What's the one change in your lifestyle you're most proud of?

You were once X, and now you’re proud to say that you’re Y. What is it? How did it happen? Were you convinced by something/someone, or did it happen by accident, or was it forced on you until you grew to like it, or…? How has it affected your life since?

Note that for the purposes of this thread, it has to be an actual change in lifestyle (with a before and after!) not just a particular trait that you’ve had since forever.

Just curious :slight_smile:

Giving up red meat and pork to save the pain in my joints from gouty arthritis.

Chicken and fish are okay, turkey and mushrooms aren’t.

Has to do with purines that make the joints feel like there’s bit of glass in them.


Not that many years ago I was anti-gay. Everything I hate about ultra-conservatives now, is what I used to be. I didn’t call for their death like Phred, but I did hate them.

Then I read something on this message board.

It was a story about a gay couple, two women. They had been together for years and their families has disowned them. One of them died and that one’s family swooped in like vultures, took half of everything and the body and wouldn’t tell her partner where she was buried. She couldn’t even go to the funeral.

I can say without hyperbole, that story changed my life.

I am now pretty much the opposite of what I used to be. I am a strong and vocal supporter of same-sex marriage and adoption, and LGBT rights.

In a bizarre twist, I ended up married to a gay man for 10 years. We’re divorced now.

I started working from home this year. I guess the big lifestyle change I’ve made is that I found the discipline to actually *work *from home - to get sit down in front of the computer and work for 8 hours a day, mostly during normal working hours. If you’d asked me to do that a couple of years ago I would have called you crazy.

I was single and lovin’ it, baby! Settling down? Owning a home? Kids? That’s crazy talk!

Then I met someone who was just…different from the others I’ve dated. We’ve been married 7 seven years now with two kids and I won’t have it any other way.

We still don’t own our own home though. Working on it.

I used to be a smoker and now I’m not.

Used to be overweight and unfit. Am now thin and training for my second marathon.

Eight and a half years ago, I hated myself, I hated my life, I hated the World, I hated everyone and everything. I was bitter, angry and alone.

None of those things are true now.

Sobriety. Having watched my brother and younger sister suffer from their alocholism, I am extremely proud that I gave up booze before it did more damage to my body.

I definitely divide my life into pre and post-therapy. Before I was a bit of an emotional fuck up, very unhappy with who I was (but very good at lying to myself about that), desperate for a relationship to make me feel like a real person, terrible relationship with my father, going through a predictable cycle of becoming instant best friends with people and then having a massive falling out with them after a while (or better yet suddenly cutting them out of my life when I could sense a falling out on the horizon), being a generally bitchy and acerbic person which I had convinced myself was witty and fun but in fact just pissed people off. I reeked of desperation for people to like me and make me feel good about myself.

Therapy definitely helped me a lot and everyone I know remarks on the change I went through during and after the process. I’m much more self aware now, made big progress with my relationship with my father (which unfortunately seems to have come to naught now but you can’t have everything) and am generally a much more chilled out, pleasant person who actually liked himself. Sorry to trot out an old cliché, but if you don’t like yourself it’s extremely hard for other people to. I now feel like I’m actually in control of my life and things are much more stable (although I can still have a pretty bitchy tongue :wink: ).

Having the confidence to be Out. And yes, proud.

I spent many years (with a girlfriend who felt very uncomfortable in her gay skin) with being ashamed of being gay, hiding it from family and colleagues, and consequently having a relationship that existed in the privacy of my own home and nowhere else, of tolerating people calling my girlfriend my ‘friend’ or ‘chum’, even when they knew different, of being scared of outting myself to new acquaintances for fear that they’d just see the ‘lesbian’ and not the ‘SanVito’.

And then I met an out and proud gay woman (my current girlfriend) who showed me that it doesn’t matter what other people think or say about you behind you back, that by being out to everyone, including your reluctant relatives, you can have a much more fulfilling and frankly normal existance.

It has indeed transformed my life.

Same here except for the marathon part. I’d rather dance. My other one was quitting a high paying job to start a shelter but since I quit after 10 years and went back to making good money it was just a temporary thing.

If you don’t mind me asking, how did you make this change?

FloatyGimpy thanks for sharing. It takes great courage to acknowledge when you’re wrongheaded about something. I am really proud of you.

