I know I know, so corny. Let’s just go with it! For those who don’t know, after ravaging my body with drugs and alcohol, I got sober in the beginning of 2014, but it wasn’t until February of 2016 when I truly began on the path that I am on now.
Let’s call those two years before February 2016 BK (Before Kayla). And no I’m not comparing Kayla Itsines to Jesus Christ but for the sake of this post, just go with it. BK, I wanted so badly to be “healthy” but there were a few problems with my perception. Firstly, I thought health was defined by thinness and abs. Secondly, I thought the way to achieve said “health” was to restrict my food intake (specifically carbohydrates and sugar) and exercise like a madwoman. So, to achieve my goal I ate really low carb, really high protein, did a lot of cardio and attempted some random weight exercises with no real direction – and never quite pushed myself to the point of discomfort.
The results were, well, you can see in my photo. It is worth noting that at the time of the photo, I had an ovarian cyst the size of a small orange so that absolutely contributed to my bloating. If you’re experiencing pain or unusual symptoms I highly recommend you see a physician to rule out anything serious! Anyway BK I was tired often, bloated always, and uncomfortable with my body. I had grown and gained so much in sobriety emotionally but I just couldn’t get to a place of peace with myself physically, so I started looking to others for inspiration.
At that time I followed some girls on Instagram who did Kayla Itsines’ BBG program (Hi Kelsey!) and I could not believe their transformations. I thought for sure they were eating 1000 calories a day and exercising incessantly. Still, I was desperate, so I found some of the workouts online and tried them in the comfort of my home as I was too self conscious to do it in the gym. I couldn’t do consecutive pushups or squats (still can’t sometimes) and was sweaty and out of breath, but for several weeks I continued to do random BBG workouts. One week I was doing straight leg sit ups and it clicked; I was getting stronger. I’ll never forget that moment on my bedroom floor because I was overcome with pride and motivation, so I downloaded the Sweat app and I’ve never looked back.
For the first year that I did BBG, I ate intuitively and had great results; when I was active I wanted to eat healthily and vice versa. That’s not to say I didn’t indulge because I did, and still do, have a monstrous sweet tooth. (This year I started counting macros and that was another life altering decision that you can read about here.) The most rewarding progress though was in my mindset and approach to fitness and nutrition. Besides feeling energized, confident and strong both physically and mentally, my attitude and priorities shifted from only wanting abs or a lean body to wanting to feel my absolute best.
I did every workout but I also had days, weeks, months off and that was ok because I wasn’t in a race to achieve an aesthetic goal. I got to that place after having that pesky cyst removed after I completed my first round of BBG. I remember panicking, thinking all my progress would be lost forever. To the contrary, after six weeks off I came back with even more motivation than I had in the beginning, but I had to learn how to let my body rest, heal and to trust the process. I’ve traveled a lot, I’ve been sick, I’ve had another surgery – life happens but it doesn’t mean that the overarching lifestyle has to change.
The bottom line is this: when my reason for working out and eating well is to attain something as fleeting as abs (I mean, even when we have them they’re gone at the end of the day), I’m not inclined to be very motivated. When my reason is rooted in taking care of myself and attaining optimal health, I tend to be more driven. And whenever I completely veer off track I know what to do to feel good again; its that simple. Exploring what works and what doesn’t is part of the fun and makes progress all the more rewarding, so I encourage anyone reading this to get curious and don’t worry so much about right, wrong, good food, bad food, or perfection! It’s different for everyBODY. xoxo