True Beauty

True Beauty is having a moment, and I’m LOVING it!

This week reality flexed it’s muscles, pushed aside all of the plastic noise, and revealed some spectacular truth.

First up, blowing the doors off the place & nearly breaking the internet was one of the most gorgeous women ever to walk the earth – the one and only Cindy Crawford. Her supermodel status is historic. Take notes, Kate Upton. The boss is here.

I’ve aspired to look more like Ms. Crawford ever since a 10-year-old Happy Exhaustion first laid eyes on her in George Michael’s ‘Freedom! ’90’. When I spotted this framed picture in the studio in Miami where we were shooting for PEOPLE I had to snap a pic, because it made me feel like hot stuff. *I* was being photographed in the same space where Cindy Effing Crawford once posed. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends.

Hanging on the wall on location in Miami.

Hanging on the wall on location in Miami.

Because I’m a bit of a pop culture junkie, I’ve known (kind of peripherally) that Cindy is also somebody’s wife & somebody’s mother. I’ve seen pictures of her with her handsome husband. I remember her posing while pregnant. I know she’s not in her early twenties anymore.

But none of theses bits of celebrity trivia ever really registered with me on a human level.

Until this week.

This week – this hit the scene:

True Beauty.

True Beauty.

Cindy Crawford is a human being. She has borne children. She is not bionic.

When I first saw this picture, it was presented in a context that said “Cindy Crawford has chosen to take a stand – to show us that even the most beautiful women in the world are human.” Since then the stories have gotten a bit muddled and it’s no longer clear whether or not she is happy to have this out there, but I HOPE SHE IS!

If she owns this, if she shares this, if she takes this Teachable Moment and stomps it out with her fierce signature strut, she will be my newest hero. She will be armed to the teeth with biblical beauty and unstoppable truth. She can lead the charge against Cultural Toxicity and I will enlist in her army.

Because in our culture, PERFECT is the enemy of TRUE.

Comparing ourselves with people we perceive as somehow ‘better’ is painful. Aspiring to (and desperately chasing!) unblemished perfection is very, very painful. It can feel like personal failure when we’re doing our best, working as hard as we possibly can, and we still can’t look like *we think* supermodels do.

Please, dear friend, dear reader – hear me: You are not failing any more than an honest-to-goodness supermodel!

Cindy Crawford is no less beautiful today than she was a month ago, but now she has single-handedly given untold thousands of women unspoken permission to catch their breath.

Even Cindy Crawford ages. Even Cindy Crawford’s Body After Baby is different than Body Before Baby. And if her reality is not color-corrected, not ‘I Woke Up Like This’ Full Supermodel Glam, then maybe we can all ease up and love ourselves a little bit more. Maybe we can be a bit more gentle when we stare in the mirror.

The next seismic reality drop of the week was ‘I Woke Up Like This’ herself. The great and powerful Queen Bey. And, just like Ms. Crawford – our Queen is also a flesh-and-blood human woman.

True Beauty.

True Beauty.

She is not color-corrected in real life. But she is *so* beautiful. She is stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks beautiful. High-resolution photographs that reveal her humanity do not take away from her beauty. But it does pull back the veil.

She is a carbon-based organism, just like you are. Just like her fellow pop diva, Iggy Azalea.

I was drafting this post when my husband asked if I’d heard about the pictures of Iggy. I hadn’t, but a quick Google search provided images of the third un-airbrushed beauty of the week.

When this picture dropped, the online body-shaming of Ms. Azalea was so intense it drove her off of social media. Her humanity subjected her to scorn, and it absolutely breaks my heart. Unfortunately, it sounds like it broke her heart, too. Her tweets as she shut down her social media accounts revealed her suffering.

True Beauty.

True Beauty.

How painful it must be to be expected to look like a walking painting at all times.

None of us are perfect. Not you, and certainly not me. I have wrinkles. I have cellulite. I have stretch marks. When I saw the high-res picture of myself that PEOPLE selected for their cover, my eyes went straight to my tiger stripes.

