The First Thing I Did To Get Healthy

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The first thing most people think of when it comes to weight-loss is going on a diet… or maybe the dreaded EXERCISE. While those are obviously part of the journey to transforming your life– that is not where my journey began.

One year before I even got serious about working out and eating healthier, I made a decision that changed my life forever. This decision gave me the confidence that I needed to know that I could do anything. This decision gave me the social support that I needed to make my dreams come true. This decision turned my world upside down—in a good way.

I moved across the country by myself in early 2009. I packed up my old car with the only belongings I wanted to take with me and a couple thousand dollars in my bank account. I had set myself up in a small studio apartment prior to the move, but I had no job lined up for myself when I arrived at my destination. I traveled to the Pacific Northwest at the tail end of winter and drove through snow storms in Montana and Wyoming. There was no heat in my car and only my little chihuahua curled up on my lap to keep me warm on the overnight stays at rest area stops. When I tell people the story of how I got to Spokane, Washington I always hear, “Wow! That’s very brave of you! Why did you do it?”

I moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I never enjoyed living there. There were very few things I liked about that area. And that is the reason that I give most people for my move. But the underlying reason that I felt that I needed to move was because my family also lived in Tulsa. My family held me back from achieving what I wanted to achieve in my life. If I wanted to get healthy, I was mocked or challenged to compete with one of my family members to see who could lose the most weight (we were all obese). I did not live in my family household, but they were still close enough to effect the beliefs I had about myself. This environment was very verbally abusive. When you have people constantly making fun of you and telling you that you can’t do something, it’s damn near impossible to change.

After I moved to Spokane, I found myself falling into the same types of unhealthy relationships with people again. I made friends with a girl that drank a lot and verbally assaulted me. I realized that this kind of treatment was not acceptable and ended the relationship soon after it started. Soon after, I started to surround myself with healthier relationships. I found a few kind people that believed in me and acted as my personal cheerleaders. I started to see my worth and how far I had already come. That gave me the motivation to keep on reaching—to keep trying my best.

Take a look at the people in your life right now. Do you find that when you share your dreams with them, they are the first to blow out your candles? Or do they keep your fire burning? Do they pretend to support you and then say questionable things to you about your goals? Do they sabotage your best efforts by asking you to break your commitments to living healthier when they want to go out drinking or binge at an all-you-can-eat buffet with them? Do they give you excuses as to why you won’t be able to succeed? Do they gossip about other people to you?

You are most like the five people to spend the most time with. You develop their habits and their beliefs. If you have discouragers in your life, I highly recommend that you put your relationship on the back burner with them. They are not worth spending your time with if they can’t be supportive of your journey. This can be very difficult if they are family members, but would you rather live an unhappy, unfulfilled existence because they don't believe in you (or themselves)? I had an ex-boyfriend's mother bend over backwards to ensure that she helped me stay on track with being healthy. She altered her cooking for big family meals just for me. She made plans for us all to be physically active together. She believed in me. This is the type of person that you should have in your life too.

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