“How you look at yourself is the hardest part”
I continuously talk about losing the weight, lifting and eating right, but I very rarely share progress pictures. For many reasons, but the most important being – no picture is ever going to be 100% honest; the angles, the lighting, the time of day, and the mirror it self can all drastically affect how I look in the picture. My goal is to be as honest and authentic with my readers and I truly feel that most progress pictures aren’t always as good as they seem. I have one mirror that tends to hide my cellulite, the other loves to show it off, another lets me have abs, and the last reminds me to put down the ice cream.
The second, and most important reason being – the progress that I am most proud of has nothing to do with my physical appearance. I look back at the girl I was a year ago, and she is a stranger. When you gain weight, how you look to other people is the easiest thought to swallow; how you look to yourself and how you see yourself in the mirror, is the hard one. I felt depressed, anxious, and miserable because of my appearance – the opposite outcome of what a healthy lifestyle should bring. It took me weeks of work every single day to truly break out of that. I had to learn patience, I had to find gratitude, and I had to have confidence in myself and the body I was given.
My Honest Progress
The picture on the left was taken in May of 2015. That was after a long winter of transferring universities, eating my weight in peanut butter and protein, and hating my body. The picture on the right was taken a few weeks ago at a Dave Matthews Concert. With good music, great food, and even better company – I was happy. Always keep in mind, the angles are different, the lighting is different, and I am a lot more tan. The biggest difference between these photos is my mindset. I was confident to show off my bare arms, I was thrilled with how my legs looked in shorts, and above all – I was happy with myself. *Let’s all take a moment to appreciate that beard progress, YAS B*
Getting from point A to point B is never easy for anyone. My day 365 might be your day one, and it might seem impossible to keep going. But I was there, I had to start all over. What I preach on my blog, what I will carry with me into my career, and what I truly believe works, is nothing less than dedication and simplicity. You have to be willing to stay devoted to healthy/healthier eating. You can’t expect change without being a bit uncomfortable. That might mean reducing your ‘cheat meal’ to one scoop of ice cream on Saturday – Saturday only. That might mean you have to chose a salad every once in a while, eat some veggies, and snack on fruit. But that might also mean you fall in love with a new way of living and you chose to treat your body well because you want to – not because you have to.
You don’t need to count calories in this, look for reduced fat in that, or consume your weight in chemicals. Nutrition, your diet, what you eat – can be very simple. Stick to whole foods rich with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Drink water, plain water – forget your fake sugar grape sprinkle juice. For the first few months, stick to deadlifts without the donuts and grab some chicken and a sweet potato instead. Speaking of deadlifts, don’t be afraid to hit the treadmill or bike every once in a while. Forget the #fitfam, cardio will not “ruin your gains.”
The thought of dieting, reducing your calories, and trying to lose weight is not fun. It’s a slow, tedious, and dreadful process that involves very little ice cream and pizza. The thought of living the healthiest me for forever, choosing healthy foods that make me feel good, and waking up everyday with a smile on my face is fun. And believe it or not, this life does involve ice cream and pizza every now and again.
Above all, find what works for you and your life. Enjoy every part of the process and appreciate the smallest steps.