Thursday, June 15, 2023

Change Takes Time

Ok, here's the real deal friends, you didn't gain this weight in 3 weeks and it's not going to come off in 3 weeks. Lasting change takes time. 

I used to be an "all or nothing" kind of gal. When I previously tried to lose weight, I went all in. Which is fine until I "mess up" because then I say "the heck with it" and give up. Meaning, if I can't do it perfectly, I won't do it at all. Can you relate? 

We all want the quick fix, and we get sucked into the ads and social media that tell us it's possible to lose weight fast, ugh! Sure it is possible, but it isn't sustainable. 

One of my latest posts in the Start Today Facebook group gained traction as I talked about how I've maintained a 40+ pound weight loss since 2011/2012. 

I shared that this time around, my approach was different. I introduced one small change at a time until I mastered it, then I started on another small change. While it took a lot more patience, I was tired of making changes that weren't maintainable for life. Many people commented on my post asking what small changes I made and it inspired todays blog. As you read through these changes please remember that I've made them gradually over the past 10-12 years. And I'm proud to share that now most of them are habits that I don't even think about. 
  • I started by removing the calories I was drinking. Swapping out coke for diet coke (I was drinking at least 6 cans of coke a day); then swapped out diet coke for water or unsweetened iced tea. Note: I hated water, and now I love it. My body craves it. I drink half of my body weight in ounces of water each day. 
  • Walking. I started out by walking to the stop sign in my neighborhood. I added on 5-10 minutes at a time. Thanks to the motivation in the Start Today Facebook group, I now do 3-4 miles several times a week combined with strength training. I'm excited to keep setting new fitness goals. 
  • Let's stay on exercise for a moment. When I first got my elliptical, I started out by doing 10 minutes at a slow speed. I now can do 45 minutes at a good clip without thinking about it. When I started strength training, I used no weights. Then I increased to 1 pound, 3 pounds, 5 pounds and 8 pounds. Start small and add on. 
  • The most drastic changes came with my eating. Especially my sugar intake. As I share in the post below, I used to start my day with 1-2 donuts and a coke. I'd then power through my day with sugar and caffeine and it was a never ending cycle of temporary energy and then an energy crash.

  • All programs work. But they may not all work for the phase of life that you're in. From 2011 to today I've progressed from Weight Watchers to Beachbody to a more holistic approach to my wellness. They all worked and each one was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. 
  • In 2011, I went back to Weight Watchers. I had success on WW in my 20's and gave it another try. If I can pause here and share that I tried WW for 3 years in a row. Stopped and started many MANY times and FINALLY stuck with it. That's how I lost the 40+ pounds and I eventually became a WW leader. WW taught me about portion control and moving my body. It taught me balance. To be able to enjoy all foods in moderation. I needed the group accountability and motivation. 
  • In 2016 I discovered Beachbody. Beachbody or BODI was a combination of nutrition and exercise. It's when I finally learned that the quality of food I put in my body matters, not just the quantity. I moved to eating as many whole unprocessed foods as possible. I started to prioritize veggies, lean proteins and complex carbs. This was not an easy change as I'm a super picky non-veggie eater. But I approached the program with an open mind and willingness to try one new food a week. I still do BODI fitness today and I love the variety of workouts! 
  • To help with my sweet tooth, I subbed out sweet treats with tons of added sugar for naturally sweet treats. For example, one of my favorite breakfasts is baked oatmeal cups. Note: I don't like the texture of oatmeal. I found that baking the oatmeal changes the texture, but you still get all of the benefits of oatmeal like fiber. I hid veggies in my recipes or in my protein shakes. Instead of doing the "all or nothing" thing, like "I must eat cauliflower mashed potatoes or rice", I continued with the small changes. Like swapping from white rice to brown and from brown rice to half brown rice half cauliflower rice. 
  • In 2019 I gave up gluten. This wasn't me jumping on a diet trend. This was me realizing that gluten was inflaming my body and creating a whole bunch of issues, joint pain, headaches, bloating. Going gluten free was critical to my recovery from neurological Lyme disease. To learn more about this part of my journey, click here
  • It was when I gave up gluten that I started to research how to heal my body with food.  I wrote this post about my holistic healing journey. And that is where I am today. Learning what foods serve me well and what don't. Eating more anti-inflammatory foods. Understanding the gut brain connection. Shifting my mindset to focus on nourishing my body, not depriving it. At 51, and battling menopause (all of the lovely symptoms, belly fat and weight gain), I'm exploring how to eat to keep my metabolism moving. This book has been a HUGE help and super educational. I've once again made a shift in my eating to support my current needs- prioritizing protein, healthy fats and low carbs. Understanding the importance of strength training as I age. As I go down this road, I'll be sharing my lessons learned here. 
This was a lot to pack into a post, and I hope you'll see a common theme: change is constant and implementing small changes is the key to living a long, healthy life. 

