Don’t Judge a Relationship on the Size of the Ring

As most of you know, I got engaged several months ago. I was beyond delighted by the experience, prospect of spending the rest of life with Michael, and the ring (photo below in case you haven’t seen it yet!)

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I’m not sure how you couldn’t know this about me, but my favorite color is purple. So the giant purple stone in the middle absolutely thrilled me. Most people I know had really lovely comments to say about it- how unique it is, and how much it suits me. How Michael did a great job picking it out (he did- I had even told him I wanted something unique- I didn’t need giant diamonds.)

But not everyone has been as supportive. At a wedding of one of Michael’s friends and my family function, more than one person commented that I should get him to buy me something bigger or get him to buy me a real ring or to make sure the wedding band was bigger.

I recently read a disturbing article about how a jewelry store employee trash talked a couple because of the price on an engagement ring they bought.

Until people made these comments, it never even occurred to me that I should want anything else. This is the ring Michael picked out for me. It is beautiful, it is unique, it is me. don’t want anything else. But it sure would be nice if the rest of the world could get over it.

See, why do we judge people’s relationships on the size of their diamonds? My friends, diamonds are a marketing ploy. They actually are inexpensive and have only started meaning weddings and “forever” in the last century (clearly forever is not that long yet). Marketers know their game. As a social psychologist, I, too, know that once an idea has taken root in society, it’s hard to pull it up.

If you, yourself want a giant diamond ring regardless- that’s okay. I’m not judging you. But I really would like to ask the same of you.

Don’t judge me, don’t judge my partner, don’t judge our relationship on the size of my ring.

Not buying a diamond doesn’t mean your partner isn’t rich enough or doesn’t love you enough to get you one. Sometimes it just means that’s not what you want.

Or if your partner doesn’t have the money for a diamond- that’s okay too. It’s not about the diamonds.

Love takes different shapes and sizes, why can’t our rings?

Why can’t we respect people for the choices they make? Why can’t we care more about the quality of the person than the size of the ring?

I love my fiance with all my breath and all my heart. I love that I’ll be spending the rest of my life with him and I love the ring he gave me as a symbol of that.

A World I Would Like to Live in

When I was a child, I learned about the Holocaust in Hebrew school (for those of you don’t know- I was raised Jewish, though I’m not particularly religious at this point in my life). Besides the obvious horror and disgust at the atrocities committed during that time, I remember also being surprised at why the Jews didn’t just leave- move out of their country to safety. Cartoon videos like the Prince of Egypt and Rugrats Passover showed Jews refusing to deny their religion, practicing openly and facing persecution or death. I just couldn’t understand how you could stay living in a country where you weren’t safe. Where your leaders did terrifying things to its people.

Recently, I came to realize that we live in a remarkably similar time. It’s not (always) the Jews this time, though. There are different scapegoats. There are different targets.

I read about things like the Supreme Court now making the decision if firing someone for being LGBTQ is constitutional or Ohio (and many other states following suit) banning abortion before women even know they’re pregnant- and these are just the current hot button issues. This is above and beyond other abhorrent current events like what is being done to immigrants and people of color in our country. Some of these things can be attributed to President Trump, sure, but many of them have been going on for much longer and are rooted in deeper, institutional issues.

My friends, we are living in the time I described. A time when it is no longer ridiculous to liken our present situation to that of the Holocaust. When I can now understand why people didn’t just leave their country when these terrible things started happening.

I don’t want to leave my home; it’s the place where all my friends and family live, my job, everything I’ve ever known. Lucky for me, I’m a White, American citizen- not straight, but with a male partner. It means I have the privilege for most of these laws to not affect me personally.

But not everyone is so lucky. And I would imagine that many of them do not feel safe to speak out or feel like they have a voice.

Be their voice. Stand for human rights.

Because it’s not about politics. I think the biggest injustice we have done our country is equating human rights with politics. It isn’t part of the “liberal agenda” to want non-heterosexual people to get married or be able to work a job without fear of being fired based on who they’re sexually attracted to. It’s not part of the “liberal agenda” to want Black lives to matter just as much as my own. It’s not a part of the “liberal agenda” to want our children to go to school without fear of being shot or watching their friends and teachers be shot. It’s not part of the “liberal agenda” to want women to have just as much control over their bodies as men have. These are basic human rights. And it is not fair that because of politics and policies, we lack them.

So many people with privilege read the news and threaten to move to Canada or leave the country. I can understand that sentiment fully. We have the luxury of being able to detach and not care. What would this country, this world look like if everyone did care? If instead of detaching, we stood up for human rights?

