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I'm not really a big message board poster, but I have found so many of your stories so inspiring and motivational that I decided to share my own. My hope is that it might inspire someone out there who just needs a little extra push!

I started gaining weight when I was 4. I remember a trip to a hospital in a far-away town to have tests - the results and doctor's wise advice? Quit putting sugar in the Kool-Aid. Seriously - that was the advice. By mid-elementary school, despite Sweet-N-Low in the Kool-Aid, I wore boy's size 14 "husky" jeans. Mom always told me that they were for girls, too, they just kept them in the boys department. By high school, I had reached the vast height of 5 feet 2 inches, which I remain today - and weighed about 180. I was the girl who always needed the largest (and shortest) choir robe, costume or formal wear - hey, being the biggest person on stage didn't stop me from being on stage!

My parents always wanted me to be healthy, but never pushed the dieting issue too hard. The few times they tried ended in tears, a few lost pounds and then even more weight gain, so, eventually, they left it alone. Once, my Grandpa promised me a banana split if I lost ten pounds. That was one of my few successful attempts - which, of course, what immediately derailed by the banana split. I wasn't particularly happy about my size, but I was content to be who and how I believed that I was supposed to be.

In January of 2007, my little brother, Shane, made a note on his blog about joining Spark People - I decided to take a look, too. Shane and I are very close, but we also share a competitive streak a mile wide - when I found out he was going to lose his few extra pounds, I decided that I needed in on that action! By that time, thanks to my steady single-woman diet of fast food and television, my weight had reached 250 pounds. I signed up for Spark People, not actually expecting to lose much (it all seemed too good to be true!), but willing to live by the rules and give it a real shot. My initial weight-loss goal was 50 pounds in a year. I only made lifestyle changes that I knew I could maintain long-term. I DETEST "exercise." When you weigh 250 pounds, the gym is NOT a place you want to be. Instead of setting fitness goals that I knew were destined to fail, my philosophy became "eat less, move more."

Using the tools provided by Spark People, I tracked my food intake religiously and engaged in my unique brand of exercise (think scrubbing the floor by hand instead of using a mop, mowing the yard a few extra times, taking walks at the mall instead of on a treadmill, etc.). For the first time in my life, I actually thought about the things that I put into my body. Always a picky eater, I began branching out and trying new, healthier things. Veggies at every meal! Fast food for very special occasions ONLY - and then, usually salad and NEVER super sized. Turkey burgers or 96/4 beef instead of 80/20. Sometimes, just healthier versions of the old favorites - chili with turkey, veggie burgers or thin crust pizza. Best of all, Spark People taught me what REAL portions should be - shock and surprise - they aren't what you'll get in a restaurant!

The weight started falling away almost instantly. As my weight decreased, my whole attitude changed. I left the house more, shopped in different stores, spent time outside and became more confident. I realized that I hadn't actually been as happy with my old self as I had convinced everyone - of course, the one I had been lying to the most was me. Sure, I've had bad days - generally, there is Mexican food and dessert involved, but I just start fresh and new on the next day.

As of today, every member of my family is a "Sparker." Mom and Shane have reached their goals and Dad is fighting onward toward his. I have no doubt that he'll reach it if he sets his mind to it. And me? As of today, I have lost 102.5 pounds!!! Most importantly, I FEEL better and am much healthier at 148 than I was at 250. My plan is to lose a few more pounds and reach a "Healthy" BMI rating. After that, I will spend the rest of my life keeping off the weight that I've spent so much time taking off. And I'll spend those years wearing a size 6 rather than the 28 that I started out this journey in.

