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Thank You Spark for TWO Years.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

There are dates in our lives that are very meaningful to us. Our wedding day, the births of our children. Perhaps the day we graduated collage.
This date, May, 17, 2010, I remember as a turning point in my life.
My weight was 285 pounds on that day.
I had been keeping a journal of my weight loss and all foods I was eating.
I had started my weight loss on January 1, 2010 at 335 pounds.
I was on the biggest journey of my life ,trying the best I could. But I needed support.
More support than I got from Pam, my dietitian, my immediate family, or my closest friends.
I really needed to be able to hear from other people like me. People trying to lose vast amounts of weight. People who were going through the same ups and downs,. the same craving, temptations.. I really needed to be in a support group.
I had a list of places to try, but somehow nothing clicked when I read through the list. Pam even suggested Weight Watchers. I just didn't feel that was where I wanted to be.
As I sat in my office on that May day I spotted a stack of magazines I was giving away. I glanced at the Good Housekeeping one on the top, had a picture of Amy Grant & Vince Gill on the cover. I asked myself , Have I read that? I picked it up and opened it to an article of two women who had lost a lot of weight . They both were using a place called, SparkPeople.com. There they could track their foods, exercise and get support from others to help them reach their goals of being fit and healthy. They had both found success being associated with Spark. Both had reached their goals. The article was written by Chris Downie, it was called, "Start Small Lose Big."
I read the article quite fast , then read it again more slowly.
I immediately went on line to SparkPeople.com and signed up.
That was one of the best move I had made in my journey to regain my health and fitness. Of course the most important decisions was to start the weight loss in the first place.
Now I had a place to go and track my foods. List the exercise that I had just started to do in a limited way.
I read all kinds of articles, blogs, health and fitness stories.
In the beginning I used the Spark meals, but soon started to list my own food and meals.
I didn't know about all the points and extra things Spark has to offer.
I joined a lot of teams, too many, later had to adjust to ones I could manage.
My first goodie, was from SP Staff. Welcoming me and explaining about goodies.
Seems the goodies are just for fun and NO monetary value. Really ? So no personal chef or diamond tiara will be arriving at my house. That was a bummer, but what the heck, I still thought Spark was the place to be.
My second goodie was a Tomato from Yoovie.
One of the most memorable goodies was from Speedy143, a pair of red high heels. 10/15/10. She says "110 lbs down, OMG, I am so excited for you. I know our stiletto heel days are over but I've been waiting to get these RED high heels for someone so you win. Enjoy sweetie, Love Linda.
Little did she know I love red high heels.
Later the first pair of high heels I got were red. You see my days of wearing high heels are not over. At end of blog, picture with me in pink , I have the red heels on.
I did need to wait till I got both my knees replaced. That happened in April and September of 2011. Prior to that I was very limited in my mobility. I used a walker and canes to get around. To go out and shop I needed a electric cart.
That brought me to the support and inspiration I got from another member, Joan of Spark, who also used a walker and posted abut her chair exercises. Well if she could do that, so could I.
Also the videos from Anne Burrell about chair exercises were a big help.
Motivation also came from Beth, Indy Girl. When she posted a picture of her in a swim suit. I had been staying away from the gym and water because how I looked in a swim suit. She gave me the confidence to put that size 22W on and get in the water and exercise. Water exercises were the best for me, due to all the joint problems, and arthritis I had.
Later I got more confidence and Jen my aqua instructor took a picture of me in my swim suit., it was now a size 18W. I posted it on my page.
In the coming months I made so many friends, got so much support from perfect strangers.
I had joined a team, Over 60 with 100-200 Pounds to Lose. The members on that team have been my biggest supporters. We all had so much in common.
I never fail to hear from some of them daily. Jill , is always there, leaving comments and encouraging me. Gail, Theresa, Rose, Jeannie ,Maggierose, they are some of the most wonderful caring women I have even known.
Just today they gave me a goodie and said if they could have a team mascot, I would be it. For all I have accomplished. I inspire others that they too can change their lives. That was most touching and I also laughed. I could just see myself dressed as a cheer leader like I did in high school cheering the team on. Smile!!
All the other teams I belong to have been very supportive too.
Of course there are some men I have on my Friends page too . Rextini, Hay Steve, just to mention a few.
There are over 422 friends listed and I can't name them all, but here are a few that I hear from very often.:Esilbo, Mary, Angel, Morticia,Jamer,Judith,Carole, Carrie, Kim, Tricia, Marianne, Kristin, Jenny, Deb, Donna, thanks for the photo shoot. Charlie, Gwen, June, Edna, Lin, Lois, Anne, Pimpenellan50. Herbkat, from Salem. Healthyashley, NarnieRose ,Fxygm, Annie, Sunny Arizona, thanks for the diamond. Kelly, thank you for the Monster truck. Islandsharon, Vinnielou.
If I didn't mention your name, please don't feel I have diminished your support in any way.
There is never a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or even illness that the caring Spark members don't respond with best wishes and goodies.
Without the support. encouragement I have received this journey would have been a lot different.
Spark has encouraged me to see my strengths not my weaknesses.
Defy expectations. Don't put limits on myself.
Treasure my health. Appreciate my body. Focus on what my body can do.
Don't compare myself to others, we are all individuals with different minds and bodies..
There is no perfect shape. be realistic. Strive to get a healthy body , one without pain.
Keep moving, doing something physical makes one feel good through out the day.
Be confident. Confidence has nothing to do with what you look like.
Self esteem , being confident comes from knowing who you are.
I am in charge of my life. What I get out of life is what I put into it.
Spend time and energy being happy, making others around you happy.
Giving confidence to others will come back to you and you will end up feeling better about yourself.
I am a very strong advocate for Spark being the place to come for help in controlling your health and fitness. I always point out to people that it is free.
How much is free these days?
I know I would continue to be on Spark even if I had to pay. But for those with limited income , the fact that it is free is great. There is no reason not to give Spark a try. I have even known one member, FatRockStar who used to go to the library to log on, for she didn't have a computer. That's dedication.
These two years have brought many changes to my life, the weight loss and both knee replacements. Both those happening have enabled me to live a normal life, full of fun and excitement.
I just had the occasion to see an old friend, Jerry. We were Saturday Market buddies. For over seven years we had booths next to each other. He helped me I helped him. I have been to his house with my grand kids. He makes wooden bird houses and feeders among other things.
I went to see him last Saturday. He did not know me. Sure it's been five years, but still. Of course he only knew me at 240 to 320 pounds or so.
When I told him who I was, his mouth dropped open, eyes got big, and he said,"OMG, I never knew you could look so good.". Asked what did I do to myself. I told him I lost weight. He said no it's more than that, you look so young. Haven't you done some thing to your face? I reassured him, NO. just losing weight and getting my bubbly personality back was all I did. Smile!! We sat and talked and ever so often he would look over at me and shake his head in disbelief . Could not get over how much I had changed, just by losing weight.
I could write a lot about peoples reaction on the change that has taken place in my life. But a picture speaks a thousand words.
Here I am at the start on the weight loss journey,335 lbs. Half way through at 235 lbs on 11/6/10 . In a swim suit, size 8 now, and the most recent pictures taken yesterday..135 lbs.
You be the judge, See any difference. /.">

