For years, I had plenty of excuses as to why I wasn’t able to successfully lose weight. When I was at a job that was stressful, I blamed it on the fact that I wasn’t happy with what I was doing 40+ hours a week. When I was living with my parents, I blamed the fact that I didn’t have a clean kitchen to work with. I would have friends suggest various fad diets to try in order to drop the weight, but I knew exactly what I needed to do to drop the weight in a healthy way – I just had too many excuses to even try.

I used to fantasize about my ideal situation. I imagined living by myself in a two bedroom house with a nice, clean kitchen. My second bedroom would be a workout and craft room so I wouldn’t have any excuse as to why I didn’t get a workout in. I would have a job that I didn’t find stressful and that I actually enjoyed. I could avoid eating Oreos because they wouldn’t even be in my kitchen because no one else would be doing the grocery shopping. I wouldn’t have to worry about my healthy foods getting pushed to the back of the fridge or cabinet because I had control over it all. I would have a clean counter so it would basically be like a blank canvas each time I wanted to prepare a healthy meal. I would get up, workout, and eat a healthy breakfast and be a happy, healthy person.

A few years back, and two jobs ago, I was starting to make some big changes that were making me happy. I had started a new position that I was enjoying after spending years in a stressful position at the same company. I was going back to school and I had managed to drop about 20 pounds. Unfortunately, a surprise shift in my new position came and I decided it was time to leave the company and start somewhere new. It was an exciting time for my future. Little did I know, it was going to be exciting in a different way and it wasn’t going to happen right away.

I started my new job and soon found my excitement diminishing. I found that starting a new job, which I quickly learned that I wasn’t going to enjoy, and tackling an almost full-time college schedule, meant that the weight I had just lost was coming back – plus more.

Jump ahead a year and I’m at a new job and I finally have a two bedroom place of my own and I’m very happy with where my life is and where it’s headed. Jump ahead another year and I’m at the same place and the same job – but I still weigh the same. I found that I loved living on my own so much because no one was around to judge my food intake. I loved cooking while drinking wine or mixed cocktails. I loved watching movies or back-to-back episodes on Netflix and snacking on popcorn and candy and soda – or more wine. I loved lounging around doing nothing on weekends and evenings and drinking lots of sugary coffees – and more wine or mixed drinks — without a care in the world.

“I realized that I no longer had the excuses that I used to have.”

As my 10-year high school reunion approached in June 2015, I realized how little time I had to drop some of the [large amount of] weight that I wanted to lose. At this same time, I realized that I no longer had the excuses that I used to have. I finally had the non-stressful job and the two bedroom home with the workout room and a clean kitchen. So why hadn’t I been taking advantage of it?

I basically had an epiphany. I was straight-up out of excuses and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. For years, I had dreamt about my current living, education, and work situation and now that it was here – I had totally lost sight of one of the biggest reasons I wanted it. I wanted this life so I could be happy and healthy and that I could continue onto bigger and better things. I remember what it’s like to be healthy and thin, and how much confidence I used to have and how that seems to have such a big impact on one’s life. And it finally feels like it’s attainable, once again.

Here I sit, 8 months after that I had that epiphany, happy to report that I’ve lost 29.2 pounds. (Plus, I have a sweet new Excuses Don’t Burn Calories shirt!) This is the biggest weight drop I’ve seen in the 10 years since I graduated high school. I had made small headway a handful of times since I graduated, but never more than 20 pounds. I was worried that I was repeating history when I had hit a plateau for nearly 3 months…but ever since I broke past that, I feel like I’m kicking some serious ass again. Each week post-plateau, even with the holidays in the mix, I’ve seen the numbers on the scale drop. And that definitely keeps me motivated!

These past 8 months have included a lot less drinks while cooking, sugary foods and drinks without a care, and lazy nights and weekends. Working out is a big part of my routine now — so much that it’s second nature and I don’t even have to think twice about doing it. Plus, I’ve tracked my meals every day since I started. And I don’t take advantage of sugary drinks or snacks! They’re consumed in moderation and savored instead. I’ve developed healthier habits and I’m happy they’re making an impact on the scale.

I’ve decided to not make any big changes to my lifestyle until I’ve dropped the remaining weight so that I don’t do what I did to myself a few years back. I want to continue focusing on me until I’ve reached my goal weight because that needs to be my priority. Don’t let excuses get in the way of your goals too!