It's All About Perspective


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  75 comments   :  25,090 Views

I have had so many wonderful opportunities the past two years to meet some very special and remarkable SparkPeople members who continue to motivate and inspire me to carry on with my own journey to embrace all that life has to offer. Hearing the inspirational stories of so many members who have overcome their own obstacles in life, such as losing over 100 pounds, running their first half-marathon or even lacing up their running shoes to race their first 5K is a blessing beyond words.

In a few short weeks I will celebrate six years of being diet free. I have never considered this journey I am on as another diet. I consider this my way of living. Running, strength training, Pilates and watching my diet has become my way of living, so much so that I no longer have to think I just do--something my running coach taught me years ago when I was new to the sport of running. In order to make a habit we must constantly make ourselves aware of the changes we need to make until we no longer have to think we just do--that is what we call a habit.

Last week when the Special Health edition of All You Magazine featuring Coach Nicole and a number of our members was released I must say I was quite nervous. I was honored to have been asked to share my story. Unbeknown to me, Coach Nicole had submitted my name and story to the magazine. Last August before I was leaving to run the Hood to Coast Relay with eleven other SparkPeople runners from across the country, I was given the AWESOME news. I was sworn to secrecy and let me tell you I was dying to tell everyone.

Some of you may not realize, but before I was asked to come work for SparkPeople in August 2008, I was just like many of you. I was a member who came on board daily to share a little glimpse in my life and to share my knowledge of how I overcame the adversities in my life.

Writing my story was the easy part, but I will confess the photo shoot was a challenge. I met with the photographer at the end of September and was asked by the All You editors to wear something as though it was January. OK, that would have been fine, but Texas was in the midst of a triple digit heat wave and high humidity. I was sweating even before I got to our destination, mind you in my car with the A/C on high.

The photographer had me running. The first few shots were going well, but as you can imagine, wear a half-zip long sleeved jacket and black running capris, the sweat started pouring down my face. Keep in mind, my hair was too short to pull back and because they did not want me to wear a hat, well let's just say it was not a great experience. I knew 95% of the shots were of me sweating.

Having spent the better part of my life avoiding cameras and allowing others to define me, this one day was a terrifying experience. I was hoping I didn't look goofy or fat. It was tough, I will not kid. Something that many people find thrilling had me reliving the days when I hated having my photo taken. As the old saying goes, "We are our own worst critic."

When they made the announcement about the magazine, I did tell a SparkFriend and fellow runner my fears of looking like a sweating pig. She stopped me dead in my tracks and said, "isn't that what you do when you run, Nancy. You sweat!" That one brief statement changed my whole perspective. I do sweat when I run--just come run with me and you will find out and for those who have, they can testify that I am a sweater.

I would have hated going out there in full make-up with my dolled up hair because that is not who you see when I run. When I run, you see me. And while my hair is plastered to my head, I am blessed to be where I am today. I This journey I have been on has been quite surreal and I have discovered that it's because you all keep my life in perspective. THANK YOU to you all for your amazing support.

What have you discovered about yourself on your own personal journey? Have your SparkPeople Friends given you a perspective that you could not see for yourself? Are you able to see past your flaws and accept where you are today?

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  • 75
    In the past it was a destination to lose. Things have changed more permanently when I realized it was a journey and not a destination. - 7/28/2017   10:46:43 AM
  • 74
    Great job! - 7/23/2017   1:36:32 AM
  • 73
    This is a great article! Something to think about now. :) - 4/19/2015   9:25:50 AM
  • 72
    I have worn a pedometer since 2007. It has really helped me get up and get going. All I have to do is look at it and know what I need to do. - 1/26/2015   11:31:57 PM
  • 71
    Congratulations on your achievements! My SparkFriends have been a vital element in my success too. I love SparkPeople! - 1/31/2011   6:59:01 PM
  • 70
    Great work! Congrats! - 1/26/2011   3:21:43 AM
  • 69
    Wouldn't we all love to have Nancy for our next door neighbor!!! - 1/25/2011   10:06:54 PM
    Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. - 1/25/2011   5:19:42 PM
    Great blog! I joined Spark not to watch pounds but to get back on track with my healthy lifestyle so your blog was perfect timing and perfect inspiration. thanks from Ontario Canada - 1/25/2011   1:25:38 PM
    great blog! While I don't sweat all that much I avoid anyone with a camera at all costs. Too old, too heavy, double chin. I've used them all. Maybe now I can take a second look. - 1/25/2011   12:04:26 PM
    I wish I would sweat more :) It would sure make running in the summer easier!! - 1/25/2011   11:35:14 AM
  • 64
    What an inspiring blog! One thing I've had to come to terms with is that, really, in my exercise and dance classes, no one is watching me critically. They are all to busy on their own health, fitness and learning journeys. And there are so many people out there cheering you on, whether you realize it or not. I am still the heaviest person in all my dance class and I'm not letting it stop me from tapping, pirhouetting (okay still working on that one but still), and hip-hopping my way into a healthier, happier me. Oh, and I've begun to think of myself as a dancer, an athlete. It's been quite a change of perspective for me. - 1/25/2011   8:39:22 AM
    Great blog! Your story is an inspiration. It's amazing the difference between "dieting" and living a healthy lifestyle! - 1/24/2011   7:26:55 PM
  • 62
    You look beautiful in the magazine Nancy, I think it looks very natural and who wouldn't love that beautiful smile?! Good luck in Miami! - 1/24/2011   4:06:55 PM
  • 61
    Congratulations, Coach!

