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I loved reading everybody’s comments, especially since each of the goals you accomplished were different. Graduating college, climbing mountains, getting out of debt-they’re all reasons to celebrate and brag a little bit.

You are all winners in my book, but unfortunately there is only one who will get the prize package. And that is…


Wendy!!!

Give me a buzz, girl, and we’ll make arrangements on delivery.

Thank you all for participating. I loved hearing about your accomplishments!

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I’m trying to get back into the groove of posting regularly, and by regularly I mean more than twice a month, so I figured I’d kick off the second post this week with some good news.

I have finally lost the baby weight.

Mind you not all the weight I gained was from the baby (who is now school age and technically not a baby), but I did gain a good bit during my pregnancy. Fifty-five pounds to be exact. I lost some after giving birth, as most moms do, but I never got back down below 300 until last year. I hovered just above that awful number until I stopped nursing, and once I stopped nursing, my body figured out I didn’t need all those extra calories anymore. Unfortunately I did not also realize the same.

Then there was the knee injury that was instrumental in getting me to my Highest Weight Ever. Thirty more pounds there.

Thankfully it is all gone. In December, on Christmas Eve no less, I finally found myself below the weight I was when I first discovered I was pregnant nearly six years ago.

At least I took it off before she reached high school.

This calls for a celebration so I decided to host a modest little giveaway. This is actually the giveaway I was supposed to do when I finally got below 300 pounds, but not being the most organized or driven person, I sort of…didn’t do it. I also had a little trouble figuring out what to give away because I don’t know what you people want.

So I figured I’d just give away things I like.

Like I said, this is a very modest giveaway package and it’s worth around $50. The package consists of three things and they’re all going to one reader so I don’t have to post prizes to three different addresses.

I’m lazy, unmotivated and cheap. But I’ve taken off that baby weight. That’s key here.

So do you want to know what’s up for bid?

Alrightly then.

Item number one is a $15 iTunes card.

I love iTunes gift cards. I don’t buy much music, but ever since getting an iPod touch, and then an iPhone, I’ve been spending a little too much time in the App Store. I’ve been very tempted to keep this for myself, but luckily for you I’m quite happy with my Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies for now.

Item number two is a delicious bag of Good Life Granola.

Folks? I LOVE this granola, and how I managed to acquire a bag to give away is kind of a funny story. Well, funny in a sad sort of way because it once again highlights my complete lack of motivation.

So Nathan and I were out at the Holland Farmer’s Market last May and Mike, the owner of Good Life Granola, had his table set up with his samples. I introduced myself as @oakhollowmom because we had conversed back and forth on Twitter, as much as two people can in 140 characters or less, and he wouldn’t have known me from Eve had I introduced myself by my real name.

Since I’m not very comfortable asking for freebies to give away on the blog, I figured I’d just buy a bag myself. Then Nathan told Mike I was going to give the granola away here and Mike very graciously offered me another bag to do just that. But when he asked me when I was going to do the giveaway, I told him it would be when I hit my next weight loss goal.  As it turned out, I didn’t hit that goal until the end of June and, as I mentioned earlier, failed to do the giveaway at that time.

So Mike, I owe you a HUGE apology for taking so long to introduce you to my readers.

Did I happen to mention how wonderful this granola is? If you’re not a raisin fan, you’ll be happy to know this granola contains all natural ingredients, none of which are raisins. Just oats, pecans, almonds, brown sugar, Michigan maple syrup, canola oil, cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla. It’s a wonderful, wonderful mix of flavors.

And I’m sure Mike will be happy to know I won’t be passing on the bag he gave me last May. While I do still have that bag and have confirmed it’s still very tasty, I could not in good conscience give away a bag of granola that’s been sitting on my desk for eight months. The bag you will be getting was recently purchased at a local health food store.

And the final item is a gro-pak starter kit from Blue Avocado.

I was introduced to Blue Avocado a couple of years ago at BlogHer and could kick myself for not taking advantage of the generous discount they offered to conference attendees back then. I love their little pod bags and had no idea they actually turned into pods until I saw roommate Amy with some as she was packing up her swag.  I was all, “Oh, those bags do that?” and proceeded to scrunch and fold mine into a neat little pod shape. I also wish I would have followed Amy’s lead and gotten a couple more bags from the expo hall. Ah, well. You can learn from my mistake. If you room with a frugal blogger, don’t let her out of your sight because she has an amazing capacity to scope out freebies.

The starter pack consists of one pod bag, one pak carry-all bag and one veg produce bag. I need to add a disclaimer here because the set I picked up was not purchased directly through Blue Avocado. I acquired my set on the farm last summer when I was picking up my CSA share. It was only after I brought the bags home that I realized they were a little dirty after being displayed in the farm store.

