All Entries For weight loss maintenance success

How Jen Lost 110 Pounds and Transformed Her Life*

Weight Lost: 110 pounds
Hometown: Lacey, WA
What was life like before your weight loss?
I got married, got a life, got stressed, got bored and got lazy. Our marriage was centered on good food and TV and not being incredibly active after our sedentary workday. I didn't feel good about myself. I hated shopping for clothes, and I couldn't believe I'd gotten so big.  I didn't think I could get the scale to do what I wanted it to do, so I felt very hopeless and complacent about my weight.   
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
When I decided to leave my husband I was getting sick -- very sick. I took my two of my cats and a few of my belongings and went to my parents’ home about 30 miles away. I took off my ring, handed it to my dad and went to lie down -- for what ended up being five weeks. I was admitted to the hospital with plans for exploratory surgery to discover why I'd lost 38 pounds in five weeks and could no longer even get my body to hold water. I then spent 21 days in the hospital and walked out those doors vowing that I would forever respect my body as I never had before. I was alive, and thankful to be so, and the fact that I had to wear a colostomy for the next six months seemed a small price to pay. That 38-pound loss in the hospital was a spark for me to keep going.

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
Posted 12/15/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 38 comments   24,835 views
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Renee Took Control of Her Life--and Lost 100 Pounds*

Renee Hernandez (MIAMI_LILLY)
Weight Lost: 100 pounds
Hometown: Miami, FL
Occupation: Homemaker
What was life like before your weight loss?
I was an overweight child. Although I was always active, I loved junk food and sweets and had a grandmother that always overfed me. As I got older and had four children, I gained weight from each pregnancy. I was so busy taking care of my family, I didn't have time to take care of myself. I was extremely depressed. I had no energy, and would sit on the couch feeling sorry for myself. One time, I remember our vehicle breaking down, and I had to walk to the supermarket. My hips and ankles hurt so badly on the walk home, I could almost cry.
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
My biggest motivation was being healthy for my family, and for myself. I already had high blood pressure, and my triglycerides were higher than normal. I was on a very dangerous road. It was my birthday, and my size 24 jeans were so tight, they were uncomfortable to wear. I had to make a choice, either spend my birthday money on bigger jeans or finally take control of my life. I decided to give myself the best present...a healthier body.
Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey: 
Posted 11/3/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 51 comments   25,175 views
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A Birthday Surprise Motivated Rachel to Lose 70 Pounds*

Rachel Murray (_RACHEL)
Weight Lost: 70 pounds
Hometown: Goldendale, WA
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
What was life like before your weight loss?
I gained weight during each pregnancy and didn't take it off afterwards.  By the time I had my 4th child, I had gained 78 pounds.    I was an expert dieter and yo-yoed throughout my life between overeating and starving myself.  I needed to stop having a "diet" mentality. Even though I am an extrovert and love people, I hid myself at home.  I kept my social activities to the absolute minimum and relied heavily on my husband, to the point that he even did the grocery shopping.  I hated holidays and trying to find something suitable to wear. I was constantly in tears.  Even buying new clothes was painful.
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
The year I turned 50, my sisters schemed to drag me into our community's largest parade.  My husband knew there was no way I would attend because I hadn’t gone for years.  In fact, I avoided going anywhere because I was so heavy. My sister, whose son had just passed away, told me that her granddaughters were going to be in the parade and asked me to watch. How could I refuse her? Little did I know that this was only a ploy to get me there.

