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One Year Later

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In August of 2008 I turned 45 and made a final resolution to myself to get fit. I knew there was no quick fix and that the right way to lose weight was the ‘natural’ way-the slow way. No pills. No liquid diets. No ‘diets’, period. But I didn’t really know what that meant. So I started making my own lunches using whole grain breads and turkey breast or tuna. I packed a full lunch box with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and yogurt to get me through the day. And it was a year ago today that I was googling low fat recipes and I came upon the SparkPeople website.

“The most important thing about goals is having one.” Geoffry F. Abert

I signed up for the free membership and set a goal. I am on pace to make my original goal, to lose 90 pounds by December 31, 2009. Over the last year I have lost 65#, for good. How do I know that it’s gone for good, you ask? Because when I found a couple pounds sneaking back up on me, I knocked them right back off. And just as I began to wonder if I was still making progress, Kristy made a couple timely comments about the improvements to my legs and the tone of my arms. Even during moments of weakness, eating less than quality foods, being lax with my cardio and keeping an irregular schedule, one thing kept me foraging ahead. Desire.

Like my runner friends who chant a personal mantra to push themselves further, I have a couple song lyrics that keep me going;
‘How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?
Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming with that one thing on your mind?’

And when I get frustrated YOU, my sparkfriends, are there to kick me in the butt, to remind me how far I’ve come or slap me upside the head with your flip-flops. Your support and encouragement, laughter and tears, questions and comments are the fuel to keep me going when I wonder just how much is left in the tank.

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” Bill Copeland

The key things I have learned are so obvious that I almost feel silly to mention them:
1. Nutrition-lays the foundation for the body you want to build. This is key, because while ‘balanced’ nutrition is the goal, that balance will vary depending on your goals. The nutritional mix for a runner is different than for a body builder, etc.
2. Strength Training-builds muscle, tones and shapes. Additional muscle also helps to burn more calories while at rest, a double-bonus.
3. Cardio-burns fat to display the muscle tone. We’ve all got muscle tone. The question is, ‘can you see it?” If you want the special effects that come with HD-MT (high definition muscle tone), you’ve got to subscribe to the right provider-cardio.
4. Attitude-brings it all together. The most important thing, (IMHO) that rarely gets noted, is this mental aspect. And honestly, I think it is the hardest part.

“Nothing can stop someone with the right mental attitude from achieving his or her goal; nothing on earth can help the person with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson

Once I made a true commitment the weight just started falling off. The most important thing I have learned is that you must absolutely have your head in the game to make this work. If you are new to fitness and you are reading this, here are the key things that you MUST do in order for a successful start in this journey:

§ Make a commitment to yourself. This has to be for you, because YOU want it, because YOU need it, because YOU want to improve your life. You will be amazed by the trickle-down of positive changes to your life by improving your health.

§ Be honest, offering FULL disclosure. What do I mean? Say what you really weigh-out loud. Share it. Take pictures and look at them. If you are not willing to share where you are starting from, chances are pretty good that you’re not ready for this change. I never told anyone what I weighed until I made the commitment. In that moment, I realized that it is just a number and it’s a number that I could change.

§ Take responsibility. Look, just like you, there are a million and one things going on in my life. There always has been. Three boys, a partner, a job/career, extended family issues, convenience; you name it there are way too many places to put blame. But there’s only one place it belongs and that’s on me. This is a lot of work and I am the one who was too lazy to do anything about it. Plain and simple.

§ Set a goal. What do you aim to accomplish? Be specific. Instead of ‘I’m going to lose weight’ say, ‘I’m going to lose 40 pounds by March 1st’.

§ Create some plays and implement them. What will your nutrition plan be? When will you do your strength training? When will you do your cardio? Let’s not just run up and down the field and never score! How will you incorporate your new routine into your daily life?

I have gotten out of this process, exactly what I have put into it. I’ve created new goals and have a new vision of myself. I’m 25# from my original goal with three and a half months in my original time frame. That’s a piece of whole-grain, low-fat, sugar-free cake...yum!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great information for me to start the day with. I have kind of slowed down and needed a little kick to get me going again. Maybe this will do it.
    4237 days ago
    WOW...I needed to hear that. Thank you for your frankness
    4237 days ago
    That WAS inspiring, thank you for that post! It has gotten me thinking again about my half hearted attempts, and being comfortable with what I've so far accomplished. Resting on "my laurels" so to speak! Thanks again, maybe I really do need to read more posts on Spark People!
    4245 days ago
  • VIRGOGURL4 inspiring!
    4247 days ago
    Way to go--be proud.
    4248 days ago
    Great ideas and you are there!! You must have a goal. It has been a year so we can see that you are very serious and it is working for you!

