Category Archives: Exercise

Plus Size Fitness Instructor? Yep…That’s Me…

Life is filled with ups and downs, and there was a time when I blogged about them in real time. Now I spend less time online and more time thinking through situations, praying about them and venting less.

Right now, life is mostly good for Michael and me, but many people around us are hurting. Nothing good can come from sharing those hurts here, but I’m doing what I can to show support and offer love to those around me whether I know them or not.

One of the major ways I do that is through work. I do membership and marketing stuff, and I spend most of my days visiting with people who are striving to become healthier or hoping to start. I encourage kids with special needs to be creative, and I get a lot of fulfillment from loving others. I may not always do it well, but I definitely do my best.

One facet of my job is to bring in families, individuals and even corporate members. I strive to connect with everyone and to make them feel welcome. Often times it works, but once in a while there’s a perspective member who never makes it in. They’re often women who feel like they’ll be judged if they walk into the gym, and I understand that because I was one of those women for a long, long time.

I speak to plus-size women who have been shamed, as well as women who fear being shamed. I always ask them to take a chance on me. “Come in and visit with me face-to-face. You’ll feel so much better when you do.”

There’s nothing more satisfying to hear from a member than what I heard from one of my favorites recently.” She said, “Thank you for helping me see that life is worth living.” I can’t tell you how emotional I am just writing this now…knowing that somewhere in New Orleans a lady who didn’t always know her worth knows it now. (Thank you, God, for using me in that situation!)

Helping people see that who they are is okay has been my mission since I learned that who I am is okay, and I’m ready to take that to the next level now.

I recently completed group fitness certification, and I’m gearing up to teach a class that I’ve created with help from my guy.

I’m doing a demo class next week, and I hope to officially launch in mid-April. (That’ll depend on the rate of choreography and memorization that I out it, but I think it’s a realistic goal.)

My class, which will be formatted specifically for plus-size people (even though everyone is welcome) will allow me to uplift and encourage people like me who need it, and I can’t wait to start.

I’ve spent some serious time putting this together, and now I’m working through the routines – making sure I know them inside out, nailing transitions and working on cues. I haven’t spent so many hours sweating and smiling since I exercised with Richard Simmons and friends in L.A.

Richard is completely off the radar now, and I hope and pray that he doing well.

He helped me change the way I looked at myself, and he helped me understand that I could embrace fitness. It hasn’t been an easy journey for me, but I’m still here trying.

I know that Richard would encourage me to keep striving to be healthy because he did that throughout the time that I did know him. I can’t think of a better way to honor him that by encouraging someone else the way he encouraged me and countless others, and I wish he still emailed, called or tweeted me so I could tell him thank you again.

I’m pretty positive that I was made to do this, and I love it so much already. I’m excited to take this next step giant leap in my own fitness while helping others do the same. 

 

 

 

Progress Pictures and Goals

When I think about the fact that I’ve lost 70 pounds over the last few months it doesn’t feel real, then I look at myself in the mirror. It’s impossible to deny that I’m smaller, and it feels so good to have some pep in my step again.

I’ve always been aware of my size, but I’m hyper aware of it now. I’m sure that’s because it’s changing. My weight-loss feels so slow, but I’m averaging a solid 20 pounds a month (a little more actually.) That’s a lot more than I was capable of prior to surgery, and I’m finally at the point where I can honestly say that I’d go through it again if I had to.

I’m so far away from an average weight. It’s happening slower than I thought it might happen too, but I don’t care. I look and feel better than I have in years, and that’s worth more to me than arbitrary numbers.

I’m making real and significant progress, and food matters less than it used to. That’s good enough for me, though I’m definitely looking forward to continued progress.

Earlier this week Michael and I went out with friends to celebrate his 30th birthday, and I ordered a chicken taco salad.

It’s hard to go out to dinner with friends because my brain is still programmed to eat more than I can eat, but it has gotten a lot easier over the last month. When I’m at home it’s easy to just put my plate away, but it’s much more challenging when I continue sitting at the table with my food in front of me.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to discipline myself, in that, I’m not overeating. When I start to feel full I stop because I have no interest in making myself sick and/or stretching my stomach prematurely.