I confess – I had secretly hoped they would ‘color-correct’ them out. I wanted the editors to make me look more like an art project and less like my true self. But they didn’t. And as a result, I wrote one of my proudest chapters: the one in which I quickly accepted my greatest source of image-anxiety being on full display.

I earned my stripes when I had my children. They are a part of me, and they’re going to stay that way. So go ahead and look – I’m not ashamed.

Tiger Stripes

Don’t worry – Happy Exhaustion is in no danger of putting herself on a Cindy/Beyonce/Iggy level. But what I need to put out there is this: Less-than-airbrushed qualities are not failures. They do not represent an unwillingness to work hard enough, to hire the right person, or to buy the right product.

We look like this because we are humans.

Cindy Crawford is a beautiful star in our shared universe, but even she can’t stop the aging process. Even Beyonce has human hormones that affect her skin. Even Iggy has cellulite on the bootie lots of women would sell a kidney for. And even the girl whose bikini body was on the cover of PEOPLE Magazine has tiger stripes.

If you’re old enough that your skin is starting to sag and it makes you feel ashamed, I hope you’ll pivot and be grateful for the wisdom of your years. If you have pimples, cellulite, or stretch marks, consider what the body underneath your skin is capable of. Mine grew two little humans. Mine got healthy & strong while shedding 20 dress sizes.

My reality is not air-brushed. I am no one’s walking art project. Neither are Cindy, Beyonce or Iggy. But we’re all – ALL of us – perfectly beautiful.

It’s Not About the Cookie Dough

If you read the article featuring Happy Exhaustion in the August 4th issue of PEOPLE Magazine, you may have noticed a template.

The five of us each had a bikini picture, a ‘Before’ picture, a brief story, an example of what we eat now, and an EXTRA LARGE FONT example of an astonishingly unhealthy food or drink we consumed when dangerously overweight.

DUNKED AN ENTIRE PIZZA IN ONION DIP!

ATE 3 DOUBLE CHEESEBURGERS AT A TIME!

CONSUMED 6 BAGS OF CHIPS IN A DAY!

WENT THROUGH A 24-PACK OF SODA IN TWO DAYS!

When it was my turn to provide an example, I first thought of the dessert buffet I indulged in while pregnant with my daughter.

That wasn’t quite ‘gross’ enough.

After waxing poetic about my hot & heavy love affair with cheese fries dipped in ranch dressing (*cringe*… also, *drool*) I finally struck magazine copy gold. Cookie dough. Not even good, homemade cookie dough. You know those tubes of raw chocolate chip cookie dough found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store? THAT kind of cookie dough.

Now THAT was gross enough. We had found my giant font.

ATE A TUBE OF RAW COOKIE DOUGH FOR A SNACK

(I don’t have the rights to the image of that page, or I would post it here. Just imagine me in a bikini with that giant font next to my face.)

Quite an evocative statement, right?

Can’t you just see me? Size 24, utterly despondent, feeling powerless to improve (so why even bother to try?), ripping open the tube and eating it raw? Heaping fistfuls of dough being shoveled into my big, fat mouth until I pass out in a filthy heap?

raw cookie dough
Yeah.

Here’s the thing…

That happened. It did. My wonderful new friends at PEOPLE did not tell you lies.

But despite the huge-font text, you really shouldn’t blame the cookie dough.

My peak weight wasn’t cookie dough’s fault. My peak weight was the result of my consistent, long-term failure to prioritize my health.

Were there crazy high-calorie binges on deep fried treats and raw dough in the mix?

Yes. There sure were.

But is that all I ate? Of course not!

I did not reach 243 lbs because I was a pathetic slob.

Whenever I ate something I knew was bad for me, I felt guilty about it. I detested my own obesity, and I knew the way I ate was making a bad situation worse. But I ate processed crap anyway. It was quick, it was easy, and it tasted good. It was there, so I ate it.

Because I felt hopeless.

