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I Traded My Sandcastle For a Spark Mansion!

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Sandcastles are both fun to build and to admire.
But who can live in a house, made of sand. A single gust of wind, a careless
passer-by or rains are sure to come and sweep away the moment of magic.

The Sandcastle's I am referring to are often popular, advertised just like a Brand name of your favorite cereal. They range from the latest fad diet, infomercials presented by celebrities in small hour glass figures; scores of health gurus welcomed on our favorite day time programs bidding for your dollar "This is the one" .... "Try this!" ... and of course the convenient diet plans where you simply pick up your weekly food rations, OR the food comes straight to your door! ..... No fuss, no muss! ...No weekly menu planning! ... No clean-up! (Hey-more time for resting on the couch-lol)

I have seen enough and tried most all short lived fad diets to tell of my experience and others first-hand. Without name dropping of companies or diet plans etc. I share a couple scare stories.

My Co-Worker Three years ago told me this:
"She convinced her husband to put up the $350 so she could join this one XXX weight loss clinic for one last ditch effort, needing to lose about 100 pounds." He agreed. "No sooner joined and began to eat and drink the food just as they told her, but found her heart palpitating, breathing hard, and broke out in a sweat. ... She knew something was wrong so she stopped, but was afraid to ask them for her money back. She never returned. Her sandcastle collapsed.

While working in a physician's office years ago, I talked with a patient, a young lady who
told me she had been heavy for SO long, that she too tried "One Last effort" to get her weight off. She signed up for one of the most expensive popular diet programs. She confessed to being lured at the idea of food being already prepared for her. All she did was to eat it and never mess up her kitchen." ....... (close to exact conversation) .... She concluded through tears which turned to outright sobs as she told me, "I am alone, live pay-check to paycheck and spent ALL my savings, but when I ran out of money, so did the food. When I stopped, I gained ALL and then some." Again, sandcastles are pretty to look at but buyer beware: they collapse!

These clinics and organizations tantalize you with promises you while you fork over the money! .... But what do they really deliver when you run out of money? ...This gives new meaning to "Give and Taker" as the customer does all the giving while they do all the taking! I decided years ago, I was through with gimmicks, fad diets, scams, empty promises, and tired of building sandcastles in the sand, only to watch my hopes crumble.

In February of 2012, I traded my sandcastle for a Spark mansion.
A friend called me and told me she just discovered Sparks. My sandcastle took on a new look as I turned sand into steel and began to form a firm and lasting foundation.

Membership is FREE and Sparks takes nothing, But has everything TO offer! emoticon
A former site I was on briefly charged me a monthly fee, yet offered little in return and you did not have the luxury of your own private page and all the amenities that Sparks has. .... I ask, where do you find a site that has a start page FULL of endless resources, a community feed with tons of inspiration, coach blogs, daily spark coach, a nutritionist and recipes, food plans, tracking tools, and quick links and off ramps that will take you anywhere in the site you want to go. The start page has much but takes you through the many rooms and into the vast community not to mention wonderful spark friends! What a banquet every day open 24/7 ....And where do you find a site where the CEO blogs daily reads each and every post?...

Incredible success stories and Sparks is FREE .... costs me nothing, and yet, I want to give something of myself back. How can I do that? .... For one, I recommend Sparks when opportunity knocks. And I write blogs to inspire and send a ripple of hope or encouragement to the community. And lend support to the spark community in various ways.

Only an illustration but why buy the sandcastle when the mansion is free?
I think of in comparison as a mansion for it's many rooms that lead to another and
another and end in success. Sparks really is and has the Solution!
Thanks for stopping by friends and have a great Friday and Fun weekend!
P.S. Thought this was cute and just had to add:

"So, how do I cash in all these Spark points?" .... ha ha
Oh ... yeah! How did you happen to find Sparks and how long have you been here?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo TRIMNUP
    Appreciate your clever and helpful analogies Jan. emoticon
    I discovered SP in August 2012.
    Since then I've changed from drinking several sodas a day, to drinking only water (usually more than 8 glasses per day). Recently I learned, when a waitress asked what I would like to drink, that I WANTED water! I also went from eating salad once or twice a month to every day.

    It's true that there is no magic wand/wishes that will make change happen. It is the personal commitment to finding what works that makes it happen. SP offers so many different ways, makes it fun and provides positive feedback, too. emoticon
    640 days ago
    650 days ago
    Fantastic analogy!
    657 days ago
  • GLORYB83
    Awesome blog Jan, how did I miss it???

