Exactly How I Lost 62 lbs (all the baby weight + 20 lbs!)

I just signed up for a friend’s 40 day fitness/health challenge and she’d asked us to take “before” pictures so I did.  Then I started looking at my actual “before” pictures from 10 months ago and it made me realize how far I’ve come and how much my focus and dedication has really paid off.  Here is where I started: I’d just had my third baby and I didn’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe because I really like the clothes I have, so I knew I needed to do something to lose the weight and keep it off. And it had to be easy, because I’ve tried the hard way in the past, and I knew I couldn’t do that again.

It took me 10 months, but I lost 62 lbs and went down multiple clothes sizes (so my clothes fit again!) – I know that if I was able to lose the weight, you can do it too.  Here is the strategy that I used this to lose all the baby weight and an extra 20 lbs:

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Speak up or Stand Up: Your Voice Matters

Last night I went to a late dinner with a group of college students as part of my volunteer work weekend. As we were sitting down at the sports restaurant, one of the female students leaned over and whispered, “Well that’s uncomfortable.”

I asked her to tell me more about her statement and it turns out that a guy (not part of our group) said some rude and inappropriate comments to his buddy about the student.

At that moment, I had a decision to make. I asked our group to stand up, got our severs attention and told her we needed to switch tables and move into another area of the restaurant – far away from our current table.

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When I feel like a failure as a working mom, here is what I remember

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Some days I feel like I have it all together.  And some days – as a working mom – I feel like I’m a failure as an employee, as a mom and as a person.

I debated for a while whether to post today – I let a few things really get to me, and because of that, it was not one of my best days – but I think it’s important to be honest, so here I am.

I had a sick kid today and a full day of work that I needed to get done and limited time off to spare.  My solution was to take my sick kid into work – not the best for the kid, my co-workers or myself.  But when you’re trying to make it all work, sometimes you come up with crazy solutions (that maybe don’t always make sense!).  The end result ended up being fine and I was able to best help my kid and get my daily work done, but it wouldn’t have happened if I’d been left up to my own solution (which, let me repeat, was not a good solution).

You can’t do it all by yourself.  Believe me, I’ve tried again and again.  And I’ve failed again and again.  I can do a lot of things.  I’m proud of my successes and confident in my ability.  And I know that as I continue to learn, I continue to grow.  Here’s the important lessons I was reminded of today:

Remember, you have others to help you. Let them be kind.

I never ask for help.  I hate asking for help.  I want to be able to do all things and do all things perfectly.  And I know that isn’t realistically possible for any human to accomplish – much less to try to maintain on a regular basis.  But I still want those things, badly.  So when I need help – really need it – I have to mentally psych myself up to ask someone to help me.

And guess what, when I ask others for help it’s usually no big deal to that person and I’m better off for having involved them, letting them help me, and building a new part of our relationship.  Ask for help when you need it.  Ask for help more often.

And if you’re having a hard time asking for help (like me), accept the help when it is freely given to you.  In an important conversation today, I was offered help.  And even with the 1000 things running through my mind – my response was, “Thank you for helping me, I appreciate it.”

Figure out what works for your energy or emotional release. And do that thing.

When I’m starting to feel my stress build to the point that I’m not sure I can take it, I try to find something to help exhaust me.  Now, I’m not talking about mental exhaustion – I’m usually already there by this point! I’ve found what helps me calm down is something that can take my mind off of my stress, release all of the extra (stress) energy that I’m internalizing, and something that is good for me.  I usually will exercise – and it seems to work.  Today, I went to the gym after work and focused on the workout. About 15 minutes in, I decided to add some extra weights during my weightlifting class and by the end of the routine – I was exhausted and REFRESHED – because I was thinking about the exercise and not my stress.

Keeping the stress with you is only going to do damage to you.  Get it out in a healthy way that actually eliminates the exhaustion – it could be talking to someone, it could be running, it could be getting enough sleep.  Find what works for you and make it a priority to make it happen.

Tackle things in small pieces. Remember small progress is still progress.

I often wake up in the middle of the night when I’m stressed and think about all of the problems of the world. I need to fix everything and I’m too sleepy and disoriented for anything to make sense, so I spin my wheels and make no progress.  I’ve started forcing myself to write down the real things that I’ve developed and send them to myself in email.  Then I do something else until I can go back to sleep (so I don’t think about everything that has ever existed in the world that I need to fix).

When I wake up and I’m thinking clearly, I look at my email and am able to write down my “real” tasks so I can make progress today.  Then I focus only on what I can accomplish today or what I planning I need to accomplish so I can make tiny progress tomorrow.   When I think about the here-and-now, I realize that I’m making progress and it’s making a big difference over time.

There are many times where I have to tell my kids “No” because of something related to work or not take a work-related opportunity because of what it means for my kids.  I realize it’s the balance that will always exist in my life and I’m comfortable with my decisions and my progress. I know they’ll be good days, challenging days and important days in the future.  I’m working to make sure that my days are purposeful and that I make a difference with what I can do.

I’ve learned is purposeful positive thinking makes an enormous difference in my life, and I think it will benefit you as well.  When I’m feeling like a failure as a working mom, I remind myself of the power of purposeful positive thinking, because it works. Instead of thinking, “I can’t do it all,” I remember,  “I’m doing the best I can and my best is enough.”  Switching my thinking is a valuable reminder that gives me strength in challenging situations and makes me continue to do the best I can – to be the best mom, the best employee and the best person. 

I think that’s all I can ever really hope for.  And I’m happy with that. Because my best is enough.

Focus On What You Want Most

Lately, I’ve been focusing on what I want most.  It seems a little selfish at first blush, but it’s not.  This thought method helps align my focus with my values and makes me realize when I have a decision to make – I can think about what I want or what I want most.  I can’t always have both options, so I have to make decisions based on what is most important to me. It’s added incredible clarity and made me step out of my comfort zone even more.

I encourage you to stop and think about what you want most and let that guide you as you move forward.  Here is the organized strategy that has worked for me:

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The easiest 1000 conversations you’ll ever have

As a parent, I’ve been secretly dreading having “the big conversation” with my kids.  I know they’re necessary, but what a load of responsibility! This big conversation would have to be perfect! And then I heard something a few weeks ago that changed my entire perspective.

It’s not one conversation, but many, that will really make the difference. And I realized I’d already been doing this all along.  I encourage you to consider these organized strategies that have worked for me:

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The Power of Being New

I’ve been in a few situations lately where I’m the new person and I’m not sure what to do.  I’ve seen others avoid these situations because it’s often uncomfortable to be unsure of the next steps. I used to think that I was the same way, but I’ve realized that I do know what to do and I’m comfortable getting what I need – so if I’m new or I’m the expert, I’m making the best of the situation.

Even if you’re new, you can be more organized in managing this situation.  I encourage you to consider these strategies that have worked for me:

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Don’t Wait for Perfect – Live An Organized Life Today

I have entered a season in my life where my time seems to evaporate exponentially.  What I need to get done continues to pile up and I’m lucky to have time and focus to write down my tasks.  My house is piling up with projects and my work life is just as busy.  

I recently realized something, though.  I’m making many things harder than they need to be.  I’m thinking about the giant task that needs to be completed – expecting perfection and overthinking everything.  It’s not working. So I changed my perspective to an organized solution and started working on the easiest things first.  Sure, I felt like I was cheating, but I began making significant progress on my items and it made me feel better about the other things I needed to do.

You can live a more organized life, I encourage you to consider these strategies that have worked for me:

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