Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Before and After

A lot of people on the web and beyond are talking about the changes we have seen in our world and ourselves since the calendar rolled over to the year 2000.  I have been surprised as I take stock of the changes in my own life, and pleased to see the progress I have made in many areas, including fulfilling a 20 year dream to have a work included in the prestigious Quilt National exhibit, to win a major award with my artwork, and to become a Lark designer.

However, looking at the many things which have happened in my life during the past ten years, the most profound is the change in my physical body.

Me in 1998

This is me in 1998, working on a piece at Susan Shie’s Turtle Art Camp.  I weighed around 240 pounds, down a little from my peak of 249 pounds on a 5’1” frame.

Me in 2009

And this is me in November of 2009, from the photo shoot for the Athens News Annual Manual, approximately 100 pounds lighter.

I didn’t have surgery, and didn’t do the grueling program I see contestants go through on The Biggest Loser. I did begin in the summer of 2001 because I had a contract to teach at ArtFest in Seattle, and wanted to comfortably fit into the airplane seat, but other than that, I did it for me.  It  took a combination of learning to eat better, learning to move more, and great determination to shop at fun places like Old Navy.  It took me four years to lose that much weight, and it was hard won, but like all things worth the having, it was worth the wait.  I couldn’t have done it without the constant support of my family, who listened when I cried because it was taking so long, and cheered me as I moved down the scale.

It was easy for me  to discount the accomplishment because it did take so long that it never really felt like a huge dramatic change.  I’d spend months in the same ten pound range, but slowly my body changed. I think the process provides a great example of how even small steps can lead to a long journey, as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

If I did it, you can too.  In later posts, I will write more about the process, but for now I just wanted to emphasize that many resolutions are made at this time of year, and many are broken because maybe progress isn’t immediately obvious, and it is easy to become discouraged. It doesn’t have to be losing weight, it could be starting your own business, writing a novel, quitting smoking, going back to school.  Find a friend, a support group, make a determination that the change you want will happen, and then keep at it.  You can do it.  What you need is in you, and you will be surprised at what you find in yourself during the process.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in,” and you will see results.


AuntieAnnie said...

Absolutely wonderful. And an inspiration. I have over 100 lbs to lose, so your post this morning was such a boost of encouragement for me.

Laura Rogers said...

Wow Andi. You look wonderful. I am so happy for you and your determination is amazing. You have added years to your life's quality and longevity. You are styling gal.
Good job!

Harriett said...

You look amazing. Loosing weight and being healthy has been a challenge for me, so knowing what you did and "never gave in" I'm motivated to do the same thing. I am determine to live a better & healthier life this year and throughout life. Thanks for your inspiration.

Susan Shie said...

And the coolest part is that you've KEPT that weight off. You amaze me, Peppy Whirlwind! Keep on amazing us all. Happy New Year, Lucky

Andrea Stern said...

@everyone, thank you! It is a hard and lonely job at times, but it definitely has been worth it. :)