**Look at me, two posts in one week. This is a really important post for me. I hope you enjoy it and are as inspired as I am**
As most of you know, I have an older sister, Kristen. She is one of my best friends. She's an amazing woman, inside and out and I've always known that. But it wasn't until this last year that I think SHE started to know that.
You see, my sister and I are complete opposites in so many ways (they say opposites attract, right? Maybe that's why we get along so well!). She's an English teacher and I'm a math/science person. She loves
One thing my sister has struggled with for a long time is her weight. She's a beautiful woman (I said that already) but she's been on the heavier side for a while (now, hear me out. That's not me being mean. Our family struggles with weight. It's a given fact. My mom has lost 50+ pounds on Weight Watchers and works hard to maintain her size now. I have lost 30+ pounds on Weight Watcher. I work out daily because I love food. And if I look at a plate of something yummy, a pound or two goes to my thighs. It's part of the Degnen genes).
We all knew she had to make a change. We wanted her live a healthy life without complication. I have a husband who lives each day with Type 1 Diabetes - a disease that he didn't bring on. He can't change that but my sister had a choice to change and instead, was going down a path of Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure and so many other things. They were going to cut her life short if she didn't make a change. I wanted that for her. My parents wanted that for her. Her husband, her friends, her coworkers wanted that for her. But she needed to want that for herself. That's the key to any one's success, right? She's given one opportunity to live her life, one body to live it in and it was up to her how to do that.
Something happened last year that flipped the switch. Although she says that it was one instance (it's kinda of personal so I won't go into that, but isn't every one's reason personal?), I think it was more that that. A year ago, she decided to join Weight Watchers. Now, my sister had done weight watchers a millions times and swore it didn't work. "But this time is different", she said. I wanted to believer her so bad. And I knew that I would support her in hopes that she realized this journey, even if she'd started it many times before, wouldn't be one that she was on alone. She was determined not to be the person that she hated anymore.
And let me just tell you - she took control. Slowly the weight started to come off. She reformed the way she saw food. This lead to a difference in the way that she saw herself. The little things made her smile again, something that we hadn't seen in many many years. I would get calls (and still do) once a week on Tuesdays with her checking in, telling me how her weigh in went, how her meeting went, what new recipe she was trying. When we were together, she had a glow about her. She was on a path of happiness. I could see it. This time was THE time.
And what a year it's been. This week marks the 1 year anniversary of my sister changing her life forever. There have been so many milestones along the way. I remember her calling and telling me that her husband could touch his hands together when he hugged her for the first time. I remember when he picked her up and swung her around for the first time. I remember seeing her in July, when she was down 30 pounds and not recognizing her. I remember the call of her sobbing as she bought size 18 pants, then 16's, then 14's and now her 12's are big. She was shopping in what she calls "normal people stores". I remember encouraging her to leave Kohl's and try a place like Ann Taylor Loft... a store she had never stepped foot into. I would get photos of her in the dressing room in like red pants (something she would never buy), but tried on just to see if they fit (and they did!) I remember the day she called to tell me she bought a super expensive bra at Victoria Secret just because she had never been able to shop there before. Of the time when she was beaming because she weighed less than Tom! Every time I talk to her, it's a new "thing" in her life that brings her joy.
I haven't seen my sister since September. I'm going to visit her in 16 days and I can't wait. I'm going to sob like a baby when I see the new her. The sister that I don't even recognize. I was sent a picture on Christmas day and this just explains it all.
I FREAKING LOVE IT. The picture of her in a green shirt was taken back in 2009 I think. That's how I remember my sister. Look at her now... I told you, she's a beautiful person inside and out, and now she just exudes happiness, something that's been trapped inside of her for so long.
When you ask my sister how far she's come, there aren't words to describe the conversation. On the physical/health side, she has lost 71 pounds. Her knees don't creek and lock when she goes up the stairs. Her blood pressure is normal. She's seen differences in her menstrual cycles (for the good!). But on the emotional side... I don't even know if she knows how far she's come. She loves life. That's all there is to it. She's happy, and fun, and sassy. She smiles and jokes and has a confidence about her that is unlike anything I've ever seen from her. She's living the life that she deserves.
And her journey isn't done. And my hopes her her aren't either. I'm hoping that now that spring's around the corner, she'll start incorporating more exercise into her plan. I'm hoping that she continues to learn about healthy eating and sticks to what she knows. I hope she continues to lose until she's at a place where SHE can look at herself and say "damn, I'm hot". I hope that she gets the call that the baby she's patiently waiting to adopt is waiting for her, knowing that she now has the energy to keep up with a little one.
*** Kristen reads this blog and I told her to keep checking back because I have the most amazing followers. If you would, leave a comment with some words of wisdom, your thoughts or something that will help keep her moving forward. I'd love her to know how amazing she's doing from someone other than me***