My Spark Journey
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Life has a nasty habit of getting in the way of self-improvement and this year it has certainly pushed everything possible at me. That said, as I mark my 9th Sparkiversary in a few days, I feel this is a great time to focus on all the things I HAVE achieved.
I stumbled across the site on a very lonely NY eve - I don't generally believe in resolutions so never viewed it as such and because I was at that time very aware of the interpretation others may have of my actions (and to avoid becoming a cliche) I remained fairly quiet and inactive for a short while. Once I found my way to the message boards, however, an entire world was opened to me. I no longer felt lonely and invisible as there was an entire world of people just like me - some of whom could make me feel better instantly with a few words and more importantly, some who listened to me and were often made to feel better by what I said.
That's a part of Sparkpeople we all too often overlook - yes, there is always someone to cheer us on, to validate us and to give us a boost, but every time we help another person this adds a new dimension - a confidence, I guess - the feeling that our words have value.
I built some great friendships throughout my time here - some who remain a constant, some who pop in from time to time as I do, some sadly who left a deep mark on my soul and moved on to another level - and continue to do so with each new phase of my journey.
I was already losing weight when I joined here, but I had such a disordered association with food and eating that I doubt I would have kept it up. In fact, I initially wanted the plan to have the smallest impact possible on my life, thinking that would stand me in good stead to successfully maintain a loss but the realisation that my relationship with food was so dysfunctional shook me up massively and after struggling for my first few months here to reach my minimum calorie level it was clear a huge change was needed.
The fact is, though, as a fat-lass if I mentioned in the real world that I barely ate a thing, people would just look at me much as to say "Yeah, right! As if!" but here I found it was ok to ask how I could eat more because someone would give me the answers I needed, or tell me they had the same problem - or more importantly explain how I was so damned fat when I ate so little.
So yes, I bumped up my 2-300 cals a day to mostly 800-1000. Still below what I needed, but enough of a step in the right direction to help. And now, some days I reach around 1,500. A day or two each week I may be around 600, but mostly it balances out ok by the end of the week so I gloss over it and move on.
Weight-wise (since that is why most of us are here) I am around 40lbs below my starting weight, which in itself is impressive enough to have kept off so long - but the reality is that I am more than 60lbs below my heaviest weight - and without Sparkpeople, I know I would have regained all that and more.
It isn't all about the weight, though.
I have learned how to put myself first.
That to care for others, I need to be cared for also.
I have learned to live a guilt-free existence in which it is ok to do things that please me.
I grew the strength to draw an end to what was a mentally destructive marriage.
I learned to love my body enough to stop caring about its size.
I LEARNT THAT I MATTER.
And all that said, I need to decide now whether I intend to lose more weight or simply maintain the loss I have already made.
Because my Spark journey never ends, I just stop off now and then to admire the view before deciding to embark again.
Thank you to all who have been a part of my life here - however inconsequential you may think you have been, anyone who ever took the time respond to anything I have put on the site has had an impact on me of one sort or another.
And remember that just because you are trying to change something about your life doesn't mean that there is something wrong with who you are, it's simply that you want to take a new direction, that is all.