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Monday, March 31, 2014

Celebrating Me :)

The last few days have been full of so many fun things.  On Thursday I turned 34 (which doesn't seem possible) and I was lucky enough to spend the entire day with people I love and care about.  I pampered myself a little with a mani/pedi (and now I have pretty flowers painted on my toes), had lunch with my entire family, went shopping with my mama and got some great new clothes and then had dinner with two good friends that I don't get to see very often.  I don't think I could have asked for a better day to just enjoy the person I've found inside me over the last year.  The whole weekend was filled with fun things, time with family and enjoying the start of spring break. 

I remember last year on my birthday, I was definitely happier than I had been a couple of months prior.  I had lost some weight, was really getting into the whole exercising thing and I was finally starting to climb out of the dark hole I had been in for so long.  The day after my birthday last year, Renee' and I went for a long walk and, although I already knew we were friends, this is where I finally realized that everything she was helping me find, do, accomplish, etc was fun for her as well.  That was such a foreign concept to me.  Why would anyone find happiness in helping me?  Well, because that's just the kind of person she is.  Even with my memory, I can't remember everything we talked about that day.  I just know I left feeling like I was finally on the right path to finding some kind of happiness.  And that I had a great new friend in my life who was going to enjoy the ride with me.  

Fast forward a year (and a few days) and we have such a fun friendship.  I still ask stupid questions and she still answers them (probably while laughing, but it's okay).  I still send random questions and thoughts that I am pretty sure keep her entertained throughout the day.  And she takes it all in stride.  And, I have still avoided stepping foot in that Whole Foods place.  I have a feeling I am going to have to give in eventually but, for now, driving by it and waving to it works for me :)  

So, as I was looking at quotes today, I saw this one and thought it was perfect for what I felt like writing about today - 

Unless you learn to face your own shadows, you will continue to see them in others, because the world outside you is only a reflection of the world inside you.

How true is this?  It took me so long to figure this out and I had A LOT of help along the way.  I had to face all the things that were making me unhappy in my life in order to find happiness and enjoy celebrating things like my birthday.  For so long, my birthday wasn't always a happy day for me because nothing seemed to make me happy.  Now, it is a super fun day but it's not the only day that I smile.  In fact, I just smile more than I might on a typical day.  Which might be a lot of smiling...

I now know that for so long, all the negative things I saw and felt about others was a reflection of how I felt on the inside.  Because I couldn't find happiness in me, I couldn't see or find happiness anywhere else.   Now that I am happy on the inside, I love seeing and meeting other people and finding all of the positive qualities they have to offer the world.  

The outside world for me has literally done a 180 in the last 14 months.  And that's because of all the changes I've made on the inside and for myself.  I have gone from seeing nothing but darkness and sadness to finding laughter and fun in the smallest of things.  I laugh at myself (a lot), love to learn and am willing to try new things.  While I am still hesitant to put myself out there or be the center of attention, I also don't mind when people laugh at me or with me.  That's a huge step for me.  And it's because I am finally allowing the world outside of me to be a reflection of how I feel on the inside.  

It's hard to completely describe how that feels.  For many, it's something they've always had but, for those of us who have struggled or currently struggle with being happy, I can tell you that it is worth all the trying times.  A year ago I may not have said that but I can honestly say that I wouldn't have had things happen any other way than they did.  I wouldn't be the person I am, have met the people I've run into over the past year and developed some amazing lifelong friendships that I will cherish forever.  I can't wait to continue seeing the outside world in a whole new way.  It really is a gift.  One that I don't intend to waste for a second.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I do not, in any way, think of myself as perfect.  In fact, I don't really think anyone is perfect.  We all have pieces of ourselves, our lives, that are imperfect.  That's where this quote comes into play 

I still struggle with the thought that anyone finds me inspiring.  When you spend a majority of your life trying to just blend in to the background, it's difficult to comprehend that people are paying attention to you, admiring your accomplishments and following your lead.  Never, ever, did I think those words would describe me.  Who would want to be like me?  I'm quiet, I'm not athletic, I struggle when I'm in situations that require me to step outside my comfort zone and so much more.  Those are just some of the imperfections I feel are a part of who I am.  However, I've started to see those attributes as positive qualities. 

