January - Feeling so down I didn't even know where to go. This picture was from a "slumber party" I had with my niece and nephew. At that point, this was the only thing that was making me smile. Chloe is holding a water bottle I gave her and she looks so little and young. Guess she's changed a lot too! Cooper is just as adorable as ever.
I went back and looked at a calendar and this picture was taken on January 24th. I showed up at my parents house, looked at Cooper and realized we were dressed completely alike. I thought it would be fun to take a picture. The date is significant because I had just come from meeting with Renee' for the first time. I never thought this would become a "before" picture. No matter how positive I felt after meeting with her, in my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined where I would be by the end of the year.
February - I couldn't find any pictures of myself from February but this was taken at the end of January so it will have to do. Where was I in February? Beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Other than my family, not many people knew that I was trying to lose weight and do some different things with my life. I could say I just wanted to keep it to myself. But, deep down, I think I was worried about failing again and didn't want people to judge me. Not that anyone ever really judged me but, again, that was my mindset a year ago. I was also getting lost in the grocery store week after week. I should have taken a video of that :) I was working out as much as I could during a busy month at work and beginning to see how much better I felt just by taking some time for myself. And, I was seeing results. I was losing weight.
March - I can honestly say that by the time March hit I was starting to see a new me emerge. With me, this would take awhile. I'm not sure I can hit all the highlights because it is such a busy month, but I'll try. One of the first, best moments was this day (I believe it was March 2nd):
While I may not look much different, by this point I had lost 18 pounds and, as I got ready for my nephew's birthday party, I looked in my closet and decided to put on a pair of jeans that hadn't fit in a long time. I just wanted to see if I could get them on. Imagine my surprise when they actually zipped without a problem! If I had been allowed to jump, I would have! I told Renee' and she called me and was so happy for me. She helped me figure out how I was going to get through being surrounded by pizza and cake (I'd avoided it up to this point) and I felt empowered. Both because of the conversation and because of the jeans :)
This picture was taken at a birthday celebration for my sister-in-law. As I've said before, our birthdays are 10 days apart. There were a couple of people at their house, we had some drinks, played games and just hung out. It was great. And even better for me - they included my name on the cookie cake :) I had a small piece but resisted the urge to eat more throughout the night. I remember feeling happy. Especially when my brother told me he could tell that I had lost weight. Although I had lost a little over 20 pounds at this point, I was still having trouble seeing it in myself. So, to hear it from him meant the world to me.
The other parts of March were my birthday and Easter. I've already written about a lot of it but, in a nutshell, the week of my birthday was a huge turning point for me in so many ways. To have someone brag to other people about what I've accomplished, really feel like Renee' and I had and would continue to have a great friendship, spend a whole day with my mama, just me and her and so many other things was more than I could have ever hoped for.
April - I really started to see a difference in myself. I think my favorite part of the month was cleaning out my closet. I usually pack away all my winter clothes but, this year, I was instructed to give them away. They were already getting too big and I actually believed I wasn't going to be fitting back into them next year. Then I started trying dresses on to see what I should keep for all of the end of the school year celebrations. Here's a picture of one of those dresses - I'm not the best at selfies but...The other part of April that was fun (eventually) was first going to a workout with Renee'. I couldn't believe (at first) that she wanted to include me given how much she'd have to modify everything for me. I remember when I realized that didn't matter to her, that she just wanted me to come, I felt another little boost in my self-confidence. I think she knew (and still knows) that little things like that make a difference to me. I was starting to find some happiness.
May - What a month! For the first time in a few years, I had agreed to walk in the Flying Pig Half-Marathon with my mom. 13.1 miles. What was I thinking? That's what I thought when I was getting up before the crack of dawn. But, the weather cooperated and we finished in under 4 hours which was my goal all along. It was fun to spend that time with my mom and I was beginning to see what I am capable of. Other than being tired, I felt pretty good throughout the entire walk. Well, I was hungry, but that's because, by that point I had gotten used to eating every couple of hours. That was when I realized I had really changed my eating habits and that eating every couple of hours is really the best way to go.
In the middle of the month, my nephew graduated from preschool. This picture was taken that night and, when I looked at it, I really saw a difference in my face. People started saying that I looked happy and I was actually feeling happy.
Over Memorial Day Weekend, we had decided to get together and reminisce about old times with pictures and stuff. Kind of a fun extra celebration of my parents' 60th birthdays. So, that Saturday was a gorgeous day. While the guys played golf, the girls took the kids to the park. I had so much energy and loved running around with them. I couldn't even tell you the last time that happened. Actually, it's probably never happened. I was hanging on the playground equipment, swinging and just having fun. I felt a freedom I hadn't felt in a very long time. I was even starting to see a difference in my body. Fun picture from that day:
I don't think I have a picture from the day it happened but, the other thing that made May so unbelievably memorable was that, the last Thursday of the month, I stepped on the scale and I had officially lost 50 pounds! I literally couldn't believe it. I think I cried a little bit. I had gone from 281 to 231 in 4 months. I wasn't quite at my next goal yet but I knew it would be happening sooner rather than later. My confidence was growing in ways I couldn't believe.
June - For anyone who works in education, this is definitely the greatest month of the year! The school year was coming to an end and I was so excited to see what the summer held for me. Little did I know all the surprises that were in store for me. I was teaching swim lessons a couple of nights a week and one of the first things I noticed was that I could actually just use my arms to hop out of the pool. I couldn't do that last year. All along, it's been the little things. Like being comfortable in a pair of shorts (see below). Couldn't tell you the last time I wore a pair in public.
By mid- June, while hard to believe, I was still losing weight. I think it was the 3rd week of the month when I hit my next goal. 58 pounds. Seriously!!!????!!! I didn't know what to do. I hadn't seen Renee' in over a month so I sent her this picture so she could see what all of her help was turning into :)
Also, I had applied for a new job. I was keeping it pretty quiet but, deep down, I was so excited at the possibilities of what could be ahead of me. By the end of the month, I had been on this journey to change my life for 5 months and I was amazed at how it just felt like everything was falling into place.
As you go through the pictures of the first 6 months, I hope you see not only the physical changes, but also the change in my smile. It started to become genuine, not forced. I can't begin to explain how amazing that feels.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty
- Maya Angelou
Stay tuned for Part 2 :)