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Success starts with forgiveness.

Here we are, beginning a new year, but most of us have the same old resolutions. While I am excited to say that my resolution is a continuation of the habits I formed in 2020, I do feel a new sense of energy and commitment to my self-generated program. Part of this energy is coming from friends and family, both old and new. The in-person, along with web-based conversations and comments have really bolstered my efforts and given me a much needed kick in the pants at the most opportune times. Those messages have also reminded me about the importance of forgiveness and how it has the power to rocket you much further on your journey.

Sadly, I already needed to deploy this strategy on myself because I overate last night, which was only day 2 of my “renewed commitment” to eating healthier in 2021. (I’m even a little embarrassed to admit it.) I made good decisions all day long and then after supper, when I was finally done cooking and cleaning for the day, I hit a wall and just went nuts! I dug into the chocolate and fudge that had been lying on the counter for days. It’s like something inside me snapped and I started reaching for anything with chocolate inside it. I did not eat until I was sick, thankfully, but I came close. I decided to brush my teeth because that seems to stop my binging. It worked and by 10:00pm, I was finally done overeating.

My dreams last night were vibrant and guilt-ridden in part because of my behavior before bed. Those same feelings plagued me for the first half of the day, but I was able to brush them aside while I cooked breakfast for my sister and her two big kids before they went home after our long weekend together. I made French toast and sausage while my husband scrambled some eggs. Because of my disgust and guilt, I did not measure my food properly, but I did make my own special low-calorie French toast pieces and I am pretty sure that I made some good guesses as to how much I ate when I tracked the calories into My Fitness Pal.

After my sister and her kids left, I finished cleaning up, got dressed to head to the gym for a nice long walk and sat down to check my messages while my ear buds charged. It was the perfect remedy for my slumped shoulders and shame. I read all kinds of messages, telling me “good job” and “keep it up,” but also messages like, “I will join you” and “thank you for sharing your life with us.” As I sat and read those words, my heart started to warm up and I suddenly felt the urge to get to the gym as quickly as possible so I could literally keep moving forward on this amazing journey.

As I walked the 4 miles in 63 minutes – which added 426 much-needed food calories to my diary – I listened to music and thought about my progress. Of course I wish I was already at my goal but that would not mean I could stop eating healthier. Now I finally realize that the only way I will keep the extra weight off is if I make these new habits a permanent life-style. I have been following this plan for over 6 months now, so I have finally accepted this truth – for the most part.

But when I do experience days, or just parts of days, when I eat outside of the limits I have set for myself, the first thing I need to do is forgive myself and forget that it happened. I am not saying that I should forget the events that lead to overeating because there are lessons to be learned, but dwelling on the guilt and resentment will not help me to get past the mistake.

The benefits of forgiveness extend beyond just forgiving yourself, too. Some of the messages I have been receiving in the last few months have come from some surprising sources. Just when I thought I knew which people were dragging me down and hoping I would fail, I got the most heart-felt messages from them, inspiring me more than anyone had in days. I guess the old saying really is true – “you can’t judge a book by its cover” – meaning I was wrong to think so negatively about them.

Some of those people really have said and done hurtful things to me, but the second I decided to forgive them, I was able to embrace their inspiring words and advance myself even further down the path of my journey.

Plus, forgiveness is so darn freeing!

When I begin each new day, I try really hard to forget what happened yesterday, much less the last 25 years, and take full advantage of the knowledge, resources and habits I have recently formed that will get me through the day and lead to continued success. When I keep my eyes on the future and not on the past, life feels so much lighter, both figuratively and now literally!

As I am walking at the gym with music playing in my ears, I can fully embrace my success without be tripped up by my missteps. You should see me. I am bopping along to the music, mouthing the words and probably even dancing a little. Being a singer, it’s hard for me to lip sync, but getting kicked out of the gym would be counter-productive to my goals – ha!

With family here this weekend, it was harder than normal to eat healthier, especially since we were celebrating the holidays with our teenagers, who are among the least-healthy eating creatures on earth! So all in all, I did pretty well. This upcoming week will be much easier on me, since I work every day and can simply follow the healthy habits I have been doing for the last few months.

After calculating my breakfast and then walking those 4 miles, I had enough calories leftover today to have a late-afternoon protein shake and then a small bowl of chili for supper, meaning I stayed within my calorie limit today!

Hitting that magical “COMPLETE DIARY” button at the end of a successful day is one of my absolute favorite things to do when I am tracking my calories. Not only do I get to feel good about my choices for the day, but I also get to see how much I would weigh in 5 weeks “if every day were like today.” For the last month or so, that number has always been in One-derland, so I know I am just days away from seeing an ACTUAL number in the 100s. But first, I need to forgive myself for the days I overate in the last few holiday-filled weeks so I can give 100% of my focus on making smarter choices while I start packing my bags and making plans for the wonderful life waiting for me just over the hill.

As I said earlier, your comments really inspire me to keep going, so please share your thoughts and ideas! Better yet, subscribe to my website and then go to the Forum page and tell us your ultimate dream. Let me, and the other subscribers, be your biggest supporters! Putting it out there for the world to see can lead to powerful changes - believe me!

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Awesome job girl!! I'm definitely joining you! I'll be stalking you daily checking to see that wonderland post!! I could call it Connie's Dream too! Ha!

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