Nola Lost 50 Pounds with a Positive Attitude and a Smile

By , SparkPeople Blogger
"My first piece of advice is to smile more. You will feel better about yourself because a smile helps keep you positive."

Working on a farm, Nola (NOLAHORSERIDER) was used to days filled with chores like unloading hay, cutting tree limbs and fixing fences. As she gained weight, those chores became increasingly difficult. She recalls using rash cream where her skin would rub just so that she could mow the pastures. These difficulties, combined with inspiration from her sister who lost weight, gave Nola the push she needed to begin her weight-loss journey.

Nola joined SparkPeople in 2014 and lost almost 40 pounds in six months. She was proud of herself, had more energy and her clothes were too big. But the celebration was short-lived as the weight started to creep back on. "I got lazy," Nola recalls. "I stopped doing the things I did to lose the weight to begin with. I stopped tracking my food, was eating out too often and fell back into old habits. It took two years for the weight to return, but eventually I regained almost 30 of the 40 pounds I'd lost. I was ashamed and disheartened."

Nola never gave up on SparkPeople, though, and started reading motivational blogs and success stories to find the inspiration to begin again. She developed a new style of eating and utilized the tools offered by SparkPeople Premium to eventually reach her goal weight of 120 pounds, a 50-pound loss. Nola's SparkPage photo gallery shows her amazing progress. "I'm now in maintenance," Nola proudly declares.

Nola's 4 Tips for Weight Loss Success

Nola has plenty of advice that helped her lose the weight and successfully transition into lifelong maintenance.
  1. If you don't lose every week, don't fret. Take your measurements and know that changes are happening even if the scale isn't moving. "I kept my journey visible through pictures, both 'before' pictures and as I lost. My weight didn't come on overnight and it sure isn't coming off overnight," she says. As with any weight-loss journey, expect peaks and valleys. "If I become disappointed with the scale, I just remember that the scale is not going to dictate my life. I really don't care what the scale says. I only care how my clothes fit!" 
  2. Make lists. Make a list of why you want to lose weight and keep that list where you will see it often. Make another list of the small obtainable goals you can reach daily as you start the journey. For example, set small goals like drinking eight glasses of water, exercising for 10 minutes and tracking the food you eat. "Baby steps, always," Nola reminds herself. Nola makes a daily list of her goals and checks them off as she accomplishes them. At the end of the week, she feels proud of all of the good things she's done.
  3. Become informed about nutrition. "Be aware of the ingredients in the foods you eat," she says. Reading labels is so important these days. "Eat lots of green vegetables. I call it going green! I believe that any diet should require lots of green vegetables like kale, romaine, spinach, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers... you choose what you like."
  4. Attitude is everything. "Some of the important keys to my success have been consistency (tracking daily), determination (preparing for the ups and downs), daily exercise, wearing a smile and removing anything negative from my life," Nola says. "I am told that I am an inspiration to others, not just on SparkPeople, but outside as well. I love to smile and make others smile. I have been able to empathize with people by putting myself in their shoes for as long as I can remember. How would I feel if that was me? One of my best friends says I motivate and inspire her just being with me. I don't know about that, but I do like to make people feel good about themselves."
After more than four years on SparkPeople, Nola has no intentions of leaving. "I have told everyone who will listen that I absolutely love SparkPeople. There are so many helpful tools, videos, exercises, blogs and articles to utilize—all for free! You just need to take the first step to check out the tools and features available that will set you on a path to lose the weight and also to maintain that weight. I have hundreds of SparkFriends who motivate and inspire me. They always seem to have my back, as I have theirs!"

Nola believes that you can do anything you put your mind to—all it takes is that first step.

How do you maintain your smile when times get tough? Share in the comments below and also congratulate Nola for her amazing success!

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congratulations on your weight loss and thank you for sharing your success story with us. you are an inspiration. Report
Good story and am glad for her, I wish there was more detail on her specific weight loss.. "developed a new style of eating" was very vague. "used the tools in Sparkpeople premium " another vague topic if you do not have Premium. Congrats to Nora. Hope I will have a story like her outcome.
My smile is found in the exercises that I love to do.. Ice skating, gardening, walking, dancing and cooking,. just to keep moving and not sitting too long is good for me. Report
FNLUVNANGL 9/14/2019
Congratulations!!! Report
CAFEEAST 8/1/2019
Congratulations! I need to work on smiling more and to remember your 4 tips. Thank you Nola! Report
KLEEJSB 7/22/2019
Great inspirational story! Report
CONGRATS Nola!! I've seen you on the 5% Challenge and I know gal you got this together!! Like you, I am also sticking around!! Why? Same reason,,, I do NOT wish to gain it back!!

