everything will fit right in

A little under three weeks ago, I drafted a letter and handed it to my then supervisor. Friday was my last day at that position. My last day to drive the 40 minute commute. My last day to search for parking. My last day to be a part of the university staff.

I've considered my next move for quite some time. The past year has been spent wondering over what I want to do. Should I go back to school and get a masters? Should I stop working full-time and go to law school? Do I need to pursue a new career altogether? Do I stay where I am?

My answers to every question have differed on a weekly (and usually a daily) basis. But I never had the opportunity to change - until three weeks ago when God opened a huge door for me, and I stepped through.

There are plenty of reasons, I'm sure, for why other positions didn't happen. I don't understand all of the reasons, and I may never fully understand them. But I know that I am where I am right now because I didn't take any of the other opportunities I prayed would become possibilities and then reality.

Had I not been in my current position last April, I doubt I would have lost nearly 40 pounds. So many of the people who played an integral role in my weight loss journey thus far were people I never would have met without a membership to the university gym.

There were strangers who became friends, instructors who inspired and challenged me, and instructors who became friends. Friendly faces that smiled when I walked through the gym doors and people who recognized me, who commented on my success thus far, and who reminded me every time I saw them that I could do it. Not only that - they reminded me that I was doing it and doing it the right way.

I'm scared to be on my own now. The past three weeks have been filled with change, with stress, with excitement, and with the knowledge that I no longer have a normal life. But those three weeks are now gone, and it is time for me to step into the new normal - a normal that currently exists without those strangers, friends, and instructors.
I know they still believe in me and that they still support me. Our relationships grew outside the bounds of just work out class or just the gym. But I won't see them every day or week. They won't be able to push me with an obstacle course in boot camp or remind me of just how far I have come or marvel at the inches lost. I'm going to have to be one to push myself, to remind myself and to marvel.

I don't think I could have done that two months ago. I'm terrified that I won't be able to do it now. Instead of giving into any of the fear, though, I need to use the fear as a reason to do even better.

There are some thing I'll have the chance to do now that I didn't have the chance to do before. Like eating breakfast at home. Like starting the morning off with a work out. Like taking the time I spent driving to work and using it to care for myself. So that's what I am going to do - no more excuses.

The first time I stepped foot into the gym early I did so with a partner. There won't be anyone waiting for me in the mornings, but I'm going to pretend there is - just to put a little spark into me when I roll out of bed and ready myself for a morning work out followed by a day of work.

It's going to take time to continue to find my new normal. And there is some nervousness associated with the starting of a new position. But I know, without any doubt or hesitation, that I am right where I am supposed to be.

I took the weekend off from my part-time job and allowed myself time to relax and rest. I spent time on the couch with my husband and finally caught up on my DVR. I went to the gym and sweated through a 45 minute work out. I walked around the grocery store with my husband and selected several easy to make meals for dinners and also filled the grocery cart with frozen dinners. I ate too much Chinese food and drank more Diet Dr. Pepper than water. I spent Sunday morning at church, allowing myself to be filled up and reminded that God is walking alongside me with everything - new jobs, weight loss, my marriage. Church also reminded me that He has always been beside me - even during the times when I felt far from Him and wondered why things just weren't working out.

I don't have all the answers. But I know that this time is a time of blessing. It is a time given to me by Him. I can't take any credit for it; I can only point back to Him.

(title from "i'm through" by ingrid michaelson)


when it hurts me most

I still don't know what my new normal is, and I've used that as an excuse this week. Everything changes after Friday when I leave one full-time job and head to the next full-time job. Knowing that I've allowed myself to slip.

I've consumed things I shouldn't. I've ordered the largest size of everything I could. I've ignored calories. I've given up on drinking water all together it seems. I've done everything I know not to do.

Every time I make a bad choice I realize it. I feel guilty for a bit but never guilty enough to not make the bad choice in the first place.

It's not okay for me to do this - to slip back and to forget all I've learned. I may have come so far but I still have so far to go.

I hate writing this as a blog post. Because I feel like I've said all of this so many times before. I feel like I should be past this point with more weight lost and back to craving salads again. But right now I'm not.

