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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Did I really just eat that?? And other fun parts of my adventure...

I help my mom with coaching a Special Olympics swim team.  It's fun, a great way to give back to the community and I love seeing our swimmers succeed and celebrate their accomplishments!  So, the first weekend in April was our end of the season party.  I'm usually "in charge" of getting everything set up as people bring food in.  I don't mind and, in the past, it meant I got to sample all of the yummy desserts and other snacks people dropped off.  This time was a little different.  Mom and I had gone for a walk for about an hour.  I had a couple of snacks packed so that, hopefully, I wouldn't be tempted.  The sweets kept piling in and then, the pizza showed up.  If you don't me, just know this - I LOVE pizza.  I swear I could eat it every day all day.  So, the smell was driving me a little crazy.  But, I ate my apple and something else and just stood on the other side of the room away from the pizza and all the goodies.  I also sent a picture of all of the temptations to Renee' and she told me all my hard work was worth more than a bunch of processed, sugary food.  I needed to hear/see that to keep myself away!  The party was a success and I managed to stay away from the food.

On my way home, I had to run a couple of errands and then I knew I wanted to go for another walk and pack up my winter clothes.  She kept trying to convince me to eat this sushi stuff.... I was really reluctant but I gave in and bought a veggie roll.  I went for a walk while I worked up the courage to eat it.  I asked her if I could just stare at it but she said no ;)  Plus, the restaurant gave me chopsticks which I thought was hysterical because I have trouble eating with regular utensils, let alone something from a foreign country.... I thought they were trying to be funny by giving them to me.  Well, I put it in my mouth and I managed to finish the whole thing.  Definitely wasn't my favorite thing I've ever eaten but I managed to get it down.  And I haven't eaten it since... I haven't completely gotten rid of that avoidance thing that I am pretty good at!

That night, I pulled the majority of my winter clothes out of my closet.  Normally, I would put them in the storage bins that I was getting my spring/summer clothes out of.  Not this time.  Instead, I had a bunch of garbage bags that I packed them all in.  The next day I dropped them all off at Goodwill.  No turning back now!

The next week I actually decided to go back and workout with Renee' on Tuesday.  I think it was actually kinda fun and despite the fact that I couldn't move the next day, I knew it was good for me.  Since I was still really heavy (and not in very good shape), she wouldn't let me do a lot of the same things the other people were doing.  I was fine with it - I didn't want to hurt myself in any way.  Plus, I'd rather not be in the middle of a group!  So, I went outside for the first 20 minutes and walked with one of the trainers - I think I may have said 30 words to her - definitely an improvement!  When they were ready to start the weight stuff, I went back in.  Did more stuff with those band things and squats with weights and stuff.  I seriously have no idea what any of the stuff I was doing is called.  I nicknamed one of the exercises "tricep thing".  That's the only muscle I knew the name of :)

I was fully expecting to not be able to move the next day but I actually wasn't sore.  Made the mistake of telling Renee' that - she said - we'll just amp it up next time - My response - Oh goody!

That Thursday, I was in absolute shock when I stepped on the scale and had lost another 4 lbs.  Who does that almost 3 months in??  Crazy but fun!  Later that day, Renee' sent me a picture of one of her lunches.  I told her 'Looks pretty, what is it?'  She told me I had to guess - she said it would be educational for me but I really think she was in the mood to laugh hysterically at me :)  But I was laughing at myself like I usually do so it's all good.  I managed to guess a most of the things correctly and she gave me a B!  Still feel pretty dumb about food but I didn't do as bad at the guessing game as I thought I would!

I kept working out and she kept telling me I was an inspiration to people - I told her I don't think so.  I couldn't figure out why she kept telling me that.  It would take me awhile before I would start to understand what she was talking about... At the time, I was just thankful to my brother for introducing me to her and that we had become friends.  It was only mid-April and there were still so many amazing things in store for me :)

Picture from April 2013 below :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Am I really ready for this??

Going back to school also began the month of April.  Usually another crazy busy month with scholarships, master schedule and getting things ready for the end of the school year.  So , it was fun to get an email from Renee' the first day back where she put together a list of everything I had accomplished over spring break.  I tend to not really pat myself on the back or take credit for anything that I do.  I've always preferred to just blend into the background and not really be noticed.  My self-confidence was really low and it's something I'll be working on for a long time.  However, seeing that list gave me even more of a reason to be proud of myself.  Just a few of the things on the list - I'd lost 28 pounds, it was easier to chase my nephew and nieces around and I tried fish (which, to this day, I still can't believe).

