Monday, May 3, 2010


From time to time I would like to share with you good things I have found that have helped me. They may not be clothing specific but they relate to my growing sense of self and my widening ability to appreciate life.

I am one of those people who believe the best things in life are free. Like when someone is truly kind, or like the people in our lives that love us no matter what. They never send us a bill.

Sparkpeople is one of those good things. And friends, THIS IS FREE. Sparkpeople is FREE. You may already know about it if you live in the US.

Let me just give you a little background on my personal struggle. I was almost always in appearance a physically fit person. But I smoked for years. I smoked to keep the weight off, so under the surface I was never truly healthy. It just looked that way.

Smoking started to take its toll. It made exercising harder and harder and the day finally came when I had to quit for urgent health reasons. So I made quitting the focus of my life and I quit exercising and threw everything else to the wind.

If you had asked me at that time what I was doing with my life, I would have said, "I am not smoking. That is what I am doing everyday. Not smoking." That is the meaning of my life, not smoking.

That wasn't a great place to be because I coudln't really focus on anything else like actually living. But I did begin eating again. To the tune of 50 more pounds of me suddenly appearing (about 3.5 stone or 22.5 kilo), 30-40 pounds of it needed.

I had originally used the inhaler method to quit smoking whereby you slowly decrease your nicotine intake over time while not smoking. But it wasn't until I found Allen Carr's book, "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" that I was finally able to focus on living rather than focus on NOT smoking. As Mr. Carr puts it in his book, I finally became a happy nonsmoker versus a non smoker who wished she could smoke, or a smoker who wished she could quit.

So slowly my world opened up to me again and after a couple of years for the first time I went back to exercise with healthier lungs and a desire to get in REAL shape. Like Healthy shape. You guys know by now that I am a cheapers and I am always looking for free things, and so I went on line for my exercise programs. First I started with YouTube videos . Then I found a certain website with free exercise videos (which I shall not know who you are) and it became my daily gym until lo and behold one day the kind folks there started trying to download malware onto my computer! Imagine that! The site was no longer safe! What was I to do? I was despondent. Then I remembered YouTube, and I remembered the Sparkpeople fitness videos. I had visited their site once before, but I didn't get it then, because I was just looking for exercise videos. But this time I got it. It is a whole fitness program.

Among their many tools they have a food and a fitness tracker. My favorite is the nutrient tracker. They have recipes, group support and the latest health news, articles and research and, yes, they do have exercise videos, and very cool cooking videos on top of that. Their software designed an exercise program just for me based on my personal goals. And it's fun because there are lots of friendly faces. CNN called it the Facebook of dieting.

It wasn't my goal to lose weight but to be healthy for the first time truly. ( Truly healthy. Not just look good on the outside. God willing, as healthy as is within my power. ) But I have lost about ten pounds anyway since joining Sparkpeople in February and my entire shape has changed because of the strength training.

Sometimes you find things and you just feel the essence of them is good. That is how I feel about Sparkpeople. Now I am thankful for the day the other exercise website (ahem) tried to give me a virus even though I thought it was the end of the world.

A good lesson to remember.

And one of the things I have learned there is what a serving looks like. Wow! I never really knew!

And let me just say this again peeps. IT'S FREE. FREE. FREE.

Also check it out they have a book called The Spark that is on the New York Times bestseller list.

So for me it is not about being skinny anymore. Skinny is great if it's natural for you, but I was born with a little shake in my step, and I am fine with that. No, it's about being healthy anf fit and strong and being able to move the flowerpots around in my garden by myself and feeling like I have a nice shape. That is what it's all about for me.

So go check them out! I think you will be really impressed and it could change your life for the better like it did mine. They have tutorials that will help you get started. Enjoy!

And hope like me it stays free!

Hey, has anybody else out there had a good experience with Sparkpeople?