''11 Lessons I Learned After 1 Year on SparkPeople''

It was a year ago that I found SparkPeople, and what a wonderful year it has been! I was hoping to see 162 on the scale today but 165.5 is going to have to do. WOW! 56.5 pounds down from eating less and moving more! No crazy things, no pills—just using the great tools on SparkPeople.

Looking over my blog entries and thinking back on the past year, I've learned a few things along the journey that I want to share with others.

1. Treating myself as a friend is the greatest gift I can give myself. Loving, encouraging and reassuring myself are such useful things when some days are difficult.

2. There's always tomorrow. No, not to start, but to improve! Having a bad day, whether it's at work, with your kids or with your partner happens all the time. But you don't quit your job, stop parenting or walk out on a relationship. So why do we allow ourselves to stop eating well or caring for ourselves just because of one bad day?

3. Succeeding in one area of life makes you want to succeed in all areas. Confidence is an amazing feeling to have.

4. The scale—it is what it is. It isn't something I can control. Although I check it daily, I won't let it determine my mood. No matter how much I want my body to lose weight more quickly, it works on its own timeline. All I can do is continue feeding it well and exercising regularly. Eventually, it'll catch up with my efforts.

5. Eating is all about balance! If I know that I'm having a big dinner, I have to eat a smaller breakfast and lunch. This simple idea is something I should have put into practice years ago.

6. By saying, "I'll try," I give myself the option to fail. Switching my self-talk to, "I will" took some getting used to. But now, I think of my journey with an "I will take care of myself" mindset. Some days, "try" creeps in when it comes to exercise, but I'm working on it!

7. 3,500 calories equal a pound of fat! Gosh, that's such a simple fact, but such a powerful one! It helps me put things in perspective if I want to have calorically unbalanced day.

8. There are no bad foods. But I should eat some foods in smaller quantities or only on occasion.

9. A food scale is one of the best investments I've made. Measuring food is a little bit of a pain, but knowing exactly what I'm eating can't be beat.

10. Eating chicken can be just as satisfying as eating a hamburger. The taste of food only lasts for the meal and then maybe a few hours later until it's time to eat again. Why waste calories if the satisfaction is so limited?

11. Jogging 3.1 miles is challenging, but not impossible. Maybe slowly, maybe with a small break along the way, but I can do it. Setting a goal and sticking to it is more satisfying than a hot fudge sundae!

I could probably go on with all the lessons I've learned over the past year, but that's enough for now. My thanks to SparkPeople are twofold. One, for providing me the tools and resources that aid me on my journey. And two, for teaching me how to become a better me, both physically and emotionally. I'd like to say I could have done it without SparkPeople, but I can't. While this year may have not been my best year of all time, it's definitely in my top five. And now, I can't wait to see what the future will bring!

Editor's Note: You can see more of Britt's photos, blog entries, and progress by visiting her SparkPage.