What is change? Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary describes change in 7 different ways. In short, ‘to change’ could be to transform, to alter, to modify, to adjust, or to revolutionize – among others.
It is a complex word usually accompanied by complex decisions, actions, thoughts and emotions. I find it humorous that a tiny 6-letter word can capture all of that essence.
As I say the word repeatedly in my head it sparks an abundance of mental activity. I think about my journey, I think about my path and I think about my values. I’ve changed. Not because I was forced to, rather, because I wanted to – I was inspired to.
And simply because I opened up my mind and listened to my heart simultaneously, I continue to evolve as a result.
As many of you know, this journey has literally renovated me. Aesthetically speaking, I appear enhanced and improved – yes – but more importantly, foundationally I am stronger, more stable and more able to support myself.
While embarking on what merely seemed like a ‘weight loss journey’, I truly failed to recognize the domino effect that would unfold before me. Like many people do, in the beginning I was focused on the physical changes rather than the mental, social, spiritual and environmental ones that would follow.
I know I’ve spoken of this matter before, but I wanted to highlight it again. Why? Because it’s been 543 days since the beginning of my journey and my life continues to blossom positively as a result of it.
Now more than ever, it’s clear to me who I am, what I want, what I need and where I want to go in life – and learning these things has lead me down new and exciting paths.
Recently, I travelled to St. Lucia. For those of you who have never been there, St. Lucia is a beautiful island in the West Indies that has a stunning amalgamation of mountains, rainforests, low lying lands and beaches. Not to mention, home to over 170,000 of the kindest people I think I’ve ever met.
Oddly enough, what was supposed to be a short family getaway actually became a life changing event for me – another pivotal moment.
Just as my life was heading down one path I was awakened with the sight of what could be. I was intrigued.
On this trip I saw a life I’d always wanted. I saw support, simplicity, health, longevity, happiness, kindness and appreciation. In just one week I was captivated by the idea of living a life less monotonous that highlighted my values and propelled me forward – forcing me to always strive for greatness. I saw the future me.
It’s safe to say I came home and made some changes. After much self reflection I ended my nearly 4 year relationship, I moved into a new place, I grew closer with my sister (my new roomie) and began strengthening bonds with some new friends. And yes, in time, I also entered a new relationship with someone who reflects the same passions, values and beliefs as I.
I feel free. I have a warm sensation that I have taken a giant step towards the person I truly want to be, and I have my journey to thank for it.
To some, these changes may seem sudden – which they are. But do not get that confused with thoughtless. The thoughts, the feelings and the desire to change my situations at the time had been looming over me for quite awhile; I just hadn’t found my ignition switch. And I also hadn’t found the bravery to take that leap of faith.
My trip to St. Lucia and the people I met there showed me the way.
So if there is one thing I want to leave you with today it is this: embrace the change that feels right to you.
Like I recently wrote on my facebook page
“With an open mind & a willing heart, there’s no limit to life’s adventures. Be open to new experiences & people. No matter how unconventional your path may seem, if it feels right inside, you can’t deny it. Life is filled with many paths, and who knows? Maybe the road less travelled will guide YOU towards YOUR happiness.” - Kristen Adamson
Usually, when I write a blog on here I write it with one of two goals in mind. Either to:
a) Motivate, inspire and teach my readers, or,
b) Update them on my fitness and training progress.
But in today’s blog, I’ve decided to take a bit of a different approach. I want everyone who’s reading to have a solid understanding of what a day is typically like for me. You see, although it may appear like I get up and train with ease each and every day, the truth is, I don’t.
Aside from sometimes feeling lazy or unmotivated to hit the gym – which by the way I’m not alone in – I also battle daily pain and discomfort as a result on my accident in 2007. Something with which I’ve avoided speaking about openly, online and with many of my closest friends.
In the past, I’ve believed that speaking about my injuries would release a negative vibe to others, but now, since I’ve received so many emails referring to my emotional and physical battle, I realize that people want to read and discuss real life issues. We, as humans, need to hear about the challenges that others face – it helps us feel like we’re not alone in our own struggles.
So, let me shed some light on what I experience.
On a daily basis I find myself constantly uncomfortable. Since my accident a couple of years ago, my back, neck and knee have been a wreck – don’t get me started on my flashbacks and anxiety while crossing the street, driving around pedestrians or even watching a movie where a person is hit by a car.
If I’m not waking up with pain or discomfort, then I know it’s coming at some point in the day. Whether that’s while I’m sitting at my desk at the office, driving my car, or just walking around for too long, my neck will always weaken, feel strained or get stiff and sore. This doesn’t even begin to discuss my back.
Truthfully, I could go on for a while about each of the permanent damages I’ve sustained. But I prefer not to dwell on the topic, as it usually upsets me or reminds me of what the doctors have warned me about my future.
But the point I’m trying to make here, is something I learned from a woman I loved dearly as a child, a woman who passed away from Cancer far too young, but has still managed to make a gigantic impact on my life to this day.
In her laptop – written as she was struggling with her diagnosis – she wrote, “By some absolute miracle, I learned early on that in spite of what was happening inside my body, I could control my mind.”
