I think the reason Weight Watchers has worked this time is because I finally realized that it is NOT a diet, it truly is a lifestyle change. I always understood that in theory, and this time something clicked in my brain and I finally get it.

What I didn’t expect was the change in my lifestyle. Does that sound like a contradiction? Yes, I have made Weight Watchers my lifestyle. Yes, my way of eating has changed forever. Yes, exercise is now a permanent and enjoyable part of my life.

But by changing my lifestyle, my style of life has changed. Let me explain before you stare at your screen with a big “Duh.”

When I’m talking to people about my weight loss, they nearly always say something to the effect of “You must feel amazing” or ask “How do you feel?” I usually answer these questions with exclamations about how good I feel, how I have more energy, how I can play with my kids more… easy, fairly predictable answers.

I only truly realized this week just how different my lifestyle and way of thinking were. When we renovated our house and moved in two years ago, we had pre-painted siding installed. The boards just had one coat, basically a primer, and the siders sealed all the seams with a putty that irritatingly stood out like a sore thumb. We knew when it was installed that we would have to paint the house within a couple of years, but it was a much cheaper option at the time.

Two years ago if you had told me “We have to paint the house,” it invariably would have ended up with Mr. Awesome out there every day slaving away and me offering very little participation. I would likely have done a little bit and then made an excuse for why I needed to go inside, sit down, etc. I simply didn’t have the energy. I wouldn’t have had the staying power to paint window trim, let alone a whole wall. It was partly the lack of energy and partly sheer laziness brought on by the lack of energy. I was stuck in laziness loop!

We’ve just completed four full days of house painting, and when I say we I mean WE. Okay, Mr. Awesome stands at 6’5″ so he has done a little more than me because he can reach the high parts easier, but I have definitely held my own on the workload. I’ve only stopped to make meals or relieve the babysitter, but otherwise I’ve been out there, roller or brush in hand. I’ve hardly sat down (unless I was painting the bottom of the wall) and I haven’t even been that sore afterwards! I’ve painted a HOUSE! I can look at our house with pride and know that I actually actively contributed to how it looks, not just sitting and picking out colour swatches.

When I realized how different my energy and attitude were compared to a couple of years ago, I was shocked. It made me look at other instances where my outlook is different, my decisions have changed, etc.

I no longer park as close as humanly possible to my destination to save the walk from the car. I take stairs with ease, and quite often instead of an elevator. I spend a LOT less time sitting on the couch. When out for a walk, I never used to be able to keep up with Mr. Awesome (give me a break, he’s 6’5″ for Pete’s sake) but now it’s not even an issue. We are going to San Francisco next month and we’re planning on renting bicycles and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge. And I’m EXCITED about it, not dreading it!

I’m the same person I was before, but better. I’m not afraid of trying new things. I don’t say no to new opportunities or activities because I’m worried I won’t have the energy, or that I’ll be too big, too heavy, too slow.

Who knew that by making a lifestyle change, I would give myself a whole new life.