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Fit for Life: We Have Choices, Even When Tragedy Strikes

Saturday, December 15, 2018


December 11, 2009 tragedy struck my family, and I lost my kid sister in a car accident that her and two high school friends were involved in.

Her best friend was in the passenger seat and ironically the driver was the only one that lived.

I posted a couple pictures on social media in her memory this week and I received an unbelievable amount of feedback from a lot of people.

It was both humbling and appreciated to receive all that support and kind words and I am grateful for everyone that commented. However, I didn’t post it to receive sympathy or to have folks feel bad for me, I did it to preserve the fond memories we had together.

A lot of people face tragedy; however, we need to live our lives through the pain and anguish.

I write this to show that humans are resilient and that we have choices to either get stronger and live, or we can barricade ourselves into darkness, live an abusive lifestyle and feel sorry for ourselves for the rest of our lives.

I want to share some different ways that I deal with tragedy and hopefully help others shine a light on some dark moments.

My memories of her are what makes me smile when I think of her.

Here are a few I can recall like it was yesterday.

When I was in my twenties I used to work out in the basement. I wore work boots and she used to come down, see me and run upstairs and put her boots on. “Now I’m just like you big brother” she used to say. Then we would pose down like Hans and Frans and she would crack me up.

When I picked her up at school, she used to always tell her friends look how big my brother is. I was over 20 years older, so imagine me picking up a 4-year-old at daycare. Her classmates thought I was a giant. “See, I told you he was big” she used to say as she jumped into my arms.

As a teen, I would take her Christmas shopping for clothes every year and being the big brother of a teenage girl, much of what she picked out was not approved by me.

As she became an older teenager, we had some differences that put a strain on our relationship however I am not dwelling on the negative but cherishing the positive memories.

This article parallels a book I recently read called The Last Lecture.

It was about a guy that got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in his early forties. He had a great career, three kids, and a loving wife.

He wanted to live his final years in happiness, so he decided to chronicle his sickness and talk about it so others that encountered a similar situation won’t suffer as much.

(Hence the name “The Last Lecture”)

I wanted to write this to encourage you to bring fond memories to light when faced with loss.

With great memories, and time it makes sad situations more tolerable

We cannot change the cards we were dealt we can only decide how to play the hand.

When the smoke clears, the pain will always be there smoldering, however it’s our choice how we carry on with our lives.

As I said earlier, we can resort to feeling sorry for ourselves, dwell on the negative, live abusive lifestyles, or we can find the strength to move forward and not self-sabotage.

Life is short, so live it to its fullest and let fond memories carry you through dark situations.

Committed to your success. 

Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. He is the owner of Fitness Profiles, a one on one, and small group personal training company, as well as Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, located at 1284 North Main St., on the Providence/Pawtucket line. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one.


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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