In that email she mentioned that she was still training my brother and sister and some of their co-workers on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school.  She said I was welcome to come up and observe sometime if I wanted to.  I was intrigued but I also knew I would clam up and probably not say a word to anyone.  Even with my brother, sister and Renee' there, I would be completely out of my element and uncomfortable.  But, I decided it would be fun so I agreed.  I figured I would just go for a walk when they got done to get a little exercise.  Renee' had a different idea....

She texted me that morning and told me I could try to do half the stuff if I wanted to.  I totally tried to get out of it by saying, I would be late getting there, I'd have to change, etc.  She convinced me to bring my clothes with me and I could decide if I wanted to change that afternoon.  When I got there I think she was excited to see me and I just waved to my brother and sister and didn't say much of anything.  She told me to go get changed... so I followed directions :)  I still wasn't convinced I was going to do anything... I should have known better!  I think she knew if she could get me there, she could convince me to do something.  After I got changed, I went back out and she said, what do you want to do, we can start with something easy, like walking lunges.  I just looked at her, pretty much saying, you want me to move from this spot???  She had one of her trainers come over and make me move and she stayed with me for the rest of the afternoon.  I didn't say much more than 10 words to her the entire time I was there... I felt kinda bad but I just wasn't comfortable.  I had to pull some kind of band thing around a pole different ways, do some squat thing and some other stuff I don't remember (Renee' loves the technical names I come up with for these exercises - I have no idea what they are really called!).  At the end I felt pretty good.  I still went for a little walk to get some fresh air.

Renee' even called me later that night to see what I thought about the afternoon.  I told her it was fun but I felt bad because I didn't talk much.  She said it's okay, you're not supposed to talk when you're exercising! :) Got home later that evening, ate dinner and went to bed.

Holy crap I couldn't move my arms the next day!  Washing my hair was quite an experience that morning.  I literally couldn't raise my arms above my head.  I've never been that sore in my life.  I know that made Renee's day :)

The rest of the day, we went back and forth with her trying to convince me to try sushi - I told her she'd lost her mind (in a nice way...)  I had a visitation to go to that evening and, although it was a sad occasion, I saw some people I hadn't seen in a few months and they all commented on how great I looked.  It was so fun to hear!

There were still many more adventures ahead of me and I was starting to feel like there were great things ahead of me :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Spring Break 2013

So, you might be asking yourself, how could 10 days off of work at the end of March (when it's usually still cold in Ohio) change my life in such a dramatic way?  Well, for me it was dramatic but it was a series of things that happened.

I started with the goals I wanted to accomplish over the week.  Nothing too crazy.  They mostly revolved around cleaning out closets, the kitchen,etc - just getting rid of clutter.  I also went through my clothes and was so excited to give a ton of stuff away - it was too big :)  I decided that I wanted to try to walk/jog a 5K this fall and found a few I could choose from.  Didn't want to step too far out of my comfort zone...  I was able to accomplish everything I had listed and it felt good to get rid of so much junk!

The next thing was adding more strange food - fish.  Now, to most of you, fish is not strange.  To me, it's like eating a snail or something.  In 33 years I had never touched it and hated the smell more than anything.  But, Renee' kept telling me how good it was for me.  So, she told me to start with tilapia.  Reluctantly, I bought it.  I didn't even know if I should keep it in the fridge or the freezer... Yes I am a moron!  She helped me find a couple of recipes and I decided I could handle making it on Sunday since I would have time to make something else if it was awful (which I fully expected it to be...).  I told her...good thing you have enough excitement about this whole fish thing for both of us....

So, I followed the directions, got some honey mustard out and ate it - I actually finished it.  Wasn't the greatest thing I'd ever eaten but it was fine and I actually felt like I would eat it again.  Huge accomplishment for me!  And a huge victory for Renee' :)

I was able to spend a lot of time with my favorite kiddos (aka, my nieces and nephew) over the next 2 days.  Got to have some conversations with my mom and my sister.  They commented often on being able to see a change in me.  I still didn't believe them completely but it was (and still is) fun to hear!  I was starting to realize I was happy and enjoying my life more than ever before.

