Welcome back to my blog series: My Story, where I’m sharing the biggest transformations I’ve made in the past 2.5 years to get my life heading in a totally new direction – one that I desired. You can check out the other blogs here to catch up:
Episode One: Overview
Episode Two: Life Changing Decision
Episode Three: Brian Tumor Diagnosis
Episode Four: Redefining ‘ME’
Episode Five: Finding Love Again
Today is the MAJOR TURNING POINT – my introduction into life coaching and mindset management (which coincides with losing 45lbs.) Selling my business was the catalyst to turning my life around, but this moment became the rocket fuel that really launched me into my dream life. Let’s get started!
The struggle was real…
At the age of 11, I remember staring at myself in the huge mirrors at the dance studio and thinking, “My legs are bigger than everyone else’s…” It didn’t make me cry or go on a diet or anything, it was just something I noticed.
I was never the “fat kid”, I was just average. Normal. If you saw me at any point up through high school, you wouldn’t have thought, “Wow, that girl is skinny,” OR “Dang, check out that fatty.” I was just there in the middle, athletic, muscular from dance, short and compact, not anything remarkable in either direction.
But growing up in the competitive dance community where you literally stare at your reflection for hours on end and everything is about what your body looks like is daunting. I didn’t ever feel like I looked the way I’d want – never had thin legs or a toned tummy like other girls.
Heading into my 20’s, I definitely started gaining some weight. I was a lot less active of course, and things just aren’t the same as when you are a teenager. Adulthood set in and so did the weight…
At the age of 23, in 2008, I got engaged and we set our wedding for 1 year later. I think I was probably 145-150lbs at the time. For that ENTIRE YEAR I literally worked my ass off to lose weight. I was so fearful that I would be “fat” for my wedding and that I’d never be able to look back on photos or videos and be happy with how I looked. This was a huge lifetime milestone and I wanted to look and feel my best.
I killed myself doing cardio workouts that I hated, I did my best to eat healthy and drink less. I literally bought an elliptical from Costco and started using it constantly – hating every minute but chanting “I will NOT be fat for my wedding!”.
And it worked, I dropped somewhere around 20 lbs and was really pleased with how I felt and how I looked. I remember thinking at the time, “this is amazing, you can never go back to your old ways!” But, of course I did, and then some. I couldn’t white-knuckle through the eating + drinking habits any longer and let’s face it, I freaking hate cardio. I met my goal and that was that.
I started packing the pounds right after we said I DO. I mean, literally – we got married at an all inclusive resort in Mexico where all we did for a week was eat and drink to excess! My dress probably didn’t fit by the time we flew home!
Flash forward several years. I started my own business and opened my dance studio in 2011 and did that until selling it in 2017. Owning and operating a company is hard. Dealing with customers (kids and their parents) is hard. This led to me trying to feel better about all of that by over-eating and over-drinking – and what busy CEO has time for the gym??!?! Not me, that’s for sure!
The highest weight I have on record is 181.5 lbs with 41% body fat on July 12th, 2016. I only know this because it is when I got my Fitbit scale and it records everything to the app. I’m sure I probably weighed a bit more at some point, but was way too scared to step on the scale and find out. And (I’m only 5’3″ for reference.)
During this period between 2009 and 2017, I would go in and out of caring how I looked and trying to do something about it. I was definitely that person who didn’t feel fat until they saw themselves in a photo and didn’t recognize that was them for a second.…yikes…
I’d go up or down a few pounds here or there – never more than 10 in any experiment with some new diet/exercise trial – and I’d never maintain anything for more than a couple months. It was so discouraging and felt like nothing worked. I was just bound to be overweight for life I guess…
Oh yes, and also I had been told by my doctor for 2 years that I was dangerously close to becoming diabetic. My blood tests had elevated glucose that was putting me at the top of the pre-diabetic range…so there’s that…not good.
When I sold the studio in 2017, I had the thought, “Great, now I can easily lose weight and get fit + healthy again now that I won’t be so stressed and now that I have the time!”…and nothing changed. Turns out becoming unemployed doesn’t immediately equal weight loss… you actually have to do stuff, lol.
This sounds like BS, but I guess I’ll try it…
It was in August of 2018 that my ENTIRE world changed for the better. Sounds dramatic, but honestly it is true. Here’s the story:
I was having lunch with a long-time girlfriend of mine – we actually grew up dancing together and have coined ourselves Identical Body Twins. We have almost always been about the same size/shape/weights at about the same times. Granted she has actually been pregnant twice, I just looked like I was, lol, but never mind that!
She started telling me about this amazing podcast I just HAD to listen to. It’s a weight loss podcast, she informed me, and she was already starting to drop some lbs. I immediately asked her what it was all about. “You just change your thinking about food,” she claimed. I’m sorry, you do what now?? This sounded like complete and total bullshit. Just think thin thoughts? What the…. but…. I trust her. She’s a smart, educated doctor, she’s been my friend forever, we have similar bodies and it is working for her soooo….I could at least give it a whirl… BEST. CHOICE. EVER.
