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Confession

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Dear SparkPeople,

I have a confession to make. You may have read my article, "How I Found my Inner Spark." Since it was written, I lost an additional thirty pounds and completed the P90X program… which may I say, is no walk in the park! I've even managed to keep the weight off for the past two years. This is a list of accomplishments that anyone would be proud of. September rolled around and I quickly found myself neck-deep in the heaps of homework, exams, and labs that accompany a College semester packed full of science and math courses. It started small, as it always seems to. First, I started skipping breakfast in the mornings as I scrambled to gather my books on the way out the door. Soon after, coffee replaced water and I got caught up in the vicious caffeine cycle incited by late nights of studying. Visits to the gym became weekly, bi-weekly and finally non-existent. When my muscles began disappearing, so did the memories of all the hard work that went into forging them. My confidence waned and I could feel myself reverting to the girl I had hoped to forget. One recent morning, I was feeling particularly low following a late night, stress-induced binge involving lots of dark chocolate. Lacking the motivation to even roll out of bed, I picked up my cell phone to check my inbox. After logging in to my account, I squinted to make out the words, "Downloading Message 1 of 30," and wondered how I could have possibly gotten so many e-mails in one day. One by one, I clicked through the lengthy list and was confronted with various messages of thanks, encouragement and compliments. At first, I felt like the last person in the world deserving of such kind words of admiration. However, after giving it more thought, I realized that the things I have done really do help other people, however distant these achievements may seem in my own world. Knowing that my words gave someone the will the step foot in the gym on a day that they were particularly lacking motivation is the biggest accomplishment of all. Just as my past efforts can help pick someone up from a fall off the wagon, they in turn can jostle me out of a rut with their encouragement. Even though I've come a long way, I'm no Super Woman! Every day is full of choices and most of those choices are difficult. Thanks to you all, I'm back at the gym and ready to get back down to business. Let's be there for each other and keep the cycle going, SparkPeople!

Lauren
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • LPRINCESS90
    Inspirational article and I'm thinking about trying the P90x
    3948 days ago
  • BRUCTERI
    Awesome! emoticon
    3948 days ago
  • EYEONGOAL
    emoticon One of the best parts of being a Sparker, is giving and receiving encouragement and inspiration. Keep it up!
    3948 days ago
  • no profile photo TRABOLD8567
    emoticon emoticon
    3949 days ago
  • ROBINRC1
    Life is full of suprises. We need to embrace them & move on. I have only been on spark for a short while & have found that this is a very supportive place. Give yourself permission to be human.Remember it is the struggles that make us stronger.It sounds like you are well on your way. Keep up the good work!! emoticon
    3950 days ago
  • ZELLAZM
    I so appreciate your honesty - just came to check out your blog after reading your inspiring story!

    I had a similar experience - on a really blah day, in the middle of a phase of inconsistent tracking and yo-yoing up and down the same couple of pounds for weeks, I got the award for Community Team Member of the Month. Now, I think if you've been around SP this long, one of those days, your name is going to come up - LOL - but it sure gave me a boost! What a great community! We can do this!

    Thanks again for sharing!

    Michelle
    3950 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5014776
    emoticon emoticon
    3950 days ago
  • AMDESIGN77
    emoticon
    3950 days ago
  • A_SPARKLING
    Your honesty is what counts! I did read the other article and thought it was great!

    Don't be too hard on yourself...you are back....and probably feeling better about everything....it is not always easy to take care of ourself but we do the best we can at the time afterall we are human....those encouraging emails were there for you at the right time...as you were for them...so forward

    Best!
    3951 days ago
  • A_SPARKLING
    Your honesty is what counts! I did read the other article and thought it was great!

