Significant Milestone = Time for Reflection

Though not exactly a resolution, on January 1, 2015, I set a goal.  It was somewhat far fetched, and would require equal parts persistence, sacrifice, grit and luck.  As I reached this goal on Saturday, with about three weeks to spare, it sent me into a state of reflection.

The goal that I achieved is running 1,000 miles.  Even though I ran every step, it’s difficult to wrap my mind around that distance.  That’s like running from Wisconsin to Florida, from Georgia to Rhode Island, or Southern California to Oregon.

Getting there didn’t happen quickly or easily.  And it’s actually quite similar to the broader journey to health and weight loss.  It was accomplished through many small steps adding up to one larger journey.  Each small step taken alone seems rather insignificant, but when chained together, produces something meaningful.

As coincidence would have it, the seeds that grew into the beginning of those small steps were planted four years ago Saturday.  That was the day that my “before” picture was taken, as we headed out to a Christmas party.

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Before (Dec. 2011)  – During (2012) – Now (Dec. 2015)

As we got ready for that same Christmas party this year, I couldn’t help but think of the changes that I occurred in my life and my family’s life over the past four years.  The external changes, while obviously easy to see, only show a small portion of the story.  The internal and interpersonal changes, however, are much more meaningful.

As noted by a physician after losing weight, my health benchmarks have all improved.  Additionally, I’m now able to enjoy activities with family and friends in ways that I previously wouldn’t have been nearly as quick to embrace.  As a family, we enjoy skiing, swimming, running, playing tennis (and much more!) with friends and extended family.  And thus these relationships have also benefited.

At the end of the day, strong relationships are what make a healthy and active lifestyle truly sweet.  A most sincere thank you my friends and family who have stood by my side and helped me to achieve this 2015 goal.  xoxo

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Jill’s Before and After

More proof that positive changes yield positive results.  My friend, Jill, has lost 62 pounds over the last 7 months.  Here is a “before” picture and her current picture.

I’m very proud of Jill and I want to brag on her.  She has been determined and dedicated to her new, healthy lifestyle.  It’s been great  to both support her and to receive support from her.  Jill has even motivated her husband to make positive changes… and he has lost 10 pounds!

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In her own words:

I THOUGHT my weight loss journey began in my late 20s. I had my first child, and not unlike a lot of women, bounced right back afterward, with very little effort. About 3 years later, I went through a rough (to be nice) divorce, and lost about 20 more pounds. I weighed about what I did right out of college. That was good. Then I met my current husband. I knew he was the “one,” and gosh we were happy! Well, weight gain seem to follow ALL the happiness. It crept up slowly, 20 pounds, then another 30. But, I was…….so happy, in love, and “OK” with my looks.

Five years and another 5-10 pounds later, I found out that we were expecting. In my mind, I was overweight, but not unhealthy!
The midwife explained to me that gaining more than about 25 pounds would not be good for me or the baby. Then I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Wait! What? I’m not THAT overweight! Although, the charts stated in black and white that I was obese at 5’5 1/2 inches, and 196 pounds. My top weight was 222 pounds the day I delivered our baby girl.

My follow-up blood work indicated that I was still diabetic. I had it repeated about a month later (I was in total denial), and it was the high side of normal, but NORMAL! Yeah, I had just dodged that bullet! I was told by my doctor that that my chances of developing Type II diabetes were 75% greater, if I didn’t lose weight. One doctor even suggested lap band surgery!! WOW, that hit me hard!

Fast forward 4 years, and I still hadn’t lost any weight, but, hey, I hadn’t really gained any either. I was starting a diet pretty much every Monday. I had done it ALL…….diet pills, drinks, HCG…..then, one day, an acquaintance invited me to attend a Weight Watchers meeting with her. No, I was not offended, nor did I feel judged. She just made me feel included. Besides, she wasn’t asking me to do anything she wasn’t doing. Before I over thought it, or came up with an excuse, I agreed to join her at the next meeting. I am so glad I did!

It was then, that my true weight loss journey began (October 23, 2013). I lost 58 pounds (205# to 146.8#) on Weight Watchers in 6 months! This girl that had invited me to join WW to begin with, has become one of my best friends, and partner in health. We have both met our goals, and it feels awesome! I never knew how miserable I felt, until I didn’t…I have also met so many awesome people through this journey, people I call friends.  I am forever grateful, and blessed.

 

3 Years and 13.1 Miles Later

Three years ago this weekend, I walked in a 5K.  A group from our neighborhood went to the event, with several of the friends participating in the half marathon.  I speed-walked the 5K.  It was challenging.  I finished, but I walked as fast as I could and didn’t have much of anything left to give by the end.

Three years ago (2nd from left):

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This past weekend, a small group from our neighborhood made a return trip to this same race.  This time, however, I ran the half marathon.

Same beach, this year:

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The race is completely confined to a state park containing tall trees, beautiful beaches and cold waters still filled with mini-icebergs.  The hills were challenging, but empowering.  With about a quarter of a mile before the end, we rounded a bend and caught sight of the finish line.

Unexpectedly, my eyes welled up and I burst into tears.  The woman running next to me, thinking I was faltering, turned to me with encouragement.  “You’ve got this!  You can do it!”  Indeed I could.  I wasn’t faltering.  My tears were from the realization that three years ago, I was standing in that very place watching and cheering for others.  I was on the sideline.  Now I’m in the game.

Wherever you find yourself today or wherever you’re hoping to go, take small steps in that direction.  Before you know it, you’ll look back and be surprised by how far you’ve come!  You CAN do it!

 

 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words ~ Before & After

 

It occurred to me that to gain street cred, I need photographic evidence that I’m living the tips that I intend to write about in my blog.  While true beauty undoubtedly lies within, I’ve come to understand that our physical bodies outwardly express the love that we’re showing our bodies on the inside.

In the first 9-ish months of 2012, I lost about 75 pounds.  In the year since then, I’ve maintained my new weight, while continuing to improve my nutrition and fitness.

The first photograph is me, shortly before turning that metaphorical corner back at the beginning of 2012.  The second photo was taken during the summer of 2012, as I was finishing a Couch to 5K (C25K) program.  And the final photo was taken recently by a sweet and talented photographer friend.  (If any local friends would like a referral, I’m happy to put you in contact with her!)

My mind has been racing with blog entry ideas and I have many fun and useful topics in the works.  Of course, I’m open to special requests blog entries as well!  Stay tuned… and either subscribe to Just a Dot, Not a Lot through WordPress or “Like” my Facebook page to be notified of new posts.

So here it goes….

Before (December 2011):
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During (Summer 2012):
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After (Summer 2013):
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