Reflections of 2010: Successes, support, sharing, re-starting..( and a few pics :-)

Monday, January 03, 2011

The start of a brand new year has prompted me to take steps to re-energize my commitment to a healthy lifestyle. The first step is to focus on what I have accomplished and put it all together and allow myself to celebrate.
This celebration is also a way to acknowledge and thank family, and the many friends ( Spark and nonSpark) that have played such big part in my success to date. Their encouragement, suggestions, sharing, shoulders, and yes, sometimes even kicks have all contributed to the new and improved me.
I was tired and frustrated with shopping at plus size stores..Being a 6’ tall woman, it was always a struggle…tall shops think you only come in size 8 , plus stores think you aren’t any taller than 5’6”…
I had been feeling depressed, low energy, being treated for high blood pressure, was struggling to tie my shoes , put socks on…you name it..I became afraid of developing diabetes..Everything was making me winded, more tired and more depressed. Many of you know that vicious cycle I am talking about.

I started with making a New Year’s resolution January 1, 2009.

I realized I wanted a future full of health, happiness and love. I looked at myself in the mirror and said. “ My fat, my fault” . Some may read this and think those are harsh words and we should be kinder to ourselves…But it’s different for everyone . I respond better to specific reality statements. Too many “non –Harsh” views/ statements had given me the excuse that it was okay to be the way I was…I was a good person inside and that was what was important…While being good on the inside is a great place to start, in truth, noone else makes me eat, noone else makes my food choices for me, noone else is going to pull me off the couch, put my shoes on and walk around the block..noone else can make me feel better about myself. Changing the outside would also mean a healthier “insides”
I do not remember whose quote this is, but it is very applicable…
“If the change is to be, it’s up to me”…
And so I started… with small goals: walk up to the next road and back every day ( about 2.5 km total). Not speed walk, just walk, get out there..breath some fresh air.
I knew drinking water was important..Next step: 8oz glass water before each meal and at least one between meals… Increase the amount of fruits n veggies I was eating and decrease the amount of bread, cheese and pasta…The last one, and biggest for me…stop snacking on chips/ chocolate and cookies after supper..
It doesn’t seem like a large number of changes, but it was a start , and not so many that I felt over whelmed.
Gradually, as I incorporated my walk in to the end of my work day, I felt more energetic…I actually had a decreased appetite. I think that broadening my foods gave me a better balance of blood sugars, so there was less craving, fewer moods swings, and I started to feel more positive about everything..
Those that are on their journey will understand what I mean when I say…the better I felt, the better I did ( eating, exercising , tracking). And the pounds started to come off.
A co-worker sent a note around in Feb with a link to this cool health/ fitness/ weight loss website called SparkPeople. I was intrigued and “clicked in”…
That was the real start of my journey!
I found tools that were so useful..So much information to read and apply to my situation..Finding others who were exactly like me, who had the same ultimate goal, who were struggling with the same challenges..people of all different shapes, sizes, starting weights..It didn’t matter..we were all in this together…
The teams I could join allowed me to find others with the same hobbies, pets, weight goals etc. I think the biggest mantra I have adapted is that our journey is about consistency, not perfection..So, there are days when I eat junk, don’t exercise..but you know what?’s only one day or maybe two..I don’t dwell, don’t tell myself I am a failure and that it’s no use and I will start again another day…I acknowledge it..say “It happens”..and move on…start back on track the very next meal..
I discovered my “beginner fitness buddies” (BFB) here..and have developed relationships that have carried beyond SparkPeople and weight loss. Although we have never physically met, they are a part of my life and have become my family and it is to them I owe so much of my success! A big shout out and hugs to Tammy, Brenda, Donna, Leah and Paula..I love you all!
How could I forget my favorite Kiwi...BubbleJ, you have given me laughs, lots of positive encouragement and remind me so much of my daughter! I always look forward to your notes and blogs! Keep Sparkin' you CAN do it too!
I found the couch to 5K program via Spark and my walking progressed to running..It was not easy, I did not fall in love right away…but I kept at it..I now consider myself a runner..I still struggle some days, to get out there..but I love how I feel afterwards..amazing. I joined the local running room here and have met another great support network…Jackie, Bev, Lucy, Nancy and have more influence on my success than you will ever know..Thanks!! In June I ran my first 5K..I was down 70 lbs and felt great..
Still some way to go to be considered a healthy weight..but the difference in 6 months in not only my physical appearance, but my mental attitude, my approach to eating, planning and getting involved in activities that kept me off the couch, was truly amazing to me.
And are a riot and give me such encouragement..10K is a huge stretch goal for me, but if anyone will get me there, it will be you!

