Four years ago today, I started my first day at Doctors Wellness Center. I was an inactive, 220+ lb. woman, and quite frankly, didn’t have a lot of hope that I would succeed. I went in thinking that if I could lose 25 lbs. that I would be beyond happy. And four years later, I’m a new person. I weigh less, yes, but more importantly, I am healthier, and I am stronger.
Am I where I want to be? No. After completing several rounds of the 12-week program and losing nearly 90 lbs., I struck out on my own, at least in terms of eating. I still eat clean 90% of the time, but I still don’t eat enough vegetables. I’m about 30 lbs. from what I consider my ideal weight, and that 30 lbs. has been a bigger challenge than the weight I initially lost. That being said, here are just a handful of the wonderful lifestyle changes that I have made – and maintained – for four years:
- I have given up sugar-sweetened drinks such as sodas and sweet tea. I still have an occasional diet soda, but I’m working on giving those up, too.
- I’ve traded my Starbucks calorie-laden latte habit for one cup of coffee with one sweetener, enhanced by soy creamer instead of full-fat milk.
- Did I mention that I’ve given up dairy milk altogether, and I’m now drinking plain, unsweetened almond milk?
- I continue to strength train twice a week and do cardio three to five days a week. I’ve done this faithfully for four years now, and except for an illness/injury or two, have rarely gone more than three days without a workout of some sort.
- After years of eating out more meals than not, I go out to eat much less now. I’ve virtually given up “fast food,” and when I do “splurge” on a Smashburger kid’s meal, I end up with a really bad stomachache.
- I cook delicious, healthy meals. And preparing meals for the week ahead has become second nature. I have some favorites, but I still try new recipes weekly.
There are so many other positive habits that I’ve adopted, and I’m so thankful for the City of Columbia for getting me started and the folks at Doctors Wellness Center who helped – and continue to help – me succeed.
As I start the fifth year of my journey, there are still plenty of things I need to work on. I want to lose that 30 lbs. and get down to my “ideal weight.” I want to give up artificial sweeteners. I want to finally get Michelle Obama arms. But for the time being, I want to focus on treating myself better. I want to quit beating myself up for putting a little weight back on. I want to celebrate my successes – even the small ones – a little more and forgive myself for the inevitable slip ups.
Yep, I still have plenty to work on, but I’ve come a long way, too. Here’s to the next four years!