Looks can be deceiving

A couple weeks ago,¬†I was going through my trunk that has some winter stuff in it and came across my old competition suit and heels. For whatever reason I decided right at that moment to try it on. I had just put a show on for the boys and I figured “what the hell, let’s see if this thing still fits”.

bikini

 

I had absolutely zero intentions on sharing these. Not gonna lie, if I was planning on sharing I probably would’ve taken them first thing in the morning with some good ole overhead lighting instead of when and where I did – but at least you know you’re getting the real deal ūüėČ

I’m not a huge selfie taker..especially in zero clothes. This is not a “look at me” post. This is to demonstrate that you definitely do NOT have to kill yourself to look halfway decent.

When I put it on I was like “Geez, I feel like I look the same as I did then”….which was obviously a bit surprising since I what I did then, and what I do now, is¬†like night and day, so I decided to take a few pictures to see the differences.

 

You had to see the boys look at me as I hobbled downstairs in my 5 inch heels and blinged out bikini to get my phone¬†hahaha!! Drew was¬†like “Mommy, why you got that babing suit on?” And this past Tuesday he told me he wanted me to wear it to swim lessons. Can you imagine? OMG. Hilarious.

 

Anyway, here they are :

 

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So much has changed since those pictures. 7¬†years is a long time! But, I think the biggest difference is¬†that although I feel like I don’t look all that different,¬†the way I look at myself has completely changed.

I remember looking at each and every one of those pictures on the left and picking myself apart. Not lean enough, no waist, didn’t work hard enough, blah blah blah. Here I was, the leanest and lightest I’ve ever been in my adult life up to that point, yet the most¬†self conscious, self-centered and insecure.

There were so¬†many things I could’ve talked about in this blog, but I figured I’d just highlight some of the major differences between then and now in terms of exercise, nutrition, and mindset.

Here goes:

Exercise:

Definitely the biggest difference between then and now is the amount of time I spend exercising.

When I was training for the shows, I was doing 45 minutes of cardio 5-7 days a week (depending on how far out from the show I was), on top of teaching 2-3 spin classes, strength training 3 days per week, and taking 1 bootcamp class.

I honestly thought this was necessary and I just couldn’t fathom how I would be able to get any¬†results doing LESS.

Right now (because if I’ve learned anything since becoming a mom, it’s don’t get attached to your schedule!), I try to get away with doing the least amount of exercise possible and I also don’t depend on my exercise routine to¬†maintain my weight.

I lift 2-3x per week (my goal is 3), using a combo of the videos I film for my coaching group (which are all under 24 minutes so I can squeeze it in while the boys watch a show), a kettlebell workout at home, or a similar workout at the gym where I can access heavier weights and use some other equipment, plus I walk everyday.

I want to point out the difference between how I looked in the purple bikini (May – leaner) opposed to the green bikini (November).

The more I did, the more I *had* to do to get the same results (and again, this was *MY* experience).

The more shows I trained for, the harder and harder it became for me to reach the same level of leanness (and lets just state the obvious here, it wasn’t like I was ever super duper lean).

I had to do more cardio every prep, usually double cardio sessions the last couple weeks leading up to the show. I also had to diet longer, if not harder for every show. See, your body is really good at adapting to the demands you place on it, and my body became very efficient at running 5 miles, doing 45 minutes of  cardio, spin classes, eating the way I was eating and everything else I did on top of that.

Also, your body can’t¬†distinguish good stress from bad stress. Increased stress (from a million hours of cardio, plus the stress of dieting, plus everyday life) ¬†= Increased cortisol = No bueno for fat loss….and that’s where I lived for a long time –¬†a constant state of stress.

There are absolutely better ways to exercise to elicit fat loss than others (like prioritizing strength training, and interval training over long duration cardio), but the bottom line is you have to actually *like* what you are doing. I love my workouts. I love walking. I do both consistently and for me, consistency is key. I can see myself doing this for years to come.

Training the way I was in 2008 was NOT sustainable.¬†What I’m doing now I’ve been able to maintain for 4.5 years no problem, and I don’t look that much different than I did killing myself with hours and hours of cardio.

Slap a spray tan on me, give me a “week of show” meal plan, limit my water intake, and some good overhead lighting – and I’d¬†be probably be pretty close to show shape doing a hell of a lot less than I did then.

Find something that you love to do, that gives you the results you’re looking for, and that you can see yourself doing in 5, 10, 15+ years….and keep doing it ūüôā

But if you’re struggling to get the results you’re after, and you’re not exercising like a maniac, chances are pretty good you need to focus on your diet.

