2013: The Best Worst Year of My Life

The last day of 2013. I feel like I should do some grandiose, month-by-month, epic-like, (cue my movie voice) “Here it is: The Year in Review, 2013 Edition.”

But ehh, I don’t feel like it. Annnnnnd 94,362,106,875 other bloggers are, so I’m not going to. Sing along to the tune of, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to,” but only switch it to, “It’s my blooooog and I’ll write if I want to. Write if I want to. Wriiiiiite if I want to. You would write, too, if you were in the mood.” But again, I’m not.

For the most part, this is how I felt about 2013:
lets never speak of 2013 again someecards

Yup. Similar to my 2009, this is now the second year on record that I’d like to simply have go gently into that good night. I shall stay up until midnight tonight, not only to welcome 2014, but to make sure 2013 gets to steppin’.

I don’t mean to sound angsty. Goodness gracious knows that if I have one wee little non-positive sentence in a 99.9999% positive blog, I get called out on it! But, like I’ve said ad nauseum on here, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, I’m a human. Just your regular, average, down-to-earth, call-it-like-I-see it, honest-to-a-fault (and sometimes my own) gal. I’m not a donut-maker; I don’t sugar coat.

Speaking of donuts, I do eat them sometimes; I’m also not a health-bot. [Read: Health-robot, but health-bot is easier to say.] I’m just a woman who promised her mother on her deathbed in 2009 that she’d lose weight, and fell quite short of making good on that promise until her professor called her out on her fatness (not phatness) by referring to her as “Precious” in January of 2010.

And here I am four years later. I’ve had my 15 minutes of fame more times than I ever thought was possible. So much at times, it got to the point where I was almost sick of seeing myself everywhere. I thought surely y’all should be! I didn’t know if people were being sincere or sarcastic when they’d ask me, “So what magazine are you in this month? What website will feature you this week?” But when I could come back with a definitive answer, I didn’t know if I should. So sometimes I’d just chuckle and wave my hand in the air with an, “Aww shucks…oh you!”
On the set! NASM Master Trainer Annie Malaythong, me, Hosts Astrid McGuire & Dave Sinclair

The Cherie Hart Steffen Promo Tour of 2013 was crazy. Yes, I deemed it that. Just when I thought it was over, I was whisked away to film a National Academy of Sports Medicine commercial in Los Angeles earlier this month. What?! And then this past Saturday, another photographer was in my apartment doing a photoshoot for Woman’s World Magazine. (It’ll be out in the March 3, 2014 edition, haha, so this continues…) I’m amazed at all of this. AMAZED. Humbled. Thankful. Appreciative. And Blessed. Afterall, I’m just a girl who lost some weight and wrote a blog about it!

So yes. The publicity for which I didn’t expect, but am BEYOND thankful, was the highlight of my 2013. That’s what made it the Best Year of My Life. My story got out to so many friggin’ people in various mediums and so many of you personally contacted me to let me know that it inspired YOU–that’s what makes me know that sharing this journey is worthwhile. Even when I feel like I’m becoming quite ubiquitous. 😉


Other wonderful noteworthy moments of 2013: I got a raise, a promotion, ran my second half marathon in my hometown, flew on a plane and didn’t crash, discovered my love of weight lifting, became a NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, landed my first personal trainer job, and my life was saved by a few friends who care a whole lot.

So as awesome as my year was professionally, it tanked personally. Seriously, I felt like I had two completely separate worlds. Happy happy work concerning my day job and personal training life and then a complete opposite of that which had anything to do with my love life, finances, weight, and mental stability.

I know everything can’t always be rainbows and sunshine, but doggone it, it was darn near lightening storms and hail. My clinical depression, which had been out of my life since ’03, made a raging appearance somewhere in June. And that was right about the time that I last saw my muscles, firm buttocks, and slimmed down tummy.


My birthday was yesterday, 12/30. As I always do a comparison of birthday pictures, you’ll see me getting smaller every year since December of 2010. Until this December. BOOM. Up 13.8 pounds since last year on my birthday. What?!! Oh yes. (I weigh every day, so all I had to do was scroll back in my little notebook.) See y’all, it can happen to anyone. Even me!

I can clearly trace the weight gain starting in June, right after the depression hit. I lost all “get up and go” because it “got up and went.” And why did the depression return? Why was I eating all of my feelings and stressing out beyond belief? I knew my marriage was ending. I mean, I didn’t know, but I knew. I didn’t want to face it; didn’t want to deal with it, tried to ignore the inevitable. It made me sick to feel this coming on. But instead of losing my appetite, ohhhhh did I gain it. And of course the weight.