Around this time, I weighed in at 171 lbs. with 40.8% body fat. 6 1/2 months later – just in time to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary at the same all inclusive resort in Mexico – I weighed 130 lbs with 29% body fat. I weighed essentially the same as I did 10 years prior at my wedding – full circle! For the following 6 months, I’ve maintained 125-130lb. range and am closer to 27% body fat. Here’s how I did it!
What does true hunger actually feel like?…
This podcast introduced the concept that all of our results in life are created by the thoughts we choose to have. Don’t like your results? Change your thinking in order to take action in a new way that will get you the results you desire. My mind was blown that I hadn’t been exposed to this before. How was I not taught this stuff at some point, seriously?!?! Why doesn’t everyone know about this!?!?! Can it seriously be this simple?
The reason nothing had stuck in the past was because I never changed my thinking. I just plowed through various restrictions and forced myself into work-outs for as long as I could. Obviously this was not getting me the long-term results I desired. I had to come at this from an entirely new mindset.
Upon completing a deep investigation, I realized that I ate when I was actually hungry only about 25% of the time. The rest of the time, I was eating (and drinking alcohol) because:
- I was bored
- I wanted a break from what I was doing/working on
- I felt frustrated, stressed, annoyed
- Because I ‘deserved a treat’
- To win the ‘clean plate award’ and not waste food
- Because I paid a lot of money for this food/drink!
- Because I might not be able to eat/drink this item again in the near future so I better take advantage now
- To celebrate and have a great time
- It’s a special occasion or party – time to go crazy!
- Because other people were eating/drinking so I should too, obviously
- Because it tastes so good, I want more!!
- Someone made this for me, it would be rude not to eat it…
- I wanted to feel good – food and alcohol = pleasure!
I had to identify all of these things and realize that NONE of them were serving me. I had to really study what physical hunger felt like in my body so I could identify the right time to eat vs. when I felt compelled to eat because of one of these reasons above.
I’ll tell you I never saw myself as an emotional eater. I was certainly never the girl crying under a blanket and eating a whole tub of ice cream because she was so miserable. I honestly didn’t think I really ate that much food in a day. But when I really dug in, I realized quickly that I had been eating when I wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t stopping once I was full.
Once I could identify all of these stories and beliefs that had been in my brain for SOOO LONG, it was time to create new thoughts and beliefs that would serve me. I’ll give you a few examples:
- Eating and drinking isn’t a treat or a reward. The real reward is to honor my body and my health.
- Food is not scarce (thankfully for me – I can feel grateful for this) and while ‘wasting’ food isn’t ideal, consuming every morsel of food does not serve me.
- Fun and pleasure is not created through food and drink, it is generated by who I am as a person and how I choose to experience the situation.
- I feel better when I live in integrity with myself and my goals, not when I over-eat or over-drink.
I can tell you I’ve never in my entire life lost weight so quickly AND without exercising. Like, at all. (I started integrating movement back into my routine as of June which I’ll save for another blog,) but for the 6 months when I lost the majority of my 45 lbs. it was all due to the changes in eating/drinking. Oh, and I also went back to my doctor in the middle of my weight loss and already tested back in the normal range for glucose – no longer anywhere close to having diabetes!!
Am I totally perfect? No. Do I still drink wine and eat cookies sometimes? Yes. Is it always easy to stay on track? Absolutely not. But I cannot express how much I’ve changed, physically and mentally through this transformation. Am I going to be entering a swimsuit competition any time soon? Most likely not, but that is ok. I have a new way of living that will allow me to maintain this body and my health permanently. I’ve permanently said goodbye to white knuckles, painful restriction, and killing myself in a gym I hate and said hello to honoring myself, living in self-integrity, and feeling proud of the way I look and so happy about the way I feel!
It didn’t just help with my weight…
Losing weight was just the tip of my personal development iceberg. I kept learning, hired my own life coach and began applying these principals to all aspects of my life – how to mend my marriage, find more gratitude, get less frustrated, anxious + upset with people and myself, feel the way I want to feel and get the things I desired! It really works for everything!
I realized I had lost touch with myself. Most of the time I had no idea what I was actually feeling. I had just stopped paying attention and didn’t really see how that mattered. I started journaling, doing thought downloads and meditating to become more mindful about what was going on in my own head. Oh, hello me! There you are, nice to be reacquainted with you!
Learning how to manage my mindset is what actually created my dream life that I live today. Deciding to sell my dance studio was the key to acknowledging that I desired a change in my life – life and mindset coaching is what actually made it happen. It was the piece of the puzzle I was missing. It was the road map that actively took me from the life I had to the life I wanted.
I hate to think where I’d be if my friend had never told me about this podcast. If only I’d learned all of this earlier in life – I can only imagine how my life could have played out differently. I celebrate knowing that these tools will greatly affect how the rest of my life goes, in the all the best ways possible.
This is what inspired me to become a coach myself. To help other women take back their lives. To finally achieve long-lasting results through meaningful and intentional change. To have the skills and tools to go after the things you desire in your life and actually GET THEM!!! Make this shit happen!! If you know you could benefit from hearing more, let’s set up a free call where I can learn more about your story and you can learn from mine!