I was at the beach the other day with the kids and a 7 year old asked me, “Why do you have those lines on your stomach?” I said to her, “Those lines are called stretch marks, you get them sometimes after you have a baby or you lose weight and I love them. “ Obviously I said this slightly awkwardly... I mean who does love their stretch marks. Then she said, “Well what about that skin, why does it look like that? My mom doesn’t have that. “ I said when your belly gets really big your skin stretches and when you lose weight your tummy shrinks but your skin doesn’t always go back to the way it was." As I thought for a moment I told her, " It’s apart of me, and I am grateful to have these lines and extra skin. It is beautiful. “ And she said, “oh.” with a big wide eyed expression. I want to tell you how I got to this place of loving my saggy tiger tummy.
This is me day one of my weight loss journey March 25, 2012. I call it a weight loss journey because that’s what it was to me. If I'm honest the reason I wanted to lose weight was to be thin and beautiful and look like a model. When I was younger, I was a model. A plus size model. I was told at age 13 to get toned and then give the agency a call. I had this goal of getting to a size 5. I never got there, and my body can't physically get that small. My bone structure is different. In my early 20s I did some plus size modeling. Peoples jaw would drop when I mentioned I was plus size. But that's the industry, it's slowly changing and I believe it HAS to and I'm grateful for my time as a model, it gave me confidence and taught me to embrace my height. However, this idea of losing weight and being thin and comparing myself to everyone began from a young age. After I had Celia, I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was so embarrassed how much weight I put on and ashamed of myself. Anytime I had to go somewhere it would take me ages to get ready I never knew what to wear and would get so nervous about it. I have always thought if only I was thinner I would be loved and people would notice me. So I enrolled in Jenny Craig and started Insanity, a Beachbody program. It's intense. I remember just dying after the warm up, every single day for 1 month. But I kept pushing play. I just kept thinking if I can just keep fighting and do what I can do thats good enough for me.
My 1 month transformation March-April 2012
Yep, I kind of thought probably what you're thinking. Not much difference. Quickly, I realized this is going to be a long road. This is going to be my life. There are no quick fixes. This is important to me and finishing this program and completeing it everyday is important to me. I wanted to get in shape for my daughter so I had the energy to play with her. I was motivated to fit back into my clothes. So I carried that motivation with me and completed goal after goal. I finished program after program. Over 1 year later, I was down 90 lbs. 90... However, in my eyes, I was still fat. Even at my lowest weight EVER, I thought if only I could lose a few more inches then I would be pretty. I would be attractive and sexy. I would be loved.
This is a slideshow of all my weight loss photos from March 19, 2012- November 26, 2012. I never shared ANY of these because I am completely embarrassed and I never thought I was skinny enough to even show a "good" before and after photo. I remember being incredibly proud of how far I had come and the walls I had broken down in exercise. I can do regular push ups. I can run a half marathon. Everyday a little stronger. And I could push through even the hardest workouts. I also remember focusing a lot on the negative aspects of my body. Getting dressed was a constant battle. I just could never decide what to wear and would always need affirmation or to be told what looked good because I thought everything looked terrible.
Then I got pregnant with my son, I was so nervous throughout my pregnancy. Everytime I would ask how much weight I gained and was that too much. I was pretty concious about the food I ate but every now and again I would go on an emotional eating bender and towards the end of the pregnancy I lost control. I gained 60lbs instead of 80lbs. I was proud of all the exercise I did throughout I think it helped me not gain as much. But man I struggle with food and nutrition. I’m an emotional eater. When I'm dealing with some tough issues sometimes I want to eat everything in sight, and other times I am skipping meals and not taking care of myself. It's a struggle to work through these issues and actually become aware of when I am eating to ignore my feelings or numb my pain.
