I will say, although many of the big changes are no longer happening on a regular basis, I am seeing so many little things that allow me to see how far I've come in the last 16 months. Some of those are listed below with a little insight into how they made me feel or what they've helped me see.
1. Looking through pictures on my phone (see below) with my 2.5 year old niece on Saturday. She sees one of me from a little over 2 years ago and says, "who's that?".
I mean, I'm not sure anyone could even begin to imagine what that felt like. I will say, there was a little mixture of emotions. I said, 'you don't remember Mimi like that, do you?'. When she said no, I immediately realized the impact of the transformation I've made. Don't get me wrong, I see it every day when I look in the mirror. But, now as I looked at through the eyes of a toddler, basically someone who didn't know me when I was that other person, it's just another confirmation of the all around transformation. The mixture of emotions that came through when I realized how much time I spent being unhappy was something I hadn't felt often. I can't describe what it's like to be happy when you've spent so much time on the other side of the spectrum.
To realize that Chloe (and Emma) will never know that person is an amazing feeling. To know that Cooper watched me change my life and is still watching me as I accomplish all new things. Wow, I can't put that into words. When the girls get older, I can share my journey with them. Show them what's it's like to be a girl and to find ways to believe in yourself. That it's not all about being skinny. It's about being healthy - physically, mentally and emotionally. Given that I work with high school kids every day, I know this is something that is difficult for many teenagers. And it starts very early in life. I want to be that support for them. Because, without even knowing it, they've been supporting me since the day they were born. When I was struggling, they gave me a reason to smile. I want to help all 3 of them navigate life, share my experiences and be someone they can count on if/when they need something.
By the way - here's the second half of the picture Chloe was looking at -
2. Another little thing - last summer (and for most of my life) you would have been hard pressed to find me in a pair of shorts. I've never been a big fan of shorts. I don't like my legs and, given that I spent most of my life overweight, they weren't comfortable and my legs were always rubbing together, making me even more uncomfortable than I already was. So, I met my family at a park on Sunday and thought, I'll just throw some shorts and a tank top on. First, I couldn't believe that thought was entering my mind. Second, I actually had a pair to put on! So, I went to the park and, as I'm walking the dog around with my family, my mom asks me if I think my legs are getting smaller. Of course I said no. I have trouble seeing any of those kinds of changes. I should have measured certain parts of my body but I never thought about it til recently. Then I realized I don't have a tape measure.... Guess I could go buy one...but that's another story. I guess they could be getting smaller. I mean, I have no idea how to judge that. But, I will say, when she said it and Kristin agreed with her, I started smiling even more than I was because we were having fun. Although I'm still not sprinter (and never will be), I can run short distances with the dog and not fall over. The shorts are just another little thing that allow my confidence to continue to grow. And I wore another pair today.
To be able to find joy in all the small things in life is an enormous gift. One that I don't intend to take for granted. Ever. Because I spent too many years looking for sadness, finding way too much of it and allowing it to consume my life. Take it from me, life is much better when you're happy.
It's still amazing to me that the little things have taught me more than the big changes I've made or accomplishments I've seen throughout this process. I've said before that weight loss was the catalyst that started me on this ever changing journey. Still crazy to me is how much else has changed simply because I've learned how to believe in myself. And because I finally understand that I have a lot of people in my corner that I can count on for help, advice and to cheer me on. You know who you are. Thanks for being my support system. I couldn't have done this without any of you.