But now I can tell you the bags wash really well.

Ahem….

And now you know why I don’t do giveaways that often.

If you’re at all interested in this package, you may earn a chance to win it by posting a comment below. The comment should include one goal you are very proud to have reached. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with weight loss. Have you run a marathon? Graduated college? Taught a monkey sign language? Tell me about it, but please don’t go crazy by barraging me with your awesomeness. Too much boasting in multiple comments will only cheapen your efforts.

In other words, one comment per person, please.

You can post your comments until 11:59 PM next Wednesday, February 16 (because Midnight would actually be Thursday, right?)

Thursday I will draw a winner and hopefully post the results shortly after.

If I remember to, that is.

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Every time I get serious about weight loss I pose for the obligatory “before” photo. You know the one where you stand expressionless in front of the camera wearing the most unflattering ensemble in your wardrobe?  Yeah, that one. It’s meant to bolster your enthusiasm and remind you how far you’ve come, but what it really does is document one of the most miserable moments of your life; you at your heaviest weight ever.

This time I didn’t pose for that picture.  I don’t know why. Maybe it was because I never expected to get this far. I’d had so many stops and starts over the years and it had been ages since I’d lost more than 10 pounds.  I guess I just figured my enthusiasm and my resolve would wane during the holidays and I’d find myself right back where I started.

Ah, but I did not.

So here I am months later and I’m searching for a suitable “before” picture.  The problem with being the family shutterbug is there is very little photographic evidence of my existence outside of my driver’s license.  That’s usually how I like it, but at the moment it’s inconvenient.  I can feel the changes in my body, feel my clothes getting looser and I can even see the weight dropping from my face, but I’d kind of like to see how the whole package now compares to the whole package before.

Then I remembered a particular picture taken of me at BlogHer last summer.  Of the few photos I posed for during the conference, none was so hideous as this one:

Before Disclaimer #1: Had I known when I woke up that morning I’d be having my picture taken next to a giant bottle of Ragu, I would not have chosen to wear that orange shirt.

Disclaimer #2: Even though I am within five pounds of my heaviest weight ever in this picture, I’m far from miserable.  I think this was the second day of the conference and I was just really tired.  There’s no way I could be miserable having finally met Meg.

Sorry, Meg, but you’ve unwittingly earned a spot in my weight loss saga by being a part of my “before” picture.

Since I found that picture it was time to take the first progress photo. For that shot I entrusted my camera to my husband and flashed my best smile.

Can you tell the difference? I think I can. Granted my body is turned inward a little in the first photo and I’m not standing next to a giant bottle of Ragu in the second, but I think I can see a visible reduction of body mass in the second picture.

Rock on!

I was originally going to show you these pictures and finally reveal how much weight I’ve lost so far, but then I thought it would be more fun to use this information to my advantage and offer a little giveaway.

I don’t do giveaways very often so pay close attention. Here’s what you have to do.

You’ve seen the “before” picture and the current picture. What I’m asking is that you GUESS how much weight I’ve lost.  Don’t worry about guessing low and insulting me. This is all for fun and I promise your puny estimates will not offend.

The person who offers the most accurate guess will win an Amazon gift card equivalent to the number of pounds I’ve lost as of tomorrow’s weigh-in.

There is one catch, though. This contest is taking place entirely on Facebook.  This is a completely self-serving stipulation as I’ve just recently set up a page for the blog on Facebook.  Don’t judge. I’m giving away free shit.

Here be the rules:

  1. Become a fan of my blog on Facebook.
  2. Submit your entry with your best guess under the “discussion” section of my page. Right now there’s only one thread there so it should be easy enough to find.
  3. Only one entry per person.
  4. Your entry will only be valid if you are a fan at the time I select a winner.
  5. If you are the winner, you will have 48 hours to contact me to receive your prize.

In the event more than one person has submitted the most accurate guess, their entries will be numbered according to when they posted to the thread and I will then draw a winner using a random number generator.

The contest will remain open through Tuesday, March 2nd. The winner will be announced via a Facebook message to fans on Wednesday, March 3rd.

If you don’t have a Facebook account or if the Facebook stipulation of this contest doesn’t appeal to you, I can promise there will be another giveaway in the future in which entries can be submitted here in the comments section.  For this particular contest though, it’s all happening on Facebook.

Just to clarify, your guess needs to be as close as possible to my total pounds lost as of tomorrow’s weigh-in. Don’t be afraid to use decimals in your guessing. Weight Watchers scales display in increments of .2 pounds, and I will be reporting my total loss down to the last tenth.

Good luck!

In the interest of full disclosure, this giveaway is sponsored by none other than yours truly. Neither Amazon nor Weight Watchers have contributed and I have not been compensated for this post.

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