Don’t lose sight of how far you’ve come. I love progress pictures for this very reason. It’s easy to only pay attention to how far you have to go, rather than how far you’ve come. For example, last night while my coworkers ate dinner and had drinks on the water in south Florida, I was eating microwaved cod and asparagus in my hotel room. I had a brief moment of “Sweet baby Jesus, I can’t do this for another 11 weeks!” – and then I thought about where I was four months ago. I was torturing myself with a three day juice cleanse, hoping it would magically de-bloat my belly and make me bikini-ready for an upcoming girls trip to the Dominican Republic. I was more than 10% higher in body fat, and avoided my naked reflection in the mirror. Sure, I’m still 11 weeks out from my first show, and there is lots to do, but I’d be reticent not to acknowledge how far I’ve come. Take pictures of yourself – it’s hard to see changes when you’re looking at yourself every day. Pay attention to how your clothes feel. Notice how much stronger you are during lifting sessions. Changes are happening – stay patient and never forget just how far you’ve come!
Remember why you started. Maybe it’s an annual physical that uncovered you’re pre-diabetic. Maybe it was a pair of jeans that wouldn’t zip. Whatever the catalyst was that motivated you to start, don’t forget it. Don’t forget that scary moment when your physician told you if you didn’t lose weight, you’d be on an insulin pump for the rest of your life. Maybe it was some asshole that told you you’re not his type because he prefers to date thin girls. Whatever started the fire in your belly, carry it with you. For me personally, I embarked on a healthy and fit lifestyle after spending years remembering the lost, insecure 12 year old girl who, rather than telling someone how she was feeling, took matters into her own hands and decided to alternate between starving herself, binging, and purging in order to be skinny. All I wanted was to prevent my hourglass figure from taking shape. I recount the 10 years I spent torturing myself emotionally, destroying my gastrointestinal system and royally fucking up my self-esteem. I never want to feel that way again, and even further than that, want to do anything I can to prevent anyone from feeling that way. We can be fit rather than skinny, and it can be done the healthy way. Our bodies are temples and should be treated as such. That’s my story, but whatever yours is, ingrain it to memory and carry it with you. Let your reasons for starting be the driving force that keeps you motivated to never give up on yourself.
Shut down negativity. You’re getting too thin. Your legs are getting so muscular. Your ribs stick out too much. You were fine before. I’ve heard those all, time and time again, over the past three months. While I appreciate the compliment that I was just fine before I started this prep, it doesn’t help me as I still have 11 weeks left on Operation Get Lean. It’s also quite annoying to hear what other people think of my body – you sure don’t see or hear me walking around to folks at the grocery store or airport saying “Hey, put that bagel down, you’re too fat” or “Do you realize you have not one single fruit or vegetable in your shopping cart? Has it not occurred to you to buy any produce at all?” No! Because it’s simply none of my business. My favorite example of shutting down negativity was a lunch date I went on awhile back.
“Well, this is different” said my date.
“What? A first date over lunch?” I asked.
“No, a sober first date. I guess this is the first time I’ve ever been on a first date where we weren’t drinking. It’s awkward.”
Maybe I’m a judgmental ahole, but I can’t help but think if you reach the ripe old age of 40 and realize you’ve NEVER been on a date sober, that speaks more about you than me. But according to this gem, I was the weird one for not drinking over lunch on a Tuesday.
Bottom line, shut it down. Anyone who doesn’t lift you up, inspire you to be better and work harder – throw deuces their way and keep on keeping on. Ain’t no one got time for negativity.
Go easy on yourself. How many times have you stood in front of your bathroom mirror, overanalyzing your reflection. Your hair isn’t long enough, your waist isn’t thin enough, or your thighs are too thick. How many times have you compared yourself to someone you saw at the gym, or your exes new partner, or pictures of yourself from “back in the day” when you wore jeans a few sizes smaller. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we are our own harshest critics. And it needs to stop. Be kind to yourself. Love the reflection staring back at you. We’re given one body, one life. Appreciate what it is capable of. Any time I catch myself beating up the woman in the mirror, I imagine my 15 year old niece standing in front of me. If she told me she didn’t feel lean enough, what would I tell her? Chances are I wouldn’t call her fat and tell her to hit the gym. I’d give her a hug, tell her she is gorgeous inside and out, and if she didn’t like something about herself, she has the ability to change. Why not speak to ourselves the way we would speak to a loved one?
Remember: You are Limitless! Outside of a major physical injury, you are capable of anything you set your mind to. I mean this from the bottom of my heart. Did I ever think I could sit at a table with friends, watching them eat all my favorite foods and drink delicious wine? I certainly never thought I’d be leg pressing north of 300lbs, doing one handed pushups, and squatting well more than my bodyweight. I was the girl who curled 5lb dumbbells and spent 20 minutes on the elliptical reading Shape Magazine trying to figure out how to “drop those stubborn last 5 pounds!” I am no one outstanding. I’m just a 31 year old woman, balancing a full-time job, hobbies, friends & family. If I can change my body, make time to spend hours in the gym, anyone can. Start with eliminating “I can’t” from your vocabulary. You can. And you will – if you stay determined, motivated and focused. Pay attention to that little voice in your head – the one that says it’d be neat to do a triathlon, or sign up for your first 5k. Maybe you’ve also always wanted to do a fitness competition or take up weight lifting. Listen to THAT voice. Dispel the other voice – the devil on your shoulder – telling you it’ll take too much time or require too much dedication. If you want something – go get it. We have one life, few chances, and endless possibilities. Be strong, have faith and shoot for the moon.