    Don't be too hard on yourself...you are back....and probably feeling better about everything....it is not always easy to take care of ourself but we do the best we can at the time afterall we are human....those encouraging emails were there for you at the right time...as you were for them...so forward

    Best!
    3951 days ago
  • AUNTMAMA
    Thank you for the inspiration. I have the worst fear of falling back into the old bad habits. Last night was one of those nights but today I got up and got back on track. It is thanks to people like you that I was able to get back up and on track rather than just saying screw it and eating a big candy bar or something.
    3951 days ago
  • no profile photo MEL-BEDA
    Best of luck! Just think about how much more knowledge you have this time than during the first try!
    3951 days ago
  • PLUGGINALONG
    Welcome back! You can do it again!
    3952 days ago
  • ROCKINBUTTERFLY
    woohoo! just keep truckin girlie and you'll get through anything!
    3952 days ago
  • AGGIE56
    Life gets in the way sometimes. We all have to prioritize every day. When there are only 24 hours in a day, we just can't do it all! When I get to those times, I just try to keep up the minimum like drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of sleep. I know that sleep is tough in college life, but that might be the best thing for you! Anyway, I'm glad you're back to working with Spark People! emoticon emoticon
    3952 days ago
  • MAQUESTA
    Concentrate on what you can do now, leave what you didn't do behind you, that part doesn't matter now. Look forward and remember all of us are here to support you no matter what. You can do it!
    3952 days ago
  • MY-2-GIRLZ
    Good Luck!
    3952 days ago
  • TINATC26
    I just ready your "how I found my inner spark" story. You are a wonderful writer and I hope you keep on writing, because you really know how to touch people with your words..

    What struck me personally was the story about "back to school shopping." Though I went to Catholic school and wore a uniform, I have similar memories from shopping trips with my mother for Easter, summer, and other "dress up" events. Though my mom never actually said those words to me, they were certainly the elephant in the room.

    Fast forward to today. I am 50 years old. I have battled weight all my life. I have had successes, but lately, not so much, because one thing I can tell you that you do not know yet is that as you get older, it definitely gets harder to take weight off.

    But one thing you already know, and I only admitted to myself recently, is that the feeling that the demon of unhealthy living is ALWAYS just on the other side of the door. I have lost tremendous amounts of weight in my life, and always gained it back and more. And even with Sparkpeople, which teaches an entirely different, and in my opinion healthy, approach to weight loss through lifestyle change, there is no guarantee that your healthy lifestyle will not be overcome by those old demons. My lesson, just recently learned, even though I am nowhere near my goals, is that those demons will ALWAYS be there, no matter what, and not to get cocky, ever, ever, ever.

    So it is with that knowledge that I continue to push forward on my journey to health.. Good luck to you and I hope to keep on reading your wonderful words. Thanks so much for sharing and for inspiring..keep up the good work!!
    3952 days ago
  • LADY_KATHY
    best wishes....
    3952 days ago
  • HONEYBEE56
    Exactly!

    That's what makes sparkpeople so great! Everyone understands what its like because 99 and 9 tenths percent of sparkpeople is going through or has already gone through it!

    I never felt like trying again until I found sparkpeople!
    3953 days ago
  • TONISTRELEC
    emoticon back emoticon
    3953 days ago
  • NEWLYWEDSHED35
    I am glad you came back and I know how difficultit is to fall off track. We are all here to stay focused and get healthy. Set backs make us stronger.
    3954 days ago
  • ORANGEAID2
    Ack! College, especially with heavy course loads and tons of work, is a unique, alternate-lifestyle, one that completely interferes with your real-world wants; unless you really are super woman and willing to get up at 5am and go to sleep at 2am every night to get work and personal goals met. As a recent engineering grad who spent 12-15 hr days 6 days/week at school, I can totally relate. Ironically, the only time I would consistently make it to the gym would be during finals week!

