Over the last 8 months of blog posts, I’ve occasionally referenced a lot of YUCK going on in my life. I didn’t want to talk about it because I wanted it to be separate from weight loss; unconnected because the YUCK was dragging me down even though the weight loss was lifting me up. Lately, I’ve been silent on my blog because I had to get the YUCK out. I’ve been embarrassed by the things I was going through — much like I used to be embarrassed about my weight.

Now, I’ve finally lifted the proverbial weights off my shoulders. Did it reflect on the scale? No. That weight is imaginary, but it is as heavy as the actual weight I’ve been carrying around for 16 years. These last eight months I’ve been concerned about what people will think about me. I’ve been hiding the failures in my personal life behind the success of my weight loss and wondering how to move forward without telling the other stories. It’s time to let that all go (not the weight loss, of course). Life isn’t easy or simple. No one is perfect. And, most importantly, no one is judging me — except me. I think this has been one of the hardest things for me to come to understand and accept. Now I have to learn to let it go. If someone is judging me based on my appearance or decisions I’ve made, then I don’t need them in my life. If they can’t get to know me and accept me for who I am, faults and all, then it’s not worth the time and effort for either of us.

Today, at 94.5 pounds less than my starting weight (78 pounds of it in the last 12 months) I stand up straighter and more confident than ever before. On Saturday, I celebrated my 90+ pound weight loss by adding another bead to my journey necklace. What did I add? Faith. To remind me to continue to have faith in myself.

People have asked what bead I thought I would add this time. I always decide in the moment. I went in thinking balance would be good — and it is, but not for this 10 pounds. As I “studied” the Pandora beads at Seebeck gallery, I reflected on the last 10 pounds, and the 80 before that. I have somehow managed to keep losing weight even with the YUCK of the last 8 months. When I felt my world crumbling around me, I still believed in what I was doing to make me a better, stronger and healthier version of myself.

My faith in myself (and my commitment to lose 150 pounds) never wavered. How did I manage that? I don’t know. I just know that I did it. Baby steps and one meal at a time. With each pound shed, my confidence grew. Each pound lost has helped build the faith that I celebrate today.

I can’t think of any better words to identify my journey, my emotional growth and my ever decreasing weight than the ones I wear every day: strength, confidence, patience, dedication and faith.

I wonder what the next 10 pounds will bring…