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January 7, 2010

She was born in 1983.  And she started growing.

As time went by, she kept growing and growing and growing.

oh dear12 or so18
sjp   24.9

One day, she decided it was time to stop growing larger, and time to start growing smarter.

In 2009, I lost 30 lbs.  I am still working on losing weight, and getting fit, and making healthy choices, one at a time.

When I first started to get serious about getting healthy in June, I signed on to Spark People.  I actually first signed up for Spark People a few years prior, but never really got serious about using the website.  But in June, I decided it was time.  I had a list a mile long of why I wanted to lose weight.  I wanted to get healthy for my soon-to-be-(at the time)husband.  I wanted to get healthy for my future children. I wanted to feel good about myself, everyday.  I wanted to be able to run again.  And, of course, I wanted to look good in my (almost) wedding dress.

july - returned the dress

This time, logging on to Spark was different. 

I logged my meals.  I tracked my workouts.  I made some awesome Spark Friends, Laura and Stef, who really made all the difference.  I was dedicated, I was focused, I had so much support and encouragement.  When the dreaded day came around and I found myself without a fiancé or a clue, I turned to the Spark.  I found motivation and information in the articles and blog posts.  I lost those first 30 lbs because I took time to log onto Spark People every day. 

Spark People is filled with so many wonderful tools for you to use, no matter what your desired healthy goals may be.  Losing weight, gaining weight, gaining strength or endurance, maintaining a healthy weight, or any sort of fitness goal you can dream up.  


What I love about Spark People:
It’s FREE, easy and customizable.  You can choose what you want to utilize on Spark People.  You can spend as much or as little time on the site as you would like.  I personally followed the “Spark Diet Plan”.  On the website it’s called “My SparkDiet” but it’s far from a diet- it’s definitely a lot healthier than it seems- It’s all about finding the lifestyle that works for you. 

Following My SparkDiet was PERFECT for me.  There are four stages that you move through at your own pace.  Never are you told to stop eating something, or forced to eat another.  Instead, the Spark Diet focuses on portion control, servings, and exercise. 

Spark People has tons of different groups, forums, and challenges for each user to join.  I’m currently in a group challenge that is running from January – March, focusing on losing weight sensibly.  The encouragement available from sparkers can make a world of difference to your journey.  I don’t know where I would be right now without my Spark Buddies!  I also LOVE the Spark People work out videos, Daily Spark Blog, and Spark Recipes. 

But these are just a few of the great specific areas of Spark People.  There is so much more to the website as well!


A Sparktastic Give-a-way!

And now, there is a brand new Spark People book,  The Spark. Written by the founder of Spark People, Chris Downie, The Spark isn’t your traditional diet book. Instead of a strict “Don’t eat this, only eat that, and never ever cheat” mentality, The Spark is full of motivational stories, tips and suggestions of how you can find the spark within you to make positive changes in your life. 

The fabulous folks at Spark People are offering 5 lucky THS readers their own copy of The Spark!   Just leave a comment to enter, and I will chose 5 winners this Friday, January 8th at Noon (eastern time).  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to add some SPARK-le to your life 🙂

41 Comments leave one →
  1. Kayla J permalink
    January 7, 2010 2:39 am

    I feel I must point out that you have a friend who reminds me of Alyson Hannigan (I’m sure you know who that is, but just in case, Lily from HIMYM.)
    I got really excited when I saw her picture, haha.

    and then more excited that I’m in one of the pictures too! …Does that make me vain or self-centered or something? Is that bad??

    anyway, and then even MORE excited to again read of your journey thus far…sort of summarized, but always always inspiring!

    and EVEN MORE excited…book giveaway?!? and about being healthier?? I may not need to “lose weight” per se, but I’m CERTAINLY not as healthy as I could be, by ANY means.

    also, I would like to point out, that if I am indeed the first to comment as it seems, it is because I was awoken by a phone call at 1.15 and cannot go back to sleep. This is the first night in a LONG time that I was able to fall asleep before 11 and it has been ruined! Ugh! But anyway, at least I was able to get online and find this! 😀

    • January 7, 2010 6:17 pm

      i am curious to know which friend you are talking about.

      and you are not vain or self centered to be excited to see yourself on the blog 🙂 I knew you would love that. (but seriously- i look about 5 times your size in that photo.)