My friend, Stacie, took progress photos of me today, and we took a selfie as well because…why not?

 

I’m so thankful that I feel like to hardest part of the surgical process is over. I’m seeing my surgeon again next week, and I have an appointment immediately following with the dietitian. The latter seems kind of pointless because I haven’t gotten much direction from her up to this point. I’ve figured out a lot of stuff on my own, but I plan to see her anyway. If it’s not helpful, it’ll be the last time.

I saw the surgeon three weeks after my surgery, and I’ve made significant progress since then. I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say about my progress and any tips he might have to make me even more successful.

I need to exercise more…period. I’m not doing enough walking, weight lifting, etc. I know that, but for a time it was more important to me to focus on taking all of my vitamins, consuming enough protein, etc. Now that I’m comfortably doing that it’s time to reintroduce more fitness. I’d love to get back to the point in which I took for granted that I’d workout everyday.

For now, I’m pleased with my progress, but I know I can and should do more. One day at a time….

 

 

Three Months and 68 Pounds

I had surgery three months ago yesterday, and I’m down 68 pounds since I started my pre-op, liquids phase. It seems like weight-loss is different for everyone, but I’m happy with my progress so far. 

Right now, I can eat one whole egg with part of a piece of toast, or I can eat about 1/4 of a small bowl of Pho. (That’s the only way I enjoy beef. It just takes too much effort to eat it now.) I can also eat about 2 ounces of chicken or pork in one meal, and one string cheese is enough to keep my full for a few hours.

I drink ISO 100 because I like it more than ISOpure. I also drink peanut butter Quest protein shakes with Fair Life milk. Drinking protein is the easiest way to ensure that I reach my daily protein goals. I can also drink sparkling water again too, which is awesome.

This year was easily the best holiday season I’ve ever had. I spent the week with family, got engaged, rode a train up Pike’s Peak and introduced Michael to my favorite people and one of my favorite places. I couldn’t have asked for more.

 

On Christmas Eve we dined at my sister’s house, and we spent Christmas evening at the home of her in-laws, who moved to Colorado recently. We had delicious food both nights, and even though I served myself tiny portions, I wasn’t able to try everything. There was so much food that I couldn’t even taste a lot of it.

It was hard to sit at the table while everyone else continued eating, but it was one of those rare moments when I didn’t push my plate away. I didn’t continue to either though. I just sat and enjoyed the company while reminding myself that if I ate too much I’d be uncomfortable. I don’t like getting to that point, so I try to avoid it.

I wished I could eat more than I did during those two meals, but when I got home and stepped on the scale I remembered that it’s worth it. I wasn’t able to try everything prepared for each of those meals, but by eating such limited portions I was able to lose several pounds over Christmas. That’s pretty cool.

We did some walking while I was there too. Michael proposed to me on a short hike with my mom, sister and brother-in-law, and we went for walks around the neighborhood with my sister because the weather was so awesome. It was cold and blistery outside, but I love that. 

There’s something about being in Colorado that makes me want to be more active. Maybe it’s the 315 days of sunshine that they see every year. Maybe it’s the crisp, clean air. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve dropped a fairly significant amount of weight since the last time I was there. (I know that was a factor.) Regardless of the reasons, I felt lighter on my feet and more active than I have in the last few years, and it was great. I’ll be there again in the Spring, and I wonder if I’ll feel even lighter and more active than I did on this trip.

These adjustments to life after weight-loss surgery haven’t been easy for me, but I’m happy to see and feel the changes in my body. It feels like I’m making some big, positive strides, which definitely makes it all worth it to enjoy a longer healthier life with my family and friends and my future husband.

 

 

If you’re reading this I hope you had a happy holiday season, and I wish you the best in 2017.

 

Quiet, but Happy

I haven’t had much to say here lately. I’ve been busier than normal, which is a good thing because now I’m ready to relax and enjoy the holidays. I love this time of year!

