Yes We Can!

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/27/2011 2:10 PM   :  80 comments   :  13,812 Views

By John T. Jurkiewicz (JOHNTJ1)

I found SparkPeople quite by accident. I noticed a small ad tucked on the side of the web page I was viewing. The word "free" was what initially caught my attention. Being lazy by nature, I was glad to see there was a way for me to track my food and exercise without using a notebook, a ruler, a pencil and a calculator. Little did I know I was getting so much more than a simple tracking device.

This lifestyle change you and I are involved is not easy. Anything of real value never is. Success requires hard work, dedication and sacrifice. It's a lot more than counting calories, fat and carbs. It requires more than a gym membership. It means you're changing you, changing the way you look at food, at your relationship with food and most importantly changing the relationship you have with yourself. It means there are days you look in the mirror and you tell yourself that unless you alter some of your behavior, you are not going to be the success you hope to be. I know, I been there. I am learning, I am moving forward, even on the days that I feel like giving up. There are four things that sustain me.

1. I am who I hang around with

In order to be a success in anything I choose to do I have to choose the right people to associate with. Less than a year ago, I knew little or nothing about running. In May, A Spark Friend's blog, on her journey as a runner, really motivated me. I began the C25K program, ran my first 5K in September of 2010 and will compete in my fourth 5K overall on March 19.

It was all "in my head," as they say. It was a mindset and when I began to associate with people who wanted to be active and healthy, the bar was set. The support was there. Oh yes, there were people who laughed and told me I was crazy to start running at age fifty-six. I ignored them. There were more people in my corner than not and in the end I reached a pretty satisfying goal.

You may not be a runner but I'm quite sure there is something in your life that positively motivates you. Find people who share your enthusiasm. It's like the cell phone commercial that was on television a few years back: You find you will have a whole network of people behind you and supporting you.

2. I am worth the effort.

We live in a world that suggests "magic" and "easy" at every twist and turn. We have come to believe that if we simply buy a potion or pill, subscribe to a web cast and buy a video, health and happiness occurs instantly. It's really hard work and its hard work I don't always enjoy.

An apple gets me to my goal quicker than a slab of cheesecake, but I don't always want the apple. Willpower can help for a bit but unless I really believe I am worth the struggle to walk away from the cheesecake and embrace the apple then there is no value. Trust me I know!!! I've done it a million times. No one but me knows when I inhale a bag of donuts, but in the end what does that say about how I look at myself? I am supposed to be honoring and loving myself and I can't do those things until I believe I am worth the effort and hard work. I have to talk myself out of poor choices at least one hundred times daily. Every decision is an indictment about how I feel about myself. When I make the right choice I am acknowledging I have loads of value.

3. I deserve to be successful.

I remember the first time I overheard someone referring to me as fat. It really hurt and it sent me reeling. I KNEW I was overweight but now the world KNEW!!! Now I was different than everyone else. There was a lot of shame. I'll be honest; it's still my weak spot. I am not the most agile person. I don't run very fast. I constantly compare myself to other people. I usually come up lacking. I know, you don't want to hear that. I don't either most days but when I admit those feelings to myself then I can finally do something about them. I can confront them. I have some Spark friends who don't let me off the hook either. In a very no nonsense way they tell me to get back on track. It's why I hang around with them.

I deserve success just as much as anyone else does. I have to work for it, sacrifice for it and if I hang around with people who believe the same things I do I will reach my goals. We are not called to be perfect; we are called to put forth our best effort every day. It's not always glamorous. Most days it's putting one foot in front of the other and walking the walk. It's good to remind myself that after all the effort and hard work I deserve success.

4. What I believe I am, I indeed am.

A few years ago I ran across an exercise in building self-esteem. It's called Special Me. It challenged me to write one thing about me each day, for thirty days that was special and unique, something that set me apart. The first few days were easy but it got harder for me. I had to dig deep and it was uncomfortable.

