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Sparkiversary - What I've Learned with Pictures

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Monday, February 07, 2011

So it kind of snuck up on me. SparkPeople informed me that today is my Sparkiversary. It’s funny because a couple of weeks ago I knew it was coming up and thought, “hey that’s pretty cool!” And then it’s today and I have nothing planned!

But FOUR years ago today I joined SparkPeople and my life changed.

I went from eating this:

A typical Amber meal involving bread, starch, and wait, French fries are veggies right?

And this:

Mmm dessert is always the best part of ANY meal.

To experimenting with new foods:

Spinach in a smoothie? Ew…wait…no DELICIOUS! Edited to add: This particular one has spinach, banana, strawberries, almond milk and protein powder (I switch between Vegan+ and Amazing Grass).

Oh that’s right, those are real veggies!

Wait, I can still have dessert? I like this place.

And the food certainly isn’t tasteless.

Recipes for those foods and more are available on my last blog!

So what have I learned? I learned that I can do more than I ever thought possible. I learned that I can look like this if I want:

Or, I can discover that there are healthier ways to eat, portion control isn’t hard once you get the hang of it and hey, exercise can be fun!

And eventually I could even do this.

And you know what’s even better?? You can do it too! Yes, you. Because if I can do it, there is no one else out there that can’t. Seriously. I like food, a LOT! My favorite activities all involve me on my couch. And yet even I can make some small key changes toward a better life!


1. Decide what you want to do. What is it that you want to change about yourself? I didn’t start fully tracking on SparkPeople until about a week after I joined. I played around on the website before coming up with any true goals. Only you can decide what is best for you!
2. Read success stories, read blogs, but most importantly read nutrition labels! And learn how to read them properly, so many things you think are one serving really aren’t. Learn proper portion sizes, they will be a life saver. Knowledge is your power!
3. Exercise. While what you eat is such a huge part you gotta get up and move! And please don’t suffer through something you hate. There are so many different forms of exercise. Yeah, you can run, or you can jump, skip, hop, slide, dance, shake it! Don’t slug through an hour on a machine if group exercise is more your thing!
4. In the end, do what works for you. You can read a list of rules and follow them exactly. But if you aren’t seeing progress, they might just be full of bunk! I do quite a few things that go against “the rules”, but I have learned what works for me! Don’t let some magazine or blog convince you to stop reaching for the sky.
5. Happiness is key. If what you’re doing doesn’t make you happy in the end, then it’s not worth doing. And notice I said IN THE END. Yeah, I’m not always smiling bright in the middle of a rough interval workout. But you can’t imagine the feeling I get when I’m done. I’m smiling, I feel strong, powerful and usually in serious need of a shower. But that’s what great smelling body wash is for!

I don’t think I can say DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU enough. You know what the best diet is? The one that works for you. You know want to know what worked for me? Eating less junk, eating more whole foods, exercising. Yeah, pretty basic stuff. Emotional eating was my downfall as well as getting discouraged trying to follow “never eat in front of the TV” “never eat at night” and “never eat anything sweet.” Sorry, those “never’s” don’t work for me.

So I forged my own path. Eating while on the computer or watching TV slows down my eating and reminds me to savor my food? Check one for me! Having a snack a couple of hours before bed allows me to get to sleep without a grumbling tummy? Check two for me! Eating a small dessert every single night helps me turn down junk all day in anticipation? Check three, I’m done!

And if anyone tries to tell me I’m wrong, I’ll kick them in the pants!

Or make funny faces at them before throwing my water bottle and running away….You know, whatever works!


I’ll be getting back to my regularly scheduled gluten-free recipe blog soon. But I can’t be bothered at the moment, I’m eating. ;)
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