I was in turmoil, deeply embarrassed and hoping I wouldn't see anyone I knew.  As a spectator, watching the parade go by, my eyes became fixed on a large banner with my name on it announcing: "Welcome Our Newest Member, Rachel Murray- Happy 50th Birthday!”  There was a small sports car all decorated in the Red Hat Society colors waiting for me.  They drew me out of the crowd, placed a red hat on my head and had me get into the car.  As I rode like a politician seen by everyone at the parade, I literally was dying inside. My sisters did me the biggest favor.  That day was my motivator to get on track and try to lose the weight.
Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey:
I started on December 27, 2009. I joined a small SparkPeople group, the Wildflowerr Live~It's.  Our leader created monthly challenges.  I was an active participant and logged my food, water, and exercise daily.  The result was that I lost an average of one to two pounds per week. SparkPeople has taught me how to eat right.  I especially love the tool that shows my daily nutritional feedback. SparkPeople has played a tremendous role in my life.  I have made long-lasting friendships and had the privilege of flying across our nation to meet these wonderful ladies.  We have bonded even more and celebrated our successes.  These relationships still continue even after almost four years on the site.  I have been encouraged, inspired, and strengthened by reading other members’ blogs and achievements.
Posted 10/20/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 53 comments   20,148 views
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From Couch Potato to Hiking the Grand Canyon*

Stacey Clampitt (GIRL*IN*MOTION)
Weight Lost: 77 pounds
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Occupation: Accountant

What was life like before your weight loss?
My struggle with weight started in high school and continued well throughout my 20s. I worked in restaurants while struggling with emotional eating, and it was a bad combination.  Unhealthy food was always accessible. After high school, when I was no longer in organized sports, all fitness stopped and the young lifestyle of always going out with your friends started. The pounds piled on, and I didn't really even notice. I met my husband in 2004. From there I got really happy and comfortable, gaining 40 more pounds. I was topping the scale at 220 pounds and a size 18. For my 5'5" frame, it was painful for me to look in the mirror. I hid behind layers of clothing, ashamed of just how badly I'd let myself go. I was an emotional eater and drowned my misery in more food, only making the problem worse and worse. I hid behind baggy layers of clothing, avoided cameras and refused to wear anything without an elastic waist. I was the epitome of a junk-food junkie and couch potato. I was unhappy, depressed, and longing for changes that I could never quite make happen. I rarely had the energy to enjoy time with my family. Time at the park consisted of me sitting and watching the kids play because I didn’t have the energy or stamina to keep up with them.

Looking back at my overweight life now, I recognize that I had a lot more problems and issues than I realized at the time. I was constantly out of breath and suffered from insomnia and acid reflux. I was winded after a flight of stairs, avoided mirrors and social settings. I was certainly not a very happy person. I had very low self-esteem and felt very lost.
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
My real "aha" moment was a random morning getting ready for work. I realized not a single piece of clothing I owned fit and the thought of having to go shopping for yet another larger wardrobe halted me in my tracks. That was the day I found SparkPeople and began my journey to health and wellness.       
Posted 10/13/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 74 comments   56,354 views
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Sparking Others Helped Her Lose 142 Pounds*

Barbara June (ARKPLE)
Weight Lost:  142 pounds
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
What was life like before your weight loss?
I gained the weight by not paying attention to my food choices, not weighing in, not moving my body, not putting myself first, not dealing with clinical depression, inviting temptations into my home and totally neglecting the wisdom that is my body for many years. I felt depressed. I relied on a cane to walk even a short distance. I could not climb stairs at all. I had difficulty completing daily tasks with ease.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
When my weight climbed over the 360-pound mark, I vowed to lose weight. Enough was enough! I wanted to put myself first--that was my biggest motivation for weight loss. Putting others ahead of me led to clinical depression and weight gain. I was tired of remaining on the sidelines. I wanted to participate more fully in life.  I knew I would not have a perfect journey, but I vowed to start where I was and to make slow changes in my eating patterns and gradual changes in movement.

Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey:
To lose the weight, I relied on I weighed in weekly, enjoyed my food choices, savored every bite, competed against myself, engaged in joyful movement, and more!

I believe in the Arthur Ashe quotation, "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." I also believe that we are each capable beyond our imagination and that we need to be compassionate toward our bodies; right where they are, even carrying excess weight. It's so important to stop feuding with our bodies and to thank our thighs and grab those hips to express gratitude versus wishing them away.  Also, I heartily believe that calories don't always account for everything. Outlook counts too!