It starts with a decision to make a change. Then a commitment to keep going.
Decide. Commit. Succeed. 


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Why Noom? Why now?

Last weekend I posted that I was going to start doing the Noom for Weight Loss program. If you've been following my journey you'll know that over the course of 26 years I've done both Weight Watchers (WW) and Beachbody. So you might be thinking, why Noom? Why now?

First, I need a program that's right for this phase in my life. I know that WW and Beachbody both work. And I also know what I need right now. I need to get back to the behaviors that serve me well. I watched my husband succeed on Noom and was really curious about the psychology of the program, the focus on behavior change. From watching the commercials about Noom, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. So let me break it down for you. 

It's like having behavior management in your pocket. The app is intuitive, entertaining and I actually look forward to using it. Their approach combines psychology and nutrition. You start with a program called Noom 101. Each day you go through mini lessons that are 2-5 minutes long. You can read them or listen to them. I applaud Noom for leading the way in how people want to learn today, taking in small impactful snippets of information. I love that you receive a library of learning and that you can bookmark lessons to go back to for reinforcement. A few that I've bookmarked so far are 1) Overcome Your Thought Distortions and 2) The Story Behind a Habit. These were timely reminders as I embarked on this new journey. 

Next the nutrition. Like WW, Beachbody and most wellness programs, you're tracking calories in and out, but with a twist. There's a brilliant color coding system- red, yellow and green. This system helps you to make better choices with a focus on nutrient dense food. Every food you track is assigned a color. The best part? There are no "bad" foods, even though they're red. Noom is just saying, eat less of these foods. As a visual learner, the color coding and nutrition analysis is awesome! I can quickly look at my day and see what I need to do differently. It's an environment of learning, not guilt. 

Noom also lets you customize your journey. You have goals beyond weight loss, like smaller S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time sensitive) goals and they have you map out Y.B.P. (your big picture), your why, your motivation. 

They also start you with small daily step goal that increases as you progress. The app tracks your steps. The cost of the program ($45/month) also includes access to a coach (if you choose) or you can choose just to use the app. If you're a checklist kind of person, you can earn rewards for completing your lessons, for tracking, etc. What can I say, I like the kudos of the program. I don't mind someone telling me "well done, keep going!" 👏 Can I just pause here on cost? Understandably, this may be cost prohibitive for some. But don't let this be an excuse not to start. At $11/week, if you skip one meal out or a few Starbucks, you're there. Maybe just do the 2 week free trial to see if it's the program for you. 