Because I was an emotional eater and comfort foods felt good on a bad day.

Because I simply didn’t care enough.

Not because I was a slob.

If you’re carrying some extra weight, I bet you’re not a slob, either.

You’re probably like me. You move through life like everyone else. You take care of the people you love. You’re good at your job. You’re a good friend, good co-worker, good parent.

You have priorities around which you organize your life, and you tackle them well.

Manifesting your healthiest self just hasn’t made the cut yet. It has fallen behind the other issues that consume your day-to-day.

I was only able to get fit because I made my pursuit of health a higher priority than it had ever been before.

My shift of priorities didn’t change who I am. I’m the same girl, just with a reprioritized lifestyle.

Would I eat an entire tube of cookie dough today? No. Since giving up sugar and processed foods, those kinds of things make me physically ill. The few decadent minutes of yummy flavors aren’t worth the horrible indigestion I’ll suffer for the hours that follow.

But, I DO occasionally release the reins and eat as many calories as you’d find in a tube of cookie dough in a single sitting. Usually it’s a date night with my man.

That doesn’t make me a slob now any more than it did back then. But I know that I live in a culture that equates an overweight woman eating raw cookie dough with a pitiful mess. I also know that such judgment isn’t applied to a fit woman seen eating a gigantic bowl of ice cream. And that’s just stupid fat-shaming.

I celebrated the completion of the PEOPLE photo shoot with a bowl of pasta, a cocktail, and two scoops of ice cream. It wasn’t sloppy of me. It wasn’t something I had to be ashamed of. It was a treat.

2,000 calories all at once is 2,000 calories all at once no matter who you are or what kind of shape you’re in. All that matters is what role those 2,000 calories play in your lifestyle. If it’s a regular event, and it’s not burned off with an active lifestyle, you can’t help but gain weight.

These days I don’t stress the rare calorie-bomb, because now I crave my daily cardio. I am a full-on endorphin-junkie. So, when a celebration or a date night create a major spike in my calorie count, I burn it off within days. Because I prioritize my fitness. Because I need physical activity and clean, whole foods for my healthy and joyful life.

When I avoided physical exertion at all costs, all of those calorie spikes added up and compounded themselves.

What this (often exciting, frequently harrowing) adventure has taught me is that I was never A Fat Girl (although for a while there I was pretty sure that I was) any more than I am now A Thin/Fit Girl.

I was a girl who didn’t prioritize lovingly caring for her own body. That’s what has changed.

It’s not about the cookie dough.

dough

Holiday Cheats

The House That Sugar Built

The House That Sugar Built

Over the holidays I was a bad, bad girl.

I betrayed my true love with my hot little fling. I committed the crime of infidelity.

That’s right – I cheated on my diet.

I made out with Christmas cookies. I sipped mint chocolate martinis in dark corners. I nibbled the ear of a gingerbread man. It was downright scandalous.

I gained 6 lbs. SIX! Oh my… that’s one hell of a lot of sugar.

As I crawled back to the produce department with my tail between my legs, I thought of the confession I had to make to my readers at Happy Exhaustion. How could I betray your trust by relapsing into my sugar addiction? I mean – I fell off of the wagon HARD. I kept up with my workouts, but my food journal sat around collecting dust.

I imagined myself as the little girl peeking out from behind her mother’s skirt, whispering “I’m sorry… I was bad.”

But, as I stood on my cardio machine, dripping with sweat, it occurred to me – Don’t be ‘ashamed to admit’ – be real! It’s all about sharing humanity.

I might be The Girl Who Blogs About Fitness, but I’m also The Girl Who Nibbles On Licorice While Her Daughter Decorates Cookies – because dammit, that licorice was all that stood between me and a head-first swan dive into the giant bowl of frosting.

I spent a bit of time allowing myself to be indulgent, and that’s ok. I’m not about to turn my back on Healthy & Strong. But I confess that even as I pass my health-iversary, I still have demons in my head whispering maybe that single cookie could be the tipping point when I lose it all.

