I Am Not Like I Was Before

(song: Feel So Different/artist: Sinéad O'Connor)

Today marks the second anniversary of my graduation from booty school. Two years of maintaining my single-digit sized body. Two years of getting to know the "new me" and overcoming the struggle of blending joy and balance.  Year one was all about the newness of being fit and the exciting opportunities that came as a result of being a successful Beachbody test group graduate. In my first anniversary post, I wrote of my struggle to really enjoy my life in my new body. This past year was about finding that balance. And I gotta tell you, I feel pretty damn great! I don't fall into a guilt-induced depression when I have a few drinks or eat a few cupcakes (who eats just one?), I just move forward. Every day is a new opportunity to start fresh. Now, I'm not going to lie and say it's easy. But it's easier than it was a year ago. What's changed? I totally love my fit body. I totally believe that I deserve to have this fit body. And after two years of living in this fit body, I have the power, the skills, the drive and the mindset to maintain this lifestyle. Believing that I deserve this, and feeling confident in my ability to stay healthy and fit has helped me to truly enjoy being in this body.

{I'm getting there...}

So instead of chasing photo ops or QVC spots, I've been living my life. Doing what works for and is realistic for me. And what works for me is consistency and routine. I know, boring right? The most important key to my success - yes, more important than exercise - is nutrition accountability. For the past two years (and possibly forever going forward), I've kept a log of my meals and workouts. Every day. Every morsel. 

I eat five times a day, every two-and-a-half to three hours. I exercise at least five days-a-week. Because I've been striving for balance, I don't freak out if those workout days aren't consecutive or if I workout for less than an hour. I'm still committed, but much less obsessive. I'm not scared of failure anymore...

On a good day, my log looks something like this:
{If my logs were like this more often, I might not still have saddle bags...}

On a bad day...it's a little different:
{Hey, at least I wrote it all down.}

Logging works for me. When I don't log, I cheat. When I cheat, I gain weight. When I gain weight, my clothes get tight. And that sucks. 

Another important tool for me is my network of like-minded peers that share my enthusiasm and goals. Because my fitness journey started with a Beachbody DVD, I've maintained a loyalty to the Beachbody brand. (Shakeology is my preferred meal replacement and sweet-tooth combatant!) One of the perks of that brand loyalty is my Beachbody coach, Jessica Leggio, who was also the assistant trainer during the Brazil Butt Lift test group. She runs an on-line accountability group that I've been a part of for the past two years. Members check in every day, post pictures of meals, talk about our workouts, our spouses and kids, vent our frustrations, come clean when we go off the grid on a pizza bender. (Okay, that last thing is mostly me.) And Jessica gives guidance on our workouts and food logs, which has made a huge impact on the way I eat and train. Whether we are just starting a weight loss journey or maintaining, we all need support. I love being a part of this supportive virtual community.

I am also officially part of the National Weight Control Registry. A long-term study "developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss". I first heard of the study when I was watching HBO's documentary The Weight of the Nation (which everyone should watch). In order to be considered for the study, one has to have maintained a weight loss of at least thirty-pounds for one year. I'm in! And I expect to be a part of this study for the rest of my life. Many of the members of the study attribute their long-term success to logging their food intake. ACCOUNTABILITY.

So while my second year of fit life has been pretty low-key compared to my first, my emotional growth made it much more personally fulfilling. I feel extraordinarily at peace with who I am. 

{Because balance means staying healthy and fit, but also enjoying life. And sometimes, enjoying life means drinking a vodka/soda from a Mason jar.}

And for those of you who are struggling to lose the weight, change those habits, maintain your weight loss -- please do not give up! Believe that you can do anything, and take it one step at a time, one day at a time. I started in 2009 at 193 pounds and an overwhelming feeling of worthlessness. Look inside yourself and identify why you think you're not worth the effort. Change "I can't" to "I can, and I will". Start small. Just start.