I know I sound like the PreK students I taught last year, but I DID IT!!! I reached my goal of losing 50 pounds today! Even though it took me a little more than a year to do it, I can hardly believe it did it! The pants I’m wearing in my after photo are a comfortable size 6! I started this journey for several reasons – primarily to prevent developing diseases that have been shown to be linked to excess weight such as diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers! Last May, I was at my highest nonpregnancy weight, and I knew that if I didn’t lose the weight, a doctor would soon be telling me that I had developed some sort of chronic illness. I don’t believe that sharing all my business on social media is the way to go, but if what I disclose helps even 1 person, I’m doing it, so here goes. Three days after I gave birth to Miranda, who will be 8 in 2 months, I was admitted to ICU for what doctors initially thought was pneumonia. It turns out, I had heart failure due to poorly regulated high blood pressure. Prior to telling Lawrence I needed to go to the hospital, I had been walking around for 3 days dying. The doctor, who would become my cardiologist, said that I was deathly ill. From then on, I had to visit his office every 3 months, and I would always be the YOUNGEST person there. Everyone else seemed old enough to be my grandparents! Three years later, we moved to Atlanta, and another doctor said that there were no signs that I ever had heart failure. He called it a miracle! So do I! Keep up with your blood pressure, y’all! It really is the silent killer! I said all of that to say, I transformed losing weight from something I “should” do to something I “had” to do. I also decided to lose the weight, because I was sick and tired of thinking about the weight. Whenever I went shopping for clothes, I thought about the weight. Whenever I got dressed, I thought about the weight. Whenever I got winded climbing an average staircase, I thought about the weight. Whenever a button popped off my pants, I thought about the weight. I had been thinking about the weight for YEARS! Here’s my advice. Don’t compare your progress to that of others. Every BODY is different. Pick a program that works for you. I picked Weight Watchers Online, because I had done WW via meetings 10 years ago, and I lost 52 pounds back then. Use EVERY resource you can. Some health care programs offer free exercise classes and pay for programs like Weight Watchers! Exercise. We were designed with bodies that require it, and our bodies reward us by releasing endorphins that make us feel better the moment we do it. Pick exercise that you like. I found that I prefer outdoor exercises such as walking, biking and tennis. I also danced a LOT with Just Dance when working out indoors or with walking indoors videos on YouTube. If you can find a weight loss buddy, grab one. Studies show that those who use the buddy system lose more weight than those who don’t. Know your kryptonite. For me it’s carbs! I can eat them, but if I get too many a day, I tend to gain weight. If you fall off the wagon with one meal, don’t declare the whole day blown – get back on with the next meal. If you gain weight one week, take a look at how your week went and make adjustments. On weeks when I gained, I would evaluate whether I slacked on exercising and ate too many carbs. Above all NEVER, EVER give up! I decided that since the time was going to pass anyway, I might as well be losing weight instead of gaining weight! I hope this LONG post helps someone. YAY! I’m SO excited!