Thank you "Spark People" for giving me the tools, knowledge and encouragement that I needed to succeed, thank you family for supporting me and joining me on the journey, thank you to Shane for the initial, unexpected push toward the pathway and thank you, Lord Jesus for helping me every single time that I prayed "God, please don't let me eat that ______, that looks so yummy right now." If I can do it, ANYONE can do it - so, give it a shot! You won't believe what happens!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Reading this years later, thank you for the details. I relate on a number of levels.
    574 days ago
    I know it's been a long time since someone has posted here but I wanted you to know you are still an inspiration here in 2015...I am 50yrs, at 250 lbs., and 5'3". Thank you for sharing this blog. You have helped to reSpark me. God bless you!
    1982 days ago
  • MJYK2014
    Thanks for your post, you look fantastic, I'm sure you feel like a new person! I need to loose about 100 pounds total, I lost 31 last year, but gained it back after moving. I keep coming back to Spark People, hoping to regain the spark that I had then. Your blog has inspired me and reminded me that my relationship with God was a huge part of my success back then (probably the biggest). Thanks for the encouragement!
    3845 days ago
    Your blog has been very inspiring for me. I am 5' at 250 pound. For my high school prom in 1968, I wore a size 3/4 and that had to be taken in to fit properly. After 3 kids and a gradual increase of weight after each child, I was at 145 in 1975.
    From that point on it has been hard getting the weight to stay away. I have lost and gained the same fifty pounds over and over again, and then some. During the last 20 years the amount has increased. I was at my largest three years ago,275. Lost down to 215 in one and a half years. Kept it off for one year. have gain back what, forty five of that fifty pounds. You look so well and healthy. In fact I am going to get back on my 12 week walk program right after this post.Thanks for the inspiration to keep at it.
    3856 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7274817
    This was a very inspiring story, thanks for sharing it emoticon
    3966 days ago
    Congradulations, you will be very happy in the future that you did this while you were young. Here's to many years of healthy living in your life1
    3972 days ago
    Thank you for your inspiring journey. The Lord is our strength!
    3973 days ago
    What a wonderful story! You have inspired me. And believe me I really needed to read your blog today. I was about ready to give up until I read this. You are a beautiful person and a very interesting writer. Love the pictures. Thank you so much.....Judy emoticon
    3974 days ago
    Congratulations! So how did you do it?

    Looks to me like it was that age-old great combination of eating all the GOOD foods and increasing your activity level with a good dollop of positive thinking!

    You're a Wonderwoman! Good for you!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3975 days ago
  • no profile photo AARDVARK_MOM
    Thanks for sharing. Your pictures are really inspiring! :)
    3976 days ago
    Thanks for posting this. I am just returning to SparkPeople after trying and failing many times. I also am 5'2" and needing to lose over 100 lbs.

    I find it inspirational that you did it! You describe your journey in a way that sounds really genuine to me and that I can relate to.

    Hopefully, I will get there, one step at a time!
    Thanks again
    3982 days ago
    I also am not much of a blogger but your story was so inspirational I had to say congratulations, and thank you for all your push to help me see that this loss is really possible......
    3992 days ago
  • no profile photo DUSTYGARNET
    I enjoyed reading your story and it did make me cry a little. I too have 100 pounds to lose and can't seem to get a grip. I am 65 yrs old and in the past have lost and actually been thin but gain it back somehow. It takes me a long time, like 5 yrs to gain it back and then I gain back even slowly without even realizing it. I am not a sweet eater, I just eat more at meals. I love bread, crackers, pasta and all the carbs. BUT, I did like the cake story and now that will become my mantra - I will learn to throw away the cake. If anyone out there around my age wants to be a weight buddy, I am open.
    3997 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/23/2010 8:36:36 AM
  • no profile photo CD5878780
    I want to cry after reading this blog. Is it possible for me too? A tiny, tiny spark of hope is lit - thank you. Bless you.
    3999 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/21/2010 5:32:38 PM
  • NEWAT56
    Thank you so much for sharing this story.. I am 5'2" and weighed 250 when I started. Only I have been on here awhile and not lost. I started over in February and this time I am making some small but permanet changes. I am 51 and have been large most of my married life. You are a great inspiration.

    4006 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4617866
    Thanks for your story!!!! I can do it too. God's continued blessings!!!!
    4010 days ago
    thanks so much for sharing. it is such a hard journey, isn't it. i guess i just like food so much that even though i know what the portion size is, i always seem to eat more.
    your story helped me to try harder
    4010 days ago
    Amazing! Thanks for sharing your story. It is reading stories like yours that make my journey seem possible.
    4011 days ago
    You are such an inspiration! How wonderful and proud you must feel and be! I too am working on my weight as it seems I have been doing all of my life. Lately I realized that although I was eating within my calorie range that I was eating way too much fat! Since I have cut the fat, I have boosted my weight loss. All I can do is read wonderful reports such as yours and keep on tracking!! emoticon
    4011 days ago
  • no profile photo LETTINGITALLGO
    Wow, I want to cry. You are so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your story. emoticon
    4011 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your story! What an inspiration you are. Congratulations on your success! emoticon
    4011 days ago
    You are such an inspiration and I love your positive attitude with your changes and keeping the weight off for good. I truly feel inspired to keep going by your story and many others on SP. Congrats on reaching your goals and being healthy! emoticon .

