All Entries For best of 2013

Jennifer's Resolution Started from the Inside Out


Today we share our final success story from our 2013 New Year’s Resolution Keepers.  Jennifer decided to deal with her depression by committing to a complete health makeover. Learn how she changed her outlook and her life by trying new things, setting mini goals and pushing herself beyond what she thought she was capable.
Posted 2/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 31 comments   14,451 views
Read More ›

How Vowing NOT to Lose Weight Helped Amy Slim Down


This month we have been highlighting Success Stories for people who set New Year's resolutions last year and stuck with them, to help you begin your own journey to success. Today we introduce you to someone who started 2013 with a resolution to try new foods instead of a goal to lose weight, which had previously not been successful. What she found was the year she chose not to set a weight-loss goal and focus on something else, she actually achieved weight loss, too!
Posted 1/26/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 22 comments   18,611 views
Read More ›

How Kicking Cigarettes Changed Amanda's Life


Many of us begin the new year with a desire for a fresh start in a new direction. With the right habits, motivation and support, our goals can become so resolute they carry us to places we never imagined. We want to help you remain steadfast in your healthy living quests this year by introducing you to several people who set goals for 2013--and stuck with them all year long.  
Posted 1/19/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 11 comments   10,357 views
Read More ›

How Janna Lost Weight and United Her Family


Last week we introduced you to Amanda, who successfully kept her 2013 New Year’s Resolution to kick the nicotine habit. Today we introduce you to a single mother that achieved her 2013 resolution to lose weight and helped her family get healthier at the same time.

Name: Janna Miller
SparkPeople Username: jannamiller
Hometown: Colona, Illinois
Occupation: Special Education Teacher
Age: 43
Starting weight: 240 pounds
Current weight: 170 pounds
 
What was your New Year's resolution? My New Year's resolution was to lose 70 pounds by January 1, 2014.

Why did you set a New Year's resolution? On New Year’s Day 2013, I was 240 pounds, taking meds for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. I was also told I had a slow brain bleed. I had no energy and always felt sick. Being a single mom, I knew I was not going to be around for my kids if I didn’t change. So I finally decided to change.  My youngest son was also severely overweight and having similar medical issues. I knew I needed to be a good mom, which meant being a good role model to him.

What did you do to stay motivated? I was very lucky. We went into this project as a team -- my mom, my son, and me. As a former athlete and a current coach of three sports, it fit my personality. We gained strength from each other. We motivated each other, we held each other accountable for our actions and we celebrated each other’s victories.

Why do you think you stuck with your resolution when so many people give up? Our entire family was on board with the program. They knew we needed to do this, and if that meant changing around the menu or adding some more activities, they were all for it. They also would keep us motivated to keep doing our program. If we slipped--and we did at times--they would kick us in the butt and get us going again.

What tools, routines, habits, and motivators did you find most helpful in sticking with your resolution? It became important to plan meals, something I was not very good at. We also got rid of A LOT of food that was just not possible to have on our new lifestyle. This was very helpful for me because if I see it I will eat it. My daughter was a two-sport letterman in high school and in the Army Reserves, so weight is not currently an issue for her. She would keep all of her snack in her locked room! We found snack foods that we could have and made sure we had those on hand for weak moments. We would do weekly weight checks with our doctor’s office every Friday after school, and that helped keep us on track. I also joined the weight-loss challenge at school each quarter, and we weighed in every Wednesday.

Did you ever slip up or hit a plateau? If so, how did you overcome it? I have had many plateaus. Sometimes I was not eating enough and my body let me know so I would up my carbs for a few days and then I would be back on track. Sometimes I needed to change my workouts. I just kept telling myself: This is not about now, this is about always. If you take a short break, that is OK, just come back!

What was the hardest part about committing to your New Year's resolution? For me, it was finding the time to do things for myself. I am a single mom of four active kids. I teach special education, which has a lot of paperwork and individual planning, I coach three sports, I run a very active youth-service group that always has activities, and I have a huge, close extended family. It is hard to fit in "me" time.

Did you experience any other benefits (improved relationships, reach other goals, improved self-image/confidence etc.) while sticking with your resolution? I can keep up with my kids and my great-nephews more!  I am now thinking about trying to date if I can fit it in!

What advice do you have for others who might set a similar resolution for this year? It is not a new diet and you can’t think about it that way. You need to change your lifestyle because you and your family are worth it. Sometime we get into these old habits, and we know they are not working for us but they are comfortable. It will take time to make the new habits feel comfortable just keep working at it.
Get a support system! Make it a team effort! Who can’t get a little healthier?

Now that you've succeeded with this resolution, have you/will you set any other goals?  Yes. I think I am going to go back to school.

How did SparkPeople help you achieve success? I have been motivated by a lot of the articles on SparkPeople.  They have lots of good information and even if you only use a little it helps move you in the right direction.  Remember a healthy lifestyle is not a sprint--it is a marathon. Slow and steady will get us to a healthy life.
 

How about you? Will 2014 be the year you reach your goals? The best way to set yourself up for success is to make sure that your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Using these guidelines is a proven way to create goals that you can stick with for the long haul. After reading the explanation of SMART goals in this article, print out this goal-setting worksheet to create your own SMART goals to make 2014 the year you find success.
Posted 1/12/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 15 comments   8,715 views
Read More ›

The Top Recipes You Craved This Year


On SparkPeople.com, members log thousands of food items daily on our Nutrition Tracker. SparkRecipes now has more than 485,000 recipes. That's a lot of info on what people like you are really eating when they're working to get healthy and stay that way. We looked back at the top cooking trends of the year, based on what members like you are searching for on the site. Keep reading for a wealth of recipes and meal ideas that will help you reach your healthy cooking and eating goals in 2014.

High-Protein Foods: Protein is huge right now. You know that it's crucial to weight loss, thanks to its ability to fill you up, ward off hunger, and rebuild muscles after your workouts, and you're looking for creative and delectable ways to get enough of it each day. Beyond the usual recipes, try homemade protein bars, protein pancakes & protein powder pancakes.

We like:
No Bake Protein Bars
Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars
Protein Pancakes


Drinking Your Vegetables
: Getting in your five servings of fruits and veggies daily can be tough when you're busy. One of the easiest ways to load up on fruit is with a smoothie. Toss in a banana and some berries or melon, and you're easily halfway to your goal. But a lot of you are catching on that vegetables can be sneaked into a smoothie, too. you're trying spinach smoothie and vegetable smoothie recipes. (trust us, you can't taste the veggies.)
Posted 12/12/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 5 comments   25,556 views
Read More ›