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My Spark Story

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

1. What brought you to SparkPeople? I was on the Biggest Loser website and some there said that there was a better website that was free and offered much better services. I was skeptical that a "free" website would offer services and that there must be a catch but a group of us came over and it was better than we could have imagined.

2, What makes you happy? Seeing others that are happy whether human or animal. I love watching my dog get excited over nothing just to be happy to see me or anyone else for that matter and then my Mom in the nursing home with the memory of a child so happy to see me as she tries to remember who I am - just the little things in life.

3. What is one accomplishment that makes you proud? Having two beautiful children that love me -that's not an accomplishment but I am proud of them.

4. When life gets in the way how do you stay focused on your goals? I just have to keep reminding myself of what is at stake and what I have to lose, I have seen the toll that it has taken on me in the past and I have also seen what being overweight has cost my BIL and his health. I do not want to end up putting my family thru the same things.

5. What one piece of advice you'd give a new member on their first day at SparkPeople? get involved with the teams that you find a common interest with but don't overwhelm yourself by joining too many at first so that you cannot have time to work your plan. If you try to overwhelm yourself you may become discouraged

6. I have been overweight for most of my life and during that time have spent my time trying out every diet that has come out on the market some several times. I am the perfect example of the yo-yo dieter - each time I diet I lose the weight but then I find that once I start getting attention and compliments I became stressed and the insecurities and low-self esteem kicked back in and I would start overeating again. This would result in me not only gaining back the pounds that I had lost but they would bring along many of their friends with them and I would find myself 20-30 pounds heavier each time.
It took a long time for me to realize that I was using my weight as a defense mechanism to keep people away because I thought it was making myself less attractive ( I had been physically attacked when I was at my ideal weight and I felt that being overweight would protect me).

I was diagnosed with MS and found myself unable to walk or use my arms for exercise for 7 months during that time I became quite depressed and ended up gaining weight from that plus the steroids. I was given chemotherapy treatments for the next two years that finally resulted in the ability for me to be able to use a walker and I was able to have limited movements but by that time I was at my all time high weight and my heart muscle had been severely damaged. I was ready to give up.

I decided to give it one more chance and was on another website when someone suggested SparkPeople and it saved my life. Even though I have struggled from time to time I have never given up. I have had setbacks that have landed me in the hospital for months at a time and I have had to press the restart button many times never really taking it seriously and still using that defense mechanism and keeping my weight as an excuse for why I couldn't do things.

The ultimate wakeup call came on Memorial Day weekend when I had a heart attack and I was waiting in the hospital bed for the doctor expecting him to come in and tell me that I was not going to be able to drive for a while until I was over the heart attack. He informed me that my heart function was 7% and when I asked how long it would be before I could drive he said when I received a heart transplant and he referred me to a heart failure specialist. I was in shock, but that was just the beginning the heart doctor told me that I would have to lose 100 pounds before I could be considered for the transplant. So he told me to get a South Beach Diet book go home and return in 7 months for a recheck . Since I could not drive I planned two weeks worth of menus at a time and bought the groceries for them. I did not have any extra food in the house so there were no temptations and I couldn't get out and go get anything else. I challenged myself to 100 minutes of exercise for 100 days and I lost the 100 pounds quickly bringing my heart function up to the point that I was off the heart transplant list. I continued to follow the plan and have now lost over 200 pounds and am now able to drive short distances. I have found that it is too easy for me to be tempted to get things I don't need and go to the store too often so I am continuing on the two weeks planning and grocery shopping it saves money too. Every 100 Days I challenge myself to a new set of goals for areas that I need to work on. I also have finally realized that it is ok to receive compliments - I am not comfortable getting them but I am working on it. I had an article in First for Women and was honored to get to spread the word about SparkPeople - I am so grateful to all the wonderful people that have made it possible for me to still be here because without you I would never have lost the weight the support is awesome. You may have to do this journey For Yourself, but you don't have to do it By Yourself.
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