As my previous blogs states: Change can be beautiful and for me the beautiful side change is long overdue.
For me, the last two years have been filled with changes, but I would not categorize any of them as beautiful.
-- My dear mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in October of that year.
-- My daughter, who was divorced in 2014 due to domestic violence, continued to experience emotional abuse and bullying from her ex. He continued to negatively impact her attempts to develop new relationships.
-- My daughter continues to experience several relationship challenges and her ex manages to get temporary custody of her two young daughters.
-- My three brothers create challenges as I try to address my mother's estate. (I end up as PR because my brother, the oldest male in the family, steps aside)
-- I retired from a job I loved due to political finagling that wanted me to ignore my personal and professional beliefs.
-- My three brother block my attempts to buy the family home (even though none of them can do the same.)
-- I end up in court against my brothers who continue to block resolution of the estate. (The judge sides with me on all counts.)
-- My daughter loses her custody battle on a technicality about stability. (Her ex has been living with his current partner longer than she has been with hers.)
So many times during the past year I wanted to give up, walk away from everything. My heart hurt from the ongoing stress, anxiety and emotional disappointments of both situations. Dealing with these challenges also had a tremendous impact was on my weight. I am an emotional eater and frequently turned to food in an attempt to feel better. Nonetheless, I felt a powerful duty to be strong and supportive for my daughter, granddaughters and siblings. I needed to help my daughter survive a devastating situation while ensuring continued safety for the girls. I also needed to ensure that the disposition of my mother's estate reflected the wishes in her will.
My strong religious beliefs certainly provided a source of comfort, but I also found critical support from my Spark friends. I had initially visited Spark in 2015, but did not become active until 2016 after my mother passed away. While caring for my mother and daughter, I had seen the return of 40 pounds that I had worked so hard to lose. I needed help. I did a search on the Spark teams page and found the 5% Challenge teams. Fortunately, this Challenge team was in the midst of recruiting new members. Hesitantly, I signed up and soon realized this was one very smart decision.
The 5% Challenge Community came into my life when I needed them most. There were no judgments, just support. The focus on building healthy habits helped me redirect and change some of my sabotaging behaviors and even though my weight has fluctuated due to the ongoing stresses, I know that I am in a much better place than where I would have been if I had not come to Spark. My participation on the 5% Challenge team lead to joining other great Spark teams, including two other Biggest Loser Challenges, one that runs for 10 weeks and the other for 12 weeks. Each team provides different strategies that have helped me keep my head above water in order to survive all of my family turbulence. Even though I have never met any of my team members in person, each has touched my life in innumerable ways. I will be forever grateful for their support.
If you are looking for a caring and supportive environment, I encourage you to learn more about SparksPeople's Challenge teams. The 5% Challenge is currently recruiting new members. You can learn more by clicking here: www.sparkpeople.com/mysp
No matter which team you select, you can't go wrong. Each will provide an opportunity to say "Change is Beautiful".