150,000-199,999 SparkPoints 184,008
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In 2/16 I was "stuck" @145 lbs. 6/19 now - took me 3 years, but I'm back there and on my way down!

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Naples sunset!

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Late summer roses

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July 2020: My birthday month! Instead of traveling to Africa for a month to teach, I've been staying, teaching online some and found the Covid 15 along the way. Time to get rid of it! New normal - no. New mercies - yes! 2nd week of the 5% summer challenge is underway!

March 2019 update: Down over 10 pounds since the beginning of 2019! Woohoo! Wouldn't it be awesome if I could get to goal by October 3, 2019 - exactly 12 years from the last time I reached it?
Or better yet, I'll be maintaining by then.

New Year, new confidence in what lies ahead. Bring it, 2019!

Golden October - looking at more bike rides, long walks and a trip to Switzerland in November. And tracking - need to make that a habit again! Go 5% Firecrackers!

Spring is sprung 2018, not starting over but beginning again!

September, 2017 - Weight has been creeping up this summer and it's time for it to fall (see what I did there?) Goal #1 is to feel more comfortable in my jeans for my annual Switzerland retreat coming up in 2 1/2 weeks.


July 1, 2017 - halfway through the year and still haven't lost. I'm up for a redo! I turn 66 next week and that means I will have been in Germany for over half my life, starting sometime in August. Amazing!

2017 - New Year, trying again! 5% Challenge starts today but I've already started on my way down. Too hard to choose one word so I'm focussing attention this year on words that start with "Re-", like RENEWAL and RESUME - as in commitment and good habits! Lots of others...it will be a fun and REWARDING 2017!

September, 2016: Gearing up for another 5% challenge. It's been an up and down summer and it's time to stop with the ups already! Just got a new Fitbit Blaze - it was time for an upgrade from the Polar watch that was my reward for getting to goal 8 years ago. Now I've got some equipment to help me get there again.

January, 2016: My word for the year is TRUST. On the Spark journey with CAMO in BLC 30 and the fabulous Firecrackers in the Winter 5% challenge. Determined to make good progress in this year of transitions as I turn 65 and shift my work/life priorities going forward. Yep, TRUST is the word!

September, 2015: Continuing my exercise streak and down several pounds since the summer challenges ended. Looking forward to getting started again with CAMO and the BLC on the 14th and the Firecrackers in the 5% Challenge on the 27th . Oh yeah! and the new semester at the Bible school starts on Monday! Wish I could insert an emoticon here - the one with the smilie wiping it's sweaty brow!

June, 2015 - Summer 5% challenge (Go, Firecrackers!) and the BLC (Go, CAMO!) A lot on my plate but mostly good stuff!

March, 2015 - Still plugging away. Glad it's spring and time for the 5% challenge again!

January, 2015 - Leaving some excess baggage behind in the old year and continuing on the journey to a fitter me. Dealing with minor health issues and an overwhelming schedule, I found the weight started creeping up at the end of the summer, but I'm back on track and determined to have a very good year with the help of SP.

September, 2014 - Life just keeps happening, but things are starting to settle down some after 4 years of back-and-forth across the Big Pond, dealing with the deaths of both parents, handling my father's estate, and starting a new/old teaching job at a seminary along with my job teaching English. This will be my first time making monthly goals in a long time, and I'll be back with the Firecrackers again when we start the Fall 5% challenge. The weight snuck up on me again while I was stateside in August. Time for yet another restart!

April, 2014 - Stuck...getting unstuck with the Firecrackers!

January, 2014 - Taking off with the Firecrackers again. My already overloaded plate was too full for the two challenges I tried to tackle last fall, so I'm keeping things a little simpler. I have a LOT going on in the next couple of months with travel and new work responsibilities, so don't want to overdo again. Hope to be back on Azure island in the spring - and to be at least 5% thinner by then!

October, 2013: Time flies! New 5% challenge - back with the Firecracker team this time. I'll be traveling again later this month, so the challenges come at a good time - keeping accountable!

September, 2013: Wrapping up the 5% challenge with a 2-pound loss and gearing up for BLC 23 on the Azure Destinations team- my first go at the challenge!

July 27, 2013 - back in Germany and once again depending on those fresh mercies as I join the 5% challenge today. Can't run (I was keeping it up pretty regularly while in Florida from Oct 2012 to May) so exercise will be a big challenge - dealing with plantar fasciitis. Time to get the bike out of the cellar and back in working order!

January 1, 2013 - yet another fresh start! Reset a bunch of stuff, including streaks and my trackers, and revising my goals. HE makes all things new!

October 14, 2012: Spark reentry after a long break. Will face the music of the scale tomorrow morning (I like to weigh in on Mondays) and wonder what "song" it will be playing!

June 23, 2012: Summer 5% Challenge starting. I've been stuck - maintaining is good but still not at my "happy weight." With my studies completed, I'll be able to focus more on other stuff like decluttering and renovating my apartment and decluttering a few pounds, too.

