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Welcome To All Around The Circle!

Glad you've found the time to visit today! I'm Elle and I blog about my family, book reviews, arts and crafts, education and so much more. Life is always changing around here, but we try to keep up the best we can. I hope you'll follow along on our journey.
Feel free to visit other locations I maintain: CraftWithKids NetWork FB Group, SparkPeople Connections, and Lighthouse Lane Tags 'N Snags.

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SparkPeople~Start Your Healthy Journey Here!

I have been meaning to write a post about SparkPeople for awhile now.  I guess I have put it off for a number of reasons, but the top reason is probably because there is a multitude of things to tell you about this wonderful site.  (No, I am NOT being paid to talk about SP, I am just a satisfied user of this amazing site.)

Sparkpeople is a site with an abundance of tools to help you get healthy and stay healthy.
It is a weight loss and support system, a site chalk full of tools to help you succeed on your journey to getting healthy.  The best part about this site is that it is completely FREE!  

I'm not going to type out the history of the site, but rather give you a few links to look at to learn about what its all about.  (Please read these AFTER you've finished reading my post or you may never return to finish reading my post~ LOL!)

The site has a place to record your fitness activities, a weight tracker, food tracker, meal planner, your very own SparkPage where you can blog, earn trophies and recieve SparkGoodies from friends, Spin the Spark Wheel daily to win Sparkpoints, Spark Videos to workout to, articles, message boards, team boards, challenges and so much more!  You do not have to jump in to all this at once.  It is very overwhelming and that is why I think it took me so long to start using this site fully.  But have an open mind about it and start slowly.  The point is to START!  (And if you are like me, you may have to re-start again, and maybe again!)

~My History With SparkPeople~

I discovered SparkPeople in October 2007.  This was a year after Kaye was born.  I joined the site with my 'throwaway' email because I didn't know if I would receive junk mail from them or what not.  In hindsight this was not a good idea because I do not check my 'throwaway' email (what I mean by that is the email address I use to sign up for newsletters, contests, free products, etc.) daily, if even regularly.  Hence, I was not very successful until I realized I needed to connect with the site; I needed to be reminded that I should be an active participant there in order to have success. 
Another mistake I made was making my Spark Page private.  In the beginning I did not want to share anything about how I was feeling or my struggles.  I am a private person and did not want it all 'hanging out' there on the internet.  Then I realized how much I was missing out on because I wasn't making connections with people on the site.  I was sheltering myself when I really needed to be making friends with members who had the same struggles I had.  So, I made my page public and decided that if I were to post photos of myself I would just blur out my face (still self concious about being to personal online).
I created a team for Mommies and was the team leader.  The team wasn't too active and that discouraged me.  I eventually left that group and took over the Pushing 40 Team when I was 38 years old.  This group was inactive because the team leader had moved on, but I got it somewhat moving again.  Getting involved really helped me want to spend time on the site.  I met a great woman on this team from Israel and she is probably one of my biggest supporters.  (Thank You Sam for checking in on me even when I go AWOL from the site at times!)  Life's little challenges sometimes get in my way, but because I know there are Spark friends looking for me and wanting me to succeed, it makes me want to come back to the site and continue my journey to get healthy!

Sam and I took over the 40 and Fabulous Team together last year and are still trying to get more active participants there, but we aren't giving up on it.
Another thing that helped me get exercising were team challenges.  In March 2011 I completed the 28-Day BootCamp WorkOut Challenge and in May 2011 I completed the Spring Into Shape BootCamp Challenge.  These two challenges aided me in dropping 10 pounds last year!  More successful than I had been in a long time!  I joined the BLC17 Team (Biggest Loser Challenge) in the Fall, but this was a mistake in hindsight because Fall is my most stressful time of year.  Our entire family celebrates their birthday at this time of year, so I have to start birthday party planning, gift shopping, throwing parties (this past Fall Kaye had a surprise party) and then before I know it Christmas shopping (Em's birthday is about a week and a half before Christmas).  So I did not participate as fully as I should have in this challenge and my downward spiral began again.  Unfortunately, I gained the 10 pounds I lost back because of too much stress and my lack of motivation to continue exercising and healthy eating habits.  I was determined to bounce back in 2012, so in January 2012 I completed the January JumpStart Challenge.  Then, by the middle of February and into March bad luck got in my way with the brachial neuralgia in shoulder, then Kaye's broken arm, Em's cholesterol bloodwork coming back high, my abcessed tooth needing to be pulled, etc.  So I have been AWOL from SP for too long now.
That is all about to change.  I joined up with the BLC19 and it kicks off this Wednesday 4/25/12.
Sign up with Sparkpeople here. Then go to this team to see if you can get in on the BLC this round. (No one may join the competitive portion of the challenge after Midnight on 04/25/12-or when teams have been filled - whichever comes first).  This team challenge is VERY well organized and each team has like 30 members on it.  If you cannot get in on the challenge this time, try one of the other site challenges here.  There are a ton!

There is also a support group on Facebook that I belong to called SparkPeople Connections.
It's just a place for those browsing around FaceBook to go and check in with their FB friends who are also on SP.

I hope you will check out the links I've provided in this post (I know, there are a lot) and decide to join me on this journey to get fit and healthy.  Now is the time.  You will have more energy and feel better about yourself.  Feel free to add me as a SparkFriend as well. 
 Get Sparked and Get Healthy once and for all!