So, if you’ve spent more than a day or so with me you’ve probably seen me with a camera pressed to my eye at some point. And if you’ve seen me with a camera you’ve probably heard me say something along the lines of, “No, thank you, I prefer to stay behind the camera.”

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Alright, confession time… I’ve gained more than 30 pounds over the last five years.

I’ve been carrying this weight around for some time now, and when most people look at me they see me as I am right now because they don’t know me any differently.

The problem?

That’s not how I see myself at all. In fact, somehow I still see myself as the thin, petite, fun-loving person I was for decades.

When I get dressed in the morning I do it with the image of that woman in mind.

Obviously, on some subconscious level (beyond having to buy larger clothes) a part of me realizes that I don’t look the same – hence the, “I prefer to stay behind the camera.” I even keep a copy of an old driver’s license on my desk at work from my thinner days to remind me to make good choices.

However, I haven’t committed, fully, to changing my lifestyle. I’ve been on and off the wagon. I lost 11 pounds this year, only to gain it all back within two months when a health scare threw me off track for a couple of weeks. There’s always an excuse or a reason to wait until tomorrow.

…Putting aside all the emotional baggage that might have led me to this point – I’m done with excuses. This year has cleared my mind of a lot, and this is the final step towards fully finding that woman again, of being the healthy, happy woman I see inside – the one I want my kids to look up to and emulate.

How did I come to this realization you might ask? Well, a couple of weeks ago someone got a hold of my camera, and this happened…

You can imagine my surprise when I started going through the photos I had taken at the SEMA trade show for work and came across this stranger! She resembles me, but I’m not really sure who she is? There’s no way that’s me! I only have one chin!!

I’ve written about weight loss before, but I battled privately. I have amazing role models available in this area that I’ve seen overcome their own struggles and I’ve been inspired, but nothing has sunk in quite as much as not recognizing myself in a photo…

So, here’s where it changes. I’m putting it out there. I’m basically mortified to talk about this publicly, but what I realized is that all of you have been seeing me as I am this whole time and the only person living in denial has been me!

I need to be held accountable, and as I get serious about making healthy eating choices, correcting portion sizes and becoming consistent with exercise (yes, I’m doing this the old-school way!) I will be one of “those” people. I will talk about my struggles and successes and I will hope to have the same experience as my amazing role models, Missy Melin and Kari Bailey, who have changed their lives and their children’s lives for the better.

Hopefully, within the next six months to a year, we’ll be seeing this woman in the mirror again – for real!