We cannot gain strength by doing what is easy. We gain strength by facing challenges.
I spent a lot of time over the holidays reflecting on my life, business, core values and how to best share my story so that I can help coach and empower others. I refuse to be one of the coach/trainers/social media influencers that focus on weight loss, quick fixes and 6-pack abs.
My friend and colleague, Anna Renederer, said it best, “The scale is just a distraction. It doesn’t show the whole picture.”
She is absolutely right, and that is what gave me the courage to share these photos and dive deeper into what you can’t see just by looking at these pictures. These images represent different phases in life and different lessons I learned when it came to improving my physical and mental health and well being.
In the above photo I was 28 years old. This was my first, and only fitness competition. When most people see this picture they think I am in great shape and often wonder why I don’t look like that, or compete anymore.
The truth behind the spray tan is that I was lost, struggling in my career, and believed that competing in a fitness competition would help me create a name for myself and land in magazines. It was away to escape my day to day and get to the next level. An ‘easy’ route if you will.
I had graduated with a degree in Biokinesiology and my goal was to show people how to be healthy and fit. No excuses. Mind over matter. After all, that is the mindset that worked for me with past accomplishments so why wouldn’t it work for everyone? Why wouldn’t people want to jump on board with me?
I was young, naive and life hadn’t really happened to me yet. My biggest concern in life was trying to find the hottest happy hour in the city.
When people didn’t jump onboard with my training style and philosophy I decided to go down the path of the people who were an inspiration for me in fitness. The ones I saw on the cover of magazines by the check-out counter. I registered for a competition and thought by dong so I was going to be a fitness model and my career would take off.
What this picture does not show you that I was hungry, and in pain due to restricted dieting and double day workout sessions. I was trying to mask my depression and anxiety, and thought by competing and succeeding my friends and family would show more support and respect for my career.
The competition came and went and none of the above changed.
Sure, the number on the scale was low but my self-doubt was at an all time high.
The Giant Race of 2013 was a brief moment in time where I was able to take a break and do something for me. At this point I had been caring for my mom battling esophageal cancer for the past two years. I was at my heaviest but I didn’t have time to think about that.
You cannot tell from this picture that I was sleeping on an air mattress for two years, the only clothes I had available were the ones that would fit into 3 brown bags underneath my mothers’ medicine table. It doesn’t show that I was up every few hours at night to suction my mothers’ tracheotomy tube or to administer medicine through her feeding tub.
And no scale can show that I was growing stronger mentally, discovering what it meant to live by core values, or that my mother started to see her daughter’s career choice was in fact a meaningful one.
While I wasn’t pleased with my physical fitness or health at this moment in time, I was learning a lot about myself, what it means to be healthy and becoming more grounded in the messages I want to deliver my clients and followers. The scale was the furthest thing from my mind because my parents didn’t even own one.
While I was scared and still very much anxious, my experiences watching my mother pass on and then moving right into becoming my father’s caregiver, allowed me to really focus on what is truly important and all the moving pieces that go into living a healthy life. Things that would allow me to connect and share with my clients and followers on a deeper level.
Arriving here (the above picture) was not an easy process. There were sleepless nights, lots of tears, betrayal, heartbreaks, falling-outs and lonely holidays.
But through all of this I have learned the importance of taking care of me. To make sure that I am getting my daily exercise in and knowing that somedays will be more active than others. Learning to put on my oxygen mask first so that I can help others.
I can now consistently make healthy choice and don’t look to anyone else for approval. I am unapologetically me and I got her through STRUGGLES, COURAGE, and CONFIDENCE.
I am unapologetically me and I got here through STRUGGLES, COURAGE and CONFIDENCE! #IAMEMPOWERED @motiv8dfitness
So stop putting emphasis on weight and what the scale says. It is not accurate, it is an alternate for of facts (since that is now a thing). A healthy and happy life is meant to be lived, not obsessing over a certain number. There is so much more that goes into LEARNING to LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE.
Start looking at the THINGS you are gaining in life when you choose to commit to your health and fitness journey.