    Reading your blog, I loved the sentence, "In a few short weeks I will celebrate six years of being diet free..." I have always talked about "the lifestyle change" but your perspective on maintenance is wonderful in that statement. Diet free! - 1/24/2011   2:40:59 PM
    To me, PERSPECTIVE is the key to the whole shebang. Not that I have it at all times -- nooooo ---- but I blogged about it in December: "Old Thoughts/New Thoughts" and I really connected with your blog. All the best! - 1/24/2011   12:17:15 PM
  • 59
    PERSPECTIVE! I think that most of the time it is the perspective that we adopt for ourselves that either propels us, or derails us. We monitor our weight, our food, our money, our goals, and so many other things. We should also monitor our perspective! - 1/24/2011   9:49:42 AM
  • MRST92207
    Thank you so much for this! This is exactly the approach I am attempting to take. Not dieting, but making life changes. It's so helpful to me to hear success stories! - 1/24/2011   9:16:30 AM
    Too funny - I was just talking over the week end with some running buddies about how we look (or perceive) how we look in running pictures - sweaty, mouth open, hair flying,,,,,,, etc.... Good perspective.

    And congrats! This is very exciting!!!!!!

    ps save me a bottle of water at the finish line! - 1/24/2011   8:45:05 AM
  • 56
    Thank you Coach Nancy for sharing this with us - I love reading your blogs! - 1/24/2011   5:49:21 AM
  • 55
    Thanks for giving me a new perspective on things. - 1/24/2011   3:38:30 AM
  • 54
    I see I must get the mag. Your story is so exciting. We can change. We do change. And when we make it a habit - it really is us. - 1/24/2011   12:37:20 AM
  • 53
    I've been a Sparker for over three years and have yet to get to my goal, but I read Judith Beck PhD's "The BECK Diet Solution" and "GIVE MYSELF CREDIT" for what I have accomplished. She has taught me to look at my glass as "half full" and I know I will get to my goal. When most of the people I joined with 3 years ago have long since quit, I tell myself that I've stayed with this and I'm better off. - 1/23/2011   10:01:36 PM
  • 52
    I just celebrated my FIRST YEAR Sparkversary and I found out the natural discipline I had for working out ,I had in DETERMINATION AND PERSEVERANCE in "working out" my diet to be healthy ! It IS a habit,not a diet! It IS a lifestyle change and I've been maintaining it for 8 mos.after losing the weight in 4 mos.! - 1/23/2011   8:38:42 PM
  • 51
    I am able to see myself where I want to be, and I am also able to see myself WHERE I AM...which is on a life-long journey. It took me 55 years to get REALLY "GET THAT"!
    I used all kinds of crazy diets and every fast scheme and a trillion "starts"...My family heard it so many times: "I'm on a diet." It got to be so frustrating that I could bearly say it to them, I as I didn't beleive it myself.
    BUT, SP continues to enlighten me with facts and trueisms about health and fitness in a non-threatening, non-judgemental way that I can take in and put to REAL use.
    And I, like you, have fouind some good people who are striving like me everyday to be better than the day before. THAT is REALLY what it's all about, taking one day at a time and making it a successful day that is better than you would have had otherwise.
    I love than I can finally lay my head down at the end of each day since January 1, 2011 without guilt, without heartburn and with a feeling unlike all the others I've had surrounding "diets" and weight lose efforts in the past--SUCCESS.
    I'm happy for you that you've been successful and I pray that you will continue doing so. It is wonderful-simply wonderful-to hear another success story on further boosts my efforts with encouragment and positivity.
    Blessings, Donnalynn - 1/23/2011   5:27:10 PM
    Just got that fitness issue of "All You" last week and read the article featuring you, Nancy! You look wonderful in your red half zip-up! But, I never realized how hot it was that day :) Since it's so cold up here right now, I just assumed it was chilly when that pic was snapped!