Being quiet.  I definitely size up people and situations.  I will never be the person who just walks into a room and becomes the center of attention.  But, I am really observant and I notice a lot of things about people that others might miss.  I find that to be a positive quality.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy talking to people.  But, it's going to take me awhile to open up to you completely.  I'll feel out who you are before I let you get too close.  Yes, definitely a defense mechanism.  However, it is also just who I am.  And I've finally seen that I can be a leader, even in a quiet way.

Not athletic.  I am so not coordinated.  I have no balance.  Or core strength.  So, I spend a decent amount of time laughing at myself when a certain someone tells me to try new exercises.  I think my favorite memory of this type of thing (and there are many) is when she told me to put my feet on a physioball and do a push up.  I just laughed.  I tried.  And proceeded to fall over several times while laughing at how stupid I probably looked.  And, when I looked up, she was laughing with me.  So, it shows strength that I don't take myself seriously and it doesn't bother me when other people laugh right along with me.  I've always looked up to people who can laugh at themselves and not get mad when others give them a hard time.  Now, I've become the person who laughs right along with everyone else.  So, another imperfection that has become a strength which allows me to (apparently) inspire others.  

Being in situations that require me to step out of my comfort zone.  I'd much rather stay inside my little bubble.  But, I've slowly learned that, no matter how weird I feel, I can do things that are uncomfortable.  Each time I do, I grow as a person.  If we were all the same, we wouldn't have the privilege of getting to know people who have different passions in life.  Those who struggle with different things than we do.  You can use your imperfections to educate others.  I am hopeful that I am doing that on a regular basis.  

I think because I now see these things (and so much more) as positive qualities, I am allowing people to see how it is possible to be happy and content even when there are still things you'd love to change about yourself.  I no longer want to change a lot about myself.  I just want to continue to become a better version of myself.  I think that is the greatest gift I can give anyone who is looking up to me or, better yet, says they are inspired by me.  But, no matter what, I will always find that completely strange and weird to hear.  

Thanks for being a part of my adventure!  And so it continues!  14 months and counting... :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Measuring Success

A friend sent me an article today on how to measure fitness success.  She said when she read it she thought of me.  First, that made me smile.  Thanks Kelli :)  But, also, every single piece of what I read made more sense than I ever thought it would.  It was full of all the things I've been trying to tell myself over the last few months as I've struggled with how to measure my success without seeing the scale move.  For anyone wondering, I've been successful in keeping the scale in my closet the last two weeks and only getting it out on Thursday mornings.  I'm still at 184.4 and, although I'm still aiming for 181 (and hopefully less) at some point, I am starting to realize that there are so many other ways I can measure the success I've had and continue to experience every day.  So, with that, here's how I am going to start choosing to measure my success.  And, anyone who reads this can feel free to remind me I wrote this when I get in a funk!

1. The only one about weight - I've lost 97 pounds.  That's more than the weight of my nephew and nieces combined.  Plus some.  And I feel healthy, energetic and better than I ever thought possible!
2.  I have gone from having to use a physioball behind my back to do a squat the right way to being able to do them on one of those wobbly things (although I'm still pretty shaky...).  I even held a bar time!
3. In January of 2013 I struggled to do 5 push ups on my knees without falling over.   I can now do 5 real push-ups.  Although I still haven't shown anyone.  
4.  I still remember my first workout last January.  30 minutes on the elliptical at not too easy of a pace, resistance or incline.  I believe that I was at incline and resistance 3.  And I looked around the whole time feeling like people were watching me.  Now, I do a variety of things on the elliptical.  Hill climb, sprint/jog, etc.  And, I am up to being able to set the resistance and incline at a 7 for most of my workouts.  And, I've added in the treadmill.  Oh, and I don't care if people look at me.
5.  I used to do side and front raises with two 2 lb dumbbells.  I've moved up to having a 5 lb dumbbell in each hand.  And yesterday, I did a squat and front raise while holding one 15 lb dumbbell (with both hands).  I was kinda proud of myself.
6.  I couldn't walk up the steps without being out of breath a year ago.  Now, I don't mind walking up the stairs at school or at home.  Never thought I would feel that way.
7.  I no longer feel the need to wear a heart rate monitor when I work out.  Oh, and I don't take medicine for a rapid heart rate anymore :) 
8.  Back in September of 2012, I rode a roller coaster with my then 4 year old nephew at a festival. We had trouble fitting in the car together because I was so big.  Now, I can chase him around, play with him and not run out of energy.  Oh, and we rode that roller coaster again this past year and fit much better :) 
9.  Everything about anything sugary or not good for you used to call my name.  Now, except for rare days, I don't struggle to walk away from all the cookies, brownies, candy, etc that I encounter on a daily basis.
10.  A year ago, the thought of me ever running made me laugh.  Heck, I'd laugh at Renee' when she told me to do more than 5 push ups at a time.  Or when I had to figure out how to do what I now understand to be a physioball hamstring roll in.  FYI - that requires coordination that I didn't possess until a few months ago.  Now, I've run both a 5K and a 10K (with walking involved in both) and I am signed up to run another 10K the first weekend in May.  Did I mention I ran 3.3 miles in 35 minutes today??
11.  In January 2013, I struggled to find normal vegetables at the store (we all know the garlic clove story so I won't repeat that one...but it is a classic!).  Now, I can usually find what I'm looking for and it doesn't take me 3 hours.  Oh, and as long as a recipe is written in English that not very smart people about cooking can understand, I can usually follow it.  That's a major success for me!
12.  In January of 2013, I rarely wanted to leave my house.  Now, I love going out and doing things.  I enjoy being social.  And, I'm happier than I ever thought I could be.  That, alone, is success for me.

