Sunday, November 23, 2014
Just the fact that I’ve been Sparking continually for that long is an incredible achievement for me! I can hardly believe the changes I’ve made!
First of all, my initial plan in joining Spark was to get healthier and hopefully, lose some weight. I am very pleased to say that I’ve achieved both. Little did I know that when I joined Spark, my entire life and way of thinking was about to change. I suffer with chronic pain, illness and morbid obesity. It was really quite the vicious cycle: When I moved, it caused more pain, but if I didn’t move, everything got even worse. I began exercising in water and worked my way up to doing aquacize 3x a week. I have lost and gained weight a few times in my life but was never successful for any length of time. What I learned from that was that I could do just about anything for a limited amount of time, but not forever. I would lose a whole bunch of weight and then go back to eating as I had – only to gain back all the weight plus some!
When I joined Spark, I knew it was going to be different after a very short time. I can’t recall what inspired me to try yet another means of losing weight, but I am sure glad I did! If anyone had told me that I would learn to change my eating habits and learn to enjoy exercise – I never would have believed it. Not only was I surprised that I was able to do it, but I continue to be amazed at how much my entire thinking has changed! I enjoy food more now than I ever have. I also enjoy working out and experimenting with new ways to do so. Spark has taught me a lot about nutrition and how I could make this program adaptable to my lifestyle. The Spark Community has proven to be informative, supportive and just plain FUN!
I’ve learned to adapt recipes, and tried new things that might never have entered my grocery basket before. I have learned a lot about patience and the power of thinking positively, and breaking things down into smaller chunks so as not to be overwhelmed. I began committing to do just 10 minutes of exercise almost every day. That was a decent challenge for me then, but has now grown into my doing at least 45 minutes of exercise daily. In the beginning, I spent a lot of time initially trying to program in the foods that I normally eat and I am still tracking everything every day.
One of the greatest turning points for me in my Spark journey was acquiring a Spark Activity Tracker. While I never saw myself as a competitive person before, having this little clip adding up my steps has really motivated me and helped me to push a little harder all the time. It comes down to the old adage, “no one ever said I wished I hadn’t worked out!” Yet how many times have I beaten myself up for not making the healthier choice?
And speaking of choices, I have become much more aware of the art of making good choices. Making this program a lifestyle boils down to making healthier choices for myself. There is really no food that is forbidden. Portion control and timing have more to do with making healthier choices, especially when it comes to certain foods. If I want to have a special treat, like say for example birthday cake, if I plan it well, I can not only “have my cake and eat it too” but I can do it GUILT-FREE! I work harder to have the privilege of enjoying something special without any worry of a backlash. That is really what making healthy choices is about. Many times, things come up and you find yourself in situations where you have little control over choice. What do you do? You make the best choice possible and then take full charge again when you are able. This can make the difference between making a bad decision and having a bad day! So I made a bad decision? I’ll follow that with a good one and keep moving forward.
I lost 65 lb in my first year with Spark and 16 in the second year. That sounds bad at first, but putting it into perspective – I have successfully followed the Spark program for 2 years now and am still going strong. I am still tracking my food and exercise and continue to learn new ways to do both.
What is most important: I feel so much better! This is not a race. It’s a life journey. Although I still have a lot of weight to lose, I am in better shape than I’ve ever been in my life! This time I didn’t just lose weight; I built some muscle and gained a lot of strength both physically and emotionally.
I have returned to school and am pursuing a lifelong dream. Becoming a student, particularly at my later age, presents all sorts of challenges. Because I spend so much time on the computer with homework, I have had to cut down my Spark time drastically. Although I really miss the banter with my Spark Friends, I am inspired and honored by their continuous loving support. I accidentally “inherited” a leadership role in the most excellent Woohoo Jar Lounge Team. Despite my having to reduce my participation, my friends continue to inspire & support me.
I have moved from doing aquacize 3x a week to doing it 5x a week, along with riding a bike, using a glider/elliptical, taking up yoga & hooping!
I have lost about 81 lbs & a total of 34 inches off my body. My BMI has reduced by 14.5 points. Two of my medications have been drastically reduced, and my pain levels are much more manageable. I have received more than 40 Gold Fitness Medals and have been credited with over 5000 Lifetime Miles.
While I still have more weight to lose, I am most proud of my consistency and just my whole attitude towards food, exercise and life in general. I am most grateful for Spark People and my wonderful friends in Sparkville! Thank you very much to my Spark friends who continue to inspire and support me. The journey is a much greater experience since I’ve surrounded myself with the wisdom and loving support of Spark People!
Saturday, March 01, 2014
If anyone reading this came to be inspired -- I suggest you run the other way right now!