Wednesday was my birthday (kinda fun when your birthday falls on your spring break).  I went to the gym - I don't even get to take my birthday off of working out... but it's all good!  My mom picked me up, we went to lunch (where I only indulged a little bit) and then we went to a movie.  I really do have the best mom.  There had been times when, since I often felt like I didn't matter, I didn't make an effort to spend time with her.  So, to have time where it was just me and her meant the world to me.  Later that afternoon, I went shopping at Macy's with a little birthday money.  I wanted a couple of new shirts.  I found one that I loved and took two sizes in the fitting room.  Imagine my surprise when the smaller size fit!  I even sent a text to my sister to ask her if it looked okay.  When she said yes, I felt even better!  I was able to have a great conversation with my awesome cousin who is more like one of my best friends (even though we don't see each other very often) and I enjoyed a great dinner with another friend I had reconnected with over the last few months.  And, I even made good choices at dinner which surprised even me!  I just knew my 33rd year was off to a great start and was going to be one of the best years I've had in a long time!

Thursday was going to be a fun day.  My sister and I were going to do a little shopping, get a pedicure and then I was going to meet up with Renee' for a little bit.  I hadn't seen her in over a month so I was looking forward to it.  We went for a walk.  Turns out we walked for over an hour - didn't seem like that long - guess that's what happens when you're friends with someone.  We talked about a lot of things and she helped me realize a lot of things about myself.  It was so fun and really set into motion many of the things I would look into over the next few months.  She also introduced me to some of the athletes she trains and the people who work with her - of course I was super shy at first but they were so nice that I think I may have said 7 words instead of my normal 5...

The rest of the break was just as memorable and fun - I remember getting ready to head back to school on Tuesday, I actually felt relaxed and refreshed.  It was the first time I had felt like that coming back from a break in a very long time.

So many amazing things had happened in such a short time, I could only imagine how many more I had to look forward to...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Finding a little "spring" in my step :)

By mid- March, I was definitely seeing a change in myself, physically, with my mood and just my outlook on life.  Hard to believe what having someone believe in me (other than family) did for my life.  I signed up to volunteer at the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields a few Saturdays in the spring in an effort to get myself out in the world a little more.  For anyone who knows me well, just actually committing to going was a huge step for me - I'd be going to a place where I didn't know a soul and I would actually have to talk...

Also, my mom had asked me if I wanted to walk in the Flying Pig Half Marathon the first weekend in May.  I was considering it (we did a couple of times a few years ago) but I wasn't sure I would be ready to walk 13.1 miles in the next 6 weeks.  More of that whole confidence thing I was (and still am) working on!  I asked Renee' what she thought and she said I should definitely do it!  It would give me a fitness goal to work towards.  She also said I should set a goal of being down another 15 to 20 lbs by that weekend.  I wasn't so sure about that - It wasn't even 2 months away!  But I was willing to try for 15.  So I set a new goal to be down 15 lbs by May 3rd.  I didn't have a whole lot of confidence I would reach it....  Stay tuned to find out if I did!!

The week before spring break, the students came around and asked me if I would be one of the four staff members in the Kiss the Pig contest.  Basically, if you end up with the most money in your jar by the end of the week, you have to kiss a (REAL) pig.  So not my thing but I agreed.  That is definitely something I NEVER would have agreed to last year.  If I win, I have to go in front of the whole student body.... Says a lot about how much I had changed that I was willing to say yes.

One of the hardest parts of this whole process for me has been constantly being surrounded by food at work.  The worst of those days is the day before spring break when the entire cafeteria is turned into a festival or carnival type atmosphere.  The kids do an amazing job and all the money goes to a very deserving charity.  But, it is very difficult for me to smell pizza, nachos and many other greasy , yummy foods and not eat them.  I ate my packed lunch that day and just stayed in the office for the most part while everyone else ate.  Once I was full, it wasn't as difficult to walk away from the food.  And I didn't have to kiss a pig!

Going into the last week of school before spring break, I felt like I was finally in a bit of a routine... yes I love my routines.  Little did I realize, Renee' had already figured that out.  Guess I wasn't going to be able to get comfortable yet - after all , that's kinda what got me in trouble in the first place!  So, she gave me homework over my break - I had to come up with 3 different lists of goals I wanted to accomplish, over break, short term and long term.  I'm so not good at that.  But, I knew it was a good idea so I agreed :)  She has a lot of good ideas!

As I left school on the last day, I was so excited for the next 10 days of freedom - more excited for a break than I had been in a long time!  I always love having days off but something was different this time... I had a much more positive outlook on life in general and knew I would find things to do throughout the week.

I don't think I could ever have imagined what that week would bring and how different I would feel at the end of the break...

