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Four years of Sparking and some updates!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

This is way overdue in more ways than one--I can't believe my last blog was in September. There has been a lot that's changed in the last four months:

- i ran another half marathon.
- My job ended and I started looking for another.
- I went to Florida for a convention and squeezed in a visit to Walt Disney World and Epcot.
- The holidays, of course, with a visit from family and a ton of activity that goes along with those.
- Our dog passed away.
- We brought a new dog into the family (that's a blog all by itself!).
- The new year rolled around; how did it get to be 3014 already?!
- I was just offered a new job that I will start in a couple of weeks, doing something completely different.

Oh yes, and the main reason for this blog, my unofficial four-year Sparkversary just passed!

I joined SparkPeople officially in July 2009, but it wasn't until January 11, 2010, that I truly began using SparkPeople to help me lose weight. I know the exact day because that was when I committed to drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day (that's 1466 days ago--yes, I've somehow managed to get that in EVERY DAY since then!). At that time, I weighed 252 pounds and couldn't imagine ever losing the weight and keeping it off, but I decided to not worry about that and just start trying to do a little better with eating and activity.

What a crazy, wonderful, roller coaster journey it has been! While I haven't been on SP every day since then, I have been on at least briefly most of those days. SparkPeople helped me get a handle on what I was eating and how much; I began changing my eating habits, slowly but surely, by weighing, measuring, and tracking my food. I got a Bodybugg armband (and later switched to a BodyMedia Fit armband) to help me get motivated to Get. Off. The. Couch. I quickly discovered that without specific, planned activity, I took way less than half of the recommended 10,000 steps a day, so I began walking, working out at the gym, and eventually running. And I lost weight, slowly but surely. There were weeks where I didn't lose or even gained a little; it's rarely a straight line with weight loss. But overall, I kept losing.

In July 2012, I passed the 100 pounds lost mark, and I hit my initial goal--exceeded it, in fact. I was BEYOND thrilled! Now came the really scary part: maintenance.

Then in July 2013, I celebrated one year of keeping the weight off; that is something I never thought I could do.

So here we are, January 2014, four years of Sparking and 18 months of maintenance; where am I now? Well, obviously I am on SparkPeople less than I was when actively losing weight, but I'm still here, checking in for a few minutes most days, logging food most days. I gained about 7 or 8 pounds over the last three or four months, but those are slowly starting to come off again. I'm still using my BodyMedia armband, still running (though not nearly as much as I'd like!), and more committed than ever to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At this stage, I'm not focused on the scale as much as on being healthy.

I turn 59 in just two days, and I am in better shape than I was 20 or 30 years ago. There are a few more wrinkles and grey hair (my hairdresser takes care of the latter, and I've discovered products that help with the former, too), but I can walk and run and do things today that I would never have attempted 10, 20, even 30 years ago. Today, I am an ACTIVE person; people who meet me now have no idea that I once weighed over 250 pounds. I've tackled 25 half marathons (that blows my mind when I think about it), three Ragnars, walked 60 miles in three days, and taken a chance on a new career as well as started a new business. None of that would have been possible without the things I have learned here.

Thank you, SparkPeople and Spark friends, for helping me go far beyond just losing weight to build a whole new life. It IS possible to reach your goals and more; do not give up and you will make it!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD8054794
    emoticon You've done an awesome job. So sorry to hear of the loss of your dog. We lost our pet dog last year to, and I find myself still crying over him. It was so unexpected.

    emoticon But glad you blessed another dog with a loving home. There are so many animals that need good homes. When ever I lose a pet, I honor their memory, by offering a new pet a good home. (my pets average lives are around 14 I don't add to our pet family very often.. lol)

    emoticon job with your weight loss.

    2691 days ago
  • TANYA602
    Happy Anniversary! I am truly impressed that after 4 years you've managed to continue with your maintenance and good health. And Happy Belated Birthday! You continue to inspire me!
    2696 days ago
    You have achieved so much, you have a lot to be proud of. I'm sorry to hear about your dog though :( Hope you had a lovely birthday x x
    2705 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    Happy Sparks anniversary and what a wonderful and inspiring blog. You did it! terrific for you.
    Best of everything to you.
    2710 days ago
    I'm sorry about your dog. emoticon

    What an inspiring story! emoticon emoticon

    You are a little over a year older than me and I love that we can be so active (although I can't run anymore due to injuries). Let's keep this up Denise. Let's keep going until they put us underground. emoticon emoticon
    2711 days ago
    emoticon Thanks for the update, Denise, and the ongoing inspiration! May God bless you in your new endeavors.
    2711 days ago
    WOW, you are such an inspiration! Congratulations on your Sparkversary, AND birthday coming up!

    I do miss your blogs but know you are out there, maintaining your weight and enjoying the life you SO richly deserve and worked so hard to attain!
    2711 days ago
  • 4CYNDI
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Congrats on such a successful year! May this year be even better!
    2711 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Congratulations on so much happiness and success!
    2711 days ago
    Happy early birthday!!!

    This was a great motivational post. I'm so proud of your commitment to healthy living.

    Keep up the fantastic work, and know that you have a full community of people behind you all the way whenever you need support.
    2711 days ago
  • NEPTUNE1939
    emoticon Have a great birthday! emoticon Earl
    2711 days ago
    AWESOME! I've been on SP since 2009 as well. Unfortunately not with the same results. You are truly a great inspiration! THANK YOU!

    emoticon emoticon
    2711 days ago
    Love this! So happy to hear things are going well for you! Congrats on four years!
    2711 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3494791
    What great accomplishments you have achieved doing your journey. Many more blessing to you in 2014 and beyond. I'm a Bodymedia owner and wouldn't change it for the world. It keeps my accountable and I see when I'm slacking. Best of luck to you in your new position.
    2711 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12298353
    2711 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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