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Health is in your hands
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It’s been more than two years. For some reason, I had set this impossible standard that my body should be back to “normal” within a few months of giving birth. So when my first child was born in August 2011, the clock was ticking. I’m not sure where two years went, but as his second birthday approached I had an epiphany. My health is in my own hands, and what I was doing wasn’t working. (What I was doing was nothing.) I hadn’t joined a gym and I hadn’t changed my diet. I know it’s cliché, but it’s like the old saying goes. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

So I took off the rose colored lenses and decided to do something about my health. In July, I started counting my calories with an iPhone app called Fitness Pal. It uses your height, age, activity level, and a number of other factors to determine a daily calorie goal. Once the goal was set in place, I had very little trouble changing my diet to reach the goal. Call it competitiveness, call it motivation, call it whatever you want. But that app was what made it click for me. Tracking the food that I ate made it easy to look at my decisions in black and white as good or bad choices.

Within a matter of weeks, I was seeing results. Weight is the easiest way to track results, but it’s just a number for me. My goal is to fit into the jeans I wore before my son was born. They are three sizes smaller than the jeans I am wearing currently. I’d also like to be able to wear my wedding ring again. (Yes, I refused to get it sized because that was like admitting I was fat.)

After a few months of consistent calorie counting, I am making progress and that feels great. I CAN do this, and I CAN see the light at the end of the tunnel. So far, I’m down 15 pounds toward my goal of losing 40 total pounds. This is not a fad or a program. It’s a lifestyle change, and one that I intend to stick with, maybe forever. I feel better than I have in years, and it’s a confidence booster to achieve success, even in small ways.

I’m excited to share my journey to a healthy lifestyle with the readers of the Tribune, and hopefully my challenges and successes will speak to someone who’s struggling. Until next week,

Formerly insane,

Rachel E. Mawhirter