And, as Maya Angelou says, "Nobody, but nobody, can make it alone." So the journey is best accomplished by buddying up, sharing knowledge, jointly inspiring yourself and others, joining a new SparkTeam, sparking today and sparking often!

I have been very active in the Biggest Loser Challenge SparkTeam (completing nearly a dozen rounds) and I am also a co-captain of a private team. My success was enhanced by my role in encouraging others to eat mindfully, to not seek perfection and to lose pound by pound, inch by inch, bite by bite and step by step.
Posted 7/21/2013  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 141 comments   29,240 views
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'I Became a Fitness Instructor in My 50s'*

Sue Carson (BCARSON11)
Weight Lost: 71 pounds
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Occupation: fitness instructor

What was your “a-ha” moment that made you decide to lose weight?
I gained the weight over the years by overeating and not working out. I was tired all the time. I felt like I was getting really old while I was still only in my 40s.  By the time I turned 50, I weighed 175 pounds.  Not long after, a friend of ours had a massive heart attack when he turned 50.  He was a few months younger than I was.  My husband is a couple years older and also has a history of early death from heart problems in his family.  We both had borderline blood pressure and were both overweight and out of shape.  We decided if we wanted to have a longer life we should try to correct our eating habits.

Can you tell us about your weight-loss journey?
My husband and I started slowly trying to eat better.  I used to track my food intake and learn more about healthy eating.  Then, our son was home for the holidays and pointed out that we needed to work out if we wanted to really be healthy.  My comment was "I'm too old to start that!"  However, we joined a gym, and we both went every day.  My husband liked to use the machines, and I preferred group exercise.  It was about 6 months before I started doing strength training, and I saw an amazing difference. I had already lost quite a bit of weight, and adding weight training really toned things up.  It took over a year to reach my first goal, which was just at the upper end of my "normal" weight range.  I continued to work out and eat healthy.   Now, at age 66, I weigh just a little more than I did in college and am much more toned.
Posted 7/14/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 56 comments   21,064 views
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'I Wanted to Live Life & Have Fun with My Family'*

Name: Elizabeth Tiedemann (MOONBIRD)
Weight Lost:  153 pounds
Hometown: Chesterfield, VA
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom

What was life like before losing weight?
I started to gain weight in the first grade, and I continued to gain throughout most of my life. For me, I ate when I was sad, anxious, lonely, or any emotion in between.  Growing up in a family where almost everyone was overweight didn't give me much motivation to be different. It was who I was supposed to be.  But, deep down, I was not happy. I loved my family and had everything I wanted, except for control over my weight.  After the birth of my kids, I was exhausted and would sometimes go all day without eating.  By the end of the day, I was starving and would eat everything in sight.  I didn't believe in myself and didn’t take care of myself, which is why I allowed myself to gain so much weight.       

For so long I missed out on things I wanted to do.  I couldn't ride a lot of the rides at theme parks.  When we went out to eat, I could barely fit in most of the booths.  During the day, I started to have pain in my legs and feet when I'd stand a lot.  I went to bed worrying that every little ache or pain meant I could be dying.  I love bird watching, and I'd hear of bird walks at parks but not go because I knew it would exhaust me.  I'd sweat profusely and be out of breath.  It was awful.  I rarely felt comfortable in my own skin.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My biggest motivation was, and still is, my family.  I wanted to live life with them!  I wanted to ride bikes with my kids, play at the playground and fit on the rides at amusement parks.  My motivation has mostly been to feel good and be healthy, because when I was so much heavier I felt tired ALL the time and generally unwell. In April 2010, I decided that I’d had enough of being overweight and unhealthy.  I wanted to change my life!      
Posted 7/7/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 120 comments   31,149 views
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50 Pounds Down, Kristen Feels Good about Herself*