Success is steady progress towards one's personal goals

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thank You :)

Not that my journey is over or anything but, I saw this today and thought it would make for a good entry.  As I get closer to turning 34 (seriously, when did THAT happen??), I reflect more and more on my life and all the wonderful people I've encountered, experiences I've had and just the all around great life I've had and continue to have each day.  With that, as my birthday comes up and I get close to marking 14 months on this adventure to a new me, I thought it would be fun to thank certain people for the part they've played so far in my journey.  And for the parts I know they will continue to play for years to come.

1.  Mom - You were the catalyst to start me on this journey.  I could never repay you for everything you've done for me since the day I was born.  God knows I was a trying child at times and I know I tested your patience more times than I could ever count.  But, you never gave up on me.  And I know you never will.  You are always excited for me, proud of me and help me find the best in every situation.  You've supported me in each and every thing I have ever done.  When I decided to go for the new job last year, I wasn't sure how you would react.  I should have known you would be nothing but supportive and excited for me.  That meant more to me than I think you'll ever know.  Thank you for being the greatest mom I could ever have been blessed enough to have :)

2.  Dad - You are always there for me and are always a voice of reason in my life.  I've often been told we are very similar (God knows I sleep like a rock because of you.  And I have good teeth too :) ) and I couldn't ask for anyone better to be compared to.  You have one of the kindest hearts I've ever seen and I am blessed to have whatever traits I inherited from you as a part of me.

3.  Andy - My big brother.  So, yeah, you may have tortured me at times as a kid.  But, let's be honest, I lucked out because you saved most of that torture for Ang :)  I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world.  You are such a down to earth, humble guy.  I admire the way you live your life, how you carry yourself on a regular basis, the way you put your family first and how you are raising your children to be just like you.  Without you, I wouldn't have met Renee' and, I honestly believe, I wouldn't have come as far as I have in the last 14 months.  You've been such a big part of this journey for me.  Not just the initial introduction.  But cheering me on, laughing at me (and with me), listening to me when I'm frustrated (which doesn't happen much anymore) and so much more I can't begin to list it all.  Love you brother :) 

4.  Angie - My little sister.  So, I think we did our fair share of torturing each other as kids but I wouldn't have it any other way.  That's what sisters do!  And now, I have the best friend in the world who knows me inside and out.  You know where I come from, where I've been and you get me.  We are very different people but I think that's what makes us such great friends.  You knew I was struggling last year but I knew you respected me enough to know that I would share a lot of things with you when I was ready.  That means more to me than you'll ever know.  Like Andy, you've been one of my biggest cheerleaders.  And, you make me feel somewhat smart when you ask for recipes :)  I also admire the way you live your life, how you put your marriage and family first and how you are raising Emma to be just as amazing of a person as you are.  She's hysterical and reminds me so much of you.  Love you sister :) 

5.  Kristin & Seth - Seriously?  Andy and Angie couldn't have picked better people to bring into our family.  I don't even think of you as "in-laws".  Kris, you are my sister and Seth you are my brother.  You've both supported me, cheered me on and, Kristin, you even tried yoga with me.  Kristin, you are such an amazing person and your kids are shining examples of who you are, inside and out.   Seth, Emma looks just like you and I can already see she inherited so many wonderful things from you.  It's so great to have someone who works in the same field as me to bounce things off of when I've needed to in the past.  Thank you both for supporting me through all of this and being such amazing people.  

