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Eleven years ago today, on November 21st, 2002, I gave birth to my daughter, Madeline Elizabeth. Four days later I gave her up for adoption to Valeri and Doug Brod. I had started my pregnancy at 150#, and ended it at 194#. I have been blessed through our Open Adoption to be able to keep in touch with this loving couple and watch our daughter grow and flourish.

The following Spring 2003, I attempted to get sober from alcohol, and dropped to 135# using a popular diet plan of the time. However, my weekly "treat" became more and more frequent, and soon I was eating out regularly and back to my old, unhealthy habits. My sobriety, unfortunately, also did not last. I went back to drinking after only 6 months.

In March 2005, I was able to start a new, and since continuing, journey of sobriety. I am currently working on my 9th year.

As to my weight, I have tried various diet plans, 12-step programs, and gym memberships over the past 11 years. Nothing has stuck.

Why do I intertwine my alcoholism and my weight gain? Because I realize now that one of my underlying factors has been addiction transfer: I replaced alcohol with food (I'm an emotional eater), and ballooned to my highest weight ever: 243 pounds.

I joined Sparkpeople several years ago, but only played with it sporadically---until this year.

2013 has been my year of change.

I finally realized I had to start working on my Inner Self, and my outer body would become healthy again. I have had several major issues to deal with throughout my life, all of which needed to be healed to a certain point before the weight would start to drop:

1. I have a history of abuse and domestic violence in my family and past relationships. That cycle had to be broken and left in the past before I could become healthy. I separated from my husband in May 2013 and am awaiting final divorce papers by the end of 2013.

2. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type I in 1998. This illness had to be managed medically and I had to learn the proper coping skills to live well, diet being one of them, before the weight would drop.

3. My alcoholism had to be arrested.

4. I had to heal from the loss of my daughter.

It's taken me all this time to realize that losing weight is not about numbers, or pounds, or food. It's about realizing that I am a Whole Person, with a body, a mind, and a spirit, and that all these facets need nurturing. I am worth my taking care of myself. has been one of many tools I've used to realize this. I am reading "The Spark" for the first time from cover to cover. I am tracking my food and fitness, reconnecting with Spark Friends and my Spark Team and the Community at large; I'm writing again, both by journaling privately and on my blog; I've received a financial aid scholarship to a gym in town, and have committed to exercising several days a week; I spend time in meditation; and I'm reconnecting with friends and family in a way I haven't for years.

In April 2013 I weighed 243 pounds. As of this writing I have lost 50 pounds and am currently at 193 pounds. I am still losing.

I am changing. I am winning. I am loving myself.

Member Since: 3/31/2009

Fitness Minutes: 3,064

My Goals:
1. To lose 63 pounds by my 45th birthday.
2. To organize a 5k Walk to benefit the local NAMI chapter.
3. To become a Healer.

My Program:
1.A. I'm eating 1300 calories a day.
B. I'm exercising 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
2. I'm writing a proposal to be presented to the local NAMI Board at their December meeing.
3. I'm gathering information about earning my Certification as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

Personal Information:

Other Information:
"It is with the help and grace of God that I have found myself."
-Soren Kirkegaard

Read More About ANDREAL39 - Profile Information moved here. (Updated November 26)

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 current weight: 193.0 
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