Today something wonderful happened.

While prepping for a volunteer event requiring “cowgirl chic” – and realizing too late that my roomiest pair of jeans were in the wash – I reluctantly reached for the only other jeans in my closet.

Two sizes too small, this pair hasn’t fit my person in two years.

Until today.

What I haven’t really seen on the scale, nor when I look in the mirror, became fully apparent in that moment when I realized I wasn’t sucking in or bulging out.

I’ve made a real lifestyle change. And – praise everything – it’s finally showing.

I almost turned a cartwheel right then and there in my closet.

I like – no, I love – food. Researching it. Cooking it. Eating it.

Cooking for others is one of the ways I care not only for family but also friends. My heart is especially happy when our table is surrounded by those outside our core four, piling together to enjoy a delicious dinner and the fellowship that ensues.

But I got way tired of having low energy and living in yoga pants. I was the biggest I’d ever been, even enduring a memorably awkward moment when someone put a hand on my stomach and asked if I was expecting a third baby.

So I joined a gym, politely declining the four figure personal training “offer” I received in the process, and set about doing this the old fashioned way.

The hardest part was accepting the harsh truth that my appearance had much more to do with what I did in the kitchen than the gym.

But accept it I did. And the progress that has fueled has given me motivation I never before knew I had:

  • It’s powering through push ups, even though I’m on my knees and not yet on my toes (we’ve all gotta start somewhere).
  • It’s slathering an apple slice with peanut butter, because that fuels me in a way chip and dip just can’t. Ever.
  • It’s sipping a lemon Lacroix when everyone else is sipping cocktails, knowing that I’ll work back to enjoying them too – after and only after I’ve met my goal.
  • It’s rarely leaving the grocery store without a bag of frozen cauliflower in my cart, because I can literally substitute it for any kind of potato or rice, without feeling horrible afterward.
  • It’s attempting full range squats and lunges, even when I think there’s a very real chance I’ll fall flat on my rump.
  • And after weeks of all of the above, it’s going to pull my hair into a messy bun, only to realize in total astonishment that in the mirror, there are now two baby bicep muscles staring back at me.

In the words of Michael Buble (and countless artists before him), it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good.