    Shirley emoticon
    4249 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/21/2009 8:30:53 PM
    Thank you. It was very inspirational and I appreciated the tips and advice.
    4249 days ago
    you're very inspirational! keep up the good work. thanks for the advice. i need to keep reminding myself i need to do this for myself.
    4249 days ago
  • CAALAN23
    Excellent blog, just what I needed to read today!

    4249 days ago
  • no profile photo SPBECKIE2024
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    4251 days ago
    Just what I needed today!
    4251 days ago
    I'm so with you on the goals thing - one year ago I was just musing about a triathlon; thanks to Spark, I've now completed one and looking forward to my next (and new goals)
    4252 days ago
  • CAROLJ94941
    What an inspiration!
    4253 days ago
  • MIS2101
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    4253 days ago
    Great Blog ,I have just started sparking. I am sure you have revved up a few people emoticon Keep up your good work I am sure you will reach your goal emoticon
    4253 days ago
    I linked to your blog yesterday, I just wanted you to know, that it is what motivated me to stay with my cardio today =) I didn't feel like it from minute one, but thinking of you key point 3 cardio displaces fat, kept me moving !!! Thanks so much

    4253 days ago
    Fabulous blog! I whined about not being able to lose weight for YEARS! But now that I'm committed to it, although i wouldn't say my weight is falling off, I AM losing. Slowly, but at a steady rate. It has to do with realizing there are no quick fixes, and that this healthy exercise/food plan has to be for life.
    4253 days ago
  • SUNGBIRD2000
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    4253 days ago
    Thanks for sharing all of this!
    4253 days ago
    Congrats on your success
    4254 days ago
    thanks! great blog
    4254 days ago
  • no profile photo PACIFIC_FROG
    NICE WORK, you look fabulous! Great inspiration to the rest of us! :)

    I love this: "Once I made a true commitment the weight just started falling off." ...That was so true for me too! I'm at the beginning of my journey (16 lbs and counting!) ...but really, "falling off" is true, because something flipped in me and I was just *done*. And I'd heard "you have to be committed" before, but I don't know that I ever could have made myself be committed. For me something inside flipped a switch / snapped / broke / fixed itself... it was time, and now no McD's food will come between me and my whole-grain breakfast ;)

    Thank you for your post!

    4254 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3402791
    Congratulations on your One Year Anniversary, Tam! I swear, every time I check your page you've posted another photo and you just keep getting more and more fit and slender!

    You rock! Keep up the good work and thanks for letting me be a part of your wonderful world of accomplishments and successes. You inspire us all, Tam. You're the best.

    (and are you really in Eugene? I thought you were in Portland!)
    4254 days ago
    This blog should be required reading for anyone who joins Spark People! Fantastic! You covered all the bases.
    Look how your resolve has helped you to lose weight! I believe you will reach your goal in a timely fashion. Way to go on the weight loss!!! You are doing terrific!! emoticon
    4254 days ago
  • no profile photo CD704044
    You said exactly what I have been thinking.
    Thank you for putting it into words!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon ON YOUR SUCCESS

    Hugs Debbie
    4254 days ago
    Hey Tam.. Congrats!!! You've done so great!!!!Love the Blog:)

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    4254 days ago
  • SUZY6281
    Awesome blog, Tam. And I agree with every single one of your points. Particularly the one about being honest. I finally became honest about my weight to those around me when I hit that point when I was finally ready to actually do something about it. Sparkpeople got me to that point. I will be forever grateful to Spark and all my friends here for keeping me in line.

    If you ever need me to pull out my flip flops, just let me know. But I have a feeling I won't ever need to.

    4254 days ago
    I am so glad that you found Spark while scrolling around. You have been an incredible encouragement and support to me, and I know that the progress I have made, how ever miniscule, is in part due to your support. I like the points you make in this blog, and it's another keeper for me. I need to remind myself of them DAILY. Thank you Tam!
    4254 days ago
    Happy One Year Anniversary.
    Thank you for inspiring me with your blogs, comments, and photos.
    You are an inspiration!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    4255 days ago
    Yes, now that's the truth. I know it works!
    4255 days ago
  • LLTS01
    I really needed this blog today. I am totally pumped up now that I have read it. You are a very very wise person. What particularly rings true is that every one of us thanks that we have different and tougher circumstances than the person next door. Thanks for inspiring me again.

