2012: Year in Review

I always make a list of goals for the upcoming year every New Year's Eve. 

2012 is the first year I actually put forth effort to meet them.

On December 31, 2011, I made the following list of twenty-five resolutions and goals. This is how I did.

1. Lose weight.
I started at 232 on January 1, 2012. My last weigh-in for 2012 was 196. I'm so incredibly thankful to God for giving me the physical strength, endurance, and motivation to get this far. This is the year I got my body under my control.



2. Write seven more chapters (at least) of novel.
I did this. I wrote nine chapters. Then my computer crashed before I had a chance to put it all on my USB drive. So the effort there turned out to be kind of pointless. But technically, I did do this.

3. Do at least three things on bucket list.
I did seven things!

4. Finish the New Testament.
Did it! And in doing so, I have now read the Bible all the way through from Genesis to Revelation.

5. Do something fun each month.
Yep! From weekend shopping trips to Birmingham and Atlanta to meeting friends for dinner in town, I got out and did things I enjoyed.

6. Read more books.
I finished 21 books in 2012. 

7. Practice guitar at least once a week.
I did this at least twice a week.

8. Cut back on soda.
I don't remember the last soda I had!

9. Go to a concert.
I SAW COLDPLAY! (On my Bucket List, too!)



10. Go on a road trip.
In May, Jessica and I went to Asheville, North Carolina, where we visited the Biltmore Estate and Carl Sandburg's home. 



In July, we went to the beach for Jessica's 21st birthday.


11. Make time for daily tea time.
Now I can't go without the stuff!

12. Organize everything.
Er...I did this in January, but things are kind of a mess now.

13. Get a passport.
I kept putting this off, and I never got around to it. :/

14. Buy a car.
I did! Yay!

15. Makeover wardrobe.
I had to do this, because nothing fit anymore.

16. Go on a date.
...Yes. I did. 

17. Wear makeup/fix hair/actually try to look nice.
Yes! You can tell it by my pictures! I was looking rough in 2011. I just didn't care about my appearance. 

18. Save $75 of each check.
I did this until I got the job at Signature, when I was making $8/hr and couldn't afford to save that much.

19. Finish a 5K.
Okay. I did 2 5Ks.


20. Write or call an elderly relative or friend each month.
I did!

21. Find and get involved in a church.
I sort of did this. I'm still in the "getting involved" process.

22. (Get kissed.)
*sigh* Nope. But considering my options, that's probably a good thing.

23. Make another video or movie. 
Why, yes!




24. Go out socially each week.
Yep! I forced myself to leave the comforts of my home and went out in public. With other humans.

25. Keep up food/exercise journal.
I did this too! 

2012 was an amazing year. A new beginning. The year I did what I've been wanting to do for years. 

And now, as I go into 2013, I can have a new New Year's resolution. 

Christmas Is Over

You there, reading this, silently creeping my blog: I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I hope you spent time with family and friends and took nothing for granted. There's been a lot of tragedy this year, and so many people had a holiday filled with sadness.

If you, too, are a fatty aspiring to be a hottie, I also hope that you made it through Christmas without packing on too many pounds. The most wonderful time of the year is sort of the opposite for those of us trying to lose weight. My mom made giant batches of about eight different kinds of candy, and on top of that, five different people brought us homemade pies and cookies and fudge. And I can't leave out the turkey and dressing feast we had on Christmas day.

I suck at self-control. If there's junk food around me, I'll eat it. Always. That's why I don't bring it in the house. Why I ask my parents to keep their cheese puffs and Peanut M&Ms hidden away in some top secret location unknown to me. But what are you supposed to do when people you care about spend their precious time making you tasty, once-a-year sweet treats? You can't say no! And it's almost ruder to eat one, then refuse more.

Well, I couldn't figure that one out. So I basically ate anything homemade that anyone offered me. And I gained some weight. I've been feeling pretty craptastic about that all week. I feel bloated and gross and disgusted with my lack of discipline.

But today, I uploaded the pictures we took Christmas morning, and I was in for an uplifting surprise.

