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The Beginning

Sunday, December 27, 2020

January 1, 2017. I returned to Spark after a 6 year hiatus; a 6 year span of building a new home, travelling to the US and then England as my daughter studied at Auburn and then got her first job, facing my husband's diagnosis of prostate cancer and shortly after learning that the tumour had already metastasized, creating a bucket list that we enjoyed together for two and half years and then facing the reality of being a caregiver as his treatment ended and he entered palliative care. Both physically and mentally I was a wreck; overweight and terribly out of shape. He died in late September and by Christmas I knew that to manage on my own I needed to get healthy. I drank the last of the wine supply, ate my last ever steak and reactivated my Spark account. Over the holidays I worked on some goals, basically shedding pounds and getting regular vigorous exercise rather than just a strolll along the road with my dog. I made a promise to myself that I would log into Spark every morning and take advantage of the resources; one of the very first Best of Spark articles I opened appeared again this morning, "Walk Off Up to 20 Pounds in 2 Months". And so it began.

In two years I lost almost 35 pounds and then joined the ranks of the maintainers. I bought free weights and started strength training, I discovered balance and core workouts and then how much better I felt by doing them. Then it was range of motion workouts to keep my arthritic joints happier and pain free. I cleaned up my diet, no longer eating meats and eventually following a vegan diet most days of the week. I walk every day; if the weather is bad I do circuits in my house. This past year I recognized that maintaining a one acre country property was too much for a 73 old fart so I sold our dream home and bought a two bedroom garden home in a condo community near the ocean. I can still garden but now someone else mows the grass!

As we look forward to 2021 and its many possibilities I know that many Spark members are busy setting goals and hoping that they will stay motivated. My advice: just do it, every single day, no excuses unless you are ill. Think of a life with reduced or like me no need for medications. Think about feeling good about yourself, of living longer so that you can see your kids grow up and take flight, of remaining vital and interested in the world around. What an amazing gift to yourself. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • SISSIE21
    What an inspring story! Thank you for sharing this with us. emoticon
    53 days ago
  • MARTHA324
    Thanks for sharing your inspiriting story! When you faced the loss of your DH you were able to pick yourself up and while you never forget, you continue to move forward in such a positive way. It is stories and people like you that are part of what makes Spark so great.

    Happy we are friends! Happy New year!
    55 days ago
    You are an inspiration, MJ. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    56 days ago
    What an inspiring blog!!

    You have made some very good decisions, followed through on them, and are finding yourself in a good place.

    Admirable. Inspiring.

    And of course you're just fun to know, too!!
    58 days ago
    Wow! I did not know all of this before and respect you so much more than I already did. I love how you took control of your life and made plans ahead of time. Thanks for sharing this, I know it will be motivational for many!

    gall Plan Coleader
    59 days ago
    Catching up here I am so glad you posted your story.

    I am also 73 and coming back to Spark after 3 years MIA is the best thing I could have done to survive this challenging year both physically and mentally.

    Your routine sounds much like mine.
    One big addition since my return is that I have added Pilates. How did I miss that all these years.
    Just 2 beginner videos twice a week but very valuable - strength, flexibility etc

    Sparker Watermellen once posted an article "How do you want to spend your last 10 years"
    We know the answer to that, don't we.

    59 days ago
  • FLYER99
    Food choices we have to make every day. It's a planning thing. You went through a lot but survived it all. You are a survivor and an amazing story. I am happy that you returned to this site. It's helped me lose 60 pounds. Although I don't log everything here anymore, I do keep track of some things and enjoy the friendships I have made over the years. Keep it up and let's pray for a better year ahead in 2021! .....Bob.
    emoticon emoticon
    60 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your story. First of all, sorry for your loss.
    What an inspiration you are. A role model for all in how to turn your life around. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    60 days ago
    Thank you for your motivational blog. Everything you say makes perfect sense. I'm sorry you lost your husband and had so much pain and suffering and arduous hard work to go through, but I'm glad you're on the mend now. We will keep on doing what we're doing. I myself am taking a week off of exercise to do some sedentary things I've been wanting to get at. Happy Healthy New Year!
    60 days ago
    Keep inspiring us MJ emoticon
    60 days ago
    You’re remarkable and an inspiration!
    60 days ago
  • ALICIA363
    Thank you! You’re the second sparkperson to mention no medications - that’s one of my hopes as I age.
    Nutrition and fitness work every day.
    Consistency pays off!
    60 days ago
    You are a strong lady... both physically and mentally. I admire the way you made decisions about your life and followed through on them, rather than waiting for someone else to decide what you should do. I hope that I am wise enough to do the same thing, and I am proud to have you as one of my Spark Friends.
    60 days ago
    You've done so well rebuilding your life. Walking is always a go to for me too... Glad you're checking in with Spark each day. We're all here for each other. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    60 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your story! There is so much hope and energy and life in you! Happy New Year!
    60 days ago
    Very inspirational. Thanks for sharing this.
    60 days ago
  • LORI-K
    Thank you for sharing your story! My deepest condolences for the loss of your husband. I am happy for you that you have moved onward, on your own terms. Your home by the water sounds lovely.
    Happy New Year to you. May 2021 be a positive year for you and for all of us!
    60 days ago
    Thank for sharing your amazing story.
    60 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.

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