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#371: What Has SparkPeople Meant To Me?

Friday, July 09, 2010

In the spring of 2009 a health insurance company nurse told me about SparkPeople. I registered with the site and began an experience I treasure every day. Although my weight has fluctuated because of medications, like many people here, the few pounds I have been able to keep off is not the most important aspect of my experience.

No, what has been the most important to me are the friendships I have made by interacting with other members. Some of us have also connected on social networking sites which further personalizes the relationship. I have followed others' lives through their blogs, posts and SparkMail and have shared their sorrows and their happiness. I have come to know their family and their adorable pets and their likes and dislikes. I have listened as they have vented or bragged about an achievement or a goal met. All in all, the kind of news good friends exchange with one another.

Along the way I accepted the challenge of leading two teams then also became co-leader of two more. It has been satisfying to see the groups grow in size and to watch the activity of so many members in the huddles and in the posts and replies.

I have learned so much about nutrition, healthy living and exercising from reading the site's articles and staff blogs and from watching the available videos. I thought I was pretty knowledgeable before but compared to what I now know I was a babe in the woods when I started here.

Most satisfying of all has been learning of someone's happiness when they finally begin to see a change in themselves, when their clothes fit better, when other people compliment them on their progress and when their attitude begins to change from a negative outlook to a positive one. It is exhilarating to watch someone's confidence in themselves grow and mature.

It has been personally satisfying when members have written that they were moved or inspired or encouraged by something I wrote in a blog or a post or on their profile page. When we speak from the heart we never know how much another person's life may be changed by our words.

Yes, it has been more than a year since I learned of SparkPeople and I continue to be uplifted daily by members' success stories and the feedback given to me. I hope my prayers and positive thoughts have been of some comfort to others. Thank you everyone for your support and encouragement.

To the SparkPeople staff, thank you for your dedication and inspiration and for helping the thousands of people who have changed their lives because of your efforts.
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