Guest Post by my little sister – Lisa Sparks 8/21/2016

“My sister Patty invited me to write this week’s blog. I am Patty’s only younger sister and I have always thought of her as my friend. She and I were together one year ago in August 2015 at our moms home in Ohio. It was a great time together. Patty brought us gifts and one was Fit Bit to track our steps we took. I NEVER tracked my steps…In my mind, I was living the dream of just eating good fun food, never exercising but staying active and it was summer! I was tan and feeling like a true California girl…until I saw some of the photos of myself with family and friends that visit. YUCK. Those photos you are embarrassed to share with friends.
Family – rocking our Fitbits and putting them to work- Aug 2015

Me (Lisa) and Patty’s daughter (Jessica) planking – Aug 2015.

At the end of December 2015, I weighed in at my Dr.’s office at a whopping 194 pounds. I swore at the nurse and told her This is NOT OK!  I had been living my life concerned with others and never really put myself first and finally it had caught up with me. My family has always encouraged me to be healthier, by drinking water and eating better foods. 

To summarize my success, I for the first time in a long time began to consider myself and make changes.  There isn’t really a secret or one thing I have done, but I think of 3 things
1. I wanted to better myself with health and fitness for ME
2. I read lots of good books. With losing weight, my favorite was Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules. With bettering myself? That book is titled Boundaries.
3. I began exercising at home, but my biggest boost in self-esteem and in physical fitness is my wonderful time with my physical trainer at Golds Gym (Fairport, NY) named Nick.

My body has changed from a size 14/16 to a size 10. From 194 pounds to 161.2 as of today. My son said I was glowing. I want more results so I keep onward. It’s been the most rewarding transformation in my life. It reminds me of the success I enjoyed as a youth who won gold medals in swimming competitions.


I’ve learned that I no longer need to try to change anyone else in life besides me. This I am in control of. By changing me inside and out, I feel I have a new love of life, a new relationship with my husband and kids and I feel Brand New.

My sweet sister Patty has been a constant support in my life…I am always asking her for answers to life’s questions! Now she is this rock of strength and determination I just love to observe and glean from! I am so proud of her and so thankful to her.

My sister Patty and I in August 2015 and again in August 2016.

Be good to yourself…it is not selfish like I sure thought for many years. I dare you to put away processed foods and try lifting weights! HA! Those thunder thighs can become TRUE thighs of thunder that are tone and strong and it feels so incredible to be confident in yourself. It also feels good to tie your shoes and not have a huge belly be in your way!

Love you my sister Patty. Thank you for being my example of not giving up. I’ll see you on the awards blocks receiving our gold medals/blue ribbons when we reach our goals., however every day we are on the winner blocks! 

NLP – Next Level Performance 8/14/2016

Facebook memories pop up on your timeline and they have a way of reminding you just where you were one year ago.  One year ago, I was in Ohio with my daughter visiting my mother and my sisters.  I did not feel well leading up to that trip nor did I feel well the entire time I was there.  Honestly for me it was a miserable trip.  To add insult to injury, I could b-a-r-e-l-y buckle the seatbelt on my flights.  I was too embarrassed to ask for an extender so I sucked it in and got it buckled.  These photos are from that trip one year ago.

My sister Lisa and I August 2015

All 7 of us girls – August 2015
My daughter and I – Aug 2015
As soon as I returned from that trip, I joined the NLP program at Gold’s Gym.  What that allowed me to do was to attend classes and/or semi-private training sessions every day (Monday-Saturday).  This is different from classes that are held in the gym such as Yoga or Zumba or Spin, because these classes are led by Certified Professional Trainers.  I needed and still need that to make sure that I am doing the exercises correctly, so I don’t get hurt.  My one year anniversary date for NLP is actually coming up on August 21.  From the day I joined, August 21, 2015 until today, I have gone to at least one class a day (Monday-Friday) every day all year.  The only times I did not do this was when we were physically out of town on vacation.   I want to now show you some side by side pictures of what one year of NLP has done for me so far.
Look at my face in the 2015 – WOW.

1 year difference – I’ll post another one next year.

I have met a whole bunch of new friends in NLP.  One girl I even blogged about in the earlier blogs about how encouraging she was during a certain workout.  She’s been busy all summer renovating her house so I haven’t seen her, but she came to the gym last week and we gave each other a big hug.  And then she said, “I know just what to do with your hair to compliment your weight loss.”  My response, “You’re a hairdresser?”  So this is the fun day we had last week.

Looking through the “color” book.

