You can help someone in need, but only after you help yourself first. You change and things change for you. You become an inspiration by showing others how it’s done.
This is The Sunday Series.
The Sunday Series (47): Wealth Is Health
More than 70,000 people on their feet, shouting, screaming, going crazy, loving life and every moment of what they are witnessing down on the field at the Ravens game. But one football fan found this hard to believe. Lesley Winer Bogash couldn’t understand how 70,000 other people could seem so happy, so carefree. Was it that she was the only one who felt differently? How come her heart wasn’t as full of joy, her energy not at the same level, her enthusiasm not just for the game, but for life, not where she thought it should be. And how could it be that all these people seemed to be having the time of their lives, while she felt anxious and afraid?
When you’re not where you want to be in life your mind can play tricks on you, making it seem as if everyone else is happy and fulfilled. It’s not the truth, far from it, but sometimes it’s all in the way you choose to see life.
Twenty-four years ago life changed for Lesley in dramatic fashion. Her big brother Andy, at the young age of 22, succumbed to a rare type of cancer. When Andy died, a part of Lesley went with him. “I idolized Andy”, says Lesley. “He was a good big brother, he looked after me. He enjoyed me being his sister. He had a zest for life. If it was winter he wanted to ski, if it was summer he wanted to be at the beach, his zest for life was incredible. I lost that when he died. He made me brave. I suffered from anxiety until this year. And then I had an a-ha – which was when I realized I was trying to fill the void in my life from my brother’s loss, with something… that something was food.”
Part of that realization came to light about six months ago, when Lesley decided to attend a 2-day workshop her friend Tracey was teaching at Stevenson University: Defining Your Dependable Strength. It was the beginning of a new beginning. A questionnaire she filled out during the workshop made her recognize a life-changing philosophy: “everything I had been doing for 20 years I didn’t really like”, says Lesley. “Everything the survey said I should be doing I wasn’t and everything it said I shouldn’t be doing I was. It was a good eye-opener.”
That workshop, along with her entry into her latest weight loss program, the courage to leave a job she says was making her miserable, “because it wasn’t the right fit for me”, and reading more spiritual and inspirational books, ended up creating the perfect storm for change in Lesley’s life. “The end of June I went on this weight loss program and it opened my mind to other things and I loved it. I decided to try it for one month. I’ve been on diets for 20 years and always got close to the goal and failed. I also quit my job before having another, because of my health. It was making me so unhappy. One day you have to get up and say this is not for me and move on to do what you love. When I walked away it was scary to do. I went on a mission to find a job that suits me and not make it just about the money. I also started reading a lot of self-help and spiritual books.”
It all made a difference. Lesley lost 45 pounds and the weight loss/coaching program inspired Lesley to do this for others – she became a health coach then took a course to get certified through the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education, (http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/nursing/centers/obesity.html). “I’ve been on every diet known to man”, says Lesley, “but this program, the way its set up, it’s easy. I call it the diet for dummies, because it’s so simple. For the program I am on you get clients through word of mouth and on social media. They just pay for the food. I have 15 clients right now. I talk to them twice a week, help them through their struggles, psychological and physical. Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy finances. If you have all three you are leading a pretty good life.” (http://yourbestself.ichooseoptimalhealth.com/)
“It’s not just about losing weight. Any program you are on you are probably going to lose weight. It’s the one-to-one interaction that changes everything because you are more likely to take action and to change. I like that because it’s honest. On this program I really concentrate on health. If I choose health, then I’m not eating things that are bad for me. Every diet I’ve ever been on I would have this dream about eating a one-pound bag of M&M’s….really. Not this time.”
Lesley has also come to learn that good health and helping others is her passion. “I’m helping a woman who was over 300 pounds and she is doing amazing”, says Lesley. And it’s not just about the weight, it’s the mindset. “I have a client who is a lawyer and because of how she now looks and thinks she feels more confident when she goes into the courtroom. My best friend Patti, who has been my best friend since we were little, decided to join me as well. She has been successful in her career and monetarily, but she has been battling this weight demon, and now she has lost 30 pounds and we are both in a better place. Patti told me I’ve got my groove back, she would know because she knows how much I suffered when my brother died.”
It’s all about mindset. Mind over body. Mind over anything really. It’s the attitude you carry into every situation that can change your life and attract others who then want to be around you. And Lesley says this time, it’s for real. She says she used to post positive quotes on Facebook, but one day her friend called her out on it. Lesley says, “she told me you are posting these quotes you don’t really believe, you aren’t living it. But now what I post, I really believe I am living it. Now I don’t feel fraudulent in anything I say. I don’t put up anything I don’t believe in. I wouldn’t be a successful health coach if I didn’t believe in the program, or in myself. I was always charitable, but I never realized how helping other people makes such a difference …that’s what everything is about!”
If you change, things change for you. Believe with all your heart you can and you will. Lesley has now used this to overcome maybe her greatest temptation – chocolate. For 15 years she has run a chocolate business out of her home called “So Delish”. She still does this and every day she is surrounded by the sweet, delicious temptation of her own creations, but it’s her new thought process and philosophy which has stopped her from continuing to sample the chocolate. “I feel so healthy and so good I want other people suffering to feel like I do now. It feels good to help people. It’s better than any piece of chocolate I ever put in my mouth.” And so check chocolate off the list, replace it with a health coach making a difference. If you change, things change for you.
And the changes keep coming. Lesley says when she told her husband Ryan she was going into this program he couldn’t believe she was going on yet another diet. But he agreed to let her try it and Lesley says, “because I am so much happier, we are getting along better.” Others are noticing the new Lesley as well. Her 14-year-old son Alec is usually way more interested in his friends and his phone then what his mother is doing, but just recently he told her how proud he is of her and how she is helping other people. “It brought tears to my eyes”, says Lesley, “and made me proud of myself. When you are proud of yourself you walk around differently. When I take a walk the colors bombard me, they didn’t before. Now I’m taking it (life) in, I feel like a blind person who just had surgery and now I’m not blind anymore.”
Lesley is no longer just a big Ravens fan, she is a fan of life. In our conversation for this blog, Lesley and I had tremendous synergy in our thought process and philosophy, and her greatest takeaway from what she is witnessing this past year is the same as mine. She says, “the biggest thing is to stop waiting for your life to begin. I waited 24 years for my life to begin. Stop waiting and stop thinking, ‘when I get this age I will have this, or when I’m this thin I will get to do this’…every day I have something fun now. Live your life and live it to the fullest you can possibly live it. I’m in the moment now, I live in the moment. I always heard the expression, but now I live it. And I have a whole life to live before the next moment. Don’t keep waiting for the next moment to happen. Find a new way.”
Not only has Lesley found a new way – but she can now answer her life’s most important question – the one she has asked herself over and over again since she lost her best friend – her brother – more than 20 years ago. “I always asked myself, would Andy be proud of me? This year I can ask myself that question and answer, yeah, he would have been proud.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time,
Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Speaker
Author of the #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
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