SparkPeople and ME...my essay for my English class too!
Monday, November 12, 2012
Sparkpeople.com has truly changed the course of my entire life. It is unbelievable the effect having excess weight can have on a person’s life both professionally and personally. The day I discovered SparkPeople, an online weight loss and fitness community, was the beginning of a complete personal turn-around and revival.
There are so many options that it is easy to customize a program that fits a person’s unique lifestyle as well as their fitness wants and needs. Some of the tools that the site includes are trackers (food/calories, exercise, weight, etc.), message boards, educational articles, and recipes. There even is an opportunity to create your own personal “page”. The trackers are completely customizable making SP an efficient and adaptable way to gauge changing goals and fitness needs.
When I first discovered SparkPeople in the summer of 2007, I was a miserable, depressed 200 pound woman. I had decided that I really did want to change and get back to where I knew I was meant to be physically, but lacked the self-confidence and knowledge to transform desire into action. Perusing site after site online, trying several and quickly losing interest, SparkPeople was recommended by a friend. As I poked around the site soaking in the ideas and methods, I found myself getting more and more enthusiastic, thinking, “I can do this!” It was the most excited and hopeful I had been in years.
I began using the site every day, learning new things about how to take care of myself, as well as following the methods and using the tools that helped me succeed in reaching my goals effectively. With an incredulous sense of disbelief, Every week I watched the steady decline of those numbers on the previously hateful scale. Suddenly, I looked forward to getting on that scale and giving myself a personal “congratulations”. Every day I would check in with my online community, especially my favorite message board “Staying Motivated”. Having people who really understood even the most oddball or “silly” issues was so encouraging. The instant feedback was addictive. Between the emotional support and the continuously improving “black and white” numbers, my confidence was making a much welcome comeback.
After approximately 8 months, I had lost the majority of the weight I wanted to: about 60 pounds. I felt vibrant and happy, refreshed and unafraid to participate in life. Although I credit myself for the hard work and determination, I also credit SparkPeople for the support and encouragement. Those two factors working together were the right combination to help me achieve my goals and be the best version of “me” possible.
I still use SP to this day. Although I am at my original goal of 135, I now realize that I would be more comfortable at 125. Sparkpeople is now helping me with a focus more on exercise and toning, rather than calorie counting and weight loss, in this homestretch. The versatility of SP is impressive. No matter what a person’s fitness needs, this site can fill that need. I am so grateful that I learned about this right when I needed it the very most. Now, I will always be a part of the SP online community. I enjoy being in a position of experience where I can help others, like a small “pay it forward” and thank you to all those who helped me along the way, and still get advice on my new fitness challenges.
I am the happiest now that I have been in about ten years, and it gets better all the time as I attempt and conquer new challenges and experiences, unafraid to step outside of my comfort zone. Being adventurous and spontaneous is a source of enjoyment now, as opposed to a source of discomfort or embarrassment. I enjoy a quality of life I was not experiencing when I was unhealthy, largely thanks to the thoughtful design of an amazing website: sparkpeople.com.