lost and found

My Year of Sweat 365-day challenge is now complete, and while I have shared the valuable lessons learned, I have not yet tallied the more tangible successes. i.e. What is it that I have gained and lost along the way?

I’m guessing most people are interested in the physical changes, although – it’s funny – I’m not nearly as concerned about the numbers anymore. (Count that as a huge gain in psychological wellness!). But for the sake of the actual stats, I have officially lost 2 dress sizes and 20 lbs.

I’ve gained a lot of muscle, so if I had to guess, I’d say I’ve lost more than 25 lbs of fat and gained about 5 lbs of muscle to net out the 20 lbs total I’m down. I can’t confirm these numbers until I do a proper body mass analysis test and my BMI scale is in Vegas. The last time I checked BMI, in September, I was down 5%.

The other important factoid here is that the net 20 lbs that I’m down has stayed off for approximately 6 months. Even during Thanksgiving (x2 = Canada and U.S.) and Christmas.

And, remarkably, even though I’ve eaten my weight in Christmas cookies – I haven’t gained a pound. It’s like magic. Or voodoo. Or just daily exercise. Take your pick.


Great Success!


The week before Christmas I had a dental appointment at which I had to update my patient profile card. When I was settled in the chair, the hygienist reviewed my form and asked what, if anything, had changed. I told her my medication had changed. I was no longer taking any pills for my blood pressure. She looked at me with wide eyes and said, “I thought once you were on those you were on for life“.

I responded, well, evidently so did my doctor, but I decided to prove him wrong.

That’s right friends, one year into this journey I no longer require medication to regulate my blood pressure! This may be the single biggest loss I’ve incurred. And also counts as a giant gain (i.e my good health!).

LOST: 1 daily dose of blood pressure medication.

Other things I’ve lost:

  • Negative attitude; Not completely, mind you, but I’ve come a long way.
  • An “I can’t” mindset; I now approach really challenging things with a “how can I get there?” way of thinking.
  • Fear of failure; Again, not 100%, but still so much progress in this area.
  • A big dose of unhealthy ego; The loss of my fear of failure was a major driver in fixing some of my ego issues.

What else did I lose? My anger. My constant [and harsh] judgment of body. My avoidance of mirrors. And also my stupid fear of having my picture taken. Or, God forbid, posted on Facebook [tagging me, of course], making sure all my friends and family could see it too.

These are things I’m so grateful to have lost, and hope to never find again.

As I think about all I’ve gained this year, the list is dizzying. If I had known that simple act of exercising would provide such an embarrassment of riches… well, woulda, coulda, shoulda… No point second guessing why I started so late in life. I’d rather just reflect on all the good this has brought.

The Monday before Christmas, after finishing up last-minute Christmas shopping, my husband, son and I grabbed some dinner out. (We were at 48 hours with no power at this point.)  While we awaited our food, my son and I started talking about My Year of Sweat.

He asked me how I felt about everything, with the end in sight. We talked in big picture terms. I explained how much more energetic I feel now, how much better I sleep, how much bigger my goals are.

He responded with, “Mom, you just look so much happier now.”

I nearly cried.

My boy was proud of me for my accomplishments, but more than anything, he was just happy that I was finally happy.

I found happiness. Count this as my biggest gain.

Happy and warm at my in-laws house where the power was on!

Other things I’ve found on this journey:

  • Confidence; The real kind, not the mask I wore in the past.
  • Energy; I now find excuses to go up to the second floor or down to the basement rather than pile stuff on the staircase so that I can take them in one trip!
  • Optimism; My life is far from perfect, but I find myself looking at the future with a huge sense of excitement. I will always worry and stress, but I’m doing it a lot less these days.
  • Self-love; For the first time in a long time (maybe ever) I can honestly say I look in the mirror and see someone who is good, beautiful, capable, accomplished and deserving.

And what else did I find? Joy. Silliness (*see matching pajama pic above). Adventure. And friendship.

Specifically a renewed friendship with the Russian Princess. She and I have been friends a long, long time — I’m thinking around 15 years or so — but with her move to Denver and life in general, we weren’t in touch much.

