for your sweet comment. It made my day and I really appreciate it!

    Good luck to you! Looks like you're doing great!
    2921 days ago
  • v MOCHI1
    Hey girl!! Goodluck with your goals.. you can do it!! emoticon
    2928 days ago
    Welcome Joanne! You sound like me...I'm not Italian but I speak bread and pasta with the best of them! I haven't been on Spark that long, and I'm trying. Slow and steady wins the race!! Good luck to you!!!!
    2972 days ago
  • v MOMMA48
    emoticon Welcome to Sparks, Joanne emoticon

    Stay positive, motivated, determined, and enjoy the support and great info that is all right here at Sparks! It's fantastic!
    emoticon and Best Wishes to you!

    *And, feel free to check out my profile page for a few awesome teams that may be of interest to you, as we’re all here to help you on your journey to that fantastic health & happiness!

    3002 days ago