It’s Been a Life Changing 5 Months!

It’s fitting that I’m posting this on Halloween, because it’s one of my favorite days of the year, and now it’s been made even more memorable to me. I apologize for how long this post is, and the fact that it has nothing to do with books. I wanted to document this time in my life, so I can come back when I need to for the reminder and motivation, should I ever need it again. It’s a very personal post for me, thank you for reading it!

The past 5 months have been life changing for me. At the beginning of the year, I was experiencing some irritating health issues. Nothing life-threatening, but just annoying enough that it got me thinking it would do me a bit of good to start eating better, and maybe shed a few pounds.

For the past 10 plus years, I have owned my big girl status. I really didn’t care that I was overweight. Like me or don’t like me – my weight doesn’t define me as a person. And I still believe that to be true. I am married to an incredible guy who has always loved me no matter how much I weighed, and what he thought of me was all that mattered. I was overweight when we started dating, so I know he loves me for me, and I never felt the need to lose the pounds. But if I’m being honest with myself, I was never happy about my body (and I especially hated shopping for clothes).

I’ve tried many diets in the past, but have always lacked the motivation and willpower to stick with them. It’s all about being in the right frame of mind, and I never really cared enough to lose the weight.

Then in May, I randomly decided to start eating salads for lunch every day, basically just for the hell of it. I hadn’t been feeling well for months and something in my life needed to change. I thought, if the salad thing works and I end up dropping a few pounds, then great! But I didn’t have high hopes, not to mention I love food WAY too much to give up the bad stuff for too long. And I was never a fan of salads, either.

A few weeks went by and to my dismay I had lost 10 pounds. Just from eating salads for lunch every day and giving up pop & sweets. It was so surprising to me how easy it was to do and from that point on, I decided to be more disciplined about what I ate. Several friends recommended the MyFitnessPal app to me, and I became a calorie Nazi, tracking every.single.thing I ate. I became obsessed because I couldn’t believe it was working. Seeing results so quickly definitely jump-started my motivation.

And it wasn’t just about the weight loss, although that was obviously the best part. I was learning so much! Before this all began, I had zero clue the calorie content in ANYTHING I ate. None. I didn’t care. If it tasted good, it went into my mouth. This process was an eye opening experience for me. I learned so much about the food I was letting go into my body, and it helped me to improve my eating habits tremendously. I still indulge once in awhile (how about that celebratory Lerch’s donut I ate this morning…). If I don’t get to eat a chocolate chip cookie once in a while, I’m gonna lose my shit. I know that it’s good to still indulge in foods you love because a.) you don’t want to relapse and end up gorging on all.the.food and b.) life’s too damn short. But what I learned the most is there is a BALANCE. I can have 2 cookies one night if I give up that glass of red wine (guess how many times that didn’t happen). I could still enjoy things and not feel guilty about it. It’s all about balance and moderation.

I’m not saying it was easy. There were days that I went way over my calorie count because I just couldn’t say ‘no’. And PMS is a bitch to get through when you’re on a diet. But I tried not to get discouraged by those bad days or weeks, and I refused to give up. Everyone is going to have those days and it’s OKAY. Those bad days are always outnumbered by the good days.

When I thought I would miss all the foods I used to love, I found out that I really don’t. I’ve come too far and am too proud of myself to ever go back to my old eating habits. I indulge once in a while – you have to! But if I eat like crap for a whole weekend, by Monday my body is screaming at me, ‘EAT A SALAD.’ It’s crazy, and I love it, because I NEVER thought in a million years that I’d be eating healthier and be HAPPY about it!

My goal was to lose 50 lbs. and, today I’m so ecstatic to say I have met my goal. Those last 10 pounds were the biggest bitch (mostly because I’m just impatient), but it was worth it. After my marriage and my daughter, this is the biggest accomplishment of my life, and I’m so happy to have succeeded. Ideally I’d love to lose another 10, but I’m proud I’ve come this far. I know the hardest part will be maintaining it and not falling back into my old habits. I keep telling myself that I didn’t work this hard to go back to the way things were! I feel healthy and happy with my body, which is something I have struggled with my entire life, and I’m determined to stay that way.

Before and After

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Excuse my wrinkled shirt – I refuse to use an iron.

I promised myself a bookish tattoo when I met my goal, which I already have picked out. I’ll be making that appointment soon. But honestly, even though I’m really excited about my new tattoo, it doesn’t compare to how rewarding it feels to have confidence for the first time in my life. To feel good about my body and myself for once. To feel healthy and feel GOOD. That is the best reward.