As obvious as this may seem to some, when you battle daily physical ailments or pain it’s often hard to feel like going on or moving forward.
Some days I dread the idea of getting out of bed, walking around the mall for too long or going for a lengthy car ride, because I am aware of how uncomfortable I will get.
But what I always try to remind myself – although it’s often very hard to do – is that I can’t let this pain take over my life. I have dreams and I have goals, and I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that.
I’m going to continue to see doctors on a weekly or bi-weekly basis – no matter how frustrating and inconvenient it is. And I’m going to continue to strengthen my body to help my joints feel better – no matter how temporary that fix may be.
I’m not going to let this accident beat me; I’m going to control my thoughts just like she did, I’m going to control my mind.
In loving memory of Karen Sampson
As many of you know I have been working on “cutting” since January 2010 – exactly a year ago this month. It’s been a long journey full of lots of wonderful wins and some not so wonderful plateaus, but I have been able to maintain motivation the whole way through and I am proud of myself for it.
When I first started my journey, I thought it was all about the weight. I just wanted to drop 30lbs of fat and be done – but I was so very wrong.
As I know I’ve mentioned before, this journey became more about self discovery and gaining control over my life, than it did about becoming a slimmer, smaller me,. This is exactly why my goals and aspirations have changed over time, and now I am approaching the next stage of my adventure – phase 2.
About halfway through my journey I became intrigued by the notion of competing in figure. Why? Well 1 year ago, even the thought of me stepping on a stage in a two piece and being judged was my worst nightmare – but this is exactly why it became my best goal.
I realized that if I wanted to continue to reap the self discovery benefits of this journey, I needed to keep pushing myself beyond my mental limits. I needed a goal that would take me out of my comfort zone and teach me that I can face my biggest fears and I can be whatever I want to be. So my answer became training for figure.
So what is phase 2, you ask? Phase 2 of my journey is a whole lot of things, it’s:
- Focusing on lean muscle building and re-shaping my body, rather than dropping fat.
- Taking my strength and weight training abilities to another level.
- Preparing myself for my first figure competition.
- Pushing past the naysayers and doing something just for me. And,
- Taking a giant leap forward towards conquering one of my greatest fears by facing it dead on.
So over the next couple of months – starting around March of this year – you will notice that the focus of my content will begin to shift. Rather than listening to me speak about how the numbers on the scale are going down, I will be discussing how to make them go up (in a good way).
My goals will be to build lean muscle while maintaining the lowest possible body fat %, and to balance out my physique in preparation for my first competition.
Stay tuned my friends! Stay tuned.
See the picture below?
On the right, I was about 170-180lbs and 14 or 15 years old (sad, I know - plus I was shorter!)
The left photo, I took on Saturday. I am now 150lbs and 21 years old.
Things are coming along!
So there I was, fighting through my last repetitions. The sweat was streaming down my face and my arms were trembling – I was determined to hoist those dumbbells over my chest one last time.
I finally completed the set. I sat up on the bench to grab a gulp of water, and that’s when I saw it – you’ve got to be kidding me, I thought to myself.
Through the reflection of the mirror in front of me, I noticed a women speed walking on the treadmill with a cell phone glued to her ear. I couldn’t help but chuckle inside.
Is this what we have succumbed to? Are we that unbelievably busy that we can’t solely focus on our wellbeing for a mere 30-45 minutes a day?
Its things like this that, in my mind, separates the victorious from the sorrowful, the triumphant from the disappointed, and the winners from the losers in the end.
Not to say that this woman was, by any means, a ‘loser’ – but her lack of focus is not what I would expect from someone seriously looking to get into ‘shape’.
In my opinion, if you are committed to your weight loss (or bodybuilding) journey, you must be devoted. And by that I mean, you must be willing to dedicate quality time in the gym.
The key word in that sentence is quality.
To get results, you must make every second count. Each and every time you lift that weight, do it with purpose, each and every time you pound your feet on that treadmill, visualize your goals.
If the only reason why you are going to the gym is to socialize, you may be better off hitting up the local pub, because serious gym-goers are there for one purpose and one purpose only…to focus on getting the results they’ve always dreamed of having.
Yes, I know…in a way, this article is a rant. But in another way, it is some food for thought. That’s why I decided to call it my nutritional rant.
Why do you go to the gym?
Sometimes, in order to stay focused I like to do crunches! Nope, I’m not talking about abdominal crunches…I’m talking about number crunches! Here is what I mean:
Today, just for fun, I decided to figure out how many days I’ve been ‘melting’ for. Can you believe that on Saturday May 15th, I will have been training and eating clean for 121 days?
Let’s put that into perspective, that’s:
· 4 months
· 17.2 weeks
· 2904 hours
· 174,270 minutes
And in that time frame, I have managed to lose 20lbs (hopefully more by Saturday – but I’ll let you know)!
That’s equivalent to:
So, in theory, if I keep losing at this rate I will have lost another 20lbs by September 12th!!! Wow, 8 months and a 40 lb loss…that would be incredible! Who knew I would find a use for math! (That I’m actually finding quite fun!)
