The gift I gave myself

When I was 29, I told myself that I was going to lose weight because I wanted to hit 30 being smokin’.  That didn’t happen.  When I was 30, I said the same thing about hitting 31.  Again, it didn’t happen.  I said the same thing about hitting 32.  But this time there was a change.  I finally found the motivation to change my lifestyle for the better and to start taking better care of myself and my family.

My husband and I didn’t eat a lot of junk and any junky type food we had was restricted to weekend consumption and only if we wanted it.  We didn’t go out to dinner too much since I cook a lot.  We did drink a lot of wine though. Boxes of wine can be dangerous! However, I was under the impression our lifestyle was pretty healthy.

But if that was the case then why was I carrying around the equivalent of a small child in extra weight?  I was tired of being overweight.  And while I wasn’t a great deal overweight it was enough that it impacted my life in a negative way.  I couldn’t find clothes that fit.  All of the stuff found in stores was too small, yet I wasn’t “big enough” to go to plus size stores because that stuff didn’t fit either, it was all too big.  I was in between.  I wore a lot of guy clothing because that’s what I could find that fit me.  Needless to say it wasn’t very flattering.

I was frustrated and it was time for a change. I wasn’t quite sure how to go about creating change though, and that is where I felt stymied and frustrated.  In the back of my mind I knew something needed to be done, but what exactly? Where do I start?  How do I start?  Questions I think everyone struggles with when thinking they need a lifestyle makeover.

When I was putting together OHC, that’s when I came across other food blogs.  Not recipe blogs but food and exercise blogs.  This created a huge turning point for me.  Here were people living their lives and living a happy healthy balance.  Exercise and yummy food can go hand and hand.  Food that is good for you can be damn delicious.  And the occasional donut or whatever floats your boat IS OKAY.  I am not a diet person.  I believe in lifestyles, not diets.  I believe in whole foods, not restrictions or labeling things off limits.  Food blogs are lifestyles.

This helped me more than I can say.  I am a visual learner and I need to see something before I can even think about replicating it.  It’s great to read a magazine article about why Quinoa is fantastic and holy crap you totally need to eat this because XYZ.  But seeing a real normal everyday person make Quinoa, tell you how they made it, see a picture of it, and read about how fabbo it was, well what is going to make you try Quinoa?  The stale article in a magazine or  Foodie Bob/Barb talking about how yummy it is and showing you how they made it?


Reading and following blogs for a few months I was able to start re-evaluating my eating and drinking habits.  What I thought was a good meal of chicken and mashed potatoes, really wasn’t all that balanced.  Despite the fact that mashed potatoes are awesome, not really a good veggie choice.  I learned to eat the potato but add in some additional veggies.  I started cutting down my portions and paying attention to what my body was telling me.  Stop eating when I’m not hungry any more, as opposed to when I’m full.  Once I started paying attention to that, I realized that I didn’t need huge portions.  I started paying closer attention to what I was putting in my body and how it made me feel.  I learned about whole foods and good carbs and incorporating those into my diet.  If you follow my daily eats blog, you’ll know that oats are my friend!  I started paying better attention to ingredients.  My husband and I have cut out HFCS from our diets.  We don’t really even eat much sugar period.  I plan on posting a little more in depth about my new approach to eating (I hate the term diet and try very hard not to use it) in the future.

Naturally, there is running which plays a huge role but that’s a whole post itself.  Right now it’s all about the eats!  But I still eat yummy food, have chocolate, drink wine, and go out to dinner.  For me it’s about finding a happy balance between living life and living a healthy lifestyle.  I don’t count calories.  Counting calories is too much like work.  Instead I watch portions and I try to keep a good healthy balance.  For example, if I have cheese at lunch on a sandwich or just straight up then I’m not going to put cheese on my chili or baked potato at dinner.  If I’m going to have a snack or a glass of wine later in the evening, I’m going to watch my dinner portion and make sure I had a good bit of extra veggies/fruit at lunch.  I truly believe that balance is the key to everything.



With my new lifestyle, I am a much happier and healthier person.  The old Andrea used to get colds all the time in the winter.  The new Andrea hasn’t had a cold in over a year.  The new Andrea doesn’t get PMS symptoms quite as bad as the old Andrea (they’re still around, just not as potent as before).  The new Andrea actually enjoys clothes shopping and can wear pretty girlie things.

When I started out, I wanted to lose 40lbs.  That’s a lot of weight and I was a little overwhelmed in the beginning.  I was 170lb and wanted to get down to 130lb.  I’m not a tall person and I have a very tiny frame.  170lbs was too much, 130lbs is a reasonable weight of a person my size (5’6″, small build).  In November I reached the halfway point of losing 20lbs.  I gave myself a goal and told myself that I wanted to lose the remaining 20lbs by my birthday.  I not only succeeded in that goal but I beat it and had reached my goal weight in February.  I honestly don’t know if my body is done yet but if I lose any more weight, it’s all gravy at this point.  I’ve already reached my goal all because I chose to follow a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Happy Birthday to me!

P.S.  And the new Andrea is totally smokin’!

24 thoughts on “The gift I gave myself

  1. “For me it’s about finding a happy balance between living life and living a healthy lifestyle.”

    Amen, girl! You’re lookin’ GREAT!! Congrats to all your acheivements!!! : ) That’s awesome!!

  2. Heather says:

    Wow! I had no idea you wanted to lose that much weight! That’s incredible. I love the way you did it – just small manageable changes that you can keep doing.

    I need to start looking closer at my diet. I don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables (mostly because I don’t like them that much. LOL Although I like veggies more than fruit).

    You should do a post on the HFCS. I confess I never really paid that much attention to it.

    and you look really good! Very impressive.

  3. Andrea what an amazing and inspiring story lady!!! I never knew that you had such an amazing transformation, you should show before photos! YOU LOOK HOT!

  4. Happy Belated Birthday and “good for you” losing the weight in a sensible manner. That is how I lost 25 lbs. and didn’t even realize I lost the first ten pounds until my clothes started to feel too big. I took me about 8 months to loose it, and I didn’t consider it a diet, just changed the way we ate. And its still all off a year later.

    • You guys are too sweet! :D I actually don’t have too many “before” pictures because I hated having my picture taken and was never happy with the results. I’ll see if I can dig something up.

  5. You look great!! I can’t even imagine you being “overweight” at this point. I am following your lead and finding that putting my stats out there on a blog keeps me honest with myself. You’re a great inspiration!

  6. That’s so great — I can’t think of a better gift to give to yourself. I’m kind of in that right now in that I feel like this is the year that I have to do it or else I might not ever get there. I feel like I’ve been good with my exercising so far, but I do need to work on the portion control and veggie integration.

    You look fantastic!

  7. This was a great line, “I am not a diet person. I believe in lifestyles, not diets. I believe in whole foods, not restrictions or labeling things off limits. Food blogs are lifestyles.”

    Congrats on your weight loss and happy birthday!

  8. special k says:

    I’m late! Happy Belated Birthday, and really babe: you look fantastic. I don’t just mean your figure, but your skin just glows in that picture.

    Well done!

  9. Thank you for this post! I am new to blogging, but I have been reading food and fitness blogs for a while and have been totally inspired. We are the same height, and my goal is also to get to 130 (147 now). I can’t wait to read through more of your blog :)

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