6. Kim - I know for awhile I kind of distanced myself from our friendship.  Not for any specific reason but just because that's kind of where my head was at.  You supported me through so much, listened to me scream and cry about so many things and have just been one of the best friends I could ever ask for.  Hearing you get excited for me has made this adventure that much more special for me.  Thanks for being one of the best friends I could ever ask for.  

7.  Meredith - I cherish everything about our friendship.  Our conversations could literally last for hours and it would feel like no time has passed at all.  You completely "get" me in ways I don't think anyone else does or ever could.  Thank you for all of your support, smiles and encouragement.  Even from a distance, I know you are there for me and I can call or lean on you anytime I need to.  That's the definition of a best friend.  

8.  Kira and Kelli - I am so lucky to have developed such a fun friendship with both of you over the last 7 months.  You (along with so many other people), have made me love my job at Fairfield even more than I thought possible.  Thank you for cheering me on, pushing me to do things I may not want to do, helping me figure out this whole cooking thing, showing me what a bean looks like (yes, I'm serious), laughing with me on a regular basis and just for being two of the best people I've ever met.  Makes coming to work that much more fun and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  And, anytime you need a chocolate fix, I always have york peppermint patties in my desk drawer ;)

9.  Cooper, Chloe & Emma - These three are easily the greatest blessings in my life.  All three of you show me what unconditional love truly is on a regular basis.  It doesn't matter what size I am, what kind of day I've had or anything else.  I always know that the three of you love me and that has helped me through some pretty difficult times.  I think it was right before I met with Renee' for the first time that I said to my brother and sister (in-law) after a night of babysitting Coop and Chloe that the two people sleeping upstairs (and Emma) were the only things that were making me smile anymore.  While I am happy to say that is no longer the case, I can say that they make each day fun and I look forward to the time I get to spend with them.  And having them see me change my life in so many positive ways is an unbelievable feeling.

10. Renee' - I think back to the first time I met you and, to this day, I seriously can't believe all the things you've gotten me to do.  I'll keep this short because I couldn't possibly list everything without going on forever and a day.  I think I said to you a few weeks ago, I'm proof of what can happen when someone believes in you.  And I think that is as good of a summation of the last 14 months that I can come up with.   Thank you for being such an integral part of this adventure with me.  I can guarantee I would still be wandering around the grocery store looking for a garlic clove and many other things if we hadn't met.  In all seriousness, as much as you say I don't need to thank you, that's exactly what I'm doing today.  Because without you, I know I would not be the person I am today.  So, thank you :)  But I still can't balance any body parts on those darn physioballs.... ;)  Maybe someday.... far off in the future....

To anyone I didn't specifically list - just know that every single person I come into contact with every day makes an impact on my life in ways you could never imagine.  Thanks for whatever part you've played in my journey and I look forward to continue to sharing it with all of you!

Without all of you, I wouldn't have accomplished anywhere near as much as I have in the last 14 months.  I wouldn't have amazing memories, awesome friends (old and new), and so much more I could never list it all. So, thank you for whatever part you've played in my journey.  I look forward to all the fun times ahead of me with all of you as a part of my life. :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Working My Way Through the Last Two Months

If you focus on results you will never change.  If you focus on change, you will get results.

The last 2 months have been a time of trying to figure a lot of things out for myself.  Which can be difficult for me.  It's not something I've always been good at.  I'm such an emotional person that I often just resorted to eating or doing whatever would make me feel good rather than working my way through difficult situations.  Over the last year I have experienced so many positive moments.  I don't think I could list them all if I tried.  I also don't think I truly thought about how I would react and what I would do when I didn't see much physical progress in my adventure as I had grown accustomed to over the last year.  I've had some days where I've wanted to just say screw it.  I have also wanted to just throw my scale out the window and have a car run over it.  And I've wanted to scream and cry because I've gotten so frustrated I just didn't know what else to do.  

So, how have I gotten through it?  