This week was my first week. I've enjoyed really getting to know the program and revisiting some healthy habits that I lost this past year. As I shared on Facebook, I've gained some covid fluff. Between the emotions of covid, full blown menopause and a new role at work, I need to get back on track. I (honestly) hadn't weighed in since July. Yikes! While the scale isn't everything, it is a metric to overall health. I was surprised (but not surprised) to learn I have about 13 pounds to lose. I've been maintaining a 45 pound weight loss (give or take a few pounds) since 2012, so this is a wake up call for me. If I don't stop now, I know I could easily gain it all back. So here I am, humbly sharing my journey with you. I lost 2.2 pounds my first week! Woo hoo! But what I gained was even more. Knowledge that some of my healthy habits have slipped. Remembering how great it feels to fuel my body and not feel hangry. Not to be restricting but fueling. Learning some new techniques around emotional eating which was perfect timing for work this week.

Whether you're starting over or just getting bac on track, your wellness is important. Find a program that is right for the life stage you're in. Maybe you need 1-1 support. Maybe you need in person support. Maybe an app is just enough for you. No matter what program you try there's one thing they all have in common, they all work if you do. 

Decide. Commit. Succeed. And do it 100x over if you need to. You're worth the work!

Hugs and friendship,


Thursday, December 30, 2021

God, Ted Lasso and Relentless Belief

Have you ever prayed for something so big that you were almost afraid to pray for it? Because you were in a moment that felt so fragile that you couldn't bear the thought that God wasn't listening. That He didn't see you. That He didn't hear you. That you believed that change would come and yet nothing happened. 

Many years ago, our Pastor did a sermon on praying big prayers. The message was that God is greater than our biggest problem, our biggest fear, our biggest heartache. But we are afraid to ask for the unimaginable because we stopped believing it was possible. 

How many of you are currently obsessed with Ted Lasso (on Apple TV)? If you're not watching it. Stop what you're doing, sign up for the free trial and binge, binge, binge. Ted (we're on a first name basis) has a relentless optimism that often times we lose when real life hits us. 

It's hard to believe when we're faced with the really tough stuff like divorce, death, illness, job loss, addiction, rejection, complicated family dynamics, anxiety, depression...Or even the everyday stuff like being a parent, a caregiver to a loved one, finding work-life balance, redefining our careers, managing our finances...It can suck the belief right out of our souls. 

For 18 years, every single evening (6,570+ times) I raised this prayer to God "Lord, please find a way to heal me from my trigeminal neuralgia. I believe that you are working for my good and I trust in your plan for my life." 

If you're just getting to know me, you can read about my illness in previous posts. In short, trigeminal neuralgia = severe, long term, chronic suffering. It is like being electrocuted in the face by lightening over and over again until all you can do is lay in bed and cry. And crying just makes it hurt more. It's a pain that causes desperation. It's nicknamed the suicide disease because some people decided they could only escape the pain by killing themselves. Many medical journals note it's the most painful affliction known to mankind. 

And it tested my faith. 

I questioned God. I was angry with Him. Yet at the same time, knowing that He is an all-loving, all-providing, grace-giving, miracle working God- brought me comfort. And so I prayed "Lord, please find a way to heal me from my trigeminal neuralgia. I believe that you are working for my good and I trust in your plan for my life." 

Then my prayer changed. 

A few years ago when it became evident that this would be a life long illness for me (I mean, c'mon it had been 18 years of relentless praying), my prayer started to shift. "Lord, even if you don't heal me, I trust you. I believe that you want the best for my life. Let me be peaceful with this plan. Let me be present, patient and positive. Help me to continue to believe in your goodness. You are my leader, my forgiver, my hope and my savior. I love you."

I realized that I was holding on too tight to how my life should be instead of letting go and accepting the life that God had given me with all of the goodness and the brokenness. 

And once I let go something funny happened, God worked a miracle. It's a long medical story (if you're curious you can read about it here), but I've been healed from my trigeminal neuralgia for 2 years and 2 months and counting! I have not taken a med for my neuralgia since October of 2019 and at one point I was taking meds like candy. I thought I was going to have to go out on disability. My life outlook at times was grim. 

In the picture on the left in 2017, I'm medicated and on an ice pack trying to freeze block the nerve pain. There were times when I couldn't open my jaw to eat, to talk. Many days it hurt to smile. When my family couldn't touch me because it generated more pain. Moments of hopelessness. 

