Here we are for the second installment of my new series called “The New Transformation Tuesday” (#TNTT). This series is near and dear to my heart!
I’m grown weary and tired of all the typical transformation stories that show you headless shots of women in their underwear and swimming suits hailing how much they have shrunk. I understand the appeal of that because I was there at one point in my process.
What also happened to me during my changes was I developed confidence and discovered how I felt about myself could not be hinged on how I looked. Further, the pounds lost aren’t what actually changed me…it was the mindset work, the learning to focus on other things besides my physical body.
The inside transformation is what is most profound…and most important in my opinion. That is why I’ve created TNTT and why it focuses on sharing the larger and more impactful shifts that happen when you begin to change your health and focus on your well-being.
For the second TNTT I reached out to a very special friend of mine, who is known by those you love her as “V.” I met her via bootcamp and we’ve become dear friends. We have spent numerous mornings sweating it out together and many “dates” walking with our coffee and discussing our places in this world. 🙂 She has taught me a lot and is my information curator. If there is something I need to read, someone I need to follow, someplace I need to check out, or a new recipe or food to try, she will know. V is no nonsense and all the words here are her own…not a single edit on my part. Please enjoy her story and her nuggets of wisdom. Introducing V….
1. Explain your history battling being overweight and unhealthy.
I began gaining weight and feeling self-conscious about it in high school. I don’t recall actually weighing myself on a scale, but have vivid memories of shoving my curves into stick-straight Guess jeans, which were a must-have item back then. Looking back, I notice a subtle shift in my self-esteem as I gained weight…I became the funny, self-deprecating sidekick-type friend, whose charm and appeal were based on her personality, not on her looks. For years (because it seemed to be working), I continued to eat whatever I wanted with abandon (I LOVE food) and to curate my sarcasm and wit as a means of deflecting any body shame I carried. That said, my self-esteem was dealt a blow when I tried out for the pompon squad and didn’t make the cut…I guess I didn’t quite fit the mold. In college and even into the early years of my marriage, I wouldn’t say I was happy with my weight/health…but I wasn’t yet motivated to do anything about it. Until the day I realized that the only jeans that fit me were a size 16. That hit me like a ton of bricks. Instead of just joking about “how fat I was,” I was struck by the fact that OMG I actually am FAT by objective standards. Of this I was certain. I was 5’3″ and 164 pounds…it was time to take action.
Enter Weight Watchers. I was a model client for a solid year, losing 42 pounds. I did what they said and it worked. But over time I grew weary of their obsession with Frankenfoods and lack of emphasis on exercise. Yes, I weighed less…but I still felt like a flabby, lazy mess.
Eventually I bought a Groupon to try a bootcamp (just like Carrie) and exercise started to play a bigger role in my transformation. Especially weight lifting. This was a major shift for me…up until this time I was decidedly and emphatically UN-athletic. I had never really TRIED to push myself, for fear of failing. Here, I found a place and people who were supportive and inspiring and I began to discover a part of me that I never knew existed. I was committed. I pushed. It felt great!
I am nothing, if not frugal and eventually I figured I should be able to eat right and exercise without paying someone to hold me accountable. Well…yes and no.
I am still on the journey and I have learned that the journey ebbs and flows and I am learning to make peace with that fact. Sometimes, I care more than others…but I always circle back around to a life of self-discipline and Health. But…why?
2. What was the “Big Why”…the thing that made you decide and push you to figure out how to be healthy?
I have battled anxiety and depression and SAD and low self-esteem for as long as I can remember. When I take care of myself by eating right, exercising and getting enough rest these things become much more manageable. Exercise, especially, is key for me and I didn’t figure this out until I was almost 40! And when I’m in a good place mentally, I see the effects it has on my husband and kids. They deserve my best self. The other reason is that I want a body that can do what I want and need it to do for as long as possible. The idea of losing my ability to move freely or of ending up needing others to care for me is absolutely terrifying. I am committed to helping my body age gracefully and the time to lay the groundwork for that is now.
3. How do you eat now versus the previous, unhealthy moments in your life? How do you view/treat food now versus previously? What do you think were the biggest changes in your eating?
I really gave no thought to the quantity or quality of what I was putting in my mouth during the years that I gained weight. Over time, I have developed an awareness of both and approach eating mindfully, rather than mindlessly, now. I no longer enjoy the feeling of being over-full or the aftereffects of eating junk food. Ick.
4. Are there foods you will not eat? Why? Are there foods that are off-limits? Why?
No. There is no food that I will not eat. Wait. That’s not true. I won’t eat/drink fake sugars, if I can help it. If I’m having a Coke (which is my special vacation treat), then I’m having the Real Deal…calories be damned. I am very careful about some foods: ice cream, baked goods, cookies, candy, chips, etc. almost never make it into my home. If I NEED ice cream, I make myself get in my car (or better, bike) and pay a lot of $$ for Chocolate Shoppe…eat it, enjoy it and move on. So, I guess you can say I have certain “rules” for things I know can get out of hand…it works for me. I value both Freedom and Boundaries.
5. What type of exercise do you do? Why?
I try to sweat every day, because that is what is best for my mental health, self-esteem, general outlook and energy level. I don’t really care how it happens. I belong to the Y and go a variety of their early-morning classes (spin, bootcamp, etc). I also like to get outside and go for runs and walks. I use free weights and an elliptical in my basement on days when that works best for my schedule. I just signed up to take a swim class in January…you know, that “getting out of my comfort zone” thing. Yikes.
6. How has your mindset and approach changed from your dieting days?
It’s more long-term and big-picture. I don’t lose my mind if the unexpected happens, I roll with it and correct course as necessary. This being healthy thing is definitely a marathon, not a sprint and one where the goal is not a trophy body, but a life fully lived.
7. What do you find to be your most important “transformation” during this whole discovery process?
So many. That I can do hard things. That Health is more of a Feeling than a Look. That it is a means to an end, not an end in itself…it should allow you to live the life you want, not consume the entirety of your time, effort or interest.
8. What do you want women to know who are embarking on losing weight and regaining health? Any secrets you’ve discovered and want to share?
There are wonderfully supportive people out there willing to travel alongside you on your journey.
The tools you use to be successful will change over time and that’s ok.
You’re worth the effort.
So, there you have it…my friend V’s story! As you can see, just like my own experience and my friend Melanie Knights’ story (the very first #TNTT) there are similarities.
We all finally decided to look at what we were doing for our health…and even weight loss…in a long-term sense.
We decided health was a facet of our life and should get a facet of our energy/attention, not an inordinate amount.
And, most importantly, that the change you make ends up being deeper within you…that the change is NOT because your physical body shrunk, but rather you found confidence from the process you didn’t know you had.
There is waaaayyyyy more benefit to changing your health than simply losing pounds. The changes that will happen on the inside are the catalyst for more than you realize! It takes time…just keep going your own way and the changes will come!
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If you also are interested in changing your mindset and self-esteem, I definitely have information to help with that, too.
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