So this one’s about one of those things you never ask a woman, like her age or whether her hair is naturally blonde.

Weight, that number on the scale.

Maybe it’s a SoCal thing, or a girl thing, but my appearance has always been something I was…painfully aware of. In the fourth grade, I wanted to gain a few pounds so that my friend and I could weigh the same amount. She was at least half a foot taller, so clearly logic wasn’t our strong suit.

As a high school freshman, I wished I was taller (I may or not be the reason we lost our last volleyball game that year) and had the ability to tan (too often, my sunbathing efforts earned me a lobster red hue and nothing more).

Then college rolled around. And the yo-yo dropped.

They weren’t kidding when they coined the phrase “freshman fifteen”! All-night paper writing was fueled by Starbucks double shots and late night ice cream runs. After graduation, I handled the stress at my shiny, new desk job in pretty much the same way. As I ate my stress away, the number on the scale went up…and my favorite pair of jeans became the latest addition to my sister’s wardrobe. I felt the need for constant change to feel pretty – dyeing my hair, cutting it, dyeing it again, cutting it shorter, buying new clothes on the regs.

But the change that I actually needed had to come from inside. A boredom-slash-stress-eater, deep down I knew I needed to develop self-discipline. Which is really difficult, being part of the “microwave” society – we love our instant gratification!

Being a bit of a “now or never” kind of person, Black Friday of 2014 rolled around and I decided to jump on the “lifestyle change” bandwagon. Again. But this time I had a plan (nothing too groundbreaking) – portion control, exercise…and no pumpkin spice lattes for the time being.

Everything went so smoothly! Until day three. After a particularly stressful day at work and Christmas plans looming over me, all I wanted was the dark chocolate in the cupboard. Turns out a listening ear is a more worthwhile stress reliever, and I got through it.

Hurdle after hurdle, I learned how to eat more mindfully, healthfully…and to really enjoy the homemade tamales on New Year.

And months later, I’m finally back to a healthy BMI.

Before and After...

Mind you, the number on the scale does not define who I am or my value as a person, as many a glossy magazine cover would have us believe. But it does tell me that I’m healthy again. That I have more energy to do the things I love (including dancing, being outside, writing). That I’ve developed the self-discipline I so sorely needed. And I feel really good about that, because I’m even more proud of the hard work I put in than the number on the scale.

There’s no miracle pill. But in the end, that’s not what it’s about.



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