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Weight Loss Challenge Week 7: Finding My Ultimate Self

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Blogger Mandy Dawson, a mom of two kids, has made it her mission to get healthy and lose 50 pounds. Over the next eight weeks, she'll be working with wellness guru Debi Silber to get on the right track to meeting her fitness goals. Check back every Thursday for an update on how she's doing in our Weight Loss Challenge series.

I hung up the phone and sat back on the couch, my thoughts racing. If someone had told me six weeks ago that a diet plan would include exercise, I’d have believed them. After all, most do. If someone had told me a diet plan would include a guided visualization exercise guaranteed to set me on the path to becoming the best version of myself I would have snorted and said, “Visualization exercise? Isn’t that kinda touchy-feely for a diet?”

But then, Debi’s program isn’t a diet.

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I have reached the stage in the program where the food is easy. Honestly, unbelievably, I don’t miss any of the things I used to eat. At my son’s birthday party, I washed the frosting off my thumb rather than licking it without a thought. When my boss took me to out to lunch, I drank water and chatted, ignoring the basket of warm, fresh-baked bread sitting on the table. On those busy nights when the kids have gymnastics and Little League and I haven’t been to the grocery store, I don’t order pizza. Instead, I call it “Tapas Tuesday” and put out a tray of cheese, nuts, fruit, veggies, and hummus with the occasional sliced salami or smoked salmon.

I’ve reached the stage where exercise, while still not easy, is becoming a habit. Whether I do it while dinner is cooking or after the kids go to bed, I rarely miss a day. After all, 15 minutes is a bit easier to find than the hour a day that seemed so impossible to attempt.

Last week, Debi told me I was ready to start the “self-image” portion of the program. When I first read of it, I was convinced I had a fairly positive self-image. I’m an extrovert. I walk into a room and introduce myself. I can find ways to chat with everyone from bikers to soccer moms. While I know I’ve lost a little of myself with the end of my marriage and becoming a mother, I have always considered myself confident and self-assured.

Until last week.

Last week, after Debi’s guided visualization, I came to the abrupt realization the lost part of me is more lost than I thought. As I feverishly wrote down every detail of my Ultimate Self, I realized she looked and acted a lot like the person I used to be. The person before fear and uncertainty and turmoil rocked her world.

After my life crumbled around me, I struggled to find some sort of stability. What I didn’t recognize is that after finding my footing, I needed to start moving forward again. Life during all that turmoil was difficult. As Debi assured me, it’s natural that I don’t want to risk pain and failure again, but if I don’t, how will I ever become Ultimate Mandy.

All week she told me to ask myself how Ultimate Mandy would respond to situations because at some point, if I want to be that best person, the answers and actions will come naturally. I want to be that person I envisioned. There’s no reason, absolutely no reason, I can’t be her.

After all, she’s me.