What a big week! On Monday I launched my "Unleash Your Inner Fit Girl" 60-day challenge with a group of extraordinary women who want to learn to incorporate health and fitness into their hectic lives. This week, they've all been working on the goals they want to achieve over the next 60 days...NOT just the physical goals. When people, especially women, set out to lose weight or get fit, they tend to be hyperfocused on the physical changes..."I want to lose 20 lbs" or "I want my thighs to be smaller" or "I just want to be skinny!!". My own fitness journey has taught me that it about so much more than that... It wasn't until I made the decision to stop dieting and get fit for life, that I understood what a real "fitness journey" is; it's not just a long trip from fat to skinny. In the beginning, my primary goal was simply to lose enough body fat and gain enough muscle to look half-way decent on stage at my first bikini competition. Even though I only lost about 12 pounds from the time I started training until I stepped on stage 5 months later, I had experienced a remarkable physical transformation. I'd traded in my fluffy, puffy body with the back fat, for a lean, muscular physique with an actual 6-pack. I was ecstatic as my body morphed into something that I always thought was there, but didn't really know how to get to it. What I had achieved exceeded my expectations...and not just physically. The losses and the gains weren't only about fat and muscle, but something far more important:
THE BIG LOSSES
- several hundred pounds of dead weight in the form of toxic, unproductive relationships with people who only complicated my life, instead of complementing it
- the annoying little voice inside my head that periodically whispered, "You're not _______ enough." Fill in the blank: good, pretty, smart, thin, funny...
- limitations that I placed on myself (or allowed others to place on me) that often lead me to settle for less than I deserved
THE BIG GAINS
- a greater confidence in myself...not just because of how I look, but because of who I am
- a deeper appreciation of what it really means to love yourself
- countless new friends, mentors and sisters-in-fitness who have provided support, encouragement and motivation during the times when I thought I wanted to quit
- the ability to exceed what I thought I was capable of; knowing that I can push beyond my comfort zone has encouraged me to pursue my dreams and never settle for less
My good friend and sister-in-fitness, Stephanie Keenan, always reminds women to "Stop chasing skinny!"...it's often elusive and almost always temporary. If "skinny" had been the only thing on my radar, I would probably be back in the fluffy, puffy body that I'd been trying to escape for years. Thankfully, I had people around me who encouraged me to truly experience and enjoy the journey. I can't wait to see the transformations of the women in the 60-day challenge! Because of my own experience, I wake up every day hoping to inspire, uplift and motivate these women as they go through the journey that lies ahead of them.