So it's back to the start in many ways. I can't guarantee a perfect restart on this day because I know everything will change, for the better, come Monday. But I can promise to make better choices and to be aware of the bad choices.

And I will make better choices. I will choose water. I will choose the healthy option. I will stop making excuses. I will love myself enough to do what is best for me.

(title from "no other way" by paolo nutini)


it's getting so much clearer

To One of The Bravest Girls I Know,

How do I start this letter? It's so much easier to write letters to my husband, my family, and our friends. Words are so powerful, but as you well know, you're not very good at believing them when they are directed towards you.

I think that is the first thing to remember. The words you say to others are words that you also need to say to yourself.

It's not that you're more special than another. Or better than anyone else. But you do need to love yourself in order to love others. (I don't say this to be harsh but just to remind you that every person in the world is worthy of love.)

Remember how you felt at church Sunday morning? Truth poured from the pastor's lips and pierced your heart - reminding you (and me) that life is not about the things that so many say it is. Life's about loving others well, building lasting and meaningful relationships with others, and living in such a way that you always point back to the cross.

There are times when do you do this. But as you well know, there are plenty of other times when you don't do this. I think that the reason you (and I) struggle with this is simple: we don't love ourselves enough.

It's a hard thing to balance. How do you love yourself without lifting yourself up above God, above the calling placed on your life? How do you take care of yourself without allowing your life to become solely about you? How do you live your life for others without completely forgetting to take care of yourself as well?

My suggestion is to start with the cross and to remember just how loved you are by a God who willingly went to the cross and died for you. His death was never in vain. Please also remember that. It was done so that you would begin to live life in a way that spoke to others. And that way should also speak to you on a daily basis.

Also remember that God loves you for the person you are. He made you, knitting you together in your mother's womb. The things you don't like about yourself - your amniotic band syndrome for one - are things He created and that set you apart from others. Enjoy those things. Capitalize on those things. Love those things.

While you are remembering the things God loves you for, also remember that everything He has given you is a gift. Nothing belongs to you; it all belongs to Him. I know letting go of control is terrifying, but I truly believe that your life will become more of what it needs to be as you let go or what your expectations are.

God has given you talent, and that talent needs to be used. Don't stop writing - ever. It doesn't matter how many people read or don't read. What matters is that you never give up. When the words won't come, sit at the computer - fingers poised above the keyboard - and wait. The words will always come. And once they do, love them and put them out for the world to read. Yes, you have to be careful with how much you share, but share you must as that is something you were born to do.

You've been through so much in your now twenty-six years of life - sometimes with no one else there to hold your hands and sometimes with a community of people to build you up and wrap their arms around you. And you've always come through.

Life hasn't been what you expected. But that's where all of the beauty comes from as you're living the life God designed for you - not a life that He designed for someone else and then plugged you into when it didn't work out for that someone else. This life is the one you are meant for. Please enjoy it and love it.

And please stop comparing yourself to others. There are so many things you have seen and survived that might have been the end for someone else. But there are also other things that might have been the end for you that others survived.

You are where you are for a very specific reason and purpose. I know you want to understand why and you want to when things are going to "get better," but it is time to let go and to simply live your life and love yourself so that you in turn can love others and show others how to love themselves.

Today is Valentine's Day 2012, and I want you to take a deep breath and let these words sink in. Not necessarily the words I've written to you but the words God has placed in your heart - the words that speak of His truth, His love of you, and His hopes for you. Valentine's Day is about love - not just the romantic kind but all kinds. And today you need to realize how loved you are by God.

Let the breath out, then go look at yourself in the mirror.

You are beautiful. You are wonderfully made. You are a light in a world that is often too dark. You are filled with hope. You are brave. And even though it often seems like things will never improve, they will, and you will survive just as you always have.

Now I want you to take in another deep breath and close your eyes. Think of what you want from this life. Say a prayer that God would continue to guide you. Imagine the faces of the people who you can help, the people you can tell your story too. As you let out this deep breath, open your eyes and start moving.

