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Best Motivations Contest Winners Announced

By ANN RUSNAK

In February we announced the "Tell Us Your Motivation to Get Healthy" contest and offered a $250 VISA Gift card and a FitBit Flex to the LIVESTRONG Community member who submitted the most inspiring story about what motivates them to strive daily to be their best and most healthy self.

The over 200 entries we received both awed and inspired us.  The overwhelming response was a testament to the dedication and commitment that our LIVESTRONG readers and community have to living a healthful life.  Many of the members who entered the contest are frequent contributors in the LIVESTRONG Community where they share the experience they have gained with others who are at different points in the journey to better health.  Many of them continue to track their calories on the MyPlate Calorie Tracker every day.

In April we went through the difficult process of selecting 30 top finalists and asked the LIVESTRONG Community to let us know whose story most inspired them.  Some of the entries that we found most uplifting described being driven by a desire to attend a special event, complete their first marathon, or simply have the energy to walk their dog.  Others expressed having been spurred into action by experiencing serious health problems.  Nearly all who entered highlighted family as their most important motivation for working so hard to be healthy!

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After careful consideration we have selected the winner of the $250 VISA Gift card and the FitBit Flex!

Congratulations to our winner, LIVESTRONG Member Iyapo, who wrote:
A friend asked me out to dinner. I'm afraid to go because I'll be humiliated that I'm too big to fit in a booth. An old friend of the family died. I'm afraid to go to the funeral because I have no clothes that fit. A wonderful woman wants to get together for a date. I'm afraid she can't possibly be interested in someone who looks like me. My dog sits on the couch and pleads to me with her eyes, wanting nothing more than to go out and play, but I ignore her because I don't have the energy. My motivation to get healthy is that being unhealthy affects every aspect of one's life. My motivation to get healthy is that I want to live

Readers, we simply could not choose just one winner from so many remarkable entries, so we decided to award additional prizes to some of the runners-up that we could not ignore!  Our "Audience Choice" winner will receive a $50 VISA Gift card, and all of our runners-up will receive a free year of MyPlate Gold membership!

"Audience Choice" winner, LIVESTRONG Member ScarletIbis wrote:

My family all has incredibly poor health. All through my life, I've seen all the people I love suffer obesity, diabetes, cancer, COPD, Ehlers-Danlos, mental health issues, autoimmune disorders, and several other things. At forty years old, I get to watch my mother, whom I spent my whole life supporting, cripple under the weight of her choices. Smoking, drinking, unhealthy habits, and inherited disorders have worn her down and I finally, at twenty-three, realize that I cannot save her; she has to save herself. However, I have time to take my health into my own hands, and make wise decisions instead of exacerbating the inevitable. I want to be strong enough to protect myself from what I could not, before. I do not want to feel the helplessness my beautiful mother lives with every day or that which I have suffered through my past. I want to stand before other people with health and mental disorders and say that I know they can do it, simply because I did. I want to show people that they must want help to get it, and be there when they've discovered they're done hiding. I don't want to hide, anymore

Runner-up, LIVESTRONG Member lme_allen wrote:
Back in high school I found myself mistreating my body to lose weight and I did, but it was never in the right way and I always gained it back. Post graduation, I started taking pride in my health: Eating healthily, exercising daily and involving myself in activities that made me feel good, but it was never enough. I couldn't get past who I used to be, and I felt I needed to be skinnier. It wasn't until I was being rushed into the ICU 3 years later with an HR of 28 BPM and my blood pressure at an extreme low (42/16), that I realized something was seriously wrong. When I was released from the hospital the doctor came into my room, lifted my gown, pulled at what I thought to be the "fat" of my stomach, and pointed out that there was nothing there. It became apparent how thin I had become when he diagnosed me with Anorexia Nervosa. My hair, skin, and bones were thin; my life span was running thin. It's hard to believe that a person can have a disease without even knowing, especially when they're causing it. Now, after 2 1/2 years, I've found a sense of balance. With a strengthened immune system, I now enjoy safe exercise in accordance with eating right. Reaching my goals has given me the chance to help others and, although I still question my self-worth at times, I know what is important and I am happy. Last November, I was accepted into the BA program at HPU for Health Science and married the man of my dreams 1 month later. Since establishing a normal menstrual cycle, we've begun talking about starting a family. My family and my future family are my motivation. I want them to see that I accomplished something great and that they can too.

