This is my transformation story, but not your typical how-I-achieved my leanest and fittest physique, but what happened after. My weight loss success story didn’t end when I hit my lowest body fat percentage.
The before, the after, and the after after
Everyone sees the before and after diet/supplement/workout plan success stories of people shedding pounds and shrinking inches, you don’t hear about what happens after the short term goal is accomplished. The 20 pounds are off. The abs are starting to show. We finally have everything we’ve been asking for… so what next?
On the left is a picture of me a week before my fitness competition in the summer of 2014. That was after consistently working out for a year, cleaning up my diet, then 2 months of a strict, repetitive, and restrictive meal plan along with 5-6 days a week of gym workouts. On the right are pictures of me now… after a year of multiple moves, changing jobs, travel, eating out and beer. I’ve gained weight, lost a little muscle, a lot of cardio, and gained a bit of insecurity in the process.
Sometimes, when depression and self doubt seep in at my weaker moments… I body shame myself. At 5’3” tall and 117 pounds, I think about how “fat” I’ve gotten. WHAT THE ACTUAL F*&K DENA. THAT IS DUMB. I usually shake myself out of it and move on, but the insecurity of comparing yourself to other people is real and debilitating.
Since then I’ve cleaned up my eating and started working out consistently and can and will build muscle and lean out again. I will do this because it feels good to be strong and working out is my mental break room, not because I need a 6 pack to feel beautiful.
- UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS – Fitness competitors structure their whole workout and nutrition program around shows and have trainers for meal plans, supplements, and programming. Instagram models carefully craft the perfect “carefree” pose without a blemish in sight or hair out of place. A-listers have makeup artists and hair stylists have their way with extensions, lip plumpers, waist training corsets. These things are not sustainable or affordable for everyone, why is this the new standard of beauty?
- FILTERS & PHOTOSHOP – These images of flawless enhanced women with large busts, disproportionately small waists, and round voluptuous bottoms in high heels are indeed beautiful. But not everyone is built the same and we need to understand beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. And we all know you didn’t wake up like that. Imperfection is beautiful too.
- REAL LIFE HAPPENS – and your body shape, size, and weight will fluctuate. What’s more important to you, having a thigh gap now or investing in yourself to be strong, feel good, and prevent injury & pain for decades? It’s hard to adhere to strict rules 100% of the time so don’t feel guilty for enjoying life and indulging on occasion… just check out the tips below
Discipline is sacrificing what you want NOW for what you want LATER.
- FOCUS – What are you focused on? Are you focused on things that will better your life? Think if you are forming good habits or letting your habits control you? Are you in an environment that facilitates growth or enables complacency? This TED talk explains how shifting your focus makes it easier to accomplish goals.
- EVALUATE & SET GOALS – What do you want? What is your purpose? Are you thinking short term or long term? Be specific, set time frames, and find a way to be accountable. Use a friend or loved one to encourage you (and hopefully join you) in your quest for clean living. Schedule an event deadline, a goal to walk/run/bike a certain distance or time, run a 5k, or to lower your high BP/cholesterol without meds.
- WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS – You’re more likely to accomplish your goals if they’re written down. Put them somewhere visible.
- LOVE YOURSELF – This one’s self explanatory. You are unique. Relish that.
- KEEP COMING BACK – Fall off the workout wagon. Come back. Go through an eating out phase. Come back to the basics of cooking at home. It’s not a failure… it’s a journey. Keep coming back, appreciate how far you’ve come, and look forward to the experiences to come.
Lastly, cut yourself some slack but keep moving forward. To read about my first (and only) bikini fitness competition, check out this post.
Have you ever fallen off your workout regimen or diet? How did you get back on track?