In January 2014, I decided to start the weight loss process over again after the birth of my son. I had about 40lbs to lose. I decided to just try and diet and forget the exercise with two small kids and waking all night I just thought it would be too much..... And I lost a lot of weight. However my diet consisted of Soup, Smoothie, Oatmeal, and Morningstar chicken patties. Some days I would miss lunch due to being busy with the kids and just never felt great.
In January 2015, Mike and I decided we were ready to start a program together. We would motivate and encourage eachother so we began Insanity Max 30. It was so hard. I think it was harder than Insanity. There were no breaks. (I love breaks. ha.)...After more months of other programs I was slowly getting toned but still felt terrible. I was not eating well. We ate ice cream every night. I'm serious. We ordered out a lot... I felt sick all the time. When my daughter started to ask me if I was sick everyday, I knew I needed a change. I was worried there was something wrong with me.
Slowly, this idea of knowing I was enough and being worthy started to creep its way into my life. It started off as realizing I could say no to people, if I was already overwhelmed and to not feel bad...... AND trying to speak up when I wanted something or had an idea. Or confront someone if I was upset or hurt. At that time, my worthiness never applied to my looks or creativity, but these ideas and thoughts started making their way into my mind and heart.
Left: January 2015 Right: June 2015
(Post Insanity Max 30 and P90x3)
In June I began the 21 day fix extreme. My friend had some wonderful success with the program and seeing her posts daily was inspirational enough to work harder. And after speaking with her I realized she had not only changed physically but mentally and spiritually. I was excited for her, and ready to try something new. So I signed up with Beachbody as a discount coach and I ordered shakeology too (I had been asking about it since the day I started Insanity, they make it sound so good for you) (It is GREAT) . Our first workout was dirty 30, I remember looking at my husband thinking is this lady for real? After 3 days, I had energy, I was happier and motivated. I even stopped drinking tea. I found I didn't need the morning energy. When my friend told me about the Beachbody team she was on (Team Epic), and that their motto was "I am enough" I immediately wanted to know more. This motto is what I'd been learning all along, and its what I want to help others know and believe.
The Latest Photos. I just completed Round 2 of 21 day fix Extreme.
So I started sharing pieces of my life. Things I had always wanted to share but feared what would everyone think. Am I posting to much of this or that? Am I being annoying? Maybe I should just remain unseen. But then I just tell my mind no, I am enough. I believe there are others out there that are struggling. That could use some encouragement and that is what I hoped I could do. I would like to help others on their journey to get fit and help them know they are enough and be a light for them in their darkest times.
A transformation is not about the photos or the weight that you lost. A true transformation is looking in the mirror and saying I am beautiful, I am enough, I am worthy of being loved. No I’m not perfect, and that’s ok. But I am beautiful no matter what weight I am and WITH all of my flaws. I can speak up in a group of people because my opinion matters and people DO want to hear what I have to say. I can say hello to someone I don’t know, as scary as it is. I can share my ideas and needs and not be afraid of what others think. I can fail, I will fail. But I’ll get back up and keep going. And it's OK if people don’t like my thoughts and ideas. I am not claiming to be anything but myself.
I finally look in the mirror and see a beautiful person. I can wear what I want and I no longer have to ask my husband if I look ok. Let me tell you, I LOVE animal prints, and just crazy clothes. I have been hiding from my inner fasionista for a while. Time to break free. I can ask for help, people want to help me. I can be a leader, eventhough I truely believed I was a follower. I can talk to people. It's still so so scary. But I can be ME. I don’t need to fit in, I already belong. I’m great the way God made me. Now that is an after photo I am proud of. I’m so thankful for that realization. God has slowly, very slowly shown me this. I have gained so much patience and trust in God. This didn’t happen overnight and sometimes its still a struggle. But I can now see those moments I feel shame and fight.
You are worthy NOW, not when you have lost 20 lbs. Not when you have made partner at your job. Not when you own a home. Not when your the parent you think you should be. Not when your wearing the latest trends. Forget the somedays, and the idea that by succeeding you will be worthy of love. YOU ALREADY ARE.