Runner-up, LIVESTRONG Member Klloveless wrote:
I am the Scoutmaster of my son’s Boy Scout Troop. Last summer, I had to lead them in a 5 night horseback trip at Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch near Fort Davis, Texas. At the time I learned of this trip, I weighed over 35 pounds over the maximum weight limit. So, over the next 6 months, I changed my diet and starting exercising to make the weight limit to be able to take this awesome ride with my son through the mountains. Now, we have set our goals on attending Philmont, knowing that I had to lose an additional 45 pounds to be able to accompany my son through his 100 mile trek through the New Mexico mountains. We have starting exercising together and I help him get strong by lifting weights and he helps me lose weight by asking me each day to work out and continue the “Couch to 5K” program with him, even if sometimes we don’t get to do this until after 9pm due to my hectic work schedule. So, in short, my motivation is my son, without which my weight loss would not be possible.

Runner-up, LIVESTRONG Member EJSpink wrote:
My main motivation is my daughter. I’m 47 and Makayla is 10. I have encouraged her to participate and try all sorts of activities. While getting her involved in all this was great, I realized that I had gotten to a point in my life where I was way too sedentary and had very little energy to keep up with her. She has loved doing all sorts of sports and has excelled at, dance and gymnastics. I want to be able to keep up with her and also be the best example for her to live a healthy lifestyle! Livestrong.com has been a great source to help steer me in the right direction with the “My Plate” features and the motivation I get from the community area of the site is immeasurable!

Runner-up, LIVESTRONG Member Malvada1 wrote:
For as long as I can remember, I've been on the "do exercise/eat right/hit major motivational slump" rollercoaster. At 48, I am once again attempting to get my health back in order. It's freezing cold in Michigan, so I don't have the "need to get into a bathing suit" crisis mentality just yet. However, I seem to have found new motivation - my Dad, who lives with my husband and me. He suffered a stroke in 2010, and fought back to overcome total left side paralysis. He came to live with me in June of this year, and two weeks ago, at 82, went through surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his colon. We were fortunate that they were able to find/remove his tumor before it had an opportunity to spread. In spite of the great outcome, he's having a really difficult time doing rehab. He's a big guy - 206 pounds, with extremely bad arthritis on his right side. His knee is bone on bone. We've been trying to help him lose weight (when he first came to us in June, he was 226 pounds). As much as he grumbled at first, and still grumbles on occasion, he's eating better and looks at food differently. This meat and potatoes guy actually did a juice cleanse with us for 10 days. And eats tofu! Being in the hospital really weakened him (he can't stand by himself). He's exhausted and wasn't sure if he could keep fighting. However, while visiting him today, he told me he did 3 hours of rehab (1 1/2 hours each with his occupational therapist and physical therapist). With so many things going against him, he still fights back. I'm so proud of him it makes me cry. If he's working so hard to come back home, then I owe it to him to work on my health, too. I should be a healthier, stronger daughter to help him in any way I can. He's not making excuses, so neither am I. Here's to my Dad - my new motivation.

Runner-up, LIVESTRONG Member Cheryl_jestis wrote:
I want to live longer and healthier than my parents and my brother were able to. I want to keep finding my limits and exceeding them. I’ve completed a 70.3 triathlon and am now training for my first full marathon. I want to celebrate year after year of remaining cancer free after my battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma 2009/2010. I want to keep off the 100lbs of extra weight that I used to carry. I want to be around to be a FUN and ACTIVE grandma some day. I want to live well and enjoy each moment I’m given. Every single moment truly is a gift and there is no guarantee we’ll get the next one.

Congratulations to all of our winners!  Finding the motivation to turn intention into action is something most of us struggle with in our quest to live a healthful life.  We are grateful to those who took the time to share what motivates them to strive for their goals.  Hopefully, we can all find some inspiration from their stories!

-Ann

Ann Rusnak is LIVESTRONG's Sr. Community Manager.  Her quest to lose the "baby weight" before the "baby" finished elementary school sparked an interest in health and fitness that continues to be a passion to this day.  She loves hiking and yoga, and thinks the best exercise is one you can do with a good friend.  Over the years Ann's desire to fit into a certain size has evolved into what she feels is the more important goal of feeling good and having energy to live life to its fullest.  

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