They. Were. Great.

If you don't know my history, you might see that picture and say, "Um, what's so great about that mug?"

Well. When you've had the kind of pictures I've had at family get-together after family get-together, year after year, these photos are quite impressive.

Here are two side-by-side comparisons using pictures from last Christmas to prove my point:


Wait for it..........


Neither of these pictures have been edited at all. I honestly had to check to be sure, because I look stretched in the before photo. Seriously. It's starting to freak me out.

I needed this today.

If you're feeling some holiday regret and you're considering embarking on some wild and crazy weight loss journey in 2013, I pray you'll find some hope from my story of an incredibly lazy fat girl who decided to get up and make changes in her life for real. 

Green Power Smoothie


I was so excited when I tried this super healthy smoothie for the first time. I hesitated to taste it; a smoothie made with two cups of spinach sounds...atrocious. But it's really delicious! Really. All you can taste is the fruit. I PROMISE. I made one for my mom, and I didn't tell her what I put in it. She genuinely thought the green color came from a kiwi.

A kiwi. 

This is great if you're looking for a detox recipe, or if you're just wanting something light that offers a boost of energy. And with only four ingredients, it's ridiculously easy to make.

There's another plus to this chilly green beverage- you'll feel like a legitimate health nut while drinking it. Observers will think you're crazy dedicated for downing a cup of spinach juice. (You don't have to let them know how pleasantly fruity it tastes.)


Ingredients

2 cups raw spinach
1 pear, chopped
1 banana, sliced and frozen
1 cup of orange juice

Directions

Put everything into a blender and blend it to your heart's content! Makes one serving.

Tip: this is best when it's really cold. You could also try freezing the pear as well. I did that once, and it worked pretty nicely.

Nutrition Information per serving

Calories: 329
Fat: 0
Fiber: 9
Carbs: 79
Sodium: 25
Protein: 5
Weight Watchers Points: 6
PointsPlus: 8

Monday Motivation


Have a great week!

Back to One-derland!

This week was a big week for me. 

On Halloween, I stepped onto the scale with my eyes closed and fingers crossed. I was hoping, praying, that I'd meet my October weight goal. That I would finally make it under 200 lbs.

I weighed in at 198! Not only did I meet the goal, that extra one pound lost rounded my total weight loss to 40 lbs! This accomplishment was my personal Milestone #2, which meant...time for photo updates!


I was so pleasantly surprised when I uploaded these to my laptop. Yeah, I've still got a long way to go, but I really don't hate these pictures of me in a sleeveless top and shorts. I'm starting to see a womanly figure again. If you don't, take a look at those pictures alongside the ones from January 1 of this year and you'll see what I mean:

(Click to enlarge...if you dare)
Thank you, Lord! The evidence is obvious. I'm shrinking! My middle is flattening! I barely even recognize the face from that first picture any more.

Aside from the number on the scale and the comparison photos, I had another huge moment this week. I can't remember if I've talked about it on here or not, but a few months ago, I got a goal dress. Not like an ultimate goal dress (where I'd have to be 150 lbs or less to put my right foot in it), but an I-can-probably-wear-this-when-I'm-under-200-again goal dress. The day I tried it on the store's dressing room, it wouldn't zip over my hips. But I loved it. And it was on sale. I knew I would wear it someday if I didn't give up. So, I brought it home and hung it up on my wall where I would see it every day.

I hadn't tried it on since that day in the store. Until yesterday. And guess what???

It fits!
A junior's size XL. I can't believe I'm admitting this, but the last time I bought a dress from this brand it was a 2X. I know the hem is a bit shorter than I probably should be wearing at 198 lbs, but I don't really care at the moment. I'm too darn proud of myself.


Okay, well, I reckon that's enough photographs of my mug for this post. 

Just FYI, Milestone #3 will be < 180 lbs, which is when I, according to the BMI chart, will no longer be classified as obese. Just overweight. That seems a long way away, considering I haven't been under 180 since the Miss Gadsden State Pageant in 2007. (Oh, what the heck, how about one more picture for emphasis?)