      • Kayla J permalink
        January 8, 2010 12:55 am

        She’s the third woman in your picture with…Danielle, I think is her name? Looking again now I feel I may have just been overexcited, hehe. But if you glance quickly…I really think she does…

        and pfffft. It doesnt help that I’ve been RIDICULOUSLY small my entire life. I take advantage of my metabolism FAR too much.

  2. January 7, 2010 6:54 am

    You go girl! That is so awesome you have lost. I used Spark for some of my clients and they always LOVED it!!

  3. January 7, 2010 7:57 am

    What a great post! Congrats on your healthy weight loss!

    I LOVE the last picture of you with all the inspirational post-its in the back ground!

  4. Beth aka Fishpond7 permalink
    January 7, 2010 8:00 am

    Heather, I love your story. And how you tell it. I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to see you at your goal weight. I’m happy that we are on this journey together, at least from Jan. to Mar. Good luck and let’s kick some booty.

  5. January 7, 2010 8:48 am

    Your story is inspiring and uplifting. I lost close to 50lbs roughly 6 years ago (over the course of 3 years) and did it for me. I have two daughters and my lifestyle choices are made for them. I want to be the role model for them that I never had. Keep up the great work.

  6. Sandra Wright permalink
    January 7, 2010 8:56 am

    I really like the pictures you have posted. I don’t think I could come up with that many pictures of me in the different stages of my life. Keep up the good work.

  7. Mary Whittredge permalink
    January 7, 2010 9:03 am

    Great post. I’ve really enjoyed following you both on this blog and your blog on SparkPeople. You’ve done great and overcome so much (moving to a new place, broken engagement, weight loss, running and racing) which makes you an inspiration. I’ve been on Spark over 2 years and on my own weight loss journey for almost 3 years and I’m inching closer to my final goal. It’s a journey and not all about arriving at our final destination (goal) which is what I think I’ve learned the most from being around Spark and through the friends I’ve made there. This is a big month for me…today is my 40th birthday and happily I can say I”m in better shape than ever, both physically and mentally, and on 1/22 I will celebrate my 3rd anniversary of getting healthy and starting this journey. I know I’ve come a long way and done so much more than I ever thought possible. My ‘theme’ for my journey is “Where I used to see only limitations, I now choose to see only possibilities.” I think that exemplifies your journey as well because you are focused on doing things you’ve never done before and I think that is how we grow the most. Congrats on how far you’ve come.

    • January 7, 2010 9:06 am

      Thank you so much for this VERY kind, VERY awesome comment!! And HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY!!! Congrats to you for making this time in your life so significant! You are wonderful!!!

  8. TaJuan permalink
    January 7, 2010 9:09 am

    Congrats on your weight loss. I just love spark people and think I am addicted to it. lol I have to check in every day sometimes several times a day to read blogs to help keep me motivated. I have lost 14.6 lbs in the last two months but have many more to go. Keep up the good work.

  9. Diana permalink
    January 7, 2010 9:09 am

    You have a wonderful story! I joined SP about 3 years ago and lost 50 pounds. Since then I let my spark fade away and have put about 20 pounds back on. I’ve recently gotten back on Spark and hopefully will find my motivation to be a healthier happier me again. Thanks for the reminder about how many wonderful things and people exist over on SP. Your story is so inspiring!

  10. Danielle permalink
    January 7, 2010 9:41 am

    I’m glad you told me about Spark People last year, and while I haven’t used it in a long time, I think I will after baby gets here to help me get back in shape. And I have used the pregnancy page a few times to look for work out ideas and info about what I should/shouldn’t do.

