As a blogger, there is definitely a part of me that would like to share only the best parts of who I am and what my life is like. It'd be easy to paint a lovely picture of a girl who always has it all together -- the job, the marriage, the house, the dog. And, if I'm being honest, there have been times when I've held back the unflattering tidbits that aren't as fun to share.
But I'm keeping it real here, y'all. And that means also sharing the parts of me that aren't so lovely.
Starting from shortly after my high school graduation, I began gradually gaining weight. A lot of weight. I feel certain that it stemmed from my going from two-to-three hour workouts every day in athletics to absolutely no physical activity (I HATE running!), in combination with my love for all things yummy and scrumptious. (I mean, hello!)
I yo-yo'd a bit throughout college and at one point lost 30-ish pounds on Weight Watchers.
Then I started law school, which required hours and hours of studying/reading each day and, in my mind, left zero time to worry about healthy eating or working out. (The post-law school Ryan looks back and laughs at law school Ryan's perception of "busy.") So I gained it all back. But then I got engaged and started slimming down for the wedding and eventually got to a size that I felt pretty comfortable with. (See where I'm going here?)
Of course, after the wedding, I was just SICK of thinking about what I ate. I wanted to cook and bake and enjoy food without worrying about the calories. So when the clothes started getting tight, I just ignored it and bought new ones.
And for almost three years, that's where I've been. I've been gaining and gaining and gaining and have honestly been pretty unconcerned about it. It didn't help that (1) my mom raised me to be a confident, self-assured person, so that when I look in the mirror, I see a fabulous, beautiful person no matter what size I am and (2) my husband is perfect and hasn't really batted an eye. It probably doesn't make any sense, but it's almost like I was in a daze for the past few years.
But apparently I've finally woken up.
It took a loving, concerned call from my brother (triggered by a casual comment I made while talking to my sister-in-law), which made me wonder how I'd gotten here and where I'd end up if I didn't do something about it. And for some reason, my brain finally just clicked into place. This isn't something that will go away on its own. I can't just cover my eyes with my hands and pretend it's not there. Yes, I still love myself and am so proud of who I am, and my self-worth will never be wrapped up in what I look like. But I also don't want to wake up in a year and be so big that I can't fit into a go-kart (my sweet Aunt Brig will get that reference) or live the kind of life that I want to live. I'd rather not get winded walking up a flight of stairs, and it would definitely be nice to shop in the "normal" sizes again.
So I started a diet. I've been doing Slim4Life for two and a half weeks (and I'll definitely do a whole post on the pros and cons of the program soon), and I've lost 12.2 pounds already! It's definitely not fun, and I haven't been totally perfect (I may or may not have had a piece of the most delectable cake ever at Kristen's wedding), but I'm committed, and I'm starting to change the way I think about food. I'm drinking 80 ounces of water a day. I've cut out all sugar (except fruit), caffeine (except an occasional glass of tea), most carbs, and, hardest of all, almost all cheese.
I obviously won't eat this way forever and will eventually add in moderate amounts of my favorite things when I finish losing the weight, but I can definitely say that I'll be making a lot of changes that are permanent. And it's getting easier every day to make smart choices. Eventually I'll add in an exercise routine, but for now I feel like I should focus on the eating right part, which I know is most of the problem. I'm trusing in the Lord to help me stick it out and relying on His strength when mine fails.
So I hope y'all don't mind if I occasionally post a healthy recipe or two and update you with how it's going from time to time. I'll try not to bore you with too much detail, but I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have (even though I'm obviously NOT an expert), via email - even if you've been a silent blog-stalker (as I often am) and I don't know you in real life. Just shoot me an email at ryanahargrave (at) gmail (dot) com. I'm hoping that maybe there are others who might be ready to take this journey, too. And, hey - misery loves company, right? :)
I stupidly forgot to take a good "before" picture, but hopefully I'll have a killer "after" picture in a few months. :)