Picture below from the beginning of March 2013.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Learning to Enjoy Working Out...

During the first 6 weeks of this journey, I found that I started looking forward to working out. It was my time to get away from the world and lose myself in Friends reruns and my ipod.   In fact, I got a nasty sinus infection at the end of February and was actually disappointed that I had to skip a day at the gym (I just didn't have the energy).  In the past, I would have used being sick as a reason to not work out for the next week, thinking, oh my body just needs to rest... Good lie I kept telling myself, right?  Especially because I would also eat whatever sounded good at that time too.

Because I honestly had no idea where to start with exercising, Renee' would send me workouts every day that almost always involved the elliptical (because of how heavy I was, it was the best machine for me to use b/c it doesn't put as much pressure on my joints).  She also sent me stuff with weights to do.  That usually required some clarification!  Like I said before, I am convinced she spent a majority of her day expecting dumb questions and laughing at me but since I was laughing at myself, I didn't mind!

One that sticks out in my mind is the first time she told me to do a physioball hamstring roll in.  First, I had absolutely no idea what it was (shocker) and when she told me I had to lay on my back and use my heels to bring a physioball in towards my butt, I laughed and said, well that requires coordination.  But, I tried (and fell on my butt several times) and then sent her a message when I got done that I am not coordinated enough for fancy exercises :)

Renee' kept mentioning that I should try yoga and I kept putting it off.  Well, we had a snow day in March and I finally had no excuse... so I downloaded something on my computer and tried it .... I am not flexible enough for yoga ... I couldn't do 90% of what they said to do... But, again, at least I tried!  And I haven't tried it since... but I try not to remind her of that too often!

At the end of February I was down 18 pounds.  Renee' was the only person who knew that my first goal was to lose 20 lbs by my birthday (March 27th).  When I made that goal, I never thought I would reach it.  I didn't even tell her until I had known her for a month.  So, my moment of truth day came the first week of March - I stepped on the scale and I couldn't believe what I saw - another 4 lbs!!  22 total in less than 2 months!  I was in shock.  I waited until later that morning to tell Renee' and just said thank you a few dozen times :)  Her response?  We're a team and this is just the beginning.  That just made me smile.  From the beginning I felt like she was in my corner and she just kept showing me through every conversation that she enjoyed working with me.  We were becoming friends :)

By the end of the day I had set a new goal and Renee' was on board with it.  I wanted to see if I could lose another 20 lbs by the end of the school year, which gave me about 3 months.  I knew I was playing it safe but I think I just wanted to achieve my goal so badly, I wanted to give myself enough time.  However, that goal would eventually find a way of changing itself within the next week or so....

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Adventure Continues!

So, I made it through the first month of changing my entire way of eating, exercising, etc.  What else could there be?  Turns out, a lot more!

Now that Renee' had me eating on a better schedule (and healthier stuff overall), it was time to start adding in different foods.  I was extremely wary of this to say the least.  I don't really like to try new things, food being just one those things!  But, I knew had to try.  So, after I met Renee' one afternoon, I stopped and bought some cottage cheese (which was gross!!) and some plain greek yogurt.  I had been eating the fruit flavored greek yogurt but apparently it has a lot of sugar in it and the plain is a better choice.  It smells really funny!!  It took me a couple of tries to figure out how I like it but as long as I can sweeten it a little with either honey or no cal sweetener, it isn't too bad.

The other thing she wanted me to try was hot green tea.  Sounds easy right?  Just heat up the water and put a tea bag in it... Well, I did that one day at school and it was pretty disgusting.  I texted Renee' and told her I screwed it up and she just laughed and wanted to know how I managed to mess up something that simple... I said, well, it is me we're talking about!  But, I tried again a couple of days later and this time I put a little sweetener in it and was able to drink it - definitely an acquired taste!  I now drink a cup after lunch and after dinner every day.  I think it helps with my metabolism but I'm not sure what else... Guess I should probably research that!  Goes well with york peppermint patties and dark chocolate too.  Oh, and for anyone who wasn't aware, york peppermint patties are made with dark chocolate.... Took me a few months to figure that out.... :)

Throughout the first 6 weeks of my new life, Renee' was training my brother and sister a couple of days a week.  I knew she was telling them about my funny thoughts and experiences and my successes.  I figured they would just smile and be happy for me.  To hear her describe their reactions gave me such a boost in confidence and was one of the many reasons I wanted to keep going.  She said you could see the happiness and pride in their faces.  I never really thought they had much of a reason to be proud of me so to hear her say that felt amazing.  It still does.

