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My 10-Year Sparkversary: The Ballad of BEATLETOT

Monday, February 06, 2017

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REBECCATKD noted on my previous Sparkversary blog that the blog...wasn't really much of a blog. She said it much nicer than that, of course, but made the very legitimate point that it would be more interesting to read about what I've learned and experienced in ten years, and not so much about the number on the scale, which, if you read the previous blog, you will know is basically the same number on the scale when I selected a username 10 years ago.

When I started SP, I was a newlywed graduate student. I'd gone from a daily exercise habit while living off fried egg sandwiches, Triscuits and cheddar to moving in with my new husband, among whose many wonderful traits included a knack for cooking, and starting a rigorous academic exercise that completely consumed me, but not calories.

I'd gained about 10-15 pounds since my hotter co-ed days, and I was not happy about it. I don't remember what I thought when I joined, but I remember getting involved in a group for 20-somethings that eventually disappeared and writing a few very stupid blogs that no one read. I don't think I did a whole lot in the Community at first, but read articles and got my 3 SparkPoints for them.

Over time, I became more and more involved. I joined teams and made some friends. If something came up in my life, I'd look for a team for it. When my knees started hurting at 143 pounds, I joined the Knees Team. When I got my canine soulmate Sammy, I joined the Rescued Dog Lovers Team. When I wanted to lose some weight (and I mean, that was all the time), I joined the 5% Challenge. I never lost my 5%, and my weight continued its slow, gradual northward creep.

In 2012, I moved away, and I ballooned up another 15 pounds--which I know sounds really melodramatic, but I'm 4'10"! Most people can gain 15 pounds, and it's not great, but it's certainly not balloon-esque. On a sub-five-footer, 15 pounds takes you from narwhal to beluga real quick.

When I realized my grave error, I moved back in early 2015, and returned to my old life, pretty much exactly. Same house, same job, same neighbors, same gym...and eventually, same weight. That took some time, much more than the others who were more or less just waiting for me.

I'd been introduced to Reddit by my sister during this time, and I found a community there that dispelled all the things you hear about that complicates weight loss--starvation mode, set point, fad diets and cleanses, metabolism kickstarting, intuitive eating, etc. It was like getting new glasses--I could see the room before, but now I could see it so much more clearly!

I knew what calories were, and I'd read blogs from successful Sparkers who touted the pithy but too-vague-to-be-useful trope "Eat less and move more!", but it was all so nebulous until I started reading this message board. Like a light went on in the room, I realized, I just need to EAT LESS and maybe MOVE a little MORE!

I wasn't going to go into starvation mode, I didn't need to kickstart my metabolism, and expecting me to eat intuitively to a healthy weight is like expecting my glutton of a dog to maintain a healthy weight by leaving the kibble bag open.

I already had a good habit of tracking my food on the Nutrition tracker, but I started focusing on staying below a certain number. Tracking your food doesn't actually do you any good if you're just going to eat too much, anyway. I had this idea in my head that by keeping myself accountable, I'd lose weight, but I was only keeping myself accountable for tracking my food, not for what I was tracking, if that makes sense. Once I started focusing on keeping myself below a certain number of calories a day, the weight started coming off.

I lost the weight I gained during my Midwestern nightmare relatively easily, because I was living a different WAY. It's what "they" mean when they say "lifestyle change." You have to CHANGE your LIFESTYLE, through consistent habits.

Indeed, in retrospect, I can see where the weight would creep on--sure, yes, graduate school initially, but then there was my first fulltime job, with my first disposable income, getting my first car, buying my first house. Heck, even thinking about how the amount of TV I watch has grown in the last decade or so. All these things affect how many calories I use, and if I am not eating in a way that compensates for that, I gain weight.

After getting back to a point where my habits had me not losing any more, I've had to recommit to sticking with calorie goals, and here I am, essentially at a ten-year-old starting weight, but DARN PROUD that I am no longer obese and am less than 10 pounds away from a healthy BMI. I just wish it hadn't taken so long to get it. I guess I am a slow learner, or stubborn or something. It took me this long to quit smoking, too. I had my first quit at 19 and didn't have a forever quit until 29. For being a pretty long period of time, a decade sure does go by fast sometimes.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Ahhh I'm too embarrassed to write my 10 year anniversary blog. Pretty much in a state of stasis ...
    909 days ago
    Love this summary... I think my journey and slow learning was pretty similar to yours. lol. Thanks for sharing.
    1095 days ago
    BEATLETOT, I really enjoyed this blog telling your SparkStory. Yes, indeed, ten years goes by really fast! In fact, I remember when you moved back to your house in the East, and I can't believe it's already been two years!

    I think it's good that you're ten years older, but not ten pounds heavier, which is much more than you can say about most people, including me. Not bad at all, and you quit smoking, too. Good job! So glad you're here at SP!
    1104 days ago
    Good for you. You're doing great. emoticon
    1113 days ago
    Here's to recommitment!
    1114 days ago
  • MISSY455
    Happy Sparkversary!! emoticon on sticking it out, and on the progress you have made!
    1114 days ago
  • CHERYLA2012
    Until we're ready to receive and absorb the message we're being given - it just sits there. Kudos to you on your realization and finally getting it!

    1115 days ago
    Thank you for sharing the details of your journey, I loved your blog!
    You have learned do much and made great progress,
    with all the healthy changes you made you can surely lose the last 10 pounds, and then maintain your happy weight.
    1115 days ago
    Great blog, thank you for sharing!
    I always want to know how people decide what and how much they are going to eat if they want to lose weight. I mean how many calories, what foods and what amounts. If you can remember how you went about that I'd love to hear it!
    1115 days ago
    I LOVE this and I love hearing about what you have learned! Thank you for sharing it with us!
    1115 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your journey over the last decade. You've experienced much and likely learned much too. Congratulations on waking up sooner than many. Seriously. It took me until 53 years old to finally get a clue. Did you say stubborn? That would be me.

    I initially committed simply to tracking what was going in my mouth. Then, I committed to working to meet the calorie range established for me by Spark. Then, I began working to meet the micronutrient ranges. That's been an ongoing process since December 2013. It's taken me time. But, it's not a race and I'm working to establish habits that I can comfortably maintain for a lifetime. So, small changes, executed consistently ... emoticon
    1115 days ago
    YAASSS, girl! Now that is a blog!
    Look at this journey you've been on: marriage, school, homes, dogs...all wrapped up in a decade. What a ride!
    Congratulations for sticking with SparkPeople and staying so active in the community. You truly inspire me to keep moving and keep pushing!
    1115 days ago
    Thanks for taking the time to share your journey. Tracking is a tool that can have many layers. Keeping us aware of what we are eating, helping us to stay in our calorie range and keeping track of our nutrient levels. Congratulations on your persistence. emoticon
    1115 days ago
    Happy 10th Sparkversary! emoticon
    1115 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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