I started blogging in 2008 with the intent on writing my love story with Mr. Right. A few months after our wedding, I began training for my first 5K and religiously tracking my food. As a result, I have pages and pages on my first blog of “Weigh-In Wednesday” posts.

For a time, I found success. The support I had via blog posts and community link-ups no doubt encouraged me along the way. Many of the blogs embarrass me as I read back through them. As the saying goings – I wish I were as fat as I was when I first thought I was fat!

I’ve grown over the past decade. Thankfully I don’t only mean that physically. I no longer have the desire to be skinny or fit back into those size 4 pants I worked so hard to get into. I do, however, want to lose some fat and incorporate healthy foods into my diet these days.

Exercise hasn’t fallen off my radar, although my intensity changes depending on the season of my life. On the other hand food has become a free-for-all. I don’t really know how to be moderate, so with a few short-lived attempts not withstanding, I’ve mostly just eaten whatever whenever in the name of “loving myself just as I am.”

I do not, however, enjoy the result of said behavior which stares back at me in the mirror. I tell myself I’ve got to do something different. Then after a day or two of my grand new plan, I flake out. This is partly because I don’t want to be the crazy, obnoxious diet girl. I just won’t do it. I refuse to sacrifice my mental health in the quest for physical perfection.

I remember how hard I worked to get skinny (I weighed 123 pounds to be exact – without looking through old blogs, I remember that number.) I also remember how desperately wanted it to go lower. If all that work led to a lack of satisfaction in my appearance, why bother?

What’s different this time.

Last month, Jay (my husband) decided to make some serious changes in his diet and behaviors. I’d love to brag on him, but he’s a weirdo and doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. I’ll just say I find his hard work and success inspiring.

I’ve proven – whether mentally or physically – huge drastic changes do not work for me. However I do want something to change. I love being active, both with him and socially with friends and family, and I don’t want to ever put that in jeopardy. While not an issue at the moment, I’m not getting any younger.

Watching my parents get out on the trail makes me want to do what I can now, to make life easier on myself later. Both in what they are able to do, and the challenges they encounter post-total knee replacement (and the downtime that results from needing said surgery).

I tried intermittent fasting (IF) for a week to no avail. Fasting until noon left me cranky, and I gained a pound a a half for my trouble. I refuse to see that week as a failure though, because I remembered how to tell myself “no” or “not now.” Researching IF lead me to what I hope will be the actual solution.

I found one of the IF articles on the Nerd Fitness website. I read through the blogs, checked out the forum, and signed up for the emails. In previous fitness attempts, I’d found the website but never completely followed through.

The tag line “Level Up Your Live” reveals the heart of the plan – collect small win after small win in the pursuit of health and fitness. A good portion of the site is free, but I decided to go big and join the Nerd Fitness Academy. What sold me is how they acknowledge that information isn’t what most people need, but rather help implementing what I already know.

The paid portion of the site offers a three prong approach to fitness – mindset, nutrition, and workouts. Each module offers quests which help focus on the component while offering level-up points for completing the mission. Basically a live-action video game and “winning” involves being active, eating healthy, and understanding (and remembering) why I want to do those things.

In my first week, I’ve already collected enough mini-wins to keep me moving forward without getting discouraged at how far I still have to go. I’m hoping to share my progress over the course of the next few months, after all that was one key to my success about a decade ago.

For the first time in a long time, I’m gaining traction and building motivation. I’m excited to see where this adventure takes me!