This is an unofficial anniversary of sorts, but today marks a year since I really decided to kick my ass into gear and get serious about my health. I've been on the path so to speak since 2009, when I started out at a whopping 250 pounds, but most of those years were spent trying to force myself into one weird diet after the other instead of actually changing my habits or my life. I lost some of the weight but stayed stuck around 240 pounds and just figured that I'd always be fat and there was really nothing I could do about it. 2014 was the year that everything changed for me though. My husband was laid off that January, and that threw our lives into a complete tailspin. I left my one miserable job of 9 years, which was honestly the biggest cause of my weight gain and health issues, then went straight into a job at a winery. The job wasn't miserable but the environment was, so between the low pay, the stress and the commute, I quit that bitch too. For the first time since college probably I had to sit and ask myself, "What do you want out of life?" And more importantly, "What DON'T you want out of life?"
I didn't want to be fat anymore. I didn't want to spend another minute of my quickly disappearing 30's feeling ugly and horrible about myself. I am young, and I wanted to feel young. I wanted to be able to run better. I wanted to live a life that celebrated the countless people and things that bring me joy, and to not give every ounce of energy to a job I hated. I wanted to work to live, not the other way around, even if it meant making less money. I wanted to feel confident, creative and at peace with myself again. So for the rest of 2014 and up to present, those are the things I've been striving for. And I've been basically hitting the mark and unlike U2, I've definitely been finding what I'm looking for. (Sorry, couldn't resist). I've bettered my life on a professional level, and now I have a job that suits my life and allows me to celebrate work/life balance. But most importantly, I've lost a little over 30 pounds during this past year. Could I have lost more in a year? Probably. Am I in a better place than I was in a year ago? Hell yeah!
This was me in August of 2014 at a friend's wedding not long before I decided enough was enough, and it's one of the few full length pictures I can find of me in 2014. I was fat, and I hated how I looked, and I remember feeling so frustrated that the person taking the picture of us was taking a full length one. I hated not being able to hide or to just be able to have a picture taken from the neck up. The discomfort in my face is pretty evident.
And this is me, taken just yesterday after a year of calorie counting, eating everything I want in moderation and only doing exercise that I enjoy. 30 pounds lighter and not afraid of a full length photo. Or of showing my toilet brush. Or the fact that I love Motley Crue.
I mainly cannot get over the difference in my face. This is August 2014 vs about a month ago.
Losing 30 pounds has brought me so many little unexpected moments of joy and surprise. The little burst of pride I feel when I move my leg a certain way and I see a really toned quad or calf muscle pop up. Pulling up a pair of jeans without thinking, "I'm going to look like shit because there will be a giant fat roll everyone can see". Taking a selfie and thinking "Oh wow, my eyes are bigger since my face is smaller...and they're pretty eyes." Looking down at my Garmin and seeing my pace get faster as the pounds have dropped. I smile more. I laugh more. I don't dread going out, because I have clothes that are cute and make me feel confident and not ashamed to be in public. Eating is rarely a battle for me, because I don't feel guilty or ashamed anymore. I eat what I want to eat, and I turn a deaf ear to all the fad diet trends. I shrug at the naysayers who poo poo moderation. Eating is pleasurable again, and I absolutely reward myself with food when I've done a tough workout. I do what works for me, and that's really all there is to say about it. There is no more justifying who I am or why I do what I do, and it's so freeing. I feel so at peace with myself and how I live my life now that I can hardly believe that I'm not in a dream.
In full disclosure my life isn't perfect because I've lost weight, it doesn't work like that. I still get bills every month. I still get cut off in traffic. I've got stretch marks out of the wazoo, and I'm sure when I'm at goal weigh I will have loose skin, because I've already got loose skin. While my job is fantastic, it's still a job with typical job irritations. Problems such as the family drama I am currently going through don't disappear because I'm thinner. But all the issues, be they little or huge, are easier to bear because I like myself and feel good about myself. Those little moments of joy are the things that make it possible for me to pick myself up when things are tough.
I've still got progress to make and weight to lose. And it will happen, then I'll be on a journey of figuring out maintenance. Hopefully that won't take another full year! But I'm not stressed about it because I like the person who is sitting here and typing this blog post. She looks pretty good right now. She can look better and do better, and I know she will...but she's pretty cool now too.