In the picture on the right in 2021, I'm celebrating! I had various pain triggers but my worst trigger was cold weather. It was almost instant-pain for me. For many years it prevented me from doing anything outside. Being at my son's soccer and baseball games, going out with family and friends, even picking out our Christmas tree.  

Yet here I am in the mountains of Utah in the cold weather and I am soaking in the moment of being able to be outside in nature without pain. I was surrounded by God's majesty. The way the sun reflected off of the snow. How crisp and fresh the air was. The rich, deep scent of the evergreens. The soft sound of the snow dripping as it melted. The brilliance of the bright blue sky. The ability of my body to live and move and breathe without pain. "Lord, let me be present, patient and positive. Let me be peaceful with this plan."

I want to continue to approach my life with peace, gratitude and awe. Knowing that God is full of miracles if only we dare to believe. 

Never give up hope. 



Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Chasing the Scale

I've been chasing the scale almost my entire life, since elementary school. So in honor of it being 10 years since I wrote my first blog, I thought I'd reflect on how my focus has shifted from chasing a certain weight and size to holistic wellness- knowing that I'm moving every day, nourishing my body and am healthy and comfortable in my skin. 

At 49, I'm not at my heaviest weight and I'm not at my lightest and quite frankly, I'm tired of thinking about my weight. If there's anything I've learned over the past 10 years it's that losing weight and happiness aren't always in alignment. There are plenty of people who have lost weight and are still miserable and fighting emotional battles that being "at goal" didn't solve. 

With that said, my ever changing wellness journey has allowed me to stay at a healthy weight since 2012. But Tara you just said you're tired of thinking about your weight?!? Truth. I have struggled to lose the diet mentality and weight loss focus that I've had since the 80's. The restriction. The guilt. The mental punishment for "eating something bad". Ugh! That's a lot of years lost. Everywhere we look someone is telling us we can be thinner, stronger, have whiter teeth, longer lashes, thicker hair. The health and beauty industry comes at us hard with ads. Hell, I came at you hard with Weight Watchers and Beachbody. Yet these last few years battling back from lyme disease and past my neuralgia illness have shifted my point of view. 

Starting with Weight Watchers. I tracked points instead of paying attention to what I was eating and why. I knew all of the points for donuts, fries, Pop Tarts. I did learn how to eat healthier than I was before I started. I kept within the program constraints and it worked- 40+ pounds lost. I'm great at restrictive eating, it's what I know. Now don't get me wrong, I learned SO much from WW and I was a leader and there's a lot of merit to their programs. I did learn about behavior change. I just didn't realize that for the most part I wasn't putting quality foods into my body. 

Moving to Beachbody. Beachbody got me closer to understanding the importance of nutrition in combination with movement. That the combination of certain foods and movement, specifically strength training, can be powerful, especially as we age. Thanks to BB I transformed my body to the most fit at 44 than in my entire life! But once again I was off balance, I managed the scale and my size way too tightly. I still couldn't lose the guilt of "skipping a workout" or "eating a bad food". Then I found Beachbody's 2B Mindset program that focuses on the quality and quantity of food and also on the mental aspect of wellness. I finally started to experience freedom. Freedom from constraint, freedom from rigid tracking. I moved to truly focusing on the quality of foods I was eating- whole foods, very few processed items and of course some occasional treats. I found that I was able to maintain my weight, not effortlessly, but with much less stress and guilt.  

This was my gateway to healing my body holistically and becoming curious about what else might work for me (for my age, menopause, hormones). If you've read my previous posts you'll see my evolution over the past 4 years. My curiosity led me to the following resources.  


