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How do you maintain a positive attitude despite these difficulties?
Despite all of these issues, I have been very fortunate. I do NOT consider myself "lucky" because I have worked very hard to get help and get better. I know I have had some lucky moments, but for the most part I consider myself fortunate. The saying "This, too, shall pass" applies to good and bad alike. I know that if I keep a positive attitude my life will more likely stay positive. My saying is "Your perception of your reality IS your reality." If you believe you are going to have a good day, even if bad things happen, you are more likely to have a good day. I try to look at things like a child does. Life is so much more fulfilling if you learn to laugh at the circumstances and yourself. We are all goofy sometimes, but if you remember that we all make mistakes and learn lessons from them then the mistake was worth making. Take the lesson and leave the rest behind!
What are the most helpful techniques you have found to keep motivated to stick to a routine even on down days?
Exercise helped me feel better once I got started. Now, when I don't want to do anything I just make myself start. Within a few minutes I usually start feeling better and am so proud of myself. Pride is a great motivator. I never really felt proud before. Watching the scale go down and my body get firmer was very fulfilling!
How has SparkPeople helped you in your journey?
Having people rooting for me, encouraging me, inspiring me and complimenting me on a regular basis felt so good. I wanted to prove to them (and myself) I could do it! Every time I lost a pound or an inch, I got applause and more encouragement. What was even better for me though, was knowing that I was inspiring people the way they had inspired me. When I said, "I did it, so can you," and they did it—I was so happy and impressed. It made me want to continue to cheer everyone on. I want to come online every day to look for people who may need my encouragement that day or somebody who just needs an "'Atta girl!" To have somebody tell me that I helped them is even more powerful than being helped! Everything I have gone through has been worth it when I know other people get to gain from my experiences because I shared my story with them.
What other health benefits besides weight loss have you seen while reaching healthy living goals?
Of course, being sober has been the greatest gift I have given to myself, my family and my friends. I'm happier. My next goal is to become a motivational speaker. I now believe that I can be. People genuinely like me and can benefit from my story. I'm more compassionate toward other people now, too, which in turn has taught me to be more compassionate to myself!
The changes I've made have also impacted my son. He reads labels, loves to exercise and watches what he eats so he will grow up to be as strong and healthy as possible. At the age of 7, he was reading labels to make sure he wasn't eating unhealthy things. Now, at almost 12, he is a healthy example to friends and family! Continued ›