Who am I? How did I get here? The journey back to me.

I have to start out by saying this whole thing has kind-of taken me by surprise, but it feels so completely natural that I can't believe I didn't see it sooner. Almost 40 years into life and I'm still learning new things about myself nearly every day.

Exercise has never been appealing to me. Scratch that. Physical exertion of any kind has never been appealing to me. I once threw such a fit as a child because I didn't want to go on an evening stroll with my parents that I had to do some serious apologizing to keep from getting a spanking afterward. Because I didn't want to leisurely STROLL around the neighborhood. As in walking slowly. As in not breaking a sweat.

I have always been the opposite of athletic. Aside from this incredibly embarrassing soccer foray into the wide world of sports, I pretty much just stuck with dance classes and theater growing up. I did manage make the freshman and JV cheerleading squads for a couple of years in high school, but once they realized I was never going to be able to master the toe touch, they realized I was dead weight. Literally. Zero ab muscles.

I've yo-yoed up and down the scale all my life. I went to Weight Watchers meetings with my mom when I was in 6th grade. I lost weight as an adult by working two jobs at one point and never really having time to eat. Proper exercise and nutrition have never been my M.O.

After our big kids were school age and I was back to work part-time, the scale had started to creep up again. I could see it in pictures of myself and the fact that I had to keep buying bigger clothes. The telltale double chin was in full effect and I hated it. My birthday in October 2012 found me at my heaviest since having birthed my older kids. And I decided on that birthday, that I'd had enough. I started to make changes in my diet and actually dropped a few pounds over the holidays. When January 1, 2013 rolled around I knew I needed to add workouts into my routine, so I started doing pilates at a new local studio. The combination of clean eating, twice weekly hour long classes at the studio, and long therapeutic walks with a dear friend did the trick of shedding 37 pounds!

I wore a bikini to the beach that summer. I felt awesome! I wore skinny jeans that next winter. I had a great routine of going to work out a couple of times a week and eating pretty well. Then in March 2014, I saw the double line on the pregnancy test and it all started to slip through my fingers. I kept up with my workouts pretty well, but morning sickness and cravings took over and, well, when you're pregnant, you gain weight. Its pretty much a fact.

Baby Nora has been such a wonderful blessing to our family in countless ways big and small. She brings joy and laughter to our home each day! The other thing Nora brought me was about 25 pounds to lose.

I tried to go back to what I had done before to lose the weight, but I just couldn't muster up the motivation to leave the baby for an extra hour several times a week to go work out. I didn't want to sacrifice that time. I'm almost 40 and we KNEW this would be our last baby and all the last baby experiences were slipping through my fingers. I didn't want to waste any of the time I had. It had to be different this time. I had to do it a different way. The way I had done this all before wasn't going to be the best way for me now.

After a year of feeling terrible every time I looked into the closet because I knew I could only fit into about 1/4 of what was in there, I decided it was time. Time to try something new. Time to dedicate some time to getting my body back and finding my strength again. I kept seeing friends on Facebook posting about the 21 Day Fix and the results they were getting by doing these quick 30 minute workouts and following a nutrition plan with crazy colored food containers. For almost 5 months I blew it off.
Won't last.
Won't work for me.
At-home workouts aren't legit.
The food containers look confusing.
The food containers look too small.
They're drinking shakes. I already drink protein shakes.
These people are dumb.

Gradually, the words in my heads flipped to...
They keep losing weight.
They're eating stuff I like.
The workouts are only 30 minutes. That's not so bad.
They're drinking shakes. I already drink protein shakes. Maybe I should try their shakes.
I'm dumb for not trying this.

So, I messaged my friend, Leigh and told her I was ready to give it a try and she was so gracious and so kind and she put me in one of her coaching accountability groups and when the day came to start day one of the 21 Day Fix, I was SO hoping that it would work for me. I was so DETERMINED to make it work for me. Every day, I recommitted myself to the process and I stuck with my workouts and I stuck with the nutrition plan because I could see and feel that it actually was working. And Leigh and the other people in the group cheered for me along the way, which made me want to do my best.

Over the course of 6 months I lost all the baby weight and an extra 8 pounds. I was right back to where I had been when I wore the bikini to the beach and the skinny jeans. In fact, I'm even better. I have arm muscles! I have leg muscles! I have ab muscles! I like to work out! Wait... WHAT?

Yes, it's hard for even me to believe. My name is Jennifer and I like to work out. As I type this, I'm on vacation at the beach and I've done a workout every day. If you had suggested to the me of 10 years ago that I would spend 30 minutes huffing and puffing through a workout while ON VACATION, I would have laughed in your face and blessed your heart. But, the truth is I kind-of look forward to my workouts now. I know I'm going to feel awesome when the workout is over and I gets anxious as the day goes on if I haven't done it yet. Endorphins are for real, yo.

The last 6 months have been such a transformation for me. I am so thankful that the me of 6 months ago decided to try something new. I didn't know how I would ever possibly get to this point, but I did it. One day at a time. One meal at a time. One bite at a time. One workout at a time. One 60 second exercise at a time. Step by step, day by day, I found me.

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