Body Love by Kelly Leveque | No Grain No Pain by Dr. Peter Osborne | Change Your Brain Change Your Body by Dr. Daniel Amen | You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay


The Art of Being Well with Dr. Will Cole | Cleaning up the Mental Mess with Dr. Caroline Leaf | Weight Loss for Busy Physicians with Katrina Ubell 

I hope this post helps you see that there are many paths to health. If you've tried something and it didn't work keep trying new things until something sticks. Instead of being angry or frustrated, be open to change.  

Stop hating on your body enough to pay attention to what it needs. Maybe what worked for you in your 20's isn't working in your 50's....guuuuurrrlll (or guy) your body is changing and that's OK.

It took me forever (and a day) to figure out that if you focus on health, the scale will follow. No need to chase it. And if you let it go and appreciate all that your body does for you (even with cellulite, lumps, bumps and stretch marks) your heart and mind can finally exhale and be at peace.  

Make the choice. Commit to the choice and continue with courage. 



Monday, June 7, 2021

Menopause and Mental Health

In April I sat down with my practitioner and said "I'm kind of embarrassed to say this but...I've been feeling very anxious recently." In her office I had an out of body experience because I heard myself saying I was embarrassed to talk about mental health and I was disappointed that I spoke those words out loud. Argh! I openly talk with my (young adult) kids about depression and anxiety yet here I was feeling a certain way that I was feeling a certain way. Sigh. 

I've been seeing my practitioner for 10 years and we have a high trust relationship. She knows me very well. So when I told her I was feeling anxious and that my normal coping mechanisms (a combination of diet, exercise, meditation, CBD oil, prayer, journaling) weren't doing anything she took me seriously and listened with empathy. We talked for a while and she had me fill out a mental health assessment/questionnaire. And what came next was could be menopause. Yikes! At 49 it probably seems naïve that I hadn't considered I was going through "the change". I've had some night sweats and hot flashes but nothing life disrupting. But here's the deal and why I'm penning this post, nobody talks about mental health and menopause, specifically anxiety and menopause. And it's for real. 

While I've dealt with levels of anxiety in the past, I've never until now experienced a full blown panic attack. It was hard to express to my practitioner how I was feeling except that I was having irrational fears in normal every day circumstances. These fears left me gasping for air. I felt trapped and like I wanted to run away. My fight or flight reflexes were in full force. My mind was reeling and wouldn't stop with the "what if's" and feelings of dread. As I started this blog 10 years ago with the promise to keep it real, here goes with a few examples of what I experienced. 

During a work meeting with colleges that I trust and have worked with for years I suddenly felt like I couldn't finish the call and that I needed to drop off of Zoom. We were discussing a topic I was well versed about yet I felt extremely overwhelmed. I started to sweat and felt like I couldn't breathe. 

While out walking my dog I felt anxious about other dogs in my neighborhood that I've known for 17 years. I know full well that they have electric fences yet I felt leery like they were going to break through the fence. I couldn't relax and stop worrying. I just wanted to get home. 

During a work presentation, once again where I knew the topic well, I panicked and lost my train of thought. Instead of being able to mentally regroup (I was with a trusted group of peers), I felt like I needed to end the call. It was a completely irrational need to flee. 

These are a few examples of how I was feeling. 

After doing hormone testing we determined I was in full blown menopause and that my progesterone is low and my estrogen is high. As an aside (and probably TMI) I couldn't use my period as a gauge because I had an ablation years ago and don't get my period.  The mental health assessment questions I checked as "yes" were all mostly focused in the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) section of the brain. Progesterone helps to create GABA which blocks certain brain signals producing a calming effect in the brain. See more about this in the articles at the bottom of this post. 

I was relieved to learn that what I am experiencing is potentially due to my change in hormones. One article I read called progesterone an anti-anxiety hormone and when it's low, anxiety is high. 

Because I see a holistic MD and practitioner, we decided to try 2 natural hormone balancing supplements: 

1- Balance by Ortho Molecular Products

2- L'Theanine by Integrative Therapeutics 

She jokingly called Balance the "marriage saver" because it has helped her patients so much. I'm only in my first month of taking the supplements and it could take up to 90 days for my body to level out, but I'll keep you posted on how I'm progressing. 