2007. 174 lbs.
I was only 18 then.

*GULP*

I'll get there. Somehow. (To < 180 lbs. Not, er, 18 years of age.) I guess I'll just have to go out and buy another cute too-small dress to hang up for motivation! 

Or maybe the dress I wore in the pageant, if I can find it. Navigating my closet is almost as much of a challenge as losing the weight. 

My Second 5K- YMCA Spooktacular 2012

(Me and Anna posing at the finish line)
All those six a.m. walk/jogs at the lake Anna and I have been doing for the past two months have paid off. Our time today was roughly 39:28- a whole 7 minutes faster than my time at Woodstock! Plus, I wasn't wheezing, purple-faced, and limping this time. I didn't even have any shin pain! (Sore shins has been the worst problem since I've started running).

As you can see from that top photo, it was a costume race. I went as a Greek goddess and Anna was a Carrie-inspired zombie prom queen.


I found a shimmery fuschia mumu-looking dress and a trashy, lopsided gold Christmas bow at the thrift store for a total of $7. I removed the wire from the bow and turned it into a belt. I found a couple of gold medallion buttons at Walmart for $1 each, and I attached them to the sleeve area, which I gathered. Also at Walmart, I got the braided rope headband for $4 and the gold cuff bracelet for $6, bringing this surprisingly comfortable costume to a total of $19. I added some waterproof mascara, 24-hour gold eyeshadow, and about three layers of foundation to finish the look. 


For Anna's costume, we got a $7 floor-length formal gown at the thrift store. At Walmart, we found 2 yards of wide satin ribbon for $1, a kid's party favor tiara for $2, some really awesome wound tattoos for $2, and a tube of fake blood for $2. She also got a zombie makeup kit at a party store for around $7. The night before the race, the two of us released some stress by hacking away at her dress with scissors until we thought it looked damaged enough. Then we took it into the backyard, hung it from a tree branch, and splattered blood all over it. Then I dragged it around in the dirt...

Yeah. We had way too much fun making her costume. 

We made the prom sash with the ribbon and some glitter glue she already had. Then, the morning of the race, she put on her makeup, and I got to splatter her with even more fake blood! (Yay!)

And...guess what? She won Creepiest Costume!

(She got a sweet skeleton trophy!)
Both of us were surprised at how comfortable and easy to run in our costumes were. We took some extra precautions by pinning our crowns into place, but other than that, we didn't do anything special. Except, of course, making sure our dresses were short enough to not trip us.

The costumes gave the place a really fun atmosphere and kept the track exciting. We met a kid dressed as a whoopie cushion, a guy in an inflatable fat suit with the words "Personal Trainer" across the chest, Julius Caesar, a mummy, and several other great ones. Here's a few pics:

(Anna and a mummy)

(We look like we're both from Olympus!)
(Anna and Caesar both won costume prizes)

(A very nice lady in a cool Renaissance outfit)
I ran into a few friends from my old workplace too, which was awesome. It was great to see them again!

(OFP Girls Reunion! Me, Michele, Rhonda, Val, and Angie)

(Angie in her awesome socks and me. Much better than our Woodstock picture- I'm 12 lbs lighter and not purple!)
And...here's a nice shot of us on the track!

(Look! There's actually people way behind us!)

Sooo, another incredible experience. I'm already planning my next one- a Christmas-themed race in early December.

Week 39: Recap

Yeah, so, about that "downhill slope to one-derland."

Tomorrow is October 1. As of this morning's weigh-in, I did not meet my goal to get to 199 lbs by this date. 

I did, however, reach 205. That's a three-pound loss for the entire month of September, which seems pretty underwhelming after my big loss in August. Buuuut I'm still making progress. I'm getting closer and closer to reaching my goals. I can get under 200 in October. 

Yesterday, Anna and I did another crazy exercise challenge...


Yep. We went to a live Zumba class!