I need to chill the eff out.

Who wants to be the skinny beeyotch who can’t relate to the occasional binge, anyway? Not me. Ew. That chick is not my friend. I don’t think she’s anyone’s friend. She’s plastic. She’s no fun at parties.

*Deep breath*

Getting my party on is tons of fun, but every time I over-indulged, my whole body felt like crap. In gaining 6 lbs, my body has felt like crap a lot lately. My system is so much happier when fueled by plants and lean proteins than it is when it’s fueled by gumdrops and peppermint schnapps. Have you ever had a peppermint schnapps hangover? I do NOT recommend it.

I’m in no danger of forgetting that sweat is the key to strength, confidence, and the release of anxiety.

Back into the saddle I go.

Heads up, newly-jiggly bits – I’m comin’ for ya.

Avoiding Overdose

Fitness rocks.

Know what doesn’t rock? Even at all?  Pain.

Most exercise-related injuries occur when people push themselves harder than their bodies are ready to be pushed. When we’re ready to do the hard work, we often decide to dive in and give it 100%. That’s fantastic. But it’s smart to pay attention to the space between what we want from our bodies and what our bodies are actually able to give us.

When I decided to run a 5k, I trained for months to get myself ready. It was hard work, but little by little I got stronger and faster.

Well, after accomplishing my 5k goal, I dropped running like a hot potato. Some workouts make me happy to be alive. Running does not.

But one Saturday last month, I wasn’t in the mood to go to the gym and my dear husband was filling our home with the delicious smells of fresh baked goods. Running away seemed like a good idea. So, despite not having run a single mile in months, I decided to hit the mile track.

I aimed to run 5k in under 30 minutes, just like I did when I reached my goal months before.

Y’all – I almost died.

Ok, not really. But I almost gave myself heat stroke. For real.

First of all, I had NEVER tried running in the summer. I did all of my training in the cool air of spring. My lungs would occasionally burn from the cold, but my body temperature was always fine once I got going.

Turns out – summer running is a whole other thing.

I ran the first two miles without too much trouble, but I couldn’t understand why my pace was so much slower than I wanted it to be. I work out every day! I should be able to do this!

I was pushing as hard as I could, and it wasn’t working. Also, my knees were PISSED. They were not at all excited about the pounding.

Midway through the third mile, I had to stop. I *never* quit on a workout. Even if I can’t keep up with the people in my workout video, the people in my class, or the people beside me on the cardio machines, I never give up.

That day, I gave up. I had to. I was dizzy, losing vision, and feeling weak.

If I stand, I might fall.

If I stand, I might fall.

I was not in running condition. I was especially not in summer running condition. I had to sit in my car for a little while before I felt safe to drive. It was crazy.

When the heat issues passed, I realized how much my knees hurt. They continued to bother me for days to follow. No major injuries, but I had asked too much of them.

The Resident Trainer says he sees this kind of thing with clients all the time. Especially if the clients have a super-studly athletic past. Men who used to be Navy SEALs know what their bodies are ultimately capable of. They expect their bodies to be able to perform at high levels. But if they take a few years off and come back to the gym expecting to bang out SEAL workouts, they might hurt themselves. Badly.

If you’re just getting started, be mindful of easing yourself into your new lifestyle.

But if you’re like me and you are fit enough to expect a lot from yourself, don’t forget that you still have limitations.

Can I run a sub-30 5k again? Sure I can! Even in the summer! But can I do it now? As it turns out, I can’t.

Drive your body with your brain. But if your body throws up a Check Engine light, remember that there’s no shame in tapping the brakes.

Perception

fun house mirror Katey

I’ve been thinking about perception a lot lately.

How do you see yourself? How does that vision compare with how others see you? Is it important that these two perceptions match?

Should we care? Or – to be a bit more honest – Why do we care so much??

If you spend much time on social media, you’ve probably seen this video going around:

Dustin Hoffman rocks my socks. I’m so grateful to him for reminding me of the disconnect between our perceptions and the truthful understanding of ourselves and one another.

