“I wish everyone had to deal with a weight problem – then they would know how it feels.”

These words have never left me since the moment I heard them. A dear friend of mine was dealing with the struggle of her weight after marriage, a baby and another one on the way had taken their toll on her body.

She was discouraged. And I, being a beanpole teenager, had no idea how to process that statement. I had struggles. But it hadn’t crossed my mind to wish them on everyone so that we could all be on the same page. As I got older, I figured it out. She didn’t really want everyone to rapidly gain weight. She really just wanted everyone to understand where she was and to put a stop to the judgement and criticism she had felt.

I’ve had people make comments that I don’t know how it feels. That our lifestyle is not normal. But really – here’s a reality check.

Today marks exactly one year that Justin and I have been in NWA. We came here in the winter. Hadn’t had that in a while. 8 years, actually. What a change. Figuring out how to wake up in the cold, the dark, the bitter wind and get to the gym was a chore. Thankfully, I had friends who met me at the Walton Fitness Center to at least keep me moving during the coldest months of the year. Justin and I hadn’t found a Crossfit gym for him to coach at and really – I was OK going to a fitness center that was heated to a comfortable 74 degrees!

But the strangest thing started happening between November 2014 and April of 2015. I steadily gained weight. It was about a pound or so a month. And not the muscle-y, flex in the mirror kind of weight. It wasn’t like a I-can’t-explain-it-strange (cause we all know how to gain weight!) but it was more of a hm-I-think-this-dress-used-to-fit-me strange. I’ve never been a scale watcher but when I finally got mad one Sunday as I was trying to put on a dress for church, I decided I’d weigh myself. Fail. We don’t have a scale. I had to wait to the next day when I went to WFC. Gr.

I did the deed. Stepped on the scale (the real kind with a thingymabobber that you move to the left and right) and I was shocked. The heaviest I had ever been and it was 9 pounds more than when we crossed the state line into Arkansas. 9 pounds in six months. How? That’s the size of a newborn child! I was working out 4 days a week at WFC. So, what gives?!

As I stewed over it and vented to Justin, it came to light. Unconscious eating. Justin and I had been eating out more often. Even the best dining-out choices are not equivalent to home cooked meals with fresh ingredients. I was intaking a lot of fats – the good kind! Nuts, avocados, oils – but my body was telling me it was too much.

Once we switched to a Crossfit gym, my body got shocked back into action. I lost a little bit by switching it up but I needed more than that. Enter Justin.

He did the legwork in the research for me and came up with a macronutrient plan. I needed to up my protein and carbs and lower my fats.

In one day I needed to consume 100 grams of protein. 200 grams of carbs. And 60 grams of fat. And cut back on sugar a wee bit. He broke it up for me into 3 main meals and two snacks.

Now that I had goals I had to hit, it was on like Donkey Kong.

I became a scale watcher. But more for the satisfaction of accomplishment rather than the anxiety of seeing my weight.

I went from consuming 1100-1300 calories a day to 1700 calories a day. A bit less on rest days. But week by week I was surprised. The uptick in (the right kind of) calories resulted in a down turn on the scale.

This week – exactly 6 months after getting back to Crossfit and 10 weeks after introducing a macronutrient plan – I have shed the 9 pesky pounds. Back to the weight of my Floridian life. Not going to lie. It took a LOT of moving. And some days with the “who really cares” attitude. And some miserable mornings of doing hard workouts in the cold. That’s a nightmare for me.

Ugh. But it paid off. So that’s good.

But the best part? I haven’t lost any strength! I hit new PRs on several movements this week. Putting my (almost) body weight over my head is hard. Putting 125% of my body weight on my back to squat it is hard. But so worth it! I’ve made progress. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Progress of any proportion is progress.

This was a personal quest. Small to some. But huge for me. This was a first.

So here’s to you. If you have a goal of walking a mile. If you want to build muscle. If you want to do a pushup. If you want to cook better. If you want to model an active lifestyle for your kids. Figure out what your goal looks like. Recruit help if you need it. Most people do. I did. But above all.

Do it.

Here’s to you. You are capable. You are driven. You can be what you choose to be.

Even if it is one year later.