Wow. 20 weeks. Can you believe it? Some days I really can’t! Here are a few things I’ve learned over the last 20 weeks:

  • No matter what happens, you have to stay positive! Some days will be harder than others, and you’ll fall off the wagon, but the important thing is to realize you’re doing it, forgive yourself for making a mistake and recommit to being healthy. As Jenna, a fellow blogger, said in a recent article: You will not gain weight from one indulgent night on the town. It’s OK.
  • You can’t expect to get healthy if you’re not doing it for yourself. In addition, you can’t force anyone else to become healthy. When you want it for YOU is when it will happen.
  • Start with small changes. No one says the only way to get in the pool is to jump into the deep end with both feet. It’s TOTALLY OK to wade in from zero-depth entrance. If cutting out all soda is too much, try cutting out one a day. If trying a new fruit/vegetable a week is too much, try one a month. Go at your own pace. And don’t let anyone else tell you how you should be doing things – only YOU know what is best for YOU.
  • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! It’s the only one you’ve got – so be nice. Everything you feel is your body’s way of telling you what’s going on. It may take a while to decipher what it’s telling you, but it will happen.
  • Numbers on the scale are just that – numbers. They don’t mean anything. Base your weight-loss on how you FEEL.
  • Celebrate your accomplishments – no matter how small. Set up a reward system and stick to it. Find inexpensive things (nail polish, new magazine, new book, CD, etc.) to reward yourself for accomplishments. It will make you feel good and keep you motivated.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things – you never know what you may find you like. Try yoga, or a spinning class, or running (the C25K program is awesome for beginners). Try new, healthy foods like lentils, millet, almond butter, a green monster/smoothie, chia seeds, quinoa, etc.

Here are a few photos I had Scott take of me today. I couldn’t decide which I liked better – I see flaws in each – but at the same time, I have to compare that to the photos I took 20 weeks ago (bottom). Even though I didn’t reach the 20 lb. loss mark, I’m still extremely proud of the 15.6 lbs I have lost.

Jess at end of 20/20 challenge

Jess at end of 20/20 challenge

Jess at end of 20/20 challenge - 15.6 lbs. lighter

Jess at end of 20/20 challenge

Jess at end of 20/20 challenge

Jess at end of 20/20 challenge

Jess at end of 20/20 challenge

Jess at end of 20/20 challenge

Jess before 20/20 challenge at 156 lbs.

Jess before 20/20 challenge at 156 lbs.

Jess before 20/20 challenge at 156 lbs.

Jess before 20/20 challenge at 156 lbs.

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