100,000-149,999 SparkPoints 139,394
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April 2002 - My official "Before Picture" Taken the day before my diet.

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After daily 5.22 mile run. Training for 5K May 2015!

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Feeding the bears at Costco!! August 2016

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JO*ANNE*IE is a SparkPeople Motivator!

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January 5, 2015 -- Happily, I am returning to Spark. I made many life long friends here -- people who touched my heart and life in ways I could only dream about. I am going to update my page - it may take a little time; however, I am committed to living a life of balance, love, joy and good health! The following is how it all began:

In April 2002, out of total desperation, I devised a weight loss
and exercise program to begin the very first step of what was to become, my personal journey of a thousand steps. I finally had admitted to myself that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired -- and, perhaps more importantly, I was sick of being fat ... of living my life in poor health; isolated and alone; embarrassed, ashamed and angry that I didn't know how to love and honor myself enough that I would allow myself to get "there" ... a place so dark, so sad, so alone, that there was no place to go but up. The reality was clear: in the daily course of my life, I was unable to do most people take for granted.

The past 8 years has been a wild ride, to be sure: experiences that were humbling; lessons to be learned -- and re-learned. Sometimes a teacher, and always a student, I will be honored to share my weight loss experience with you. I hope that you, too, will honor me by sharing your life story and journey ... It is with understanding and compassion that I will listen -- without judgment, without opinion .... one human being to another.

Although this synopsis is the abridged version of my journey of a thousand steps in my quest to be healthy and fit, the single most important lesson I have learned thus far is that it is the journey -- not the destination, that matters most. Why? Because life is a process -- not an event -- of this I am sure! I didn't get to 278 lbs. overnight (size 26W) -- and taking it off took dedication and commitment to mySelf as I made ME the Number One Priority in my life.

The following are some of the Life Lessons Learned along the way that I found necessary and an integral part of the process of my self-discovery and continuing unfoldment. I share these lessons in hopes that they resonate with you in some small way and assist in your own unfoldment and journey:

I learned to love myself and accept me for all that I was and all that I wasn't ....

I learned that my truth and my opinion matters more to me than anyone else's.

I learned that there is no food that tastes better than being thin!! Nothing!!!!

I learned that you no longer have to search for love when you experience love and acceptance from within ...

I had to learn that serenity and inner peace is not realized until I began accepting rather than expecting ...

I have learned that faith makes all things possible.

I learned that there is no path to happiness. Happiness is a place of being -- not doing.

I had to learn to honor myself by choosing to be lean, strong and healthy.

I learned to not let others define me and who I am.

I learned to not let others tell me what I cannot have.

I learned that the energy that I am willing to put into something is directly proportional to what I will get in return ...

I learned to not exchange my good judgment for the opinions of others ...

I learned that people must earn our love, trust and friendship.

I have come to learn that energy follows actions.

I have learned that although I am blessed to be a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend and aunt -- First and Foremost, I AM ME!!!!!

I learned that there are no magic pills, lotions, potions, or shots, shakes, or diets required to lose weight.

I had to learn that the "failures" of my past would become the road map for my future.

I learned that I chose "unconscious eating" so I could be unaccountable for the large amount of calories I was consuming ...

I have learned that, the greatest lie I ever told, is the one I was willing to tell myself ...

I had to learn that diets don't work -- but a specific, detailed plan, commitment and exercise DO!!!

I have learned that when I am least lovable is when I need the most love ...

I learned that whatever I accept and go beyond is an awesome miracle!

I had to learn that I had value and worth-- regardless of what I weigh.

I learned that healing must take place three-fold: Mind, Body and Spirit .. And all work beautifully when in balance.

I learned that I no longer needed to hide and isolate from the world.

I have learned that the prison of shame and guilt that I had built was my own creation and that I had the tools, knowledge, choice and power to break free.

I have learned that the pain of my history does not define who I choose to be today.

I had to learn to forgive myself for past 'mistakes' so I could accept where I am now and where I am going.

I had to learn to take personal responsibility for every bite of food that I put into my mouth.

