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.”

Humble and Kind – July 31, 2016

There’s a Tim McGraw song out right now that pretty much sums up how I was brought up and how we try to raise our children.

“Go to church ’cause your momma says to

Visit grandpa every chance that you can

It won’t be wasted time

Always stay humble and kind


Hold the door, say please, say thank you

Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie

I know you got mountains to climb but

Always stay humble and kind

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride but

Always stay humble and kind”
Those are just some of the lyrics.  
In case you don’t know this about me, I lost my dad to cancer when I was just 19, and he was just 53.  But in those 19 years that I had him in my life, he instilled a lot of values.  
I remember my sister’s friend coming over and she left her car unlocked, windows down, and purse in the car.  She came inside just for a moment.  It was long enough however for the neighbor boys to steal her purse.  My dad was home working on building our basement.  He heard what happened and proceeded to walk to the neighbor boys house and retrieve the purse.  Then he offered the boys a job so they could earn money instead of feeling like they had to steal.  That was my dad.  That’s how we were raised.
I try to be kind to all I meet.  The ladies at the Wal-Mart deli counter always seem over worked and under paid.  I made it my mission every week to brighten their day.  So it turns out one of the ladies is a regular at Golds.  She goes to the water arrobic class and she was there last Monday when I was pretty upset that I hadn’t lost any weight.  
I think she could sense that I wasn’t all right and she began to tell me how she’s been coming for a year but hasn’t seen any weight change, but she does feel much better.  She told me how much I inspired her and how she was going to come more often and try harder.  This may sound silly, but I never really thought anyone was taking notice of me.  
That Monday was a difficult day yet again the next day an older gentleman who comes most every day stopped me and asked me if I was okay because I didn’t seem happy the past two days.  We talked for awhile and he was very encouraging.  
It made me realize that people are watching and I want to be a better example.  I just tend to wear my emotions on my face so I want to be better at manifesting the good.  And I always want to be humble and kind.

July 18, 2016 – 6 month progress photo

6 months – 48.5 pounds gone. Thanks to Ryan and Mana for helping me to set goals and then to reach those goals. Thanks to the girls in the morning who don’t let me get away with anything – snitches!  And thanks to all the people I have met at Gold’s Gym Clifton who encourage me daily – from a 9 year old boy, Triston to the 80 year old lady I swim with and everyone in between. And especially thanks to Dave and Joe for working out with me from the beginning. ‪#‎itneverwasjustfor12weeks‬
Patty Deters's photo.
Feb 2016                   July 18, 2016

Morning Crew with Mana – this dynamic will soon be changing.

July 1, 2016

After our trip to Alaska, I was in a lot of knee pain and a lot of emotional pain and when I am like that, I forego writing.  When you take a cruise, you often climb a lot of stairs.  This would normally be fine, but I didn’t think about it much until the pain was almost unbearable.  Then I was like, “Oh yeah, there’s a reason I do not do the stair machine at the gym.  This is not good for my knee.”

While I was still on the cruise, I scheduled a massage.  This would really be my first massage ever.  I told her about the pain I was having in my knee.  In fact when we were in Victoria, BC I couldn’t keep up with everyone during the walk into town and Dave and I just headed back to the ship.  The day after we returned home, I went to the massage.  Well the massage just seemed to aggravate the knee even more.  I could barely move for the next 7 days.  Now yes that is exaggerating some, but it was extremely painful.  I could not touch my knees without it hurting.  I would try to do the classes at the gym and I couldn’t get into a squat anymore.  I was super frustrated.  It was then that Ryan suggested it was time to see the doctor.  I agreed and started the process.  I got an appointment about 10 days later because I was waiting for my doctor to be in the office.

Meanwhile emotionally I was kind of beat up because I found out that I had actually been voted the first place winner in my age group for the Gold’s gyms in the region.  But then Corporate Gold’s gym liked the girl who had got second place better and gave her a national ranking of 4th.  Because she finished higher than me nationally, the Region rules are to place her ahead of me.  So she got 1st and I got 2nd.

I don’t know why it got to me so much, but it did.  Probably coupled with the pain, it was just a bad combination. I just felt awkward when I got back. I felt stupid for ever thinking I could have won.  I felt the worst about opening up with my essay and writing the things I did.  I get personal with family, but not so much with others.

I never did the competition for the money, so that wasn’t it at all.  And I feel like if I had been beaten fair and square, I could have taken that.  But for a corporaton to look at pictures and pick a winner without considering the local gyms input was to me unfair.

I feel like there are so many more people like me in the world (extremely overweight) than there are this woman they voted into first (fit and now fitter).  Why would they not want to try and reach the people like me.

It has taken me quite a while to process this all in my head.  I have continued to lose weight.  My trainer and I have a goal of 100 pounds in one year.

