Yesterday I mentioned that I would spent a portion of today writing "thank you" messages to the people who have supported me throughout my weight loss/recovery. I have gone back and forth about whether or not to do that publicly- and how. There's too many people and things to fit into on Instagram collage, a Facebook post is pretty much like a blog, and 140 characters won't cut it on Twitter. So here I am, at my blog. Sharing my gratitude openly.
There are certain tools that I have used to help me along the way.
First and foremost is the app/website MyFitnessPal. I don't see how anyone can lose weight without using something like Myfitnesspal. You track your calories, as well as your calories that you burned. The nice thing is that it does all the math for you. You simply put it how much weight you want to lose, and it tells you how many calories you should be eating/burning each day. It also breaks down your meals so you can see how much sugar, protein, etc you are consuming. I honestly would be lost without this app. I already know I am going to need it for my maintence phase as well. It will keep me on track.
Tip: Measure your food. When a recipe tells you to use 1 tablespoon of olive oil, use 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Don't guess. Also, you can input your own recipes into the app and it will tell you how many calories!
I cannot say enough good things about this app. I don't think I would have been successful had it not been for this handy tool. USE IT.
I get my recipes from two main sources: Skinnytaste and Pinterest. Skinnytaste is genius. The mastermind, Gina, creates delicious recipes. She takes classic dishes that everyone loves and makes them healthy. Hundreds of my meals have been from that website. She has everything from appetizers to deserts- go check it out for some recipes!
Pinterest is a whole world full of healthy recipes. I simply type in "skinny recipes" or "clean eating" and get tons of options. Then, on Sunday nights, I sit down and write down which ones I am going to use that week. It makes grocery shopping easier when you have a plan!
Those are the three main tools that I use and have been using since I started. Although I may never get to "personally" thank the creators of those sites, I hope that by sending some of you that way, it is a token of my gratitude.
Here's where it gets a little bit more emotional.
My Family- My parents are the ones who encouraged me to take a serious step into changing my health for the better. I called them on June 8th, 2013, crying, hysterical, thinking I was dying because I couldn't catch my breath and I was so dizzy that I couldn't walk. I had self diagnosed myself with everything you could imagine. But they were the ones, who, honestly and gently, told me that this was probably about my weight. They knew my eating habits weren't good, they knew I wasn't doing much to exercise. My parents saw something in me that I didn't see- life. They knew that I had potential to be someone so much stronger and healthier- and that if I lost the weight and settled my issues with food, I would feel better. I listened. I suppose I just didn't want to feel so sick all the time anymore. I also knew how much my parents and my family loved me, and I wanted to be around for them.
My siblings and their spouses have also been supportive- asking me questions, complimenting me, telling other people about my story. I'm also certain that Ryan appreciates that I can run around with him without feeling tired :)
Tom- Tom has played a very key role in my weight loss ever since it started. Around the time that I was feeling so sick and worn down, he and I had begun talking again and were becoming good friends. He knew how I was feeling- and when I joined a gym that was just moments from his house, he joined too. That's what bonded us. We would workout together, encourage each other, cheer each other on. He has never once doubted me. He's never tried to tempt me or gotten me off track. He's wiped away tears when I've been frustrated, he's laughed when I show him my new kickboxing moves, and he supports me whenever I try something new. I don't know what it's like to watch your girlfriend drop 5 sizes, but he does. And he doesn't care what size I am, as long as I am happy and healthy. He's also been the taste tester for a good portion of my healthy meals and experiments :) Tom knows that health is a priority of mine, and he's been working with me to get better about paying attention to what he puts in his body. THAT is all I could ask for- for him to be healthy, so that the two of us can live this life together.
My Friends and my coworkers- There were two very important characters in the beginning of this whole thing: Martha and Paula. Both are good friends of my moms, but I adore them so much that I consider them my friends as well. Paula is what changed this for me, guys. Paula is an incredibly wise doctor who also takes health and wellness pretty seriously. When she saw how concerned my mom was about my health, she swooped in. She was the one who got me to sign up for a gym, to meet with a nutritionist. She's the one who I texted at all hours of the day with questions about what was happening in my body. I will remember the day I sat in her kitchen with my parents for as long as I live. She was the secret angel that we all needed to get this thing going. Martha- well Martha is just special. She has been there for pretty much every step, cheering me on. She also almost always has a hilarious comment to make. Like the time she was sitting behind me in church and whispered "I can't stop staring at your ass". That's Martha for you!
My other friends have been just as supportive. Even when I can never make plans because I have to go to the gym or when we're out and I have an obnoxious order because I can't have bread or fried foods. My friends who are far away have followed my journey on social media and have "liked" my posts. That little "like" means a lot, even if it seems like a silly thing to do.
I've been blessed to have some pretty fantastic coworkers. I started this journey when I was still working for hospice, and man oh man, did those women care about me. Peggy used to take my blood pressure every week so we could track how I was improving. They would hide trigger foods from me so that I wouldn't give in. They asked me about my workouts or my cooking- they genuinely cared. My current coworkers all pretty much have a passion for health, and that makes things easy. They support me and celebrate my milestones- they even decorated my cube when I hit 100 lbs.
My YMCA Family: I would not be as successful if I didn't have the amazing team at the YMCA. Sarah was the one to sit down with me and work on a plan when I switched to the gym, and she continues to be one of my biggest supporters. She's also my instructor for Bootcamp. She, and the other attendees of that class, have seen me since I couldn't run up a flight of stairs or even ATTEMPT to do a burpee. I used to need help/correction with every single move in that class. She's been a huge part of this journey for me. I also have another Sarah and Harley to thank for leading me to fall absolutely head over heels for Kickboxing. It has become a passion of mine. I can't tell you the sense of accomplishment I feel after a Kickboxing class. Harley is such an amazing person- and he really, truly believes in me, and pushed me. Sadly, he is no longer my kickboxing instructor, but Darrin has taken over and pushes me just as hard. I LOVE my YMCA. I really believe that finding a gym where you feel at home is key. And I feel at home with the Y. I thank them for their instruction, wisdom, and support.
To everyone I mentioned, and to every single person who reads this blog or follows my journey on Facebook or Instagram: Thank you. Although this is my body, and my mind, it is you that I share it with. It's you that encourages me, motivates me, and inspires me. Every time someone tells me that I look good or that I've inspired them, I have to resist the urge to tackle them with a bear hug. Those words mean the world.
115 lbs down, my friends. About 20 lbs to go. Ready to continue on this journey with me?
PS: I feel like I also need to thank Sara Barielles, Florence and the Machine, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Fall Out Boy, One Republic, The Fray, Jessie J, and Bruno Mars for being some SERIOUS musical inspiration for me :)