    Just keep up the good work! You may be slipping slightly but you are conscious enough of that fact that in no way would you ever fully return to your former life. Also, once school is over, things are so different - you have a definitive end to your work responsibilities each day and those remaining hours are yours!
    3954 days ago
  • ANNABELLA007
    You have done a lot for yourself. Thanks for sharing. None of us is perfect - but we just need to begin anew.
    I have been there many times. emoticon
    3954 days ago
  • MINIUM
    Good luck for your coming back. But don't you find that even though you've not been as good as you could have, the muscle definition is still there, underneath? You haven't lost everything so keep up the good work!
    3954 days ago
  • JAQUILLIN
    I hnow how hard it is when you finally realize you have been off the wagon, but once you commit, it's easy to get back on. Hang in there!
    3954 days ago
  • ELISADEL
    You're a wonderful writer, and I hope that things go well for you and you work out some ways to bring healthy habits back in while still keeping up with your work at school. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us :)
    3955 days ago
  • RUNNERHI
    Lauren,

    I'm at the same place you are-- lost and gained, lost and gained. And today I'm picking up the pieces again and going forward. If we don't keep trying, that's the real failure. I lost 80 lbs in 2003, and kept it off for 2 years. I felt great-- physically and emotionally. then my 5 yr old son went into the hospital for heart surgery. I had planned for it, came up with coping strategies, came up with a food plan, but the reality of it was that he spent 3 months in ICU where every day became a crisis. Where I swore I would never gain that weight back, I lasted 3 days in the hospital before doughnuts and chocolate became my only friends in a world of fear and isolation. By the time he was discharged 3 months later, I had gained back 40 pounds. And I've never been able to take it off since.

    So lesson learned-- I'm human. Like you. And we'll keep trying to lose and keep it off and make healthy choices. Congratulations on going back to the gym and for motivating so many people.
    3955 days ago
  • AP_317
    Thank you for being honest. Your story is encouraging and this entry affirms that you're human, just like the rest of us. We have our good days (weeks, months) and bad. I think you'll find you have some good days coming your way. Congratulations on all your work.
    3955 days ago
  • HAZELBRIGZ
    Thanks for your candor and your honesty. You're just 'keeping it real!' I could SO relate to both of your blogs that I read today, but Confession really struck a nerve. It was a great reminder that if the spark does go out, there are many members who are willing to give a much-needed light!
    P.S. Just wondering if you've given consideration to a career in writing...you certainly seem to have struck a nerve with many of us!
    3955 days ago
  • UUCEEJAY
    Like the book says you need to feed the spark or it will go out. I'm glad you are back to get some fuel for your spark. emoticon I've seen my spark snuffed out more than a few times, but I always find a community to help me get it back.
    3955 days ago
  • SPIFF37
    "My confidence waned and I could feel myself reverting to the girl I had hoped to forget."

    That line resonates so much it hurts! I'm glad that others could inspire you as you have inspired us. Here is to spring and fresh starts!
    3955 days ago
  • LISASJOURNEY2
    To be able to stop and realize what is wrong and what needs to be done is awesome!! Good for you!!
    ANd wow on doing the P90X!! I've heard it's brutal! But worth it:)
    3955 days ago
  • GRAMMYFIT
    You are an amazing lady. And really have inspired me. Keep up the great work!
    3955 days ago
  • BMANTHBODYGUARD
    Thank you for your story and your blog. I hit my goal last month and for me that was awesome and unimaginable. Then with several changes and added stress in my life I started to let things slip and the scale has been slowly inching it's way back up.

    Thanks for helping me not feel alone and for confessing that we are all human and that it is okay to make mistakes. Also for reminding me that I can get back into the swing of things and that we all can do this together.

    You are a wonderful inspiration and a beautiful woman. Thank you!