Whenever we saw each other, we picked up where we had left off, but it didn’t seem we did that often enough.

Drinking Moscow Mules. I don't know why the camera became an x-ray. My blouse is not THAT see-through.

Drinking Moscow Mules.

As I’ve mentioned about a bazillion times, this whole crazy journey started with our amazing trip to BLR Fitness Ridge.

And she has cheered me on every step of the way since then.

How all this sweat managed to make us closer, I’m not sure, but it has.

And for this I am exceptionally grateful.

This past year has brought many challenges and many achievements. I became a runner. I climbed the second highest mountain in Southern California. I fought through prolonged bouts of illness to complete my daily workouts. And I got healthy and off prescription medication!

I have seen what I am capable of. And also learned what I can’t do just yet.

And for those things I can’t do, I have found workarounds and ways to adapt. I still try. Trying rocks.

My Year of Sweat may have come to an end, but my new outlook on life has just begun. I’m excited. I’m motivated. But above all this, I’m damned proud of myself.

I didn’t just talk about this. I did it.

I invested in myself. And that wee little investment yielded the best ROI ever: a new me.


Several of you have asked me what’s next for me, and for the blog. I’m not 100% sure, to be honest. I know it’s important for me to continue to set goals for myself.

I don’t expect them to be declared in the form of a New Years Resolutions, rather as a set of new challenges. A new list of ways to push myself, stretch and grow in 2014.

I can’t wait to share them with you.

..keep moving,

xoxo nancy

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.”   ~Jane Austen

74 thoughts on “lost and found

  1. The best part is being able to be proud of yourself and enjoy that success that took lots of hard work! Way to go Nancy – you rocked it! Happy new year my friend!

  2. Awesome awesome gains!! It is amazing you have gained so much more than just a change on the scale and it is so great to see!
    It is amazing how the “simple” change to exercising every day (yes I know not actually simple in trh real life) has lead to such huge lifestyle and outlook changes 🙂

    it is also awesome that you losses are positive too 🙂

    amazing positivity in this post

    • It’s about so much more than a change on the scale, Sam, something I know you’re definitely aware of yourself. I suspected much of this would resonate with you (the fear of being photographed, etc.) — and now look at you, posing with your hats, not to mention your dancing and trying hard and scary new things, like gymnastics. When we shift our way of thinking we realize who we were meant to be all along.

  3. I am speechless.You went searching for weight loss and found so much more. Beauty outside and beauty inside.You are remarkable!

    • If I ever do publish the book of this journey, that is the subtitle I’ve been toying with, “losing weight and finding myself..” or something along those lines. 🙂
      Kelly, thank you again for your kind and supportive words. I’m very lucky to have found you in this journey and I look forward to continuing to watch/hear about your growth as I pursue mine.

  4. A perfect post to tie in your accomplishment. The medical community has preached that even a loss of ten to twenty pounds can have a positive effect on one’s health (get him/her off blood pressure or diabetes meds, help the joints, etc.), and you’re proof of that. I think your blog serves as inspiration to all those who still need to get there, those who are maintaining being there, or those who simply want to better understand the process that maybe their loved ones are going through. Well done. 🙂

      • heehee… I’m such a dork. I saw the PJs at Old Navy (in the womens section) and just bought them in sizes that I hoped would fit all of us. It did turn out really cute though!

    • I’ve been having an internal argument about why the medical community is so quick to prescribe the meds rather than coach/advise on how to take a more proactive approach to addressing the issue through weight loss/diet/exercise. Part of me thinks it’s because they have no faith that the individual has the resolve/desire/ability to change. And the other, more cynical, side of me thinks it’s because of the big money in pharma and the increased billing that they (the docs) can make through guaranteed quarterly visits. I never saw my doctor regularly (other than annual check-ups and if something came up that needed attention), but once on the meds I had to see him 4 times a year minimum to do bloodwork, etc. to monitor my use of the meds. It’s a win-win for pharma and the doctor. I hope I’m wrong, but on some level I suspect it’s both the former and latter.
      Whatever it is, I’m just grateful I’m no longer putting those chemicals in my body.
      Thank you for your amazing support Carrie. xoxo

