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Me, April 2012

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Husband and me, January 2008. This is where I started this journey.

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Fishing Summer 2010

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JENIFIREHARP is a SparkPeople Motivator!

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I like to say that it all began with a paper route, but that isn't the whole story. I have spent years feeling fat, even when I was a size 7 in high school. I stopped caring about what I ate, so soon enough my body caught up with my head. It took years, but eventually I weighed about 260 pounds. For my 5' 7" tall body, I was 100 pounds overweight! Oh, I tried "dieting" a few times, especially after I got my picture taken. It never lasted. I kept making excuses that I was too busy or stressed to keep the weight off.

As I got older I was in denial that I even looked fat. I started to have the opposite problem from my high school days. In my head I looked fine, but the pictures!!! Yikes!!! It was the pictures that made me change my thinking. I went on several "diets" over the years. I tried walking during breaks at work, and eating less junk food. I lost a few pounds.

Then a bunch of crazy life stuff happened to make me reevaluate my priorities. We found out our young son needed special therapy. My husband started working more hours. So I put my notice in at my job that was 20 miles away. At the same time, I was able to get a paper route locally for a few extra dollars. While I was still working out the rest of my shifts, my husband and I shared my route.
On my own I lost a few pounds, but it is hard to do this alone. I had been told good things about Spark People, so I finally checked it out. I loved it right away! The nutrition tracker, the fitness ideas, the motivational stories, all helped me tremendously. It took me a few weeks to get comfortable enough to make my Spark Page or join any groups, but once I did my journey to a healthier me really began. I now believe in moderation and track everything I eat, trying to drink plenty of water and eat a minimum of 5 fruits/veges every day. But it is the exercise that truly has made a difference in my life. I feel great!!!

SP has truly changed my life and I am never, ever going back to the old lifestyle!
UPDATE 2012: easier said then done...
The secret to succes? Stay with Sparkpeople. Stick with your goals. Never give up, no matter how far you stray. One step at a time, one step at a time, you will become a success story!

People keep asking me stuff like, "What are you doing?" and "What is your secret?" And I think it all comes down to the fact that this 'one step at a time' thing really does work! I think if someone told me that it was going to take an entire year to lose 80 pounds, I would have been overwhelmed. It seems like such a long time! But taking things one moment at a time, one step at a time, one pound at a time, is so much easier to deal with. Each little step towards progress is still progress and something to celebrate!!!

UPDATE: January 2009 - NEW YEAR, NEW ME!
Wow, I have come so very far in the last year! It isn't just the clothing sizes (size 24 to size 12) or the pounds (over 70 gone) or the lost inches (I've lost track: 33 I think) or the amount of energy I now have... although those things have been nice improvements! It is my mind set that has really improved. I am so much more confident! I have become a cub scout leader, and a cantor at church. I walked my first 5K late in 2008, and plan on doing more in 2009. I am a better friend, wife, and mother. Not because I am smaller on the outside, but because I have grown on the inside!

UPDATE October 28, 2008:
Thanks for making me a motivator!
I am trying to let it sink in that I actually lost this weight with SP and hard work after years of half-heartedly trying on my own. Thank you to all my Spark Friends and Teams for all your wonderful support. I couldn't have done this without you!!!

QUOTES that inspire me:

That quote at the top is by Lao-tzo.

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.
- Harold B. Melchart

Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.
- -- Nicholas Murray Butler

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb."
-Sir Winston Churchill

One is taught by experience to put a premium on those few people who can appreciate you for what you are...
-Gail Godwin

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself - and be lenient to everybody else.
- - Henry Ward Beecher

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
-George Eliot

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
- Aesop

The five keys to success are Passion, Perseverance, Balance, Giving back, and Faith.
-Sally Brown

Never Give Up, Never Surrender!!!
-Line from movie Galaxy Quest

There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. -Edith Wharton

You can't accomplish anything that you give up on. Disappointments and failures happen to everyone. The difference between those who reach their goals and those who don't is staying motivated. If you're motivated, you'll keep going. If you keep going, eventually you'll reach your goal. -Zach Van Hart

Love yourself and everything else will follow. -JH

I am a beautiful person, inside and out! -JH

Getting started is only part of the journey, the rest is never giving up, no matter what!!! -JH

Member Since: 3/13/2008

Fitness Minutes: 48,644

My Goals:
Lose and keep off the pounds by eating healthy, staying in my calorie range, and being active every single day!!!

Lose 50 pounds.
DONE! 8/20/08

Leave obese forever: DONE! 9/3/08

Lose 75 pounds.
DONE! 1/5/09

Buy a whole new wardrobe!!! DONE!

Get to healthy BMI.

My Program:
* 30 min daily
Gym work out
using elliptical
and treadmill.

* 30 min ST program

* Spring Bootcamp May 2012

* Bike with family.

* Stay active by walking, dancing, and moving around!

Personal Information:
My family consists of 38 year old me, my husband, our 10 yr old son, my 17 yr old sister, and our 2yr old australian shepherd.

I like to create things: write, scrapbook, projects, whatever!

I like camping, hiking, fishing.

I love reading and I love all kinds of music.

I like to be outside when the weather is nice. I love spring and fall.

I love life and I love myself because I am wonderfully made!

Other Information:
260 pounds
size 24

(as of June 2012)
184 pounds
size 12
38% body fat

I have had my ups and downs in this journey.

Sparkpeople is the key to my success.

Read More About JENIFIREHARP - Profile Information moved here. (Updated June 6)

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