The Accomplishment

expat blog challege, memoirs

Each month, my fellow Expat Blog Challengers and I take on a new writing prompt. This month we have a photo prompt on the theme “an accomplishment.

I feel like it’s only fair that I mention that I’m the one who writes these monthly blog challenge prompts. It would seem like that gives me an unfair advantage of picking something that I want to write about, but I actually never have an idea in mind. As to the topic I’ve finally settled on for this month’s theme, I’m amazed that I might actually hit “publish” on this post. I’ve written about so many aspects of my life in these pages over the last four years, but I’ve never written about this aspect in more than a passing mention.

This picture was taken in the summer of 2003:


This picture was taken about 14 months later (I was Nancy Sinatra for Halloween – I didn’t lose my mind, too).


These pictures represent the most and least I’ve weighed in my adult life. In the months in between, I lost about 2 pounds a week, 100 in total (45kg for the non-Americans). It all started when I moved into my parent’s house in Montana for a year while I was applying for grad school. My mom and sister were following Weight Watchers, so I decided I’d join them. It was a case of being in the exact right place and frame of mind when I took the plunge. I set myself a modest goal, reached that, set another goal that I never thought I’d reach, got to that, and then set a huge goal that I finally achieved. There was no secret pill or guru. Yes, I followed the Weight Watchers plan (just the plan, I never went to meetings), but what it came down to was eating less, moving more, and doing both consciously. It was really that simple … and that complicated.

At the end of my year in Montana, my smaller self, a new wardrobe and I moved to New York to start grad school with people who had never known First Picture me. It was an exhilarating and strange experience, after being the chubby and beyond girl for almost my entire life. I had a newfound confidence that has only grown in the ensuing years. I also had a whole host of other more complicated feelings that it took me a number of years to sort through, but I eventually did and finally felt like myself. My best self.

So, end of story, right? That’s an accomplishment, hey?!

No, that’s not the accomplishment that I want to show you today.

In the years since the second photo was taken, I’ve been any number of sizes between the two pictures. I don’t believe I’ll ever be the size I was in either photo again, but, as you’d imagine, I’d rather be closer to Second Picture me than First Picture. In the year before we started trying to have a baby, I’d managed to creep up to a size that I was not at all happy with, and I couldn’t figure out why. I wasn’t sad or stress eating, as had always been the culprit before. I was discussing it with Partner-in-Crime one day, and he hit the nail on the head, “you’re happy and you like to bake.” He was exactly right. What that really meant was that I’d lost the most important element of my weight loss formula – the consciousness. I’d stopped paying attention.

After that I got back in gear and lost 20 pounds before becoming pregnant. I was in great shape during my pregnancy. I was this annoying pregnant lady who never had aches and pains, did yoga four times a week, walked every day, and in my third trimester, only craved fruit juices. But, after Hushpuppy was born, I lost my mojo again. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, stress eating, and feeling incapable of getting myself to do any more than the most moderate activity. Hushpuppy was a tough baby, and it showed on me. This stretched on for ages, far longer than one can consider it “a little extra baby weight.” As I slowly gained confidence and joy in motherhood, got my sleep and a little me-time back, my weight was the one thing that continued to haunt me daily. I just did not feel like myself. I made a few false starts on tackling it, but it dragged on well past Hushpuppy’s first birthday.


This is my accomplishment photo – my ratty old gym shoes. For the past three months, they’ve been in steady use. Thanks to joining a gym with childcare, I go three days a week, doing spin classes twice a week and weight class once a week. On the off days, we go for walks around the park. And, I’ve been eating and drinking more deliberately. I’m not watching the scale, as the numbers are no longer important to me. What is important is maintaining the consciousness, and the accomplishment is again finding that place where I feel like my best self.


6 thoughts on “The Accomplishment

  1. Christie Wilkin

    Well done on joining a gym and dusting off those shoes! It’s exactly what I need to do. I loved my outdoor fitness class in Melbourne, and I have done nothing to replace it (it’s been five months since I attended my last class). Maybe this will motivate me.

    1. Cristin Post author

      I think when your life changes (move, new baby, or whatever big change), it’s so easy for the fitness and good eating to fly out the window. That’s been my experience, anyway. I always need a reminder and a push to get back to it.

  2. Pingback: The Accomplishment – Walking Away | Granite House on the Hill

  3. Samantha

    An accomplishment indeed – lacing up those shoes an heading to the gym on the regular has to be like 90% of the battle, right? Well that and paying attention to all we eat and drink. Way to go, Cristin! You are always inspiring me to commit to healthy habbits – keep it up girl! Also – kudos to you for writing about an issue that can be so sensitive for so many of us.

    1. Cristin Post author

      Thanks, Sam! You’re right it’s not the easiest to write about, but I wanted to open up about something maybe others can relate to, as well.

  4. marcella Beckwith


    Again, you inspire me. I will never forget when you showed up at FST after Grad School. I heard your voice, the one I remembered, and looking straight at you was looking FOR you. It took me several minutes to process that I was staring right at you. Thus started my learning process from you. To see you again go into the fray, you inspire me again. After my “event” I was in terrible shape, I finally am back at the pool 5 days a week to try for endurance. I am thinking about a spin class in the fall and with your encouraging example I will look into it. Thank you for all the years of sharing the ups and downs of life.

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