    There is no other way to go except healthy eating, exercising, friend's encouragement, in other words ... SPARKPEOPLE site!!

    I'm happy to be here and happy to have friends like you!
    659 days ago
    Ha, ha. My Real prizes from SP is the positive reinforcement I needed.
    661 days ago
    661 days ago
    Great read! I can't even remember how I found SP but it was probably for some type of online Diet recipe or something search period I've been around since July 6th 2009. I, too, love all the resources and my favorite is the accountability of being able to join teams. My favorite resources are the food tracker and the exercise library.
    663 days ago
    663 days ago
    Great read girl! Love all the images too
    665 days ago
  • JANINE8969
    This is the exact thing I needed today! What a wonderful lesson learned as I read. So true, I cringe at any commercial for a quick fix. When you put the time and effort into the building of the MANSION....it is a foundation that you will always have. I feel sorry and pray for those people that chase the sand castles because they never have any foundation. I want the mansion. I deserve the mansion. We all do. As overweight people, we are so low emotionally that the sand castle easily plays on emotion and doesn't offer what we already intuitively know about the Mansion. I am a leader on the OA SPARKTEAM and our Higher Power already gives us the information FREE about the Sparkpeople Mansion. We just have to listen to it. I t took me a long time to get overweight. Why do I expect it to be gone overnight with a quick fix? Because I don't want to put the effort into getting better (my old way of thinking). We are in an age where we expect quick fixes and not put the effort into it. Doesn't that create boredom? What comes to us next that is so important that we don't put effort into our present being? Its like chasing sand....
    665 days ago
  • RAME123
    Enjoyed your blog.
    665 days ago
    Another great blog! I became more active on SPARK when I ditched the commercial diet plan.This plan was not something I could sustain. I wanted to have a more typical food life and learn to get healthy.
    I will be grateful to SPARK always.

    665 days ago
    My best friend recommended it years ago. I signed up but was overwhelmed at first and just dropped out of sight. But . . . I knew where to find it again and started reading blogs and articles and finally focused last September. (and also love that I can now do it commercial free) It's a great help. I weigh less today than I did 20 years ago - still have about 30 more pounds to lose, but now it's more of an adventure than a punishment to find ways that work.
    666 days ago
    I also love Spark. I owe my health to it.
    666 days ago
    Great blog! My sister called me and told me about it. I tried it, did exactly as advised, and lost exactly what they said I would in the time period they said. I later thought I could maintain on my own, but little by little I got off track. I'm back
    666 days ago
    Hi Jan.........
    If only people would realize that this is a LIFETIME commitment to a much healthier lifestyle. A good friend of mine went on the program where all of the food was sent to her. It was so expensive and I asked her what would happen when she reached her goal? Would she continue to buy the food? She also had a husband and daughter to consider..............would they be on their own for food shopping and preparation. Not that husbands and children shouldn't know how to care for themselves...............they should. But, I was really thinking of the cost of her meals and their groceries. They were on a budget and this certainly stretched it. And, what happened when she decided to quit buying the food? Had she learned anything about portion control, and eating the right amounts of vegetables and fruits and protein and carbohydrates? This program provided the food, but nothing else. Her LIFESTYLE had NOT changed. Did she learn anything about exercise? No........... She ended up gaining all of the weight back and then felt depressed and guilty. She now knows about SparkPeople (I kept dropping hints until I knew she was ready to listen) and loves the site and all that it offers.

    We are so lucky to be members of this site for so many reasons.

    Thank You for reminding us of all of the reasons in your great blog.

    666 days ago
    666 days ago
    I found Sparks when I was looking for recipes for my diabetic Husband, Spark kept popping up so I checked into the site that was January of 2007 I have been here ever since.
    What a wonderful site and very inspiring for everyone. Seeing all the different reasons for being on the site it is not just weight loss but health in general.
    Great Blog. emoticon
    667 days ago
    You are so right and I have not looked at it that way before not that I have ever signed up for anything like that. emoticon
    667 days ago
    Great blog post
    667 days ago
    I actually learned about SP at a WW meeting! Someone was complaining about costs and another person said try looking at this site. I did, I'm still here(but not there). It's time to stop playing the "points" game and start losing the weight. 6 months from today my first grandchild is due and I have plans for that new little person!
    667 days ago
  • 52BINCE
    Came back to read again ..... This blog keeps on giving ... Lots of great thought went into this! emoticon
    667 days ago
    Wow! You inspire me!
    667 days ago
    667 days ago
  • CARTAY25
    I love your comparison. emoticon I have always thought that the delivered meals may help you lose but you learn nothing .

