Cheers to a happy, healthy and fun 2013

Happy New Year! 

I cannot believe that 2013 is actually here. I feel like I’ve been talking about the year 2013 for forever and still can’t get over that it’s actually the present – no longer the future. My sister got engaged in 2011. They set the date for May of 2013. Plenty of time to plan, save and enjoy being engaged. “2013? That’s so far away!” – what I said when I heard that news… But now, here it is, 2013 and the wedding is in 5 months. Holy cow, time flies.

I used to be in to making New Year’s resolutions but decided to forgo that “tradition” this year in hopes that I would actually stick to the script and continue my success with what I’m doing. I tend to make outlandish resolutions and then get discouraged when i don’t reach them. However, in 2012, I vowed to lose weight and get healthy. I never set a goal as to how much weight I would lose but I was focused and determined to feel comfortable in my own skin and hopefully drop a pant size. January 1, 2012 I joined Weight Watchers and I still say that was one of the best decisions I had made that year. It helped me realize that I needed to change my eating habits in order to succeed. My whole outlook on food has now changed. I needed to realize that in order to lose weight I had to change my eating habits and not just “diet” – it’s a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.

I will admit though, halfway through the year, I hit a wall with Weight Watchers and decided that I knew what I was doing and could continue the success on my own, so I quit WW. Once I did that, and focused on correctly eating, I lost even more weight. WW was a great starting point for me but I’m happy that I’m no longer following that plan and am relying on myself, calorie counts and other ways to ensure weight loss success.

I had also been a gym go-er but was only going maybe twice or three times a week…. when I felt like it. In 2012 I said I was going to up my gym time and go 5 or more times a week…. and I did. There’s a gym at work that’s free for employees so i took advantage of the equipment and jump-started my workout plans. I researched workouts to do on fitness blogs / websites and added them to my gym routines. A good friend, Frank (check out his blog!), sent me the Insanity workouts which increased my cardio and endurance and I really enjoyed that it was something fun to do instead of the treadmill or elliptical at the work gym. I ran in two 5Ks and walked one in 2012, too. In October, thanks to two of my best friends, Laura & Angela (check out her blog, too!), I joined Lucille Roberts and started taking classes (kickboxing, Zumba, tabata) which has really helped me get out of the “same old same” gym routines. I am now going to the gym at least 6 times a week for at least 45 to 60 minutes, sometimes longer. I really enjoy that time for myself. Besides getting in shape, I found that working out relieves my stress and anxiety and makes me feel better, happier.

So all in all, for the year of 2012, I lost 20 pounds, a pant size and 2 dress sizes. My success can only go up (or in my case, down in pounds!) from here. No one else can help me lose weight, this is a journey I have to take by myself for myself. If I want it, I got to work for it. I also have to remember that the number on the scale is just that – a number. It does not define me or my happiness, nor does it define how I feel about myself now.

In 2012, I also told myself I would have a better handle on my money and bills. I started in 2011, but had started too late to actually grasp what needed to be done. So in 2012, I got serious and organized my spending onto an Excel spreadsheet. I listed the month on the “x” axis and the bills/student loans/memberships on the “y” axis and made sure to fill in how much was going out of my bank account for each. I also started keeping track of how much I was receiving each month in my paychecks and how much “play” money I was able to have / save.

I also created a savings account through ING (I recommend ING to everyone I know. I love that I can transfer money from my bank account to this ING account at any time. I also like that it takes at least 2 business days to transfer the money back over from my ING account to my bank account so that eliminates frivolous spending). I try to transfer money to my ING account from every paycheck so that I have that set aside for weddings (my friends’ weddings, my sister’s wedding, showers, gifts, hotels, etc) and for my savings. After all my bills / student loans are paid, I don’t have that much money left but I like knowing that even transferring a little bit helps.

By getting myself organized financially, in August, I was able to move out of my parents’ house in New Jersey and into an apartment in Pennsylvania, which was closer to work. It’s a liberating feeling knowing that I can finally stand on my own two feet and live on my own and pay for my own stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I really miss my family but it was time for me to experience these things on my own.

2012 was a great year for me. Besides losing weight, becoming financially organized and moving out, I witnessed 4 of my closest friends get married (and was a bridesmaid for one), was asked to be the Maid of Honor in my sister’s wedding and have been helping her plan her big day, I took risks on applying for supervisor positions at my job (none of which I got but I was still proud of myself for taking the chance), I challenged myself by running in 2 Color Run 5Ks (the happiest 5k on the planet!), I went to Ocean City, Maryland for the first time and had a blast with my boyfriend and friends from high school, I voted in the Presidential election (I mean, c’mon, that’s pretty cool, haha) and strengthened relationships with friends and family who truly matter.

2013 is looking to be a great year and I’m ready for it.