Hello SparkPeople! SparkGuy here, and I'm excited to share with you an incredibly inspirational Success Story of one of our very own members. Here at SparkPeople, we consider each and every one of you to be a part of the family, and boy are we proud of this family member. After sharing more about her story, I'll show simple ways that the SparkPeople family can come together to make a big difference and be part of this amazing story!
Tiffany Monique is a recording artist and a back-up singer for Beyoncé. She also lost almost 80 pounds using SparkPeople--and she's not done yet.
Awhile back, she reached out to me and shared one of the most heartfelt reviews of my book, "The Spark," that I've ever read:
It's amazing because so many of the stories in "The Spark" made me feel as if someone were peeking into my window. I grew up as a skinny teenager and began gaining weight in college... I guess you can say I gained the Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior and Post Graduate "15." LOL!
This was also the time I began to take my music career seriously but always ran into roadblocks because of my weight. I was even told by a well-known music executive that I had the chops, but my "looks didn't compete with the divas" on his roster. I was CRUSHED. As my song Nemesis outlines, I learned to transform that negative energy into fuel for my success. That mentality showed immediate effects with my esteem, but it didn't do as much for my success in entering the major music entertainment industry.
I am honored that Beyoncé looked beyond my size to see my gift. The opportunity to sing background for and tour with Beyoncé gave me the education and training required, in my opinion, for any artist to truly be successful.
But it was not without consequence. I, and the other full figured background singers, read countless reviews that praised our vocals but criticized our weight. We were called "fat tubbies, big mommas, bodyguard singers" and more. It was a constant reminder of how cruel people can be, but also how unhappy I was with my weight and that I needed to get obesity out of the way to make my dream a reality.
This is where "The Spark" comes in. I joined the site and purchased the book all while on tour. And within the first couple of pages, I felt as if I needed to check the ceilings and windows for surveillance cameras. I was the one who saw the amount of weight loss needed as so extraordinary (100 lbs) that it seemed impossible. I was the one who set goals so grand and large but didn't account for the small steps that needed to be made first. And MOST importantly, I am the mother who, though thrilled with the opportunity of being on tour with Beyoncé, felt guilty that I was leaving my son behind in order to make a living. Yes, this is the life I desire, but not solely from the "background." I desire a successful music career on MY terms that affords me the opportunity to have my son with me instead of having to solely watch me on television or through a Skype camera for months on end.
Your book was definitely instrumental in helping me honestly assess what my goals and motivations were."
Well, a story like Tiffany's (read the dailySpark blog post to learn more!) needs to be shared with the world. CBS News interviewed her and aired her story on affiliate stations nationwide this week. Big thanks to Tiffany for mentioning SparkPeople in the interview with CBS News!
We want to thank Tiffany for all her support and help her share her amazing talents with the world--and you can help!
Watch her music video (a really powerful and motivating song called "Nemesis"):
I strongly believe that if SparkPeople members come together to help a member of the family, we could help make Tiffany into a major star since she obviously has the talent to make it big. In the tough music industry, sometimes it just takes that little extra push for a breakthrough. Here are 3 things we can all do to help her:
1. Spread the Spark – tell everyone you know about this great story by sharing the link to the dailySpark post.
2. Watch her music video above. By watching her video posted here on SparkPeople, the overall view count of her music video on YouTube will also increase. This is something simple that will help her get more overall attention.
3. If you like her music, consider buying her EP on iTunes. I have bought it and really like her songs. The current price is only $4.98.
Let's all Spread the Spark and help Tiffany achieve her dream of sharing her music with the world! After all, SparkPeople is about more than just losing weight. It's about making your life an adventure and using the success you achieve in weight loss to propel you to do great things in other aspects of your life, too.
At SparkPeople, we're continuously improving the site by adding new features to help our members reach their goals. Today, we're happy to launch several new running tools and features: a brand new Running Center, our 5K Your Way training plans, and Virtual Races!
