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Hi everyone! My name is Maria....

A little about me:

Ok, I decided for the fifth time since beginning Spark that I need to get serious about getting back in shape and losing weight to be healthy.

I used to be pretty active and I enjoy being outdoors, but a lot of times I let myself get "too busy" to take a time out. Now I try to go to the gym most days of the week, even if I can only squeeze in 30 minutes. Just to keep my body moving, get the blood pumping, and feel like I "did something" that day.

I had the old mindset that I could eat whatever I wanted because I was exercising. After not losing the weight, I acknowledged that what I was doing was not working. It doesn't help that my boyfriend, who is a runner and cyclist, can eat whatever he wants and burns it off, while I have a slower metabolism and have to be more careful with what I put in my mouth.

What caused my initial "Spark" is the realization that as I am getting older, now 46, I really need to take care of myself. I've recently lost a few significant people in my life to cancer. Whatever I can do to keep from getting cancer or diabetes, I will make whatever changes that I can control. I have switched now to mostly organic food, whole foods, and unprocessed foods. Because I am on a tight budget, and some of these foods are more expensive, it is really challenging.

Along with that, I need to get stronger. I struggle on some days to lift my own body weight. I have been trained in the Army as a Combat Lifesaver, and that requires that I assist in lifting people that might be twice my weight.

I am in the U.S. Army Reserve, for 16 years. I know if I do not get myself back into "the game" with my health and fitness, it will be a career stopper. I also want to get back to a healthy weight because when the time comes that I get deployed again, the extra weight I want to be carrying is my gear and equipment, and nothing extra of "me". The gear and equipment can weigh up to 60 lbs., and with me being only 5'1", there isn't enough of me in muscle weight to bear a lot of the load. This is why strength is more important to me than being "thin."

In 2007, I had some significant closed head traumas which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. I had to rehab to get my balance and muscle coordination back. I was not able to drive for at least a year, so I had to walk whenever I could not get a ride. It was so hard at first to even keep my balance to walk. Slowly, I got better. Now I am able to walk for a pretty good distance, and once I even bicycled for 13 miles. I have been passing my physical fitness test for the Army that we have to do 2 times a year. Unfortunately, I found myself in the past 2 years sliding backwards, mostly due to medical issues and back pain.

So I am on my way back to being "Army Strong". My motivation right now is at an all time high, and I want to stay on this path.

There is talking, and there is doing. I want to do what it takes to reach my goals, not just talk about doing them.

Member Since: 10/1/2010

My Goals:
My goal is to get back to a healthy weight. My tracker is set for 121. If I can get to 115-121, I will be satisfied with that.

It's hard to believe that when I graduated from high school 25 years ago, I weighed only 103 lbs!! But at that time, I was rail thin and tiny, I had no muscle tone. I am working on getting myself toned and adding strength.

My Program:
My tracker is set for 1300-1550 daily calories. However, a few months ago, I stopped tracking my food. I just started again with tracking my fitness and food. I got way too busy to track anything over the past year when I was working 3 jobs!

Personal Information:
I am half Asian and half Irish descent.
I grew up in SoCal (Southern California), and am currently living in Arizona. I am extremely homesick!!

Other Information:
I completed a Master's program in Forensic Psychology in 2011 and now I am currently in a Master's in Social Work (MSW) program. I completed my credential as a certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor in 2014. I currently work as an Alcohol and Substance Abuse counselor.

I love books! I am a total bookworm! I read pretty much anything, but prefer non-fiction over fiction. I am also planning to write a book about my life experiences.

I am trying to balance out being active with my joy of relaxing with a good book.

Read More About MARIAX11 - Profile Information moved here. (Updated April 24)

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