The SparkPeople Blog

Success Story: 'I Was Made for More!'

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
12/11/2012 10:00 AM   :  103 comments   :  27,559 Views

Meet Carley Cooper (username SPARKYCARLEY), a SparkPeople member who pledged to heal her body so she could heal her mind. Read on to learn about her inspirational journey! 

What is your age?:  46

How long have you been a SparkPeople member? How did you find SparkPeople?: I have been a SparkPeople member since October of 2008. I was referred by another SparkPeople member who I had met on a support website.

What is your favorite feature on SparkPeople?:  My favorite features are the Nutrition and Fitness Trackers, as well as the support from other members. I could not have done this journey without their support.

How much weight have you lost?:  I originally lost 75 pounds, which put me at my goal weight. I gained back a little and I'm now at a loss of 62 pounds. I've reset my new goal to be a total of 85 pounds lost.

How long did it take to lose the weight?:  It took me about one year.

What was your light bulb moment that made you decide to lose weight?:   You see, I have bipolar disorder and social anxiety disorder. At one point, I was living with a disabled man. My mental health was so bad that I often couldn't take care of myself.  He took care of me, when it should have been the other way around. When I broke up with this man, I realized that I was about to land in the hospital in the mental health ward. This was terrifying, as I was newly single and alone. I was so afraid of what was to become of me. I had gotten to the point where I didn't trust the medical industry to help me.

My ''ah-ha!'' moment developed from this dark place. I had no choice but to do something to save myself before it was too late... because no one else was going to do it for me. I needed to get my future back before it slipped through my fingers for good.  In order to get into a healthier mental state, I knew I would require a healthy body, too.  The first step to that I could think of was to lose weight. ''I can't have a healthy mind without a healthy body'' was my theory, and my motivation.

What was your biggest obstacle while trying to lose weight?:   Staying motivated to work out, especially during the winter.

What does your weekly exercise schedule look like?:  In the summer, I work out outside and do a strength training video at home. I work out to SparkPeople videos during the winter, since it gets very cold here in Canada. I work out 4-6 days per week. 

What is your favorite way to exercise?: 
We have a very beautiful lakefront where I live. My favorite way to exercise is power-walking in the park near the lake.

Do you have any personal fitness goals coming up?:  My personal fitness goal is to have tight abs. It's my biggest struggle.

What does a typical day of food look like for you? How does this compare to the way you ate before your transformation?:  A typical day of food would be: 

Breakfast: Pro-biotic yogurt with almonds and berries mixed in, green tea, and a piece of fruit or a whole-grain slice of toast with butter. Other times, I may have a boiled egg, a piece of fruit, green tea, and a slice of whole-grain toast with butter.  

Lunch: A spinach salad with chicken breast and veggies, with green tea. Or, a personal pizza made on a whole-grain tortilla, tomato sauce, fresh veggies and a small amount of grated mozzarella cheese. 

Dinner: A serving of fish, chicken, or beef, with fresh veggies and a small potato or brown rice. 

Snacks: A piece of fruit, or some veggie nibblers (carrot or celery sticks, radishes, green pepper, broccoli), or maybe some nuts. 

What is your favorite healthy food?:  My favorite healthy food is spinach. I absolutely love it. I get big energy boosts after I'm finished eating a spinach salad for lunch. It keeps me going all afternoon!

What is your favorite treat food?:  My favorite treat food is a chocolate chip cookie. I allow myself one day per week to have some extra treats, like a cookie or a small piece of cake.

Who is your biggest inspiration?:  My biggest inspiration are my SparkPeople friends. They've supported me through the good days and the bad days. They keep me going, they inspire and motivate me, and they help me feel like I'm helping them right back. I feel loved and useful. 

Do you have a personal mantra/saying/quote that you live by that you'd like to share?:  My personal mantras are:

''As long as you don't quit, you're not a failure''

and

''I was made for more'' 

I have these written on sticky notes and pasted on my mirror and my refrigerator. These things inspire me to keep pushing myself hard and keep my goals in sight. I spent years avoiding mirrors as much as possible. At about 50 pounds into my weight-loss journey, I happened to see myself in the mirror for the first time in a long time. I was wearing just my underwear. I started to cry; I couldn't believe my eyes. I looked like one of those women that intimidated me because they look so good. Another time, I took out my ''skinny'' jeans that I had been saving as a goal. They were too big!  It was an exciting day for sure.  