That’s a world I would like to live in.

Share Your Voice

A few weeks ago, I received a document from a student to review before it was going to be published as a part of a Psychology Club newsletter. One of my students, an incredibly talented writer, brilliant, and passionate was the author. It was a very provocative article and addressed some issues that politics has made people very sensitive about: the government, Trump, race, mental health. I was nervous about its publication and talked to a colleague. This person is someone who I really respect- in general, but especially for her sensitivity about and passion for social justice. One of the takeaway messages I remember most strongly from that conversation was essentially this: Why am I more concerned with the majority? Why am I more concerned that majority members will have a negative response to this article rather than concerned that minority voices don’t get heard?

It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot. Racism and social justice issues have been on my mind a lot, largely inspired by the conversations and programs that BW has sponsored. If you’re looking to get started, I highly recommend Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? It is one of the most meaningful and significant books I have read in a long time.

In one of my classes today, we discussed the topic of aggression. During our discussion, the related issues of gun violence, mental health, and government spending arose. Usually in these situations, I feel external, societal pressure to be neutral. But what I realized today was that all I was doing was ensuring that the majority opinion was represented. And that concern wasn’t letting my students’ voices be heard.

So I did something that I rarely do in class- I shared my (partisan) opinion. I agreed with their frustrations about the lack of gun laws and government money being spent more on the military than on health care or education. I shared a story about a student in my class last semester who couldn’t afford her depression medication any more after insurance changes and stopped attending class because her mental health was affecting her so strongly. I shared my passion that students shouldn’t have to worry about how insurance is going to affect their performance in college. This story inspired another student to share a similar experience- her inability to afford her own medication and how challenging the semester had been because of it.

Sometimes, learning about bias and privilege makes me overwhelmed. I think that I can’t do anything to change people or society; it’s so broken, what difference will my small voice make? But you don’t have to change the world for everyone. It’s enough to change it for one person. I may not be able to change how the government spends their money or if guns are finally banned in this country. But I can change how my students feel. I can give voice to their stories and I can give them the courage to share their own voices with the world.

Don’t underestimate the positive effect you can have on others’ lives. Share your voice.

The Value of a Life

I just started watching Black Mirror with my fiance. This evening, we watched the White Bear episode- spoilers ahead for this episode if you have not seen it yet and are planning to.

During the episode, you watch a young woman run and fight for her life as the world, it seems, has gone crazy. Some people are chasing her and trying to kill her. Others- the vast majority of them-  are chasing after them to catch all of this on their phone cameras. It’s really quite disturbing- especially when you see people filming others’ deaths.

At the end of the episode, you find out that it’s all a show. This woman was convicted of abducting and murdering a child with her fiance- and filming it as she did so. Apparently, as a part of her punishment, an entire facility was created where people can come and film the scene of this woman fighting for her life. At the end of the night, the person in charge takes the woman back to her room and forces her to watch the video where she murders the child as they erase her memory of the day so they can start again the next day.

It is an extremely disturbing episode. They make you sympathize with the main character- a child murderer. That feeling itself is extremely uncomfortable. To me, there is an ethical line you cannot cross, no matter how awful a person someone is and no matter how much you think they might deserve it. Torturing a person for entertainment day after day is always unacceptable, no matter their crime.

Relatedly, this made me think of the justice system and capital punishment. For a long time, I didn’t know how I felt about capital punishment. In general, think I often come across as somewhat of a cynic and a Utilitarian- finding the best outcome for the least amount. But at heart, I really am a Kantian. I believe that the value of a human life is infinite. You cannot put a price on it. If someone has murdered another person, this is an absolutely despicable crime. But ending that person’s life in return is also unacceptable.

I, therefore, don’t believe in capital punishment. Besides the fact that our justice system is extremely biased, racist, and broken in a lot of ways, I still don’t believe the appropriate action is to end another life.

Truly, I believe the best in people. I believe in their potential. I see their best possible outcomes and strive to encourage and inspire them to work towards those outcomes. Even the “worst” people, even prisoners have value.

I believe in rehabilitation rather than revenge. We can’t save everyone, but we can do a lot better for a lot more people if we didn’t throw them into a cell. I was recently introduced to Norway’s prison system and think we could serve people so much better if we aimed to rehabilitate them.

If all of us cared a little more about others and a little less about ourselves, we could truly change the world.