So most of you know my story. Nice lady in pretty good shape, got morbidly obese, stayed that way for 15 years, only when told her life would probably end in a few years, if not sooner did she embark on this wonderful life changing journey.
I am not going to try go back and wonder why it took me so long, it just did. We can't change the past, we can only live in the present and look forward to the future.
I wish to thank each and every Spark member who has commented on my page, blog, given me a goodie or just checked they like on the friends feed.
Your support is so encouraging. Sometimes I think more so now that I am in my 18th week of maintenance. For once you start maintenance, you are no longer getting the high fives for weight loss. What do people have to cheer you on for?
I have found that people still cheer me on for the fitness minutes I put in, the blogs I write, and just for being a loyal Spark member who want to make a change in how people look at obesity. And to encourage everyone who's over weight or obese,that you can change. Every step you take is making a difference in your life. And most of the time it's also effecting others in your life too.
So stay positive, believe you can and you will.

Peace and Love,
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    3150 days ago
    Beautiful blog and many congrats to you!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3154 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/1/2012 2:48:04 PM
  • no profile photo CD5993697
    I think that this is one of my most favorite blog posts of yours! emoticon emoticon
    3155 days ago
  • JENNA54
    An inspirational blog - you say all the things I need to hear. I have found SP to be my saviour really, and have changed a l ot of my bad habits. I still need to focus on the weight/food side of things, but exercise has become second nature, which for me is a dramatic change. I'm holding my own but after reading your blog, and seeing the "New" you, I am so impressed. Time for me to rev things up a bit and try and be more focussed. Congratulations on a fantastic achievement.
    3159 days ago
  • CHEROKEE1946

