” When are you due?”

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 “When are you due?”  The red-haired lady looked at me with kind eyes and smiled as I placed the box of cookies in my grocery cart.  She’d caught me off guard.

“Excuse me?”  I replied.

“The baby.”  She nodded toward my stomach.  “When are you due?”

I responded as quickly as my mind could calculate the months.  “February.”

“Awww, well, congratulations.”  She smiled again and pushed her cart off down the aisle.  I stood there for a moment.  Processing.  Mortified.  It was all I could do to hold back the tears.  I wasn’t pregnant.  But, I was too embarrassed to admit that to a complete stranger.

I stared at the items in my cart – cookies, chips, soda, and more carbs than any one person should be consuming in a week.  I know I must have looked like a lunatic as I removed item after item from my cart, placing them back on the shelves as I reversed my trek through the store.  For the next 20 minutes, I fought the urge to cry while speeding through the produce section, grabbing anything and everything there that I knew I didn’t hate.

When I finally made it to my car, I practically threw the bags into the trunk, collapsed into the driver’s seat, cranked the car, turned the radio up...and lost it.  I sat there and just cried.  I don’t remember how many songs had played before one got my attention.   "Shine" by Anna Nalick.  Three particular lines were loud enough to pierce through my sobbing. 

"I think you need to stop following misery’s lead...Isn't it time you got over how fragile you are?  Everyone is waiting on your supernova."  I suddenly realized I couldn’t keep on thinking I wasn’t strong enough to change.  I needed to take the lead.  There were people in my life who needed me to be strong enough, who were waiting for my supernova.  They were just waiting for me to become the best version of me.  They deserved the best version  – a healthy me. 

But at the very core, I knew I had to do it for myself as much as for my children and my family.  It was time for my transformation...mentally and physically.

I drove home that day, grabbed a trash bag and emptied my cabinets and refrigerator of any junk food or foods that I knew would be a weakness for me.  I replaced it with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grain foods.  I sat down that night and wrote my goals on a piece of printer paper and stuck it on my refrigerator door.   I put post-it notes with encouraging quotes written on them all over my house in places I knew I’d see them: my closet door, the bathroom mirror, my computer screen.  I knew I would have to find ways to keep myself on point and motivated.  The one quote that I knew would hit home every time was the one I wrote on the bottom of every sticky note. “When are you due?”

I found other ways to stay on track too. 

I write it out.  I discuss my weight loss struggles and victories on my blog and Facebook page.  It helps me to stay accountable and maybe in the process I’ll encourage someone else who might be struggling alone the way.

I load up on liquids.  I don’t mean the sugary ones, either.  Water.  Lots of water.  But I know water can get boring.  Believe me, I know.  So I like to shake it up by adding a squeeze of lemon or MIO drops (blueberry lemonade is my favorite).

I keep track.  I write down what I’m eating and how I’m feeling.  Not just to keep up with calories, but in order to see if there are certain foods that make me feel like crap.  I also don’t weigh myself daily.  Once a week is the limit, twice a month would be better.  Our bodies can fluctuate, there’s no reason our moods should too just because the number on the scale does.  Look at the overall progress.

I snack smart.  I keep my favorite healthy snacks easily available.  If I’m craving chocolate, I eat a handful of Dark Cocoa almonds (it’s pure cocoa with no sugar).  They keep the cravings satisfied and keep my friends from finding me hiding in the supply closet with two Hershey bars and a Pepsi.

We all have our challenges to face, our goals to reach, and our own reasons to stay motivated.  You just have to find yours and find a way to remind yourself daily of what they are.  Remind yourself daily that you are strong enough to overcome the challenges and reach your goals.  No matter what those goals are.  So, when are you due?

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