Well, one thing that has helped me immensely is exercising.  Although I'm not losing weight at the moment, I am doing something that is so good for my health, mentally, emotionally and physically.  Exercising relieves stress.  It makes me feel good about myself.  When I challenge myself with different exercises and I am actually able to do them, it makes me feel proud of myself.  I get the feeling that I've accomplished something.  Just this week, I did 5 real push ups in a row.  No one saw me (that was on purpose), but, I swear I did them.  If you know me, you know I am not a good liar.  Plus, if it didn't really happen, Renee' would know it when she looked at my face :) Then I'd be in trouble.... Also, these lovely things called tricep knee push ups (evil, evil invention).... well, I could barely do 5 of them 2 weeks ago.  They still suck balls, but, I am up to being able to do sets of 15 as long as I spread them out throughout my workout.  I love seeing myself accomplish things I never thought I would be able to do.  It's so much fun!

Another helpful piece has been realizing that I can't be so focused on the number on the scale.  I've written a little about that before but I didn't share the extent of it.  Let's just say I was stepping on the scale way too often and I know that seeing whatever number popped up was making me more and more frustrated.  So, I made a decision last week to move the scale out of my bathroom, put it in my closet and only get it out on Thursday mornings.  It was a little weird the first couple of days but, overall, I think I enjoyed not seeing a number every day and getting worried about what I had done wrong the day before.  When I stepped on the scale this past week, I was back down to 184 (I had gone up 1.5 lbs and then down .5 lb the last 2 weeks) and, although I always want more, I was happy with it.  I proceeded to pick up the scale and put it back in the closet.  And I have no plans to get it back out until this Thursday.  

Having people to talk to about my frustrations has been a huge key to this as well.  I am notorious for keeping things hidden inside myself until they eat away at me.  Having a couple of people I can talk to when I'm having a rough day has made all the difference.  I have always been someone who needs to talk things through in order to process them.  So, now that there are people I can talk to about things that are bothering me, I am able to process things much quicker and they don't eat away at me as much.  

Hearing people say how much my story has helped them in one way or another has been another key to my figuring out that my life and my adventure can't just focus on weight loss.  It's still bizarre to hear the word inspiration describe me but, at the same time, it's probably the best part of this whole adventure.  Paying it forward is what it's all about.  And if there is ever a way I can help someone, I want to seize that opportunity.  I'll never be able to repay all the amazing gifts I've been given since January 2013.  

When you start on a weight loss adventure, I don't think you can really imagine how much your mindset also has to change.  How much it will change, sometimes without you even realizing it.   I know 14 months ago I never would have imagined how much I would change in so many ways.  Yes, there are many physical changes, but honestly, almost more important, are the mental and emotional changes I've made.  If this were the old Amanda dealing with this plateau and other things, I know exactly what I would be doing.  Let's just say there would be a lot of pizza ordering and ice cream and cookies being bought at the store.  But, because I've changed my way of thinking about so many things, that's not where my mind goes.  I never want to go backwards and I realize that, as long as I am willing to keep trying new things (at my own pace of course), I won't.  

Most people are stronger than they know, they just forget to believe it sometimes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Finding the Power

"You've always had the power, my dear, 
you just had to learn it for yourself"

This quote actually comes from the Wizard of Oz.  But, when I saw it, I feel like it completely describes the journey I've been on for over a year.

I've never believed in myself as much as I do now.  I still have my moments of doubt but, for the most part, I've found so much confidence and self-esteem, it's difficult to remember not feeling this way.  In fact, I don't really like to remember that kind of stuff.  Don't get me wrong, I have wonderful memories of so many different parts of my life.  I've been very blessed in life.  But, I've always struggled with finding my place and having the confidence to believe that I belong in whatever place that might be.  

I've had to look deep inside myself to find what was probably always there.  I just didn't know where it was or how to use it.  For so many years I was so lost in who I wasn't, what I couldn't do, how I didn't feel like I measured up to my siblings.  Basically, I just focused on anything and everything that was negative.  I think there were a lot of times I was looking for sympathy because it was how I got attention.  I couldn't find a way to put out there all the positive things I have to offer the world.  Probably because I didn't believe there were very many. 

