Sometimes, wanting to "be like others" can work in one's favor. When you're trying to instill good habits in your child, it can help to point out what their friends are doing. When you want to lose weight, it can help to look around at others who have succeeded, who are currently working toward it, and who live it day to day.
While I was in Belarus, I have to admit that I felt fat, frumpy and almost matronly compared to the women my age there. Nearly everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is thin, beautiful and fashionable. It was as I imagine going to Paris would be, except that every single person was beyond kind to me. I spent a vast amount of my time observing the lifestyle the women live, and I noticed some serious common thread. Easy, simple things to incorporate into my life, that result in being happier with one's appearance.
Most of the women I was around don't eat after a certain time in the evening. They savor the foods they do eat, and eat slowly. They allow themselves to indulge, and balance it with tons of veggies and fruits. Minsk, the city I was in, is built for walking literally EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately, the city I call home is not made for this outside of the heart/downtown area. However, I am working to incorporate more walking into my life, and I have a lovely workout partner who lives 2 blocks away. She has the same goals as I do, and she's a fabulous motivation for me to get out there and work it.
Something else I noticed, while the people in Belarus may not live in the excess that we do in America (to some degree, I think this is better, but that has more to do with my views on waste/greed than anything), they make the absolute most of the things they do have. Belorussians buy things based on quality, not quantity. A girl may only own three outfits, but you'd better believe those outfits are STUNNING on her, and she has 4 or 5 accessories that dress up all three outfits. Her shoes are to die for, and on a daily basis, her skin, makeup, hair and nails look amazing.
Driving down the street in Minsk, you'd think all the popular/pretty/love to hate her/incredible girls in the world have landed in one place, and are all out shopping. It was a lot of fun to people watch, and I felt like I learned a lot about myself.
I always told myself I wouldn't be that wife/mom who let herself go after a certain point. Unfortunately, to some degree, I have. When I dolled up a bit last Friday, put on mile high heels and a dress and felt amazing...I suddenly received an INCREDIBLE amount of attention. Ladies at the grocery store stopped me to compliment me, men were openly staring, and the guys at work were very complimentary. This did worlds for my self-esteem, and has motivated me to not only keep up the effort in daily dressing, but to work harder toward my goals of weight loss/fitness.
I'm trying to think of a certain goal to have for myself, and what reward I want to work toward. I haven't decided yet, but I'm sure at least the reward will involve a tattoo!