My Person, Our Engagement

This past Friday, January 25, 2019, is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. My best friend, the love of my life, asked me to marry him.

Let me back up a bit. After work this past Friday, I drove down to a place called Ravenwood Castle where I was meeting my then-boyfriend for a Harry Potter-themed Murder Mystery weekend. I was pretty excited for this- I re-read all the Harry Potter books in 2 weeks, we got nice Ravenclaw robes for Christmas and I bought us wands, and I even created a detailed fake puzzle to throw the other teams off.

It started off a little rough- most people had already formed their teams and the one we wanted to join (with other people wearing robes) was full. We got stuck with a trio of women who didn’t seem all that bright (spoiler: they weren’t) and one nice couple (who it turned out also got engaged there and were planning their wedding there in a few months). It picked up some when I started getting singled out with some special clues that said “Books turn Muggles into Wizards.” I was pretty excited that I got to be a special part of the mystery. Pretty soon Mr. Denham, the guy running the mystery weekend, showed me an ad in the newspaper (a clue!) and informed me I needed to call that number.

I tried a few times, but no answer. I left a message and then joined everyone else for dinner. In the middle of dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Denham encouraged me to call again. Apparently, the person on the other end (a part of the mystery, of course) had pneumonia and was asleep, but he woke up to get in on the mystery. I felt a strong sense of urgency, so I left the middle of my dinner to call again.

Swvenson Global Services was not terribly informative. To be fair, the actor was probably a bit confused; he was expecting the engagement call, but I gave him my fake character name and remained in character to say that the clues were “disturbing.” He asked me questions and made remarkably astute assertions like “You’re in a long-distance relationship” and “the place you live starts with C,” “the place your boyfriend lives starts with C.” I was so convinced this was a part of the murder mystery though, that I thought nothing of it.

Eventually, after about 20 minutes of relatively unhelpful observations and suggestions, talking to Swvenson Global Services led me downstairs to the library. I now knew I was looking for a book, but which one? There were thousands here. Then it hit me- Harry Potter! Of course! It was a Harry Potter Murder mystery! I asked my boyfriend to help me look for the Harry Potter books and was a little annoyed when he announced “they’re not here” after not looking very hard. How could he possibly know that?

Swvenson Global Services kept saying things like “is there a book that you read to each other before bed?” which struck me as an odd question, but this was coming from a man who had done about 5 different voices in 30 minutes while asking me to hold my arms up in the air and do the hokey pokey.

I was distracted by the mystery, so I missed Michael’s hushed conversation with a woman who was in the library with her phone out. “Are you the one who’s supposed to be taping this?” He asked her. She wasn’t, so we made her extremely nervous and she spent a good day and a half thinking we were the murderers. We later tried to explain that we had got engaged, but she was so suspicious of us that she pretended she was someone else.

Finally I picked up a book on the shelf that I’d noticed previously. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. It was one of my favorites and, as Michael pointed out, was newer-looking than the other books. I didn’t think it could be the right answer though- what did this book have to do with Harry Potter? I gave it a cursory flip through and, seeing nothing, put it back on the shelf. It would have to be more obvious than that for people to find it.

Annoyed and hungry, I gave up looking and went back to my dinner. We were even missing the welcome and announcements! (The proposal was supposed to happen after dinner, but I guess they forgot.) I’m sure Michael was sweating at this point.

After dinner, I became very concerned with the fact that they forgot to post our baby photos. So many things were not starting out right. I confronted them and followed them to their rooms while Michael went off to search for something. I helped them use the internet (Mr. Denham didn’t know how to search his email…) and get the baby pictures.

Michael comes back with a newspaper. “Look at this article! You had the right book after all!” There was an ad in this article all about Shallan, Kaladin, and Jasnah- my three favorite characters in the book. Clearly, that was a clue meant to lead to Words of Radiance.

I wanted to get back to the book before someone else found my clue first! I raced back down to the library, Michael following a little more slowly as he grabbed someone to film the moment he knew was coming.

I grabbed the book and started leafing through more carefully. Sure enough, there was something in there. A gorgeous engagement ring and a photo of the two dragons in How to Train Your Dragon saying “Will You Marry Me.”

I look up and he’s down on one knee and I’m just in shock. I always wondered how I’d react when someone proposed to me. We have the moment on video- my mouth is dropped open and I’m looking back and forth from the book back to him, breathing heavily.

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Of course I say yes and the shock turns to elation as I excitedly relive the moment, talk with him about how I couldn’t believe I missed the book the first time, and tell everyone I can see that I just got engaged!