I’ve been avoiding the scale for weeks now, and I’m happier that way. I know I must be losing pounds or inches or something because my clothes fit much better than they did, but I’m also retaining a lot of fluid this week.

When I spoke to the dietitian at my surgeon’s office a couple of weeks ago she told me to drink considerably more water than I had been drinking since surgery. I went from drinking about a gallon a day to drinking less than a bottle a day post-op. Now I’m drinking one to two bottles a day (at least,) but my goal is 4 bottles (or 64 oz.) I rarely reach that, but I’m starting to reach my protein goals on a daily basis, so I’m still making some progress.

This journey hasn’t been easy. I spent most of last month fighting feelings of anger and regret toward my choice to have surgery, but I’m over that now. I’ve made peace with my decision, and I seriously need to give it some time to work. I’m doing my best most days, which feels like enough right now.

A coupe of weeks ago I decided to focus on other things, and I’ve been much happier since then. I’ve gotten back to my old self, in that, I’m spending time with loved ones again, cooking, baking and enjoying work.

My Christmas tree is up thanks to my Christmas-loving boyfriend, who took time to pick it out and fluff it with me, and I’m almost finished with my holiday shopping.

My exercise restrictions were lifted last week, and my food restrictions are lifted this week. I don’t eat much at all, but I’m starting to get used to it. That’s been the weirdest adjustment so far. In fact, I may discuss that in a different post at some point.

Life is pretty good right now. I’m happy, and I have some big things to look forward to. The future is bright, and I’m thankful.

 

My First 5k Saints Kick-Off Run

Yesterday I briefly mentioned how uncomfortable it is to weigh as much as I do right now, and I mentioned how much easier certain things would be if I were smaller. I’m really looking forward to proving myself right about that over the next 12 months. My journey to a healthy weight will be much longer than that, but my goal is to participate in the same race I did over the weekend again next year.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30 am, and I did a little cleaning, showered and prepared for the 5k that my boyfriend, his brother and I were doing later that morning.

When Michael arrived at my place we walked to the Superdome, and I kept a pretty good pace getting there. We had walked about a mile in total before the race began, and we started in wave 19. (There were people who had finished he 5k before we even started.)

When we crossed the starting line we walked down the same street we had just walked to get to the race, then we continued into the French Quarter. I live two blocks from the Quarter, and I love to walk through it early in the morning. It was beautiful, but it was already sweltering too.

french-quarter-5kAs I made it to the halfway mark I was sweating my guts out, but my heart rate was fine. I felt good, but I soon realized that I would be the last person to finish the race.

Michael refused to run ahead of me even though he could have completed the race a few times in the amount of time it took me to finish, and at that point I was glad he was there. I knew I was going to be last, but I also knew I had to finish.

I didn’t talk, and I didn’t stop to take in the scenery. I just walked. At that moment I had to face the reality that the weight I’m carrying was weighing me down. Most of the time I don’t notice. I mean, I’m always aware of my weight, but I don’t think about it often. I walk slower and make stops more frequently, and for years I’ve oscillated between trying to lose it and just dealing with it.

It was important for me to get the medal at the end of this race. It looked cool, but the closer I got to the Superdome the more I wanted to be on the 50-yard line. I wanted the medal at the end too because it would become a daily reminder that I can do hard things, and I figured as long as the police escort was behind me I’d make it to the finish line (and get the medal.)

The second half of the race was quiet, but as I approached the Superdome I got discouraged. My body felt fine, but I had blisters. I wanted to cry as I saw droves of people walking out wearing their medals, but I never once considered not finishing.

In the last mile I told myself that we could just take an Uber home even though it wasn’t far at all. I told Michael too, and he said we could do whatever I wanted to do. He also encouraged me, of course, which made my want to cry tears of joy too.

Seriously, God gave me exactly the kind of man I dreamed of being with, and He placed him in my life at precisely the right time. These are the things that got me through the last mile of my short, yet blister-inducing race.

