On various fitness apps Tuesday is the day people will post before and after pictures of their physical transformations labeled with #TransformationTuesday… hence the name of my post.  As I was desperately looking for an acceptable “before” picture, hoping to participate, I became completely engrossed looking through old family photos and reminiscing of times passed.  Then I ran out of time – something I have very little to spare anyway, so needless to say I’ve come up empty-handed for a “before” picture.   As so many thoughts flooded my mind, I realized I could come no where near close to expressing myself in a limited spaced app post, so here we are.

Even if I did have more time to spend going through old photos, I don’t think I could find a picture that represented who I truly was before I began this lifestyle. Sure I have pictures of me pregnant and afterwards with some weight still on, but that does not show who I was inside. I am a collection, a series of transformations from over the years, it continues to this day and will always continue.  I’ve been living this lifestyle for over 6 years now and even though I seem to have maintained my overall physique for the past few years, (ok I’m sure there has to be a few gains in there, right?!) I’ve transformed for the better in so many other, more important and lasting ways as well.  I’m almost 46 years old and probably in the best shape of my life inside and out.  I’m definitely the strongest, both physically and emotionally than I’ve ever been and have no plans of stopping or slowing down my intense workouts!  I also feel the healthiest I ever have. I continue to have goals for physical progress and growth and I do not like placing limits on them, however I do keep in mind that our bodies are temporal and I will adjust those goals accordingly as time marches on, and will continue to keep an even greater focus on the eternal ones.

There are so many things I have learned through this lifestyle change that has transformed me into the person I am today.  I have such a passion for it and I’m grateful for every new day and opportunity given to me to better myself through it. I am grateful for having a healthy, capable body and I have no intention of wasting any of it. I have learned to not only overcome emotional hurts, disappointments, betrayal and negative comments by others, but to use them to produce positive results in my life as well as others’ lives. I’ve learned to make goals, adjust them as needed, put in the hard work necessary and to be disciplined and consistent in my efforts until I achieve them.  I’ve learned (and am still learning) how to be disciplined. Self-discipline is an absolute must if you want to succeed and reach your goals – in any area of life.  Motivation fizzles out.  Inspiration falls short. How do we keep going? Discipline. “The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior”.  I have learned to be disciplined with my workouts and complete them regardless of my mood or how I feel that day. By consistently being dedicated, I eventually learned that once I got moving I created momentum and momentum created motivation. Do this enough and it becomes a habit ingrained in your brain which creates discipline.

I am a wife and mother of three children. If you are a parent you understand the demands are high, there’s never quite enough time and the sleep is always insufficient.  I remember thinking I didn’t have time or energy to workout. Once I get all of the laundry finished or the house cleaned or errands run, or children’s & husband’s needs met then I’ll workout.  It never happened.  Those things are never complete. They are excuses fueled by fear, lack of self-respect and laziness. For far too many years I did this. What I was left with was feelings of unappreciation, regret, resentment, bitterness and worst of all, no respect.. from myself and others.   I put myself last thinking that is what I was supposed to do. Thinking I didn’t deserve any better.  Thinking it was selfish of me to want something or to do something for myself. I had no balance in my life and it was affecting my physical appearance and wrecking havoc on the inside.

Once I took that step and began taking some time for myself, I realized that it is not only unselfish, but necessary! I am a giver and a doer by nature and I learned that by taking care of myself, I can not only take care of everyone else better but showed I respected myself thereby demanding it from others. I learned that it is setting an excellent example to my children of how to live properly and that the only way to love and take care of others is to first love, respect and take care of yourself.

I remember being a beginner.  I remember that feeling of dreading going to the gym especially on certain workout days.. like leg day! I hated it! I remember thinking I could find an excuse and not go. But I didn’t. I just went and did it anyway! I never thought I would transform into a person who loved leg day and trained them twice a week!  I also remember reading something that said “do it until you love it, then do it because you love it.”  Ah yes, how I do love it indeed!

I have learned to accept failure and welcome it as an incredible teacher. I learned to get up and try over and over again until I succeed and become proficient. I have learned that I am capable of figuring things out. I have learned to overcome injuries as well as the disappointments and setbacks that accompany them.  I’ve learned to adapt, be flexible and adjust training as needed based on unforeseen circumstances. I’ve learned to know and understand my body… when to push and when to stop and let it rest or heal.

Last year I overcame 4 injuries as well as the flu.  Each time dealing with its own setbacks and each time adjusting and overcoming.   After missing my box-jump, tearing up my legs and chipping the bone in one of them, I got up and finished my set – bloody and all. I learned not to perform box jumps after training legs!  I learned to finish what I started. I learned to not quit! I learned I have what it takes, and that I’m also stubborn.

By not stretching, warming up properly and rushing due to time constraints, I hurt my lower back  dead-lifting which left me in severe pain to even sit and took many doctor visits and several months to heal from. I eventually overcame the injury as well as the fear associated with performing that exercise and with slow and steady practice,  I now am performing them better and stronger than ever. I learned I will not live in fear and that I can overcome.

Two separate toe injuries, one of which happened the night before a race forcing me to miss participating, set me back quite a bit. I was devastated and angry because I had completely changed my training for this race and felt like it was a huge waste.  I learned to adjust and move forward through each injury including a minor surgery. A major part in dealing with setbacks of any sort is learning not to get emotional about it. That’s a tough one, but makes a huge difference in your ability to overcome and move forward if you stay positive, look at the facts, make a plan, adjust and move ahead.

I have made huge transformations in nutrition. I’ve transformed from a soda-drinking, fast and processed food eating, non-disciplined person to the complete opposite!  Throughout my thirties, my child-bearing years, I ate what was convenient for me and my family, not what was healthy, balanced or helped me obtain my goals. Once I started this journey I taught myself how to read food labels, exactly what those ingredients meant and the negative effects they all had on my body. I researched and taught myself about nutrients found in real, whole foods and learned about what our bodies need and how to eat healthy. I’ve learned how to make clean, healthy alternatives to sugar and chemical filled packaged foods. I’ve learned how to meal prep to stay prepared and consistent with my nutrition in our fast-paced life. I transformed from feeling sluggish, unfit and unhealthy to energized, vibrant, healthy, happy, fit and alive!

This lifestyle is not just about our outward appearance. While it certainly is a blessing to be able to reach particular physical goals and have a strong, fit body at any age, it is nothing compared to best transformations – those of the heart and mind. Transforming from years of feeling weak, insecure, inadequate and unworthy to a strong, self-respecting, loving and confident person has value like nothing else! Some people see this lifestyle as pure vanity, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am secure in myself, in failing, in allowing myself to be vulnerable and humble enough to ask questions. I am smart enough to know there is still so much to learn and I welcome, embrace and yearn for it. There is no end to this lifestyle and it’s such a fantastic thing knowing there is always more out there for me to absorb in order to keep growing!

I hope my ongoing transformation gives you hope and reassurance that at any point in your life you can choose a new journey,  you can change, adapt, learn, overcome and continue to strive for and accomplish anything you set out for, transforming into the best version of you possible!



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