Yesterday afternoon I was checking my e-mail and I got an appointment reminder. It was my Sparkiversary aka the day I joined SparkPeople. You can read more about it by reading my You Are Worth It post there. It has links to all of my previous Sparkiversary’s as well. I have learned a lot!

Five years ago yesterday a friend mentioned a website she was using to track her fitness routine. It had a nutrition tracker too, she said. How cool would it be to take my goal of losing weight and push it to the next level?

You see, I got married in October of 2006 and I had shared my desire to start a healthier lifestyle before trying to have children. I wanted to show my future children a healthy way to live. I wanted to be able to run, jump and play with them. I didn’t want to look like this anymore.

I wanted to change. I started to play around with the trackers and was absolutely SHOCKED by how many calories I ate in a day. I didn’t eat often. I didn’t eat much. But those calories added up quickly.

At first I just cut back on what I was eating. I didn’t think anything of eating a muffin for breakfast and for lunch. I didn’t really snack and I thought I was eating less calories.

Then I discovered that the store muffins that I thought were about 300 calories each were actually more like 900 calories each. If I hadn’t started going for walks, I wouldn’t have lost any weight! Once I cut back on the junk the weight started to come off more easily.

Each change I made (starting to walk, joining a gym, paying more attention to the food I was putting into my mouth, trying to stay away from foods with ingredients I can’t pronounce) happened slowly. I didn’t change more than one or two things at a time.

But I wasn’t truly successful until I realized something that I think is one of the most important weight loss tools: I realized I was worth it.

I was worth changing for. I was worth the extra effort and care to live a healthier life.

And guess what? You are too. If I can be successful at weight loss, anyone can! I truly think that it takes different things for different people to be successful. It will take some trial and error. It won’t happen right away. It’s completely worth it to simply try. Try and find out what works for you, your situation, your body, your lifestyle.

Because trust me, life feels a lot more awesome in my body now than it did then.

I have more energy (even with finally being diagnosed with hypothyroidism) now than I did then. I still haven’t quite gotten over my social anxiety, but I think we all change and evolve over time. I’m not the same person today that I was five years ago, and I’m not the same person today that I will be in five years.

What was my original point? Oh yeah: if I can do it, you can too! It won’t be easy. It takes hard work to overhaul your life. But it’s worth it. And you are too.

What’s the hardest change you’ve ever had to make in your life? Mine was to lose weight and it’s just the beginning of truly learning to treat myself better.