I've had it on my bucket list for years to go to a fitness class, but I've just never had the guts to do it. You know how those kinda classes are in exercise DVDs. It's always a bunch of midriff-baring, super-attractive women and a token gay guy doing the moves in perfect synch without producing the tiniest sweat droplet. That image always surfaces when I consider going to an exercise class, so naturally, I always talk myself out of it.

Well, I faced my fears yesterday and just did it. AND. I. FREAKING. LOVED. IT. It was the most fun I've had in ages. The other people in the class (who were slightly chubby middle-aged women and obese people like myself) set me at ease. Lora, the instructor was awesome, very friendly and laidback. The hour flew by, and by the end, I was pouring sweat. But so was everyone else.

Thankfully, it was nothing like this.


I'm excited to start a new month. I don't think I've mentioned it on here yet, but I'm doing my second 5K in October. It's Halloween-themed, so I'm taking costume suggestions! 

A Sunrise Hike


If you've been keeping up with my posts for the last few weeks, you've seen me bragging about how my best friend Anna and I have been meeting every weekday morning at 6 AM to exercise. Some days we go to the park, other days we go to the gym, and sometimes, we go to her place for Zumba or Just Dance battles. We like to mix it up. I, at least, fear that we're going to get bored and quit.

I've really been wanting to incorporate some kind of challenge event into our workouts, sort of Biggest Loser style. I want to do something different, something extra ambitious, at least once a month. I pitched the slightly crazy idea of going on a hike at a nearby state park, keeping our starting time at our usual 6 AM.

We've lived close to this beautiful, mountainous, trail-filled area our entire lives, been best friends for 15 years, and we've never gone hiking together. Anna was up for the idea, so yesterday, we got up extra early, left home while it was still black outside, and began our journey up the mountain.

When we reached the trail head, the sun had just begun to break through the darkness. So when we first entered the forest, beneath the shadows of the clustered trees, it was pretty dark. And spooky. We both felt like we'd ventured off into the Forbidden Forest from Harry Potter. But in minutes, the daylight grew brighter. Orange rays fell across our path.


We followed the trail for about forty minutes when we found this rock ledge a few steps off the path. We adventurously climbed it and found this:


A radiant sunrise. Silvery mist lingering above the mountains in the distance. One of the most breathtaking sights I've ever seen. That picture so doesn't do it justice. We sat down on the ledge, which will now be known as The Viewing Rock, and ate some of the crackers I'd put in my backpack. We sat together in awed silence, admiring the view. And of course, we took some pictures.

Anna and me enjoying our "emergency crackers" on The Viewing Rock

Anna glowing gorgeously in the sunlight

Me looking like a serious pro with my sweet backpack
We stayed there for a few minutes, then it was back to the trail. We blazed on through enchanted-looking forest, across creeks, even parts that made us think we'd been somehow magically transported to a rainforest.

To sum it up, we hiked for 5 hours total. We covered 11.06 miles. That's way more than we ever set out to do, more than we ever thought possible.

Just look at us. Getting so fit and strong and smexy.

#23- Make Another Video or Movie

Check.


Week 36: Disappointment Ensues

I knew it would happen sooner or later. But I didn't expect it after a week of trying so hard.

My weight this morning was the same as last week's. 208. Zero pounds lost.

I'm trying really hard to not be discouraged. I've come so far already, I can't give up. I've lost thirty stinking pounds. I don't wanna throw that away.

But this week, I got up even earlier each morning to exercise with my friend, and I felt like our workouts were harder and more intense than last week. We actually incorporated jogging this week. Jogging. At 6 AM. Me!

I felt like that would really show up on the scale. And it didn't.

I know, I know. At least I didn't gain. And I'm probably losing inches. Or gaining muscle. Or all of the above. Plus, I had a higher than usual weigh-in last week (-3 lbs!), and that usually means a sucky follow-up weigh-in.

So, everything's not lost.


Well, of course that made me think of Coldplay.