    And congratulations on all you have accomplished to date.
    4255 days ago
    Congrats on your 1 year anniversay! you've done an amazing job and are a great inspiration. I also like your T.Jefferson quote - it's so true. I kept wanting to lose weight but had a bad attitude. These day's nothing and no one is going to stop me! Thanks for the reminder and the boost to keep it up!
    4255 days ago
    Happy Spark-iversary Tam!!!!! Thanks for being our rock!
    4255 days ago
    Woot, woot! Tam is doing it!
    I believe there is NO finish line in life, except death itself, which may or not be another round in a different sphere. The one addition that I want to add, is that if you focus too much on just a goal, you can fall down once you 'achieve' it. I have NO sense that that is where you are going... your goal has become a means of inspiration to perspiration, and you are so darn aware of all the goodies that you are getting as to strive toward it... but I just have to add this. This is a lifetime, healthy approach, with no end in sight... and that is GOOD. That is very good. I want to be fit and flexible and thinner in 2 years, in 10 years, and in my casket. I want people to remember me for my focus on living and life, not for a brief moment flash in the pan quick weight loss moment.... and I believe you are heading that way, too.
    Just... a reminder to all the Tam fans. Score your goals, make your dreams come true, but.... no end. Not an ending--- a beginning of a new way to suck the juice of live.
    4255 days ago
    You always have words of wisdom up your sleeve. Every time I read your Blog I get so much out of it...inspiration, motivation, information, rejuvenation....I know you'll be a great life coach.

    I wish I had half as much determination as you! I would be alot farther along by now! I just have to get my head back in the game! You rock, Tam!

    4255 days ago
    Congratulations on your SP journey and the successes you have had...and the successes that are coming. Your blog is like SP make it work, we have to put in the time...otherwise, we slip back into health oblivion where we spin our wheels year after year.

    You are DA WOMAN and you are an inspiration....I absolutely believe it when you say those pounds are gone for good.

    emoticon emoticon
    4255 days ago
    Yep! Dead on again, Tam! The head is where it's at. The rest of it comes so much easier--not EASY per se, but easier when your headspace is on track too. I struggle with this constantly! AND, I still don't have a solution to that problem. I just keep plugging away anyways and hope the mind comes around. Hehe!

    HAPPY SPARKIVERSARY!! And congrats on your success thus far! Thank you for all of your help with my journey along the way, too. I have taken a lot away from it and looks like I'm finally off my plateau! I won't know officially until Sunday, though. ;-D Ok, I'll stop blogging in your comments!

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    4255 days ago
  • SHAR140
    emoticon You are absolutely right. You made so many good points...but what hit home with me is, what's the point of running up and down the field without a plan to score??

    4255 days ago
    Hey Tam!

    Great blog! You always write the things that speak to me just when I need them. I've been lax in so many ways lately, and like you said, I only have myself to blame! The fact that I've been about the same place for months tells me so. In a couple of weeks, when my schedule evens out some will be the time I rededicate to what I want to do!!

    Thanks again.

    4255 days ago
    Happy anniversary!!! Great blog and so well written... and SOOO TRUE! There is always something TRYING to get in the way of what you want. Its about working thru them and doing it for yOU....

    because honestly - I want it that bad!!!!!!!!!!

    4255 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/15/2009 1:31:59 PM
    emoticon Happy Sparkiversary! emoticon Thank you for sharing. Here's to your new goals, emoticon which I know you will achieve!!!
    4255 days ago
    Great Blog Tam!!! Gives one the inspiration to get off their butt and get moving...

    Great motivation.... HUGS!!!
    4255 days ago
  • LAURIE5658
    Tam, once again you did not disappoint! I CANNOT begin to list the many times you made me feel good about me. You have been that constant in my Spark life that naturally overflows into my life. A while back I was hitting bottom an running out of Spark juice and I blogged about it. There you were for me AGAIN and you wrote something that made me cry at that moment and I will never forget it. It was the simple phrase...Patience grasshopper.

    Tam, thank you so very much for being patient, kind, dang silly and most importantly...a great Spark buddy. I truly look forward to sharing so many more Spark moments with you, my friend!

    4255 days ago
  • MEAG29
    ok wow...being honest with yourself...thats a huge element that most people fail to mention, but it is key!
    Thanks for being inspiring.
    4255 days ago
    Excellent blog. Your message is very clear and concise.
    4255 days ago
    I really needed that today - I'm turning of the computer and going to the gym now. No, seriously. xo - Sarah

    4255 days ago
    Really great blog!! Full of great points! All so very true. It's about desire & knowing your the only one that can change you!

    Way to go & I wish you much success on your journey!!
    4255 days ago
    Yet another wonderful blog. Thank you for writing such a clear blog on your process. Even at six months I find your words extremely helpful. "How bad do you want it?" just perfect.
    4255 days ago
  • BRIAN36
    I've said it before, you have your head in the right place and you can't help but be successful!

    I like how you've laid it out there. You are absolutely right. You have to want it, make a plan and work the plan. You get out of it what you put into it.

    Happy Sparkiversary!
    4255 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5411411
    Thank you for sharing what you have learned with us newbies. You are truly an inspiration. Also, Happy Sparkiversary!! emoticon
    4255 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.

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