And then a carrot falls out of his ear.

Earlier at dinner, he received a note in his silverware- he had a magical disease and needed to see the healer. The healer gave him a carrot to keep in his ear for 15 minutes as the cure. Michael is a good sport and plays along, eventually forgetting about the carrot.

“Do you know what this means? You proposed to me with a carrot in your ear!” I inform him, delightedly.

I’m only a little disappointed that the carrot doesn’t show up in the photos!

Almost every girl dreams of the day that someone will propose to her. I wanted something creative, something special. I couldn’t tell you exactly what, but I loved watching those crazy engagement videos online and dreamed of them one day being me.

So many little things went wrong, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my proposal. My fiancee conspired with the man in charge of the murder mystery, and used a series of clues to lead me to a library, complete with my favorite book, a photo of dragons, and a ring with a purple stone. I couldn’t have planned it better myself! He knows me, he knows what I like and what I would find meaningful and exciting.

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Before Michael, I never knew what it meant to have your partner be your best friend. Mine never were. Michael is so clearly my best friend, I don’t know how I ever thought anyone else was worthwhile. We have the same interests and values. I want to spend every moment with him. When we’re not together, I’m thinking about him. Best of all, he loves me in the same way I love him- as much or more than I love myself.

Before Michael, I used to try and guess- “I’ll be with this person forever,” I’d say, because I wanted to but not because I knew that it was true. Maybe I even said it because I knew it wasn’t. I didn’t know how it felt to be so sure about someone. But it was so obvious when we got together. There was no one else. Neither of us is perfect, but we are perfect for each other. There has never been any question in my mind that this day would come. I can’t wait for the day that I can officially pledge my love.

Don’t settle for second best. Wait for your special person. It sounds so cheesy, but you really will know when you find them.

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Gratitude and Happiness

I just returned home from a 4.5 hour wine date with a friend, that we both expected to be closer to 2 hours. It was so refreshing and wonderful to chat with her for so long. It left me feeling an undercurrent of happiness and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the people in my life right now.

First, this friend is someone who I connected incredibly with, despite having very different hobbies. She enjoys things like bird-watching, yoga, and national parks, while I’m into boxing, axe-throwing, and nerdy things like fantasy books, D&D, and Magic. She’s also about 20 years older than me. But we both like wine and we both have excellent conversations! A few months ago, she said something about seeing us as being sisters in a past life, and it made me so happy.

We chatted about all kinds of things- work, relationships, family. It also made me so grateful for my incredible boyfriend. For me, at this point, I feel like I’ve found my person. I’m not thinking things like is he the right one or will this be my last relationship, but when we move in together (just a few more months!), when we get married, when we have kids. People always say that when you meet the right person, you’ll know. I used to always say I knew with my past relationships, but I just wanted them to be the right one. It’s different, when you do meet the right person, and you do know it. I never knew what it meant to feel that your significant other was your best friend until him. I never knew what it meant to “just know” until him. I never really felt like my significant other was part of my family until him. Everything just fits. Even when there are struggles, I never think about whether we should break up or if I’m really happy. I know I am and I know it’s just a part of any relationship. Instead, I just think of how to deal with them so we can be better, happier, and stronger.

I also felt so grateful for my family. I went this morning with my dad to TribeFest- a celebration for the Cleveland Indians. Throughout my childhood, I have memories of going with my dad and my brother to baseball games, even watching the World Series in the 90s. Today, my dad and I have been going to games for the past few years again and going to events like this one where we get to meet players, get autographs, and get an excellent caricature of us in our Indians gear. I am truly lucky, not only for my dad, but also for my mom and brother. To have parents who are so selfless and a brother who is more than a best friend. There are so many people out there who aren’t close to their family. I couldn’t live without mine. I would be successful or really much of anything without them.

And finally, my dog Zephyr. I recently had a bit of a scare when I found a giant lump on his back leg. He had it removed recently, but I didn’t find out it wasn’t a tumor until today. He just turned 9, so I know that we’re running out of time together, but I’ve been so lucky to have him in my life. He got me through graduate school, and through a lot of important milestones in my life. For practically his entire life, it’s been just the two of us living together, and I’ll never really experience that with a pet again. We both adore each other and I love every minute of it.

Thank you to all of these people (and dog!) who have been such an incredible part of my life. I look forward to many more happy experiences! Take the time to be grateful for your people(and animals), to tell them that you love them and how much they mean to you.