And with Coldplay come positive thoughts. Especially since today, after my disappointing weigh-in, I turned to my acoustic guitar and sounded out "Yellow", a feat I've been attempting for I don't know how long. I've been trying unsuccessfully to figure out this one blasted chord in the chorus. Today I got it. I can play one of my favorite songs now. I know, no one cares that I can finally play what's considered an easy tune for beginner guitarists, but whatever. It brought a yellow ray of happiness into my sad little morning.

I am excited to admit my guitar skills are better. I'm learning lots of new songs, from an array of artists and genres. Johnny Cash. Mat Kearney. Adele. Randy Travis. Rihanna. ('Fraid so.) My finger calluses are back in business. One of my goals for 2012 was to practice guitar at least once a week. I've been doing it at least three times a week. And I'm just happy to see some improvement at last.

In other news, I started a new job this week.

 
Thursday was orientation. I'll be providing one-on-one client care for an in-home assisted living company. In addition to in-home services, they also send caregivers to sit with clients when they are being hospitalized and have no family to keep them company. Tonight, I'm working my first shift doing just that. It's third shift, 8 PM to 8 AM, which I have never done before. And I'm more than a little worried about that, because lately I've been in bed before 10. 

...

We'll see how that goes. I'm afraid I'll have to turn to caffeine and sugar to get me through it, once again trashing my system after I've kept it clean these past few months.

*weary sigh*

Really sorry about the mopey-iness in this post. Really. I just hope next week is better.

Week 35: Recap- 30 lbs Down

I had an awesome weigh-in this weekend: 208 lbs. That's a three pound loss since last week!

I met my August goal of getting below 210 and BEAT IT.

Boo yah.

Oh, and that unexpected extra pound? It brought my total weight loss so far to....

*drum roll*

30 POUNDS!

(Sorry about all the caps and bold letters and exclamation points and such. I'm quite excited.)

This means I'm less than ten pounds away from being below 200, which I haven't been since I was a teenager. Half a decade ago.

So that is the goal for September. To be 199 lbs or less by October 1.

Back in January, I would have thought it was impossible to get to 199 by the end of this year. But now? I've seen what I can do. And if I don't get lazy, I could hit 172 lbs by the end of December. I could. I did the math. (Like, seriously, I really did it.) Heck, I could be at my goal weight of 150 before next summer.

Whoa.

I'm 100% sure that a huge part of my success this week was due to the fact that I got up every single day at 5:30 AM, met my BFF for workouts 6:15 AM, then went to bed early at night. I managed to get in two flippin' hours of cardio every day before 9 AM, plus my usual light strength training. I loved all the extra energy and time I had to get stuff done after working out when I'd usually be sleeping. Plus, my body was ready for bed around 8 PM every night, so I was too sleepy to sit around in front of the TV/computer with the late night munchies like I usually do. It really eliminated the night time snacking, which is where I normally pack in the most calories.

I'm really proud of myself for sticking to that early morning routine this week. Getting up early for anything is really character for me, so it was a definite challenge. Knowing that my friend was waiting on me was a huge motivator. If I'd been planning to exercise alone, I probably would have turned off my alarm clock and gone back to sleep.

Week 34: Recap

This week's weigh-in proved to be another success- 211 lbs. 2 more pounds down! That brings my total weight loss to 27 lbs.

My weight goal for August was to get below 210. When I wrote that number down on August 1 at 217 lbs, I felt it was a bit lofty considering my track record. It's taken me almost 2 years to lose these 27 pounds. 8 pounds in one month seemed nearly impossible. But at 211, I'm only 2 pounds away from being under 210. If I do really well this week, I can totally get there.

And after that, it's a downhill slope to one-derland!

Well, probably more like an uphill slope. But whatever.

This week Alabama experienced a refreshing humidity drop. Feeling the nearness of autumn, I had to get outside. My best friend and I met up at a local park two days in a row. We even got really crazy and got the second day started at 6:30 A.M, when the air still had that October-y crispness. (Gosh, I'm so ready for fall.) We ended up walking for an hour and half the first day and two hours the next day. I always forget how great it is to exercise with a friend; the time just flies by. We maintained a steady pace, but we were able to keep up a conversation that distracted us from our burning calves and sore ankles. Definitely planning to do it again this week.