This is the time for you to live your life out for God and in the process learn how to love yourself the way He first loved you.

The Girl In The Mirror

(title from "today was a fairytale" by taylor swift)


i'm happy to know you

I worked until 11:00pm on Friday night, and the first thing I noticed when I stepped inside my house was that it was clean.

We're not the tidiest of couples. Add two shedding dogs into the mix plus a wife (me) who is now working 60 hours a week, and being not so tidy quickly turns into overwhelmingly messy. So to come home to a house cleaned by my husband warmed my heart.

My husband knows exactly what I need - even though I don't always know what I need. He's proven that time and time again.

The clean house was just the start to the weekend he planned for Valentine's Day. He wanted to make sure that I didn't have to worry about a single thing this weekend - allowing me time to relax. The clean house also provided us a chance to continue our Valentine's Day tradition of dinner and a movie.
Valentine's Day 2008
It's a little cliché, but that's how we spent our first Valentine's Day as a couple and then a year later our first Valentine's day as a married couple. We almost didn't have a first Valentine's Day date; he convinced me that I wouldn't see him and I was crushed.

But then he surprised me and showed me that he knew me well and would always find a way to make me feel special.

To read more about our first Valentine's Day and the expectations I had (and then learned to put aside), you'll have to visit Jordy Liz Blogs where I am guest posting for the day!

(title from "paperweight" by joshua radin)


done looking for the critics (week 13)

This week, I've thought a lot about letters. I've even sent a few out into the universe care of twitter. There's so much left to say - so much I haven't had time to say this week - and I can't form all of it into a blog post, but I can write letters.

Dear Husband,
I'm glad you've found frozen food (steamable Lean Cusinines, anyone?) you can eat when I'm working nights. And I'm even more glad we have family and friends who will feed you homecooked dinners. You've been so supportive with me changing jobs and working two jobs, and I am so grateful for that and for you. Our lengthy phone conversations make me feel even closer to you. Can't wait for an entire weekend with you (and our two demanding dogs).

Dear BootCamp,
You challenge me. And it scares me. I want to challenge myself when I'm not with you (at you? doing you?). But I don't know how to. I'm hoping that my last week with you will be the exact amount of knowledge I need to be able to challenge myself when I'm all alone at the gym. You also hurt - although I don't realize that until the next day. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not yet ready to run a marathon (or even a 5K). Also I hope to find your replacement soon and also hope that you can forgive me for thinking/saying you can be replaced.

Dear Self,
You might be sabotaging yourself. Or maybe you're just upset with the scale and giving into the higher number. Please remember that the scale fluctuates daily. You know what your real weight is. Remember that. And don't be afraid to ask for help if you can't seem to get the scale to go down. The number you see there is not the end all or be all. Also - do more jumping jacks and squats and go run/walk at least two miles today; that's an order. (PS: if you don't make it to the gym, forgive yourself and then do extra miles over the weekend and more squats; that's an order too.)

Dear Weight Watchers,
I've said no nearly every time someone has mentioned my joining you. I've said you were too expensive and that I didn't have time for your meetings. I think, though, I might have to join. I'm worth spending the money and time on after all. If I do become a member (again - we met in high school, remember?), please be nice and gentle.

Dear Husband (who gets 2 letters a la Today's Letters),
I don't know if I was supposed to see it or not, but I noticed a particular book sitting on the dining room table. Thank you, and I promise to act surprised if I am not supposed to know it's there. You listen so well and remember the things I want the most. Thank you for loving me with my love language and being patient with me as I continue to learn how to love you with your love language. (PS: I love revisiting our first dates and can't wait to be your "super hot" wife once I finish losing all this weight! Also thank you for supporting my ever changing hair color. Can't wait to be blonde [again] like I was back when we met in 2008.)

(title from "f*ckin perfect" by pink)


the rest of my life can't compare

Whenever I go to a work-out class, the instructor begins by reminding everyone to take it to their own level. And so I do - or at least I try to.