Around the time this video went viral, I had a wonderful, motivating conversation with a new friend from #140You, Liz Nead of Nead Inspiration (http://neadinspiration.com/). Liz mentioned the importance of recognizing the chasm between the way that we view ourselves and the way that the rest of the world sees us.

This conversation reminded me of a night in 2010 (read: Katey at Peak Weight). My husband and I were watching a reality show about morbid obesity. The episode featured a 400 pound woman. She was a truck driver, and her size made it hard for her to get into and out of the cab of her truck.

When I looked at her, I saw myself.

I weighed 150 lbs less than her, but that’s not what I saw. In my mind’s eye I saw myself at max capacity, and I assumed that everyone else saw me that way, too. I was astonished when my husband’s response was “WHAT? You’re nowhere near that!”

I just assumed that he (and everyone else, for that matter) saw me the same way I saw myself.

That moment was a jarring one. It was the first time I realized that there might be a significant disconnect between my self perception and the way the rest of the world sees me.

Over the weekend, I had a similarly jarring moment.

My sister-in-law gave me a t-shirt for my birthday (it’s later this week – don’t forget to shop early and often!) and pointed out it’s size: XS. I told her I’ve been feeling perplexed by clothing sizes lately.

I’m wearing a S/XS in tops these days (RIP, Once XL Bosoms)… so, what do actually extra-small girls wear? What does my sister-in-law wear? She’s tiny – petite and skinny. She didn’t even get heavy during pregnancy! So – what does she wear? Does she have to shop in the kids’ section?

She looked at me like I’d grown another head. She says she wears the same size as me. She says we’re the same size.

I cannot wrap my head around that, but it seemed like an obvious fact to her.

The parallels between these instances has me wondering: Is the disconnect between my self-perception and the way others see me something that I should work on? Or, is it just something that I should accept as a natural part of all of our lives?

Dustin Hoffman speaks of the cultural brainwashing that causes us to overlook people who we don’t perceive as beautiful. Can we re-wire our brains to see other people (and ourselves!) clearly?

I imagine that if I had the ability to hear other people’s thoughts (think Mel Gibson in What Women Want) I’d get a clear vision of what everyone else sees. I could then change in a way that would make me more appealing to the public at large.

But is this a good idea?

Would we love ourselves more if we knew that everyone perceived us in a positive light?

Should we change ourselves if we elicit a negative public perception?

My strong, independent, modern woman side screams NO! I am enough, and if you can’t see that, that’s your problem. But my people-pleaser side begs me to bend over backwards to appeal to as many people as possible.

If I am healthy and strong, should I care about your projections when you look at me? Why does understanding how you see me feel important? And, if I can never clearly see what you see, what good does it do to manipulate myself in some imagined direction?

Do you have any perception-disconnect stories? If so, please share in the comments section! Maybe we can work through these things together. I want to see you for who you are. I want to be seen in my true form (flaws and all), and to feel confident in – even proud of! – what I project in this hyper-connected world of ours.

Perhaps there is Truth to be found at the place where our diverse perceptions meet.

Lessons Learned

In my post ‘A Necessary Detox’ I announced that I was not going to weigh myself for a month. I hoped a detox would help me to crowbar my emotional state away from the numbers on the scale.

Today was weigh-in day.

When I woke up, the scale was the first thing on my mind. My heart was pounding before my feet hit the floor. I mean pounding.

Successful detox? Not so much.

This morning, I discovered that I lost four pounds. That’s fine. It means I lost the two that I put on (precipitating the detox) and shed two more. I’m still in the 5 pound range (140-145) that I aim to maintain.

Staying off of the scale didn’t cause the dreaded yo-yo.

But, I have to admit that the experiment was a complete failure.

I thought that staying away from the scale would make me care about it less. Instead, I developed a full-blown fear-driven obsession. I was so afraid that I would return to the scale and find a true yo-yo (gaining 10+ pounds) that I became punishingly strict with myself all month long as I attempted to silence the fear.

