I know so many of you who have followed me from the beginning of my journey have been anxiously awaiting details on last nights finale and I’ve been dying to tell you all about it, but I just haven’t had a chance.
Now that the evening is winding down and I’m enjoying some “Walking Dead,” I can finally start to put my thoughts on the last 24 hours together and tell you what’s happened.
Well, let’s start at the beginning of yesterday. I’m literally exhausted from the day. We started our day at 7 a.m. getting
our daughter up, dressed, fed and out the door for gymnastics by 9 a.m. Gym ends at 10 a.m. , where we promptly went to Walmart so I could get a manicure before the event. Beautiful red nails (as some of you may have seen on Facebook). I choose a Shellac mani because I’m hell on polish. I figure at least this will last a little longer. It was so nice to have a mani after … oh hell I can’t remember the last one I had. Sometime in early 2012 I believe.
Anyways, after the mani, we went straight to the studio to get my after photos done, weigh in and get all the details for tonight. I was trying to lose the last 4 pounds to get under 260 for the final weigh in. Per my scale … I was 1.5 pounds shy of making that goal. Yes, it sucks but I’m fine with it. It’s just under 2 pounds… I’ll take care of it over the next week. I FULLY plan on being under 260 for my Valentine’s Day Celebration with my hubby next weekend.
So after the photos, we grabbed some lunch and it was off to the salon to cut my hair and style it so I could feel truly awesome for my big night. I haven’t had a hair cut since last summer so I was desperately in need of a little beauty treatment! Immediately after the hair appointment, I was off to a birthday party for my nephew and then it was time to get ready for the event.
So .. now the great details. First – the dress. As many of you know, I spent the better part of two weeks trying to find the perfect dress for the night. I bought four but this was the end result. I guess when you walk out and your husband is literally speechless in a good way – you know you found the right dress!
So I’ve been going over what I wanted to say on stage for weeks now in my head. Part of me wishes I wrote it down but part of me is happy I didn’t. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants person.
Normally, public speaking doesn’t really phase me. I get a little nervous, but overall I ‘m just fine. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry but after the first girl went on stage and cried… I knew I was doomed.
The truth is …. this six month contest has meant more to me than just the 28 pounds it says I lost. I gained friendships. I found support and to say that I’ll never be the same is an understatement. There were 25 girls to start but only 11 left at the end. Each of us fabulous and deserving to win for different reasons. But the reality is, the prize didn’t matter. Not one girl went up on stage to talk about why she deserved to win…. we spilled our hearts about why we were grateful to be part of something so truly amazing.
These girls, my new friends, have battled some pretty incredible mountains in their journeys – myself included. From injuries to surgery to depression, abusive relationships and even breast cancer – we all have our stories and everyone shared. It was truly a moving night and I really did cry – many, many times.
For my speech I brought a photo – the photo that started it all from my brother in laws wedding. I wish I would have
brought the second one for comparison but I stuck to one image. The first image that wrecked my world and hit me like a ton of bricks. Blown up to an 11×14, that photo represented a girl that I once knew. She was miserable, unhappy, fat, lazy and someone who is truly dead to me.
On stage, I told a roomful of strangers about how this photo changed my life and then only a few weeks later, my daughter told me I was fat. Naturally at the sound of her name, my daughter promptly cheered which sent the room into laughter.
The truth is (as I said last night), I’m very happy Bella called me fat because now look at me. I’ve lost over 50 pounds to date and I’m still going. If she wouldn’t have said it, I may still be the fat, miserable mother I was.
One of the other things I touched on in my speech was how important my husband has been through this whole journey because I sure as hell can’t cook a thing! He’s my rock and I love him for putting up with me for so long. I also had my mother in attendance last night because … well she’s my mother and without her I don’t know where I’d be.
But I had another person with me last night who has no blood relation to me and that’s my trainer Jackson. I asked him to come because while he’s still new in my life, he has helped me beyond words. Without his wisdom, guidance and brutal workouts I wouldn’t be the person I am today. He is truly the most amazing trainer on earth and I’m so blessed to have found him! I never ever want to train with another soul!
At the end of my speech, before I truly lost it. I ripped my photo in half to tell the world that girl is gone. She truly is gone. Today I am happy, confident and above all – the mom I want to be. This journey isn’t over for me … it’s just getting ramped up and I have a whole new life to look forward to. Unfortunately, in the process of my visual dramatic effect, I made my daughter cry because I ripped up my photo with her. She spent the next 20 minutes crying on my lap (mommy fail). She got over it when I promised I’d print her another one… any photo she wanted.
I didn’t know if I’d win a prize last night, but in my heart I truly already won. I have my life back and that’s what’s most
important to me. Nothing can compare to a prize of that magnitude!
I was actually really surprised to hear my name called for 3rd place. It was such a sweet moment. I was happy with third… it truly feels as great as first because to me we all came in first. I won a $100 gift certificate to the studio which I’m already plotting on ideas for my session. It’s been over three years since we had a nice family portrait and now that both of us have lost weight and getting really healthy – I’m so excited to book this session. I have until June so I’m thinking of lovely spring portraits which give me a little bit more time to lose some weight and save up some money for what I know will be a costly session because I’m happy to have these photos!
For those wondering, the girl who came in second became a great friend of mine throughout the competition. She and I were neck and neck with weight loss until December when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer a week before Christmas. Obviously that derailed a lot of things. She is such a strong woman though and I know she’s going to beat this and get to her goals.
The winner of the competition is another woman who truly deserved the honor. I’m fairly certain she actually did lose the most weight of all of us and she did it at home without a trainer or gym. She’s an inspiration and a wonderful lady too!
So back to the photos from last night, at the event the photographer, Maria of Studio M, took a photo of me and my baby girl. She just sent it to me via email a few minutes ago and I’ve been crying like a baby ever since. I have hated images of me for years, but this time – I am absolutely in love. I’m still in tears over half an hour later.
After spending so many years hiding from a camera, having this photo gives me hope for what’s to come this year. I don’t hate it… I love it… I want to blow it up and paint it on an entire wall. I’m just so madly in love with this image and the photographer who took it.
Now that I’m done gushing over my baby girl. After the event was over and the family and friends went home, Maria had a big surprise for us. She rented a party bus and we headed out to Pittsburgh for a night of celebration at Pittsburgh bars.
I was really thrilled we ended up at Saddle Ridge for a little while so I could dance out my joy. I don’t drink so dancing is really the only thing I could do. It was so much fun. I looked amazing in my dress and cowboy boots. I loved being there too! Some of my friends were there when we arrived and I had some dances with them. I drug some of my new friends out on the dance floor with me too! I was teaching several how to line dance.
At the end of the night, this was one of the greatest days of my life. The contest may be over, but the journey is
still going on. I love what I’ve become and I love that I did this. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.
On one final note, this is the image gallery we were given as part of the competition. I contemplated posting it for a while but ultimately I need to share how far I’ve come. This process wasn’t easy but I hope to inspire at least one other person that they CAN do it! You just need to commit that you can do it and you will do it and then the sky is the limit!