I had to learn that you either do it (diet/exercise), or you don't -- there's no middle ground.

I learned that, if I choose foods that are unhealthy, I am choosing to be unhealthy and unwilling to do the necessary work to be fit and healthy.

I have learned that it is living in the now -- living in the moment -- that we are able to live a conscious, committed life so we can accept and appreciate all of the Universe's **many** Blessings!

I learned that overeating was not an effective way to cope with life's challenges.

I learned that I could acknowledge myself in ways other than eating.

I have learned that we ALL possess the personal power; inner strength and ability to create the life -- and body -- that we want.

I learned that it was ok to say "I gotta take care of me first...."

I learned to admit that I was fat and unhealthy because I chose to overeat and I chose foods that were unhealthy and fattening.

I learned that I could enjoy exercising -- and actually look forward to running and exercising every day -- and not worry about sweating while doing it!!

I learned that I needed to commit to a specific plan to lose weight this time -- even though all my past diets were not total "successes."

I learned that I am not a failure even though I may have "failed" when I dieted in the past.

I have learned that we are never, ever alone ...

I had to learn that there is balance -- and peace -- in all things!!

I have learned that if you listen closely, people will reveal their true selves to you.

I have learned that I had to make an honest assessment of my past in order to make peace with mySelf today...

It is through acceptance of all that I am, and all that I am not, that I have learned to truly love mySelf.

I have come to learn that it was in loving and accepting me, that I can love and accept others.

I have learned that what I resist, persists!!

I have learned that it is in forgiveness that all things are possible ..

I have learned that "temptations" along my journey are merely a test to my commitment.

I have learned that guilt and shame are two needless emotions ...

I have learned we are all perfect in our Divinity.

I have learned that wherever we are on our path, it is **exactly** where we need to be at this point on our journey!

I have learned that losing weight is not the end result but the beginning of a new chapter -- complete with new challenges, commitments and dreams!

I have learned that when I totally surrendered, that is where the blessings begin!

