Rebekah Spary’s first inspiration to change her lifestyle began when she realized she was having knee and ankle pain when she would stand for long periods of time. At first, she thought she simply needed new shoes, but when that did not help, she realized it was her weight.She started by trying to make small changes, but she admits that they were half-hearted attempts because she was not inspired to change her life except for her own benefit. This changed when she adopted Leo, her Sheltie puppy.

 

“He is the biggest aspect that has made me start taking my health seriously, because he is a high energy dog. Even if I don’t feel good or don’t want to go outside because I worked the night before, he does, and I have to take care of him,” Spary said.

Like many people, Spary struggled with not drinking soda, especially when going out to eat with family and friends. After a week of only drinking sodas made her sick, she was ready to transition away from having soda daily. To satisfy her sweet tooth, she makes tea or has chocolate milk with a small amount of none-dairy sweet cream.

 

Learning more about nutrition and keeping track of what is in her meals each day has been helpful to Spary. Watching what she eats instead of completely cutting out certain aspects of her diet has been the key to her success. She says it is important to her to not feel discouraged if she goes over too many calories one day; instead, she chooses to learn from it, and move on to the next day. She has also started eating breakfast, a meal that she used to skip, which has helped keep her energy up throughout the day.

 

“My new eating habits make it so I sleep better and wake up more aware and ready for the day,” she said. “Feeling my hair get healthier as well keeps me inspired to stick to my new eating habits and see what other changes my body will go through as I get healthier.”

 

In addition to improving her nutrition, Spary has also increased her physical activity. To ensure that she has at least one day of high activity a week, she makes it a priority to go on an adventure with her sister weekly, whether it’s visiting a park or going on a hike.She is also currently working on making it a habit to take her puppy, Leo, for a walk every day.

 

Spary’s motivation comes from the success that she has experienced so far.“I have lost 15 pounds since I got Leo, and already I can feel the difference in my knees and ankles. Being able to walk further, to touch my toes again, and see how happy my dog is when we go outside even if it’s just for a very short stroll keeps me going,” she said.She is also happy to report that Leo is as healthy and energetic as ever.

 

For others that want to follow in Spary’s footsteps, she has the following advice:

“Don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day. Love yourself, and if you can’t find it in yourself to love yourself, do what I do: look in the mirror, and tell yourself you are beautiful/handsome, that you are worthy, and find the little traits about yourself that you sincerely like. Don’t punish yourself, and enjoy the journey. I know I am!”

Allison Galloway is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Healthy Kingsport.  She can be reached at agalloway@healthykingsport.org.

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