First, I’ll let you know that other than being a paying customer, I have no direct affiliation with Weight Watchers. I’m a fan, plain and simple. There are plenty of ways out there to lose weight and get healthy. Find the one that works for you.

Back in about 2003, I was the fittest I’d ever been. I was doing karate 3 times a week, got my blue belt, and for the first time in my life, I had abs. Then, work got really busy, I was planning our wedding, and my karate lessons went by the wayside. I fell back into my old habits, and before long, my weight started to creep up as my fitness level went down.

By the summer of 2006, I hit my highest weight ever. I was a size 18, and couldn’t buy clothes at the regular store anymore. Something clicked inside my brain, and I said, “enough is enough!”. On the prompting of my friend and business partner, I joined her on Weight Watchers. We did the online program, and in 4 months I dropped 28 pounds and went down to a size 12. I ended up about 12 lbs shy of my ideal weight, but nonetheless I was pretty pleased with my accomplishment.

I managed to keep the weight off for 2.5 years. Then, for whatever reason, I fell off the wagon, and my weight slowly started to creep up again. Lately, other than not fitting so well into my clothes anymore, I’ve been feeling tired, achy and stiff a lot. My energy levels have been taking severe dips and twists. I’m letting stress get to me more. I realized that I needed to get this back under control again, lest I be digging out those size 18 pants again.

As many of you know (because I talk about it all the time), I’ll be turning 40 this coming November. I’m not shocked, not sad, not upset. In fact, I’m looking forward to it. 40 seems like a really “grown up” age to be. The truth is, my Mom is probably more shocked than I am about her youngest turning 40.

So, in honour of my upcoming milestone, I’ve decided to, for once and for all, lose this extra 40lbs I’ve been carrying around, and get back to my ideal weight and fitness in time for my birthday this coming November. Some have said to me that 40lbs seems like a lot. I’ve crunched the numbers though, and yes, that’s going to get me to my ideal weight, and I can do it in this realistic timeframe.

I’ve opted to go for Weight Watchers again, because it worked so well for me last time. Their points system is easy to follow (for some reason, easier for me than plain old calorie counting). I know there are free tools out there, but for $20 a month, it’s worth it for me to have access to all the additional support the system provides. And for some reason, the fact I’m paying for it makes me want to succeed more. I hate wasting money.

I technically started last Thursday, giving myself a few “warm up” days, to get in the swing, re-stock the fridge and psyche myself up for the changes I was about to make. My friend/business partner recommended the “warm-up” period, instead of cold turkey, and I recommend it too. Then on Monday I started. I get 26 points a day, with 35 extra points a week that I can use as a bonus. I try not to use the extra 35 myself, but they are there if I want them. I’ve upped my fitness level (though I hurt my foot yesterday so this week is going to be more about yoga and weights than walking). I’ve also started consuming a lot more water.

The result so far? I “feel” lighter, which is good, psychologically. I do get hungry at odd times, particularly at night. But I’m dealing with that by eating more filling foods, like veggies, lean protein and nuts.

I’ve decided to be public about my weight loss this time, partly in hopes that it encourages others, and partly because I feel like it puts the pressure on me to stick to it. I’ve found the community online, particularly on Twitter, to be more than supportive. Even the reigning Queen of Weight Loss and Maven of Stopping the Insanity, Susan Powter gave me advice via Twitter last night…and what she told me, might be the best advice of all…

“Eat, breathe, move, and think. The only way to do it, and never have to again.”

I’ll check in again on Monday for my weigh-in.