For me, there is pre-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and post-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I was a very unhappy person prior to beginning CBT. I had 4 years of talk therapy but I felt like I was hitting a brick wall. I was severely depressed, often suicidal, too anxious to really leave the house… would hear some benign noise like a plane in the sky and assume it was a meteor or a bomb about to obliterate us all… literally cowering because I was afraid the world was about to end. I couldn’t go to a movie without worrying someone was going to come in and massacre us all. When it wasn’t death I was afraid of, it was humiliation–I avoided class because I didn’t want to look like an idiot. I was accepted twice to study abroad in Chile (it was always my dream to go to Latin America) and both times I completely punked out. I would spend hours obsessing and worrying there was going to be an earthquake once I got there. In other words, I was not rational.

CBT taught me to be rational and approach my life as a scientist. I learned, when having thoughts like, I’m completely worthless and nobody loves me, to see if I could find evidence for my claims – I never could, and thus they would lose power. I also learned, through exposure therapy for my fear of heights, that panic attacks are not dangerous. In case anyone isn’t aware of what exposure therapy is, it is essentially deliberately scaring the holy fuck out of yourself so that you will learn not to be afraid of fear. That means for three straight months I would spend one hour a day bent over an uppermost railing of the nearest parking structure. I would lean over as far as necessary for the panic to set in, and I would sit there and endure that panic for an hour. When it stopped inducing panic, I would climb higher until the panic set in again. It is NOT FUN. But it works. All I really wanted was to get over my fear of heights so I could get on a plane and leave the country, something I’d always wanted to do. But instead I found out it applied to all my other anxieties too–I didn’t get over my fear of heights, I got over my fear of fear. In fact, I eventually worked out that of the 1,000,000 things a day I feared would happen to me, not one actually ever did. It simply wasn’t rational to keep believing all these calamities would happen.

About a year ago I started having anxieties that someone was going to break into our apartment and murder me. In the old days I would have perpetuated this fear and lost more and more sleep. But what I did instead is go online, look up the murder rate for my town, and calculate the statistical probability that this was my fate. It was such a ridiculously low number that I realized it was silly to worry about. And that right there is the fundamental change of CBT.

The number one greatest upshot of this work I did is that I started taking risks in my life that even so-called regular people are afraid to take. I learned to be willing to try virtually anything. I got on that plane to Mexico–wept with joy the entire way there. I taught English at a rural schoolhouse without knowing a single person when I came. I ended up taking a bus out to the beach all by myself and spending several nights by the ocean drinking margaritas, striking up conversation with the locals. When I came back from Mexico I applied for a job I didn’t feel qualified for speaking Spanish, and got it. And I endured major anxiety over the job for about three months before I finally settled in and started getting ridiculously high marks. Then I was promoted–to a job in Manhattan–and I took the job in Manhattan even though I’d never spent any reasonable amount of time in a city like New York. Then I applied to some of the top social work programs in the nation (responses pending.) And somewhere in there I started running and ran my first 5K.

I’ve learned to love my anxiety–after all, how many people really get the chance to face their greatest fears on a regular basis? I experience some level of fear every day of my life – but I go on and do those things anyways. I do it with a pounding heart, with a mind full of irrational protest, with shaky hands-- but I do it. That has to be the very definition of courage. I put a lot of work into the person I am today. Therefore I am very proud of this lifestyle change.

I went to nursing school in my mid-30s and graduated last year at the age of 37. I hated what I was doing before - claims adjusting for a workers’ comp carrier. The work itself wasn’t so bad, but the company and the client were downright abusive. I was so miserable I HAD to make a change. A large part of the job was reading medical records, and I found that interesting, so I decided to go into the field.

Probably stopping drinking for me.
(Tho it often amuses me to think that I am happy about having stopped being the fuckup I was! Wonderful to take credit for simply not doing something stupid, as opposed to actually doing something worthwhile!) :stuck_out_tongue:

Taekwondo is one of the major changes in my life. I started training simply for health and a little self-defense. I’m now a 5th Degree Black Belt, I own my own school and I teach others. Everyone that I teach, I change their life for the better.

Thank Og it didn’t affect your ability to spell. :smiley:

Smoker --> Non-Smoker

I am a work in progress, but I have made a HUGE amount of progress. Three years ago, I was suicidal, depressed, and felt as if I had nothing to live for. I was broke, unable to find a job, totally alone, and just plain miserable.

I have been able to realize that I am not worthless; there are people that care about me and that I love in return. I now have a good job and am working seriously on writing my first novel. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn good.

I have found a type of spiritualism that doesn’t feel hypocritical to me. It offers me comfort where I had none before.

All in all, I am pretty proud of the new me.

2009- I am going to start working on losing weight. I’ll never be Twiggy thin (Nor would I want to be) but I want to be healthier.