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    Posted May 27, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    I Lost 100 pounds With Support From Strangers

    As a child, I was always overweight. I was still active in soccer and theater, and had tons of friends, so I never really focused on how heavy I was. When I met my fiance, he loved me for who I was and that made me even less concerned about my weight.

    Unfortunately, complacency and happiness can lead to weight gain and I continued to pack on the pounds throughout college. I didn't have my a-ha moment until my first year of graduate school.

    On December 2, 2011, my fiance J.D. started the MAC Championship Football Game for Ohio University. I recorded the game so I could watch it when I got home. I happened to be in the front row, above an ESPN sign so I made numerous appearances throughout the game. And when I got home, and watched what I had recorded the next day, I was so disappointed and upset. There I was, 275 pounds, filling out a 3XL jersey. I couldn't believe that I portrayed myself that way, as if I didn't care about myself or my health, especially to a national television audience. I immediately searched the internet for "free weight loss plan" and found SparkPeople.Com.

    When I first created my account, it seemed a lot like Facebook for people on a diet. You could post photos, write statuses and blogs, and interact with other people also trying to get healthy. I posted my first blog, and was sure it was the start of another failed diet attempt, but figured it was worth a shot. The next day, when I came back to comments from complete strangers, I was hooked.

    I wrote blogs asking for healthy recipes, playlist ideas for running, and general tips about motivation. I started reading articles the site provided and used their free apps for my smartphone that allowed me to track my nutrition and exercise, and suddenly I started seeing results!

    I couldn't believe the positive support I was offered by complete strangers. People who I'd never met in real life were willing to cheer me on and offered helpful advice when I was having a hard time. I continued to blog about my experiences and more and more people started to respond. I felt so honored to have people helping me, and also felt that I had to keep myself accountable for all of the friends I'd met on there.

    In my first year I lost 90 pounds and was absolutely shocked by my success. In January of 2013, my grandma died, and I started to lose focus and began to gain a few pounds back getting as close as 198.8 to being over 200 again. I refused to ever see that 2 when I stepped on the scale, and rededicated myself to blogging and my healthier lifestyle and eventually hit 100 pounds down and even ran a half marathon!

    The amazing support I received online, and the support group I now have on SparkPeople is a huge reason that I've continued living a healthy lifestyle. I know that people are reading my blogs and possibly even being inspired by my story, so I continue to login on a regular basis to track food and offer my stories and advice. I continue to strive towards my goal of a healthy goal weight and am less than 20 pounds away. I hope to reach the goal by my wedding this November, and if I do, I will have all of my friends and followers on SparkPeople to thank.

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