I am not a happy camper right now. You see I have been so proud of myself since I got the Spark Tracker, I have been a stepping fool! I have been exercising more than I ever thought I was capable of! I got the tracker on December 10 and have already walked/rode/swam more than 1200 Lifetime Miles. When I figured out how to actually "register" a streak on my page, (It wasn't until Dec 22) I then started on a daily goal of stepping at least 10,000 steps a day. I have some health issues that I believed would make this impossible, but I've proven it to myself that I am capable of so much more than I realize! Today would be Day 70 in my streak.
So what is there to be unhappy about you, you ask? Well, for starters today, I chose not to go down to the pool for my usual morning exercise because the temperature was MINUS FORTY EIGHT degrees with the windchill! You read that right! Yes - I'm serious! Polar bears are turning up the heat today! While I miss the water and my friends there, I thought I could be content just staying in where it's warm, and riding my recumbant bike which I love. That was when it happened!
I was feeling rather low but thought I'd turn that around by getting on my bike and riding like the wind! I rode and I rode. I have a fan to cool me, a headset to listen to music or watch TV and I was cruising right along feeling better. I got off the bike and then I noticed it:
No! Please tell me this is a bad joke! There was my tracker, still on my wrist after I just finished riding the bike for almost 2 hours!!!
It was real. Because I was stiff and sore today, I did some yoga before I rode the bike and that was apparently enough to throw off my routine of switching the tracker on to my running shoe!
I added it manually, but it still doesn't register for a Glow Getter. My streak is broken as far the tracker is concerned. The streak is broken. The rose is off the vine. The feline is disappointed.
The only way I could change this fact is get back on and ride again -- but frankly - that's out of the question! So the only other option is to suck it up and carry on. Right?
"The cat came back, the very next day. The cat came back, I thought it was a goner, but the cat came back - it just couldn't stay away......"
(with special thanks to Cordell Barker and NFB)
Spark on, Friends and stay warm!
P.S. A friend of mine who is going through much more serious things than not getting her GlowGetter today, sent me a pic in my email that made me laugh right out loud!
Thank God for my friends!!
Here it is: Do you think this dog may be inbred?
Friday, December 06, 2013
Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest:
Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400.00 in your private account for your use.
However, this prize has rules.
The set of rules:
1. Everything that you didn't spend during each day would be taken away from you.
2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
3. You may only spend it.
4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400.00 for that day.
5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say,“ Game Over ! It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.
What would you personally do?
You would buy anything and everything you wanted right?
Not only for yourself, but for all people you love. Even for people you don't know, because you couldn't possibly spend it all on yourself, right?
You would try to spend every cent, and use it all, right?
ACTUALLY This GAME is REAL!
Shocked ?? YES!!
Each of us is already a winner of this PRIZE.
We just can't seem to see it.
This PRIZE is *TIME* !!
1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life,
2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.
3. What we haven't lived up that day is forever lost.
4. Yesterday is forever gone.
5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING....
SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds?
Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars.
Think about that, and always think of this:
Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.
So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life!
Here's wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day.
Start spending now....
Addendum: I should have noted that these words of wisdom are not my own but I was quite taken aback when I received this in my email. I thought it very appropriate for Spark because so many people put things off until they get thin or thinner. The time is NOW. - Katy-
Thursday, December 05, 2013
November 21/2013 marked my first year anniversary with Spark. This news comes in late for a few reasons that I may or may not get to yet. You see I was also going to write a blog about procrastination, but then thought –“Well maybe another time!”
When I look back, I am amazed that I decided to try Spark People a month before the Christmas season. Not only was it the Christmas season, but we had planned to spend Christmas in Las Vegas with friends. We went and had a great time. I was 3 lb heavier when I returned but knocked that off the following week. Little did I know that Spark had already begun to weave its magic into me right away.
At that time, I was reluctant to open a Spark Page and was convinced that if I just did my homework and followed the plan, I could do this on my own. But soon I realized that if I was going to visit other peoples' Spark Pages - that maybe I should also have one of my own. I was not prepared for the incredible support and inspiration that flowed from this! Also I began to realize the give & take concept had an incredible pay off! The more I reached out with love & support for others, the more & more inspired I became! Honestly, at times it was overwhelming!
You see, my initial plan when I joined Spark was to get healthier and lose some weight. I’m pleased to report that I achieved both.
What I wasn't even remotely aware of though -- was all the changes that would occur:
I now see food in terms of nutritional value as opposed to “What can I eat?”
I have learned a lot about the importance of patience and persistence.
Despite many other attempts in my life to lose weight, I have finally discovered that it’s really an inside job – much more mental than a physical challenge.
I now exercise every day.
I have taken up yoga.
I eat new & healthier foods. (Quinoa with Greek yogurt & nuts for breakfast!)
I have met so many wonderful people who support me sight unseen.
I have learned a tremendous amount from my Spark friends – about food and life in general.
I have learned so much about nutrition.