  11. fromatopink permalink
    January 7, 2010 9:50 am

    Awesome post! I’m very impressed with your courageousness over what you’ve had to face in the past year – that’s a very hard thing to get through and you seem to be handling it with grace and poise 🙂 Kudos for you to deciding to lose the weight and DOING it! That takes lots of motivation, time, and dedication – you deserve everything good that is coming.

  12. January 7, 2010 10:06 am

    Sparkpeople is such a great website and resource! Congrats on your weight loss, it’s always so inspiring to see someone who did it the healthy way!

  13. Carolyn permalink
    January 7, 2010 10:42 am

    I joined SparkPeople last February and it has changed my whole life.
    It’s true! I went from being almost totally sedentary to loving to move my body. My pants size dropped from a 22 to an 8 (and an occasional 6) and I have pictures to prove it!

    I will do anything I can to help other people who want to begin a journey to healthy living via SP. If you want to visit my Spark page and see my pictures, here it is

  14. January 7, 2010 11:08 am

    I love Spark I have been a member under 3 different user names for the past 2 years. This year I have decided to stick with it, and so far dropped 3 pounds! I think Spark is fantastic.

    Thank you for writing this blog. The End.

  15. Charlene permalink
    January 7, 2010 11:38 am

    SparkPeople is literally a life saver in more ways than one, for so many of us. Whether you have medical conditions or not, they work with you in all your efforts to become healthier.

    Heather I have to say that I loved reading your blog, which will be a mighty inspiration and your own testimonial to spur others on to join and make SP a way of life!

    I am proud of you and your commitment, and will be watching for you to reach your goal weight. You rock sweetie!!!

  16. January 7, 2010 11:41 am

    Ooh, I’ve been wondering about this book! I used Sparkpeople in college and turned a few friends onto it but slacked off on using it myself. I need to get back into the habit of logging my stuff every day!

  17. January 7, 2010 12:00 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve tried SparkPeople a few times but could never figure out how to fit it to my lifestyle. Maybe I should take a second look and maybe reading the new book might inspire me!

  18. January 7, 2010 1:01 pm

    You know how I feel about sparkpeople… awesome! Love all the flashback pics in this post!

  19. January 7, 2010 1:51 pm

    I used to utilize sparkpeople for tons of things! The resources and support are endless on that site.
    Thanks for sharing part of your story. I loved reading about it!

  20. January 7, 2010 2:59 pm

    I have belonged to sparkpeople since 11/19/2009. I have lost 5 ibs. already! I am also quitting smoking with the support of my friends on spark people. I couldn’t do it without them.
    I would love to have a copy of “The Spark”. But my funds won’t let me, see I am disabled on a fixed income.
    Thank you for your moving story. You remind me of my oldest daughter, Teresa.

  21. January 7, 2010 4:44 pm

    woohoo free stuff! 😉

  22. January 7, 2010 9:47 pm

    Awww, Heather–you rock! You’ve made such amazing progress in 2009….I also started running just last year, and you were an awesome inspiration. I always draw strength from my Spark friends when I run and think I can’t do it. “They’re doing it…why not me?” Keep up the great work, and keep writing!

  23. Armin permalink
    January 7, 2010 10:13 pm

    Heather you are awesome, I enjoy reading your blogs. Keep up the great work you are doing a great job. Have a good night my Sparkfriend.

    Go SparkPeople!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Holly Sparks permalink
    January 7, 2010 10:46 pm

    Spark People really is a great site! Congrats on your weight loss and here’s hoping I can get there myself. Much love for all my spark people friends.<3

  25. Rebecca permalink
    January 7, 2010 11:04 pm

    I’ve been a member of Sparkpeople for over 3 years, dropped from over 230 pounds to 150 pounds, from way too tight size 18 jeans to a comfortable size 6 jeans. I use the website regularly and I take advantage of all it’s resources. It’s an awesome website. I’m so thankful that it is free.

