Like the old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” While I know this, I still find myself so anxious about my current goal.

Weight loss. It’s a tough goal for anyone to reach no matter how many pounds you want to lose.

For those who don’t know me, I’m the ‘silver lining’ kind of gal. No matter how down or grim the situation, I’m always looking for the silver lining.

So naturally, when Kitty — yes, that’s her real name, was giving me a Chemo 101 course before I started my first treatment, I smiled and stated, “Well, at least I’ll drop a few pounds.”

With slight hesitation, Kitty tells me not all patients lose weight with chemotherapy and some actually gain weight.

As soon as I heard her say those words, I immediately knew I would fall into the category of patients ‘who gain weight.’”

And sure enough, I did. After all was said and done, I gained about 40 pounds.     Needless to say, it’s been a tough goal to achieve over the last four years.

It sure is easy to pack those pounds on, but nearly impossible, or at least it seems, to get them off. Over the last four years, I have had a hard time staying motivated.

To achieve any weight loss goal, motivation is the key. Especially when it seems like nothing but bad days are in your future.

So, what makes this time different?

I have an opportunity to get back to my old self. Not that’s there is anything wrong with my “new self.”

Ever since I had my bilateral mastectomy, I’ve never felt the same. I know that the changes are only physical but I feel different somehow.   

Because of my treatment, immediate reconstruction was out of the question. And, at the time, I was told my options were very limited, which consisted of a series of surgeries — including one 12-hour procedure — and several months of recovery.

After recovering from the mastectomy, I started my 35 treatments of radiation, which made wearing the prosthetics next to impossible. Once I was done with radiation, I attempted to wear them.

That lasted about a week, maybe not even that long.

Calling my situation difficult at 26 years old would be the understatement of the year. It was far past difficult, but not quite hell either. The additional pounds didn’t help.

It took me a little over a year after surgery to stop using the “security jacket” I wore everywhere. It didn’t matter if it was 60 degrees or 105 degrees; I wore my jacket as a way to hide myself.

Needless to say, it has taken a lot of time to get used to the ‘new me.’ And during that time, losing weight was the last thing on my mind.

That all changed this summer.

Thanks to my dear cousin Mel, I was able to meet and consult with a plastic surgeon on my reconstruction options, which include surgeries with shorter recovery times.

Since the month of October, I’ve renewed my weight loss goal. Unlike before, I have a deadline I have to meet.

Although my reconstruction option doesn’t require me to drop the weight, I decided I wanted to get back to the ‘old me.’

I’ve taken the plunge and became a member of a local gym that works best with my often-crazy work schedule. I’ve even enlisted the help of a personal trainer.

While I started to eat better, I had a slight delay in working out because I got sick. On the bright side of things, the sinus infection/cold/flu/crud I had jump-started my weight loss.

With only four personal training sessions with Marie and a week and a half worth of workouts, I’ve been stressing on my progress.

I even asked Marie some other things I could do. After several chats with her, she assured me that I’m on the right track. While I was still worried, everything changed Wednesday night.

I remembered that I took measurements in the beginning of October to track my progress. So, I busted out the measuring tape once again. After comparing my measurements, I realized I dropped 10.5 inches.

While I noticed a few of my clothes were fitting better, I didn’t think it would be that many inches.

Even though I still have a long way to go on my journey back to myself, I cannot wait to get there.

It’s been too long since I’ve felt like me, and I’m eager to be that gal again.

Amanda Leija’s column is published on the Lifestyles section in the Brownwood Bulletin each Sunday. She may be reached at