Wellness Wednesday – Support System

One of the big reasons my health has suffered so much the last four years has had to do with a lack of a support system. I’m a social creature at heart, and I don’t do well going it alone for things like weight loss and fitness. Take, for instance, the beginning of my weight loss journey in November 2009 compared to when I actually began losing weight in 2011. In 2009, I had a spark of motivation and a couple things I worked on. For about four months, I lost a little weight and felt good, but eventually I just stopped. It was too hard doing everything on my own, and I went back to maintaining the small loss (20 lbs) that I’d managed. Then I began again in 2011. It likely would have been the same, except for two things: For a month, a group of friends and I had a weight loss team competition, and after that, I discovered Sparkpeople, a social network for weight loss.

(Spark Jump Rally – Sept ’11)

That first competition helped me to have constant contact with seven other people trying to lose weight, including my husband. Then, once that was over, I immediately met a whole new group of people, both online and in person, and gained access to a lot of weight-related information I hadn’t had before. I had a platform to tell my story (long before I ever shared via this blog!), and I had people to support and who could support me. We participated in 5Ks, attended dinners and fitness events, trained for a walked half-marathon together, had online challenges, joined fitness classes, and more. All of the constant support and reaching out helped me to stay on track until my food and fitness habits were so well-ingrained and my weight loss journey so far in that I could keep going on my own if necessary.

(Sparkathon Jan ’13)

And I did. Sparkpeople wasn’t always very active as members came and went, and there were times when my brain was focused elsewhere as well. But I still kept going, and eventually hit my goal weight, and continued to maintain that goal for a long time afterwards. Even when stress and adversity hit, I did fine- until we moved. Suddenly, my entire support structure – not just people, but familiar neighborhoods, routines, weather, etc – fell apart. I tried to reach out to the local Sparkpeople groups in Boston, but they were nonexistent at the time. I still had my San Antonio Sparkpeeps, but there were no more meetups, shopping trips, group walks, dinners, or coffee dates. My virtual world was still there, but in the physical world, I was alone.

(Riverwalk meetup Dec ’12)

I’ve been that way ever since. Sparkpeople has essentially disintegrated by now. Almost everyone I knew there is gone now. The local team is completely inactive. The focus of the site is now on a communal public thread somewhat similar to twitter, and I’m just not interested. My online yoga community was nice in January, but since the TRUE challenge finished, there’s almost no one there anymore. None of my family struggles with weight or health issues, so I’ve found they can’t really help me at home. I’m alone in this, beyond my virtual friends.

(Spark dinner, March ’13)

As a social creature, this is hard for me. I do still have friends in town, of course, but many live much further away now, or have moved away, or are wrapped up in situations that don’t allow for morning walks or weekend 5Ks or other gatherings. The Yoga With Cats weekly meetup is nice, but it’s not (as of yet) something that resembles a support group or a potential new set of friends. This all makes me feel a bit  hopeless, like I’m left to my own devices and I’m unsure if I have the strength to do this all alone. I know I need to find something, but I’m at a bit of a loss at the moment.

I do, however, want to thank the small group of online folks who are ever-supportive of me on this journey. Y’all are my lifeline at the moment, and I really appreciate you!

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About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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12 Responses to Wellness Wednesday – Support System

  1. Word Lily says:

    Yeah, it’s definitely hard. I’m struggling with this aspect a bit now, too (mostly exercise related, but not just). SP was never, for me, what it was for you — I never had the local IRL connection, for one — either. I have different friends I talk to about different aspects, but it’s all one on one, not anything that looks like community, and mostly never has been.

    Like

  2. Trisha says:

    Having a group of people – that you can interact with in real life – is something I struggle with regarding both books and health. Most of the people in my life are not readers – or at least they don’t read the types of books I read – and most of them are naturally fit. I do have a small group of people I work out with at my local gym, but as their workout time is 9am and I have a job, my attendance is hit or miss. In other words, I feel your pain. 🙂

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    • Amanda says:

      I AM grateful to have a good community around me for anything EXCEPT fitness. I need to expand those circles, given that a good number of my friends have moved out of town in the last few years, but I do have some lovely people here and that makes things a bit easier.

      Like

  3. Natalie says:

    I struggle with this, too. I have nobody to take a walk with. I have nobody to talk to when I’m in need of motivation. It sucks!

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    • Amanda says:

      I’ve tried having a virtual buddy, but it seems that things come up for one or the other of us, and then it just feels like nagging, haha. That’s why a group is great!

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  4. I got your back and I know it’s just online but I’m here if you need a little help homie! I hope you smile today and enjoy yourself.

    Like

  5. Michelle says:

    The only time I was successful with getting healthy I did it completely on my own via WW online (this is about 15 years ago). I loved it, and at the time it worked for me. I have tried it since and have not had the same success. I never got into SP. I am not really into My Fitness Pal. WW online and in person has not worked in recent years. Going to the gym with my husband only made me resent my husband because he lost weight and I wasn’t. I don’t know what I need to kickstart my journey, but if anyone has any ideas, I am all ears!

    Speaking of groups, have you looked into My Fitness Pal? Their online community sort of reminds me of SP. I believe they even have local groups, but I could totally be wrong there.

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    • Amanda says:

      The one time WW online worked for me, it was 2001 and a big reason is worked was because of the chat groups set up on there. Totally a social aspect again for me. I’ve not had that since. I’m on MFP but I don’t really like their community. Too many public threads about “would you bang the hottie above you” and such, ugh. Spark has gone to that same model which is why I think I’m not interested in trying to reestablish there.

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