Every morning, before I do anything else, I read that list. Not a quick glance but a lasting, sincere view and lo and behold I am becoming that special person who works hard, deserves success and hangs around with most excellent people Like You.

What sustains you?


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Comments

  • 80
    Fantastic. Thanks for sharing. - 8/11/2011   9:20:20 PM
  • 79
    What a wonderful post, I even took notes. You beautifully defined what I believe about a lifestyle change.The Special Me exercise sounds intriguing.
    As for what sustains me... my reason for doing a lifestyle change. I want to prevent the progression, have good blood glucose control and reduce medication. Talk about incentive, wanting to live is a great one. - 5/15/2011   7:50:06 AM
  • 78
    This inspires me to love myself more and treat myself better than I have in the past. - 5/4/2011   1:19:59 PM
  • 77
    John, you really inspire me to do my very best. I especially like your list to build self-esteem. Continue on your journey, and keep spreading the word. - 5/4/2011   4:11:07 AM
  • 76
    Thanks, John. You make me work harder, you make me look at myself differently and you make me laugh. You're definitely a triple-threat SparkFriend. - 5/3/2011   3:19:42 PM
  • 75
    This blog has so much wisdom in it...thanks for sharing. I am actually going to quote you in my signature if that's ok. - 5/3/2011   11:22:04 AM
  • 74
    Very motivating! Thank you for sharing - 5/1/2011   8:12:45 AM
  • NEWDAYNEWTRY
    73
    They are hard choices, but worth it! Thanks for putting it into words! - 4/30/2011   10:07:07 AM
  • 72
    Thank you for sharing. This is just what I needed today. - 4/30/2011   9:19:08 AM
  • 71
    The Special Me project is a great idea. I have done a similar thing in groups. We passed a paper with our name around the room and we all had to put something positive on each person's paper. It's wonderful because other people see our special talents and strengths far better than we see ourselves. - 4/29/2011   1:08:05 PM
  • 70
    I know I wish I could find people who share my vision of healthy living. Alas, they are few and far between in my world. I'll keep looking, though, and will try to win over a few converts in the process. Good job with the blog! - 4/29/2011   12:52:01 PM
  • 69
    I started running at age 52 to fulfill a request by my daughter that we do a 5k when she returned from her Iraq deployment. I joined a Couch to 5k group by accident and found out "an old dog" can learn new tricks. I became the subject of many comments in my town (population 220) when I began running at home but everyone is used to me now since it gives me the needed exercise and takes less time than other choices. I think my kids and my friends are proud of me since they tell everyone they introduce me to. Thank you for sharing your experience. - 4/29/2011   11:14:24 AM
  • 68
    Wonderful! - 4/29/2011   6:04:58 AM
  • PIXIESTIX6669
    67
    Wow...I really dig "Special Me"...I'm gonna do that one...thanks! - 4/28/2011   11:57:19 PM
  • KELLIEFITZ10
    66
    Thank you so very much! I'm still fairly new at this and your words were exactly what I needed at this precise moment. - 4/28/2011   10:50:09 PM
  • MMPATYI80
    65
    John, thank you so much for all of your beautiful words!!! I REALLY made me feel better. I was having one of those days today, where I am so down and I just want to sit and eat junk to fill the emotional void. But I didn't. I know that God works in mysterious ways and this is one of those times. I have never loved myself the way that I love others. I have always looked after others before myself. but when you said
    "No one but me knows when I inhale a bag of donuts, but in the end what does that say about how I look at myself? I am supposed to be honoring and loving myself and I can't do those things until I believe I am worth the effort and hard work."
    I realized that I am indeed worth loving myself. God created me. That in it's self should be something to treasure and protect.
    God bless you friend!
    Melissa - 4/28/2011   8:33:17 PM
  • RUNESHADOW
    64
    I like the journal idea, but a DIFFERENT thing every day? I will have a hard time coming up with that many different things. Great blog; great food for thought (calorie-free and fat-free, lol). Thanks for a great blog. - 4/28/2011   4:20:28 PM
  • 63
    Fantastic thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing! - 4/28/2011   2:49:41 PM
  • GUITARROCK
    62
    Yes! I can't tell you how much I loved this blog!! It was exactly what I've been striving to put in words myself. Fantastic, I will be bookmarking this for the future as well! - 4/28/2011   12:40:17 PM
  • 61
    Love this blog..Even though I am crippled with arthritis, I do my best to keep fairly active and am eating better, than I have. I'm also going to do the special me, starting today. Many thanks. - 4/28/2011   12:33:47 PM
  • 60
    Thanks for that. It definitely says it all. I was feeling guilty that I have forsaken friends who seem to willingly and delberately sabotage what I am doing to get healthy and take control of my health issues. Thank you for endorsing my decision. I appreciated reading someonel else ahd the issue and dealt with it as I have to do. Thanks again for a truly insightful Blog. Pat in Maine. - 4/28/2011   11:19:51 AM
  • BIGSKY101
    59
    Thank you, John! Congratulations on your insights. By sharing with the Spark community, you have paid it forward for many of us. Your words are inspiring for me and I look forward to sharing them with my dear husband, who is experiencing his own struggles with weight and self-perception. - 4/28/2011   11:16:36 AM
  • 58
    What an awesome blog. It was just what I needed to read today! - 4/28/2011   11:00:35 AM
  • NUMENOW
    57
    "Every decision is an indictment about how I feel about myself. When I make the right choice I am acknowledging I have loads of value."
    POWERFUL!
    Thank you for sharing. This is just what I needed! - 4/28/2011   10:39:15 AM
  • 56
    I was glad to read this John.