March 17, 2012: Spring 5% Challenge start-up. Go Firecrackers! Will be celebrating my 5th Sparkiversary in the middle of the challenge. I want to lose a few of these pesky extra pounds by then and even more by the end of the eight weeks.

March 10, 2012: I reset my ticker today to read 66 kilo. When I started my weight loss journey in March of 2007, I weighed 76 and, with the help of Spark People, reached my goal weight of 58k in November that year. While I maintained for awhile, life continued to happen and my weight crept back up to around 63 where I maintained for quite awhile. Recently, I've had another "growth spurt" so it's time to get back on track!

February 2012: (Re)Finding my focus!

December, 2011: Winter 5% Challenge. (Isn't winter ALWAYS a challenge!?) Go Firecrackers!

Sept. 24, 2011 - Start-up of the Fall 5% Challenge.

April 21, 2011 - FOUR YEARS on Spark! Thanks Spark Guy and fellow Sparkers for the encouragement this site provides!

It's been a rough year with the loss of my mom, several bouts of illness, and a lot of traveling. Daily exercise, and constantly returning to "the plan" whenever I've strayed have kept me from gaining it ALL back. And my size 6 clothes still fit - thanks to regular ST. I'm choosing to focus on the victories!

The hymn "Be still my soul" has been going around in my mind lately - I'm enjoying relearning how to be still this Easter week.

November 1, 2010 - I've been maintaining at around 63K for ages but would still like to get back to 58-60. Can I make it back into goal range by the end of the year?

Three years on Spark! Wow! It has been quite a ride. Here I am in April, 2010, and working my way back down to goal range (58-60 kilos or about 127-132 pounds) again. There have been a lot of ups and downs this past 18 months or so, and I don't just mean the numbers on the scale. I don't have far to go to goal range. But this time, I don't want to fall into the pattern of gaining and losing the same couple of pounds. That's my challenge right now. Goal Date: July 5!

In continuing on this journey, I'm so glad that my God is a God of first, second, third and even more chances. In the words of an old praise chorus:

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never comes to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning - great is thy faithfulness, O Lord. Great is thy faithfulness!" (from Lamentations 3:22-23) I'm trusting in his faithfulness to help me reach all my goals.

Official Fresh Start Day: May 1, 2009

Okay, so it took me awhile to really get going, but I've switched continents again in the mean time and it's taken me awhile to get back to that "new normal" I talk about below! New mercies, every morning!

It's February 24th, 2009, folks! After a long absence, and a 10-pound gain, it's time to get back to Sparkin' again! I'll be updating my page and goals over the next week, and plan to jump in afresh in March. I've got my 2-year Sparkiversary coming up in April and I want to be back down to fighting weight! Are you with me?

My ***Amazing*** Had-To-Post-This-Somewhere Race Record:

Run for the Paws 5K in Naples FL
January 26, 2013
Time: 39:21

Frauenlauf 7K in Degerloch, Germany
July 2, 2011
Time: 54:43

Fast Cat 5K in Estero FL
August 22, 2009
Time: 38:51:7
Pace: 12:32 MM
Place 302 of 325, 2nd in Age Group (of 3)

Frauenlauf 2009, 7K
May, 2009
Time: 52:22:7
Placed 85 of 97, 3rd in Age Group (of 3)

Beach Bum Classic, 5K in Naples, FL
March 21, 2009
Time: 39:43:37
Pace: 12:43 MM
Place 178 of 194

Frauenlauf 2008, 7K Run
May, 2008
Time: 54:18
Placed 100 of 102 :)

Hi, I'm Michelle! I've called southern Germany home for over 24 years now. I'm glad that the internet makes the transatlantic distance seem so small. In the village where I live, I work in the local church in music ministry - and in the nearest large city, I work at a language school teaching English. I love teaching and helping others to develop their God-given talents and reach their goals. I'm blessed to have so many opportunities to do those things in both my jobs.

Finding Spark People was one of the biggest blessings of 2007. Not only was I able to reach my original goal weight, I'm now at a weight I never thought I'd see again. On the "weigh" down, I realized I could make it to 128 and I reset my ticker with that goal in mind. I reached goal on October 3, 2007 (the German national holiday) and have been maintaining since then.

Here are the changes since March, 2007:

***Down over 40 pounds (18.5 kilos)
***Went from a size 12-14 to 4-6. I even have a pair of size 2 jeans!
***Lost over 65 inches from my total measurements, including 6.5 from my waist and 6 from my hips
***No more huffing and puffing up the hills on my Nordic walking workouts!
***Cholesterol levels back in the normal range
***BMI down from 27.4 to 21

At the beginning of 2007, I was starting to think that, at 56 of age, I would have to get used to the idea of being heavier. But I got a wake-up call from my doctor in January, 2007 who told me my cholesterol levels were too high. Although I had been making some feeble efforts to get in shape before I got that news, that gave me the boost I needed to start a daily exercise program. While shopping around for exercise DVD's online, I read a forum post about Spark People and signed up the same day back in April of 2007.

