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With Cynthia in Florida

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WATOGA17 is a SparkPeople Motivator!

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I have met a wonderful man, fallen in love and planned a new life. Who would have thought it possible for so much to change so quickly?

I credit SP and all of my amazing friends here for supporting me and keeping me motivated and moving forward. I believe that Len would have still loved me at 295 pounds, but would he have taken the time to discover that if I still looked and lived that way?

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not. " ~Author Unknown

"It is never too late to become what you might have become."
~ George Eliot

Last year my husband died after a 3-year battle with illness. This year is mine! I am ready to be happy, healthy and the best ME that I can be. My goals are in place. Stay Tuned for blog updates......

I am ready for a new start. My husband died several months ago after a 3-year battle with cancer, kidney failure and numerous other problems. This came in the midst of my son moving out and my daughter preparing to leave for a semester in China. After nearly 29 years of being a wife, mother and caregiver, I am faced with a life that is a fairly blank slate. It is time for me to remake a life for myself and I want it to be a happy, healthy one.

I am just beginning to remember what it is like to feel truly happy, with no black cloud hanging over me as I wonder what terrible thing is coming next. It feels really good. I want to make the most of this and I know now that it will require commitment and work on my part. If I take care of the basics- eating right, exercising, resting well, etc. - I will set the stage for feeling good and living fully.

LIFE, Here I come!

-Vivian Greene

It is January 1, 2015. I have been a member of SP for over 6 1/2 years and a lot has happened in my life during that time. My husband has been disabled from cancer and its treatment. My children have pretty much grown up and I have had to face my 50s with an uncertain future. Still I am surviving and even thriving. I stopped smoking over 7 years ago. I am down 114 pounds from my highest weight. I have become a passionate hiker and a generally active person. I need to exercise in order to feel good now. This past year I completely changed the way I eat. I tried the Whole 30 eating plan and have loved the results of it in terms of how I feel and how I feel about food. I also gave up all forms of soda and artificial sweetener and am one year free of those substances! Here is to a brand new year full of possibilities for a happy, healthy future!
This quote is a reminder to myself to keep going despite what life throws me, and it has been throwing me quite a few curve balls over the past year and a half. I need to be able to come here and see this when I least want to take care of myself. 1-1-14
I have been a member of SparkPeople for over five life-changing years. During that time I have learned many lessons about myself, changed my habits and lost a lot of weight.

The past year has been an extremely difficult one for me. My husband has been battling cancer, and I was thrown into a whirlwind where I didn't recognize my life or myself. As I write this, we are in a time of relative peace. We are aware of no active cancer growth, but also know that his odds of surviving this are not good.

I gained somewhere between 20 - 25 pounds during this ordeal. That is not good at all, but I will tell you something that I know with absolute certainty. If it hadn't been for SP and all the lessons I learned here and changes that I made in my life, I would have gained far more weight than that. In between the times when I couldn't find the strength to care about myself were the times when I would jump onto the treadmill when I had ten free minutes or I would choose not to fall headlong into a bag of junk food.

Even in the midst of all the stress, heartache and exhaustion, I remembered those lessons and how wonderful it feels to take care of my body. On my darkest days when I seemed to not care at all about myself, there was a little voice inside me reminding me that I would probably care tomorrow. That voice kept me from doing so much damage to myself that I would find it hard to overcome it.

That voice was born with me, but had been buried through years of unhealthy living. SparkPeople helped me to find that voice again and to nurture it. I know now that even in the toughest times it is alive within me.

In 2012 I will celebrate 4 years with SparkPeople. Many positive things have occurred in my life that are directly linked to my connection with SP. I have lost over 70 pounds since finding this site and I have developed many new, healthy habits to which I attribute my ability to keep the weight off. In 2011, I came to the realization that I was not really maintaining my weight, but was instead gaining and losing the same 5 or so pounds over and over again. I have definitely developed habits that prevent me from allowing my weight to go way out of control as it has in the past, but I haven't truly learned how to "maintain". I am convinced that this is due to the fact that in some ways I still "use" food to fill other voids in my life and to deal with other feelings, like boredom, anger, sadness, etc. I refer to this use of food as mindless eating because I want to grab some food, sit down in front of the television and just stuff it mindlessly into my mouth. My absolutely most important goal for this new year is to develop new habits that will eliminate mindless eating from my life. 1-1-2012

In 2011 I plan to work hard and look for the positive in things. The last few years have been full of struggles, both personal and professional. I have become somewhat downtrodden by these events. I know I can control my attitude. 2011 will be the year of positive thinking and positive action. I can change my body, my attitude, my life. Today is a new beginning (and so is tomorrow and the day after that.) I will strive to let go of what I am in order to become what I can be.
The last year has been one of the most difficult of my life. We put our house on the market after 18 years of living in one spot. Our main goal was to get our daughter into a new school, but we also wanted to change our lifestyle. We had lived on an acre of land in a neighborhood, filled with 100- foot tall oak trees. The trees and the neighborhood were beautiful, but the work required to maintain the trees and the yard was tremendous. We also had an in-ground pool, and it just seemed that all of our free time went to outside chores.