Checking in on blogs of JOHNTJ1 , MONTANA ED, CS4JWS, NativeOne on a regular basis gave me inspiration, hopes, ideas, laughs ( and even tears)..These folks are truly inspirational. I encourage you to not only helps you, but you may inspire others and there is no greater feeling..
My non Spark friends ( Sandy, Nancy, Carol, Patti) your words of encouragement unsolicited compliments, celebrations of accomplishments serve to give me that ongoing push to keep at it. My family has continuously celebrated my successes, and while we do not see each other all the time, I know they are supporting me.
My biggest personal challenge happened in November …I can’t pick a specific date, or reason, or event that caused this ( although I did suffer a recurring sciatic issue that interrupted my running routine)…I started to feel low, unmotivated, was finding tracking food too time consuming..Didn’t feel like posting..and my final blog captured my thoughts..It felt like it was all slipping away…And yet, I still log in as often as I can, touch base with BFB, and am mindful of what I eat. I found some new physical activities ( zumba, muscle up, mixed martial arts bootcamp) at a local gym that have become a part of my weekly routine. So while I may have felt things were slipping away, I have obviously ingrained what is needed to stay healthy into my normal thoughts..or I would have headed straight back to the couch and the cookies 
This last New Years Eve I ran the 5K resolution run. I did not feel great during the run ( anyone knows what those days feel like !) but I finished with a personal best. It was not a record a formal runner would celebrate..but when I look back and realize 1 year, a mere 365 days ago, I could barely say the word run…could not imagine ever running..and look at me now!!
My resolution is to return to tracking food, blogging in SP and keeping up with my BFB…I also joined the “Just another short run” team and have set a goal to do a roadtrip to Pittsburg to run with fellow Sparkers in March..That’s about a 6 hr road trip for me..and I might be on my own getting there, but I know once there..I won’t be!!
Of course, as I near the end of this blog, I have neglected to mention the one steadying, constant source of support during this whole year ( and the 26 previous years) to my dear husband Ken who has loved me in all my sizes, through all my mood swings..your unwavering love and support means more than you will ever know. I have tried to thank you , when I remember, but words will never be enough. To my son Drew & daughter Ryley : your high fives and “Way to go Mom.. good job!” are important to me and give me an extra boost when I need it!
To those that have read through this lengthy blog, thanks for reading..
If you are starting, I hope you might find something here that will give you that push to go, and belief that you too can do it..If you are part way through your journey and are struggling…I hope this gives you heart to know that that too is “normal” and you will find your way..There are twists, turns, bumps in the road..If it was easy..there would not be a multi billion dollar diet/ exercise industry out there..But you and Spark are the key..You WILL do it!
Congrats to all and I wish you all continued to success , health, happiness in 2011 and beyond!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You are so amazing and inspirational! I'm glad you'll be blogging in 2011!
    3206 days ago
    You. Look. Amazing.
    3207 days ago
    You look very happy and healthy! This is a great blog! I hope some of the new sparkers get to read it because I think it is very inspirational!!! You are living proof it works, if you work it! Here is to an even happier and healthier 2011!
    emoticon emoticon

    Your B.F.B.

    for the shout out!
    3207 days ago
    You look absolutly sexy, beautiful and shinning! Reading your blog gave me all kinds of running emotions. I had tears, chills and felt so proud for you. You have accomplished so many goals and successes, big and small!

    Thank you for sharing, thank you for being an inspirational, encouraging and supportive friend to me in 2010 and I am looking forward to doing it all again with you in 2011!
    3209 days ago
    Congrats to you for a great year! If 2010 was any indication, you will surely accomplish your goals for this year :)
    3209 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.