The reason that I know, somewhere deep down inside of me (deep deep down inside of me) that I can successfully transform myself is because of the amazing women I personally know, that have done it before me. My healthful trailblazers if you will, my ex-chubby gurus. They’ve shown me that sure, we all fall sometimes but we all can pick ourselves up. It doesn’t matter why we let ourselves go (relationships, babies, age etc) we all start from the same starting point; chubbier than we care to be. All it truly takes is heart and commitment.
In meeting with each of them, I saw a new found energy, pride, happiness and warmth I couldn’t help bask in, almost envy. Gosh, I am so proud of their accomplishments, speaking from personal experience this past year, it’s no small feat! But their examples so make me want to strive for their level of success; catch it like a contagious cold! I want to be so overcome and so inspired by their stories that I’m left with no choice and no excuses but to succeed the way they have.
These women aren’t superstars. These aren’t Janet Jackson types fluctuating at the drop of a new single; or Jessica Albas losing baby weight a mere months after giving birth. There are no personal chefs or highly paid fitness trainers at their beckon call. These are everyday normal women who just simply chose to undo the damage and commit to the cause of caring for themselves. They tell me it’s not easy, but that it’s worth it. Judging from the way they shine now, I have not the slightest doubt otherwise. I truly do love my friends, the wonderful companions God intended into my life.
I appreciate their shining examples and use it as encouragement along my journey. Like friends lining my path with cups of water encouraging me not to stop running until I hit that finish line. Like a night of defeat fading into the hope of a new morning; they help me see the potential of accomplishing this battle despite my constant setbacks. I realize though that at the end of the day I cannot mirror what they’ve done; but can eagerly blaze my own path the way they have theirs. Real life inspiration is amazing because it is, just that, real life. We’re all in the same boat; real life. Some however are stuck in it, some are living it, while others are creating it. I would like to feature three of my beautiful, inspirational healthful trailblazers. I’ll start with Lisa.
Meet my beautiful friend Lisa Dutchak:
Lisa and I worked at the Edmonton House Suite hotel together way back when. It was a reckless, carefree and wonderful time of being young and experimental. Did I mention the Edmonton Eskimos and Oilers use to contract there…(wink wink).. Not only could we quickly check someone in with amazing customer service and efficiency, we managed to check out all the eye candy in between (an unwritten job perk). Lisa and I managed to keep in touch here and there over the years, but when we reconnected again last summer I was ASTOUNDED by her transformation, not only physically but emotionally too. She scoffs when I tell her how much she’s grown over the years, saying that she would expect to, over a 12 year period! But her growth far surpasses people I know far older than she. Lisa, to date has lost 65lbs and 33 inches. While she hasn’t yet attained her preferred end goal, she certainly has come farther than I could have imagined possible.
TRIGGER: It seems that there is always a trigger that prompts someone into at least the consideration of change. For Lisa, the trigger was the realization that she was starting to buy bigger clothes, as she puts it “again”. She had gotten to a point where she couldn’t stand looking at pictures of herself, and when even her head shots made her cringe, she knew she had gone too far and needed to change.
ROAD TO SUCCESS: How did she start out? Lisa opted for a low calorie diet of 1200 calories/day. She would have a Visalus shake for breakfast and for lunch, and then a sensible dinner and snack. She found that logging her daily intake of calories allowed her to be more accountable and responsible for what she was putting into her mouth. Despite Lisa starting her weight loss journey in September 2011, she didn’t start regularly exercising until January 2012. She started off my walking on the treadmill and then explored Jillian Michael DVD’s and Zumba.
STAYING ON TRACK: What kept Lisa motivated were the small successes she celebrated along the way. The first was being able to fit into her smaller clothes again and being able to pack away her “fat” clothes….for good. She described the awesome feeling of buying new clothes and walking into a “skinny girl” store to find them being new and euphoric for her; making it worth the commitment of staying on track. She found her new lifestyle becoming a proud and contagious habit for her. The positive reinforcement internally, along with the external recognition she was receiving from people around her certainly helped her keep her eye on the prize.
To Lisa though, fitness and health weren’t just a passing fad or a quick fix, as she puts it: “Educating myself about fitness and nutrition is 100% what has kept me from going back to my old ways. So many people, especially women, are under the impression that they have to eat next to nothing and do an insane amount of cardio which is simply not the case. A true lifestyle change is a journey. It doesn’t take you 2 months to gain a pile of weight, so why would it take 2 months to lose (and keep off) that same weight.”
SUSTAINABILITY: Lisa’s transformation has been constant and consistent. Her changes have been permanent and long lasting. As she puts it in her own words, “The way I do things now are very different from when I started! I have learned so much and have realized that the only sustainable way for me to lose weight and keep it off is by really changing my lifestyle. By eating enough and eating clean (although I still track my calories and use my kitchen scale every day!) and by really pushing myself physically. I have learned that killing myself with cardio will not necessarily produce the results that I want, but that hitting the weights and lifting heavy will! I still eat things I love, but in moderation. And although I have come so far, I have also realized that I still struggle with my relationship with food; that is something that I think I will battle forever.”
GREATEST SUCCESS SO FAR: Lisa quit smoking! Lisa came to realize the contradiction and eventual impossibility of being a fitness nut addicted to smoking.
I’m proud of you Lis! Thanks for being one of my real life inspirations!
Stay tuned for Monkey See Monkey Do – Part II featuring my EFF Christa