    Done girl,
    4011 days ago
    Congratulations on your success, and thank you for sharing your story! You are an inspiration! ~Jodi

    4011 days ago
    Congratulations and thanks for sharing your story. My takeaway is that you set a realistic goal and make changes in your lifestyle to get to that goal. Looks like before long you have adopted this new attitude and it has become the norm. Kudos to you and a new healthy life. Thanks for the inspiring blog. emoticon
    4012 days ago
    Thanks so much for sharing! It means so much to others. Also, congratulations for being recognized for your success in @First for Women.
    4014 days ago
    You're sparking inspiration in me ... thanks for sharing AND VOILA: you look emoticon !!!! (I think part of your success is not being online yakking so much?!)
    I could take a page from that book.
    4015 days ago
  • DONNA5281
    What a wonderful story. You did a super job losing weight. You mentioned that you didn't like to exercise, I don't like it either. I still do them even when I'm in pain.
    You are very lucky to have your whole family join The Spark. I wish someone in my family would join, or be positive for me. They laugh at me and tell me that I will never finish what i started.
    Whenever I feel like I want to quit; I'll just come back and read your story. THANK YOU so very much. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    4063 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your story. I can certainly relate to 'Unique" exercise--part of my program has been walking through Wal-Mart with 100 pounds of Kitty Litter in the basket. emoticon
    At 318 pounds I was "content" with what and who I believed I was destined to be. I had tried gyms, diets, and exercise before with little lasting effects.
    I went to Curves because I thought that the hydraulic machines would help with the pain and limited mobility in my knees. Losing weight was not on my radar at all.
    emoticon Someone told me about SparkPeople and the rest is History. I found out that losing weight can be fun, and that I was not as Happy as I had believed I was.
    I would love to get my family involved in SP, but so far they prefer FaceBook. emoticon
    Congratulations on your loss and for the inspiration to keep on keeping on. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    4083 days ago
    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story! :-) Congratulations on the healthier lifestyle!! I have a 10 year old daughter who like you started gaining weight when she was 4. She is only about 4'9" and already weighs 150 pounds :-( I am only concerned for her because of health issues, I don't want to make a big deal out of her "weight". Is there any advice you could pass along? She is such a finicky eater, doesn't like any veggie except cooked baby carrots and only apples and pears for fruits.

    4291 days ago
    Such an awesome story!!! You should be so proud of yourself. Your story is an inspiration to many others. Thanks for sharing it!!!
    4354 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your story. I really needed to hear that this week. Congratulations on all your success, now comes the hard part!
    4431 days ago
    I don't know what to say. I am flabbergasted. (don't think I've ever used that word before either).How can a person lose 100 lbs. by just eating less and moving more???
    I am so emotional r. now. For some reason, reading yr. story, is making me cry. .. Yes, I feel motivated. I have 30 more lbs i want to lose...I am also a lot older than you, with sluggish thyroid, and an older person's metabolism..but still, if YOU can do it, then why can't I -?
    right? ...you are phenomenol. Congratulations, and thank you for inspiring all of us.

    Done being the Fat girl,
    4436 days ago
    Your weight loss journey is so inspiring. Kind of makes me less inclined to whine about the 25+ lbs I need to lose. Thanks for sharing! emoticon
    4438 days ago
    Thanks so much for sharing your story! I'm so happy for you:) I needed to hear that this morning. Have a exceedingly blessed and happy new year!

    4438 days ago
    You are a true inspiration! emoticon
    4438 days ago
    GREAT STORY!! Every time I read a story like this it gives me strength to believe that I might actually be able to do this! The whole family of sparkers...AMAZING!! Girl you ROCK!! Keep it up!!
    4439 days ago
    What a wonderful story; you are a true inspiration. And, I agree with IM_LAKSHMI, you should copy this and paste it onto your Spark Page, to be sure everyone who visits your page can see it.
    4439 days ago
    I loved your story....thanks for sharing it...Blessings Grace
    4439 days ago
    This blog should be your page! It is so inspiring. emoticon
    4439 days ago
    What an inspirational story - congrats on your success and on your journey to health.

    4439 days ago
  • SERENA24
    Eventhough, this was written in 2008 it still is a very inspirational story for me in 2009.
    4439 days ago
    Your story is inspiring! Way to go.
    4439 days ago
    What a motivating story!! I know you'll reach your goal.
    4490 days ago
    emoticon You did it!!! Congratulations!
    4682 days ago
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