A Firework in Progress

Before: October 2012; After: April 2013
Before: October 2010; After: April 2013

I’ve gone through a pretty major transformation over the past few years, in many ways: physically, emotionally, culturally, and intellectually. I moved out of my beloved Philadelphia which had been my home away from home for 9 years, went away to school in England for my master’s degree, moved back home and started a very long job search, and over the course of all that time, lost 90 pounds and changed my life. Since I have been on this journey, people have been asking me for advice, guidance, and direction on the subjects of health and fitness and getting their life on track, and I want to do whatever I can to help people to realize their full potential of being completely and totally awesome. I still have many goals to keep improving my fitness and health and becoming the best version of myself I can be. As I continue on this journey, I hope you’ll join me.

In early 2010, I found myself in a sad state of affairs: overweight, depressed, juggling 6 part-time jobs while struggling with anxiety and financial issues, and feeling like I was treading water with no grasp on anything. I was lost, scared, tired, and I felt completely alone. I was embarrassed and ashamed of what I had done with my life, and realized that I spent so much of my life feeling badly about myself. I had spent the better part of my adolescence and adulthood wishing I could lose weight and get healthy, but I never stuck to a diet or exercise plan long enough to see the results I wanted and I’d give up, frustrated and dejected.

My desire to travel and study abroad had always been sidelined by a debilitating fear of flying which had kept me on the ground since having a couple of bad flights as a kid. I decided to finally face my fear and took an online fear of flying course, and in September of 2010, I flew for the first time in my adult life (thanks to my amazing sister Kathryn who flew me over to England and joined me on the best vacation of my life).

Living in the UK and traveling through Europe, I saw firsthand the lifestyles of people from different countries around the world and began to notice healthy and unhealthy behaviors and how they differ across cultures. I became determined to adapt healthy changes to my life and make this transformation once and for all. I took baby steps: walking more, cooking for myself, and drinking less alcohol. I was also diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and started treatment, which helped me on my journey. In addition to getting a master’s degree, a bunch of incredible new friends and priceless life experiences, I gained a wealth of knowledge about health and fitness while living and traveling abroad.

As I began working out and getting healthier, people have constantly asked me how I’ve done it, what it takes, and now I always hear, “what’s your secret?” Well, the truth is, it’s not a secret: it’s what we all know already. In the simplest terms: to lose weight and get in shape, you have to eat healthier and get your butt in gear. But of course, there is so much more to that, and I’ll attempt to share my strategies and success through this blog. I am not a dietician, nutritionist, personal trainer, therapist, or certified expert of any kind. I am simply a person who has struggled with getting healthy, fit, and happy…but I’ve finally achieved these goals, and this is my story. We are all a work in progress. Life is a journey, and it is all about transformation and progression. If you don’t like who you are, you have all the power to change it.

Not everyone has the same goals; fitness, health, balance, and happiness can be achieved independent of one another for some. For me, they are all intertwined. In addition to eating healthier and working out, there are many things that contributed to my transformation: moving, traveling, reconnecting with family and friends…but ultimately, it was my desire to get healthy and fit that helped the pieces of the puzzle come together. In this blog, I’ll share my experiences with you and hopefully you can share yours with me. You may not need all aspects of the site, but you can pull from the parts that are most helpful to you: healthy recipes, workout ideas, reviews of different health-related books/diets/workout plans, happiness inspiration, beauty tips, or ideas for how to create balance in your life. Or maybe you’ll just like the pictures of adorable puppies…I plan on featuring a lot of those. Who doesn’t love puppies?

As for the name of my site, it’s an ode to my personal anthem, “Firework” by Katy Perry. So sue me, I spent my adolescence in the 90s, so I’ll always be a teeny bopper at heart and I’m a sucker for a good pop song. But this song has a great message, and I hope you’ll use it as your anthem as well. As Katy says, “you just gotta ignite the light and let it shine.” So go out there and get it, whatever IT is that you want. You’re not just a work in progress…you’re a firework in progress, so go show ’em what you’re worth!!

Courtney Wienslaw

My blog chronicles my 90-pound weight loss transformation and encourages people to live a healthy, happy, fit, and balanced lifestyle.

  1. “Life is a journey, and it is all about transformation and progression. If you don’t like who you are, you have all the power to change it.” I really love this quote! Thanks for the article!

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