    I have a problem with staying motivated. I meet people on SparkPeople, but I don't hear back from them often. I don't have a buddy that is always there. People that I actually know outside of SparkPeople, like my boyfriend or my brother who I live with, we don't have the same mentality about how we eat, our lifestyles, healthy habits, etc. I'm finding it really hard to actually find someone out there to help keep me going, as well as me helping them keep going. I know I can't rely on someone else on my journey to a healthy lifestyle, but having someone else around just helps a lot. - 4/28/2011   10:30:21 AM
  • 55
    After reading this article this morning, I went right to the journal and contemplated all you said. I even turned on my other computer that is connected to a printer, so I can carry your inspiring words with me. I am 53 and God willing I have plenty of years in front of me to be living healthy and happy. And if God thinks I am worth being here, then I certainly should. - 4/28/2011   9:56:47 AM
  • 54
    After reading this article this morning, I went right to the journal and contemplated all you said. I even turned on my other computer that is connected to a printer, so I can carry your inspiring words with me. I am 53 and God willing I have plenty of years in front of me to be living healthy and happy. And if God thinks I am worth being here, then I certainly should. - 4/28/2011   9:56:43 AM
  • 53
    Thank you so much for sharing. What in inspiration!!
    barb - 4/28/2011   9:53:21 AM
  • 52
    I hardly ever comment on blogs, but you have really inspired me this morning. I love that you talked about remembering I am worth it when I am deciding between a healthy and an unhealthy choice. So simple, yet very very powerful. Thank you. Good luck on your journey. You are going places! - 4/28/2011   9:26:37 AM
  • 51
    Reading your blog this morning was just what I needed! I found SP much the same way you did, and it has become an important part of my healthy lifestyle. I agree wholeheartedly with your observation about finding friends who are interested in fitness. My workout buddy has been a big motivator for me. - 4/28/2011   9:18:47 AM
  • BETHHRSN
    50
    this is an awesome blog! Love the angle that you are worth the hard work!! - 4/28/2011   9:06:54 AM
  • 49
    You can not imagine how inspiring your blog is. I have found it to be a real blessing and motivation. Helps me to stop and take a look at myself. Thank you so much. - 4/28/2011   8:43:17 AM
  • 48
    you can not imagine the value of your words, really needed, I have two days thinking it'll make it, I feel no motivation, it is as if your efforts yield no results and is a blow to the state of morale, it's like I would like to give up without giving battle, but your words have inspired me and really you're right when you say change us the relationship with ourselves, we battle a big fight every day to make the right decisions.


