Health & Wellness Articles

"I Stopped Medicating Myself with Food"

How AQUAGIRL08 Learned to Manage Her Chronic Pain with Diet and Exercise

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How do you maintain a positive attitude despite these difficulties?
I had to change my mindset from "Oh, poor, pitiful me" to "Look at the opportunity I have to be creative and make big changes in my life." It wasn't easy, but I dug my heels in and was determined. That day was the start of "Cyndi's Great Life Adventure!" I decided that every day I get a chance to have a fresh start. If I mess up, I learn from it and move on. I had to learn to forgive myself. Now, every new day can be anything I decide to make of it.  Imagine the possibilities!  It's very exciting!

Has weight-loss been a factor in helping you relieve pain and improve mobility?
Definitely! Extra weight stresses the joints and spine, thus causing additional pain. As I've lost weight, my joints have begun to feel better. Weight loss combined with strengthening my body has greatly increased my mobility. When my joints and spine are held firmly in place by good posture, strong muscles, tendons and ligaments, my pain level decreases dramatically.

What are the best techniques you use to stay motivated to stick to a routine even on tough days?
I have developed a strong support system for myself. I have 3-4 workout buddies who support me in my workouts and in my other goals as well. We have a wonderful local Spark Team. I depend on the members of the team for "face-to-face" support as well as online support. We schedule monthly events where we get together. I love it! One of my workout buddies is a member of the team. I schedule exercise and "me time" the same way I schedule any other important appointment. My family and friends know that I'm unavailable during these times. I build my free time around my exercise and "me time." It was hard to do this at first but, after a while, it became a habit and my family and friends adjusted.

How has SparkPeople helped you in your journey?
SparkPeople has supplied valuable tools and opportunities for support. (Thank you SparkPeople!) All I had to do was use them. The trackers help me stay consistent with my eating and exercise, which is so important. The Spark articles give me information that I use daily to make healthy decisions. I've found that information is power. I have been able to take the power back from food and regain control of my life. During this process, I've had tremendous support from my SparkTeams and SparkFriends. The whole journey has been easier and more enjoyable with the help of SparkPeople.
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