This is the end, my friends. My last blog entry documenting what was supposed to be my journey to a smaller me. Unfortunately I’ve fallen short and haven’t reached my goal of “32 Before 32,” but not all is lost. I learned a few things about myself that I’ve been in denial about for years. I’m hard-headed.

Leilah Reese works out during Howard Homecoming weekend. (Rustin Moore/

Dr. Mommy (a.k.a. my mom) used to always say “Watch it! The older you get, the harder it is to lose weight”. What can I say? When that woman is right, she’s right. Although I’m disappointed that I don’t have six pack abs and Michelle Obama arms, I’m satisfied in the fact that I’ve somewhat overcome my shyness of letting complete strangers into a very personal aspect of my life. Writing this blog has shown me that my voice matters, and that people are actually interested in the nonsensical gibberish I type. Thanks y’all!

It’s been interesting to see how people have responded to my journey. Some have even taken up the task of publicly blogging about their pending weight loss as well. To those who have taken on this task, hats off to you. I hope you succeed with sticking to your guns better than I have. It can be tough finding the words to express your gains, and loses, when you have an audience watching. Unlike quietly going to the farthest treadmill in the gym or hiding in the back of a group fitness class, there are folks rooting you on or secretly hoping you fail. Hey, it is what it is. I haven’t lost all hope though.

As for “Earl,” my stomach, he’s still present in my life. He’s excellent for belly dance, and I think he enjoys it more than I do. It’s his chance to be center stage in front of a room full of people versus being suffocated under Spanx and extra layers of clothing. I must admit that though I loathe his existence, he didn’t stop me from shimmying and hip thrusting in my performance last month (which was my best yet!). He’s just as much of a ham as I am once those stage lights come up and the music starts. What can I say? We’re showmen when it comes to dance.

I’ve also learned that I need to stop saying what I won’t do and take on the attitude of the Nike slogan: “JUST DO IT!”

I’ve been hellbent against doing anything drastic to kick start my weight loss, but at this point I just might have to until I can figure out a way to stay focused and steadfast. No, I didn’t “play the numbers” and win a small fortune that would allow me to get the fat sucked out of me. No, I won’t starve myself just to get a few pounds down. I have made a mental note that those “dull” moments when I’m idle and watching reruns of Martin, I’ll stretch and do crunches. Nights that I’m restless and can’t sleep, I’ll do yoga. Mornings when I wake up before the alarm instead of laying there staring at the ceiling, waiting for it to go off (only to press Snooze 100 times), I’ll go walk/run on the treadmill in my gym. It’s the little things.

So for 2013 I still refuse to be a cliche and start going to the gym hard-core for the entire month of January. The gym will be packed to the brim anyway. Instead, I’ll incorporate these small changes and not beat myself over the head if I’m not a size negative zero in 24 hours. As long as I’m not sitting in the corner, rocking and holding myself because I didn’t reach my goal, I think I’ll be okay. Plus, I have a whole new venture in the works that will allow me to exercise my creativity. Once that’s up and running, I’m confident that everything else will fall into place.

Thanks to all who have followed me on this journey. It’s been a pleasure, and at times a burden, to share with you what I’ve experienced over these past months. Even though I haven’t reached my goal, I’m hopeful that it’ll happen in due time and that those who have followed have been inspired to make positive changes in your lives, whether it be weight loss or anything that you had a desire to pursue in your personal lives. It’s been fun folks. Until next time.

Leilah Reese is a news aide at The Washington Post. For more updates on her fitness goals, follow her on Twitter.

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