As I sit here on my 36th birthday, I can’t help but feel grateful. I am grateful for my health, for my energy and for all of the people who have helped me get here. I am probably in the best shape of my life thanks to some pretty amazing people. I have always dieted since I was in grade 7 I remember “dieting” but it never really worked. I would yo-yo and crash and binge and read every article, all giving me different info that confused me! I tried low carb, no-carb, keto, no sugar, no gluten…none of it really worked. I started working with Germana about 2 years ago and she taught me about body awareness, about being comfortable in my own skin, and that gave me such confidence! I began to get stronger, and I began to feel better and notice changes in my body. Some people hate the scale, but I find the scale helps me keep on track. I weigh myself every morning, diligently. Sometimes it goes up a few pounds, sometimes down, sometimes I plateau for a while but that’s ok. I don’t use it to judge myself, I use it to track progress and keep me aware. I know that if I didn’t, I might wake up in 3 months and have gained all of that weight back!! One bad day doesn’t make or break your journey. Just hop back on the next day, and you will be totally fine! I eat out 6-7 times a week and I drink alcohol (probably more than I should!!) and I was still able to see this progress so if I can do it, I know that others can too. It just takes time and patience, but now my body is in a place where it doesn’t matter if I eat some cake or have a glass of wine on the weekend because my body has slowly adjusted to this size and is now comfortable at this weight. The most important quote that contributed to my weight loss is “calorie deficit” – I really had no idea what this meant. I was told “fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does” so I would get “all-natural peanut butter” with no sugar or salt added, but then I’d eat the entire jar in a week and think that was healthy when I really I was jamming a million calories into my body that I didn’t need, but I thought I was “eating clean” ! I was scared of fruit because it had sugar! But really fruit is pretty low in calories and is satisfying so now I eat it in moderation and I love it !! I need to see volume on my plate so HUGE salads are my jam!! Just order the dressing on the side so you can control how much you have. Put your food into “my fitness pal” – you will be shocked at how much calories are in some items! I used to never look at calories, I’d only look at carbs and sugar, but then I was eating as much of those “clean” foods as I wanted, and it was making it so I wasn’t able to lose fat because of the calories. The other thing that really made a difference for me is weighing myself, and not being afraid. I read a quote that said that when you plateau, it’s a GOOD thing because your body is adjusting to that size being “normal” and sure enough as I reached each plateau, it would slowly, slowly, reach a new normal. I have lost a solid 20 pounds, and I have never felt better but it did NOT happen overnight. I learned to eat foods that I love, that make me happy and that are low in calories (ie. If I eat cake, I have a bite or 2, not the whole piece). The third and final thing that made a great deal of difference was exercise! As you can see from the photo, my posture and muscle definition have improved tenfold!!! That is from working out the way that Germana taught me and focusing on opening up my chest and strengthening my back! It took a LONG time but seeing the difference makes it so worthwhile!! Also, running has helped a lot. Not everyone needs cardio, but I love cake and I love wine so the only way that I can have those things and still eat normal amounts during the day is if I burn some of those calories by running!! and I love running so it’s a win-win for me !! do something you love!! Don’t be a slave to cardio! get outside and have fun with it !!! Here’s to 36! I’m sure it will be the best year yet.