Sunday, February 3, 2013

Believe in yourself

Flexing my dragon boating muscles while speaking to a women's weight loss support group last summer.

In less than a year, I've reshaped my body, my mind and my life. It wasn't easy, but it's doable. I'm proof that you can change lifelong habits and develop new, healthier habits--and still eat really excellent dark chocolate daily. Now 50 pounds lighter, I'm only 15 pounds from reaching my goal. I'm determined to do it.

How did I do it? For me, what worked was mindful eating, paddling a dragon boat and working out with a weighted hula hoop and yoga mat in my living room. I have a bad left foot and will likely never be able to run a half marathon. But paddling is the cardio workout that makes sense for me.

Last week at the grocery store I ran into someone I hadn't seen for a year. In my typical weekend mode, I was dressed for comfort and wore no makeup. My hair was brushed, but just barely. I saw him first and called out a greeting. It took him a minute to place me. When he realized who I was, he told me I looked wonderful. And so happy.

I practically pirouetted right there by the eggs. "I AM happy!" I said with feeling, and meant it.

Recently I had the opportunity to share my success story with a women's weight loss group. I brought my weight loss secret weapons to demonstrate: my yoga mat, my dragon boat paddle and my weighted hula hoop. For inspiration, I wore my little black dress. And as I talked to the women, I hula hooped and encouraged them on the way to their own successes.

I shared what I've learned along the way:

  • Believe in yourself.
  • Do it for you.
  • Find what works for you.
  • Make it fun.
  • Measure yourself.
  • Challenge yourself.
  • Set realistic goals. 
  • Find new non-food ways to reward yourself for victories large and small.
  • Invite a friend to join you in your challenge.
  • Journal your journey.
  • Celebrate your milestones.
  • Share your good news.
Paddling a dragon boat with the Mighty Women has changed my life. Dragon boat paddling may not resonate for you, but if you keep trying new things, you'll find a form of exercise that works. Have you tried contra dancing? It's an amazing workout!

Don't be afraid to reach beyond your comfort zone to reach your potential. Paddle your own canoe.


  1. What a great and inspirational post, emblematic of your enthusiastic and exhuberant spirit!

  2. Susan! Congratulations! You ARE an inspiration; you always rocks my boat. (Get it? It's a canoe joke!) And here's a little perk: I nominate your blog for a Liebster Award. You can find out more at