It's All About Perspective

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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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RAZZOOZLE 12/11/2019
thank you Report
RYCGIRL 12/6/2019
thx Report
PWILLOW1 8/13/2019
Thanks for a great article. Report
CHERYLHURT 7/22/2019
Great Report
My Perspective can always be off base, that is why I have somebody close to me that can give me a better point of view, sometimes with no emotions involved. Report
Thank you for this article - I am definitely my own worst critic... I'll keep working on that...:) Report
Very inspiring! Great points! Report
Very helpful Report
Great reminders to remember Report
These are such important thoughts. Thanks for the reminders. Report
These are such important thoughts. Thanks for the reminders. Report
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. Report
Great job! Report
This is a great article! Something to think about now. :) Report
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. Report
Congratulations on your achievements! My SparkFriends have been a vital element in my success too. I love SparkPeople! Report
Great work! Congrats! Report
Wouldn't we all love to have Nancy for our next door neighbor!!! Report
Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. Report
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 Report
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. Report
I wish I would sweat more :) It would sure make running in the summer easier!! Report
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. Report
Great blog! Your story is an inspiration. It's amazing the difference between "dieting" and living a healthy lifestyle! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
Thank you Coach Nancy for sharing this with us - I love reading your blogs! Report
Thanks for giving me a new perspective on things. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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.! Report
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 Report
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!! Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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!! Report
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! Report
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. Report
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. Report
Thanks for info Report
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 Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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! Report