I came across this video today and found it to be unexpectedly motivating. And uplifting. Powerful, even. So much so that I wanted to share it. So check it out and be inspired to give this week 110%!

It's Official: I've Lost 25 lbs!


I am so thrilled to post this. It's taken a long time. I wanted to quit. But I didn't. I didn't give up. And I've finally reached my first milestone. 25 pounds. Gone!

Now, thank the Lord, the one-hundreds are really starting to look attainable!

These pictures have been a huge motivator and encouragement. They're the visible proof that what I'm doing is actually changing the way I look. Check out the comparison of the 'before' photos from January 1, 2012, alongside the ones from today:

(Click to enlarge...if you dare)

One thing I need to point out is the makeup and hair change. It's a big reason why today's pictures seem like such an improvement. And that brings up a rather sad observation I've made. Since I've been exercising and eating better and watching the weight come off, I find myself actually wanting to fix my hair and put on makeup. Back in January, I didn't even bother. I didn't care. I didn't feel like I was worth it. Nice hair and makeup wouldn't make me pretty; they wouldn't hide the fat.

On a cheerier note, remember that awful picture my aunt took at our family get-together back in January 2011? The one of me at my all-time heaviest weight? Well, folks, take a look at the side-by-side comparison of that photo and one I took today:


I've still got a long way to go, but wow. What a transformation!

"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress."
 - Barack Obama

Weigh-In: -24 lbs to Date

I lost 2 more pounds this week, which brings me to a total weight loss of 24 pounds! 

I was really hoping to lose 3 pounds this week, just so I could go ahead and round that total up to 25 pounds. Even though it's just a one pound difference, 25 pounds just sounds better. Like more of an accomplishment. But I know that's kinda dumb. I should be proud of how far I've come.

I'll hit 25 pounds next week. Hopefully even surpass it.

I'm definitely noticing more changes in my body. When I did my post-workout tricep stretches this week, I could tell my elbows were significantly smaller. It seems like an odd place to lose, but I'll take it!

OH! And yesterday, as I was getting dressed to go out, I put on a pair of jeans I hadn't worn in a while. Size 18 Old Navy jeans. I discovered I am now able to put them on and take them off without unzipping or unbuttoning them. They are that loose in the waist.


I can't wear them out in public now. They start sliding down after a few steps, making me look like a fool with my pants on the ground.

It's an incredible feeling!

#19- My First 5K: Woodstock 2012

(Me before the race)
Much too early on a ridiculously humid August morning, 1290 people gathered on Woodstock Avenue in Anniston, Alabama, for the 2012 Woodstock 5K. I was one of them.

It was so hot, I felt sweat dripping down my back before I even got in line behind the starting point. But I didn't let it deter me. Old Jennifer would have said, This is insane. It's way too hot out here. I'll never make it. I'll have a heat stroke. There's a good chance she would have talked herself out of it, choosing to find a seat in the shade, pop a squat, and just observe from a comfortable distance, half-heartedly promising to try again when it's cooler outside.

Instead, I went on with enthusiasm. I'd been training in an overheated gym for months. I'd already been to an outdoor training run and tested out the course in mid-July. I was ready.

Excitement filled the air. The other runners and walkers alongside me brimmed with positivity and kick-butt attitudes. When the announcer started the countdown and sounded the air horn, I had this crazy rush of energy that flowed throughout my entire body, propelling me forward at top speed.

Of course, that initial fire fizzled after a few minutes. I am still seventy pounds overweight, after all. I couldn't go as fast as I really wanted to. But I didn't quit. I didn't even think about it. I pushed myself harder than I ever have, forcing myself to run on, tackle the hills, just move forward.

That wild energy rush did at last return when I saw the finish line up ahead. I kicked it up about ten notches. Sprinted forward. Gasping for breath, I flung my jiggly, bumbling girth across the finish line at 46 minutes and 23 seconds. That's an unimpressive time to anyone else, but I was thrilled; I seriously beat my time at the training run, which was 52 minutes 5 seconds. I placed 51 out of 54 in the 20-24 age group (I wasn't last!), and my overall place was 1109 of 1290. Again, not last!

