When Gracie Fabulous left her comment letting me know I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award it made me smile.
I’ve been blogging for almost 11 years now. What started as a side project while pregnant and teaching web development organically grew into a business, a conference, and changed the course of my life forever. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true.
This is a screen shot from the family site I created while pregnant in 2004 that evolved over time.
Back then I was so anti-blog I hand-coded my own blog-like system that used ASP and an Access Database. I was stubborn. There was no way I was going to use something like WordPress!
After a year or so I decided to bite the bullet and I downloaded the self hosted WordPress files. I fell immediately in love and worked on a new version of my site, WeightWatchen which was a spinoff of my family site.
You may have noticed “The Rebuild” after the title. At one point in my blogging career I lost all my posts because of a bum server at a shady hosting company. That’s when I rebuilt and actually launched GreenLiteBites. Before then I just posted all my food ideas here on my main blog.
It was also this time I started to think of blogging as a side business more than a hobby. My traffic was consistently growing, I was making money on my experimental ads, and companies were starting to reach out to me to review products. I posted almost daily on both blogs, posting at least a video a week, producing a podcast and doing all my own design and development.
By 2009, I was also planning the first FitBloggin‘ and I had regular paying blog sponsorships.
Looking back, I’m not sure how I did it all, although I did have to quit my job as an assistant professor at a community college in 2008. I tried to make blogging my full-time gig back then but accepted another job at the University of Maryland in 2009 because it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Then FitBloggin’10 happened and I had a full-fledged business on my hands. I ended up leaving that position at the university. I simply couldn’t hold down a full time job while woking on the blogs/conference and give my family the attention I wanted to, so I gave up the lowest thing on my priority list.
Throughout the years I have done my best to stay consistent and transparent on the blogs. I’ve changed, my goals have changed, and blogging has changed, a lot. When I initially started I would post about once or twice a week, then daily and now I’m back to just a few times a week. I’ve used the blog to post daily weigh-ins, weekly weigh-ins and now no weigh-ins because I’m done with the scale part of my journey. Some posts have food journals, some don’t. I’ve written personal stories and generic tips. There was even a time I “vlogged” weekly.
I think the most fascinating aspect of all of this to me is how my relationship with my body has changed over the course of these 11 years. My whole life all I wanted to be was “skinny.” I didn’t care how I got there as long as it was true. When I launched the blog I started to change my focus. Skinny was still a goal but not my only one. I wanted to learn how to eat better, be a good example for my new baby boy, and stop using self-consciousness and my bad body image as an excuse not to do the things I wanted to do.
Now this once exercise-hater works at a gym. I workout and lift weights daily. I’m training for a half-marathon. I eat a variety of healthy foods, many I didn’t even know existed when I started. And now — I know I haven’t blogged about my fitness much lately but — skinny isn’t even on my radar anymore. I can’t imagine reducing calories and jeopardizing the muscle I’ve gained at the gym. I can now do pull-ups, climb a rope, deadlift much more than my “before” weight, and I have the one of the fastest row times for females at my gym — and I’m by no means a spring chicken. At 39 I can honestly say I’m in the best shape of my life, which is funny because my body has changed drastically over the years as well. I went from overweight to really lean, losing all my weight through a low-calorie diet and not exercising. Then I started running more and more and guess what? I started to look like a runner. Now that I lift heavy regularly, I’m broader and thicker for sure but solid and strong.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my body is, for the most part, the result of my lifestyle and I’m done stressing and wasting energy to try to change or shape it. I workout because I love the way it makes me feel. I eat nutritious foods because it’s what we should do as human beings. It’s what I want my kids to do so they grow up as healthy as possible. I also indulge because I believe doing so is another part of the healthy living puzzle and life is too short not to enjoy a drink with my husband or an ice cream cone with the kids.
If Gracie didn’t nominate me for the award I would have never taken this little trip down memory lane and I needed it. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in planning the next thing (and the next thing and the next!) I forget to celebrate where I am, which is all a result of where I’ve been. I’ve been working on “content” lately, learning to appreciate the now. It’s not something that comes naturally to me so it’s taking a little work but I’m getting there.
Here’s the Award Rules…
- Thank the person that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
- List the rules.
- Display the award on your post.
- List seven facts about yourself.
- Nominate (up to) 15 bloggers for this award and comment on one of their posts to let them know you have nominated them.
7 Facts About Me
- I’m related to two presidents on my father’s mother’s side.
- I have a master’s degree in instructional technology.
- I self-published a cookbook and a children’s book and traditionally published What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living on Your Terms.
- I have a brother but we haven’t spoken in almost 7 years. I think of him a lot.
- I sacrifice sleep more than I should. I know I shouldn’t but there’s just so much I want to do!
- I miscarried before both my successful pregnancies.
- I hate putting people on the spot – – it makes me uncomfortable – – so I’m breaking rule No. 5.