New Year and Old Friends

Almost every New Years Eve in the past 15 or so years, I’ve spent with my high school friends. I was a little disappointed at first to miss that party this year, but I’m happy to have spent the time in Chicago with my boyfriend and his friends.

Sometimes in my life, I’ve had these strong feelings of this is what my life would’ve been like had things turned out differently. Spending time with Michael’s friends was like that for me, because I knew them in college too.

The reason Michael (my boyfriend) and I met was that we were both part of a gaming club in college. I participated in it for two years, but got caught up in some nasty drama primarily between these two other members of the club that I was close with (for some reason). I don’t want to go into detail, but it was the darkest time in my life and I left the gaming group because of it.

My friend group in college ended up on the fringes of this gaming group. People like Michael and a few of our other close friends in college were still in the group and others had been or had friends in it. But for the most part, I didn’t ever see a vast majority of these people again.

Until last July when I went with Michael to a 4th of July party hosted by some of the people (not the nasty ones) from this group. And November when I attended one of the games that Michael is still a part of. And New Years Eve.

I cannot tell you how terrified I was to interact with them again after all of those years. I never really knew what they thought of me because of being caught up in all of that. I was afraid they would hate me or think poorly of me in some way.

I definitely wasn’t expecting the friendly, warm, welcome I have experienced every time I’ve hung out with them since. That’s what the gaming group was supposed to be like (if it weren’t for those two people who ruined it for me). That’s what it was like for Michael over all of these years.

I couldn’t help thinking that it could have been like that for me. It was disappointing to realize that I had missed out on all of that in college and even since then.

But I am grateful to have reconnected, for the time we do get together, and for friendly, welcoming gamers like them.

To old friends in the New Year!

Keep Going

This week I lost 3.2 pounds in 4 days on Weight Watchers! It brings me to a total of 17.2 pounds since I started in September!

At first when I was looking at my overall number I felt a little disappointed- surely this famous weight loss program could help me lose weight faster than any other, right? But it’s not about the number and it’s not about the speed. What WW has done for me, that so far no other diet/health/nutrition plan has is to be a lifestyle change.

There have been at least 3 times so far that I felt I really screwed up on WW. I had spent a week or longer not really caring what I ate, not really tracking my food, gaining weight. Sometimes I would stagnate for awhile and think why am I even doing this?

But the most important thing I did at those moments, the reason that WW has helped me be so successful, is that I kept going. I didn’t give up. I didn’t allow myself the easy path of saying I failed and quitting.

I once read this quote that has stuck with me for decades, “Perseverance isn’t one long race; it is many short races one after another.” (Walter Elliot). To me, this quote embodies the mindset of hard work and how I’ve had to approach the most difficult areas of change in my life.

It’s not just hard to decide to make a life change, or start a diet plan like WW. It’s hard every day. It’s hard when you wake up in the morning and decide what to eat for breakfast. It’s hard when you go to your work holiday luncheon and face the famous desert lineup. It’s hard when you face the scale after a difficult day or week. Every decision you make takes effort.

Sometimes you will fail. No one is perfect. No one can make the ideal decision every time. But the most important thing is to keep going. No matter how badly you think you’ve fucked up. You can always continue making progress. Making mistakes happens; they’re unavoidable. Quitting is a choice. You can always choose to keep going. Quitting isn’t something that happens to you, but it’s when you decide to take the easy way out.

You might occasionally need to take a break from your goals and that’s okay- I did this in November. For my mental health, I just couldn’t keep up the writing habit I wanted to last month. I was exhausted from traveling, overwhelmed from work, and facing my laptop everyday to write just made me anxious. But I haven’t given up on it for good. On my holiday list, I put money toward an online writing class. And I got it for Hannukah! I was pleasantly surprised when I opened that gift and once again, I started daydreaming about being a writer.

Failure is unavoidable, but quitting is not. Keep going- you can do it!

All the Goals!

Part of the reason I haven’t updated in awhile is that I’ve really been struggling with Weight Watchers. The first three or four weeks were awesome- I lost 10 pounds and was so proud of myself! The next three or four weeks were the opposite- I didn’t lose more than a half a pound and occasionally gained .5-1 pounds. I plateau’d. I wasn’t making much progress and I felt ready to quit.

I talked to my boyfriend about it, who was trying to be understanding, but said something along the lines of I’ll support you if you want to quit. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I was looking for someone to give me the motivation to keep going. To tell me the magic secret to how to lose weight but still eat whatever I wanted. Spoiler alert: there isn’t one.

