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Two years ago, at Christmas, I took a trip to visit family in Kentucky. I had two new nieces to visit and get to know; not to mention a sister-in-law I hadn’t met and a baby brother I hadn’t seen since our mother had a major surgery back in 2005. I was overdue for a stop in to my old stomping grounds. And while, I had many reasons to be ecstatic about taking this little vacation, there were also as many reasons for me to be apprehensive about it.

At that time, I weighed nearly 445 lbs. I was married to a man that my family disliked and despite their protests about how he treated me, I was still in denial about the abuse going on and was fairly adamant about defending him. Then there was the estranged relationship between myself and my biological father to consider. He still lived in the area and the last time I talked to him wasn’t at all pleasant.

388352_338360482859343_1224649360_nThis is what I looked like then. No, not the pretty lady with the blonde hair. That would be my amazing mother. But, the me, with the black hair that I didn’t really like in the first place.

So, why did I go?

It’s a good question. It could have had something to do with the fact that my mother hadn’t had her two children under the same roof for a holiday in about a dozen years. It might have had more to do with the fact that I was tired of feeling like I was being held captive in the apartment I lived in. It could have been the desire to have some independence for a change and be autonomous and have fun. It was all of that, as well as, a desire to see family and simply have an old-fashioned Christmas with the wonder in the eyes of the kids.

Even before I went, I was trying to get some of the weight off. The truth is that I had already lost a considerable amount. When I went to doctors, later on, and took all the information I had to them including measurements and so forth, they estimated that I was likely much closer to 500 lbs when I began. But, it was never the number on the scale that motivated me to start trying to get healthy. In fact, it wasn’t even the desire to wear jeans or fit back into my wedding dress. It was something entirely different.

You see, I had reached a point where I was becoming immobile. I couldn’t even walk to the mailbox without being winded. The ten or fifteen steps to get into my apartment sometimes seemed more challenging than running a marathon. The few outings that I did get to go on with my mother I couldn’t even walk through the local Wally World without stopping every five minutes because my back out threaten to seize up and go numb. To be blunt about it, I’d actually gotten to the point that the only living I could do was vicariously through my characters. I realized that was not the person I wanted to be. I wanted to just be happy and be able to go and have fun again.

There is a difference between living and existing. When I hit the point where I was ready to change, I was just existing. I was so depressed that there were days I just didn’t want to get out of bed. But, I forced myself to do the bare minimum to get by for the day. Something clicked on that trip for me. I think it was primarily due to being around people who really loved me. It wasn’t about encouraging me to lose weight though. It was about encouraging me to take part in life again. To stop allowing one person to dictate what I was able to do and experience. When that happened a lightbulb went off. By the time I got back to Texas, everything in my head changed. My perspective shifted and instead of making excuses I started finding little things that I could change.

1001662_516791008369462_617870083_nI stopped allowing myself to be put last. I gave myself permission to figure out who I was again. And when I did, so many things changed about my life and the way I looked. I will get into some of the details about what I did in later posts. But my point in this one is this: Life won’t change because of what size you are or how much a scale tells you that you weigh. Your worth isn’t determined by the numbers. You have to want to live. Once you want that, you’ll find all sorts of ways to make that happen. It might involve losing some weight, it may not. The key is to be happy with yourself no matter the statistics.

I still have a long way to go but, I hope that you’ll take the journey with me. It has some major rewards. I won’t tell you that I’m some sort of life coach or even pretend that I have all the answers. In this blog, I will share with you what I’ve learned and what has worked for me. I’ll even share what hasn’t. You’ll get a look into my life and occasionally you’ll hear from others who are on similar journeys. So, subscribe to get updates in your email. The form is near the top to the right. It only takes a second.