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Day 353 - November Gratitude, part 17

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Today is my one-year anniversary of discovering SparkPeople! When I look back on the past year, I am amazed at how transformed I feel, both inside and out. I reached my goal weight and maintained it for 6 months. I now view exercise as a delight rather than a chore. I have discovered how much food I actually need to feel satisfied (much less than I used to think). I have new tools in my box to keep me on this journey forever.

To say I am grateful to have found SparkPeople is an understatement. In some ways, SP found me. I needed help, and for whatever reason, a link to this website appeared in my browser. I had never heard of it, and was surprised to find out that it had been around so long and had so many members. People I knew had signed up for it before, but never mentioned it to me.

It's not surprising, I guess. Most people, myself included, don't necessarily want to go around advertising that we're in some weight-loss program. Sure, we'll brag about it when we achieve results (yes, I did that too) but don't tend to say anything about it while we're trying it out.

The other thing about this site is that it gives you the resources to reach your goals and to be healthy, but it can't force you to succeed. You still have to do it on your own, and it is a lot of work. The fact that I wasn't working for the first few months of SP made it much easier to spend as much time as I needed on the site (which was a lot) and do everything I could to stay motivated. Once the level of activity and food tracking because habit, it was easier to go back to work and still feel like I could "make it" in this journey.

What has made it all worthwhile is the amazing number of friends I've made along the way. When we are all trying to accomplish something similar, it's awesome to be able to work together on these common goals. I'm so grateful for everyone I've met through this website, even if we parted ways further along. I'm a better person because you are (or were) in my life.

So, if you're new to this journey and just discovering what you want to do, here are some suggestions that I picked up that helped me. I'm copying from a team post I wrote a little over a week ago...

1. Make your SparkPage public. This allows others to leave you comments of encouragement and give you SparkGoodies to make you feel special (and they have ZERO calories!). To make your SparkPage public, go to your SparkPage and click "Edit My SparkPage" (or go here: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_edi
t.asp ) In the upper right corner under More Options, clear out the first two checkboxes: "Only allow my SparkFriends to see my page" and "Turn my page offline". They should NOT be checked. People can't add you as a friend if they can't get to your page.

2. Write a blog. Try to do it every day if you can. Talk about your struggles. Write about your successes. Post pictures before and after. When you tell your story, you help others with what they are struggling with. Try to inspire people with your story, don't use it just as a means to vent.

3. Track your food and fitness. Nobody but you will know what you're eating, so be honest. The only person you're hurting is you if you don't track every single bite accurately. And make sure your fitness activities are tracked to. Exercise is every bit as important as your nutrition. Start slow, if you're just starting, but do more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.

4. Push yourself when the exercise gets easier. If you aren't out of breath walking at 2 miles per hour, then speed it up! Find a hill to climb if you've just been walking on level ground. Keep making exercise tougher. Before you know it, the tougher exercises are easy! Then kick it up another notch.

5. Finally, forgive yourself. It doesn't matter how you reached the point you're at right now, if you're not happy with it. What matters is how you want to go forward. Do you want to stay the same, or do you want to change? Once you've made that choice, then you have made the first step toward getting there.

So THANK YOU to SparkPeople, for a great year of amazing transformation. And warm thanks to all of you who have been with me on this journey. (And if we're just meeting for the first time today - Hello! You're welcome to come with me too!) I am just beginning, and every day is something new.

Keep Sparking, friends!

Happy emoticon to me!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I agree with EVERY point you have made and congratulate you on your progress. Holy moly I've been hanging around Spark since 2009 losing, gaining, losing GAINING and it's pure laziness on my part for not truly getting with the program.

    I especially like your point of making your page public..it's a leap of faith to go on the big bad internet and have enough trust in people to expose your true self warts and all. My 3-D friends continually chastise me for sharing so much of myself but I tell them..if you aren't willing to take a few risks..what is the point of the journey?

    I have met some AMAZING people by allowing my page to be public and with all the years I've been sparking I've only had maybe 2 or 3 mean spirited people. AND...that was my fault for crossing the line into politics...a totally VERBOTEN subject along with religion. I immediately apologized ft them or my blunder! emoticon The fact that they weren't having that apology is on them not me....move on...put a better foot forward and LEARN from your mistakes...this is what spark teaches you.