I wanted to share my experience because while I hear people make jokes about mood and menopause, I've never really heard anyone talk about it seriously and how fluctuating hormones can impact our daily lives. If you're feeling a certain way (menopause or not), talk with someone about it. What you're feeling is real and valid and important. And medication or supplements or therapy can help. Sometimes just knowing you're not alone is enough. Don't try and go it alone. You are loved and beloved. Asking for help is self care and in some cases survival. 

Continue with courage. 



More on menopause, anxiety and panic attacks:

Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Power to Heal

When I look back on this picture from 2008, I remember the suffering. You can see it in my eyes. I was in so much pain. Excruciating electric shock like pain in my head and face to be exact. It was taking over my life. The pic on the right is from a consult with an orthodontist. I was so desperate to manage my trigeminal neuralgia pain, I thought perhaps that realigning my teeth/jaw might help so I got Invisalign. It didn't help with my pain, but my teeth are straight. :) 

You couldn't have told me that in 2020 (pic on the left), I'd find myself healed and pain free. I would have wept with relief. As I'd had severe facial nerve pain (off and on) since 2001. This post isn't to rehash or question those years, it's to share how going to a holistic MD (or an integrative health practitioner) changed, dare I say saved my life.  

I ended up going to a holistic MD thanks to my acupuncturist, trusted practitioner (and friend). I posted about what led up to that journey here: Holistic healing 

I met with Dr. Pravs of Montgomery Integrative Health in the summer of 2019. From the start, the appointment was different (in a good way). Starting with the gazillion (haha) page health questionnaire I filled out. The goal of an integrative health practitioner is to treat the the root cause and not just treat the symptoms. They look at the patient as a whole.  If you read some of my previous blog posts you'll notice that I had seen my neurologist, a spine doctor, an orthopedic doctor- all treating symptoms. Bouncing me around from treatment to expensive treatment, never getting to the core of what was wrong with me. 

Between the questionnaire and the sit down meeting with Dr. Pravs, I felt seen and heard. She was genuinely curious about my overall wellness. At my consult, we talked about the fact that there had to be something underlying going on in my body. We tested for many things- thyroid issues, autoimmune disorders, lyme, nutrient deficiencies- to name a few. My tests came back and I was lyme positive so she referred me to her colleague Dr. Wittels who is a lyme literate doctor. Dr. Wittels ran additional testing and found I not only had lyme but coinfections. 

Here is more about my lyme journey: Lyme disease diagnosis 

For the entire year of 2019 I made taking care of my health my second full time job. I worked with Dr. Wittels and Dr. Pravs on a holistic treatment plan that involved vitamins/supplements, prescription meds (for lyme), exercise and continued on my gluten free journey  (which makes a huge impact on inflammation). I met with Dr. Wittels every 30-60 days and we tweaked my plan as needed depending on my symptoms. She is brilliant. I liken her to a mad scientist (in a good way) because she is so knowledgeable about the innerworkings of the human body and what it needs to heal. 

During this time I continued to work with my acupuncturist and massage therapist to manage my pain. As the lyme cleared from my body and we started to rebuild my nutrients and immune system, I continued to feel better and better. And the most magical part of all, my neurological symptoms  disappeared. The excruciating pain, the daily pins and needles, the pulling and pushing of my facial nerves. I haven't taken prescription neuralgia meds since the fall of 2019 and at one point I was eating them like candy. After suffering for so long, this is a health miracle. When you live with chronic pain for so long and your body suddenly feels peaceful, it's like living in black and white and all of the sudden seeing color. 

