Sometime in the not-so-distant past, I figured out what I would need to do to reach my ideal size. At the time, I decided if something required that much work and sacrifice, it wasn’t meant to be. “Life is short,” I told myself. “Why waste your precious little time on earth depriving yourself of food you love and torturing your body?”

I’ve spent the past few months answering that very question. I started by actually doing, rather than fearing, what I needed to do. I pushed myself at every workout. I said “no” to one more piece of chocolate, one more helping of pasta, one measly tall caramel mocha. What “depriving myself” and “torturing my body” taught me was that taking care of myself made me feel good.  It was the kind of good that lasted way longer than the satisfaction a couple (or 20) of Hershey’s Kisses gave me.  I went to bed more pleased with myself after a tough workout than after a night spent in front of the TV.

The story doesn’t end there. Over the Christmas/New Year holiday, I reverted. I ate whatever, whenever. I didn’t track my foods. The few times I did work out I barely raised my heart rate. And I was miserable.

I couldn’t enjoy the “food I loved” anymore.  Every time I snuck a piece of chocolate, a part of me (which refused to go away, no matter what I did) shook her head, disgusted.  “You know you don’t want that,” she said, reproachful. “You don’t even like it anymore. You’re just eating it because it’s there and you’re bored. Which would be fine if it wasn’t 200 extra pointless calories you’re putting into your body.”  What had happened to Little Miss YOLO?  It was like the Paula Deen in my head had morphed in Jillian Michaels. 

What had happened was, I had figured out that it was worth the effort.  I was worth the effort.  I had been looking at things the completley wrong way.  Eating healthy isn’t about depriving myself.  Exercising to the fullest of my ability isn’t torture.  I am taking care of myself. I am enriching the quality of my short time on Earth. 

I may not ever get to my “ideal size”, whatever that may be, but I will continue to push myself physically until I can’t anymore. I will continue to strive to fill my stomach with what the best of God’s earth has to offer.

Why do I do it?

Because I’m worth it.

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