Do not be dismayed when you have seemingly regressed with a life goal. We truly never go backwards despite how much it feels so. We carry every single accomplishment with us into our future battles as armor and tools that make us ever stronger than before. Experience is a powerful tool. Successful experience is a powerful tool amped up. Use that energy of empowerment that stems from your memories of past successes as fuel for your fight.

My journey in weight loss has strode alongside my spirit the vast majority of my life. Sometimes it is up, and sometimes it is down. Sometimes I feel strong; other times weak. If you are not familiar with my journey, check out Transformation, Transformation Part II, and of course What to Do, What to Do.

The journey has circled around again. The pattern continues. My goal this time is not simply to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, active lifestyle, and physical wellness. I have a new, clear goal that I have never really thought of before and that is to break the pattern. We all know life can get “lifey.” Things happen. COVID was not the plan. So much more was not in my plan. Yet that is life. Before COVID, I was dancing six plus hours per week, weighed about 140 pounds, and had my self-care in check. COVID came along and crushed my self-care like a bug. More challenges ensued. Stress grew. Life was complicated. Yada yada yada. I need not continue in the specifics because it sounds very much like a truckload of excuses which have, by nature, never gotten me anywhere.

Instead, I come to a point of continual growth and new opportunity to battle again, armed stronger than ever before. I now weigh 172 pounds (let’s be honest, 176 according to the doctor). My scale flatters me. lol

As I begin this next journey, I look back at the successes I have had to fuel my motivation and belief. Belief is step-zero. I know I can get back down to a healthy weight because I have done it before. That is evidence number one. When my weight was at it’s peak in 2009, I weighed 285 pounds. When I married Jerry, I was 135. When I was fully pregnant with Stella, I was 170. Less than my current weight. Holy moly. Yet my belief sustains me. I know I can get back down to the 130’s and I can do it without dieting. I will not diet. As I always say, diet may as well stand for die today. Blah. Diets are based in shame. I will not fuel shame. Also, just say no to keto. Let’s be honest. It IS a diet.

So what have I started to do now that WILL bring me to goal?! Step 1: Over 100 days ago, I started keeping a food journal. Awareness is the first step. I actually realized over the past several months I am eating pretty healthy. However, I am eating more than my body needs for fuel each day. In part because I have been on a limited sugar, nutrient dense adventure for awhile now, for multiple health reasons, which has led me to an exciting experience of creating and crafting foods and meals that I truly enjoy to eat. Unfortunately, as a short girl who works remotely at a desk, my calorie count needs to be far lower than it has been in recent months. Step 2: Counting calories. This is a continuation of awareness that is taking my food journal to the next level in helping me honestly assess where I need to make nutritional adjustments. I am aware that 1405 calories per day will MAINTAIN my current weight. You need a net difference of 500 calories per day every day to lose one pound a week. As a result, if I want to lose two pounds a week, which would be a modest goal by today’s standards, I need to keep my calories under 905 and burn 500 calories a day extra in exercise. I can do that, but it takes a rigidity and commitment that requires focus and consistent intentionality.

I hope it is clear that, at least to me, food journaling, calorie counting and routine exercise are NOT dieting. They are health management. Health management is based in personal responsibility versus dieting as I said being based in shame. Big difference.

Back to belief. It is so important to pull from past accomplishments to fuel self-confidence. I CAN do this. End of story. I not only lost a TON of weight in 2009-2010, but I lost forty pounds in 2018 on my exercise/health improvement journey that began with the Tunnel to Towers Charlotte Tower Climb, which led to the Rugged Maniac, which led to the Freedom Tower Climb, which culminated with me completing the New York City Marathon for Tunnel to Towers on November 3, 2019, Jerry’s birthday. It was a beautiful and glorious journey. One I would gladly repeat. So when you feel like you have regressed, you feel deja vous and you feel frustrated that you seem to be losing the SAME forty pounds yet AGAIN, remember this; the journey is a deeply fulfilling part of working toward the goal. Do not focus on the goal. Stay present in the journey. That is where the magic happens.

Wishing us all a successful walk this time around,

Nikola Rosa