    Darn-tootin', "diet-free"! "Weigh" to go...and many more happy years to come!! - 1/23/2011   4:40:55 PM
  • 49
    I liked this blog and am inspired by it !

    This word 'Pilates' is coming up now and then on this website I am wondering what it means.. Note to self; earn a search point with it soon. - 1/23/2011   12:54:51 PM
  • 48
    You have said it all so well, Nancy! For me, this has become a lifestyle, not a diet. I have not "dieted" since I started my Spark journey. Instead, as a cancer victor (I refuse the title of "survivor"), I have chosen to focus on better health. Exercise has become such a part of my life that on days when I do miss my usual workout time, it's like withdrawal symptoms. I eat more now than I ever used to, not quantity, but variety and quality. And, most of all, my fellow Sparkers have made the journey fun, interesting, and inspirational! I give thanks every day that I saw my daughter's high school friend, Birdie, on Good Morning America and that one thing changed my life forever. - 1/23/2011   11:25:13 AM
    To answer your question... Yes, my Spark Friends are helping me to see a different perspective than what I see myself. I recently posted some pictures in my blog of before (2009) and now and have a hard time seeing any difference even though I am 4 sizes smaller. I tend to be attached to the scale and my weight has changed very little even though I have been working VERY hard at gaining better nutrition and fitness. All my changes have been within the last 6 months but the 2009 pictures were the only ones I had of "before".

    The truth is, I am sitting here right now, weighing pretty much the same, but much smaller, a lot stronger, feeling a whole lot better, and much healthier. My Spark Friends are helping me "see" that there are changes on the outside as well as the inside. Thank goodness for Spark People where I can share my goals and progress and be with other people who are also moving forward in their journeys. - 1/23/2011   9:16:59 AM
  • 46
    When I am working out and I am not sweating I know that I am dehydrated and need to be drinking more water. That has happend on a few occasions but once I recognized that hey I don't mind sweating and drinking even more water......great article and yes we do have to count on our spark friends to put things in perspective sometimes and I have made some wonderful friends on here!!! Awesome story!! - 1/23/2011   8:15:05 AM
  • 45
    I have re-read your story in the magazine several times (the whole issue is a real keeper) and part of what keeps drawing me back to it, besides the fact that I number you in my group of friends, is that you are like the rest of us....REAL. Oh, and the sweating......even in my winter runs, I come back with my hair as wet as if I had just stepped out of the shower and my clothing has to be peeled off and hung up to dry before I can think about putting it in the laundry....I looked at the picture and thought..."how can she look so great when she runs?" HA, it is a matter of perspective! - 1/23/2011   8:09:30 AM
  • 44
    I must be a horse because I'm told that horses sweat, men perspire and women glow. I'm sure glad to know sweating is the bodies way of cooling itself. If we didn't sweat we might have to drool like dogs, or maybe wallow in the mud like pigs. - 1/23/2011   7:18:06 AM
  • 43
    I especially agree with your thought that this is not a diet but a way of life, I am beginning my 2nd year and, yes, that is the difference this time. - 1/23/2011   6:45:12 AM
  • 42
    Thanks for info - 1/23/2011   4:52:12 AM
  • 41
    Nancy, you are remarkable! Now I can't wait to read that issue. And reading that little phrase "...being diet free." almost made me cry.

    BTW, I'm a sweater, too, and in the gym, I'M PROUD OF IT! HEheee. Work it, girlie.
    Jocelyn - 1/23/2011   2:13:12 AM
  • 40
    I am inspired everyday I log on to SP with the amazing stories from all the members. I've been at this healthy lifestyle thing for about 4 years. I've learned that I'm not skinny and probably never will be. I've learned that it doesn't matter whether you're 20's, 30's, 40's or like me 50's or beyond, it is never too late to improve yourself. I've learned that I'm not perfect in many aspects in my life and that leading a healthy lifestyle is just one of them. I've learned that there is no reason in the world why I have to be fat, inactive and unhappy. I've learned that what I do, how I feel, where I go in my life is up to me and no one else.... I'll take the praise for what I've done... and I'll accept the heat when I slack off.

