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Happy & Secure

I had just celebrated my 26th birthday and instead of being excited and looking forward to the new year ahead, all I could think of was the promise I made to myself two years ago. I had told myself that I would be at a healthy weight by my 25th birthday and instead, two years later, I was at my heaviest. After years of crash dieting, I was at 160 pounds and was unhappy with my body. I needed to do something about my weight and I wanted to do it right away.

At that time in my life, I had a fulfilling job and was living on my own, which gave me the perfect opportunity to focus all my energy on my health. Another incentive was that I knew I was going to be a bridesmaid in three weddings the following year and I didn't want to be miserable because I was the heaviest one in the bridal party. My goal was to fit into a size 8.

My best friend lost weight with the help of Weight Watchers and I decided to try it. The most important thing I learned was the importance of monitoring portion sizes. I was shocked to realize how much I was really eating. I ate almost three servings of pasta in one meal! I learned to measure and weigh everything I ate and kept a food diary. I also added a lot more fiber to my diet in the form of fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, I didn't - cut any foods out of my diet. I enjoyed all my favorite foods, but less of them.

I also started exercising on a regular basis. This was made easy by the fact that there is an on-site gym where I work. At the gym, I attended aerobics classes and after a few weeks, I lost 5 pounds. After some urging by the trainers at the gym, I started a weight training program. I was reluctant at first because I thought I would bulk up. My fears were unfounded: I became stronger and leaner than ever before.

Two months later, I had lost 15 pounds and hit a plateau. I wanted to do something to shake up my workout routine, so I asked a friend, an avid runner, for some advice on starting a running program. Instead of just telling me what to do, she soon started running with me, and two months later I signed up for my first 5k race. Running gave me such a rush; I never thought I could run two miles, let alone complete a 5k! In the process, running restarted my weight loss and I soon surpassed my goal size of 8 and fit comfortably in size-6 clothing.

Since reaching my goal to become healthy, I have branched out and started practicing power yoga. I have learned that I am pretty good at yoga and I can push myself to my limits as I hold each pose. Although I am not as strict with my diet as I was when I first started losing weight, I still watch my portion sizes. Most importantly, I am finally happy with and feel secure about my mind and my body.

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