As we walked around the Superdome the last few hundred yards felt nearly impossible, but people cheered me along as they walked out. I stopped a few times for a few seconds, and Michael lovingly reminded me that I could do it and that I wasn’t quitting.

superdomeWhen I finally entered the Superdome the air conditioner made me feel like I had just reached
heaven. At that point I said, “Go run the last 40 yards. I need to do this by myself,” and after some convincing he ran. The jerk wasn’t even sweating. Ha

I tried to make myself rally, but I didn’t run at all. I simply walked the last 40 yards, just as I had walked the rest of the race, and when I crossed the finish line Michael was waiting there to place my medal around my neck.

That was an amazing moment for me. I felt tired, my feet hurt from the blisters, but I felt proud too. As I saw myself on the Jumbotron I heard that announcers talking about me as I finished, and there were people cheering for me as I crossed. It was a good moment, but all I could think about was how thankful I was that Jesus gave me strength to finish and that Michael never left my side except when he ran ahead to get water for me. He even held it, so I could just drink it as I needed it.

saints-kick-off-2016After I downed the Gatorade that Michael got for me I realized that he and his brother weren’t wearing medals. Apparently, there were people going up and getting multiple medals when they  finished, so his brother got one for me because he knew how much it would mean to me to receive it. Michael is awesome, and his entire family is just as wonderful. They could have gotten in line and had medals mailed to them later, but it didn’t matter to them. They just wanted me to have mine, and I got it thanks to his big bro.

If I had known how challenging this race would be for me I would have made excuses to not do it, so I’m glad I didn’t know. Michael and I walk around the same path often, but we stop to look at pretty things and often walk through the Riverwalk Outlet Mall so I can cool off.

I wore my new sneakers too, which were largely responsible for the blisters. (Rookie mistake, I guess,) but I felt tired after the 4.75 miles of walking I did, including the race. I can definitely walk that far without feeling achy or needing to stop, which makes me feel good about my body. It was also much harder than it needed to be because of the extra weight I’m carrying.

img_3808It feels so good to know that I completed the race and that I’m loved by a man who understands exactly where I am. (He used to weigh 140 pounds more than he does now.) It also felt good to know that his brother grabbed the medal because he knew how much it would mean to me.

I wouldn’t have done this race if Michael hadn’t asked me to and signed us up for it before I had a chance to say no. I’m so glad he signed me up for it, and I’m already looking forward to doing the same race next year.

I’ve wanted to do it every year since I lived here, and now I can say I did it! The medal and my blisters are both reminders that I can accomplish things even when they’re not easy, and I need that reminder right now more than ever.

saints-kick-off-run-medal

 

 

 

 

What Do People Do For Fun That Doesn’t Involve Food?

I wish I didn’t have to ask the question in the title of this post, but it’s an honest question that needs some answers.

When I think about the time I spend with friends we don’t always eat, but i almost always consume calories. If we’re not meeting for lunch or dinner or happy hour, then we usually meet for coffee.

Everyone I know seems to agree that society places emphasis on eating together. I was at the a restaurant over the weekend where the menu stated “Food is Love,” which too often has been true in my mind.

Michael is super supportive, and he loves to go for walks around the neighborhood with me. He only lives a couple miles away, so it’s easy for him to come over and stroll to the Riverwalk with me. He walks my pace even though his is much faster, and lately we’ve enjoyed playing Pokemon Go together as well. There’s really no point to the game, but it’s fun. It’s also a great motivator to walk more. I’m not kidding. On our last walk I even hatched a Pikachu, which was really exciting. Ha

At home I can knit. It’s a hobby that requires both of my hands, so I can’t eat when I’m doing that.

I’m not sure what else to do. I know I can still go to Starbucks, read my Bible or color and enjoy my favorite hot tea, but what else is there to do?

As long as I can remember food has played an integral role in what I do with family, friends and even alone, and I’m ready for that to change. I’m just not sure where to begin.