Name: Kristen Webster (KRISTEN_SAYS)
Weight Lost: 50 pounds
Hometown: Oneonta, NY
Occupation: Sales associate at a local furniture store

What was life like before losing weight?
I was always overweight--all throughout my childhood, high school and into college. I grew up on mac & cheese, chicken nuggets and big, fat bagels. I steadily gained weight throughout high school and into my first three semesters of college. I was always extremely insecure about my appearance and how out of shape I was.
I dreaded going to classes that were on the third floor of the buildings. I refused to take the elevator because I didn't want other people to look at me and think that I couldn't make it up three flights of stairs because I was fat and out of shape. But by the time I got to the second landing, I was exhausted and by the time I got to my classroom, I could barely breathe, and I would try to hide it. It was embarrassing.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
When I was 19, I was at my heaviest weight (160 pounds on a 5'1" frame; 30.2 BMI). My grandfather, who is very overweight himself, told me I was too heavy and that I had no excuse for it. He wasn't voicing his concern for my health; he was simply judging me on my appearance. My own grandfather! I was used to kids teasing me about my weight throughout my childhood and adolescence, but my own grandfather?

I was upset but finally, about a week later, it clicked. I was, in fact, too heavy. I let myself go, and I had to put a stop to it before I got any bigger. I finally realized that I was done being the fat girl.

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey.
Posted 6/30/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 52 comments   25,532 views
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Learn Lisa's Secret to Weight-Loss Success*

After a family health scare on Valentine's Day in 2006, Lisa Thompson (C_ANEMONE) set out to change her life. And she succeeded! Today, Lisa is 100 pounds lighter, and she's sharing her story on Huffington Post Healthy Living. Check it out here.
Posted 6/4/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 19 comments   24,811 views
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'At Age 68, I'm in the Best Shape of My Life!'*

Carol Reinhard (CAROLJEAN64)
Weight Lost: 57 pounds
Hometown: West Des Moines, IA
Occupation: Retired

I was in the midst of therapy for depression.  I broke my leg, the complications from which left me inactive for several months. I gained weight as a shield as I dealt with complex and frightening issues in therapy. I had little energy.  I did not feel attractive to my husband and felt like a grandmother to almost anyone more than 10 years younger than me. I didn't want to be old when I knew I wasn't.  I somehow inherently knew that combining good eating and physical activity was what I needed to complete the road to good emotional, physical and mental health that I started in therapy.

I made some great progress in therapy and decided to give my husband my weight loss goals as a birthday gift with the goal of being at my wedding weight by our 38th wedding anniversary eight months later.  I made it with one day to spare. My first week I lost six pounds, and I gained only one week. I lost about 1.75 pounds per week. 

Keeping a food journal has been so important in maintaining my weight.  For me, it was all about portion control, portion control, portion control. 

Interestingly enough, I came to SparkPeople
Posted 5/19/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 135 comments   26,191 views
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How Tina Lost the Weight--and How She's Keeping It Off*

In 2010, Kristina (Tina) Davis (TINAJANE76) topped 210 pounds. Only in her early 30s, she felt much older--aches and pains were a fact of life. She decided to stop the yo-yo diet cycle once and for all. Today she's 90+ pounds lighter and an active member on the At Goal & Maintaining Team here on SparkPeople (some of her best tips are also shared in The Spark Solution, the new book from the experts and members at

Read more of Tina's story at Huffington Post Healthy Living! Way to go Tina, and thanks for helping others along the way. 
Posted 5/13/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 29 comments   22,347 views
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'I Lost 60 Pounds (at 60 Years Young)!'*

Meet Joyce (username GATORJOY), a SparkPeople member who has lost 60 pounds! Learn how she did it, and see how she continues to keep the weight off!

What is your age?: I am 60 years old.

How long have you been a SparkPeople member? How did you find SparkPeople?: I have been a SparkPeople member since July of 2010.

What is your favorite feature on SparkPeople?: The Nutrition Tracker.

