don't wish for it

I had planned on stopping by Gap after work today (because I had a 25% off coupon). Although I had intended on looking for a new dress for work, I decided to be curious. I bought my last size in the winter, and I've lost some more weight since then. So I grabbed a pair of jeans and 2 clearance tops and headed into the dressing room.

That's right, friends. Those are an 8.

As I stood in the dressing room, I couldn't help but think of where I've been. I remember the days I couldn't fit in anything at Gap. I remember the melt-down I had when I fit into the 16s at Limited. I didn't know if these would fit, but I knew that they might. 3 years and 71 pounds ago, I didn't even think a single-digit size would ever be an option. Completely outside of the range of possibility.

So they are tighter than I'd like, and they aren't quite ready for public consumption, but they fit. And I bought them. And I have new goal jeans.

Here's a little before and current...

Sometimes it is easy to forget how far I've come because it didn't happen quickly. This is a journey that I started in February 2009. It hasn't been linear. It hasn't been smooth. I have phases of losing weight and maintaining weight. Because my level of devotion varies. Because sometimes I am content to readjust to the new me.

But when I want to lose weight? It takes work. A ton of work. Am I happy that I'm doing it? Absolutely. But still. A lot of work.

(thanks Emily for her instagram inspiration!)

I have not changed my life by wishing it was different. I have not lost weight by beating myself up. I did not take control of my health by making plans that I didn't keep.

I have taken my life back through hard work and sacrifice.

I am a running fool. I have ran, over a THOUSAND miles, actually. I get up very very early in the morning (usually 4:30) on the weekends (sometimes both days) to beat the sun and the heat. I spend more on running shoes and clothing than I do on pretty, girly shoes and clothes. I have missed opportunities to go out on Friday nights because I had an early run the next morning. I have embraced running as what I do and who I am.

When I am serious about weight loss, I count every single calorie that goes into my mouth. Every calorie. I don't have cocktails when I want one. I don't have dessert. I am generally content with my apple and cheese for a snack, but sometimes I really want some frozen yogurt. But I don't have it. Because I want to lose weight. Because I know I can eat intuitively and maintain weight so the restriction is temporary. I know that if I want to lose weight, I have to play by the rules. And it is worth it.

I make weight loss a priority. I make plans. I keep trigger foods out of my house. I make a menu and grocery shop according to it. I keep healthy snacks available. When things get hairy, I have a backup plan. I take cottage cheese and strawberries into a meeting where the boss brought bagels or drumsticks. When a friend suggests that we go out to eat, I invite them over and cook instead. When I go to a coffee shop, I bring my own apple and cheese to have with my coffee so I'm not tempted to get a pastry. I don't let myself get angry about it. I just recognize that it is what I'm doing for now. It is who I am for now.

I can't follow a budget without a plan and action. I can't create a new career without a plan and hard work. In the same way, I cannot lose weight just by hoping I can get it under control. I can't take control of my health by pretending that I can trust myself to make the right decisions. I can maintain the status quo - weight, money, career - by following my comfortable behaviors. But anything that will lead to significant change? That requires a plan. Focus. WORK.

But, friends? The work is worth it.

I have a pair of size 8 Gap jeans to prove it.