I am excited about all of the money I’m going to save by not eating out or buying groceries in excess at home. That’s exciting, but I know that I need to replace my old eating habits with healthy new ones. Exercise works a little, but I can’t do that all day. And I definitely can’t expect my friends and family to stop eating and exercise instead every time I feel like going out.

I’m a social lady. I love to be around people. I enjoy cooking for them, baking for the them and just spending time with them. I know that there are people in my life who will not understand that, and I’ll keep them at a safe distance while I adjust.

I’d just love some ideas if you have any. What are some activities I do to replace going out to eat or having coffee with people I love?

What’s Your Favorite Brand for Sneakers?

I’m doing my first official 5k race in a few weeks. I’ve walked many 5k’s, but I’ve never received a medal at the end of it. I don’t mind walking, but the idea of paying money to wake up early on the weekend to exercise in the heat has never really appealed to me. Ha

When my boyfriend asked me to do it I said yes without hesitation. I’ve always dreamed of being with a kind, loving man who will show up for races with me, and now I have that. My guess is that he’ll run the race, then wait for me at the finish line. I don’t want to slow him down, but I’ll be happy to see him waiting for me when I finish.

I’ve wanted to do this race every year since moving to New Orleans. Most of the cool races happen in my neighborhood, so it’s convenient, but this one is always appealing because it ends on the 50-yard line inside the Superdome.

I’ve been to Saints games, of course, but there’s something about jogging through the tunnels and onto the finish line, where I’ll receive a metal, that excites me. (What can I say? I have a flair for the dramatic.)

I’m looking forward to walking the race even though it’s going to take me over an hour to finish it. The timing doesn’t matter to me. I just love any opportunity to remind myself that I can do cool things.

I’ve been walking a lot over the last week or so. (Thank you, Pokemon Go!) And I realized even before walking all over town chasing Pokemons that I need new sneakers…badly.

Over the last few years I’ve moved away from Nike to New Balance, Asics, then Brooks. I loved the Asics so much that I wore a hole in one. I’m not particularly fond of New Balance, but the Brooks weren’t bad. I’m just not sure which brand I’ll choose now.

Do you have a favorite, go-to brand for sneakers? If so, which one?

 

Skin Issues, Sleep Apnea Results and Moving Forward

I haven’t exercised in over three weeks until today. My skin irritation still isn’t 100% better, but I took prescriptions for 10 days, saw the doctor again and decided that I felt well enough to get back to normal.

Unfortunately, my skin issues aren’t going away unless I leave New Orleans and/or lose a significant amount of weight. It’s hard to lose weight when it hurts to move, but the wounds are improving. I’m not leaving New Orleans any time soon, so I’m striving to make use of the gym again. (It’s pretty convenient since my office is a 20 second walk to the gym and even in the same building.) This darn skin issue has just been winning lately – until today.

Kenlie YMCA

Several of you have left comments and sent messages regarding my  skin issues, and I appreciate the advice and encouragement. I haven’t really explained what’s causing the pain because it’s gross, but I’m going to explain it now. I have cellulitis, and there are a couple of small, very painful spots that are fighting not to become infected. They’re open, and there’s no way to keep them dry. It’s just not possible, and as a result I feel pain when I lift my right leg to walk, sit in the car, stand up, lie down, etc. It’s not fun, but it’s considerably better than it was a week ago.

This week my goal is to do cardio at least three times. That doesn’t seem like much, but if you saw my skin you’d be surprised that I’m doing that. Today I did some floor exercises and played around with weights (perks of working at the YMCA,) and I felt pretty good about it.

IMG_3013I decided I’d try to do a plank too even though that’s hard for me because I knew doing it would inspire me to work harder, and it did. If you want to watch me go from cool and relaxed to sweaty and a little cocky just watch me do a plank. I can’t do it for long, but it’s something that I’m going to start working to improve again.

Riding a bicycle is out for now, and I’m still a day or two away from dance cardio. I felt pretty good about strength exercises like planks, squats and weights.

