Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Healthy Self - Part 1

Sometimes I look at where I am in life, relative to where I came from, and I am just... I don't know.  Wondrous?  Confused?  Maybe.  Mostly grateful, though.

Me at age 19, smoking a cigarette in the parking lot, thinking I was cute...

If you had shown my 19-year-old self, at one of the lowest points in my young life, a picture of me today and of my life and interests, she would not believe you.  She would not think herself capable of becoming the person I am today - a person who cooks, who runs 3 days a week, who can get to work on time at 7am.  A person pursuing an MBA and who really enjoys her accounting classes.  A person who spent two years as a vegetarian and would one day say goodbye to gluten forever.  A married person; a mother, one day soon I hope. A person who's ideal Friday night is spent reorganizing dresser drawers, talking with her spouse, eating kale chips, and hydrating for a hard workout the next morning (don't judge me).

First and foremost, she would never believe that she could look and feel the way I look and feel today.

May 2011

I have lost 80 pounds.  The looks I get from people when I say that are incredulous.  They want to see pictures.  Honestly I seldom think about "the number," and how it sounds to others when I say it out loud. I admit that I am amazed at how hard it is to lift an 80-pound barbell, yet I used to lug that much extra poundage around all the time; I also pause in wonder when I see full-page articles in magazines highlighting women who have lost 30, 40, or 50 pounds.  That's me.  That's me PLUS 30!

Christmas 2004.  That's me on the left at my heaviest, one month before I cut out meat and started exercising (and taking time to straighten my hair before work).

Maybe it doesn't seem very drastic to me because it was a very slow process.  I made a life-changing decision to become a vegetarian on January 13, 2005; that was the first in a long series of steps towards good health.  I also never "dieted."  It always seems like people make a bold declaration to the world: "I am on a DIET!" and from that point on the clock is ticking and it's all about how successful the diet is, or how much of a failure.  It took me a long time to educate myself on eating right and exercise (I have a shelf of For Dummies books as evidence!), and each of the changes were gradual and based on my expanding knowledge base.  Being diagnosed with Celiac was certainly a big turning point for me, but I can honestly say that it came at the best possible time in my life.  Any earlier, and I would have been terrified.  Defeated.  I would have found it to be an impossible life sentence, and my health would have suffered.  Instead, the diagnosis was my personal tipping point.  The disease provided me with a powerful motivation to clean up my act once and for all - to take charge of my body, to not let peer pressure or advertisements or my own inexperience decide how active I should be or what I should put in my body.  And you know what?  I have never felt better.

I want to write a series here (hence the "Part 1" in the title) on where I came from, and where I'm going, in terms of my health, activities, body image and journey to self-love.  First and foremost I'm writing it for me, because I still need to wrap my head around this aspect of my life.  I mostly need to reflect, not just on how much better I feel now, but on why I let myself get to such an unhealthy state before.  A lot of it was environmental, societal... but a lot of the blame lies on me, and my own lack of empowerment when it comes to my own health and body.  I need to fully understand how I lost that power and sense of self, so that I can be sure it never happens again.

So stay tuned....


  1. Oh! Awesome! I can't wait to read more. You have every right to be extremely proud & confident in who you are. Eating right & exercising takes much willpower, so I am excited to see where you are going with this series!

  2. awesome! i ran across your post in dailymile and popped on over here. can't wait to hear more about your journey as i am in a similar place with regards to my need to lose weight(40 lbs), change my eating habits, etc..what you say about dieting is really spot on, it being a ticking time bomb..success? failure? when it should be about small changes over time..never thought of it in those terms, thanks!

  3. You have always been gorgeous, but watching your journey has shown me a person and an image you have every right to be confident and proud of, keep it up buddy, you are an inspiration!