I got separated in September, left my four bedroom house and moved into a one bedroom apartment. Oh, and the bills though. Oh dear goodness gracious the bills. I was all on my own and trying to tread water but was drowning fast. Yeah, that made me eat more. And work out? Haa. If you know depression, you know you lose all interested in activities you used to love. For me–that was fitness. Kind of difficult for a personal trainer who’s supposed to be inspiring thousands of people, right?

I was at the end of my rope. But instead of trying to tie a knot and hang on, I thought it’d be best to use to rope, tie a noose and take care of the problem–ME. It surely was me. All of these issues–I WAS the common denominator. It wasn’t getting better. I was a failure in everything that I once used to excel. I was approaching 36, going to be alone, never find love again, live with 10 cats in a cardboard box, and be “Precious” again and was just in general going backwards in life. I wanted out. Okay, no–it wasn’t a noose. But you get my drift. Anyhow, as noted above, friends saved my life so I’m still here to tell the tale.

Except for the second half of 2009, this second half of 2013, was on record as being pretty rough. Some other stuff happened but this is enough to mention for now. I can closely liken it to 2009, so yes, I have deemed it the Worst Year Ever. But as far as “Worst” years go, the “Best” stuff was pretty dang awesome and balanced it out. Do you get me?

But it’s what you make it. I get that. I didn’t ask “Why me?” when the good happened (well, sometimes I did, but you get the point), so it wasn’t really right to ask “Why me?” when the bad happened. Some things that happen to us are way beyond our control. But how we respond? That’s in our hands. It’s in MY hands. THAT is what I need to remember in 2014.


When I made my birthday wish, I wished for — well, you know I can’t tell you. But if it all comes true, next year this time I’m going to be writing about the pure awesomeness of it all. But I won’t be writing it on my birthday night. Nope–I’ll be out celebrating instead of sitting on my couch with my laptop as my companion. But I’ll gladly fill you in the next morning. 😉

Have a wonderful, fun, relaxing, entertaining–or whatever you most want it to be–New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! And thank YOU for being the best part of my 2013! ♥

Comments 7

  • Cherie, you are a wordsmith indeed….best worst year…SMH. Another real, down to earth, well written blog! We all have the ying-yang effects of life. I know 2014 will be an exciting and adventure-filled one for you filled with your heart’s desires! Keep smiling, stay positive, keep sharing, stay the same. Nothing but the best for 2014! Happy New Year!

  • Your 2013 sounds like my 2010…26 years old, divorced, crying every day, wanting it all to just end…but, somehow, I found a saving grace (in my, now, new husband) and continued on. I survived and am here to talk about how I overcame it and you are doing the same! Here is to a wonderful 2014! Cheers, Cherie!

    P.S. Here’s to hoping the Steelers have a better 2014, too! 😉
    Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food recently posted..Goodbye, 2013 + Hello, New BlogMy Profile

  • Wishing you all the happiness in the world in 2014. It is never easy to go through the ending of a marriage…I saw my mother go through it, and I also feared my own marriage was in jeopardy this year. Good luck and cheers to a new year!

  • Wow. Cherie, it sounds like you had some highs and some lows in 2013. How can someone like you loose focus?, you say. Well, someone that’s human. That’s you. Life happens. You say Cherie runs this? It sounds like Cherie GOT this!!!! High five to YOU!
    Happy belated birthday to you, too. I treat my birthday like it is a national holiday! Lol After all, it is the only day you can call your very own ( unless you have a twin!). So, go for it! Glad to see you did! And Happy 2014 to YOU!

  • So glad you’re doing better lady! I know life gets rough sometimes (trust), but just know you have so many people that care about you and your well-being, whether you know them in real life, or just through this crazy thing we call social media.
    Sheena recently posted..ToiletTree Professional Skincare System reviewMy Profile

  • Thank you for sharing this. I think you’re fabulous & inspiring & I wish you all the happiness in 2014!!
    Roselyn @ Sass and Shenanigans recently posted..#ResolutionsMy Profile

  • Wow, your professor called you “Precious”? That’s crazy! I thought that I had heard it all when a student told me that a professor flipped them off in front of the class, but your story tops that for sure.

    Those are some pretty great accomplishments – I’m glad that you’ve been able to share your inspirational story with others! The bad events are rough, but your attitude heading into 2014 is very cool to see. Here’s to a great 2014!
    ClevelandJoe @ The Frolicking Fells recently posted..My Goals For 2014My Profile