It was easier to take it to my own level when my level was as low as it could be. When I walked into zumba for the first time, I knew I couldn't twist or turn as much as the other participants. I knew that just being in the class, standing for an hour, and trying to move was more exercise than I'd had in a very long time. And it was enough.

Now, nearly 10 months later, I can't do just the bare minimum - at least not if I want to burn calories and get fit. So, the question becomes, what can I do?

There are injuries that I've sustained in the past which keep me from some things. Or at least that's what I tell myself and other people. The closer I get to losing 100 pounds and being strong, though, the more I realize that the injuries are healing. The more I see that I can no longer hide behind the past knee surgeries, the past torn ligaments, the past things I used as excuses for why I didn't run or work out.

Boot Camp on Wednesday reminded me of this. We started with a warm-up that included jumping jacks. Taking it to my own level meant I had a choice: I could do the easier jumping jack (moving one leg at a time while moving my arms) or I could push myself and jump up and down - moving my legs in a way they haven't moved since high school. Timidly, I chose to push myself, and as I completed the first jumping jack, I realized that my body moved in a much different way than it had back in April. I realized that I really could do this thing they call exercise.

I didn't do every jumping jack perfectly. My feet didn't lift quite as high off the floor. But I did something I had no idea my body could do.

It didn't just stop there either. I found that I could pull my body all the way up into a fill sit-up with ease. I also found that running wasn't as difficult as it had once been. And those squats I used to be so fearful of? I was starting to enjoy them.

No one can tell me what I can do or can't do. It's up to me to listen to my body and to know just how far I can take it. My squats aren't as deep as some people's, and I do not run quite as quickly as others. But it doesn't matter. I'm not racing anyone but myself.

It's strange - this new body I have. It's a temporary weight, but it's 36 pounds lighter and much stronger than how I started. The capabilities my body has now are so much greater than what it had 10 months ago. And the capabilities will be even greater in another 10 months.

There is every possibility that I could do all those things when I was 36 pounds heavier, but I didn't believe in myself then. I didn't push myself then. But now, I do believe in myself and I love having something to push myself towards. I love telling myself that I really can do all these things and then seeing myself actually do them.

Watching other people helps. At Boot Camp, there are a hundred other people also working out. We're split into three teams based on our capabilities. I'm in the alpha group (AKA the beginners group), and I think that honestly I could have made it into the middle group if I had just pushed myself harder. When we completed the assessment, I didn't think I could do a full sit-up or run more of a mile. I needed this chance to sit back and watch everyone else and realize that I am stronger than I thought. I needed to be reminded that I'm not the same girl I was 10 months and 36 pounds ago. I needed to see other people doing exercises and then think to myself I can do that and then actually do it.

I talked a big game when I first started - mentioning how I wanted to run a marathon. And I do, but when I first said it, I thought it would never be possible. I thought it was a good dream to have but knew my knees wouldn't allow it. But now? Now it's a real possibility. Not today or tomorrow but somewhere in the future.

Nothing is out of reach for me now. Which is amazing and also terrifying. Rather than be scared, I'm going to choose to concentrate on all the amazing possibilities - another thing I never would have done 10 months ago.

(title from "they bring me to you" by joshua radin)


ten feet off the ground

Sometimes I think losing weight should be easy. Maybe not for everyone but for me. For me it should be easy. I'm young. I don't have children to care for. I can cook whatever I want for dinner. My husband is supportive and pushes me to go to the gym even on the days that I don't want to.

But it isn't easy. It's really hard.

But it's not impossible. It's never impossible.

The Biggest Loser episode Tuesday night touched on the excuse of "I can't do it on my own." Weeks into their journey on the ranch and many of the contestants said that, were their trainer taken from them, they felt like they would fail without guidance. It made me want to reach into the television and shake every contestant because they already have something I don't have: eight hours (at least) a day to dedicate to exercise and meal planning.

The red team (spoiler alert) spent a week in the gym without a trainer telling them what to do. They were responsible for pushing themselves, for creating their work-outs, for making sure they burned every calorie possible. They did everything I am doing on a daily basis.