In order to make the change, we first spent an incredibly hectic month getting our house ready to sell - removing wallpaper, painting, de-cluttering, doing fix-up projects, etc. Then came the seven long months of keeping the house spotless for the many showings we had. There was also stress over our dog, who is afraid of strangers and barks a lot when someone new appears. In addition to all of this, was the worry that we wouldn't be into the new school district in time for the new school year. (On top of these issues was the fact that I was attempting to homeschool my daughter while working full time. That work involves running a nonprofit, state-funded agency in the midst of serious budget cuts and other crises.)

Once the house sold, there was the task of finding a new house quickly. Then came the packing and moving of 18 years of our life, and finally, the unpacking and the creation of a new life.

That is where I am now. Life is good. My daughter loves her new school. I love my new house and neighborhood. The only thing wrong is that I feel unsettled within. I have lived in a state of high stress for so long that I don't quite know how to relax anymore, and, with everything around me changed, I am struggling to create new habits. In all my life's upheaval, I lost my habits. I frequently make healthy choices, thanks to SP and my 2.5 years here, but I also make plenty of unhealthy ones because I feel untethered.

I am committing here to actively working to establish healthy habits again. 10-31-10

I have lost and gained hundreds of pounds over the years. My first "diet" was at age 11. I now know that I must change me --- my thinking and my behavior --- and the body changes will naturally follow.

This will not be easy and it won't happen overnight, but it will happen if I focus on the goal and remain positive. Every pound lost is a GAIN for me! I must rejoice with every pound that leaves and not bemoan the fact that it wasn't two pounds or three. A year from now I will be a new me!

SP has been a wonderful gift to me. The information, motivation, support and friendship that I have found here have taken me from 264 on April 25, 2008 to where I am today, and the journey continues. I have learned that the journey will always continue, and I now have the tools I need to make it a happy, healthy, active journey!

It has been a little over seventeen months since I joined SP. I have lost over 70 pounds of flesh in that time and tons of emotional baggage. I think of all the years I spent searching for that "magic bullet" that would make me thin, and all I had to do was live in a state of moderation in all things.

The Spark program gradually introduced me to healthy, moderate living and I began doing it. It is just that simple. I was given a calorie range and a simple way to calculate those calories, and I very rarely stray outside those limits. SP gave me suggestions for exercise, healthy living information and a support system to help me along the way. I have embraced it all and have become a new woman in many ways.

Aside from the weight loss, there have been several other huge benefits of my lifestyle change. The first is that I have at least three times the energy levels I had previously. I never tire in the afternoon as I used to do. I get an incredible amount of work done. I amaze even myself! I also have a much more positive outlook on life and have much greater patience. I never realized that my unhealthy habits was so detrimental in so many important areas of my life.

The other big surprise I got with SP is the realization that I am no longer on "a diet". There is no end to the journey that I am on. I don't want there to be an end. I want to arrive at a healthy weight where I feel and look great, but that won't be the end. I don't ever want to go back to the way I used to live. I want to continue on my new path. When the excess poundage is gone, there will still be new goals to reach. I'll want to tone my body, increase my endurance, strengthen my bones ......who knows, I may run a race, climb a mountain or swim a channel. The whole world has opened up for me, and I am loving life!
September, 2009

Member Since: 4/25/2008

Fitness Minutes: 131,209

My Goals:
Reach my goal weight

Increase my ST

My Program:
Step 1: Believe that this is possible

Step 2: Stay focused on my priorities

Step 3: Think through how I will deal with temptation when I know it will be present.

Step 4: Eat high quality diet

Step 5: Move; do cardio and ST throughout the week

Step 6: Stay connected even during the rough periods when the desire it to pull away.

Personal Information:
My name is Jen. I live in Maryland.

Other Information:
Favorite quotes:

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
~Lao Tzu

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
~ Ursula K. Le Guin

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
~ Lao Tzu

"It is never too late to become what you might have become."
~ George Eliot

"Don't go out expecting to find happiness. Bring it with you."
~Tone Downer

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain.
― Vivian Greene

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not. "
~Author Unknown

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