When I’m especially strict, I’m not gentle with myself. My thought processes went something like this: “How many blueberries did I just eat? I bet it was more than 1/4 cup! That’s more than I budgeted myself for the afternoon! Stupid!! I’m going to pay for that on weigh-in day for sure! I better get back to the gym even though I’m not feeling well.”

Wait… wasn’t I supposed to be ‘detoxing’ in an effort to stop beating up on myself?

This morning, when I saw that there had been no significant change, I felt certifiably ridiculous. I have been driving myself to distraction for no reason.

Attention to metrics feels like having a good grip on the status of my health. Avoiding the metrics led to fear rather than the sought-after empowerment.

So, I’m going to go the other way and see if it’s any better for my mental health. I’m going to weigh myself if I have the impulse to do so. If I need a little reassurance that I’m not going off track, I’ll weigh in. But, there will be no set weigh-in time. No more Mandatory Mondays.

Maybe over time I’ll shed the fear.

For now, I need to acknowledge that I live with a daily fear of losing what I have worked so hard for. I think maybe I need to be ok with that, and give myself time. I’ve kept 100 pounds off for about 7 months. Hopefully, when I’ve kept it off for 7 years, it will be so second nature, I won’t need to think about it.

Until then, I’ll settle for the wisdom of trials and errors.

The Voices In My Head

1995This one’s for the ladies whose bodies make them feel ashamed. You have every ounce of my support. You are not alone.

Ok. Deep breath. Here goes:

Why do we only remember the destructive things people say to and about us?

I’m sure the compliments we all hear outnumber the derisions 10,000:1. But do we hold on to those compliments? Do those kind words become the voices in our heads? Nooooooo.

It’s the mean boy on the playground who said he wouldn’t play on the seesaw with you because you were too fat.

It’s the high school jocks you overheard saying ‘she’d be hot if she didn’t have such a fat ass’. (Remember the pre-JLo, pre-Beyoncé 90’s? When having a fat ass was a bad thing?)

I have instant sensory recall of the pain I felt when a girl in my 7th grade class laughed at the way I had to adjust my shorts because my thighs touched and it made my shorts ride up.

I never wore shorts again. True story.

I grew up in an incredibly loving family, surrounded by supportive voices. Only one voice consistently said I was fat.

Guess which voice became my inner monologue?

She was an older family member, and she was obsessive about appearances. Especially weight.

I just didn’t measure up.

She told me regularly that she wished I wasn’t so heavy. She said it was embarrassing to introduce me to her friends. She said if I wouldn’t slouch then maybe I wouldn’t look QUITE so big.

See the picture above? That’s who she was shaming into feeling obese beyond all measure. Wasn’t I just the heaviest teenager you’ve ever seen? *sigh* SMH.

As an adult, I understand that she was just a product of another generation. I’m sure she thought she was helping. Perhaps she was trying to protect me from the judgments of the outside world with a little tough love from the inner circle.

Unfortunately, what she ended up doing was teaching me to feel ashamed of myself from a very early age.

I got that part down pat.

Her voice became the voice in my head. I heard her voice every time I looked in the mirror, every time I cried in a fitting room.

That voice didn’t motivate me to make healthy choices. It drove me into shame. It played on in my head for years after the woman in question had backed off.

Do you have these kinds of voices in your head? Aren’t they the WORST?

The malignant voices in our heads can be so strong, and shame and self-loathing can be so crippling. Unfortunately, they’re rarely motivational. Or, they motivate us into dangerously unhealthy behaviors.

Crash diets.

Dangerous work-outs.

Eating disorders.

Eff-It-All obesity.

Danger. Danger. Danger.

I recently watched a TED Talk by a man who was on the plane that went down in the Hudson River. He shared what he thought about when he was convinced he was about to die. His life priorities snapped into hyper-focus.

His inner voice showed it’s truest, demon-free self.