My parents were also being so supportive and every time I saw them I could see the pride in their eyes.  My mom even sat down with me one Saturday evening and went through some recipes with me.  She was interested in why they were good for me and wanted to help me figure out what the ingredients were. I'm not sure I explained it well, but at least I had Renee's comments to go off of when she asked questions!

Everyone's support means more than I think they will ever know.

By the end of February, I had lost 18 pounds, learned how to drink green tea, eliminated oreos from my diet (quite an accomplishment for me), and felt so happy and alive for the first time in a long time.  I credit so much of that to Renee' taking such an active interest in me and breaking down all the walls I had built around myself.  I found I was slowly becoming more willing to talk to people, smiling more and just enjoying life more than I ever thought possible.  I couldn't have imagined how many more amazing adventures and accomplishments were ahead of me in the coming months.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Continuing on My Food Journey

The month of February has been exhausting for me since I started my career.  If I remember correctly (which I usually do), there are 5 parent nights, conference night and ACT testing all in that one month.  In addition to that, the department is in full blown scheduling mode for the next school year which, for anyone who has ever been in a high school, is probably the craziest time of year for a guidance department.

So, by the end of the first week of February, I was exhausted already and looking forward to a quiet Saturday night.  Renee' suggested I look through recipes while monitoring the ACT and find something new to make.  Cooking and recipes... so not my thing but I was willing so I looked....but within abut 15 minutes I knew I was in over my head.  I didn't understand the titles of the recipes, let alone most of the ingredients.  I really believe the people who write some of these recipes are trying to confuse people like me.... but that's another story.  

I told Renee', I feel like an idiot and she just laughed, went with it and said she would help me come up with something.  Amazing person, right??  Later that day she sent me a couple of different ideas that were actually fairly simple, I made one and it was actually good!  Guess I can confess I'm pretty good at following directions!

The next week was an exhausting one but I was determined to stay on track.  Although I could only get to the gym two days that week, I knew if I stayed focused on my nutrition, I would be okay.  Imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale on Valentine's Day (it was a Thursday) and I had lost another 3.5 pounds!  My total so far was over 10 in less than a month - Unbelievable!  It made the long week much more bearable and allowed me to avoid another plate of cookies staring at me all night.  I really think there is something written in a manual somewhere that if you feed people in the education field, they will be happy -  I used to love that...not so much anymore!

Making it through the first two weeks of February and sticking to my new lifestyle was a success - it made me proud of myself and gave me another reason to keep moving on this journey - Although I still could never have imagined where it would take me in such a short amount of time :)

The Grocery Store Can Be A Confusing Place...

Since I've gotten so much positive feedback already... guess I'll keep going!  Thanks for reading everyone!

So, now that I realized changing everything about my life could actually work...the next step was to start to figure out this food thing.  For anyone who knows me, you probably know I don't really enjoy cooking and I know next to nothing about food.  Even though my mom is an amazing cook, I never really had an interest in it.  Living alone didn't really foster any desire to learn about cooking either.  So, I often found myself eating frozen meals, ordering pizza, or just making simple things like spaghetti or cooking already made burgers and stuff.

I was going to need a lot of help to figure out this whole cooking and food thing - I still do!!  And I have a feeling I will for awhile...but I'm getting ahead of myself.  So, my amazing new friend (Renee') met me on a Sunday afternoon and spent a lot of time helping me figure out what kind of things I could make for dinner.  I mean, she wrote down ingredients, drew me pictures of what kind of pan I would use to cook it in and directions on how to cook the meals.  Of course, this also meant I had to go back to the grocery store.

Kroger was becoming a maze of mystery to me.  I'll confess, I pretended to know what some of the ingredients she mentioned were so I wouldn't look like a complete moron.  I figured there would be signs and I would eventually find what I needed... Not as easy as it sounded.  Renee' kept talking about something called a garlic clove.  Couldn't find those, nor did I have any idea what I would do with one if I did find it.  That became a running joke between the two of us for the next few weeks until, finally, one day someone labeled them at Kroger!  Hey, miracles happen every once in awhile!

I did manage to find enough ingredients to start making a couple of the meals she had suggested.  I was pretty proud of myself when my pizza made from whole wheat pita bread with chicken, sauce and cheese on it was actually good!  And it filled me up.