So, finding the power to be happy, to me, means finding the ability to be proud of myself, being able to show the world all of my amazing qualities and traits (which I've slowly figured out I actually have), making some great friends and being able to truly smile and know that there is happiness behind that smile.  I wouldn't have figured out any of this without finding a few people who took the time to help me find the power within me.  I've always witnessed from the outside what it's like when you have a couple of really amazing friends who will listen to you when you need it, tell you to shut up when you need to stop talking, and help you through difficult situations.  I never really knew what it was like to have friends like that.  Well, except for one or two (Kim and Mere, that would be you).  

Renee' has said more times than I can count that she enjoys being a part of my adventure.  That she's here to cheer me on.   It took me a couple of months to believe that I wasn't just annoying her all the time.  Not for any specific reason, just because of all my insecurities that developed throughout my life.  Now, I feel incredibly blessed to have built such an amazing friendship with such a wonderful person.  I've said it before, but it's the honest truth and words actually don't do it justice -  I would not have come as far as I have without her guidance, support and friendship.  She's shown me what it's like to have a friend who will laugh at you when you're being weird, can see when you're having a bad day and will talk to you about it, and just likes hearing about your life in general.  She's pulled things out of me that I never thought existed.  She's shown me how to look at life in a positive way, to take chances and challenge myself.  I know I'll never be able to thank her enough - but I try with lots of random messages and helping her celebrate weird holidays that I read about on Google :)  I believe tomorrow is Daffy Duck Day - just FYI.

This is a lifelong process.  Although I know it isn't the right word, I'll never be "cured".  I will always struggle with confidence and believing in myself.  However, seeing how much progress I've made, how many positive changes I've been successful in making over the last 14 months lets me see that anything is possible.  It helps me see that when you are surrounded by the right people and put yourself in positive situations, your life can change in ways that didn't seem possible a few short months ago.  These last 14 months have been the most positive and amazing time period in my life so far.  I know the future is bright and that I have the power to make that future whatever I want it to be.  And I just know it is going to be fun, crazy and full of the best people and things I could ever ask for in my life.

The road to success is not a path you find, but a trail you blaze.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Small steps

You need to be content with small steps.  That's all life is.  Small steps that you take every day so when you look back down the road it all adds up and you know you covered some distance.

When I first read this, it resonated with me but I'm not sure why.  In fact, I've had this quote sitting in a blank entry for over a week now.  I think I was waiting for some inspiration or something to click.  I'm not sure if it has but I'm going to give it my best shot :)

Okay, so why would something like this resonate with me?  Well, I think it's because over the last 13 months, I've run my life on small goals and small steps.  That's the only way I've been able to function and find my way on this adventure to find a new me.  If you can't guess, I get overwhelmed easily.  Not in a bad way - all the time.  I'm a planner.  I like to know what's going on, when it's going to happen, etc.  I like a schedule, a routine, etc.  So, I've never been very good at looking to the future with these big monstrous goals.  

Therefore, when I first started on my weight loss adventure (which has turned into so much more), I set a small goal.  I wanted to lose 20 pounds by my birthday.  I gave myself about 2 months and, low and behold, I made it (a couple weeks early).  In fact, yesterday was the one year anniversary of reaching and surpassing that goal.  I remember how amazing it felt.  And, as I looked back on the last 6 weeks, I could see the small steps I had taken to achieve this goal.  I may not have realized it while I was finding my way around the grocery store, attempting to cook, trying new exercises at the gym, etc., but these were all small steps that added up to the aforementioned distance that I could see I had covered.  

As I think back on  the days, weeks and months that make up the recent past, I am truly amazed at all the small steps I've taken to change my life.  I needed to take all these steps, but at my own pace.  You can't push anyone to do something they don't want to do, or aren't ready for.  I've always believed that everything happens for a reason.  I think I took the step to meet Renee' when I was ready and when that friendship was supposed to enter my life.  I wouldn't have been ready for all of this even a couple of months earlier. 