When it was all over, I could have cried. Actually, I'm pretty sure I did cry at some point. I was just so stinking proud of myself. For the first time in a very long time, I actually did something that I, and only I, wanted myself to do. I didn't let any external factors demotivate me. I just pressed on, all the way to the finish line.

(My friend and seasoned runner, Angie, and me after the race, the finish line in the background)
So. Here's a few things I did (right or wrong, I don't know) that I believe helped me prepare for the event.

1) Refrained from exercise the day before.

2) Drank tons of water throughout the day before.

3) Had a light, healthy breakfast (1 banana with peanut butter, 1 cup of orange juice) the morning of.

4) Stretched right before the race.

5) Prayed, asking God for strength and endurance, and thanking Him for the opportunity and the fact that I had been bold enough to seize it.

I think I'm addicted now. I will definitely be running another one of these in the near future.

The Day Before My First 5K

I just went to the race site to pick up my packet. Being a total newbie and all, I wasn't even sure what I was supposed to be picking up. Turns out, it was this stuff:


A really cool Woodstock 5K 2012 shirt, race day bib with safety pins, soy protein bar, lots of coupons for fitness stores and such, and fliers and registration forms for upcoming 5K races in the area.

I'm totes pumped now.

I've been trying to drink even more water than usual today, hoping my body will soak it up and keep me from passing out in the Alabama August heat tomorrow. I'm also planning to go to bed early tonight, though I know how that always goes... Those extra hours of sleep turn into extra hours of staring at my alarm clock with sickly anticipation.

In other news, I'm excited to say that at my last weigh-in, I lost 4 pounds, which brings my total weight loss now to 21 pounds! I went out with some friends last night, and this picture was taken:


It's the first picture that I can actually see the weight loss. I can tell my face is slimming down, and that's quite exciting! It means all that hard work is starting to pay off.

Well, wish me luck tomorrow. I'm going to walk it for the most part, but there might be a few spurts of jogging if I'm feeling crazy. Heaven knows I'm not trying to win. This is something that's waaaaay outside my comfort zone. I've never even attended anything like this, much less participated. I've always been anything but athletic. That's why I want to do it. To say that I did, to prove to myself that I can. To really publicly symbolize the changes I'm making in my life. It may take an hour to move my jiggly, bumbling girth through the course, but that'll just be my own personal time to beat.

Gonna go carb load now.

Starting Over

Recently, I deleted all my old blogs (yes, all, as in more than one). I rarely updated them, and when I did, it was usually just another whiny rant about how much my life sucks.

I'm fed up with living in this same crappy town, living in the same crappy house. I'm tired of working Monday through Friday and occasionally Saturday at a job that stresses me out to the point of panic attacks. I'm sick of spending my off time sitting at home, binging on junk food, watching everyone else move on with their lives while I'm apparently stuck here forever. But whose fault is that? When it comes down to it, I am really, truthfully, the only one to blame for my current situation.

I can keep lounging around on my parents' couch, inhaling Doritos, watching re-runs of Supernatural, crying myself to sleep at night, and wondering why I'm lonely and depressed and obese and getting absolutely nowhere in life.

Or I can get up. I can turn off the TV and change my life.

So that's what I did.

For the past few weeks, I've been purposefully going outside my comfort zone, trying new things, forsaking old habits. Doing what I really want to do. No, need to do.

I quit my job. I focused on writing. I started counting calories. Working out like a fool. I've immersed myself in reading new books, different authors. I've been praying. Reading the Bible more attentively.

I've started knocking things off The Bucket List.

(Coldplay live at the Philips Arena, 7/2/12)

I saw Coldplay in concert. I signed up for a 5K. The only show I watch now is re-runs of The Biggest Loser, which offers a much-needed kick in the pants with each episode.

This blog is a clean slate, a new place to share and think and create. To chronicle my fantastic adventures. To be positive. 

I'm tired of just existing. I want to live.