    You have done a great job. I am going through this stop and start thing, but not gaining any weight in between the stop and starting. I only keep my site private because sometimes you run across nosy people that really aren't thinking of your best interest so I don't welcome everyone, but glad to add you as a friend. I love sewing. My mom use to look at something then come home and sew without a pattern and I do that some also. I really find it a great way to relax and you can't eat and sew. LOL
    I live about 30 miles away from a gym we are in a rural area and just don't feel like using the gas but I do see they are going to do a zumba class down town so I might check into that. Have a great day. Colleen
    3163 days ago
  • FRANCO1230
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    Happy Anniversary! You are gorgeous inside and out!!!
    3164 days ago
  • QTEALADY20031
    Tisha, Happy Anniversary! Tisha you are AMAZING! You are such a wonderful inspiration to all of us here on Spark. You are to be congratulated on your success and your follow-up maintenance! I so enjoyed reading your blogs as they are so uplifting and I think we all know what we need to do to be successful. I love you in your pink outfit and those red heels! I too hope to return to heels but at the moment, I need surgery on my left ankle and I am trying to put it off until after my granddaughter's wedding in October. I too have the hope of getting back into a great pair of heels!!! I hope you are celebrating your wonderful Anniverary.....make it a week celebration. Treat yourself good, you deserve it! emoticon emoticon June
    3166 days ago
  • JILL313
    This is an amazing blog from an amazing woman who motivates all of us who have the pleasure of knowing you. I also need 2 knee replacements soon as I'm not getting any younger nor are my knees getting better. I remember when you had your knees done you were already in pretty good shape and seemed to "sail" through the recovery. I will be starting aquatics exercise classes soon at the Y to continue to lose weight and get more exercise. I am very tired of using canes and a walker--I want to live a full Life again. If you can do it why not I? I know it is hard work but it is so worth it all and I see how WL and exercise has greatly enriched and improved your quality of life Thank you for staying on SP as you have become a great "symbol" of just how all of us can achieve our goal of getting healthier, Leaner and Happier.


    3167 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Tisha, wonderful Blog and you left me speechless!!!
    3168 days ago
    I saw a lot of buzz about this blog from my Spark friends, so I popped over to take a look. WOW!! You have really done well and worked very hard. You are a torch lighting the way for others to follow!!

    I hope you are as proud of yourself as all your Spark friends are. You have done an amazing job, traveled an amazing journey, and I wish you much success as you travel onward toward the future!
    3168 days ago
    Tisha...THANK YOU for sharing your heart, your fabulous finds, your intentions and accomplishments with all of us out here marvelling at your energy and success. Vicarious JOY for sure!!! deb
    3168 days ago
    My dear friend....as CANNIE50 said so well you are A M A Z I N G!!!
    Your youthful positive attitude and your success is so awesome! You are such an
    Inspiration and I am proud to call you my SPARKFRIEND!
    Love & Hugs,
    Mary emoticon
    3168 days ago
  • JAMER123
    What a beautiful story and so inspirational!! You are a very lovely lady and one that has worked very hard at getting to her long term goal. God bless you!! Thank you for being a dear friend!
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    3168 days ago
    Happy Anniversary, my AWESOME Spark Friend!!
    3168 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8467616
    Found your wonderful blog via Spark friend Cannie50 and I'm so glad I did. I'm here to cheer you on for your maintenance -- and for posing in a swimsuit! You are awesome!
    3168 days ago
  • JENNA54
    You are simply fantastic - what an inspiration!!! Thanks for sharing, and thank you for motivating me to keep on going!
    3168 days ago
  • CANNIE50
    Oh, Tisha, you are the very epitome of Spark at its best. Your attitude, your transformation, your SParkling personality which truly shines through in your delightful blogs. I love the story of you seeing your old Sat market buddy. The past few weeks, I have had several different 20something women tell me I don't look old enough to have a son who is in his late 30's. Here's the thing, I think I sort of do but I think what they are reacting to is how I carry myself, and my attitude. How I carry myself, how comfortable I am in my own (50something) skin, how strong I feel, how I dress (not trendy but definitely not dowdy) - is all very influenced by my committment to daily exercise. You have forever changed the way I will think of aging. I am more determined than ever to exercise as long as possible. I love how you figure out how to exercise despite surgeries, not use it as an excuse to "hit the couch". You are, quite simply, A M A Z I N G.
    3168 days ago
    Hurray Tisha! Your blogs are some of my favorites. Thank you for sharing them with us! You are such an inspiration to all of us!
    3168 days ago
    You are a tremendous!!!!! Inspiration for me!!!
    3168 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2560890
    OH MY!!! Happy Anniversary Tisha. Your journey has been amazing. I would never have recognized you as the same person either. You look years younger than your age and your presence is confident. Your self esteem shows in the clothes you choose, the words you speak and the real desire to help anyone else who asks for your help. You are an inspiration to all but for those of us in later years, you are a beacon. Your achievements shine for us to swim toward. Thank you for being such a wonderful, warm Lady.

    Love Gini emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3168 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11755023
    Congrats Tisha!!!! You are such an awesome person. Thanks for sharing.....you don't know how much it helps. (Well....maybe you do!!)
    3168 days ago
    Dear Tisha;
    First of all: Congratulations to you on your weight loss and for sharing your journey
    with us here on SP!
    Second:You look beautiful,healthy fit and happy!
    Third:You are an Inspiration,and a great Motivator!
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    3168 days ago
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    3168 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8667808
    Tisha, Sparkpeople is a wonderful place for all the reasons you mentioned, but also because you're here inspiring us to reach our goal and maintain it!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3168 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7885486
    Congratulations on all you have achieved. Thank you for putting it in writing, to share and inspire. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3168 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.