First off, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to any of you that have encouraged me or reached out to me at any point, but more specifically recently when I was struggling!! It really meant so much to know that I have people here who support me and want to see me do well. This has been my most successful year on Spark, and I'm hoping to make 2013 even better!
What I've learned on SparkPeople this year:
: I need Spark People!
That is probably the most important thing I've learned all year. I need the nutrition tracker, I need to be accountable for everything I eat, but more importantly I need the support system. I am the type of person that doesn't necessarily share my weight loss efforts with a ton of people in my "real life". I tell a select few but that's it, and most of the time the details are minimal. I also feel the need to encourage others. I get inspired by so many people here, and their success gets contagious.
: When I'm struggling, I have to speak up! In previous attempts, when the scale started creeping up, I would avoid this site like the plague. Who wants to admit they are starting to regain the weight they've lost? I realize now that if I would have been honest with my Spark Friends back in the day, I would have received the support that might have prevented a 5 pound gain from turning into regaining all of my weight lost (on more than one occasion). Coming clean about my recent gain, resetting my weight ticker to reflect the gain, and getting the support from you guys has given me a new found sense of control and has got me right back to where I need to be.
: My plan is MY plan, and no one elses. This has been very hard for me to learn, because I've always felt I needed to be on some conventional program to be successful. Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Atkins Diet, No Sodium diet, etc etc. It had to be "go big or go home." This is the first time that I haven't made any food "off limits", everything in moderation, and calories in calories out is the name of my game. Some people might cringe at what I chose to eat, but if I can lose 60 pounds eating what I want (more or less), then they can't really afford to argue with me.
: The scale can suck it!
The scale has always been my #1 measure of success or failure, and it has ultimately caused me problems. Sometimes you can be doing everything right, and the scale refuses to budge. When that happens I've learned we just have to
. That said I LOVE seeing the scale go down, but I a pay more attention to how my clothes fit or other NSV's.
: Plateaus are the pits!! That goes hand in hand with the scale not rewarding you for hard work at times... I plateaud at 250, 230, 214 (and I'm sure there's many more to come)... it happens! In the past that would have derailed me and sent me right back up to 270ville, but not this time.
: Time lines do not work for me, in fact, they stress me out!! Every previous attempt started with a pen and paper and this: "You weigh 272, you want to get to 180. So that's 92 pounds, if you lose 2 pounds per week, so it will take you 46 weeks which is about 11ish months... BUT maybe if you lose 5 the first week, and 2.5 a week..." Well, you get the idea. That was a recipe for disaster. 1/2 of those attempts would end with "well that's going to take forever, WHY EVEN BOTHER?!" The other half of those attempts would last maybe a month, or 3 months at best, and when I hadn't lost "10 pounds a month like I SHOULD be" I would throw in the towel. This is the FIRST time I didn't do that, and it was the BEST thing I could have done. I have gone from 262 to 212ish in 9 months which is by no means 2 pounds a week or any other "spectacular amount" of weight loss, but I sure am happy with the progress!
: Don't be so hard on yourself! This was a very hard one for me to learn. I would constantly beat myself "If you would have just stuck with it like you were supposed to, you could have been at goal by now". "You gained 5 pounds, what an idiot, I knew you would always be fat!" I would never in a million years speak like that to anyone else, so why was I allowing myself to treat myself so terribly? That has been a long hard process, but I have come a long way and continue to work on positive self talk.
I'm sure there are more things I have learned on my journey these past 9 months, but this was already far longer than I expected. In fact, if any of you poor saps actually read all the way to this point, let me know and I will shower you with a Spark Goodie!
I HAVE to give a huge shout out to my Spark BFF Susan (IMSOOZEEQ)! If you don't have the pleasure of knowing her, I suggest you check out her page, I'm just sayin!
I am very blessed to have a handful of amazing Spark Friends that are absolutely amazing and know a lot about me. They are always there to offer support and advice, but this very special shout out to Susan is because she has single-handedly pulled me out of the pit of despair this past week! I was just sinking further and further down into the pit and the scale was just creeping up and up and she reached down and pulled me out! Without her I'd be back in 220ville instead of full steam ahead to Onederland! I seriously do not know what I'd do without you Susan, you are just too amazing for words!
And to all my amazing Spark friends who have helped me throughout my journey and continued to support me, lots of hugs as well!