sneakerconfusedStories about people overcoming extraordinary odds motivate me, probably because I’ve overcome a few myself.

Karim Ramos overcame obesity, his brother’s suicide and living on the streets. He’s now a personal trainer, author and motivational speaker.

James Howell ran the 400m under 00:45.9. He’s 5’5.

Andy Sedar overcame shyness to become a competitive power-lifter and founded Torque Athletics.

Heather Hardy is a single mom from Brooklyn. She’s a professional boxer & Golden Gloves Champion.

Dan Benintendi weighed 400 lbs five years ago. He had gastric bypass in January 2008. Since then he has completed 8 Half Ironman Triathlons and 4 full 140.6 Ironman Triathlons. He’s an endurance athlete, spin instructor, a husband and father.

Paul Corley had what he called the co-morbisity-trifecta: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. He wrote at one time his highest known weight was 360. Paul had gastric bypass in July of 2010. He is also an endurance athlete, his son Anthony has raced with him. Paul is also a husband and father to an adorable little girl & another son.

Whether I meet these people face to face at some time in the future remains to be seen, but their commitment to a healthier lifestyle has made an impression in my life: Like Karim – to get up at 4a.m. to do cardio. Like James – to blow away the naysayers who think size matters. Like Andy – who’s determination infects anyone who comes into his gym. Like Heather – who is an incredible inspiration to single moms (and their daughters) everywhere. Like Dan-to conquer anything (or anyone) that stands in the way. Like Paul-who went to the gym in spite of rain, no phone and dead Garmins.

We are all more than names on a file, numbers on a scale, calories in a log. Against all odds, we stood up and took control of our lives and made a decision to change.

We’re all more than what we could ever imagine.

Now go – write that down somewhere you can see it every day.

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