3 Years of Health and Fitness

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In the 3 years since I have been working out and going through my transformation, I have never posted pictures of myself without a top on. Why? Because despite how far I had come, I still wasn’t happy with my progress. I’ve since come to the realization that if I am going to coach my friends, family, and others to be happy with small improvements, that I need to start drinking my own koolaid and practice what I preach.

I am far from perfect. I still have big hips and thighs, a big butt, a bit of love-handles, and some belly fat that keeps me from seeing my abs. The biggest, and arguably most important, difference between the girl from the top photos and the girl from the bottom photos is that now I am confident and happy enough with myself to post pictures featuring my face.

Unfortunately I do not have photos from when I was over 200 pounds to show the full transformation. Hindsight is 20/20, and I wish I had been brave enough to take before pictures. When I started this journey, I had already tried just about every diet tip, trick, pill, supplement, wrap, and more on the market. Nothing seemed to work, so I pulled out the old P90X and thought I would give it another go, but I had tried that and failed to stay the course many times as well. My failure to take before photos is both a testament to my lack of belief in myself that I would make it, and also a complete and utter hatred for my body and myself for letting myself go.

You’re probably thinking that in 3 years of health and fitness, I should be a lot more ripped than that. Well, you’re probably right. The problem is that I am an emotional eater, so when life throws curveballs at me, I tend to return to old habits. The past 3 years have been a total roller coaster of ups and downs when it comes to my weight loss. I had lost 60-65 pounds, then I fell off track and gained 30 back. I got myself back on track and lost those 30 pounds, bringing me back to where I was before. Then my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and four months later, he was gone. During the year between the diagnosis and following his passing, I totally derailed and wound up gaining 40 pounds back. Since January 2016, I have been working to lose those 40 pounds, and I am just about 5 pounds away from where I was before despite a couple of minor setbacks due to illness and life experiences.

My point in all of this essentially is this: It doesn’t matter how many times you try and you fail. What matters is how many times you try again. Nobody becomes successful at anything without failing along the way, and you can ask any expert in any field, and they will tell you the exact same thing. Failure means you are trying. You just have to know how to get back up and try again. Don’t let failure destroy everything you’ve worked towards. It is okay to take some time, but always brush yourself off and get back at it.

You are NEVER alone. Guaranteed, there are others out there struggling through the same journey that you are currently taking. I am right there with you on this journey myself, and someday I will achieve my goals. If you want help achieving yours and you are lacking the support and guidance that you need to get you there, you are more than welcome to reach out to me. I would be happy to help you out, and share information that I’ve learned along the way. Simply use the contact tab and fill out the form to send me an email directly, and I will respond as soon as I can!

Thanks for reading

xoxo

Jess

3 Ways to Let go of Negative Emotions

As humans, we all make mistakes. We all say and do things that end up hurting those around us, and sometimes, those that are closest to us. Now when you are the one that gets burned, the big question as to whether or not you should forgive often remains unanswered because we tend to have issues seeing past the hurt.

One thing that I have come to learn lately is that holding onto anger or holding a grudge against people typically does more harm to you than it does to anybody else. When you feel betrayed, it can be easy to fall into the self pity trap. A lot of the time you’ll throw yourself a pity party, bash the person that hurt you, make passive aggressive jabs in the form of internet memes, etc. I have done this myself, and I see it all the time on Facebook from others as well. I think a big reason that we do this is to try to convince ourselves that we hate the person that hurt us, as though hating them will somehow take away the negative emotions surrounding that which caused you pain in the first place.

The hard truth is that doing those things doesn’t actually work to reduce the negative emotions that you are feeling, in fact, it can be doing the total opposite.  For this reason, I want to share with you what I have found to be truly beneficial in these types of situations.

Change your social media attitude.

Skip the self-pity, angry, and/or depressing posts on social media, and instead, find some positive, motivational, and inspiring things to post instead. Our lives are our creation. We get what we put into the world. If you are focusing on the negativity of your situation, you will actually end up attracting more bad into your life while repelling the good. Focus on putting positivity out into the universe, and you will start attracting the right people into your life. Not only that, but if you are consistently being positive (even if you don’t necessarily feel happy at the time you make the post), over time this will actually initiate a mental shift and you will genuinely become more and more happy over time. From a psychological perspective, this is what is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Exercise regularly and focus on a clean diet. 

Seriously. Just do it! I can tell you with 100% honesty that exercise helps as a mood enhancer. I know this from experience. I have been on and off with fitness for three years now, and in that time I have fallen off the wagon several times. During those periods, I would be inactive with my workouts and I would struggle with my nutrition. Every time that happened, I would start to feel what I call “brain fog” coming back and I would revert back to being depressed. This is just a state of mind where I am always a little tired and groggy no matter how much sleep I get, and I start to be less cheery and happy overall.

Studies have shown that those who exercise regularly tend to be happier than those who are inactive, and even that activity can help to not only treat depression, but also to prevent relapse. Until you have experienced this firsthand, you probably won’t believe me. When I am angry or upset sometimes I will do Combat, which is a martial arts based fitness program. After half an hour to an hour of that, I feel so much better! It doesn’t have to be Combat either. Maybe you prefer dancing, or maybe you hate cardio and would prefer to take up something calming like yoga. Whatever the case may be, exercise can help you to clear your head, regain confidence when it has been shaken, and just feel happy and healthy again.

Surround yourself with friends.

Sometimes life gets in the way of our friendships and we let too much time pass between visits, or even talks. One thing that I have learned is that though you can be strong and independent, sometimes you just need to have a group of friends in your life to hang out with from time to time and take your mind off everything else. It is important to nurture those relationships, and to make an effort to keep those people in your life.

These days it is far too easy to lose touch with people, so you may find yourself in a position where you don’t feel like you have any friends. Trust me, I’ve been there! In those cases, what I challenge you to do is to go through your friends list on Facebook and make a list of people that you used to be good friends with. Next, I want you to reach out to those you wish were still in your life, and simply invite them out to do something. This takes strength, because it is most likely going to be way out of your comfort zone. If you can do it though, it may help to totally turn your life around.

These are the three biggest shifts that I have made in my life after a rough patch, and since making them, I have been much happier. In life we are bound to get hurt by people that will not see the fault in their actions, that will never apologize for hurting you, and who will do everything in their power to shift the blame from them over to you. The best thing that you can do when this happens is learn to forgive them. Not because they need forgiveness, but because you deserve to be free.

Let go of that which you cannot control, and instead focus on doing that which makes you happy. For me, that just happens to be spending time with friends, traveling, and working out. If you can determine the activities that make you the happiest, focus on those and then the rest will just fall into place.

Call to action!

If you’ve been throwing a pity party as described above, I dare you to try these three steps for 2 weeks and come and tell me how you feel when the 2 weeks are over. I am willing to bet that you will find yourself to be in a much better place mentally and emotionally after a few weeks of consistency with these positive shifts. You’re not going to forget about what hurt you, but you will eventually be able to forgive and let go. I am serious about the telling me how you feel part too! I want to hear about your experience with this challenge, so feel free to message me privately using the contact me form and let me know how you made out.

Thanks for reading, and I truly hope that this helps!

xoxo

Jess