      • Given I’m in pediatrics and worked at a clinic with a large population of Medicaid and underinsured children, Big Pharma is really not something I’ve had to deal with, though I would like to give my adult-doc colleagues the benefit of the doubt and hope that this wouldn’t be their motivation. I think mostly it stems from the discomfort physicians have traditionally had in bringing up the issue of weight. Some feel the topic is too sensitive (a view that needs to change). I also think a huge issue is not having adequate time to address the issue. That’s one of the reasons I burned out in primary care and veered into the non-clinical side. I was trying to deal with complex issues in ten-minute time slots made necessary by the large number of patients wanting to be seen (we were the catch-all clinics). I enjoyed that setting and patient population, but I never had the time I needed to accomplish all the counseling I wanted to do. It’s definitely a system that needs fixing here in the US, even more so now with more people having insurance under the new law (which is a good thing).

        But I suppose there are always the bad apples in search of the dollar. Regardless, I agree completely. I’m not a fan of medication unless absolutely necessary, and if one can get there with non-pharmaceutical means then those should be the first avenues explored.

        Whoa, that sounded awfully clinical didn’t it? Must think of a joke. Quick…

  5. Yay! Yay! Yay! There is something so incredibly satisfying about achieving a BIG goal like this that inspires every single person who reads about it. Thank YOU so much for sharing your journey and accomplishment. As I’ve wrote about on my blog “goodness is catching” which means of course that we all get a boost fromYOUR boost in so many ways. And also congratulations for getting off that blood pressure medicine. I know of several people who have been able to accomplish that just by loosing weight and getting in shape…the doctors don’t tell people that because they simply don’t believe people will do what it takes…. Thank you again for sharing your success with us all….and please continue to share your insights because your perspective is special! 🙂 ~Kathy

    • Hi Kathy, thanks so much for your wonderful words and ongoing support and encouragement! I agree with your assessment of the reasons why the doctors take that approach to blood pressure (and cholesterol, among other) meds. I also suspect there is a more dark reason (see my response to Carrie below). I hope I’m wrong, but part of me believes that the almighty dollar has something to do with it…

      Thanks again for always contributing to the conversation with sage words and positive energy! xoxo

  6. Thank You Friend

    We all need someone,
    To talk to in our life,
    A friend to whom we go,
    In times of stress or strife.

    A friend who’s always there,
    Throughout the years,
    A friend we know will care,
    And take away our fears.

    A friend who’s always near,
    Waiting for our call,
    To wipe away our tears,
    And lift us when we fall.

    A loving friend indeed,
    On whom we can depend,
    To help us in our need,
    Thank you, precious friend

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your year. It serves as an inspiration and goal to many of us. I know I feel so much better when I exercise daily….even if it’s a quick thirty minute walk or bike ride. Since I’m a relatively new follower, I know you’ve shared much of your workout schedule, what about your dietary intake? Favorite foods, recipes, etc?
    Love the family photo 🙂

  8. You found YOU! And all that goes with it. It’s clear from your writings that you have a new spring in your step and there’s lots of joy! As a bonus you look fabulous! And you’ve given me and many others inspiration to move more! Thank you for that.

  9. It is very sad that this is the second post today that I’ve had to admit to reading on the toilet earlier in the day and returning to comment when I was NOT THERE.

    I think this is the most inspiring post you’ve ever written, Nancy (and that’s not to take anything away from the others.) As Tiny Lessons said, you found YOU, and that’s huge. As I go into the coming days and weeks, and I’m staring down the barrel of days when I don’t feel like doing anything, I’m going to stick this picture of you in your pajamas on my computer screen and drag my ass out and do it anyway. Thank you for that.