Fast forward to today and I'm living my best life. I still am treating some lasting symptoms of lyme with vitamins/supplements, but all in all my energy is up, my severe pain is gone. I sleep better. My hair and skin look and feel better. Even things like my teeth grinding is gone. I am humbled to be at this place in my life. My heart is filled with gratitude. This post might make the healing journey seem easy-peasy, but it was constant trial and error. It was really hard work. It was pushing through when things didn't work. It was staying hopeful during setbacks. A few things were key for me: 

  • Surrounding myself with practitioners who worked together and truly knew me. 
  • Being open to different modes of treatment. 
  • Staying curious about my health and healing my body. 
  • Keeping my mind present (not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future). 

I'm writing this in the hopes that more and more people will learn about and embrace holistic healing. It's funny when I tell people I see a holistic MD, some think it's some typic of crazy nonsense practice. When really it's how we should be treated as patients who live in bodies that are complex yet also miraculous. The only thing I wish is that I'd known about integrative medicine sooner. That's why I'm sharing my journey. With the right help, you have the power to heal your body. 

Make the choice to heal. Commit to it and continue with courage. 




Montgomery Integrative Health (Dr. Daila Pravs- Dr. Heidi Wittels)  

Acupuncture for Health (Kate Pietrowski) 

Simply be Well Massage (Renee Wachter) 

Podcast on inflammation and integrative medicine (Dr. Will Cole- Dr. Caroline Leaf) 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Stories We Tell

What if you are on the cusp of a breakthrough but you gave up a little too soon? You stopped short. You quit. You got tired of trying. You stopped believing in your ability to change. But you didn't realize just how close you were to finally changing...

June 2011- June 2020. When I look at this picture I think about how close I was to giving up on my wellness goals.

In March 2011, I started (once again) on a wellness journey. I say once again because I had been trying to lose weight since 2008. I stopped and started Weight Watchers a gazillion times. I started to tell myself that I would never ever lose the weight.

I wondered if there was something medically wrong with me?
Hormones...thyroid...something...anything...because I was doing the work but it wasn't showing on the scale. But really, looking back I was just half-assing it and coming up with excuses. Once I started making small daily consistent changes, that's when the magic started to happen.

Funny enough it was this blog that helped me to stay on track. I decided to blog about my journey to hold myself accountable. Here's my first post. When I read through my first year it occurs to me that I really didn't believe I could do it. Because I had stopped and started so many times, my confidence in my ability to actually reach my goal was low.

What was different this time around is that I focused on my overall health. I told myself that if I did what I needed to do to take care of myself emotionally, physically and spiritually, the weight loss would follow. This mindset has allowed me to maintain a 40+ weight loss for 9 years. Have I had a few fluctuations? Sure, but that's real life.

I wanted to write this post because I know there's someone out there reading this who is afraid to go after a goal, be it weight or otherwise because they've tried before and failed. I get it, as a recovering perfectionist I feel you. Failure sucks. But why not fail forward? Give it a go and if you encounter a setback look at it in a new way. Having a setback means that you are working toward something. See that setback as a fail forward. It's still getting you closer to your goal.

If we tell ourselves the same story over and over again, we'll believe it enough to get stuck. Be aware of how you're talking to yourself and be willing to rewrite that story. I've worked hard on my mental fortitude. I've encountered health issue after health issue in the 9 years since I started this journey. Trigeminal neuralgia. Foot fractures. Neck/shoulder issues. Lyme disease. Chronic pain. I've done PT. Spinal injections. PT. Acupuncture. Prescription Meds. Supplements. Chiropractic. All because taking care of my health and myself is so important to me. Sometimes it feels like setback after setback. They'd all be valid excuses to eat my sorrow, my frustration, my pain and to gain all of that weight back.

But this time around the story I am telling myself is that I am worth the work. That I want to live a healthy lifestyle. To enjoy being active with my family. To grow older and have adventures with my husband. To have enough energy to serve in my community. And at 48 I've come to realize that it wasn't the weight that was holding me back, it was the belief in myself that I could change for good.

You have the power to write a new story.
Make the choice. Commit to the choice. Continue with courage.