I questioned a lot whether I should post this picture. And trust me this is not a sales pitch, and its not meant to be a before & after photo - it is not about a weight change (especially because I HAATTEEE the scale) - this is an honest & true post coming from me & going out to whoever wants to read it.
I went back and forth in my mind to what every possible reaction to this post could be. Positive & negative. But really - I am posting this for me. Because, I too, need to be held accountable & celebrate the changes, dedication and progress I have made - not just physically, but also mentally.
This is not a transformation post. It is meant to share my journey. Each and every person has their own journey. We are all on our own paths & some of us are really not even sure what the destination looks like yet. But, whether you realize it or not - you are (or should be) always working towards something.
The truth is, even though I am an RD, and have been in the field close to 10 years, it took me a long time to really realize what feeling MY best really felt like.
In the picture on the left, I was happy! At least I thought I was - I felt confident, hell I was training for a half marathon and feeling like a boss running those miles. But I never stepped out of my comfort zone, I never challenged myself to try something new, I was totally comfortable. I was eating out & going out a lot, I didnt really pay attention to ingredients, portions, fiber & protein. I was eating "healthy" but consistently felt the need to over indulge. And never consistently eating right. I took lots of "cheat days" or "I deserve this days." (things I dont believe in now, and this is why). My focus was always on what I looked like, never on what I felt like. I also NEVER lifted weights. I boxed, I worked out constantly, but weight training - never. Bottom line - there was no balance in my life on the left. I remember always waking up and never feeling well rested, and truly looking back on it never really recovering from workouts - I pulled my IT band, my hip, broke a toe - basically I was not properly fueled & not doing anything I am doing now.
But it's not about weight & its not about what I looked like then vs what I look like now.
The picture on the right is me now, its me the happiest, the strongest & honestly the healthiest I have ever been - and yes slimmest too (#HSH). But this happened because I changed my focus & became consistent. I started to think about the way FELT when I was treating my body right vs. the way I looked. I focused on my energy levels when I fueled properly, and what I was achieving when I woke up feeling energized instead of drained. I started to appreciate what my body was capable of when my strength increased. I started to feel differences from creating new habits. I started to learn what it meant to be truly consistent, instead of searching for quick fixes. I felt my digestion change, my endurance change my mindset change. I was feeling what it was like to feel my best, from eating the right foods at the right times in the right portions. And once I started to feel this way, I didn't want to feel anything less than that.
In this time of change, I also started smarter work outs that included lifting heavy weights - enter personal trainer, CT Gunzz - I started FUELING & TRAINING vs. Dieting & Exercising.
Especially for women, weight training is so important and so often neglected. There is a misconception that lifting heavy weights will make you bulky. But that is so far from the truth. The introduction of heavy weights in my opinion has had the biggest impact on how the shape of my body has changed. Did you know that lean muscle burns approximately 50 calories per pound at REST?! - compared to about 5 calories from a pound of fat!
Adding in strength training also challenges you mentally - it forces you to believe in yourself and push new limits. CT's workouts have sculpted and transformed my body yes, but also my mind (& have challenged every limit I thought I had.)
In this whole process, I have learned how to fuel & re-fuel to feed and grow lean muscle. I have learned the POWER of real food and how to appreciate food in such a different way. To appreciate the way the right fuel can nourish you, heal you & really change you. When you pair the right food combinations with the right workouts (and trainer!) you will see changes you may not have ever expected, like me. You may reach goals you didnt know you even set, like me. You may learn that just because you think you have a plan, doesn't mean thats how it turns out. Sometimes its even better than you expected.
The thing is, it's not about weight, its not about what you look like, its not about speed and it's not about my journey vs. your journey.
It is about learning to trust in yourself - learning to trust in your mentors, your teammates, the people on the journey with you. It is about trusting the process. The process that changes you. The process that teaches you to always stay humble, but be proud. The process that forces you to love yourself, to grow, to learn & to fight.
Changing your lifestyle is a lot of work. It takes time, it takes constant & consistent energy. It truly is learning to accept change, learning to accept challenges and finding out what makes YOU happy. I learned from my long ass journey - that I am my happiest when I am feeling my best, I am happiest when I am eating right, when I am in my kitchen playing with foods, when I am in the aisles of the grocery store discovering new products, when I am hitting new PRs in the gym, or when i am disconnected completely and spending time with my husband, family & friends. I learned that I never want to do things that don't make me feel this happy (if I can help it!) and I learned that my WHY is to help others find this same happiness, find these same feelings and find the true powers of what healthy eating can do for them. 2017 challenged the F*@#%$ out of me, but it taught me this. It taught me that there is always something to fight for, to work towards, to face head on - and now, I am ready to take 2018 to new levels with these lessons.
So again, this post is not a before and after. It is me sharing my journey with you. My personal relationship with food & fitness. The trust I have put into my own process, the patience I have shown - & the fact that my journey is no where near over. I may have reached some goals along the way so far, but the journey is just beginning.
So think today - What is your WHY? What is your journey? How do you FEEL in this moment? Ask yourself these things. Set small goals, set big goals, set goals that scare the crap out of you. CELEBRATE how far you have come from wherever it is you have deemed your starting point - celebrate every time you made a healthy choice & change - but from there look no where but forward and ask yourself what's next.
small changes from consistent actions.
ending 2017 and sharing some personal records in the gym - 5:24 minute mile, ~20.5 minute 5K, heaviest weights lifted - and an open mind for the new levels & new challenges that 2018 will bring!
I am writing these and sharing these here for my own accountability - So that I have things to build on! Now share yours!! If it's not here, find a friend or a person to share them with. Hold each other to your goals and stop at nothing until you reach them.