I’m not sure when I’ll feel 100% again, but it definitely felt good to fumble around in the gym today. I was reminded that I’m stronger than I remembered, and I’m also capable of doing a lot more than I’ve been doing. (Yeah, it hurts. It legitimately hurts, and I needed to take some time to heal.) It also feels good to start fresh.

I had some encouraging news today as well. I do not have sleep apnea! I’m pretty sure my doctor’s office was surprised, but I was fairly confident that I was fine because I typically sleep well. It’s a relief to know that sleep apnea isn’t something I have to worry about because I had no plans to use a CPAP machine even if they told me I’d need one. Whew!

I’ll head back to the doctor in a few weeks to check in, and as overwhelming as it is to think about spending so much time being poked and prodded over the next several months, I’m thankful that I’m getting my health in order again. I’m even more thankful that, overall, I’m okay. My health could certainly be much worse, and I realize how lucky I still have time to make positive changes.

13901511_10210685765886939_6962036732669912970_n

 

 

Hello, 36…

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy, but in a good way. Tonight I actually made it home just as the sun was going down, which allowed me to cook dinner and catch up on The Mindy Project. Does anyone here watch it? It’s definitely my favorite show right now! Suits comes on again next week too, so I’ll have a few things to watch in my free time.

friendsYesterday was my birthday, and it was easily the best one I’ve had so far. I can identify a few reasons for that.

My friends and co-workers made a big deal about it (because they know how much it means to me.) My boss, who has become a close friend, booked a private karaoke room at a sushi bar over the weekend. Um, does she know me or what? I love to sing, and I love sushi. Put me in a room filled with friends, and that makes for a pretty perfect night. I’ve never been in a room full of people who love to sing karaoke as much or more than I do. It was awesome. We need a reason, any reason, to do that again soon. (As you can see I took a few selfies that night, but most of us forgot to take pictures because we were having so much fun.)

Earlier that day my boyfriend and I spent the day with my mom at her house. We ate lunch, played board games and relaxed. I love being close enough to Mom that I can see her often, and I’m really glad she likes my guy. It usually takes her a while to like who I’m dating, but she liked this guy right away. He’s a gentleman. He treats me really well, and she sees it. What’s not to like?

I started my day in church on Sunday, and after that my aforementioned boyfriend and I went to a BBQ with about 50 of our friends. We drove into the country to spend the afternoon and evening at a friend’s farm, and a few of our men put on quite a fireworks display.

I started my day in church on Sunday, and after that my aforementioned boyfriend and I went to a BBQ with about 50 of our friends. We drove into the country to spend the afternoon and evening at a friend’s farm, and a few of our men put on quite a fireworks display.

Monday I slept in, went shopping with my good friend, Michelle, then went to a dinner party with friends. We never got around to playing board games, but we all had great time. I met a guy who went to the same church I went to in Oklahoma at the same time I was there. He was so familiar to me, and it didn’t take long to figure out why. Tell me the world isn’t small…I just won’t believe you. 😉

Cafe Dumonde New OrleansTuesday, which was my actual birthday, was fun because when I got into work I got flowers from a sweet friend and co-worker and friend. My boss, who’s also one of the most awesome people I know, brought me flowers and a bag of beignets from Cafe Dumonde.

I didn’t do much tracking in my Weight Watchers app this week, but that changes today. It’s hard to stay in the tracking mindset when you’re distracted, but life is busy. I need to make it a bigger priority, so I will now.  I managed to lose weight while my sister and nieces were here, and I kept it under control for the most part throughout the last week.

Michael KorsI’ll go to the meeting tomorrow, but I won’t weigh in because my feet are . It’s not painful or anything, but I’m definitely carrying extra water weight. I know it’s just a number, but I don’t want to feel like the progress I’ve made is gone – not even temporarily. because my feet are so incredibly swollen. It’s not painful or anything, but I’m definitely carrying extra water weight. I know it’s just a number, but I don’t want to feel like the progress I’ve made is gone – not even temporarily.  I’m hoping that they get back to normal soon, but the last few days have been rough! I’m drinking water, but not enough. My Hyrdroflask goes everywhere with me, but I need to fill it up a few more times a day.