I have learned a lot about my health.
I will never diet again.
I view my body in much kinder, healthier terms.
I have been inspired to try many new things.
I even signed up for college courses.
I replaced some bad habits with healthy habits.
Despite chronic illness, I feel so much better!
My overall health has improved physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I have dropped my BMI by more than 10 points!
I have released several inches off my body.
I am 65 lb lighter than I was last year.
I have surprised myself with my success!
I feel more gratitude than I have ever felt in my life.
Thank you Spark People! Thank you Spark Friends! Together life is better!
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Hello Fellow Sparkers!
I receive a number of newsletters that I find helpful and sometimes I feel I just GOT TO share them! Hope someone else finds this helpful too!
Experts Share 11 Tips To Stop Fat Talk
By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, MS
Fat talk has many faces. It’s anything from “I hate my body,” to “I can’t believe I had cake,” to “You think you have big thighs? Umm, hello, look at mine.”
On Monday, to celebrate Fat Talk Free Week, I shared my 10 tips to stop bashing your body.
Today, I’m honored to share the wise suggestions of several experts from the Eating Recovery Center.
These tips are important for building a positive body image and leading a healthy, joyful life. Because the last thing fat talk brings anyone is health or joy.
1. Adjust your perspective. “If your mom, spouse or best friend gained five or 10 pounds, would it change the way you feel about them? Why would it be different for you?” said Jamie Manwaring, PhD, primary therapist at Eating Recovery Center’s Behavioral Hospital for Children and Adolescents.
The reason our loved ones are in our lives is because of who we are, not what we look like, she said. And here’s the thing: If people are only in our lives for our looks, do we really want them in our worlds in the first place?
2. Evaluate your surroundings. There are just some shows and some people who make us feel terrible about ourselves. The ones who boost our body-bashing and perk up our inner critic.
Ask yourself, “Do I feel better or worse about myself and my body after watching that show or hanging out with that friend?” Manwaring said. Surround yourself with positive media and supportive people.
3. Focus on your body’s abilities. “Our bodies help us run fast, climb mountains and swing in the park,” according to Julie Holland, MHS, CEDS, a chief marketing officer at Eating Recovery Center. “Don’t forget how important those things are over how your body looks,” she said.
4. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit — and buy what makes you feel beautiful right now as you are. “Keeping reminders of what we used to – or want to – wear only reinforces the negative voices in our heads that say we should look a certain way or be a certain size,” Manwaring said.
5. Be aware of what you say about others. “When you comment on a celebrity or close friend’s weight gain – or loss – others around you might take that comment more to heart than you think,” Holland said. You never know where people are coming from and how they feel about their bodies. Anyone can internalize these kinds of comments.
6. Accept compliments, and dish them out. When someone compliments you, how often do you say, “yes, but…”? According to Jane Miceli, MD, a psychiatrist at Eating Recovery Center, our minds go to this place fairly often.
Instead, “Learn to truly hear a compliment and say thank you to whomever gave it to you,” she said. She also suggested expressing genuine compliments to others three times a day for a week. “…And watch your world change.”
7. Compliment yourself. It’s hard enough accepting a compliment. Saying something nice about yourself may seem utterly impossible. But as Holland said, “Instilling a positive body image starts with you.” She suggested making this into a game. For instance, compliment yourself at every red light, she said.
8. Go beyond food and “fat.” Fat talk is usually a facade. It usually means that something else is going on, said Bonnie Brennan, MA, LPC, clinical director of Eating Recovery Center’s Partial Hospitalization Program. If you notice that you’re engaging in “fat talk,” focus on what’s really bothering you, she said, “without using any words having to do with food or body.”
She gave the following examples: “I feel out of control”; “I’m going to be rejected”; or “My life is changing.” Often, fat talk has less to do with calories, food, fat and stretch marks and more to do with fears “of not being loved or accepted in some way,” she said.
9. Go beyond “Do I look fat in this?” If you find yourself asking this question, instead ask yourself, “What am I seeking?” Brennan said.
If someone else asks you this question, consider these responses, which Brennan received from groups of patients with eating disorders: ”I love you just the way you are”; “You are a beautiful person inside and out”; “There is no answer that is the right answer.”
10. Embrace acceptance. The more we embrace acceptance, the more we can relinquish “unhelpful struggles,” according to Dr. Miceli. Often, she said, we wage a war against ourselves and our biology.
The next time you’re engaging in a certain activity, ask yourself: “Is this a joyful activity or a control strategy based on fear?” she said.
11. Cultivate compassion — both for yourself and others. “As humans our minds see the flaws first, in ourselves and in others,” Miceli said. She suggested working to “love more and judge less” and “to see the other 95 percent of yourself and those around you.”
What’s your favorite tip from above? What helps you stop bashing your body?
To read more on this and other interesting weight-related topics:
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