A few family members really helped me through those down days and reminded me that in the end I was doing this for me.  Once I realized that again, I started to heal.  I still felt very vulnerable for having opened up so much, and I definitely closed myself off for awhile.  I continued to go to the gym, but I was not as happy (if you will.)

But while I was still on the cruise, these pictures were posted on the Gold’s Gym Grand Junciton Facebook page.  (I go to Gold’s Gym Clifton.)

 They posted that I was in 1st place and in 2nd place.  So I wrote the manager of the gym and he said he would talk to me in person when I got home.  That is when he explained, I was in first place, but corporate had picked her to be a national winner, so they had to bump me to 2nd.

So anyway, now we have been home for about one month.  I am happy again and ready to rock the weight loss again.  I’m having fun in the gym again and my workout partners have been awesome.

It has taken this long to also find out what is up with my knee.  I found out last week that I tore my medial meniscus.  This happened at the beginning of Week 10 of the 12 Week challenge (so roughly March 20).  I was jump roping and I heard a loud pop and then my leg buckled.  I was in bad pain for three or four days and then manageable pain after that.  I certainly did not want to quit the challenge so I kept going.

I think after the Alaska cruise and the stairs, I about had done myself in.  I go on Thursday, July 7 to an Orthopedic doctor to see what my options are.  I just want to get back to where I can do all of every workout.  I have been able to swim for cardio and I am getting much stronger there.  I am actually having Ryan time me in 1000 yard free tomorrow.  I haven’t swam that distance on purpose since I was 20.  I have a couple of swim meets, I could swim in August if I want to.  But first I need to see if I need a knee surgery or not.

I am not asking for any sympathy here.  I just like to get my thoughts down and move on.  We have had lots of great things happening in our lives too and I just haven’t wanted to write at all.  So the fact that I am back to writing is a healthy sign.

During the challenge I was steadily losing 2 pounds a week.  After the Alaska cruise and my melt down, the trainers put me on a “rehab” schedule with way fewer workouts, very little cardio, and rehab exercises for the knee.  My weight loss has continued but it’s just at one pound a week instead of two.  So far since January 18, I have never had a week where I gained.  So today at 24 weeks in, I am down 47.5 pounds.

I have been told over and over that I write too much or I over communicate, so hopefully you were able to make it through all of this and now you can say, “Phew, I made it.”

You Can Lose on a Cruise – June 6, 2016

You can lose on a cruise! Down 2 more pounds for a total of 44 pounds gone since January 18. I am thankful for all of you who continually encourage me. Extremely thankful for all at Gold’s Gym Clifton and Next Level Performance Clifton. I know I’ve been more serious lately but I’m just determined! Deep inside I’m smiling!

Flying High over Denver Glacier – Another thank you to Ryan – May 27, 2016

To say that I was nervous would be a gross understatement.   Some things you do because you know your children will love them.  Ben loves to fly and has already co-piloted a Cessna twice.  When I first told him about this excursion, he was telling me all about the helicopter.  And Joe loves animals, so I knew he would love the dog sledding portion.  
It was the number one rated excursion.  The only problem was when I was signing us up (back in January), I was 26 pounds over the weight limit allowed on the helicopter.
My habit is to send everyone else while I stay behind.  Through the years, I’ve missed out on zip lining (twice), white water rafting (numerous times), para sailing, hiking, etc.  Sometimes due to weight and sometimes due to poor health.  
When I signed up for the helicopter excursion was about the same time Ryan from the gym was saying he could help me.  I talked to Dave and told him I was tired of passing on everything.  Could I buy myself a ticket also and if by May, I hadn’t lost the weight, we could see about getting our money back for that ticket.  Dave was 100% for this as he wanted us all to do things together. 
It was the last week of March when I hit that 25 pounds lost!  And by the time of the trip I had lost 16 pounds more securing my spot on that helicopter!
Today they bussed us a short distance and then asked us all our weights.  Joe, one other lady and I were weighed also.  Apparently my weight was the “jackpot” number as I was given the co-pilots seat.  Me, the one who was slightly terrified of the whole helicopter ride was now front and center.
It was the most amazing thing I have ever done and if this is an indication of the joy my life will have in the years to come because of my continued fitness goals, then I have MUCH to look forward to.
Our pilots name was Ryan and he was the youngest pilot working for the company.  He had to be mid-20s.  
We were also blessed with great weather and we were the only cruise ship in Skagway today (4 ships were in Juneau yesterday).  Our pilot gave us an extra long ride because they were not very busy today.  

You could push these intercom buttons to talk to the pilot but since I was praying fervently I couldn’t talk.  But Dave did.  
And yes, I would do it again!