    I'm really grateful for your words!
    - 4/28/2011   8:25:01 AM
  • LEEZY1960
    47
    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am 50 and just started learning to run. My goal is to run a 5K this August with my children. I have been told I'm "crazy" as well! I don't listen. I get the expert advice. I follow their guidlelines. I have to remind myself that I am the oldest one in the group and therefore maybe not the fastest. But I am getting stronger and I am doing it! It was so nice to hear from another person in our age-group! - 4/28/2011   8:15:11 AM
  • 46
    Very true! I thought running was crazy until I started losing weight and the trainer pushed me to go harder. My daughter got me started walking 5k's and soon I had this strange desire to run! I think my artificial knees are ready for more runnning, but now my back isn't so I have to reset my mind on myself and stop letting others decide for me what I can and can't do! Thanks for the blog! - 4/28/2011   8:13:22 AM
  • 45
    you know this was kinda what i needed to read first thing this morning as i sit lacing up my tennis shoes debating whether or not to work out. what sustains me? why people like you so right back atcha! have a great thursday! - 4/28/2011   8:03:46 AM
  • 44
    This is great! Thank you for sharing. - 4/28/2011   7:47:51 AM
  • 43
    This is just what I needed this morning. I have been struggling for weeks now to keep on track - these words just hit home. Especially -

    "No one but me knows when I inhale a bag of donuts, but in the end what does that say about how I look at myself? I am supposed to be honoring and loving myself and I can't do those things until I believe I am worth the effort and hard work. "

    Thanks!
    - 4/28/2011   7:40:05 AM
  • NINALATINA9
    42
    Love it!! Needed to read that!! - 4/28/2011   7:37:56 AM
  • 41
    I really like this blog. It is exactly what I needed this morning. I espeically like the line "We are not called to be perfect; we are called to put forth our best effort every day." These are words to live by. Thank you for the inspiration. - 4/28/2011   7:32:11 AM
  • 40
    John, you always come off as 'special you!' Never ever think you don't make a difference in the lives of others, as well as yourself. Thanks again for your great insight! - 4/28/2011   6:47:18 AM
  • 39
    Truly great - Thanks! - 4/28/2011   6:37:05 AM
  • 38
    "walk away from the cheesecake and embrace the apple", Wow! I will keep that quote close....right next to mine "spirit live strong"! Thanks!!! Esterjane - 4/28/2011   6:06:31 AM
  • 37
    Spot On! Thank you. - 4/28/2011   5:42:22 AM
  • 36
    Thank you for the wonderfully inspiring written blog! Congratulations on your accomplishments.

    Susan - 4/28/2011   5:25:46 AM
  • OKANOG
    35
    Thanks for sharing your insight and accomplished efforts. You gave me, something to work at in #4. I will be adding the self improvement acknowledgement to my list of must do's! - 4/28/2011   2:19:14 AM
  • 34
    I read Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of NOW" and have let go of the past, so I'm open to the moment. I wish someone would have told me when I was young just how fast life would fly by, so I am learning to enjoy each day. - 4/28/2011   1:04:23 AM
  • 33
    OMG I LOVE THIS BLOG - 4/28/2011   12:25:29 AM
  • 32
    This was great, thank you. I'm definitely going to try that self esteem exercise. That sounds like exactly what I need. - 4/27/2011   11:47:47 PM
  • 31
    I want to believe that I deserve it and I'm worth the effort, but I keep finding myself somewhere around #5 on my list...below my husband, kids, pets and house. I'll keep trying to get to the top. Thank you for your wonderful blog!! - 4/27/2011   11:32:35 PM

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