Does Carley inspire you? What can YOU do today become a healthier version of yourself, in both body and mind?


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Comments

  • 103
    I just read your story and was inspired by it, I hope that you are doing well, God Bless You - 9/23/2013   1:24:58 AM
  • 102
    Congratulations! I am so inspired by you, your story is so close to mine. I can't wait to get into skinny jeans!! - 8/7/2013   6:41:40 PM
  • RTCLASS2013
    101
    What an inspiring story and thank you so much for sharing. I loved it when you put on the "skinny jeans" and they were too big for you :).......AMAZING!! - 7/22/2013   12:19:15 AM
  • CARNAHAN2013
    100
    Carly,
    What a BLESSING you are to others and what a BLESSING that has been given to you through your hard work and will. Job well done!


    - 6/5/2013   8:15:43 AM
  • 99
    Very Inspiring Story. Thanks for sharing. And congrats on your success due to your hard work. - 5/23/2013   7:54:16 AM
  • 1954MARG
    98
    Well done, and thank you. Your achievement is a great encouragement to the rest of us. - 4/15/2013   10:31:38 AM
  • LILIA874
    97
    Congratulations and thank you for your inspiring story. I too was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and am struggling with losing the 80 pounds I've gained from the medications. I have hope because of you and your journey. Blessed Be. - 3/25/2013   12:40:56 PM
  • MINAHH
    96
    I think you look fabulous and you should be so proud of yourself and your achievement. You look half your age compared to the before picture and the current one on this site. Keep up the good work. - 2/23/2013   8:04:06 PM
  • 95
    Amazing journey ...you are an inspiration thank you - 2/23/2013   5:59:24 PM
  • YVETTEZ77
    94
    What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing and many more triumphs to you on your continued journey. - 2/5/2013   9:12:03 PM
  • 93
    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have major depressive disorder as well as a spinal cord injury. Reading this shows me that I can lose the weight. Thank you so much! - 1/31/2013   9:19:09 PM
  • 92
    Good for you!! I don't know why I have been thinking that this time I can't really lose the weight (I lost all I needed in 2008.) But you have inspired me to keep going and to also realize it took a lot of calories to get where I am now so it will take a lot of calories not eaten and exercise to meet that goal again. - 1/28/2013   12:40:52 AM
  • NLYR20
    91
    Thank you for your inspiring. It always is hard to make the first step. But you did it in a great way. It is helping to direct myself in a positive way... - 1/17/2013   10:12:12 AM
  • 90
    Carley, bravo! I loved your story and you have done a fabulous job! Anni - 1/12/2013   5:51:11 PM
  • 89
    WOW! You are such an inspiration! - 1/10/2013   7:00:02 PM
  • ALTKJC116
    88
    Awesome! Carley, you look terrific and happy (rock that red dress, girl!!), and you deserve every bit of it; you worked hard for it! Very inspiring story; thank you for sharing :). - 1/10/2013   6:10:15 PM
  • 87
    Good for you Carley! Very inspiring story. I wish you all the motivation energy and will power you need to continue on your amazing journey!! - 1/8/2013   4:32:29 PM
  • SHADNAMBER1
    86
    my first day here and my first success story to read. VERY INSPIRING. very real. thank you for sharing! - 1/4/2013   12:59:53 PM
  • 85
    What an inspirational story! Wow! Thank you for sharing, really inspired me! - 1/4/2013   12:13:50 PM
  • JBIEHL
    84
    I am a returning member to Spark after a long absence. Your story inspired me that it was a great decision to come back. Thank you for your inspiration and good luck on your continuing journey. (I endure those Canadian winters too!) - 1/3/2013   12:46:39 PM
  • 83
    Way to go Carley! - 1/2/2013   8:48:17 PM
  • TMKOPPENAAL
    82
    You go girl! You have overcome so much! And, you are such an inspiration to the rest of us. I'm glad I read your story:) - 1/2/2013   7:21:03 PM
  • 81
    Very inspiring. Thank you! - 1/1/2013   10:11:04 PM
  • 80
    Your story is very inspiring, Congratulations on your success...I hope to one day have a success story as great as yours. - 1/1/2013   12:42:33 PM
  • 79
    Congrats! Hopefully some day I will have lasting success. - 12/31/2012   7:29:50 AM
  • FITNESSFAN10898
    78
    Awesome job! You are an inspiration to me :) - 12/30/2012   4:36:23 PM
  • 77
    Wow you have really come a long way. I am glad to see that you have inspired so many others that seem to be suffering the same way. Best wishes to you on your journey. - 12/30/2012   9:14:31 AM
  • LINDAT505050
    76
    Your story is an inspiration and a blessing. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Linda - 12/29/2012   7:48:54 PM
  • 75
    Very inspiring. Congratulations! - 12/29/2012   2:55:45 PM
  • 74
    Wow! How inspiring for someone like me who struggles with bipolar and now my weight. Thank you for showing me it can be done! - 12/28/2012   5:43:33 AM
  • 73
    Wow! It's amazing how weight loss can change a person's life! - 12/27/2012   6:49:49 PM
  • NERVOUSFLOWER
    72
    Thank you for sharing your story.