I started to eat smaller meals, more often throughout the day.  Along with how much I ate, I changed what I put in my body as well.  Lots of lean protein, gave up my Oreos (I love sweets) and started avoiding all the free food at work.  I packed enough snacks to get me through the day but I knew eventually I was going to have to add more variety to my diet.  However, Renee' let me take the easy road for the first few weeks.  Then she started mentioning plain greek yogurt, cottage cheese and other things that I really didn't think I would ever buy ... The weird things she wanted me to find just kept piling up and on the days I went to the grocery store she would know to expect several messages.  The messages were either me being excited because I found something I hadn't previously been able to find or they were a a bunch of pictures to find out if I was buying the right things...

I'm convinced Renee' spent a majority of her days laughing at me but I was completely okay with it because I was learning how to laugh at myself.  There were several text messages that went back and forth about plates of cookies staring at me, donuts begging me to eat them, etc.  She would (and still does) just respond and make me laugh by coming up with a weird name for whatever food was annoying me that day, telling me how those foods are made (which would make me not want to eat them) or giving me an alternative I could try.  It's exactly what I needed to stay on track with what was becoming a new lifestyle.

By the way, if anyone ever wants to laugh hysterically, feel free to come to Kroger on a day when Renee' has me looking for something completely bizarre - it's pretty entertaining!!  Last week I spent a solid 20 minutes in the organic section... I'm still not sure I found what I was supposed to find...

Renee's willingness to help me, put up with all of my questions and be my friend were the biggest reasons I knew early on I would find success along this journey.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Beginning of a New Life

As many of you know, I've struggled with my weight for my entire life.  I've lost, gained and been a yo yo dieter for most of my adult life.  I even struggled as a teenager.  So, many of you might be asking, what would make a 33 (32 at the time) year old person decide to make so many changes...??

Well, it started with a conversation with my amazing mom in January.  By talking with her, I realized how unhappy I truly was with so many things in my life.  I won't go into detail, but my weight was just one of the things I needed to change.  I let my weight mask everything else that was making me so unhappy.  I didn't want to go anywhere, talk to anyone that wasn't a family member and I spent most of my time hiding in my house.

Once I came to this realization, I didn't even know where to start.  I talked to my family and, through conversations with my awesome big brother, little sister and my brother and sister in law (who I am so blessed to have in my life), I agreed to go and talk to someone my brother and sister knew through coaching who might be able to help me with my nutrition, exercise and weight loss.  I figured it was a good starting point and I would just see where things went from there.

I had no idea how much that January afternoon would change my life.  Although I knew I had a very long road ahead of me, I felt like this person actually wanted to help me, cared about me and wanted to know me as a person too.  That was a bit of a foreign concept to me.  See, I'm not the most social person in the world and I absolutely hate uncomfortable situations and being in places where I don't know people.  I often won't say much more than 5 words to people I'm not comfortable with.  I think a lot of times people take that as my being rude... so it's always been hard for me to meet new people, make new friends, etc.  Somehow, she got me to talk to her without much effort.  Maybe I was just finally ready but I really think it's just the kind of person she is and the kind of person I needed to meet and have in my life.  When I left the meeting, I felt really positive and looking forward to what was ahead of me... although I still had no idea how many changes I would be making in such a short time.

The weekend after my meeting, I got a few emails from her with feedback on my nutrition and a sample grocery list... Needless to say I was overwhelmed.  But, if I was going to make change, I knew I had to actually make the decision to go at it full steam ahead.  Hey, if someone is going to take time out of their day to help me, I better show them that I care and that I appreciate it, right?  So, I cleaned out my refrigerator and freezer (good thing it was the day before garbage day) and headed to the grocery store... That was definitely an adventure.  I only found some of the stuff (I actually didn't know what most of it was...) but it was enough to get me started.

The next day, I went to the gym for the first time in a long time.  I started simple (by direction of course) and did 30 minutes on the elliptical.  Not too hard on my knees but hard enough to get a good workout.  I felt good afterwards and was determined to continue.

The next day, it was abnormally warm in January so I went out for a walk after work.  It was amazing how good the fresh air felt.  The following day I went to the gym again and then, the next day, Thursday was weigh in day.  See, I had weighed myself the morning of the meeting so Thursday became the moment of truth of day.  I couldn't believe what I saw!!! 6 pounds in one week!  Now, I am smart enough to know that wouldn't continue but it was such an amazing feeling!  It was the positive reinforcement I needed to see that this could work and to keep going :)

Below is a picture of me from January 2013.