How much weight have you lost?: Between 55 and 60 pounds.

How long did it take to lose the weight?: It took me 9 months.

What was your light bulb moment that made you decide to lose weight?: I saw a picture of myself that showed me how big I had become.
Posted 1/29/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 115 comments   70,533 views
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Success Story: 'I'm in Training for the Rest of My Life!'*

Meet Jennifer Schmidt (username OAKBORN), a SparkPeople member who lost 60 pounds--and got fit enough to join the Army! Read on for more about her inspiring journey.

What is your age? I am currently 47 years old.

How long have you been a SparkPeople member? How did you find SparkPeople? I have been a SparkPeople member since January of 2008, but didn't really start using the site until April of 2008. I was using a couple of other sites, but they didn't fit my needs as well as SparkPeople does.

I think I found SparkPeople through a web search, and it was also recommended to me by a friend. I kept coming back to it, and the more I saw, the more I found that the site really fulfilled my needs.

What is your favorite feature on SparkPeople? I love the SparkTeams, the Nutrition and Fitness Trackers, the blogging, etc. I use them all. I made a great friend in one of the groups, and we hit goal together and have remained friends. I plan to meet face-to-face with her someday. (I hope sooner than later!!)

I guess if I had to choose one thing, it would be the support of people just like me, going through the same ups and downs... and the wisdom that we share. I also love the solid science behind everything SparkPeople has to offer, rather than the sensational ''eat 42 grapefruit a day and lose 30 pounds this week'' diets.

How much weight have you lost? I lost a total of 60 pounds. My joining weight was about 205, and I got down to 145. I hang around 150 now, give or take 2-3 pounds.

How long did it take to lose the weight?
Posted 1/8/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 71 comments   31,432 views
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Success Story: 'I Was Made for More!'*

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?: 
Posted 12/11/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 109 comments   35,777 views
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'I've Maintained My 186-Pound Loss for Almost Three Years!'*

Meet Angela Baldo, a member (username 4A-HEALTHY-BMI) who lost 186 pounds! Here, Angela shares how she has maintained her healthy weight for almost three years and counting.

What is your age? 46
How long have you been a SparkPeople member? How did you find SparkPeople? I joined in the spring of 2009.  An at-work wellness program suggested the Nutrition Tracker.
What is your favorite feature on SparkPeople? SparkTeams! Specifically, the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance SparkTeam.
Although maintainers are a tiny fraction of the entire community, we have a tremendous amount to offer, because we have experience with living the dream of every weight loser:  KEEPING the weight off.  As you may know, only 5-20% of people successfully keep weight off after losing it.  In my 20s, I was one of those statistics. I lost over 100 pounds, only to gain it all back--plus almost 100 more.
This SparkTeam has really become Maintenance Central--some of the wisest, most generous people I've ever met are involved in it.  Between the experience of our long-term maintainers (41+ years!) and our interest in the science behind maintenance, we have developed an excellent, supportive community of mentors.
We have a Hall of Fame of maintenance role models, and we acknowledge and celebrate maintenance anniversaries and compete in maintenance-oriented team challenges.  We have lively and supportive discussions about how to transition into maintenance mentality, stay motivated and engaged, handle life hurdles, etc. 
Anyone on a journey to lose weight can benefit from thinking about and planning for maintenance.  If you prepare for maintenance, you're more likely to cope well with the particular challenges it presents.  One of the reasons I've managed to keep the weight off this time is because I saw how easily I regained before.  From the beginning of my weight loss, I wanted to give myself every possible advantage in the struggle to keep it off this time.  And so far, with the help of this team, it's working.
How much weight have you lost? 186 pounds
How long did it take to lose the weight? I lost 160 pounds in a year.  Then, over the following two years, I dropped the remaining 26 pounds, bouncing around a bit while I figured out how this maintenance thing was going to work for me.
What was your light bulb moment that made you decide to lose weight?
Posted 9/14/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 135 comments   57,595 views
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