Weight Loss Challenge Check-In: Graduation Day

I recently finished an eight-week series for Momtastic on my mission to get healthy and lose 50 pounds. Although my weekly posts are finished, my fitness challenge is not. I'm still working with guru Debi Silber to meet my fitness goals. Today, I'm checking in with this update:

One of the key components to Debi's program is empowering each of her clients to "leave the nest" and this week it was my turn to graduate. After three months on her plan, I can say without a doubt it has changed my life. 

Repeatedly, I tell people it's not a diet. It's a new way of thinking about food, exercise, relationships, goals, and myself. I'm walking a little taller, being more vocal about my needs, and, honestly, feeling more comfortable in my skin — even as I am now. And somehow, someway, the weight is still coming off.

How much?

To be honest, I'm not sure. I haven't weighed myself in weeks. Instead, I'm measuring my success by how many pushups I can do in a minute, how my jeans — which used to cut into the flesh of my belly — are now loose enough to need a belt. I stand in front of the mirror and see the changes: a back that is noticeably slimmer, a neck that looks longer, cheekbones, collarbones, the beginnings of lean abs from the daily workouts, even a little bit of lift in my rear.

The way I live has changed as well. I find myself becoming the tiniest bit grumpy if I miss a workout. It eats at me like an unlocked door before bed. While exercise has gained importance, food has shifted from its pedestal. Though I still love to cook, I find myself nibbling on delicious cheeses and a handful of grapes if I’m home alone rather than making a big bowl of pasta followed by a snack of popcorn while watching a movie.

As I move more towards that ultimate vision of myself, I find each reward, each purchase, each action being held under the filter of whether this is what I want in my home, on my body, and on my plate. Instead of treating myself to gelato, I splurge on eye masks or new nail polish for the same price. The money that used to be spent on popcorn at the movies is now used to buy magnets for the fridge that make me smile. Instead of going out to eat, I buy grass-fed beef in bulk from a local farmer and I Pin lettuce wrap recipes for summer. My actions seem to have more purpose.

That's not to say that it's all sunshine and rainbows.

On that day I was looking for a dress, I tried on a pair of pants in the "new" size and they wouldn't button. For a moment, I felt the familiar defeat begin to weigh me down. It opened the door enough that when my friends started talking about a new diet plan they were on that was causing them to drop almost ten pounds in a week, my ears perked and I admit it…I was tempted.

Then, Ultimate Mandy, that woman I saw in my future, gave me a proverbial slap. I took a deep breath, pushed aside the doubt, and reviewed my goals. I'm on my own now because Debi knows I can do it. I'm on my own now because I know I can do it. I have three more pant sizes to lose. 

This is a long game. And I'm in it to win.

Photo: Getty