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Name: Jamie Spalding, of Dry Ridge
What motivated you to live a healthier lifestyle? Living a healthier lifestyle was a decision that I did not have to make. When I was coming out of elementary school my doctor told me I had one option and that was to take control of my weight. If I did not I would not have a chance to see the age of 50. With the help of both my parents, we took that first step.
I saw my dietitian at this point, Angel, whom educated me about the food I was eating versus what I should have been eating. For me, it was not about emotional eating, excessive eating or even not eating. It was about portion control and taking control of my huge sweet tooth. I knew at that moment I was in trouble but one that I would never change. At that point, my life changed forever. Still to this day, I am conscious of what I put into my body, because I have to work at it. Over the past 10 years plus, I have lost several of my family members to heart disease and health problems that have been a constant reminder each and every day. I decided a long time ago that I was going to do everything in my power to prevent those health problems in my life and those around me (including existing family members and friends.) I know genetics do not help the situation but I will not go down without a fight.
How have you changed your lifestyle in order to be healthier? I changed my lifestyle by becoming educated and staying educated by seeing my nutritionist. My parents both knew they had to also change their lifestyle to help me. The support system you have can either make you or break you. In my case, it made me. I started working out at home (aerobics/tae bo dvd’s/running/swimming.) I participated in many school activities just trying to find something I really enjoyed. I played tennis, golf, cheerleading and marching band. As you can see, I did anything and everything I could to stay active and keep my weight in check.
To this day, I see a nutritionist out of Newport who continues to teach me bet
ter choices. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a Reese Peanut Butter Cup every now and again. Key words, “Everything in moderation.” I also continue to exercise four to five days a week by teaching Zumba/Zumba Gold/Zumba in Circuit/Zumba Toning/Aqua Zumba and running. I stay active by participating in activities I enjoy. I also have one of the best support systems a person could ask for. I wouldn’t be here today without my mother and my husband.
What is your favorite fitness activity? My favorite fitness activities include Zumba, running, walking, swimming, riding horses, water skiing, wake boarding, yoga, softball, cycling and training for marathons/triathlons. I honestly love doing things outside in the fresh air. There is nothing like going for a run outside after a stressful day... the sunshine on your face, fresh air and enjoying your surroundings.
What suggestions do you have for someone who wants to be healthier - how can they best get started? Get started today by asking for help. Ask a licensed dietitian/nutritionist for their help and educate yourself. There is no such thing as too much education. You don’t have to give up all the Mt. Dew or vice that you have every single day. Everything in moderation. Also, find an activity that you really enjoy doing and participate with a friend/workout buddy. Working out and being active is more fun when you have someone to do it with. Some people go to the gym and lift weights because they think that is key. Well, there is no real key if you are not enjoying what you do. Do not get frustrated. Have patience. Changing your lifestyle is not a “blink of an eye change,” but it is a complete lifestyle change. It does take time so be patient with yourself. Develop your own support system that will work for you. Commit today and take that first step right now. The only person that is going to guarantee your future is you. The only person that can change and make the choice is you. You have to want it.
How do you stay motivated? I stay motivated by seeing all the attendees in my classes. They make all the difference in the world to me. Without them, then I would not be where I am. I enjoy getting to know people in my classes and developing relationships with them. Knowing I am helping people become healthier by getting active and work towards that healthier lifestyle is motivation itself. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing “that person” whom attended your classes for months tell me how excited they are for losing that weight they have been wanting... Cross the finish line at the Derby Dash with a smile..blood pressure decreasing..coming off medications..bad cholesterol decreased...etc. The list goes on and on for me. That is why I teach.
How do you reward yourself? I reward myself by taking a nice relaxing night to do nothing. No house work, no classes, no exercise, except messing around the house or walking my dog. Love to go to bed early. Most importantly, I take time out to spend it with my family and friends multiple times a week. That is a time I always cherish.
(Editor’s Note: During the month of April, Fitness For Life Around Grant County (FLAGG) is promoting a healthy lifestyle campaign. Future issues of the News will feature healthy eating tips, as well as information on classes and fitness programs in the county. The Grant County Extension Office will be submitting profiles of area residents who have become Healthy Heroes.)