Losing It ... and My Mid-Year New Year


Now that school is back in session at my house, I consider summer "officially" over, even though it's still hot and humid and the leaves are still green and still on the trees.  

I'm not a fan of summer for many reasons:  
*  I don't like hot weather (perfect, since I live in the south where it's hot 3/4 of the year, right?)
*  I don't particularly care for hot weather fashion (which is what makes the world go 'round)
*  My schedule isn't flexible and carefree and "fun in the sun"

That being said, I also live on the optimistic side of life, so every Memorial Day I give myself a pep talk about making summer a great experience for my son, since summer for a kid is magical.  

Over the past couple of years I'd gained some weight.  I am almost 46 years old and it's no secret that weight management (not to mention weight loss) gets tougher as we get older.  When I got divorced I also started a job that is pretty much sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day.  Add to that the limited amount of free time I have as a solo parent during the week to work out and I had myself a formula for fat.  

So I pep-talked myself into a serious weight loss plan beginning the day after Memorial Day and in six weeks I lost 25 pounds and 2 dress sizes.  I'm almost 5'10", so to be quite honest most people that see me regularly didn't even notice a change, but I most certainly can tell a huge difference.  When I do mention my loss, everyone wants to know what I ate and how I did it and I plan to do a post on it later. If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I'll make sure to answer. I never struggled with my weight at all as an adult until I had a baby at almost 40 years old.  Since then I've become fascinated with studying and reading about what we eat and how it affects our bodies.  How many of you can relate to eating very little, exercising a lot and losing little, if any, weight?  

Before and After 
Another area of my life that also weighed me down was the amount of clutter and unnecessary stuff I had in almost every out of sight area of my house.  I'm a collector - art, mirrors, fabric, accessories, dresses, purses, shoes, bracelets, belts - I just can't help myself.  I like "things" in my living space. I like to have options when I get dressed. It brings me joy to be able to look at a collection that brings back memories of people and places while I'm cooking in my kitchen or reading in bed.  And, let's face it, collecting "things" is a comfort zone.  You never know when you might need  48 dessert plates, right?  However, my decorating style, along with my closets, had gotten into the full-to-overflowing category and enough was enough.

I began on the top level of my house and worked my way down.  Baskets, bins and cupboards were cleaned out one by one.  Toys, books, clothes, and accessories were packed up and moved out. I know the cute girls at my local consignment store by name now.  I had two garage sales.  I donated to Goodwill and the Disabled Vets.  I filled big black garbage bags and hauled them up my driveway for the trash every Thursday morning .  Every week, I did a little upstairs until it was done...and then I moved to the main level of my house and did it all over again.

It wasn't always easy.  There were many times when I tossed something and then took it out again and then tossed it again.  I had to constantly re-evaluate why I was keeping things that were of no monetary value or use to me.  Slowly but surely my main level was also cleaned out, decluttered, and organized.

So, as my physical weight started going, so too did the weight gone from the rooms, desks, cupboards, tabletops and cabinets of my home.  As of today, all that remains is my basement where, honestly, some of the hardest-to-part-with things have landed.  I still struggle with giving / keeping even after all I've accomplished.  My plan is to deal with the last of it when I get out my holiday decor to decorate for Christmas.  {Hello seven tubs of Christmas tree ornaments!}

I can honestly say I had a good summer; and my son says he had an awesome summer, which is what really matters. As the new school year begins for us, I also feel like I've begun a "new year" without the horrible feeling of going to my closet and having nothing to wear though the rods are overflowing with clothes.  I've begun a "new year" without looking at a linen closet stacked with old sheets and towels that are past their prime, school papers from pre-K tossed in a plastic bin, and burnt down candles in a chest that should have been tossed long ago.

Here's a little encouragement today if you're struggling a bit with clutter....or weight....or just stuff!  You can do something about it.  You can!  I lost weight during summer holidays and pool parties where food was the focus.  I lost weight during my summer vacation.  I cleaned out my living room cabinets on a Thursday night at 11pm after working at my job for 10 hours. Getting rid of the blue paint can that had been sitting under there for months was my best accomplishment of the whole day!  Like you, I spend so much of my day doing things for other people and it felt so good to do something for myself, and ultimately for my family.  Even if it was close to midnight, I still went to bed feeling a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

If you need to proclaim a New Year - go for it.  Maybe a new school year is just the margin you need to mentally start fresh.  It was hard work for me but the rewards on the other side have been immeasurably worth it.

Happy Thursday to you!  I'll be back tomorrow with some of my Friday Faves!


Susan :

We are currently in the process of cleaning out our garage and have an entire back-end of my HHR filled with items to take to a Ministry we support that has a re-sale shop. Yes, it feels good. I even told Mickey this morning: next, I want you to pull everything down out of the attic and I want to get rid of about 90% of all the Christmas decorations and stuff. Yes, feels good, even making that decision that it will be done.

Momma Roar :

It is amazing how much better you feel when losing weight and clutter.

I had a similar summer. I've lost 20 since spring and recently cleaned two hidden areas (storage above garage and basement room behind closed doors) that had held lots of junk. Both things took time and focus, but the other side feels great. Hopefully I can keep moving forward on both fronts! :)

You look fabulous Jill - always have! I've missed your writing - I love reading your voice! :)

Just Mom :

Yes, losing weight after 40 is hard. I've only lost 10 pounds this summer, but you know what? I feel GREAT!

Losing the clutter has been a little more difficult for me. I struggle with holding on to things because of the good memories they bring. My collection of greeting cards is the worst!

Looking forward to more from you!

The Mrs. :

You look AMAZING and I am DYING to know how you did it. I am planning on the same thing, weight and clutter once my kids go back to school!

Gramma Syl :

You have inspired me, Jill, both with your weight loss and with your loss of stuff. School starts next week and so do I! Thanks for sharing and motivating.

Anonymous :

Welcome back to blogging!

I really need to lose weight...again. Pleas tell us how you did it - you look great!

teresa-bug :

So excited to see your blog again!! I am anxious to hear about your weight loss journey. I am 44 and really struggling. Welcome back!

Wacie's Way :

I'm sooo glad you are back to blogging!!! This post has been an inspiration! I, like you, have a desk job and by the time I get home have little energy to do anything but I need to do something!! I need to print this out and tape it to my mirror.

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