Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My spark anniversary

As promised, here are a few excerpts from my spark blog about my spark anniversary. Even though this blog is relatively new, I've been on spark for one year now and on a journey to lose weight and be healthy for 14 months at this point. I can't say enough about spark people. If you want to lose weight or just be healthy you can get support, advice, articles, trackers, etc at spark people. It's completely 100% free and FULL of information and resources and has a huge community of people trying to live just like you! If you decide to join, let me know and you can look me up! I'd love to help anyone with their spark journey!

So in true Heather form, I made a few lists to recap the things I've done over this past year and a look into the future. I debated several different types of lists because I realized that some of the things I wanted to say were negative, but then I remembered that there IS negativity in my life and I've found ways to defeat it with the power of positive. So even if there are a few negative things thrown in these lists, remember that I am choosing to NOT focus on them and I am focused on the positive. I picked 12 things for each category since I've been on spark 12 months.

In the past year on spark, I have lost:

1. 25 actual pounds and 15-25 pounds of weight I WOULD have gained had I not found spark.
2. Almost 2 full pants sizes. I will be in the next size down in a matter of weeks to a month. 

3. Massive inches all over my body - but most noticeably in my waist, sides and arms. I wish I could find the original measurements from a year ago but I think I might have thrown them away.
4. Stress. I've made decisions to eliminate as much stress as I can from my life and I've worked reallllly hard on this task.
5. My house, because I sold it! That was such a huge decision for me and it has proven to be an excellent decision.
6. My tendencies to emotional eat. Or rather, I've lost the habit to emotional eat. I still feel tempted, but I'm able to fight this temptation a majority of the time and recognize that eating my emotions won't make them better. I have to cope and deal with them!

7. Two family members - my uncle and my Oma. Both losses were very hard on me, but I've been stronger and more capable of dealing with these losses this time than I have with any of my other previous losses.
8. My fear of running! Turns out, I LOVE IT!
9. My fear of failure and my obsession with perfection. Okay, so I still sometimes feel like I fail because I'm not perfect, but I'm learning that perfection is NOT attainable or even something that is measurable so I can't focus on it. This has been a huge win for me.
10. Some of my social anxiety. I still have social anxiety, but I'm doing MUCH better. I actually want to go out with friends now and I'm not embarrassed by my weight (most of the time) and worried what people are thinking of me. I'm able to focus on the people I'm with and what we are doing more than I am thinking about how I look or who is judging me. This is a more recent development, so I definitely have strides to make here!
11. The fear that I can't eat out. One year ago I didn't feel like I could successfully eat out or eat at someone's house. Now, I know that I can and I do it pretty often.
12. The feeling that I was always the fat girl. I'm NOT! I still have a long way to go, but the progress I've already made has made me realize I'm not the fat girl anymore. I'm just me!

In the past year on spark, I have gained:

1. WONDERFUL, incredible, amazing spark friends who I hold near and dear to my heart and love beyond words can imagine.
2. The title as a super hero. I can't describe to anyone how much my fellow Super Heroes - Stef and Heather mean to me. Not a day has passed since July that I haven't spoken to at least one of them at least once during the day (usually more!). These girls know me better than I know myself and I can turn to them for anything and everything and I love them so much for it.
3. A wonderful (but sometimes annoying) dog that Matt and I adopted. Lexi is a part of our family now and I wouldn't have it any other way. Sure, sometimes she annoys me - but I wouldn't trade her for anything!
4. A renewed passion for cooking - though this time it's healthy cooking. Cooking is stress relief for me and it makes me truly happy.
5. A new career! Well, it's in the works. But spark has helped me realize that the best way for me to stay healthy the rest of my life is to help others become healthy! I have already announced I am going back to school to become a Registered Dietitian and I definitely can attribute spark to helping me find my life's passion.
6. A new outlook on life. In this past year I have really focused on becoming happy and becoming a positive person. One year ago today, I was miserable and unhappy and full of heavy emotion that I wouldn't share with anyone. I was negative and thought I could not accomplish anything. I have changed all of this over the past year and I continue to work on improving these aspects of my life EVERY DAY. I never imagined that losing weight would open my eyes to many changes that were necessary to make my life better but I'm so thankful for all of these changes!
7. The title of Spark motivator. This was an incredible accomplishment for me and it definitely pushes me every day to be more successful.
8. A love and passion for exercise. Sure, this happened only recently (June/July) but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love exercise and I realize that it is one of the top priorities in my life because it reduces my stress, improves my sleep, makes me feel better all around, forces me to focus on healthy eating so I can fuel my workouts, etc. etc. I could go on here, but I'll stop :)
9. Confidence that I can truly accomplish anything I want, all it takes is dedication from myself and hard work. This confidence has carried into all parts of my life and I couldn't be happier for it.
10. Motivation to be a better, healthier, happier person. I used to feel like I had no motivation but that was because I hadn't done any work. Motivation comes AFTER the hard work and hard decisions. Make those, see progress and you'll be motivated to keep going!
11. A slew of new recipes, new techniques and new foods that I really love. Who would have thought I would find a way to like oatmeal, yogurt, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, etc? I LOVE it!
12. The reputation as someone who lives life healthy. I've inspired friends of mine in real life, my family, Matt, spark members and random blog readers on the internet to live a healthier lifestyle by SHOWING them that it can be done and that it's successful and truly changes your life.