However, he did join WW with me. I was surprised, but really happy that he joined me in making his own progress and in supporting my goals. I felt so loved and appreciated. I also thought, Shit, now I can’t quit.

I re-committed this week and used a self-control technique inspired by a TED Talk I saw by Dan Ariely. Though losing weight and being healthy should be a goal that is naturally rewarding, it just isn’t. Future me isn’t that powerful. So, I used my psychology knowledge of positive reinforcement. I told myself that the only way I get to play Magic the Gathering Arena each day is if I keep to my daily points in WW (blue dots for those who are familiar with it). I’ve been way too into playing Arena lately, so I figured this would either get me to play it less or get me to eat better. So far it’s been the latter, and I’ve been really pleased with the results! (I’m sure the social support probably played a role here as well, but the extra reinforcement definitely helps!) We’ll see how it goes and whether it pays off, but I’m at least feeling a lot more positively!

My writing goals have been basically nonexistent as of late. I skipped the once a month writing meeting that my colleague does, for no good reason. And I’ve done almost nothing otherwise. I did write a character backstory a few weeks ago that I felt really good about, but no writing for the sake of writing.

I’ve been feeling especially anxious about writing lately because it’s almost November. Every November (except one) since 2012, I have attempted NaNoWriMo (and was successful all but one time). This year though, I just don’t think it is right for me. I am nowhere near ready to attempt to write any novel based on the ideas I’ve been kicking around. I thought about just winging it from nothing, but that seems like a waste of time.

All of the novels I’ve written during NaNoWriMo have been bad. They could definitely be turned into something worthwhile, but as is they’re pretty horrific. It’s just not feasible for me to write a good novel in 30 days. I could probably do it if I devoted 4-5 hours each day to writing, but with my current schedule that is impossible and overwhelming to even think about.

But I don’t want to just give up on writing, especially in November, because I’m not prepared to write a novel. I still want to be a writer and what I’ve loved about NaNoWriMo in the past is how it encourages me to set a writing habit and makes me feel good about writing (I feel like I “get” to write instead of that I “have” to write).

My biggest problem as a writer is that I don’t practice enough. I just need to log those hours writing. So during the month of November, I’m making it my goal to write for at least 1 hour every day. I’m going to try to keep that as actually 1 hour a day rather than a few hours on one day and skip the next several, because I want to make writing a habit.

It may not be as intensive or sound as impressive as NaNoWriMo, but I think it’s the right goal for me. Please still send your support! And good luck with your own goals 🙂

 

 

Weight Watchers

I just joined Weight Watchers at work and what I did not expect to feel was a huge sense of relief.

When the semester started 5 weeks ago, work sent out an email about Weight Watchers, but I couldn’t make the meeting time. Two or three weeks later, I remember thinking to myself that I needed to re-commit to eating healthy and it was a shame that I couldn’t make Weight Watchers. Literally that same day, they sent an email saying they were changing the meeting time. I remember feeling terrified because I knew that meant I had to commit. There’s nothing I hate more than making myself a hypocrite, especially when it comes to dodging my goals.

I knew I had about two weeks of eating whatever and I somehow tried to fit in literally every unhealthy food that I enjoyed eating into the time before Weight Watchers started. The first week of this was exciting. By the second week, I wasn’t even enjoying the food and just felt bad. I was looking forward to Weight Watchers.

I’m still a little bit scared because this is going to mean some pretty extreme lifestyle changes. I have 23 points per day and what I usually eat for breakfast (a yogurt and Bellvita) that I thought was pretty healthy, is 11 points. That’s almost half of my daily calories and isn’t even that filling.

I expect that this will change the way I think about food and how I cook and eat. If I can stick to this, I think I will lose a lot of weight. More importantly, I will make healthier decisions and formulate healthy habits that should last a long time. I’ll also stop feeling guilty about my eating. It’ll free up a lot of mental space and help me feel better about myself and my body.

I think my biggest obstacle will be holding strong, even when other people aren’t keeping to the same healthy choices. So many of my friends and family love deserts and we love to share them. My parents bring or make me desert, my best friend takes me to all the different ice cream places when I visit her, and the first thing my boyfriend asked me today when I told him about SmartPoints was how much fries from Five Guys were (30 in case you’re wondering. Remember, your daily limit is 23).

I’m proud of joining and committing to this lifestyle change, but I’m definitely scared of how different and how hard it’s going to be. Please be understanding and supportive, especially as I start this journey. And I hope that you’re inspired to start your own- weight and health or otherwise!