Now, let’s say I managed to bump that 1.2lb/week loss to 2lb/week (still a healthy rate to lose). That means, by September 12th, I will have lost 34lbs! Wow. That would make me 131lbs (a 54lb loss in total). J
It’s so fun to look ahead at these kinds of things. It helps keep me focused and it helps me set new goals for myself – like aiming for a 2lb loss per week! If I can do that, it will only take me 10 weeks to drop 20lbs, which means I will weight 145lbs by July 24th. Sweet.
So, why am I doing this?
Well first of all, it’s kind of like giving yourself a HUGE pat on the back. Seeing how far you’ve come, and comparing it to different timeframes, really does change your outlook on the whole process.
Second of all – like I said above, it helps me set realistic goals that I know I can achieve. And that’s important when you are on a long journey to health, happiness and, oh yeah – sexy abs!
Give it a try!
Aside from clothes fitting better (actually, now they are too loose!) and my self confidence rising, I had no idea that there were so many amazing benefits to losing weight! I mean, people can tell you – “you will feel great, it is so worth it”, but you have no idea how great it feels until you actually start doing it!
Take yesterday for instance, I was sitting in my boring little cubicle – where I am sheltered from any human interaction – when I heard a knock on my ‘door’ (no door, just a cubicle wall L). To my surprise, it was one of the guys on my team. He said to me:
“Kristen, I wanted to let you know that you have become my inspiration. I have decided to start working out and getting healthy.”
I was stunned! Me, an inspiration? And thus I began my thinking…
I realized, right then and there, that weight loss isn’t just about losing pounds and inches. It’s about changing your entire life! And while your body is losing weight, your life is gaining wealth.
So, with that said, here is a little list I compiled of the 10 unexpected joys of weight loss that I have ‘bumped’ into.
Yes, some of them may be small things – but DAMN, they have changed my life so far!
- I have become an inspiration to others
- I have gained vigor – the “I can do anything now!” mentality.
- I can step off an elevator quickly without feeling like other passengers notice a shift in the weight
- I can make healthy foods taste incredible! (you have to learn how to make it work for you J)
- My thighs don’t touch anymore! (Ok, well still a little – but there is light shining through!)
- I can pick any article of clothing in my wardrobe to wear and not feel fat in it!
- I can see my veins! (Ok, maybe not cool for some people – but awesome to me!)
- I am much lighter than my boyfriend! (I was truly a self esteem killer when we weighed the same)
- I can run for longer than 30mins straight on the treadmill! (5 used to kill me – lol!)
- I can look in the mirror and love every part of myself, knowing that I have the control to manipulate my body into whatever I want it to be.
If you are contemplating a weight loss transformation of your own, as many of my site visitors are, there is something important you must learn before you embark on this journey...
…The difference between successful weight loss and unsuccessful weight loss is planning.
What I've come to realize over the past couple of months is that the primary reason I have made it so far this time (compared to my other, not so successful, weight-loss attempts) has been the fact that I have planned for everything!
So, what do I mean by planned for everything? Well, I mean I have literally sat down and had a conversation with myself that went something like this:
My thoughts: So, what are you going to do if you go out with your friends for dinner? Are you going to eat out, or bring food? What will you do!?
My other thoughts: Well, first I will contemplate if I really need to go out for dinner…can I meet up with them after? Can I just go and not eat? If I do decide to go, and I know where we are eating, I will research the meals available at the restaurant and incorporate something healthy from the menu into my meal plan for the day. I will also ensure that my selections are nutritious - for instance a salad with a vinaigrette dressing on the side and a grilled chicken breast (hold the skin).
My thoughts: Ok, so what about if your alarm doesn’t go off in the morning and you are already running late? You won’t have time to pack your lunch!
My other thoughts: That won’t be a problem! I am pre-packing my lunch the night before so that I don’t have to worry about it in the morning.
Creating the plan
Notice the type of situations I have planned for?
It is important that we contemplate these types of scenarios because they are bound to happen in life. But if you don’t plan for them, and instead say to yourself, “oh, you’ve done a great job, you can cheat just this once”, that “once” will turn into a twice, a three times, a four times and sure enough, a whopping 10lbs on your hips.
So, instead of ending up on another yo-yo diet, take some time to really think about the type of “bumps” you will face along the way. Remember, the difference between successful weight loss and unsuccessful weight loss is planning - so write it down!
Here are some of the scenarios that I suggest you plan for before you embark on your transformation:
- Going out for dinner
- Being late for work
- Having no food in the fridge
- Forgetting your lunch bag at home
- Being pressured to enjoy a “night out with the girls”
- Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Your birthday – all the holidays!
- The scale not budging (at times it won’t, and you need to plan for how you will react)
If you’ve got any other suggestions for others on what type of situations to plan for, let me know in the comments!
So, today i decided to start my website. I figured, what the heck, I'm already addicted to bodybulding.com, why not make a website dedicated to just my transformation...and here I am.
So, what will you have to look forward to? well, updates from me... in this blog. All of my meal plans documented, as well as my current workout routines and even my thoughts on various supplements.
I hope you enjoy following my journey as much as I do. If you have any questions - let me know!