Six months ago I said goodbye to someone forever. It was less a death of this person and more a birth of someone new.
It was me.
At least a version of me I needed to put to death—a version I needed to birth.
It was the girl who comforted herself with food, who ping-ponged between healthy eating and binging almost every week. A girl who lacked integrity, breaking promise after promise to the most important person in her life. Herself. As an overweight teenager I had already lost a considerable amount of weight, and ate relatively healthy, keeping the weight off for years. But I still couldn’t seem to get past the last 10-15 pounds holding me back from the person I knew I was inside.
Six months ago I asked someone to help me on a journey to a better version of myself. This person happened to be my sister whose passion for health and fitness has now turned into her second ministry and business as Fortitude Fitness. I asked her to become my trainer. To put me on a six month meal and workout plan to get me past these last pounds. Graciously, she said yes.
Six months ago, I wrote this in my journal:
I don’t want to be that girl anymore who’s always going back and forth. It helps that I’m not doing this alone. Knowing I have others cheering me on helps me to keep the promises I’ve made—I’m not strong enough on my own. Having a plan gives me a reason to say no—I won’t say no on my own and that is hard to admit. This has to become my life now. It’s a different kind of freedom. A freedom born of restriction and discipline. A freedom that brings true fulfillment and satisfaction like food never could.
I’ve learned many lessons over the last six months, but here are five of the most important.
1. Keeping Promises
I’ve always been a woman of my word. When it comes to the relationships around me, if I say I’m going to do something, I will follow through. The problem was, I could keep my word to everyone but myself. Broken promises wreck havoc on any relationship. Over time, trust is broken and resentment can settle in. When you’re breaking those promises to yourself, it can feel like a trap with no way out. That’s where I was six months ago. I didn’t trust myself any longer to help me reach my goals. I was beginning to not like myself again, and if you know my story, you know I could never go back to that kind of living.
I like myself better now, have so much more confidence and self-acceptance, not because of the scale, (although, that helps) but because I made a promise to myself and saw it through to completion. I remained faithful to the commitment I made, so my relationship with myself has grown in trust and love. And when you love something, you take care of it.
2. Results Take Time
There were times I wanted to quit. I’m sure there were times my sister wanted to quit on me too, but she didn’t. I struggled to see results in the first and second months. So much work and nothing to show for it. I felt frustrated. This is why so many people who start a healthy plan give up. Results take time. Lots of time. Especially if your body is used to going back and forth from diet to diet with long stints of eating whatever you want in between. My body was confused and it needed consistent discipline to gain traction and create change. Change finally did come. But not all at once. It was slow, gradual, painstaking. But it was worth it.
3. Restriction Brings Freedom
Many people have told me along the way, “I could never do a meal plan. I like the freedom of eating what I want.” I did too, at first. The plan felt restrictive, although I was never hungry, and ate all the time. It just wasn’t the food I was used to eating. I would cheat out of rebellion and anger. But I realized I was only hurting myself and my progress. I realized that having freedom to eat whatever I wanted actually had unseen consequences of weight-gain, food addiction, and depression. I’m not saying if you eat whatever you want, you’re going to struggle with those things. But I did.
For me, I found freedom through restriction. Freedom to enjoy life with extreme amounts of energy. Freedom to put on anything in my closet and feel and look good in it. Freedom to no longer give brain space to the worry of how I look, what I eat, or what people think. It is a different kind of freedom and I like it so much better.
4. How I Look is Less Important than How I Feel
At some point over the last six months my focus dramatically changed. I first started the program to look better, lose weight, and have more confidence in my appearance. When I started all I thought about was what I had to give up. I looked forward to every cheat meal but soon began to get sick after eating food that wasn’t on my plan. Now when I’m tempted to eat junk I think about how it will make me feel after eating it. The momentary pleasure of less-than-healthy food is nothing in comparison to the on-going vibrance I feel when I choose to stick to the plan.
I’m finishing this six months with the knowledge that nothing can replace how good I feel—all the time. I have insane amounts of energy which gives me the chance to be a good mom and a great wife! 😉 I don’t experience the afternoon slump, or need naps to get through the day like before. I feel good physically which helps me feel good mentally and increases my motivation to reach other goals in my life.
5. I Can’t Do It Alone (neither can you)
Six months ago I was at my wits end and knew I couldn’t keep trying to reach my goals on my own. I laid down my pride and asked for help. The beautiful thing about asking for help is you get to see someone else’s gifts and passions at work in your own life. I used to think trainers existed only for those people who didn’t have enough self-discipline or knowledge to get fit. Turns out, I was one of those people. I thought I knew what to do, but after going through the program I can now see I knew nothing. God has uniquely gifted others in this area of health and fitness for a reason. If you are considering making a life change in the area of your health and fitness, do yourself a favor and get help from an expert! The accountability alone is worth your investment.
No one is more passionate about helping you reach your health goals than my trainer, Erin Simms. (No, she didn’t ask me to write this.) You won’t find a more disciplined, gracious and focused trainer, in my opinion. She cares more about your changed heart and attitude than she does about the scale. Her mission is to help you and your family full-heartedly pursue an energetic life inside and out.
If you’re ready to make a change, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow on Instagram: 4titude_fitness
15lbs of fat gone forever, 13.5 inches lost. Confidence gained!