The last couple of months I've been struggling a bit.  Not with my depression or anything of that nature.  Just struggling to find ways to measure all of my progress and success.  I've realized that I am placing way too much emphasis on a number on the scale.  Just this week my chiropractor told me I looked like I had slimmed down even more since my before/after picture from January.  When I told him I hadn't lost any weight since then, he said, well you look like you have.  That got my head turning a little bit.  Although I've always known that my body can change without losing weight, I think I needed to hear that from someone who doesn't see me very often.  Also, when I was walking around my little neighborhood on Tuesday, the guy who does a lot of work around the development asked me how much weight I'd lost.  When I told him, he said congratulations.  To me, these moments are part of those small steps.  While I don't always need to hear that kind of stuff from people, I think it helped me this week.  It allowed me to reflect back on everything I have accomplished.  To remember that it isn't just about the weight.  Later in the week someone pretty smart reminded me that my body has changed in so many ways and that, as I get smaller, it's going to get harder to lose weight.  I don't have a lot of fat to lose anymore (which is awesome) and, as I build muscle and tone my body, things are going to shift around in good ways but it may not result in weight loss.

It's weird, I don't know why I need to hear this stuff from other people.  Maybe because I still question myself often.  Maybe because whenever I've lost weight in the past, I've always put the weight back on, plus some and I'm scared to death that's going to happen again.  It gives me a boost of confidence when I periodically hear positive comments from random people.  I am definitely one of those people who needs to talk through my emotions or else things start to eat away at me.  For no reason.  I guess it's just a part of who I am.  And, for the most part, I'm okay with it.  I am a thinker.  I analyze everything.  Sometimes more than I should.  But, all of that makes me who I am and I wouldn't change any of it.

So, back to my original question, why did this resonate with me?  Because I have taken more small steps than I ever thought possible in the last 13 months.  There are so many people to thank for that, I couldn't possibly list them all.  For being by my side, for listening when I needed them to, for allowing me to ramble while I try to talk myself through different situations, for cheering me on, for always understanding this life changing adventure I've been on and continue to find my way through and, last but not least, for celebrating every little success with me.  

All of the reasons mentioned above (and so much I forgot) are the little steps that make up the distance I have covered so far in life.  It's so fun to be able to look back on every milestone, every achievement.  And to know there are many more in my future.  Some related to weight loss but most related to just being alive and living my life.  Something I rarely used to do.

Life is made up of little moments.  Enjoy and celebrate them all.  Every day I learn how to do that a little more.  And it is the best way I could ever think of to live my life.  

From this day on, when I look back on the past, I will smile and say to myself  "I never thought I could do it but I did ...."

What a gift.  I can't describe it any other way.  Thanks for sticking with me on this journey.  I look forward to sharing more successes and milestones!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Moving Forward

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Moving forward has always been difficult for me.  I tend to hold on to things that, in the grand scheme of life, don't really matter.  That's a big part of what dragged me so far down in the gutter I found myself in last year.  There were so many things I couldn't find a way to move past.  Whether they were things people said to me, did to me (or I felt were done to me), or allowing people to make me feel a certain way whether it was intended or not, etc.

As I've started to learn how to move forward in life and leave the past right where it belongs - in the past - I have found that all of the things in the quote mentioned above are true in so many ways.

As I've learned how to love myself (something I never used to do), I've found that so many doors are opening for me in my life.  Yes, I have trouble believing that some of the stuff is actually happening but, at the same time, I can see that as I've made myself move forward, I've found so many amazing new things and people that just bring happiness to my life.  Just to list a few - I got a new job that I absolutely love which has led me to meet new people and make new friends, I've become a little more willing to talk to people I don't know very well, I took a test and am a certified personal trainer and I've offered advice to others who have asked about my journey.  All things I did not have in my life / was not willing to do in the past.  I can see now that I was just shutting myself off to so many amazing adventures in life.  She says it's all me, but I know that when someone takes the time to believe in you, to pull things out of you that you never thought anyone would be able to see, you'll be able to accomplish things you never thought were possible.  You'll grow in ways you couldn't have imagined in your wildest dreams.  And, most importantly, you'll be so happy that others will wonder what the heck has happened to you.  In a good way.

Curiosity will always lead you down a new path, whether you want it to or not.  I am always curious about things.  I've just never had the confidence to venture down those new paths.  I love to ask questions and I love to listen to people.  Heck, it's what I do for a living, right?  But, I often preferred to live vicariously through other people.  And, at times, I still do.  Part of that is just my personality.  The other piece of that is definitely confidence in myself and others.  As I've gone through this (literally) life-changing year, I've had to have faith, trust and confidence in others.   And, once I let my guard down some, I slowly began to realize that there are so many unbelievably nice, generous and just all around great people in the world.  I've just been blessed and lucky enough to have a couple of them walk into my life in the last year and become close friends.  They've opened my eyes to the world around me, encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and laughed right along with me with every single mistake along the way.