Finally (are you still with me? BLESS YOU), I have to thank everyone who cheered me on and supported me through the whole process. All of my family and friends , including my blogging friends, who encouraged me – it was all of your kind words that helped motivate me. In particular, those friends who called me an inspiration. ME! I’ve never been an inspiration to anyone in my life – and those words meant the world to me. I felt confidence and motivation from all of your kindness and enthusiasm, and you don’t know how much that helped me.

And my husband – I am truly such a lucky woman to have his support and love. I know he has always loved me the way I am and has always made me feel good about myself. Never once in 8 years did he make me feel like I had to lose weight. But it’s his reaction to my weight loss that also helped keep me motivated. He has cheered me on and encouraged me every day. His love and affection has given me the confidence and motivation I needed to stick with my diet and not give up. His unconditional love and support means the world to me, and makes me want to be a better wife.

I am so grateful to everyone who has been a support to me. I know without your encouragement, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to stay on track.

Things don’t end here (but I promise this is the last time I’m going to blog about it). I will have to learn how to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle. My goal for next year is to attempt to work out *gasp*.  I’m really not one for sweating AT ALL (hence why I pretty much hate summer time).  But we will have a new fitness facility at my work by the end of next year, and I keep saying I WILL make the effort to utilize it. Just because I lost weight, doesn’t mean I’m totally healthy, as proven by my huffing and puffing while going up stairs every day.  There are still things about myself that I don’t love and that I hope to fix (damn you, love handles). But they are tolerable things that I will happily learn to live with, because for the first time in my life I’m happy with my body.

My favorite quote to read over and over the past few months – “Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal.” There were times that I would get frustrated and down when my progress was slowed or stalled, but I would remind myself that I have a lot to be proud of.

If you’ve read all of this blabbering – thank you! I appreciate my readers and all of your kind words of encouragement during this journey.

 

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29 thoughts on “It’s Been a Life Changing 5 Months!

  1. Beth says:

    That is awesome, and you are beautiful!! (before AND after!) Congratulations on reaching your goal, and I can’t wait to see your new tattoo!!

  2. Nadia says:

    Congratulations, Brandie!!! What an amazing accomplishment!! I just loved this post and how much you shared with us about your weight loss goal and how you’ve met it 🙂 You are most definitely an inspiration – this post is giving me the kick in the butt I need to start working toward my own weight loss goal. I think its awesome that you still indulge, but are more aware of how many calories are okay to eat. Sounds like you had a terrific support system and the determination to make this goal happen. You are a rock star!! And you look fabulous (in both pics). I love that you are going to celebrate with a bookish tattoo – how cool! Hope you have a Happy Halloween with your family 😉

  3. StephTheBookworm says:

    Congratulations to you! You look so great and I know firsthand how hard it all is. I always credit MyFitnessPal for changing my whole life because that’s how I lost my weight AND met my hubby. You have a great attitude and I always tell people who want advice the same things you mentioned… you have to be in the right mindset and you can’t always deprive yourself. I’m glad you also agree. 🙂 I can’t wait to see your bookish tattoo! My bookish tattoo was also one of my rewards and I love it. Congrats again!!!

  4. Lisa says:

    Congratulations, Brandie! It’s really inspiring to read your story, and you look fabulous! Most importantly, I’ll bet you feel terrific too. 🙂

  5. kimberlyfaye says:

    So, so, SO MANY congratulations out to you! It’s not easy to break lifelong habits and stick with it when things start to get tough. You should be really proud of yourself. You were beautiful before and after!

  6. Sarah Says Read says:

    Brandie, seriously – CONGRATS! Counting calories and losing weight is a big accomplishment, and you’re kind of reminding me of that and how much I need to get back on track. You look FANTASTIC, and I’m glad that you’re feeling happier and healthier 🙂 🙂 Can’t wait to see your tattoo!!!

  7. Annie says:

    “If I don’t get to eat a chocolate chip cookie once in a while, I’m gonna lose my shit.” – This is why I love MFP. It’s full of honest, frank and funny people who do not lie. MFP makes dieting easy, because as you’ve said, you can continue to eat all the same foods you used to… but you naturally find yourself gravitating towards healthier (lower calorie!) options and you learn something about portion control – that’s been a big one for me. Knowing exactly how many Shreddies I’m allowed to eat etc. I’m so happy you’ve met your goal honey and maintained it – did you decide to lose those other 10lbs? – and I’d love to see the tattoo! xx

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