There are plenty of days when I don't do as well as I should. There are plenty of days when I don't push myself as hard as I should in the gym. Days when I choose something else over going to the gym. Days when I decide it's easier to eat something quick and unhealthy instead of spending the time to chop vegetables and cook a lean meat.

I don't have anything to tell anyone who is just starting out - other than my story. There's no trick to this whole weight loss or healthy living thing that I've found works 100% of the time. Yes, you need to watch what you eat and be active. But how each person does that is different. What I do works for me, most of the time, but it might not work for someone else.

Weight loss is constant. Meals need to always be planned and sometimes replanned. There's a choice to be made every night: sit on the couch at the end of the day or pack lunch and dinner for the next day.

My goal for this week has been to be prepared. I started the week off strong and didn't waiver from my already prepared meals on Monday. But then tonight happened, and my emotions got the best of me.

It would have been easy to say the week was a waste. A part of me wanted to say just that - to curl up on the couch after Community Group and simply watch The Biggest Loser. But hearing all their complaints about how the red team simply couldn't do it without a trainer made me realize how important it is to show myself that I can do this and that I won't let any excuses get in my way.

I'm continuing with food. I finished the baked scallops for lunch Tuesday and ate turkey chili for dinner Monday night. Lunch today will be turkey chili, and I threw together my own variation of Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken (excluding corn and adding green bell pepper and onion as well as extra diced tomatoes) before slipping into bed last night.

Foods like ice cream, pizza, and fried chicken sandwiches I could eat for days on end. But I grow tired of baked chicken and fish, so my menu needs to constantly adapt. Baking bay scallops over the weekend and changing up the Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken recipe did just that for me. Not only is the pallet change good but it reminds me that I can (and should) continue to stretch myself in the kitchen.

I think that's one of the reasons weight loss doesn't come easy for me. My love of bad-for-you food currently outweighs my love of good-for-you food. And I have to watch every single morsel of food I put into my mouth. I am constantly calculation how many calories I ate in a day, checking MyFitnessPal to see how many grams of protein I ate, and reminding myself that the ease of some foods is not worth it.

Some people can just watch calories. I'm not one of those people. Some people can spend hours in the gym and lose the weight. I'm not one of those people, either. For me everything has to be in line, so even though I don't have children to tend to, it's still hard for me.

There are times when I let other people's comments about how this is the time of my life to lose the weight get to me. Times when the voice inside my head takes their words and turns those words on me - causing me to wonder what it is that is so wrong with me that I've only lost 36 pounds in a 10 month period.

There is nothing wrong with me. Or with anyone who takes longer to lose the weight. Because as long as you're getting healthy, you're doing what you need to do for you.

Not everyone has the chance to go on The Biggest Loser. I don't - that's for sure. But I also remember that not everyone needs to be on The Biggest Loser to change their lives. I would love the opportunity, but I also love the fact that I am dispelling the excuse of "I can't do this without a trainer" every single day.

Baked Bay Scallops
1 lb. bay scallops (I used a frozen package of small scallops)
2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice (or to taste)
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary (or to taste)
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme (or to taste)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Pre-heat oven to 400. If frozen, thaw scallops per instructions.
2. Combine all ingredients - mixing well.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I ate the baked bay scallops alongside homemade ratatouille, and it was delicious. A great combination of flavors! The lemon with the scallops, I think, makes this recipe.

(title from "apologize" by onerepublic)


running around my head

I spent much of last week adjusting to my new normal. But my adjustment period was more than an adjustment - it was a week filled with excuses and poor choices.

I ate fast food several times last week. And I made bad choices every single time - ordering french fries instead of asking for a side salad, getting a fried chicken sandwich instead of a turkey sandwich. When we went out for dinner on Saturday night, I ate lots of bread and polished off a plate of tortellini and alfredo pasta before eating Girl Scout cookies at a friends house.

I recognized what I was doing the entire time - but I didn't stop myself. I even went so far as to point out, at dinner on Saturday, that I recognized the healthy options but chose the unhealthy options because who wants to eat healthy food at a restaurant?