Having a great time together.  I didn’t even know her a year ago.
The finished product.
I also have had a great time with 3 ladies all summer – one is in her 20s, one is in her 30s, and one is in her 40s, and I am in my 50s – yet we have had the best time training together.  Who knew?  Well Dave and I went to the 20-something’s this weekend for a birthday party for her husband and child.  We just had the best time getting to know her family and friends.  We got a selfie of us from that party.  
At Jenna’s party!
So yes, this is kind of an NLP promotion.  I love it and I am so glad I joined a year ago.  I’ve met a lot of new friends and I’ve lost weight and inches.  Remember that pesky seat belt on the plane?  Well I have lost over 10 inches in my waist since that trip.  I have no problem buckling the airplane seatbelt now!  My sister has even joined her Golds gym NLP program in New York.  She actually wants to contribute to this blog with a post about her journey.  So stay tuned….
Our one year journey – My sister Lisa and me.
I’ve had several people say to me, “I hope you can keep it off.”  That was kind of bothering me until I saw the statistic for people who lose weight only to gain it back.  That number was 80-90%.  Let me assure you, I will be in the 10% that keep it off.  And 90% of that reason will be because of the way the trainer is guiding me through this process.  Slow and steady.  I guess you’ll just have to check back in another year to see that I mean business!

Relax – August 8, 2016

Those of you who know me will probably get a laugh out of hearing that the trainers tell me to “relax.”  I have been a planner/control freak for as long as I can remember.  When Jessica was 3 years old, I had picture schedules for her so she knew what her day would be like.  Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, play at playground, etc..  all in pictures.  I also think Dale Carnegie wrote “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” knowing that I would one day need that information.

Anyway, my last post was July 31.  Every Monday is weigh in day for me and last Monday, August 1 I had gained 1/2 pound.  I was told this would happen, but it didn’t make it any easier to take.  And on top of that, I had pulled a muscle in my back Friday evening, July 29.  I was doing pretty well on Monday, but it tightened up again on Tuesday morning.  So the trainer basically benched me until it was 100%.

Although my head knows that is the right decision, I still get angry.  Because in my mind I’m not staying on my carefully planned course for my life.  So since I couldn’t go to the gym, I decided to go for a walk in the afternoons (a 4 mile walk.)  I did this Tuesday afternoon and again Wednesday afternoon.  Unfortunately after Wednesday afternoon, my feet and knee hurt and my ankle had swollen.  Getting mad never benefits you.

Long story short, I stopped the walking, I stopped the weight lifting, and I asked Ryan for a sit down.  We met on Thursday and I was able to relay my worries and he was able to “talk me down” if you will.  I came away from that meeting feeling more sure that I would eventually reach my goal, then I had ever felt before.  I mentally removed the time table and I felt like a huge weight had been lifted.

I went back to the gym for a Friday afternoon workout and I have to say that I felt great because I had rested my body and not overdone it.  Usually on Friday afternoons, I am exhausted during the workout.  That’s when my mind begins to “believe” what they are telling me about exercising less, eating more, and RELAX.

On Saturday, the family went out to play pool.  It’s something we enjoy doing.  I decided that I was going to have a beer.  I hadn’t had a drink since the Alaska cruise, but I was “relaxing,” remember? We are not big drinkers, but at times I do enjoy a drink.

This is me – relaxing!

 On Sunday, I went to the gym to swim.  After my swim, Kasey (he works behind the desk) made me a shake and just made my day with his writing on my cup.  I try to take the time to get to know the workers and Kasey has quite the back story.  He’s always got a smile on his face and he just made my day.  This kind of fits in with my last post about always be humble and kind.

Better than a Starbucks barista!

From the swim I went out to breakfast with people in our Bible fellowship.  There one of the ladies was telling me she and her daughter were ready to begin their fitness journey.  So I took her back to Golds to talk to Danielle and find out more information about the Next Level Performance program.  I stepped away for a moment and Danielle said some pretty awesome things about me to my friend.  My friend was sure to tell me.  So thanks, Danielle!

That evening since our daughter was home for one week we went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Do you see the pattern – I’m RELAXING.  I made good choices for supper, but dang if that waiter didn’t keep putting the bread basket in front of me.  I finally said, “Dang that bread smells great.”  This is what my normally very quiet son said to me.  
I did NOT come over to the dark side.

So anyway, fast forward to this morning- a Monday – a weigh in day.  My weight was down 2 pounds and this happened!

I may say this too much, but I really want to thank Ryan and Mana for all their help in obtaining this goal and also for how they are re-educating me about as Mana put it “Don’t let the scale rule your life.”