These pictures show one hell of a physical transformation, but they don’t show the mental one.
This is my client Bella (name change!). Bella came to me what seems like eons ago to work nutritionally. She had been trying to lose weight her whole life.
She was a competitive soccer athlete, a cardio addict, a chronic dieter, a lover of everything “low fat and low carb” and a binge eater. Basically, she had been stuck in the same cycle for over fifteen years.
She was the person who truly believed she ate healthy but couldn’t seem to lose the weight. Her relationship with food was terrible (in the sense that I love food and I want everyone to love what they eat in a day, not dread it) and she felt like she didn’t have control of any of it.
We took things slow, very slow. The first time we worked together we focused on simply shifting our mindset regarding food and mastering basic but healthier habits. We didn’t tackle working out, we didn’t meal plan and we didn’t have a list of “not allowed” foods.
We just took it day by day.
It was hard. There were many slip ups, binges, weight losses and weight gains. There was learning on both our parts about how to proceed forward. There was a lot of listening.
Emails along the lines of “I ate this… then that… then more of this and now I feel like shit. Like I’ll never get this” were frequent. Like I said, it wasn’t easy.
We focused on quality choices, not calorie counting but chose real food. There were treats and yummy meals (no all-day chicken and salad here!). Both of us accepted that some days would be awesome, and some would not, it’s just how it goes.
And she kept going. And day by day, month by month it got better. I can still vividly remember her urgent text message the first time she was in a change room and she fit into a certain size (after having yelled at the saleslady who suggested it!!).
She was crushing it.
So much so that I set her free. I knew she could rock this journey on her own.
And she did! She kept at it, she used our lessons, all my rants and listened to my little voice inside her head (haha). She did great.
And then she didn’t.
Like normal, life sometimes gets in the way of goals. It makes things hard, it throws you curve balls.
Bella went back to old habits, weight was gained, and she was frustrated.
So about nine months after we were done with nutrition coaching, Bella returned. Only this time, to train.
As a classic cardio queen, this was HUGE step for her.
I’m a lifter and I believe in strength. I think cardio has its place in health but it’s not a sure-fire way to weight loss- or happiness. So, her asking to train with me was a leap in itself.
During our sessions we also chatted about nutrition. We emailed back and forth on hard days and we worked together to get a grip on what was lost. And slowly those habits came back- and better than before.
We also chatted about practical goals. What they looked like. Why there might be better things to strive for than a scale number (she was definitely not impressed the first time this was brought up haha!)
I introduced Bella to strength training… and her body responded insanely well. Along with in person weekly sessions, she hit the gym during the week also. We worked together to create a schedule she wouldn’t hate. She didn’t jump right into lifting anything crazy heavy- we just took it one step at a time.
It was awkward and new at first. But she kept at it.
Bit by bit I watched her change. Yes physically, seriously her body THRIVED. But what was more rewarding for me was watching her transformation mentally.
She became strong.
We got to a point that we could joke about all the ice cream we ate on the weekend without it being a cause for tears. She became confident walking into a gym (and now has people coming up to her with high fives!).
Bella learned to embrace that she will never be a size two (why people are obsessed with that size is beyond me) but she will look effing amazing regardless- and she does. She became happy.
She did a one eighty on me and I couldn’t be prouder.
Here’s a few stats on Bella now:
- She can deadlift 145lbs
- She fits into a size
- Her soccer game has improved insanely
- She can lift her arms (and weight!) over her head without pain
- She can enjoy the cookies
The truth is, Bella just keeps going. I have never met someone so insanely dedicated to succeeding. She pushed herself just as much as I pushed her. She worked her ass off every single day, every single week. And that’s why she is where she is.
Yes, I helped her. I gave her tools, support and guidance. But she’s the one who accepted it, who was honest, communicative and open. This success is hers.
“I hated my body and I had to change that. All the weight loss programs in the world couldn’t change that. It was a huge part of my journey changing that perspective. Lucky for me, my trainer had never ending patience! Because I swear to god that’s what kept me going in my lowest moments”
As I mentioned, I wish I could take credit for this transformation. But I can’t. Bella worked for it. Day in and day out. Many times, people underestimate how hard change can be. You have to want it. You have to be determined to keep going. No matter what. I was just the guide.
In Bella’s case, weight loss was the primary goal (on her end). On my end, I wanted to change the way she thought about food. I wanted her to experience “all the other things” (improved energy, performance, less inflammation). I wanted her to love and understand that we CAN find balance. It just looks different for everyone 🙂