    I heard about Spark several years ago when a casual friend mentioned it but I didn't come to Spark until I was about 3 1/2 months in to my my weight loss journey.
    667 days ago
    Love your blog and Spark People!! emoticon emoticon
    667 days ago
  • ELSCO55
    Great. Thanks
    667 days ago
  • 1958TMC
    Such an awesome blog!!!
    667 days ago
    667 days ago
    Thank you for writing a wonderful blog Jan.
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    667 days ago
  • LCULL56
    I just started back this spring after several years away. Eleven lbs off and a good ways to go, but I have started exercising a lot more and feel so much better! I love the communities, too!
    667 days ago
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    a good reminder not to fall for those adds

    667 days ago
    I was trying the slim fast thing and the web site they had got to the point i could stand the taste . watched the Today show and they talking to Spark Guy and chef Meg .
    been here ever since. love the sand Sandcastle comparison and your pictures. say it we do have to one and that is buy and fix the food but we know how to shop prepare and eat while on the journey and after we find our magic number and know how to keep it there
    thanks for the great blog
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    667 days ago
    One of my daughters introduced me to SparkPeople five years ago. She showed me Indygirl's story and the food tracker and I have been hooked ever since. I have never found any place with such accurate information and so much help although I could never phrase a blog as well as you have voiced yours. Thank you so very much. Together we must emoticon .
    668 days ago
    powerful blog!! THANKS
    668 days ago
  • JUNETTA2002
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    668 days ago
  • MARGIEB221
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    668 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
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    668 days ago
    Awesome story
    668 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    Thought-provoking analogy! Thanks!
    668 days ago
    EXCELLENT! I have been here 11 years and what I have gained is a healthy life. I love it!
    668 days ago
    Jan I recommended spark people to my physician's office, chiropractor and physical therapist, people at work, church etc. You get the emoticon I have been here for quite a while. emoticon I do good, emoticon than flounder emoticon but I always get back up. I've lost 45 lbs so far and kept it off with just the wishy, washy 2 or 3 lb gain here and there. I have a long way to go but so very thankful to SP and SP Buddies such as yourself. Thank you for sharing such an enlightening blog. I'm sure many will understand where it is you are "coming from" ~ emoticon Donna
    668 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    668 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    I loved your blog Jan. The gimmicks, the money spent, the promises these companies make, they sound believable when you are desperate. But the trick is, we can't be desperate for a magic pill or the magic bullet. We all know here at sp, that there is a lot of hard work, will power, determination and community involved. Without those things, I would not be where I am today. Once we lost the weight, we have to know how to maintain that weight loss and those magic bullets don't tell people that. Their life is not sustainable eating the food someone else is preparing or the pills or drinks that damage your body. They just don't work and I wish people would stop promoting that "crap"!
    It really makes me angry to think of people that damaged their heart because the diet pills were bad for them but there was no warning. And if there was, would people have taken them any way because they were desperate
    Spark is the answer for me! Exercise, eating in moderation, weighing, measuring, eating fresh produce and lean meats, that is how you lose weight. There is no magic pill, but this web site is pretty magical if you put in the work!
    Thanks for another great blog!
    668 days ago
    Great blog, great analogy. I truly believe SparkPeople saved my life. The Spark Points are redeemable for great health and wellness.
    668 days ago
    This sounds familiar, like I've done this too! Thank you for this blog entry. I've been on Spark about a month and absolutely love it! The people are so supportive. Very motivating!!
    668 days ago
    What a wonderful blog !I have been on Spark for a decade !
    668 days ago
    How lovely! Love reading your blog. Just so inspirational and filled with meaning and light. I found Spark many years back. Been here and there and keep coming back here. This time I am here to stay.
    668 days ago
    Excellent blog, as usual, We chase the dreams because reality is so slow - but, if I'd started on SP when I started chasing the dreams (OK, there was no SP when I started, but whatever) - I'd have achieved my goals. Sigh
    668 days ago
    No magic pill, just plain dedication to a healthy life style..
    668 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.