Five years ago, I had also been able to lose a good deal of post-surgery weight, but gradually put it back on again. The encouragement and prayers of a lot of Sparkers have made the difference this time.

I know now that this lifestyle of healthy choices is the NEW NORMAL for me and with the help of the Lord and by his grace, I'm not going back!

My new fitness goals ( updates Oct. 30, 2008):

***Up my cardio intensity - bought myself a Polar F6 as my reward for meeting goal! DONE - GREAT TOOL
***Tone and firm up the areas where the fat used to be STILL IN PROGRESS
***Maybe get back into jogging after over 20 years? Looking at a race day scheduled for June as a long-term goal. I'll keep you posted. DONE - ONLY ONE RACE SO FAR, but I'm jogging regularly again and liking (not quite loving) it!

CARDIO Minutes:
2010 April: 1200 -

Apr: 1200 - 1148
Mar: 1200 - 1338!
Feb: 900 - 795
2009 Jan: 1200 - ???

Dec: 1000 - ???
Nov: 900 - ???
Oct: 1200 - 1209!
Aug: 1200 - 1207!
July: 1200 - 1230!
June: 1200 - 1062
May: 1200 - 1626!
Apr: 1200 - 1308!
Mar: 1100 - 1136!
Feb: 1100 - 1005
2008 Jan: 1100 - 1101!

Dec: 1100 - 1000
Nov: 1100 - 1073
Oct: 1300 - 1345!
Sept: 1300 -1363!
Aug: 1300 - 1232
2007 July: 1200 - 1230

April 30, '07-Feb 18 '08: 310 days.
Jan 22 -Sept 1 '08: 224 days.
Current streak begun Sept. 29.

WEIGHT LOSS: After a couple of false starts, I finally got down to business in Mar '07 after the doctor said my cholesterol was high. I weighed 166 pounds (75.5 kilos) then and weighed 156 when I started SP.

UPDATE: July 9, 07 - total cholesterol down from 281 to 232, and LDL from 171 to 136!

Original goal - 132 lbs (60k)
First goal (150 lbs) met and passed May 21 '07 (148.5)

Member Since: 4/21/2007

Fitness Minutes: 178,100

My Goals:

Past streaks: April 4, 2015 - Jan. 16, 2016, June 9, 2010 - Sept. 16, 2012

My Program:
Tracking my food and fitness on Spark!

Minimum 30 minutes daily intentional exercise. Cardio is either jogging, walking, or Nordic walking. ST three times a week, sometimes more in little spurts!

Getting enough sleep! 7 hours minimum
Meal prep - Packing my lunches!

Personal Information:
Expat in Germany for over 33 years: I love teaching and helping others to develop their teaching skills.

I work part-time at a language school here in Germany, teaching English mostly to business people. I also teach one day a week at a seminary.

In 2012, after 9 years, I finally completed my second Master's in Educational Ministries (first was in Music/Vocal Performance).

Other Information:
Listening to now:
Lauren Daigle, Switchfoot, and podcasts - Next Right Thing and Dream Big (Bob Goff)

Reading now: Anthropology textbooks for the class I'm teaching. Audible books and Kindle books, too - Too many books at once --- and my Bible!

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  • v MTNGRL
    emoticon Just a friendly emoticon Firecracker reminder to post any exercise miles or LTGL points you have before tonight, Friday, at 11:59 PM. Don't forget to weigh in emoticon tomorrow, Saturday also by 11:59 PM your time!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    ps, too bad copying blogs doesn't count for exercise, you would ace the week! emoticon emoticon
    3 days ago
    emoticon Hello Firecracker emoticon week 4 is coming to an end ~ emoticon Reminder to post any fitness and LTGL minutes on the team page by Friday 11:59pm.

    Best wishes for a great weigh in on Saturday - you can post early if you have plans!
    Let's get ready for a great Week 5
    10 days ago
  • v MTNGRL
    emoticon emoticon Don't forget to post any remaining Fitness minutes/LTGL points by 11:59 tonight Friday your time emoticon Weigh-In Saturday by 11:59pm. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    17 days ago
  • v MTNGRL
    Happy Birthday! Not sure what day today is, sorry if I am late. Been so busy with my son and DIL that I've lost track of the days. Hope you have/had a wonderful birthday!!
    20 days ago
  • v MTNGRL
    emoticon Just stopping by with a friendly reminder to post any remaining Fitness minutes/LTGL points by 11:59 tonight your time and then Weigh-In Saturday by 11:59pm.
    If you are going to be away or busy celebrating something emoticon emoticon or a emoticon or trip emoticon on Saturday it is ok to post your weight in early.
    Early weigh ins are great.
    Have a great week ahead!!!
    23 days ago
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