    This is my first day on SparkPeople and I was inspired by reading your story (esp the part about the mirror since I too avoid mirrors... at least full length ones). Looking forward to such an experience!

    You have certainly overcome a lot and you look amazing and you have helped to take a bit of the dread off the journey in front of me.

    Good luck on your new goal! - 12/26/2012   4:31:01 PM
  • 71
    Love your story. - 12/18/2012   7:50:38 PM
  • 70
    A true Blessing to me! - 12/17/2012   2:11:01 PM
  • GARDEMON
    69
    So inspiring. - 12/16/2012   8:47:27 PM
  • AEMYALIAS
    68
    hey ! u inspired me in a way ! good job, keep it uop. i wana follow you as well ! - 12/16/2012   6:28:24 PM
  • 67
    you're awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am also bipolar with social anxiety. Know from experience it's a tough road, but I'm so glad to be here - I'm enjoying the support.. SO HAPPY FOR YOU...!! - 12/15/2012   8:17:04 AM
  • 66
    You are an inspiration for everyone. Bless you. - 12/14/2012   11:17:34 AM
  • 65
    You look great! Keep up the good work! - 12/14/2012   8:05:56 AM
  • 64
    It has got to be good to read all the good wishes. I too have bipolar disorder and it has to reach a point where the only person who can save you is YOU. After that realization the rest is piece of calorie free cake walk. Best wishes for continued health. - 12/13/2012   10:46:20 PM
  • GAYLESTORM
    63
    What an inspiring story. You taught us an important lesson on being holistic-integrate the body and mind in all that we do!! - 12/13/2012   6:49:32 PM
  • CATHYHOST
    62
    Awesome! Thanks for sharing! - 12/13/2012   6:40:34 PM
  • 61
    Thank you friends for all the wonderful support and encouragement. Many blessings to each one of you. HUGS - 12/13/2012   4:32:02 PM
  • 60
    I love your determination! - 12/13/2012   2:19:08 AM
  • 59
    WOOHOOO !
    You go, Carley !
    Proud of YOU
    Love and Blessings - 12/12/2012   11:32:47 PM
  • AMBER461
    58
    Congratulation on a job well done. You are an inspiration to myself and others.
    I am proud of you in the way you got control of your health and weight all go hand in hand. Keep up the good work and may God continue to bless you. - 12/12/2012   8:14:28 PM
  • 57
    Very nice job, continued success to you! - 12/12/2012   6:46:42 PM
  • NYLICE
    56
    WOW, what a winner ! I think I can do it too. Thanks for the inspiration. Good luck in all your future endeavors. - 12/12/2012   6:39:01 PM
  • 55
    This was a wonderful story to read. It is always amazing to me what people can accomplish when they find the right path. You are one of many who has been blessed to find SparkPeople. Aren't we lucky,
    Thank you for your inspiring blog and for sharing with us. - 12/12/2012   6:07:04 PM
  • 54
    Congratulations on a job well done! Keep going! - 12/12/2012   5:44:00 PM

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