My Spark Journey (Part 2)

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hi! My name is Monika and I’m 58 – years young-at-heart! I am the proud mom and grandma of one daughter (37 yrs), two sons (21 and 19 yrs) and two grandsons (17 and 4 yrs).

emoticon Beginning Weight: 198 pounds
emoticon Weight Lost: 58 pounds
emoticon Maintenance Weight: 140 pounds

I lost my beloved husband/soul-mate, Bill, to cancer on January 28, 2008. Prior to my late husband’s passing, I took care of him for several years due to a rare form of dementia he had. Within a 2 – year span from the death of Bill, I lost my adopted parents, natural mother, mother-in-law and a close family friend. I never had time to grieve from one loss before another one occurred. Being a widow and losing parents, I became the sole survivor of my little family. I have no sisters and brothers. Relatives have since been deceased. It was up to me to be a positive matriarch for my daughter and sons due to the loss of their beloved dad and grandparents. Being a single parent, raising two young sons living at home, I focused on their daily needs with education and school activities, keeping up with household chores, paying monthly bills and volunteering as an advocate for parent’s with special needs’ children for their educational and related services throughout the school year. I didn’t have time to grieve. My focus was making sure that I woke up each morning with a positive outlook towards helping my children grieve the loss of their father and learn how to cope without him. To this day, I’m honored to say that my little family unit remains as closely knit as we were during the fun-loving years we shared with my beloved husband and wonderful father to my children.

As the years passed from taking care of my husband while he was alive and dealing with the losses of my loved ones, I neglected to schedule annual visits with my primary doctor. Without my knowledge, I had serious undiagnosed medical conditions that were slowly killing me. Within a year from my husband’s passing, I gained my heaviest weight at 198 - pounds from once being a healthy 5 ft/3 inch, 130 - pounds. Gaining weight, feeling sick and lethargic, I found myself visiting my primary doctor in March, 2009. She ordered series of lab work and radiology tests to be performed in order for her to diagnose my medical conditions. I was a prime candidate to having a heart attack and/or stroke had I not reached her office in time. I was diagnosed with Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Extrapyramidal Disease, Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Hypertension, Hypothyroidism, and Lipoid Disorders (Cholesterol). Due to the medical conditions, I remain under the care of my primary doctor and am seen by her every (3) months. We both determined from my medical conditions, age-appropriate and limited mobility to reach a healthy weight at 140 pounds, not to exceed below 135 pounds.

Days after my diagnosis, having to be home for my children and being on limited income, I had access to the internet. It was through the suggestion from my primary doctor to seek out a healthy weight-loss website that I accidently fallen upon SP. I was thrilled to find a free website! Thus began my journey with SP! I told my primary doctor about SP. She checked out the website and has been a devoted supporter to me throughout my journey with SP. What a wonderful journey it has been! I took control of my life and it has been saved!

Live life to its fullest! My positive outlook comes from witnessing loved ones pass. During their illnesses they displayed inner strength, courage and dignity while fighting for their lives. It was through their dignity, courage and strength that showed me the true meaning of the gift of life. They refused to give up on their battles and taught me lessons about positivity that I will forever cherish and apply to my life today.

In loving memory towards them, I started on a journey of making small, incremental changes from transforming bad habits into healthy choices. I replaced diet-caffeine free beverages with water. I replaced all junk food snacks with healthy fruits and vegetables. I don’t deprive myself from favorite foods. I eat in moderation. I no longer live a sedentary life. Being of limited mobility, my favorite cardio fitness activities are walking and swimming. While watching television, I use my stationary bike and treadmill. For strength training, flexibility and balance, I use my ballet videos, stability ball, 3/ 5/10 – pound dumbbells and different levels of resistance bands. I have increased my beginning fitness minutes from 10 - minutes to current 120 - minutes. Throughout my journey, I experienced obstacles, weight fluctuations and plateaus. But, I NEVER GAVE UP! By making healthy nutritional choices, increasing exercise and having a positive attitude, I have my medical conditions under control. I have lost a total of 55 + pounds and have reached my goal weight (Healthy weight) of 140 pounds. It took over 10 - months to accomplish. I have maintained it for over a year.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and being a part of my journey. Please read (Part 1) about "Spark Journey TIPS." Refer to the following link:

~ Monika ~ emoticon
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