    I take ownership to my life. I can make it a good one or a not-so-good one. The choice is mine. - 1/23/2011   12:02:52 AM
  • 39
    I am new to SP, started two weeks ago. Some days are better than others. However I am determine to make this change. Thanks for the words of encouragement. - 1/22/2011   11:51:21 PM
  • 38
    I really appreciate this blog. One of the changes I've seen in my self is that I am becoming more comfortable with people actually seeing me, (even when I'm sweating. I'm a sweater too!) Going into this process it was all about losing weight. And I've gotten lots of great comments from friends and family about how I look. But the best thing that has come out of this is the feeling of accomplishment that I have. Learning to take care of myself, set goals and developing the skills to achieve them is something I've been able to apply to other areas of my life. I've also embrased the fact that I'm worthy to be seen. For someone who has been hiding behind food and under extra pound her whole life this is HUGE! And one of the things I've about SparkPeople is that I can say that here and know there are folks out there that "get it". Thank God for SparkPeople and for all of you. - 1/22/2011   10:23:02 PM
  • 37
    What a wonderul Blog! I am still in the process of seeing myself with new eyes and becoming aware of the person that I am truly capable of being! Each day is still a bit of a struggle, but I am finding things easier and the challenges are fewer and farther apart.

    I am 'training' for my first Try-A-Tri and the hardest part for me is the running! Having just taken up running this past summer, it is still the biggest hurdle for me to overcome.

    Thank you for your inspiring words and thank you to all the others who are part of Spark People that give me hope in myself! I, too, will be the runner I long to be. Even if it takes me a while to get there! - 1/22/2011   10:02:34 PM
  • 36
    I really need to get to Walmart to pick up this magazine. I love the "diet free" comment. I've been diet free for a little over a year. Thanks for a great blog. - 1/22/2011   9:31:46 PM
  • 35
    Great blog - very inspiring. I have to remind myself that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet. I am so grateful for SparkPeople and the ability to see that other people with goals great than my own have achieved their goals. - 1/22/2011   8:40:50 PM
  • 34
    Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I have had a rough day as my weight went up instead of down. Sparkpeople is indeed there for me and I so appreciate it and all its people. I salute you for the progress in your life-a genuine testimony to Sparkpeople's value. Also to yours. Keep sharing the words as there are many of us who need them!! - 1/22/2011   8:22:45 PM
    You are truly an inspiration to me...thank you for sharing this :) - 1/22/2011   7:47:56 PM
  • 32
    Thank you for sharing and conrats on being featured-you earned it. - 1/22/2011   6:40:04 PM
    Great insight! - 1/22/2011   5:56:56 PM
  • 30
    Thanks for sharing. - 1/22/2011   5:24:33 PM
  • 29
    One of the first blogs I wrote on SP was about seeing my reflection in a store window and wondering who that was only to find out it was me. This morning as I walked into the library there was my reflection. But this time I didn't mind how it looks. I'm not at my main goal yet but I have lost nearly 70 lbs. (It was 70 lbs. but I am now battling a few holiday pounds which I am determined to get rid of soon.) I saw myself in the library door reflection and thought, "Those size 14 jeans are looking good!" Sure I have 25 more pounds to lose to reach my main goal but I am so pleased with where I am now thanks to the entire SP community. Little goals. Little goals. That's how I do it. My next goal is not 25 pounds, it is 5 lbs. And if that is taking too long. 1 or 2 lbs. is a fine goal that I will be happy to achieve. Weight loss isn't even the main goal anymore. I am eating healthy. I am exercising. If I don't lose another pound that will be fine as long as I am choosing nutrient rich foods, cardio, and strength training as part of my normal routine. - 1/22/2011   5:06:31 PM
  • 28
    Nancy, as a writer, you have really found your "voice". There's a quiet confidence that shows through, even when you are discussing mistakes, fears and uncomfortable feelings you experience. When writing about lifestyle changes, it's easy to sound cliche. You don't.

    I will refer others to your description of "habit", the details of your sweat drama, and the tip that gave you perspective. I love it! In hindsight, it makes so much sense that a gussied up look would have looked less convincing than your "sweating" .

    I've made myself miserable many times by trying too hard, letting others define me. Even though I know I can choose how to feel about an event that I'm facing, it IS hard to see the positive option without the help of friends. I'll remember the word "sweat" to remind me to look for perspective. :D
    Thanks! - 1/22/2011   5:01:05 PM
  • 27
    I just bought the magazine today and I am anxious to read it. I have enjoyed reading all of the positive people. I love that "diet free" we need to remember that so that we are successful in the long run. - 1/22/2011   4:55:53 PM
  • 26
    I love to read your articles, they are so easy to read. Thanks, when we can get out of the driveway, we are off to WalMart for the magazine. Thanks Pat in maine. - 1/22/2011   4:41:12 PM

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