Don’t rush to the end; you may realize you have missed the most important part!
Having been through my own personal physical transformation has really defined who I am today. If it weren’t for the struggles and hurdles I was forced to face, I wouldn’t have the privilege of helping other women see and develop their own true potential and optimal selves.
A body transformation is so much more than just physical.
It affects so many levels of our being, including our mental, emotional and physical states. There are many layers of the “onion” that make up our journey. My experience has shown that one of the biggest issues that women face when they embark on a fat loss journey is the fixation on the outcome; the number on the scale. An extreme focus on that tangible number makes so many of us miss what could be the best part of the process, the meat of the sandwich if you will, the journey itself.
When someone decides that they have reached the breaking point with regard to their body image – that moment when they decide this is the limit, some plan of action is usually quick to follow. Often the plan comes when we are at the height of frustration. Usually the plan includes some or all of the following: the detox, cleanse, 21 day juicing, lifting weights, the spin classes or the weekly boot camps usually become the areas of focus for the next few months. The cupboards get cleaned, the junk food tossed and the social calendar gets put on hold. Sound familiar??
But what about the daily encounters with the scale, or as I like to call it: the “kill-my-mood-machine?” Our initial new focus, which was a healthy one, may easily be taken over by the number on the scale and may even become an obsession. “I will not give up.” “I will not stop until the number says x etc., etc.” I have encountered much of this behaviour first-hand, and sadly when I started on my own journey, I too was guilty of the same focus.
The good news is that I learned quite early on that this was no way to live my life.
I had a family, friends and a healthy body. But I was comparing myself to a number – a subjective standard of what I thought was my ticket to happiness. It was not until I threw out my “perfectionist” standards – along with the scale – that I began to live my own journey of success and actually enjoyed each and every step along the way.
Here’s how the shift changed from scale-focus to more life-focus. Let’s start with the gym. My training sessions which started off as a means to an end – my ticket to “skinny” – were completed with little thought and as quickly as possible so I could run home and tick it off the list. I was just one workout closer to the new me. Now, however, after more than 6 years on my health and wellness path, I have realised that training is one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. I no longer look at it as thing on the list, but more like a special hour where I dedicate movement, flexibility, agility, strength and power to the body. Wow. Who doesn’t deserve that? I also realised that when I stopped to look around, I was surrounded by people with similar stories and goals, all getting their daily dose of endorphins right alongside me. Conversations were had, tips were shared, and the gym not only became a place to create my new body temple, but also a place for social encounters.
Once I got hooked on the training, I knew that the food improvements had to follow.
Let’s face it, wine every weekend and enormous helpings of bread, pasta and cheese were not helping me achieve my goal. So why not cut it all out, and live on green tea and vegetables smoothies for 3 months? Well, lucky for me, I love food way too much to throw away any opportunity given to use my pearly whites. Let’s face it; our teeth were given to us not only to smile, but to CHEW our food!! I was not going to ignore that fact. So although at the beginning I was using extreme methods of restriction to get me to my goal (the number on the scale) as fast as possible, I soon realised that I was NOT happy in the process. How many of you use this method?
What good is it to be in size 4 skinny jeans if I wasn’t happy and my hair, skin, nails and sex drive were more than dead? Once again, listening to my body and the messages it was giving me, made me wake up and smell the coffee, or in my case the food! I decided to not overly restrict myself, nor go back to my former ways of daily pasta bowls and hunks of cheese. Rather, my success and sustainability over the past 6 years have been thanks to moderation, balance and enjoying every moment along the way.
My version of moderation is now 1 glass of red wine with my family on the weekends instead of 1 bottle. I enjoy vacations without scales, family gatherings for the people, not the food, and ice cream with my daughter on a warm summer day – not a whole liter alone at midnight by the open freezer door. I have learned to love my life, my progress and most importantly my journey. I hope you can start to write your own rules to your journey and celebrate your success along your path.