A year ago today, I weighed 281lbs.

I worked out in a gym for six months, and didn’t have much to show for it. I mean, yes – some weight loss took place, lots of muscle development took place, but I still felt so defeated. I wanted to lose inches!! I wanted to be smaller! Why was I not progressing!

This was the start of a 3 month break from fitness. I just… I had other priorities. I had other focuses. I had other places my energy needed to be directed toward. I didn’t need the constant disappointment of trying to be healthier and failing. Repeatedly. Miserably. I just didn’t want to be bothered.

Well, in 3 months, I gained 10lbs.Yeah, it was a stressful 3 months and I was running to food to try to give me temporary release and relief… but 10lbs? Ten pounds? By March, I realized… “Well, if I’m going to have the gauntlet thrown at me, I might as well prepare my body for it.”

I started thinking about how I can properly tackle my health without cheating, being lazy, getting in my own way. A lifestyle change that would become second nature. I thought about this… over a bowl of queso. That I ate… for breakfast.

By late April (the picture above is from April), I got into the habit of cooking everything I ate. I realized that perhaps if it were more difficult for me to indulge in the foods I liked, I wouldn’t indulge so much. If I wanted cookies, I had to bake them myself. If I wanted queso, I had to make it myself. Want a quesadilla? Do it yourself. This helped with my blood pressure. Why? Because processed foods overdo it on the salt. It helped with my risk for overeating. Why? Because I was eating whole nutrients… my body was getting the nutrition it was looking for, so I wasn’t continually compelled to keep eating while my body sought out nutrition.

As soon as I got my eating habits together, I dropped 17lbs. That was when I realized what kept me from losing the inches I wanted – I was still filling my body with crap! I finally figured out how I could get a lock on this thing… and just like that, I started working out again.

Just going for a walk every day and eating better, I lost another 15lbs. I was doing so much more than my body was used to… that it was burning all kinds of energy to keep up. It wasn’t used to this kind or amount of effort! I had properly shocked my body, revved up my engine, and was on my way.

6 months later, another 50lbs was gone. I’m not as concerned with the pounds as much as I am concerned with the inches. Why? Because I’ve developed ab, leg, and thigh muscles that weigh just as much as – if not more than – the fat I once carried… and although it might cause me to put on more weight on the scale, my figure has still become much more lean.

I’ve probably lost about 20lbs in the past 3 months, but I’ve lost about 21″ total – 2″ from each thigh, 4″ from my low-rise waist, 4″ from my normal waist, 2″ from each arm, 2″ from the band in my bust, and 3″ from my hips. I can see cuts in my arms, and lines in my abs. My face is way more defined… I feel like a different woman. When I do my Yoga poses, I can see development in my thighs. When I stand in my high heels, I can see lines in my calves from my knee to my ankle. So my scale might be slow, but my tape measure is movin’!

How am I developing nutritionally? There is one processed item in my pantry that is not organic: goldfish crackers. Dreaded things. (I know I’ve written about how my love of these things plagues me.) If my daughter didn’t love them, I might throw them away. Hey, she’s young – I might throw them away, anyway. Besides… it’s my house. πŸ™‚

I still cook everything I eat. I get a little more jazzy and bake things that I shouldn’t be eating – home made or not – but at least I’m not gaining weight at the speed I was before. I’m way more mindful of what I’m putting in my body. Thinking about this makes me more emotional than you think… because it passes on to my daughter. If given a choice between those goldfish crackers and a handful of blueberries, she’s going to choose the blueberries. I didn’t have that foresight as a child. If I had, I might not’ve spent middle school as a size 15.

I’m more comfortable working out in front of others, now. Which translates into my being more comfortable with myself as a whole. It’s easier for me to accept my shortcomings because I know the greatest of my troubles – my health – were able to be tamed… there’s nothing I can’t do at this point. My struggle with my weight has taught me the value of facing my shortcomings head on. If I don’t be honest and real with myself about the source of a problem, how could I ever possibly and effectively find a solution? Ever since I’ve had this epiphany – this newfound value in self-transparency – my life is so much less stressful. There’s less satisfaction found in dramatizing the problem, and the peace found in having obtained the solution is way more valuable.

All things I didn’t have a year ago. I didn’t weigh 185 a year ago. I also didn’t have a size 8 shape a year ago. Yay me.

Looking at everything I’ve left in 2008, I am excited to see what I leave behind in 2009. How I learn, how I grow, how I use what I’ve learned to help others. Hopefully, I’ll leave those stupid goldfish crackers behind. That’s first on the list.