    • Toilet time is perfect reading time. 🙂

      You have a MASSIVE challenge ahead of you, and one you need to train hard for. If you need motivation I will call and yell at you every day, reminding you of my traction situation after the first 60km walk, which I failed to properly train for. 🙂

      Thank you for your comment about this being an inspiring post. It means a great deal to me. More than you know. xoxo

  10. Your accomplishments are what many people never achieve in a lifetime! People gain and lose pounds and muscle but to keep it off, improve your health and most importantly express your love of self is really the best thing you could do. The thing is, deep down, you always loved yourself to have done all this to begin with. Its like you finally cleared the air within so that you can have an open, honest and loving relationship with YOU. ha, make any sense or just babble? Sometimes our relationship with Self is not so different than relationships with others yet we don’t always care for ourselves the way we would a loved one. But you did, and that is awesome. xo

    • Makes perfect sense, Kerry, but let’s take a leap into the existential for a moment. 🙂

      If self love is present but is not acknowledged, does it really exist! If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it, does it make a sound? 🙂

      I’m so grateful for whatever forces finally allowed me to push through the clutter, the excuse, the bullshit, quite frankly, to make this happen.

      And you’re absolutely right, there is little difference between the relationship we have with ourselves and the relationship we have with others. As I wrote in my lessons learned post, you can’t truly love someone else, fully, until you love yourself that way.

      Thanks, as always, for your support and your participation in the conversation.

      • Absolutely, you cannot love well if you don’t take care and love yourself first.
        However, there are so many feelings and traits present in our lives and within ourselves that we know exist but don’t give proper acknowledgement. It is the reason some people can’t look themselves in the mirror, the reason we make poor decisions or run from things, because we know something exists but refuse to acknowledge it. Those walls we build around ourselves can be the obstruction to that acknowledgement but once we make the choice to tear those walls down and face ourselves and others for what we have always known was there, is when life truly opens up. In my opinion, at least. 😉

  11. I, too, find this a very inspiring personal story, Nancy. To get off the blood pressure medication is really so wonderful. You’ve been very dedicated to achieving the goal of “sweating” as a means to finding your best self and to have come to the end of the year with such a success story, is truly wonderful. May it lead to only greater joys in the coming year. ox Debra

  12. Wow Nancy! Best. Post. Ever. Look at how much you achieved in one year just with exercise. Regular exercise. You need to be the poster girl for something girlfriend!!! I love that comment about happiness from your son. Brought tears to my eyes. And those matching jammies ROCK! You go girl. You have changed your LIFE. That must feel incredible.

    PS I’ve started a second secret blog because I have a whole lot of stuff to write about that I don’t want people in my day to day world reading (like trying to have a 2nd baby with my ex for starters). I’ll still be posting at my other one too. You can check it out here if you are interested: thesecretlifeofemilymaine@wordpress.com X

  13. I LOVE the matching pajama pic– I wish wish wish I could get my family to do something like that. I love this recounting of the things you lost and found– and super CONGRATS on the blood pressure thing, that is so kick ass! Our bodies are amazing, what they can do.
    I can’t wait to see what else is coming for this year… wooo! I’m always in a good mood when I leave your blog. (no pressure, of course, if you ever feel grumpy 😉

    • My family had no choice in the matter. 🙂 I bought the PJs, packed them up to take to the annual Christmas Eve sleepover at the in-laws and then demanded they put them on before we dug into our presents. They know enough not to argue with me once I’ve set my mind on something. 🙂

      Thanks so much for the support and encouragement. I’m very proud of myself for having taken control of my health to get myself off the BP meds. Hugely so.

      Can’t wait to share my monthly goals with you guys. The first of which I just kicked off this morning. I’m guessing it’ll have me pretty grumpy within 24 hours. Perhaps less. So next blog post may be a tad snarky. 😉

  14. Well done, Jedi! I really enjoyed this post. Aside from reading about your successful weight loss, the other losses are equally important. The journey was one of physical and mental health. All the positives that you’ve gained, while eliminating the negative ones. The pictures help me put a face to the posts. I’m happy to have discovered your blog. 🙂


  15. Loved this post, NT! Like your son, I’m glad you found your happy. 😀 And your silly. Silly is good.

    And I’ve always loved that Jane Austen quote ~ we want to feel GREAT about ourselves without worrying about whether anyone else thinks we’re great.

  16. Pingback: it’s actually worse than I thought it was | my year[s] of sweat!

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