MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities woman is encouraging people to explore affirmations plus physical activity as a technique for self-improvement.

“Life has so many blessings, and that’s what it’s about — to know that life is for you. And to be able to get rid of the anger and blame. Getting in touch, being aware, tapping that personal power and using simple movements every day to remind us,” coach Ellie Peterson said.

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Ellie Peterson looks at exercise differently. She says it’s not about being a certain size or even burning calories. At 23 years old, Peterson found herself divorced with a 5-, 3- and 1-year-old making $80 per week.

“My body wasn’t healthy,” Peterson said.

At that self-proclaimed low point, she realized her own negative self-talk was the heart of her problems.

“I started combining affirmations with exercise and found that you can retrain yourself. And you get in touch with things so that during the day if you’re at a meeting and you feel, you’re aware of that.”

More than 30 years after using affirmation workouts herself, Peterson’s technique is helping people like Paul Batz.

“Ellie helped me incorporate fitness in my life differently. Up until then, I had been trying to make it fun. And i never thought it was fun. It was to burn calories and weight,” Batz said.

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Ellie’s students speak statements like “I am strong,” “I am safe,” and “I release this” while doing yoga and aerobics-like movements.

KaNesha Belton has had 18 surgeries in her life making physical activity a challenge.

“I did not like exercise. It hurt and made me feel bad because I couldn’t exercise like everybody else, and I was like I can’t do this,” Belton said.

Since picking up affirmation workouts, just 10 minutes a day, Belton isn’t the only one who sees change.

“My mom and fiancé can totally tell the difference,” Belton said. “I think now I want to because it makes me feel good about myself. I feel positive because I’m doing this for me, not to lose weight for anyone else. I’m doing this to better myself and health and to feel good.”

Peterson said that affirmations are meant to be spoken. Saying something, rather than thinking it, makes you take ownership.

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To learn more about Peterson’s affirmation workouts, click here.