I would encourage anyone whose inner voices have driven them into the darkness to consider: What would you think about as your plane was going down? I bet it wouldn’t be your body issues or the nasty voices in your head. I bet it would be something much stronger and truer.

I would think of my how badly I want to watch my kids grow up, about the decades I want to spend beside my husband.

I keep the fight against my greatest fears and towards my greatest desires in my mind every. single. day.

What can I do to prevent the worst from happening? I will do whatever it takes. Even when it hurts. Because living unhealthy lives puts us on those planes. They’re just going down slowly.

Wanna get off the plane?

Give it some thought. If you can find something with a power that dwarfs the demons in your head, you’ll have found the power to do anything.

Fessing Up

Christmas Yummies

Ok… Confession time.

After reaching my goal of losing 100 lbs, I decided I was done with the weight loss portion of my fitness odyssey. I’m 5’8″, size 4. I don’t want to get any thinner than that. I know that’s downright un-American, but I grew up idolizing women shaped like Marilyn Monroe and 1940’s pin-up girls. I don’t want to be a size zero. I want to keep my curves.

So, I began to ease out of my calorie deficit. I added a little extra peanut butter here, a little cheese there.

Much to my surprise (after battling for every single pound lost along the way) I kept losing weight! I lost 4 pounds over two weeks – pounds I never intended to lose! I even began drafting a blog post titled “Stop the ride! I wanna get off!”

This turned out to be a very dangerous situation.

I figured I could eat and drink significantly more than I originally thought.

Woohoo! Hooray! Oh, how I’ve missed the deliciousness.

Around the same time, I came down with a nasty case of bronchitis. I had to give the workouts a rest due to a pesky inability to breathe.

I was secretly thrilled.

I’m always willing to do the hard work, but I do adore a good excuse to put the hard work aside.

To top it all off, it’s the holiday season. I hosted a cookie exchange, for goodness sake! I stocked the bar (mint chocolate martinis, anyone?) and served mountains of sugary treats. I attended lots of holiday parties.

I nibbled and I sipped. A lot.

No problem, I told myself. It’s ok to add extra calories because I’m trying to stop losing weight! In fact, I wouldn’t even mind gaining those 4 lbs back.

I’m sure you can figure out where this is going.

In the last 10 days of December, I gained SEVEN POUNDS! In 10 days!!

Cue a long string of very unladylike expletives.

I had a minor panic attack. What if this was just the bottom of the yo-yo?? What if I’ve thrown all of my hard work away and now it’s destined to all come back?!

I HAVE FAILED! WAAAAAAAAAH!!

But, after completing a few breathing exercises, I remembered: I know how to manage my weight. I am a member of Team Fitness. I just have to get off the bench and back on the field.

I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and went to the doctor to get meds for my bronchitis. Back to working out every day.

It was also a good reminder: The ability to consume more than 1500 calories per day doesn’t mean I can stop paying close attention to intake.

I had to step away from the cocktails. Ten days of holiday parties had reminded me of my affection for gin & tonics… and vodka martinis… and white wine.

I enjoy my cocktails as much as the next girl, but I enjoy my fitness more.

I must admit, I didn’t want to post this confessional until I was officially, solidly back on the wagon.

I put off coming back until I could share the good news that it’s ok to fall off the wagon a little bit (even if it makes you kick yourself. Repeatedly. Hard.) as long as you get back into the groove as soon as you possibly can.

I’ve already taken 2 of the 7 lbs back off, and I’m no longer terrified of the yo-yo. I know the formula. I have the knowledge and the power. I just have to keep applying it.

Don’t expect perfection from yourself, but take it from me: Fitness is a lifelong process. If you don’t commit to your own forever, the backslide will begin the moment you decide you’re done.

It’s not about a diet. It’s about a lifestyle change.

GOAL: A lifetime of healthy choices.

Your healthy lifestyle will probably go off the rails from time to time. It’s up to you to decide – Is it just a slip? How fast can you pick yourself back up?

Your goals are still ahead of you. Remind yourself of them and get back to work.

I did!