Know what?  These paths that curiosity and moving forward have led me down are some of the greatest things that have ever happened to me.  I can't imagine where I would be if I hadn't gone through the last year.  In fact, I don't want to.  I have become a new person who enjoys adventure, stepping out of her comfort zone (at times....) and taking new paths that lead to some of the best things and events in life.

I still have days, hours, moments where I struggle to like myself.  I question people, things that happen, intentions, etc.  In my life, I have been so cautious about putting myself out there because I'm so afraid I'm going to get hurt or someone is going to intentionally do something to make me feel like I'm not a whole person.  I have lots of wounds that get a little smaller every day.  As with anything, it is so easy to slip back into old habits.  Eating, exercising, and yes, even things related to confidence and self-esteem.  However, I've figured out that by taking a step forward every day and learning that the world is not out to get me, I don't have to go backwards.  Moving forward is the best gift I can give to all those who love me.  Especially myself :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Update on My Goals/Resolutions for 2014

Set your goals high and don't stop til you get there

So, when I originally wrote these 2 months ago, I said that if I write them down it might keep me somewhat accountable.  So, that's what I'm trying to do.  Here's an update on where I stand with my goals for 2014.  This year has started off great and I can't wait to see what else it holds for me.

Reach 100 lbs lost by the end of February
So, this didn't happen.  But, it's okay.  I have really hit a big plateau with my weight loss.  I've been sitting at 97 pounds lost for the last 6 weeks or so.  Not too shabby if you ask me!  At the moment Renee' is trying to help me shock my body and change up my workout routine.  I don't know yet if it is working since we've only been working on it for a week or so but I'm giving it my best shot.  And, given how my arms feel today, I would say something is being shocked in my body even if it isn't related to weight loss...  Right now, I've set a goal of reaching 100 pounds lost by the end of March.  I'd love it if it became an amazing birthday present to myself at the end of the month (or sooner).  But, if it doesn't happen, I'll keep working at it because I know something will eventually give and start working.

Be able to do at least 5 regular push-ups by the end of March
Hold on, let me check on something.  Okay, yep, I still hate push ups.  But, I'm getting close to this goal.  I can do about 3.  I don't get very close to the ground but I am excited that I can actually hold myself up for that long.  I think 5 by the end of the month is going to be doable.  At least I hope so.  I have a feeling someone will make me reach that goal come hell or high water.  I'll keep you posted.  

Find one or two 5K's to help me train for the 10K that I can run by the end of March
Anyone who knows what this winter has been like will understand why I haven't been able to do this yet.  I still want to find at least one 5k to run before the pig but I might wait until early April.  I'm actively looking for one that doesn't require me to drive downtown.  But, if I'm going to have any success with it, I've got to be able to get outside to run a little.  Here's hoping that this winter storm is the last of the season!!

Find a person (or more) to train by the end of April
Haven't figured this one out yet.  But, I've still got a couple of months, right?

Run the Flying Pig 10k in May
Well, I registered for it!  I figured if I spent the money I couldn't back out, right?  So, now I just need winter to go away so I can start training for it.  I did manage to run the equivalent of a 5K on the treadmill one time in the last two months in 34 minutes.  I was pretty proud of myself.  But I know running outside and adding another 3.1 miles is a completely different beast.  I also know I won't be running the whole thing.  But, I'm excited for the challenge.  

Run another 10K in September/October (with a better time than May)
I've got time for this one.  I still think 6.2 miles is a good distance for me.  I'm sure I will be able to find a race.  Maybe even the same one I tried to run last year.

Reach my goal weight by December 31, 2014
With the plateau I've hit, I have no idea if this is realistic but I'm going to keep it as a goal for now.  As the months go on, I'll have a better idea of whether or not this is realistic.  Even if it isn't, I will make a goal for the end of the year and then keep going for my ultimate goal at whatever pace is practical and healthy.

Plan a fun trip in celebration of reaching my final weight loss goal
I originally said this would involve a beach somewhere.  It still might.  But, it might also just be to head to a place I've never been.  I love to travel and I love seeing new places.  There are many places I've never been and I think getting to see one or two of those places would be an amazing reward to give myself.  

Thanks for reading and helping me hold myself accountable!

Success is steady progress toward one's personal goals