  26. Katie permalink
    January 7, 2010 11:11 pm

    I love the post and all the pictures. I joined Sparkpeople about 2 years ago but I didn’t really start getting serious until a week or so ago. The freeness of it is amazing!

  27. Salt permalink
    January 7, 2010 11:21 pm

    Ooo I have heard only really amazing things about Sparkpeople! Congratulations on your weight loss…you look fantastic!

    Visiting via Tropical Happiness and really enjoying your blog!

  28. Cynthia M permalink
    January 7, 2010 11:31 pm

    I love your site/page! Congrats on your awesome weight loss! You are an inspiration to us all! I love Spark people and am so thrilled that you are as excited about the site as many of us are!

    You Look GREAT!
    Best wishes,

  29. January 8, 2010 1:52 am

    I love Sparkpeople and like you I didn’t take the site too serious until recently. I love your story. You are such an inspiration. Continue what you are doing. 🙂

    Also, I heard great things about their new book. It will be great to win it lol. If its anything like the sparkpeople site, its probably the best “diet” book in the market.

    Much Love

  30. January 8, 2010 8:37 am

    I have never heard of this site but what a great resource. Your story is so inspiring I love reading about your journey!! Keep it up girl and Happy Friday!! xoxo

  31. January 8, 2010 10:16 am

    You now, I signed up for spark but got discouraged because it told me I had to eat 1200 calories to lose weight and for me, that’s not realistic (well, unless I want to be a grumpy you-know-what all the time and trust me, no one wants that). So I kinda left off but it sounds like the community there is amazing…maybe I’ll have to go back and give it another try and just not log my calories? Anyway, now I’m interested in it, so I’d love to win this book!

    • January 8, 2010 10:34 am

      Thanks for reading!!!

      A few notes on the Spark website: The calories to eat are based on what you enter for goals, expected weekly workouts, and such.

      (This is done on the start page, in the bottom left hand corner.).

      My suggestion is to imput “smaller” goals to better focus your calorie idea. For example, instead of “lose 30lbs in a year” how about “10 in 90 days” or even better, “4 in a month”.

      Then you add your fitness goals. For example- cardio 3 times a week for 45 minutes, or 1000 calories burned with cardio a week.

      Right now, with my level of activity and goal for the first quarter of the year, it suggests I eat 1600-1950 cals a day. When I work out MORE than I say I’m going to for a week, a warning appears that my body needs more calories.

      I think at first I didn’t like the calories either and that may have turned me off- but now that I have a better handle on my goals I REALLY like it.

      Also. I don’t stick 100% to my day-to-day intake. If I go over one day and under another, it balances out. I refruse to deprive, so this moderation and balance is key for me. I don’t allow myself to get upset when my numbers read higher then they should- if my stomach growls after I reached a certain number, then clearly my body needs a HEALTHY snack.

      You are right- Listening to your body is SO important 🙂

  32. January 8, 2010 10:22 am

    What a great website! You are an inspiration! I would love to read the Spark book! Keep it up girl! You are awesome!

  33. January 8, 2010 12:05 pm


    love this and you! I am so proud of you. You are a much strong/more determined/better all around person than me. You rock!!

    I thought you were beautiful before, and now you’re getting healthy too. AMAZING. And such an inspiration to me.

    Keep up that hard work my dear.

  34. Jessica permalink
    January 10, 2010 2:21 pm

    Thank you for being such an inspiration… When I found out about sprkpeople I found that it is not as hard as I thought.. with all the help that the site gives me…Im excited about my new life ahead of me…Hearing your walk helps me and inspires me to walk my story and its up to me to make it to the end than you.

  35. June 22, 2010 10:25 pm

    Gotta love the Spark, definitely helped me to get on track!


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