    Melinda
    3955 days ago
  • KATECONNER1
    Thanks for sharing, Lauren. I especially appreciate your sharing the challenges, too.
    Your writing is fun to read. Thanks again!
    3955 days ago
  • FRYGAL1
    After reading both your motivational article and your confession, I see that you are a fantastic writer, a motivating teacher, and a strong woman. This journey we are on is a tough one, and there will be peaks and valleys, but when we focus on the big picture we can see just how far we've come, which helps us to travel up yet another peak. You are over 10 years younger than I am, but I have so much wisdom to learn from you. Keep moving forward! emoticon
    3955 days ago
  • CIODLO
    Wow -- I am a firm believer that everything comes to you at the exact time that you need it. Your confession shows that just when you were at a low point and disappointed, you got all of those messages to reignite your spark! Keep the faith and keep going! You're, indeed, an inspiration! Never forget that!
    3955 days ago
  • SUZBERRY
    I enjoy your writing. I read two of your blogs today for the first time. I'm new to SparkPeople, exactly one week. I've been interested in healthy eating and fitness for years, but I fall in and out of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When I found SparkPeople last weekend online, I felt that I was in a spiral journey downwards. I now feel differently that I am definitely back on track and here to stay. I lost 5 lbs this week. I exercised a lot and with the exception of friday night, stayed on the meal plan exactly. Because of people like you posting their stories and inspiring others, I am finding a new strength in myself to continue this journey.
    Thank you!
    -Suzanne
    3955 days ago
  • ORROCKNROLL
    Dear Lauren --
    The very fact that you woke up to what you were doing is more than most people EVER do. Somehow, sometime you learned real Self-Responsibility. Life is all-ways presenting us with choices, opportunities, and growth. This is a 3 steps forward and 1 step back process, and it is a process. You woke up to yours -- Yay! Three cheers to Radiant Lauren!

    Remember: No matter how many times you read the story, the tortoise always wins the race.

    Happy Birthday Everyday!

    Cheers, Support, and Gratitude --
    Shanon
    3955 days ago
  • FOOFIT1
    I read your inspiring article on SP this morning. It was great! I cannot believe you weigh 190. You must be 6'0 tall because all I could think as I was clicking through your pictures was, "She looks like a model! Tall, thin, long legs. Gorgeous!" Best of luck to you getting back into your workout and eating routine. I know you can do it. I understand how tough it is when school and stress take hold. I'm trying to lose the 25 lbs. I gained in ONE semester right now! I'm hoping that this time I'll learn how to combat my stress in healthier ways besides eating myself into oblivion. Good to see you on SparkPeople, and I can't wait to see where you go in the future!!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3955 days ago
  • NO-DO-OVERS
    I read your essay and wrote a comment there, then I showed up here to see what you're up to. I love that you wrote this blog, and that your help helped us and then SP turned around and helped you back. Somehow, that's the way it's supposed to work!
    3955 days ago
  • MARTINT011
    I too have been a little overconfident and did forget to stop the harmful habits. Thanks for the reminder. emoticon
    3955 days ago
  • CENTAURI
    Well said Lauren! Let's do this together!!! You are a true inspiration girl! emoticon
    3955 days ago
  • no profile photo JEANNETTE59
    Honesty is a beautiful thing so thank you. emoticon
    3955 days ago
  • PATTYJUMP
    thank you for your inspiring words. all of us experience setbacks once in awhile, but the important thing is to get back on track. congratulations on your success!

    emoticon
    3955 days ago
  • COPEKAT
    Thank you Lauren. I lost 60 lbs all on my own (before SparkPeople) but had another 30 to reach goal. Unfortunately I have yo-yoed between 20 of the original 60 for the past 2 years. Recently I started a new job that required such a change in my schedule that I am unable to make it to the gym every morning like I used to and I've lost the battle with 15lbs back on my short 5'2 frame. I logged in this morning for the first time in a long time and your story was featured. Sometimes it's so encouraging just knowing that there are others who struggle just the same. It makes me feel less of a failure knowing a majority of us on this site are all going through the same trials and struggles. Thanks for being so honest and willing to share. In my 14 months on SP I have yet to blog. Your original story and blog from 3/22 have inspired me to start. Thanks again. emoticon
    3955 days ago
  • KENNYWHEELS
    i would like to congratulate you on all of your success and to also thank you for writing this follow up to your incredible saga. i am about 2 pounds away from my goal weight and it is a scary thought of beginning a maintenance program. After losing 150+ pounds i hope that i am able to maintain my success, and your story is just a reminder that i have to stay diligent in what i have learned here at Spark People
    kenny
    3955 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.