Ladies, grab the ice cream.
I hope your mascara is waterproof.
Hide your boyfriends, because its time to tune in for a free bag of eye candy. You’re about to get a glimpse inside the sexiest fashion show around. You know, the time of year when they gather the most beautiful women in the world to strut their stuff down the Victoria’s Secret catwalk wearing practically nothing.
I usually find myself curling up on the couch with my hand in a bag of family sized Doritos, crying at the perfection of their swimsuit ready bodies. Meanwhile, my bikini has become a dust collector in the back corner of my closet with the tags still attached. Talk about torture on my soul! Do I load up on any carb I can get my hands on, or join a gym? My obvious choice was food overload, so down the hatch went some cookie dough chubby hubby –and a little bit of my self esteem.
I’ve already been the victim of fad diets and exercise gimmicks. I’ve tried everything: Atkins, Maple Syrup Cleanse, Paleo, and more. I even took advantage of a few trial gym memberships, planting myself next to all the cardio bunnies on the treadmill in the movie room so no one could see my jiggle. But I always found myself back where I started, dusting the chip crumbs off my lips. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to exercise, but I have some gym anxiety at the thought of people judging my body while I run on a treadmill. I can’t even stand to look at myself in my own bathroom mirror, let alone letting it all hang out for everyone to see when I am at the gym. The process of getting fit seems daunting, but being uncomfortable in my own skin is reason enough to make a change.
I shared my weight struggles and insecurities with my close friends who all seemed to be going through this similar issue in their own ways. We all discussed how each of us had a lack of self-confidence due to our body image. Even though we are all different shapes and sizes, together we shared common problem areas such as belly fat, muffin top, lack of thigh gap, under arm jiggle, and side boob (and no I’m not talking about the famous Kardashian side boob; mine isn’t that attractive.)
The media with its constant parade of female perfection and our airbrushed culture had me obsessing about my weight. Everywhere I turn, advertisements were filling my head with images of what women are supposed to look like, and let’s face it, I’m no supermodel.
When one of my friends started tagging me in photos of some really fit women on Instagram, it didn’t motivate or inspire me to work out; I just felt more depressed that I didn’t look like them. This went on for months; we would tag each other back and forth in pictures where women celebrated their fit and in-shape physiques, and workout routines like Katy Hearn. Her page showcased a strong fit woman who embraced having muscles and curves, and I so longed to have a body like that myself. I went on to scroll through her page where I came across before and after pictures of clients who participated in her previous fitness challenges. I felt like these before and after pictures were authentic compared to the photoshopped ones you see plastered all over the TV infomercials. But could I ever have results like this if I participated? She held three more challenges, but I just couldn’t commit to giving any one of them a try. That is, until I found myself back on the couch flipping through the stations with my hand in a bag of Doritos. There it was again, a Victoria’s Secret bikini commercial, which was just the push I needed to take the plunge.
So I did it; I enrolled in her spring challenge. I wasn’t getting any younger, and I didn’t want to obsess any longer about being uncomfortable in my own skin. It was difficult, and within the first three days I went through food withdrawals. I never realized how much unhealthy food I actually consumed until the challenge started. Like Katy instructed, I began to weigh my food out and meal prep daily. I even counted my carb fat and protein intake, which was all very new to me considering my typical side dish left my fingers covered in orange, cheesy dust.
My relationship with Doritos would soon come to an end. On day five, my body soon adjusted to eating healthy, and I learned to enjoy new types of healthier food options. I didn’t even crave a cheat meal. I had one, but never had a hunger for it. At that point, I noticed small changes with my body. I guess you really are what you eat and diet is like 90% of the process.
At the same time though, it wasn’t just food that could melt away my weight… as everyone who has ever tried a diet would know. I had to hit the gym—the very, very hated gym. Knowing that I was already on a good track with eating helped, and even inspired me; after all, I wasn’t about to put down those Doritio’s just to stay at the same weight. Some days were easy… I felt energized and ready to lift those weights and keep up with those cardio bunnies (with the companionship of my #squad). But other days were not so pleasant. Work would interfere often—I was either too tired to go after work, or too in love with sleep to wake up at the crack of dawn to go sweat before work. Shopping and girls’ nights out were also a distraction to my workouts. But then I read a story about Ryan Needle and his company FitLife Fashion. He knew how I was feeling—motivation was inconvenient, if not impossible, to carry around… and quite honestly, IG pictures of hot bodies were less motivating and more discouraging. I decided to try out one of his FitLife bracelets as a “wearable goal reminder,” (as he puts it). Just having that little weight charm around my wrist kept me inspired… not by taunting me, but by keeping me aware that I am only going to become who I want to be by putting in the hard work. Meal plans take patience and dedication, but so does pushing yourself for more.
Over time, the idea of looking like a supermodel that had been forever etched into my mind was gone. I learned to focus more on inches lost and muscle gains vs. a number on the scale. Gym time didn’t feel like a chore anymore, but a way of life. Katy’s plan came with links to ‘how to’ videos for each daily workout. These videos really helped relieve some gym anxieties I had in the past, since they clearly showed the correct way to use every machine. Katy even offered assistance via email during this entire eight week process, which for me was great knowing I could reach out at any time. She wanted before and after pictures, which made for some excellent motivation that helped keep me from falling off track. It was embarrassing to turn in a progress picture with no progress. But in the end, eight weeks later I had results; and to finally see changes with my body after so many failed attempts was a great success. I started this challenge at my heaviest – 210 lbs, and eight weeks later 30lbs lighter I lost five inches in my waist, and my jean size went from a 12/14 to an 8/10. This challenge has really changed my life and is just the beginning of my fitness journey!