 

In addition to my swelling feet I’m having some painful skin irritation issues. I mean, my skin hurts. This is one of the unfortunate effects of being plus-size in New Orleans during the overbearing heat of Summer. It’s hard to exercise because right now it hurts to move, but the only way this will ever go away is if I lose weight and have excess skin removed. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality. Now would be the perfect time to find a primary care doctor, but I still haven’t attempted to do that.

I’ve had a stellar week, but I’m looking forward to the quiet time that Friday brings. My favorite thing about Fridays is the time I spend alone reading and praying in the morning. I think it’s important to pray and read everyday, but I like the habit of quiet,  uninterrupted time that I’ve developed over the last several months. I’ll also do some grocery shopping, and maybe I’ll even make time for some arts and crafts.

There’s a lot going on in my life, but it’s mostly good stuff. I’m happy, and I’m moving in a positive direction. I took it easy this week because I’ve been in so much pain, but I’m looking forward to doing some cardio this weekend. I’ll probably give myself one more rest day.

If you’re reading this I hope you’re doing well too. Until next time…

 

 

 

The Number on the Scale

I’ve always been a fan of writing things out on paper. Whether I’m taking notes in my Bible, writing out grocery lists or making goals I always prefer doing it on paper.

When I spent some time with my family this week I came across a goal I had written out years ago. I left it in my room at Mom’s house, and it’s been a while since I really stopped to think about the hope I placed on that piece of paper years ago.

I also noted the date (almost exactly 4 years ago) when I recognized how hard my personal weight journey felt inside my head.

lose weight

At the time I weighed about 15 pounds more than the number I wrote down, but now, four years later, I weigh almost 70 pounds more than that number. I’m going to be really transparent for a minute; it sucks.

I remember sitting at the desk thinking about how impossibly difficult it felt to lose the necessary 15 or 16 pounds to reach that weight. I just The truth is it seems a lot harder now because it will take a lot more effort, but I think it feels possible. I realize that to most this number still seems high, and I know it is. I also know how awesome and accomplished I felt when I reached it, so it matters to me.

People with good intentions, naive though they may be, often say “stop focusing on the numbers,” and that just doesn’t work in my mind. I never obsessed over reaching a certain weight by a certain date or anything, but I do need to see the numbers moving in the right direction. It motivates me to see the numbers inching down, and now that I’m back with Weight Watchers I’m more aware of it than I’ve been in years.

The good news is that I’ve learned some things about myself and how my mind works since the day I put that number on paper. I’ve learned that I like routine. It’s good for me to know what time I’ll wake up, when I’ll exercise, when I’ll go out, when I’ll be home. (I need to work on the latter. I spend far too much time away from home, but that’s improving.) I always felt like routines were boring, but now that I love my work, my friends and my home it’s great to know that I can look forward to certain things on certain days.

Monday – work, exercise and dinner with my gentleman friend

Tuesday – work, exercise after work, then spend the evening with friends/gentleman friend

Wednesday – late day at work. I go in later than usual, but I’m still home in time to enjoy the evening.

Thursday – work, exercise, band practice for the worship team at church

Friday – rest day

Saturday – prayer with friends at church, followed by free time

Sunday – church, lunch with friends (most weeks,) followed by free time

There’s a lot of time in my schedule to add in exercise, and I could do meal prep too. I’ve never been a fan of eating leftovers, so I think it’s important to come up with ideas to make healthy and easy lunches and dinners.

I used to beat myself up when I saw the 284 photo, but lately I’ve been feeling a renewed hope. (I think it’s because I’m making an effort again.)

I don’t like the way I look in photos right now, but I’m not going to stop taking them. I don’t like how hard it is shop for clothes again, but I’m still going to do it.

I don’t like the fact that I let myself veer so far off track, but I’m happier than I was back then. I’m healthier in so many areas of my life than I was at that time, which means it’s not too late to do this.