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Earth Skills

Friday, May 09, 2014

Today is my 3 Year SparkVersary!
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I lost 90lbs with the help of SparkPeople, 80 of them in just under 9 months. During that time, I lost weight every single week with only two exceptions (the day after a party and after a vacation). This was done with laser-like focus. The benefit was that I never lost momentum and ultimately this helped me reach my goals relatively fast and personally made me feel awesome. The disadvantage was that I was less prepared for maintenance than those who have plateaued along their journey. So, if you're just getting started, I wouldn't get too worked up about how long it's going to take or whether you hit bumps along the road, because there are always advantages and disadvantages to any path you take. For me, I'm grateful for my route. Results may vary.
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I've maintained my weight loss for over two years. The longer we maintain our weight loss, the more we reduce the probability of regaining the weight. I find comfort and relief in this because I tend to worry about these statistics. Maintaining longer means our odds do get better.
I've tracked my nutrition virtually every day I've been here. This helps keep me focused and has taught me a lot about food and how my body reacts to different nutrients and situations. While I struggle with the necessity of this at times, I think tracking helps me more than it hinders me, so I will continue tracking, for now.
I've logged thousands of miles biked and tens of thousands of fitness minutes since joining SparkPeople. This helps keep me focused, reminds me to exercise when life gets hectic and quantifies my efforts.
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I learned a lot from other people and SparkPeople articles during the last three years. A lot of this learning was in the form of remembering. In other words, most of this information wasn't my first exposure to health, fitness, vegetables, positivity, etc. You learn this stuff and then you forget it. This is why repetition is so important.
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A gift I've received from a few people, including several SP community members, is hope. Hope is probably one of the more inconspicuous tools available here on SparkPeople. But, if you are lucky enough to find it and accept it, true hope can power you to achieve just about anything. I'm not talking about desperate hope or wishful thinking. I'm talking about the realization that something isn't just a remote possibility, but a real tangible outcome that you or anyone can achieve. A funny thing about true hope is that it's silent. When you really have hope, you don't say "I hope I can do this." You say "I can do this." I guess for me, hope is the spark in SparkPeople.
A few other things that are really important:
I drink a lot of water, and I like it. Water hydrates your body and will make you feel better. If you don't like water, I suggest learning to like it.
I eat a ton of vegetables, and I like them. Actually, I love them! Vegetables fuel your body and will make you feel better. If you don't like vegetables, I suggest learning to like them.
I exercise a lot, and I like it. Some exercise I love (biking); some I like a lot (hiking); some I like a little (strength training); some I don't like much at all (like the KrankCycle). I can do a lot of different things and there are many things I can't do. But, by all measures, I can do a lot more now than when I started SparkPeople. And, because I can comfortably do a lot more exercises now, I tend to like things that I would never have liked to do when I first joined SP. Exercise strengthens your muscles, reduces stress and reduces your chances of illness and injury. If you don't like to exercise, I suggest trying every exercise until you find the ones you enjoy. Then, do those the most often.
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So, to recap, those three things: water, vegetables and exercise are what I would say are probably the most important non-negotiables as far as weight-loss or general health are concerned, especially if you like to eat a lot or find yourself eating for psychological reasons. SparkPeople helped me remember them and relearn to like them. And, for that (along with hope), I'm very grateful.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Where are you?
    186 days ago
    1117 days ago
    Love this blog! You should write some more! emoticon
    1207 days ago
    What an inspiring journey. Thank you for sharing.
    1328 days ago
    Words of wisdom from a person who walks the walk.
    1341 days ago
  • UNIQUE55
    Your blog is an inspiration!!!! I wish I had your energy and commitment!!!!
    My problem is, I get tired of exercising alone. Now that spring is here and we have great temps, the trails around my area are fabulous.

    I wish I could still bike, but walking is good too. One of my favorite things is hiking through the woods to find all kinds of treasures in God's creation. However, a person has to leave the main roadway to find. Love when O can find a hidden waterfall or babbling brook to sit and ponder by.

    I need to read more of your blogs... inspiring!! Thanks for sharing.
    1745 days ago
  • KDAVIS836
    You are awesome. Great outlook.
    1830 days ago
    I want that trophy "Lost 40 pounds" Thank you for your courage and inspiration! emoticon
    2025 days ago
    You are awesome- plain and simple.
    2381 days ago
  • FRAN0426
    Continued success with maintenance Ken. I would say most of us have some type of exercise we aren't fond of, mine is strength exercise, and I really need to get to doing more of it.
    2429 days ago
    2430 days ago
    I'm glad you're here for support and as support. Thanks for the awesome blog (although I'm reading this really late). Keep on Sparkin'!
    2430 days ago
    YAY!!! Amazing blog from my favorite SP friend! You are a huge inspiration to so many! I don't know what your job is, or what you do in the world outside of SP, but I do hope you use your skills to inspire....it comes naturally for you, and from an honest place, so it is so easy to accept!

    Keep being fantastic! I look forward to seeing you on SP for another 3+ years!

    Congratulations on your successes thus far!

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    2434 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Awesome job and awesome blog! Wow, 80 lbs in such a short period of time! You must have been really focused and really determined. That is great. I know that I am very hard core when it comes to this because there isn't a lot of room for foods that are fattening and you can't eat much of it. I like bang for my buck so I too love veggies and fruit and lots and lots of water. I probably drink at least a gallon a day if not more! I agree with everything you said. Find an exercise and learn to love it and trying new things. It can be done, but it takes a lot of determination and willpower and it isn't for the feint of heart! Way to go and wishes for many more years of continued success. Staying here in the Spark Village will help of achieve years of better health! Here is to you! Cheers!!!
    2453 days ago


    Every single small victory that SparkPeople posted on my friend feed, you always commented on with one simple word: "Congrats"
    You don't know what kind of impact you have had on my weight loss
    I've got exercise ideas from you (that damn KrankCycle!) along with lots of inspiration.

    I commend your maintenance, I too fear the future, but I know that my SparkFriends are there for me, and I will be just fine!


    2454 days ago
    Yep, you summed it up very well. I am so glad for you staying focused and reaching your goals. Maintenance is probably harder but you are doing it. Keep up the good work and be true to yourself. You are an inspiration and I am a much better person for having you as a SparkFriend. I hope to follow in your footsteps this year . . . no I can follow in your footsteps! We can do this. Together. One day at a time!

    2454 days ago
    So well said! Perfect for those starting out and reaffirming for those of us
    who have been here for a while!
    I wish for you continued success with your maintenance and resulting good health!
    Thank you for your SparkFriendship and continued support...it gives me
    2455 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.