I'm not proud of those days or last week, but I learned (or re-learned actually) a valuable lesson. I am my own worst enemy, and I too easily fall back into old habits.

Real life does not always afford the opportunity to be in control of how something is prepared. Real life sometimes means grabbing dinner from a fast food restaurant, but you can always make a healthy choice.

I regretted my poor decisions every time. And every time I promised myself that it wouldn't happen again. But it did - until tonight.

We ate lunch with my in-laws earlier today. I enjoyed mashed potatoes and a roll along with some roast, and I finished the meal with a delicious, moist cupcake. Every bite was wonderful, but I knew that the evening would not go the way of the rest of the day (which started with breakfast from McDonald's). I was determined to take my newfound knowledge about myself and make a plan for the upcoming week.

I'd gone grocery shopping the week before and filled the refrigerator with fresh produce and meat. The freezer held frozen scallops, frozen mahi mahi, and other frozen meats. And once we were home from lunch, I set about cooking enough food to last me the rest of week. I have ratatouille to eat, grilled mahi mahi (recipe found here), baked scallops (recipe coming this week), and there is a batch of turkey chili (recipe also coming later this week) cooking in the CrockPot currently. There is also chicken thawing so I can make chicken salad and lightly smothered chicken later in the week.

I needed a week of failure. It reminded me of how easily it is to slip back into an unhealthy lifestyle and also reminded me of how far I've come. Because my choices weren't good but they could have been so much worse. And it showed me that I never want to go back to where I used to be.

I don't know how long I can eat a low-carb diet. I don't know if I'll be able to continue to stick with South Beach Diet for the remainder of my weight loss journey. I do know that I will never not eat fast food. I do know that, at some point if the future, I will forget to plan and will be faced with the choice of what to order while in the drive-thru.

When that happens, I will remember the last week - how I felt a few days feeling sick because of what I ate, how I spent a Sunday planning and cooking lunch and dinners. I'll remember the stress already cooked food eliminated from my life and that I didn't let a week of bad choices stop me from continuing on in my journey.

There were other lessons last week, too. Lessons that I'm still working through at the gym as I push myself to go faster on the elliptical. Lessons that I can't wait to really learn and then apply to the remainder of my journey.

(title from "why do i" by joe purdy)


done looking for the critics (week 12)

I'm still here - just adjusting to a new normal. That's how the next few weeks, maybe in the next month or two, will be.

My new normal includes a 60-hour work week. Right now, it's 20-hours at a part-time job and 40-hours at my current full-time job. In a few weeks, it will be 20-hours at a part-time job and 40-hours at a new full-time job. It sounds crazy to type that out and claim it as my life, but it's there. And I know that it is right where I am supposed to be.

But knowing it is right where I am supposed to be does not make it any easier. In fact, it makes a little more difficult because I can feel myself easing into the transitions and allowing things to take their course rather than planning how I will transition.

I see it the most, right now, with food and water and how those things seem to be slipping away from homecooked dinners and into fast food dinners where I don't make the best choices possible.

I'm not home at dinner time now. I'm driving between two work places and stopping at the healthiest and quickest place I can think of. And every time, I have a choice to make of what I will order. So far I haven't made the healthiest choices. I've had french fries instead of a salad and sourdough bread instead of wheat bread. I don't know why, though. Is it that I miss those foods and am saying to hell with watching every morsel of food? Or is that it's just so much easier to order food the way it comes rather than ask for it to be changed?

And the gym. Right now, I complete my work-outs during my lunch hour and then return to work sweaty and a little stinky. When I start my new full-time job, I may not have that as an option. So, then, when will I have time? I honestly don't know, but I do know that I will make time for the gym.

If I can make time to work two jobs, I can make time for the gym. If I can make time to spend with my husband, I can make time for the gym. There is no excuse for not having time.

And water. I don't drink nearly enough water. I try to, but I don't make it a priority. That needs to change - maybe more than anything. My body is craving it. I feel dehydrated when I wake from a night's rest. Yes, my food choices need some improving, but I've stayed at or below my calorie allotment each day this week. I have't consumed the amount of water I need.

