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The First State of the Spark Address

An Introduction from SparkPeople's Founder & CEO


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Trying to balance my food intake and being chronically ill has been a losing battle the passed several years.Not being able to walk and having had multiple surgeries over the years limits me in many ways making it feel impossible to lose weight. I could go up and down 10-15 lbs seasonally but it was more related to water retention and being sedentary.I was hit by a car about 14 yrs ago and had regained 1/2 of the weight I lost before that when I was able to walk a few miles a a day.
If carbs are in my house I will eat them. It was not uncommon for me to substitute a bag of potato chips for a meal or to skip eating all day to pig out at night.I was 375 lbs 20 years ago but had gone on a diet and walking back in 2004 and lost 140 lbs in 10 months. I was happy with the progress and eating healthy til I got hit by a car and had to stop working and got a bad back and hip that degenerated more each year and becoming a shut in. I slipped back into drinking diet soda and eating fast easy foods that didn't require much prep if any.I definitely got into more carbs.I regained a lot of weight and was back up to 321 on Feb 19 2019
I need a hip replacement but doctors tell me not unless I lose 100 lbs.I began cutting down on carbs but not enough and was still drinking diet soda so slowly weaned onto sugar free drink mixes and increasing my water intake. I cut down and then cut out dressings, mayo, ketchup and most sugars as well as less breads and pastas.My weight began to drop and I hovered between 316 - 306 going up or down a few pounds but still remaining over 300 since Feb 19th.
I have multiple medical problems and allergies so I cant take diet pills or statins but I cant take vitamins and supplements and do take ones that match up as being beneficial with my bloodwork.
I was looking for organic sulfur for joint pain.Its also called MSM but searches mixed in Chicory Root Powder as a dietary source to help with organ issues, digestion and pain so I ordered some and began adding 1 scoop a day as suggested to a beverage as it can be used in cooking too but I just add it to my water as I refill a 3 liter bottle twice a day and drink 6 liters of water a day for the passed few months now and have stopped the diet soda altogether.
My daughter told me about Keto diets but I wasn't into being a total keto person but took some tips from it and have increased my vegetable intake and replaced some of my junk food with 12 oz bags of frozen broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. I also bought some lettuce. On this Keto concept you use butter instead of margarine which I thought ok I will try.They explain that butter is better and when taken right helps burn fat instead of retain it. I know over the years I have retained a lot of fat, lol.. so ok I can try it a week or so to see.
I found t hat eating a total of one 12 ounce bag of frozen veggies, alone or alternating with the others and dividing between lunch and dinner was easy to do. I still eat chicken, beef or pork so I am not going vegan. I also add cheese and eggs daily that I used to skip before. I keep hard boiled eggs ready for breakfast but if I really don't feel like eating at breakfast, then have a lettuce for lunch and add it chopped up fine to the lettuce with a couple slices of cut up cheese.Sometimes I might cut up a piece of Oscar Mayer Salami as its 50 cal a slice but flavorful and the far content doesn't go over Keto allowances.
Anyway bottom line in 7 days I have just dropped off 16 lbs as if some floodgate opened or my fat burning mechanism turned on or something. That's more than 2 lbs a day and I wasn't hungry or starving. I am now trying on week 2 and going back to doctor on Tuesday and will get weighed again and see if this is just a fluke or if these few modifications in my food choices can actually work this fast for a person as obese as I am. I will let you know what the doctor says and if this is going to be a beneficial long term addition to how I eat. I haven't even looed for carbs or junk.My son came home and brought me a 6" chocolate chip cookie which typically I would take and enjoy but I didn't even want it as I just finished lettuce cut up with shredded boiled chicken that I had melted a slice of cheese into and stirred with chili powder and cumen and then put into lettuce and shook in a container so the flavors went onto the lettuce as well and had the same satisfaction as if I had eater 3 tacos but it was just a 3 oz of chicken a slice of chees and a 8th head of lettuce and I felt full and satisfied.The day before I had the boiled chicken with broccoli and pepper. There are lots of ways to switch it up but the addition of these few veggies this week have made a big difference already. Report
Like so many others, this site has been a blessing to me! I have been so blessed to get the support I need on so many levels it is such a beautiful thing. Along the way I have meet so many wonderful people who inspire me, encourage me along the way and whom I never thought I would also help along the way. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all you do and your great team at Spark People! Report
I have been a member off an on since 2009. and I thank you for this. I don't have to follow any particular philosophy. it has allowed me to explore and do this with autonomy BUT with so much support.
when I waver, I gain. when I return, I get my mojo back.
this is truly a gift.
thank you so much. Report
Thank you Chris and Team. I have used Spark People on and off since 2015 and have achieved some of my goals. I know if I stay on this program I will achieve them all. How can we thank you enough for caring for others and developing and sharing this program with everyone. God Bless you all! Report
Thank you so much! Report
A heartfelt thank you! Report
Thank you for creating a community platform that allows me to share, trust and feel part of likeminded people, no matter our background and history. Report
A simple, heart felt thank you. Report
Thank you for founding this wonderful site that is so encouraging! Report
Thank you Spark Guy. I appreciate all that goes into SparkPeople to make it successful. Report
Thank you SparkGuy! The site never gets old. I like the new changes. Press on, Push forward, Spark ON! Report
I've been Sparking for over 10 years. I looked at this 28-day program as a chance to reset my enthusiasm as well as jump start me back into a healthier lifestyle. Thanks, Chris Downey, for your service to all of us out here in Sparkland. We should have you get knighthood, but since we're not Brittish that seems improbable. Sir Christopher Downey. It sounds right. Instead maybe we should have you cannonized to St. Christopher of Sparkland. I like the sound of that! In any event, THANKS. You are an unsung hero.
Jane Report
Good article. Report
It was so kind and generous of you to do this. Thank you so very much Chris.

Jan Report
Thank you Chris .I just found Sparkpeople this Spring .I have been on so many diets only to gain every pound back plus more each time.I need the encouragment and the trackers . Bless You and the SparkTeam. Report

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