About a year ago, I was searching for my strength. After months of searching, I found it. It was inside me, I just needed to find it and hang on to it for dear life. It was right there waiting for me to truly believe in myself. It’s what my parents taught me when I was a little girl. I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. And, I finally believe it applies to losing weight.
Sixteen months and nearly 77 pounds later (76.9 to be exact), I’m still at it and I’ve had more than my fair share of ups and downs. It’s called life.
Here’s how I found my strength. I kept plugging away. I tracked my food, I recorded my weight, I learned how to do meal prep. I used the “fake it till you make it” attitude. I also looked at my daughters. I need to be healthy so I can be here for them as long as possible. I can control my weight. I can control what I eat. There are very few things in life that we have complete control over. Right now, food choices often feel like the ONLY thing I have control over.
I’m in one of those phases where I’ve got a bunch of ICK going on. I can’t control those things. I can manage them. I can get through them to whatever waits for me on the other side. Here’s what’s changed: when faced with adversity in the past, I’ve eaten my way to comfort. Not this time. I find comfort in knowing how many points I’ve eaten in a day. I feel pride that I’m continuing to make healthy food choices. I LOVE that my new clothes are starting to be roomy. This gives me strength. That’s what’s getting me through the days.

That, and my weight loss journey necklace! When I lost 30 pounds I came up with a weight loss journey necklace idea. I wanted to establish a reward system that wasn’t centered on food. For me, it needed to be something permanent-ish. So, when I lost 30 pounds I bought a bead — a Pandora bead, to be specific. I’ve long thought that Weight Watchers and Pandora should be in cahoots … but since they’re not, I made my own weight loss journey necklace. I picked out the beads (each with its own meaning) and assigned them to specific weight loss milestones. When I lost 30 pounds, I bought the Strength bead (the black one in the center). I carried it around in my purse for nearly 9 months. I told myself I could have the bead as a reward and incentive — as the necklace to wear it on would come when I lost 50 pounds. Well, life happened and it took longer than expected to get there, but I did get there. With the necklace came my confidence bead (the silver one on the right). I went from 50 to 65 pounds in about 3 weeks — much faster than usual. Then, I got stuck for 5 weeks up and down between 66 and 69 pounds. I knew that my body was adjusting to my new weight as the last 15 pounds had come off so quickly. But still, it was frustrating. However, I was patient and diligent. And then, as if by magic, I dropped 2 pounds and arrived in the 70+ pounds lost category! For that milestone, I added the patience bead (the pearly one on the left) to my necklace. It felt like the right one for the milestone. Originally, I thought I’d get a new bead every 25 pounds after 50. But, I decided that getting to 70 was hard enough and I deserved a reward. So, I changed the structure — to be at appropriate weight loss milestones as determined by my mom and me!
But, I digress. The point is, I wear my journey necklace every day. It gives me strength. It reminds me of what I have accomplished. It helps me continue moving forward. When I add that tactile reminder to my amazing support network made up of my parents, my sister, my friends, and of course my daughters, I know I can do this. I will lose the other 75 pounds!

Where do you find your strength? What do you carry with you every day to remind you of your accomplishments?