“There’s a Japanese word, kaizen, which means making a big change by making one small change every day, doing one little thing differently.”

Since 2006, I made small changes every single day that ended up being one huge change in the end. I lost 100 pounds. I ran Hood to Coast. I biked 55 miles. I swim 1.5 miles in 50 minutes. Who would have thought 5 years ago that I would be 100+ pounds lighter and buying a bikini? It seems like a trivial thing to even care about, right?

But I’ve never owned one. Not even as a teenager that wasn’t overweight. It just wasn’t me, or something I ever thought I wanted. I was always shy, self-conscious about my body. I thought I was “Fat” even when I wasn’t–just a little chubby “baby fat.” It wasn’t until I did get fat, and then lose the weight, that I became more comfortable with my body.

Now at 144 pounds I’m fit and proud of my accomplishments. I’m still self-conscious about my body parts though. I am working hard to change that. After years of feeling every flaw, it’s a hard habit to break.  I do get stuck in that “Fat Talk” Loop in my head on occasion.

Which is funny because I am okay with my body (like I said yesterday) EXCEPT for this one part: my stomach. My arms and legs are super muscular, I’m toned in every part of my body but this one area. And unfortunately, for someone who lost a significant amount, it’s probably only remedied by plastic surgery (not an option right now).

Over the weekend I bought a bikini. It’s the first one I’ve ever owned. I have no tropical vacations planned in my future and I honestly don’t know that I will EVER wear it in public, but I bought it anyways.

I figured at the very least, I could wear it in our backyard this summer when we’re working in our garden. Our backyard is very private and I wouldn’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious about my body. I can just enjoy that my hard work has paid off and I’m sure Michael will like the bikini, too. 🙂

But now I have one. I felt empowered when I wore it last weekend. Sure I was self-conscious of my stomach but at the same time I felt confident and happy that I could finally own something like this.

QUESTION: What’s one small thing you can do today to make a change?


I hadn’t planned on eating out two nights in a row but it sort of happened that way. My cousin Anna had some big news to share with me so I made the exception.


We met at one of my favorite Portland Restaurants: The Sapphire Lounge on SE Hawthorne. It was originally a “turn of the century seedy hotel in Portland Oregon inhabited by sailors, travelers and ladies of the night.” It’s a dark, romantic, eclectic restaurant now with amazing food and even yummier martinis. An old friend joined us as well.

Anna and I arrived just before Happy Hour ended so we ordered a few things right away to get the discount.

I got a glass of the house red and the Sapphire Salad: Citrus vinaigrette, candied walnuts and shredded Parmesan.

(Yum! Candy on a salad? Yes please!) For dinner I got my FAVORITE dish! Butternut Squash Enchiladas: baked in a jalapeño Emmentaler sauce that’s both sweet and spicy.

I’d intended on eating half the entree and taking the rest for lunch but it was smaller than I remembered (and Anna had a few bites too) so I ate all of it.

I don’t think there’s actually tortillas in the dish. It’s just oozing with cheesy,  spicy goodness and a crispy topping. I love this dish. And I’ve never had one that compares to it (although I’d love to try and make this!).

It was a good night and it was nice to go out with the girls. It felt just like old times.

QUESTION: Have you ever reached a goal and rewarded yourself with something you’d never had before? Like a bikini?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

9 thoughts on “Kaizen”

  1. Of course, now I’m dying to hear what Anna’s exciting news was, even though I don’t even know her.

    Whoohoo on the bikini purchase!

    I totally know how that goes. I think traveling and being out on beaches and seeing EVERY shape of body helped me get over my own self-consciousness (it can work both ways – living in LA with perfect bodies just had me scrambling between the gym and hiding on my own balcony). But when you see all kinds of bodies, I think it can help you let go and just enjoy time outside soaking up a little sun.

    So, yeah, a beach vacation is now in order. 🙂

    1. I definitely need a beach vacation! I hope that someday I can wear the bikini in public and not compare my body to the “perfect” ones I see. I know that will be a struggle for me. I cannot imagine what LA would be like!

  2. I think the only 2 piece I’ll wear in public will be a tankini. I’m pretty modest with my clothing in general. I love my legs, but don’t want to show ’em off in a tiny skirt (sans tights) or even short shorts. I don’t wear really low cut tops, they make me feel naked. Of course swimwear is a whole other issue and since I was 8 I’ve cringed when I saw my reflection while in a swimsuit. I’m sure you’ll look great when you wear that bikini, even if it’s in your backyard. Just remember you now have more areas you need to apply sunblock to.
    cindylu recently posted..Pasadena Half Marathon goals

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