You’re staring at a pile of laundry stacked up to the ceiling and, frankly, you couldn’t care less. Just then, you get a text message from your friend, “I’m coming to pick you up, we’re going out tonight!” it reads. You’re excited about the invite, but there’s one tiny problem – your favorite shirt is dirty! Oh well, no big deal, you think to yourself – and without hesitation, you pop your shirt directly into the wash while you go get ready for your outing. If you’re anything like me, you have to find the motivation to do something before you will actually do it – and fitness and nutrition are no exception!

So why is it that when we embark on a fitness journey, we put so much focus and energy into perfecting our diet and training plans, but we tend to overlook creating a plan to help us stay motivated?

CLICK HERE to read more of my newest article on muscleandstrength.com and to learn how to build a motivational plan.

 
As some of you may know – from reading my “about me” section – I’ve faced a few obstacles in my time. Granted, “my time” has only been 21 years, but most people go their entire lifespan without experiencing what I have.

Today I want to take a moment to switch gears. You see, weight loss journey’s aren’t just about shedding fat and watching the numbers on the scale drop.  In my opinion, a real, permanent, weight loss journey is about shedding adversity at the same time. Lightening yourself, not only physically, but mentally too.

When I started my journey 9 months ago, I was in a shaded place – I use shaded to describe my mentality because I was on my way into darkness, but some light still shined through.  I was beginning to become the type of person I never wanted to be – a person who took pity on themselves and stewed in their own sadness.

Life seemed to be beating me at my own game, all I could think about was how misfortunate I had been with my recent diagnosis, and how much pain I was in from my previous accident. But, with a deceptive smile on my face, I always managed to fly through each day – under the radar.

Quickly, my talent became avoidance. I blocked out my feelings, grew a strong outer shell and buried my feelings and pain. To those around me, I appeared “strong” and “recovered” but it was nothing more than a coping tactic – I now know.

Then one day something inside me changed. I really don’t know what it was, but I will describe it as a spark. It was like a tiny little flame that was waiting to be fed with logs of empowerment – I just needed to figure out how to feed it.

With that little glimmer of hope flickering inside me, I began to do some soul searching – why do these things happen to me? Why not to someone else? And although I had been told countless times from others, “Because you are strong enough to conquer it”, I had never truly believed it until I felt that spark.

After discovering this for myself, there was no stopping me. I was going to find a way to show the world that what doesn’t kill you does, in fact, make you stronger. Adversity not only causes you to reflect on your life, but it also teaches you the importance of moving forward and reaching for your goals and dreams – but what were mine?

I knew I wanted to be a mother one day, own my own business in the future and make a difference in the world. But exactly how I was going to achieve these things, I wasn’t sure yet – until I came across bodybuilding.com.

I had previously been a member of bodybuilding.com, but I wasn’t in the right state of mind for it to resonate with me. But after having recently discovered my internal fire, the transformation articles and stories on bodybuilding.com began to impact me tremendously.

These people not only had the body I had always desired, but they were truly strong. Not just on the outside, but on the inside too. They knew how to take control of their lives and bodies, and they demonstrated perseverance, determination and triumph – exactly what I wanted to show the world that adversity could foster if you let it.

With that, bodybuilding became my logs of empowerment. It became my new focus, and my way to prove that even while facing shade or darkness, one can take control over their life and find the light.

To this day, my journey continues to take a load of my shoulders. Although I continue to face the physical pain from my accident, and I am scarred with the emotional ache of my inability to conceive a child, I feel lighter everyday.

When I hit the gym, or pack my pre-portioned meals, I am reassured that I have control over who I want to be. And I am reminded that as long as I keep fueling my fire with empowerment, I will continue to shed little pieces of my adversity, while I gain achievement of my goals.
 
For more information on my diagnosis, Premature Ovarian Failure, please visit www.pofsupport.org.

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Over the past 12 years of my life, I have probably tried to lose weight 10-15 times. So, naturally, people want to know what has made this time different – why am I suddenly able to do it now? 

Aside from the fact that I am better educated in proper nutrition and exercise, there is one other factor that I hadn’t considered until recently. But before I tell you what that is, let’s rewind a little…

Last week, my sister’s boyfriend Sheldon agreed to do a mini photo shoot with me – as a young woman hoping to get ‘noticed’ by the big boys of the industry, I figured I should prepare myself with a few decent photos – so, one night he came over to my condo gym with his fancy camera and proceeded to capture me in the moment. 

As I pushed through my regular workout routine, Sheldon snapped multiple pictures. The photo shoot was going great, but with each flash of the camera, I grew increasingly aware of all the eyes that were glaring at me - what I hadn’t considered was that there would be other people trying to ‘get their sweat on’ at that same time.

Now, I’m sure some gym-goers thought I was crazy, or maybe some even thought I wasn’t ‘fit’ enough to have a photo shoot, but guess what? 

I didn’t care!

I was having fun taking pictures, that for the first time in my life, I wasn’t ashamed of. I was enjoying that fact that I could curl 25lbs on each bicep and have pictures to prove it. And, I was finally aware of why I have been so successful this time around; because I am doing it for me. 

You see, in the past, losing weight wasn’t about me; losing weight was about looking great in the eyes of others. All I ever wanted as I young girl was to be considered by others as ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty’, and I truly thought that becoming skinny (a word I now hate) would do that for me.  

Well, I was wrong.

Today I do feel beautiful, and today I do feel pretty, but not because I am 37lbs lighter than I was 8 months ago, and not because other people may think I look great.  

Instead, I feel beautiful because I finally let go of the image I was trying to live up to, and I finally let go of the idea that I had to be skinny to be accepted and loved by others.

What truly matters is that I accept myself for who I am.  

I’m not a stick thin girl, I don’t ‘fit in’ with standards, and I won’t get intimidated by other’s judgments. 

Instead, I am a woman who loves a little muscle.
I am a woman who longs to be different. And,  
I am a woman who wants to achieve what others think is impossible.

And that is ok with me.
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25lb curls