    I am still having big problems disciplining myself to buckle down and track. I don't know if it's my Strappy Cappie rebellion gene or what...but this probably tells the complete story on why I gain and lose and gain and lose. I'm going to listen to you my wise friend and put that tracker to use! Besides I'd love the extra points anyhow! emoticon emoticon
    1928 days ago
    Happy anniversary, cousin of my heart! I am amazed that I came to SP to lose weight and, you pointed out so eloquently that weight loss is the bonus.

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    1928 days ago
    Happy Anniversary,Steve! So glad you have achieved everything you set out to get done, and so many other things you never thought about before too! Hugs!
    1928 days ago
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    Wonderful Anniversary Blog! You are very appreciated here among us Sparkers! You bring your experience, life wisdom and are willing to share and encourage! I agree with your suggestions! This is not the place to "hide", although I understand if it takes time to come out and join in...it can be intimidating to start! Take small steps, but join in! Steve, you know I am working with number two...blogging...I am not exactly sure why, but I am working on it, as I do think it's a great tool. I do believe tracking is very important! If you're thrown off start by using a check list...two fruits, three veggies, etc. When you've mastered that, move to your own daily journal...I did that for a long time! Then start using a tracker on line and practice...you'll get it! And regarding forgiving yourself...stop beating yourself up...you can now take control...and take your time...that's something we are so not used to doing...but you don't want instant results, you want lasting results, true change, so you can keep it that way!
    Enjoy your amazing accomplishment...I know you will!
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    1928 days ago
    I think you found your SPARK! This is what I love about this site. I started back in 2010 and reach my goal rather quickly. I made a bunch of SOLID friends who shared my energy and we worked it together. I'm sad to see that 95% of my friends are gone now but I am making new friends now, like yourself, and I'm finding and sharing this new energy with them. At first I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make new friends but it's happened quite quickly because everyone likes to work together and encourage each other. It's quite amazing really. But like you said, you've got to first put yourself out there and make those initial connections. The rest will come naturally.
    Thanks for sharing and happy Anniversary!
    1928 days ago
    You are such a "sparkette" Steve! ;o)
    1928 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    A wonderful blog..I think sometimes new people are skittish to open a page,, other social media is dangerous and unnecessary. When they see how Sparks operates, sometimes they do it. IF a person keeps their page private, I do not befriend them.

    You are an inspiration to US!
    1929 days ago
  • CGPS1795
    A Very Happy emoticon Steve!

    You've made great progress AND in just one year! That's even more remarkable and praise worthy!

    Great blog - I liked the combination of personal history and teaching/sharing. Now go enjoy your day in the sun so to speak!

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    1929 days ago
    HAPPY SPARK PEOPLE ANNIVERSARY Steve! You have come such a long way. You are such a beautiful person inside and out. Thank goodness for this site. It helps us all to be better, happier and healthier people. I am always here for you my friend!! emoticon
    1929 days ago

    You have sparked me so many times in so many different ways... I am grateful for you!

    1929 days ago
    You are wonderful for SP. You have the gift of writing like we are sitting with you and talking. Happy Anniversary.... and many many more... which I am sure their will be. Hugs, Pat
    1929 days ago
  • no profile photo JEANNETTE59
    emoticon on your emoticon and another emoticon Blog!

    1929 days ago
    Great blog. I feel the same way. It was hard to blog about my gain and starting over again but I have had such encouragement that it helps spur me on.

    You are one of those encouragers and I thank you.

    I found the cutest gadget at Target. A tiny crock pot just small enough to put one can of Progresso soup in and the top seals and I can throw it in my lunch bag. I have it plugged in now warming my light barley soup--60 calories per serving--2 servings per can for a 120 calorie delicious lunch! May have a tuna sandwich with it but depends on my hunger level.

    I can do it--just have to be a little creative. thanks for your support.
    1929 days ago
  • RHOOK20047
    Great blog Steve. You have the gift of gab and I mean that well. You hit the main points of why SP can transform our lives, and you are definitely a success story! Great job in only a year!
    1929 days ago
  • no profile photo CD10748384
    1929 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.