It is because of all of these lessons -- and more --- that I have come to live an enriched, charmed, enlightened and blessed life!!

~~~~~ If one of these Life Lessons Learned touches your heart, feel free to write to me and share your thoughts and your life story -- I will be honored to listen to YOU!!

And, always remember:
You are worth it!
You deserve ALL of your hard work and efforts!!
Whatever your mind can see and believe, will be YOURS!



I am 60 years old and live in Connecticut and Florida, where I grew up and lived for over 45 years -- with sand between my toes and warm tropical breezes at my back!!! I am married (40 years on February 28th, 2015!) and we have 2 great kids -- Tom & Tiffany -- who are incredibly, gifted, loving parents to 3 awesome boys -- my grandkids. My oldest grandson and best bud, Tyler, who lives in Florida, has a special place in my heart. My fur children are the other loves of my life -- Bentley James, a Golden Retriever, who is 8 years old. His predecessor, "Morgan" was a dog who graced my life for 15 years -- who saw me through the harrowing days, months and years after my car accident in 1989 until he passed away in my arms 4 years ago. (I will always love you, Morgie!). We have 1 cat -- MollyAnna wo is now 5 years old. MollyAnn is a rescue kitty who was found on the streets of Hartford, CT. My precious baby girl, Mallory Anna, the subject of much of my work and Spark Blogs, died May 10, 2010, in our bed surrounded by the family who loved and adored her. We all miss you, Darling Mallory...

My degree and career is in law until moving to Connecticut where I began a passion for photography. Brother Dave (PIR8DAVE) encouraged me to return to school and I graduated from the New York Institute of Photography on December 10, 2009.Combined with my love and adoration of Mallory Anna as a kitten and the introduction of digital cameras/photography in the late 1990's, my interest grew exponentially.

I run approximately 5 miles almost every day with my brother, Dave, who is my trainer and is an inspiration in his own right. Check out his Spark Page -- PIR8DAVE. My goal was to do a 5K which I completed in Key West on November 1, 2014. This was a charity run to help women with medical needs in Monro County, Florida. My time was: 54:38. Dave and I completed the Luminaria Run for Abused Women in Destin, Florida on December 6th. My time was: 47:40 -- a personal best -- and I shaved off 7 mins from my run in Key West!!! I love the beach; swimming, photography. sticking my toes in the sand and hangin' out poolside; scuba diving; sunrises and sunsets; boating; music (I wear my wireless Beats when I run!) and I am an avowed Parrot head of **many** years -- too many to count!!


This page will be under periodic construction, revision and updates. As I continue my path, and as feelings and events are remembered, I will continue to share them with you -- openly and honestly with as much candor and specificity as possible. Please stop by as often as you'd like and honor ME with the gift of sharing YOUR life journey!

Above all, I honor each and every one of you who stops by and graces my page ... There are no accidents, no coincidences in life -- only Divine Appointment -- Divine Design!!! Blessings to each of you and my deepest, heart-felt appreciation for touching my heart, my life!!!

October 3, 2008
updated June 22, 2010

updated January 5, 2015


Member Since: 10/16/2007

Fitness Minutes: 174,954

My Goals:
****** Goals & Commitments 2015****
** Meditate every day
** Continue my low carb program started 5/26/14.
**Continue present workout program - idaily 5 mile runs. In winter, add TurboFire;Gin Miller Step program; Zumba and TreadClimber
** 48 ozs of water, plus 4 cups of Apple Cider (w/pepper & lime juice)
**Continue Weight and strength training 3 times per week using weights an Bands; increase when appropriate
**Continue to measure all food. Allow low cal Popcorn snack on weekends - 1 serving
** Continue plan & prepare nutritional needs when away from home
** Continue to track and record all food, water intake, workouts in my personal journal and on BodyMedia Fit and FitBit.
**Increase sleep to no less than 6 hours, increasing as much as possible to 8 hours.
** Continue to weigh every Sunday.
**Continue Pescatarian diet (fish/shellfish -- everything else Vegan).
** Practice Mindful eating & Meditation

My Program:
My nutritional program is low carb and low calorie. I eat fish, (shrimp, lobster and shellfish), called Pescatarian. I am Vegan but for the fish. I eat lots of veggies -- mixed veggies, summer squash, zucchini, snow peas and broccoli. For dinner: I eat fish, shrimp, crab, tuna, etc. I limit simple carbs; avoid processed food, refined sugar, white flour. I drink 2 EAS low carb, high protein drinks per day to ensure proper nutrition and daily protein intake.

Personal Information:
Welcome to my Spark Page!! As we say in the South, prop up your feet and sit a spell!! I would enjoy hearing your journey so feel free to tell me all about YOU. I have always believed that all of us have a life story that has shaped our hearts and lives to mold us who we are today. I would be honored to hear your story -- your thoughts, goals, and dreams so write to me and let's share this journey together!! I have no doubt that the Spark Community is the perfect place to be at this moment, at this juncture on our personal journeys. I know that the absolute perfect Spark Friends will touch my life and become part of my life's story and for that, I am grateful and I look forward to walking this journey with YOU!!!

Other Information:
I live in the Northeast by way of South Florida where I lived for 45 years. My brother, Dave, is my diet/exercise bud and I recommend visiting his page (PIR8DAVE), Dave lost over 100 lbs. and is a success in his own right. I run 5 miles every day and love to run. I did my first 5K run in Key West (Nov 1, 2014) at age 60 -- and my second one, The Luminaria Run, a charitable run for abused women, on 12/1/101-- in Destin, FL. I love photography and scuba diving; the beach, sunrises, sunsets, sand between my toes and tropical breezes on my back. I am married -- 40 years on February 28, 2015. I have two great kids & 3 awesome grandchildren. My loving fur-child, Bentley James, is an 8 year old Golden Retriever. MollyAnna is my sweet baby girl -- a rescue kitty found on the streets of Hartford. This page is lovingly dedicated to Mallory Anna who was our baby girl, a beautiful white Persian "rescue" kitty who died 5/10/10.
Mallory Anna taught me the blessing of living life in the momen

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