My Plant-Based Week
My Plant-Based Week

Spark Post #1: The Weight Loss Journey Begins

On October 11th of 2016, after a 4-day detox, I downloaded a free fitness and weight loss app to my Samsung Galaxy. I was ready to really commit to weight loss and was determined that this attempt would be successful. I was skeptical that the app would actually help or be user-friendly enough, as I am not super technologically savvy and I was nervous, too. What if I did everything right and nothing happened?? Back in June, I had started taking a stimulant-type supplement to aid weight loss. I watched what I ate, took the supplements religiously and worked out intensely everyday. I felt so very good. I was so excited, just knowing that I was going to feel and look amazing for our July vacation to Florida. I purposely did not weigh myself except for right at the beginning and at the end of the month. I did take measurements about 3 times and I did lose a little in those numbers. But when I actually weighed myself at the end of the month, not only had I not lost any weight, but I had gained almost 4 pounds. And trust me, my weight training was not so hardcore that I had put on that weight in muscle.


As you might imagine, I was so disgusted and furious. What on earth did I have to do??? So, I just stopped that program altogether. Now I still ate healthy foods and exercised but I gave up expecting any pounds to disappear. I was just resigned to being overweight.


Shortly before this renewed commitment, I saw a doctor who checked all my hormone levels as I knew that had to be the culprit. But all those levels were normal. The number on the scale truly frightened me and I knew something had to be done. I didn't want anymore supplements or any type of medication. I needed to figure out why I never saw any real success with weight loss over the last 8 years. 


I considered a paid app like Weight Watchers, which I had success with during my pre-40's but wasn't willing to spend $20 per month on it. I read several reviews on quite a few free apps and finally settled on SparkPeople. They have a premium version that involves a fee, but the free version has all the tools and perks that I need.


So, I created a profile and was given a daily calorie range based on the information I provided and my goal weight. I was really skeptical at first as I felt like tracking each calorie would be very time consuming. I was beginning to rethink the whole Weight Watcher app. However, once I started tracking I discovered that the search database was pretty sufficient and it didn't take all that long to put in foods that I couldn't find in the data base. SparkPeople has a great online community, an exercise tracker and Spark Points, which are really just pats on the back for making good choices.


During the first day of tracking my food, I could clearly see where I was overdoing it and where I could easily cut back. So I did just that, aiming to stay near the lower end of my calorie range.  I weighed everday at first and saw real results right away. I was so excited!!


I managed to steadily lose weight even through dinner out for my wedding anniversary (Mexican restaurant), an impromptu trip to a massive Asian buffet, a catered dinner during a work event and lunch out with my girls two days in a row. Even through our weekly ritual of Friday Pizza Night. Even when a knee injury two weeks into this whole thing benched me from my regular workouts.


At the end of two weeks, I had lost a total of 8.2 pounds! I was sleeping better and had more energy and felt really great. I was motivated enough to research excercises for rehabbing this knee and safe cardio to do while it heals. I am, as they say, in the zone.


Here's a sample of my day:


Breakfast: Smoothie made with 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, 1 small sliced frozen banana, erythritol for sweetness, water and ice.

Snack: A piece of fruit and a small handful of raw almonds

Lunch: Sprouted Grain wrap filled with black beans, spinach and salsa and 10 baby carrots

Snack: Fruit or raw veggies

Dinner: Quinoa with veggies and a small green salad with homemade vinaigrette

Snack: Fruit and two squares of dark chocolate


I also am still drinking half my body weight in filtered water each day.


Exercise: I try to get in 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week, 10-20 minutes of weight training 2-3 days a week and 20 minutes of stretching every day. I also downloaded an exercise app called NYT 7 minute Well Workouts that I can do when I'm really time crunched or I can do three ot four sets to get in a more complete workout. As I get more fit, the time and intensity will increase.


Stay tuned for my next SPARK update and to try SparkPeople for yourself, click here.




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Hi! I'm Milissa and my passion is affordable plant-based eating. Here is where I share my family's favorite recipes and show you how you can eat healthfully on any budget!

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