Many of our most successful members have taken up running as a way to lose weight, get fit, and stay motivated. Running is a great way to challenge your body, burn more calories, and reach new health and fitness goals!
Not a runner yet? Don't worry: You can start out with our comprehensive Walking Guide, and still benefit from the new resources below (read on).
5K Your Way Training Plans
We created four different training programs to help walk or run a 5K based on where you are right now! Our "5K Your Way" plans provide weekly training emails, interactive calendars to track your workouts, printable training plans, and support from other members who are following the same plan. Choose from three 5-week training programs (walking, walk/jog intervals, running) or our beginner "Rookie Running" program (8 weeks)!
Our Virtual Race feature allows you to compete against yourself—and other members—any week of the year. Simply map out your own route, complete your race, and then share your results here. This is a great way to set a new goal and stay accountable!
Join the Spark Into Spring Virtual 5K!
To kick off these new features and keep you motivated to work out this winter, we're hosting a special Virtual 5K this spring. If you join any of the 5K Your Way training plans now, you'll have time to train and complete our Spark Into Spring Virtual 5K (the week of April 10-16)! Everyone who participates will receive a printable certificate, and will be entered to win fun prizes like SparkPeople T-shirts or a $100 gift certificate to Zappos.com (use it for a new pair of running shoes!).
Sharing these features on Facebook (quick links on the pages above make that easy) is a great way to Spread the Spark to your friends and family—and get them to join in the fun with you!
We hope you will take advantage of these new tools and resources to discover the runner in you!
SparkPeople member Lisa Powell (SKINNYPOWELL1) went from skipping events at her daughter's school due to exhaustion and embarrassment to feeling "like the Energizer Bunny" after losing 94 pounds with the help of SparkPeople. Learn what habits she changed in the current issue of FIRST for Women magazine, which will be on newsstands until February 21st!
--Bruce, SparkPeople Communications Director
Flip through a copy of February's SHAPE magazine (on newsstands now), and you might spot a familiar face: SparkPeople member Michelle Arellano, aka SMALLTOWNMOMMY.
Now 40, this kickboxing fanatic lost 82 pounds--and has kept it off for 1 1/2 years! She has gained confidence as she shed pounds, and she credits SparkPeople and her friends on the site for her success.
To read more of Michelle's story, pick up a copy of SHAPE today--and be sure to stop by Michelle's SparkPage to congratulate her.
We're happy to announce that SparkPeople's Coach Nicole will be leading a free, hour long weight-loss seminar on Hay House Radio this Tuesday, Jan. 25 from 3-4 p.m. EST. Please tune in if you can. Participants will also have the opportunity to call in and ask questions toward the end of the show.
About the Show The Top 10 Weight Loss Mistakes: How to Get Off to a Strong Start
If weight loss were easy, we'd all be slim and trim. Unfortunately, no matter how badly you want to lose the weight—or how committed you may be—most of us inadvertently sabotage our own efforts along the way, leaving us with the same resolution to "lose weight" year after year. In this session with health and fitness guru "Coach Nicole" of SparkPeople.com (America's most popular diet and fitness website), you'll discover the common mistakes—both big and small— that are hurting your diet, sapping your motivation, and preventing you from reaching your goals. Learn how to avoid these common hurdles—and get seven groundbreaking secrets to losing more weight in the first two weeks and staying motivated for the long haul!
Click the "BUY NOW" button near the top. (Note that this class is free and you will not be asked for a credit card.)
Click the "ADD TO CART" button on the next screen.
Scroll down and click "CHECK OUT"
Follow the prompts to create your free Hay House account in order to log in and hear the free seminar. Follow the steps and then confirm your enrollment in the free class.
You will receive an email called "Access to Your Hay House Live Online Event". Simply follow the steps provided to log in to your new account and listen at 3 p.m. EST on Jan. 25. If you miss it, you can always access the archive after the show is over!
We hope you'll be able to tune in to the show, and maybe even call in to ask Coach Nicole a question. Please wish her luck on her first online radio seminar below!