My client Raven was featured in Reader’s Digest last month, in an article titled the “Most Inspirational Weight Loss Transformations of 2017.” First off, let’s say how incredibly excited and proud I am of Raven. She did an amazing job!
But…..it’s disappointing that Raven’s whole story wasn’t told. Like many publications, Reader’s Digest has space restrictions so they have to pick out the best bits and tell the story they think their audience wants to hear. Problem is, with most fitness articles still promising ‘magic’ results – 30 day abs, 20 day fat-melting super cleanse – readers might think that losing weight is easy; that all they have to do is follow the latest fad.
Which is nonsense. BS.
So, let’s set the record straight. First up, here’s Raven’s story as published on RD:
When Raven Wright looked in the mirror last year, she didn’t recognize the reflection. Seeing all the weight she had gained, she was overwhelmed by disappointment and sadness; she mourned the person she used to be. It was a grim moment, but it triggered a commitment to improving her health and her life.
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To begin this journey, she decided to hire a trainer through a local studio, DIAKADI Fitness in San Francisco. She calls this step the best decision she’s ever made. Her weight has dropped from 224 pounds to 178 pounds by working out five days a week and eating clean. In addition to this positive shift in her lifestyle, Wright says it’s also been important to become her own greatest cheerleader through the many ups and downs on the way. It’s the advice she’d give anyone looking to make a transformation.
“Trust the process and stay disciplined. I’m speaking from experience when I say it’s a gnarly mental game. It’s key to stay focused on your goals,” she shares. “Keep reminding yourself why you decided to make this change. Take pictures and hang on to your old clothes. When you’re feeling like you’re not seeing results, look back at those pictures or try on your older clothes.”
And here’s what Raven wants to add.
What I find frustrating about the Reader’s Digest article is that it didn’t highlight the crazy hard work that I had to put in to get to where I’m at. It wasn’t a quick fix! I had to completely change my lifestyle. I had to learn how to balance my relationship with food and stop being an emotional eater. I had to get disciplined and stop giving in to my impulses. I also had to figure out how to balance my social life on top of eating clean and staying focused on my workout regimen. And limiting alcohol – that is brutal when you’re in your 20s living in San Francisco!
I really needed to make a change. I was unhealthy at 227 pounds, which is a lot considering I’m 5’6″. Within 45 weeks I shed 15% body fat and dropped down to 173 pounds. For those bad at math, like me, that’s 54 pounds I didn’t have to carry around anymore.
This entire change was a process, a learning curve. It didn’t happen overnight. I started training with Anka and on my own, five days a week, every week – no excuses. AND I HONESTLY HATED IT! In the beginning and sometimes even now I procrastinate for hours about whether I should go to the gym. Accountability to Anka played a massive role. At first I didn’t want to disappoint her. She puts so much work and heart into it – the programming, the meal planning, the detailed spreadsheets. I didn’t want to get on the scale and have her see that I gained weight because then it’s not only wasting my time but hers, too.
Then, I noticed that the workouts I did not want to do turned out to be the best. It’s probably because you feel really fucking good about yourself – it’s an accomplishment. And that helped me to keep pushing forward.
Eventually I got into my own groove but it took a while. I realized that I didn’t want to fuck up my hard-earned progress by eating two candy bars or a pint of ice cream. I went from not working out ever to busting my ass at the gym. When you put in all that work, sweating on the verge of crying because you can’t continue anymore and you need every ounce of your willpower to do that last rep – you don’t want to waste that by eating trash. You realized that it defeats the purpose.
The turning point came when I started to see the scale move in the right direction. Seeing results is HUGE. It was like a drug and you want to keep that momentum going. It confirms that you’re doing the right thing and that all the hard work is NOT FOR NOTHING.
Eventually I believed in my future success so much that I got a second job. I started working at a restaurant just so I could afford to pay for my personal training sessions with Anka. It was another motivating factor. I was losing weight and becoming healthier and fitter. This is what I want and I will do whatever it takes to get where I need to go. So, if that means getting a second job to afford it, that’s what I’ll do. For the first time in my life, I made ME a priority.
Now, when I meet someone who still thinks there’s a quick fix, I want to shake them. I’ve dabbled in fad diets like Herbalife, where you basically eat one meal a day and drink two protein shakes. I lost weight really fast because I was ultimately starving myself while still eating crappy. As soon as I stopped, I gained everything back and more – I hadn’t learned how to REALLY take care of myself by eating the right things and working out.
My advice is, get a fucking trainer. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made and I believe in that. Before I met Anka, I didn’t know how to work out. I didn’t know what a squat rack was. I had no way of telling whether I was on the right track. I didn’t realize that losing weight, getting healthy and fit, isn’t a race but a marathon. By working with a trainer I have gained so much knowledge. I’m comfortable in the gym. I know EXACTLY what to do. I know how to eat right. It’s empowering. And it’s sustainable. I’m fucking thrilled that I’ve learned so much.
Now that I know what to do, I’m going to continue on this path to a healthier me. I’m not done, and honestly, I probably never will be. I’ve fallen in love with being fit and healthy and strong. I enjoy working out and eating clean. It’s hard work but it’s worth every minute and I would not want it any other way.