So I know I need to plan much better than I have. There will be little time in the mornings to whip up dinner, and foods cooked in the CrockPot need to be done so the night before so I can take them for lunch, and maybe even dinner. And I need to recommit to myself and to this journey. Because without commitment, I will fail.

The commitment part almost seems more difficult than the planning. I am so tired of having to commit and then recommit. I am exhausted from reminding myself of why I am doing this in the first place. I'm over looking in the mirror, in the midst of zumba or another class, and seeing a girl that still has so long to go.

I'm ready for the journey to be over. I'm ready to know that I actually did it. I'm ready to see the hard work pay off and not just hear from others that it is paying off. I'm ready to be healthy and fit and to be able to tell others that they too can do it (without feeling like a hypocrite).

Right now, I feel like a hypocrite. I feel like a liar for telling people they can do it when I'm hurriedly eating dinner from Chik-Fil-A. I feel like I am somehow failing myself, and everyone else, because I'm not even to the halfway mark.

And yes, I could watch what I eat more and drink more water. I need to do those things. But even doing all of that exceptionally well does not guarantee that the scale will go down or my clothes will feel looser. The body is a tricky thing and sometimes it decides to hold onto the weight while other times the weight seems to fall off. Right now, I feel like my body is holding onto the weight, and refusing to let go, and it's making it difficult for me to remember that all of this is worth it.

I say all of this because it is where I am right now - not because I am giving up. Because I'm not. I know I have come to far to say "screw it" and return to the life I led before. I'm just trying to figure out how it all works together and how to make all of this my new normal.

Because it is my new normal. This weight loss journey doesn't end when the scale shows me I have lost 100 pounds. This weight loss journey ends when my life ends because even after I've lost the weight, I will still fight for my healthiness and fight to keep the weight off.

(title from "f*ckin perfect" by pink)


it's always worth the sacrifice

Boot Camp started on Monday, and I arrived at the gym at exactly 11:58am - right on time. I got my name tag and joined the other 100 participants - a combination of students and employees. People of all ages. People of all sizes. People of all fitness levels.

The first day was to be a fitness tests. Push ups, crunches/sit-ups, squats, and a mile. There was talk from so many people about how they weren't fast or they weren't strong. And I said to them, reminding both them and myself, that it didn't matter how fast they went or how slow. As long as they were moving, they were passing everyone on the couch.

Many of the people were more fit than they said they were. The people who complained about how slow they would complete the mile ended up finishing much faster than they expected. Most people were faster than I was.

And that's okay. Because I never stopped. And where I was Monday was so much father than I was in April.

I finished a mile in 16 minutes and 22 seconds - walking most of it and doing some interval running. I wasn't the first to finish, but I also wasn't the last. I discovered, too, that I could run more of it if I put my mind to it, and next time I will do just that.

I can do squats. Quite a few of them actually. I know the proper form. In April, I was terrified of hurting myself and refused to do squats. Now I welcome the challenge.

I can do push-ups on my knees. I know they aren't a "full" push-up, but it's still a big deal for me. I made excuses about how I have bad knees in the past, that I couldn't do push-ups, but the truth is that I can.

I could do a full sit-up if I chose to, and I can do more proper crunches now than ever before.

Slowly but surely I am becoming an athlete.

Boot Camp runs until the end of March, but I'll only participate in it through the middle of February as I'm taking on a new position at a new company. Once I am done with boot camp, I plan on taking everything I learn there and applying it to my future work outs.

My life is changing so much, and it's terrifying. It's also incredibly exciting, and I feel so unbelievably blessed to have so many opportunities - within work, within my marriage, and within my healthy living initiative.

10 months ago I never would have expected any of these changes. 10 months ago I would have thoughts all this change was impossible. 10 months ago I wondered if it was even worth the effort. And now here I am.

I want you to know that it is possible - every last bit of it - for me and for you. You just have to stop making excuses and get off the couch. And remember that you are only competing against yourself.

It will take time, but we will all make it to where we want to be.

(title from "play on" by carrie underwood)


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