Plus when others hear of our success it gives them hope as it did us when we started. CONGRATS! Report
SNUZYQ2 5/29/2019
Thank you for telling your story. It's very inspirational! Report
Nola, you are an inspiration to me. Way to go! Report
KHALIA2 5/11/2019

great Job! Report
MOM1014 5/3/2019
thanks for sharing and nice job on weight loss and blog Report
KHALIA2 4/21/2019
Congrats! Report
MOMTOLJ 4/16/2019
Congrats Nola! Being happy is a choice you make every morning. Therefore smiling is easy when you decide to be happy Report
KEITATP 3/18/2019
Thanks for sharing your inspirational story!!! Report
PINKGLOW9 3/10/2019
Good job sister keep sparkling Report
IDAEVE 2/26/2019
Thank you. Very inspirational! Report
SWEETBUNNIE50 2/24/2019
Congratulations Nola your an awesome inspiration. I can't wait to see how that feels when it's just about maintaining, but like you said i'm starting out with baby steps. Thank you for sharing your story it was a real encouragement to me this morning. Report
JOY_ALWAYS 2/17/2019
Good Job!Thank you for your motivational story. I needed it today. Report
GMAREBA 2/5/2019
Way to go! Thank you for sharing your story. Report
MUSICNUT 1/4/2019
Congratulations - thanks for sharing! Report
2019ISTHEYEAR 12/13/2018
Congratulations on all you have accomplished! Thanks for sharing the great tips. Report
JUDYD207 11/30/2018
Congratulations Nola. Report
OLDSKOOL556 11/30/2018
Great job! ConGrats! Report
CHERYLHURT 11/30/2018
Excellent Report
MNABOY 11/28/2018
Thanks for sharing Report
CAROLJ35 11/28/2018
We're all so proud of you, Nola! Report
SOLLAMYN 11/28/2018
You're awesome, Nola! Report
WooHoo, Nola!! Congrats!! I see you around the 5% Challenge.

Congrats!! WTG!!! Report
CHRIS3874 11/27/2018
Great Report
Congratulations!☺👍 Report
97MONTY 11/27/2018
Congratulations on work well done! Report
JEANNESPARK 11/27/2018
You are an inspiration!
Congratulations on your commitment to a healthier lifestyle! Report
REDROBIN47 11/27/2018
Congratulations. You did it. Report
-POOKIE- 11/27/2018
"Become informed about nutrition.".... hugely important!! Report
PAMBROWN62 11/27/2018
Congratulations. You are so right consistency is key. I would also say positivity and persistence are necessary for a successful journey as well. I wish you continued success in reaching your goals. Report
WBERRY57 11/13/2018
Congratulations you are an inspiration to me to get back on track. Report
MMMCDOUGAL1 11/7/2018
Way to go. I've had a similar journey in the last year. I love your "smile" story. In the midst of my weight-loss journey, I had a revelation about my smile too. No matter how heavy I had become I was always complimented on my smile. So I had to realize it was the one gift I could ALWAYS pass out. Now I try hard to bless others with a smile, just to show them they are worth it. Report
Congratulations, Nola, on your success, and for sharing your Spark Story with us. You are looking Fantastic! You are an inspiration to many of us.
Thank you for sharing your Spark Journey. Report
KATHYJO56 11/4/2018
Congratulations Nola! I am very happy for you for an excellent job! Report
5GRAMMYDIANA 11/2/2018
I am very glad to hear that you are doing so well! Thank you for sharing, and keep smiling!! Report
Congratulations on your success! You are very inspiring. Report
PATRICIAANN46 10/21/2018
Thank You for the wonderful advice in your blog. You are very encouraging. Report
Attitude is everything. Report
Thank you for sharing. Report
Great job Nola! Report
Congratulations Nola, on your success. Thank you for the valuable suggestions. Report
Congratulations Nola on your successful journey, the tips you gave us and by being an inspiration to all of Spark! Report
Way to go! Report
Congratulations Nola! Awesome job ?? Report
Congratulations on your success! I wish you success in your maintenance too! Report