In the past year on spark, I have accomplished:

1. I ran an entire 5K, without stopping. This is one of the proudest moments of my life.
2. I have lost all the weight I gained since graduating college. Now I just need to work on the weight I gained DURING college :)
3. I set a goal to become a spark motivator, and I did it!
4. I admitted that I cannot do everything, I am not perfect and I do need help from others.
5. I have brought my blood pressure and resting heart rate down and am no longer pre-hypertensive.
6. I have decided to no longer let my thyroid be an excuse for being heavy. I never thought I'd be able to lose weight with a thyroid issue, but I've decided that's not true. It might take me longer, but I'll do it.
7. I have dealt with my fear of opening up to people and started a public blog where I talk about my weight loss and healthy living. Sometimes I still feel very anxious about putting personal details out there for everyone to see, but I know that I'm helping others and myself, so I keep writing.
8. I have found my own path for my life in this past year and I am no longer doing things because someone else feels that's the best thing for me. I am in control of all of my emotions and actions and I am the only one who decides my path and my future.
9. I have decided I am not happy in my current career and have carefully and thoughtfully changed my career path to one that is better suited for my lifestyle and my personality. I have applied to said program and been admitted and I will start this spring.
10. I have learned the knowledge of portion control and moderation and I have lost all of my weight WITHOUT giving up anything I love. I don't diet, I live.
11. I have learned to be my own biggest fan and to support myself. Instead of viewing myself as a failure, I now see myself as a dedicated and accomplished athlete that has many more successes in front of her.
12. I have NOT become a yo-yo dieter. This was a huge fear of mine as I've never tried to lose weight before, but I can successfully say that I am NOT a yo-yo dieter! WHOO!

In the NEXT year on spark, I plan to accomplish:

1. I will run a 10K.
2. I will weigh in the 100s again for the first time since I was probably 18.
3. I will be able to wear my high school ring on my finger again!
4. I will find a healthy balance between school and work, and school and my new part time job starting in the summer.
5. I will continue to work on myself and become a better person for myself, my family and my friends.
6. I will continue to motivate and inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle by keeping up with my outside blog and be more active on spark! I will continue to blog, both here and outside spark because it truly is my spiritual outlet and a way to connect with myself!
7. I will continue to work on happiness and reduce stress.
8. I will continue to see the positive aspects of situation and drown out the negative voices in my head.
9. I will, at least ONCE, follow my weekly goals to a T and accomplish everything on the days I should. This is such a hard task, but I will do it at least once!
10. I will try one new vegetable/fruit a month.
11. I will continue to exercise and track my food, as these are key contributors to my success.
12. I will make it to my 2 year sparkversary without dropping off spark and without yo-yo ing with my weight!

In the past year on spark, I have made several HUGE revelations:

1. I am in control of everything I do, eat, say, feel, think, etc.
2. Motivation comes AFTER the work, not before.
3. 90% of the battle of weight loss, becoming happy or any BIG change in your life is mental. The mental battle is by far the hardest battle in the world.
4. Being happy is wonderful and why did I ever feel like I didn't deserve this or need this?
5. You only have one life, so make it the best life that you can.
6. The stronger you are, the more you admit defeat, trouble and ask for help.
7. You can eat ANYTHING you want, just practice moderation and portion control. You can have it all, just not all at once.
8. Weight means nothing in comparison to inches, accomplishments and the way you feel.
9. There are people out there that feel the same way as you. You just have to find them.
10. No one has the right to make you feel bad and you do not have the right to make anyone else feel bad. Be nice, what's so bad about it?
11. Set goals. How will you ever accomplish anything without a goal?
12. Some days will be harder than others, but on those days you will test your real character and see how far you really have come! YOU CAN DO IT.

Thank you so much for celebrating my anniversary with me! Here is my present to myself, which I am SO excited about. I've never had eggplant before and I think this guy is SO super cute and I can't wait to try him! He will be my first new veggie of this second year on spark. Can't wait!

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