A few weeks back I had another birthday and I love birthdays. During that day I had a huge wake up call – I decided I had enough! I was trying to decide what to wear for my birthday dinner, and I could no longer bear the thought that my choices were so limited. It wasn’t due to the lack of inventory in my closet. It was due to one simple, no longer deniable fact, I gained weight. Not just those few end of year pounds gained due to holiday indulgence, but from the food choices made over many months.

I have made a decision and a personal declaration – I no longer want to only wear pants with elastic waist bands! I want to reclaim zippers back in my life. I no longer wanted to blame the excess weight on my belly to menopause. I no longer wanted to blame my puffy face on water retention. No more excuses. I no longer wanted worry that someday I may not be able to get off the toilet by myself because I was overweight and not functionally fit.

I am simply tired of the narrative I have had for myself since junior high school of being overweight. I remember I used to wrap my winter coat around my lower body when sitting in class to hide my hips. More recently after having completed two triathlons, I commented about both my belly and thighs in the photos. This is how automatic it has been for me.

I am so tired of shedding tears around this issue. I know I am not defined by my weight. I know it is not about the food. I know the steps to take. I am dealing with my fears. I want to feel and be healthy. I know longer want to crop photos, and blame it all on menopause.

I took a few baby steps to make the changes for a healthier me and no one else. I am a big believer in the concept of Kaizen. This Japanese word is based on the belief that continuous, incremental improvement adds up to substantial change over time. It was originaly implemented in manufacturing plants in Japan; though it’s applicability to personal change is quite relevant. It’s fitting that the Japanese word kaizen translates to “good change.”

I’m back to swimming, practicing yoga, and working out consistently; six days a week. I’m being accountable with my food and writing down everything, and I mean everything I eat and drink. I am going to bed at the same time almost each night. I am learning more about nutrition (macro nutrients for example) and how to be the most healthy for the rest of my life. I am continuing to do things that scare me; i.e., signing up for my first swim meet! It is about health and wellness; and not body image. Intellectually I get it; it remains a personal struggle. Also each day, I begin with three gratitudes; and repeat positive affirmations throughout the day. It may look like I’m talking to myself. Don’t worry, I am intentionally.

So when you see me out and about, and online, I accept all forms of support, encouragement and love.

As Oprah so eloquently said recently: “I have decided. I have made a decision. I can. I will. Watch me now.”

I am learning that all is ok. I’m not striving to be thin or perfect. I simply want my zippers back.

Hope my sharing can help others on their journey to self-compassion, self-love and acceptance.

I’m not done yet!!!!! #nomoreelasticwaist