Nutrition:

Again,¬†if you would’ve told me that I could eat carbs and dairy,¬†drink wine a few nights per week, go on vacations and not stress and obsess about food, or better yet, not gain¬†weight¬†– I would NOT have believed you….(and just FYI, I’m not focusing on fat loss right now, but when I do, I can assure you that¬†all of those things will still be in my diet – just less often than they are now).

When I was training for the shows¬†I followed a structured meal plan that had me eating every 2.5 – 3 hours, 6 times a day. I gave up alcohol, dairy, cheat meals and any “extras” 4-6 weeks out from show. I actually ate quite a bit, and it really was probably the healthiest I’d ever eaten in my life, but because of all the exercise my cravings were out of control –¬†which made being happy about the process a little challenging¬†for me.

There were a lot of foods off-limits, or I only ate certain foods at certain times or certain amounts on certain days…over time it just led me to feel a bit restricted (and obsessed with food). And just a reminder, no one was holding a gun to my head – this was all my choice.

To be honest, the way I ate then and the way I eat now aren’t all that different. But now I allow myself a lot more freedom on a daily basis – which makes it a TON easier to stay consistent (Plus I’m not¬†exercising 1.5 hours a day so my hunger and cravings are more in¬†control).

At times people will say to me “you must not keep any of this stuff in the house” and assume that my family eats kale and quinoa for every meal. I live in a house with 2 5 year olds and a husband. There is pizza, ice-cream, cheez-it’s, animal crackers, beer, cheese, chips, nuts, goldfish, graham crackers, peanut butter, mac and cheese, cereal, etc. ALL the time.

Right now, like most of you, we have a shit load of Halloween candy from all the parties leading up to Halloween, and half of a cheesecake sampler from a party last Saturday.

7 years ago ALL of it would’ve had to be sabotaged by Windex and thrown in the trash or in the disposal. No lie. I live with the same temptations as everyone else, and it took me a lot of work and practice to get to a place where the thought of candy in the cabinet wasn’t the only thought in my mind.

Are there times when I find myself elbow deep in the tub of animal crackers or overdosing on the cheez-its? Yup. But instead of feeling like I just committed a frigging crime, I try to figure out what it was all about (was I stressed? tired? didn’t eat enough during the day? not prepared? drinking wine? didn’t get enough sleep? where am I in my cycle? did I have enough protein, or veggies, or good fat at my last meal? am I bored? thirsty? am I distracting myself from writing a blog?) and I prepare better for the next time I’m in the same situation. I try to do my best….

There’s no punishment, no starting over, no extra cardio. No guilt, shame, berating myself, or dumping every single thing in my cabinets that isn’t going to be on my “list”- “starting tomorrow”.

Do I catch myself still beating myself up for not being prepared or not stopping at one handful? I do. But I recognize that though and ask myself a few questions… What is beating myself up going to do? Is it helping? ¬†Is it making me feel better? The answer is always no. It’s not changing a damn thing. Is it tempting sometimes to “start Monday”…. absolutely. But all I have to do is look back on every. single. time I’ve done it in the past and realize that it’s really never worked for me…if anything it made things worse.

The thing is, it takes time. It takes practice and patience, and TRUST. And I know for myself there was a long time when I didn’t want to practice and¬†I didn’t want to be patient, and I certainly didn’t trust that doing less¬†or not stressing about whether or not an apple had too many carbs, would actually give me the results I was looking for.

I didn’t want to think¬†about feelings….I didn’t want to¬†figure it out. I wanted someone to give me the answers. Immediately. If I didn’t see results within 2 weeks (told you I was not patient ;)), I felt as if “it wasn’t working” so I would give up on whatever plan that was, and start looking for¬†something else that would “work”. Or the plan would feel somewhat restrictive to me for whatever reason and I wouldn’t follow it, then of course blame the plan. How convenient. It was never my fault….

I had to let go of the deadlines. I had to really listen to my body and figure out what was working for me and what wasn’t. I had to let go of all of the “rules” I had followed for so long. I had to stop following people who were constantly dieting, posting pictures of their abs and constantly spewing these rules.

I had to not jump on the next “thing” everyone was doing, and I stopped trying to change a million things all at once. And you know what? What has “worked” for me has changed SO much over the last 7 years.

How I ate and exercised when I was pregnant is different than how I eat and exercise now.

Hell, how I ate and exercised over the summer while I was training for the SFG is very different than how I’m eating and exercising now.

What “worked” for me when I was 28, may not work for me now that I’m 38….and why the hell should it?¬†I’m different. My schedule is different, my stress levels, sleep patterns, exercise levels, my priorities and goals are different.

We change, our hormones change, our stress levels change, our activity levels change, and our body will need different things at different times…a meal plan, diet, fix, whatever – doesn’t take that into consideration.

Mindset:

When I was competing I cared (a LOT) about how I looked. I mean that was kind of the name of the game – I was getting judged on my looks and my physique.

Not that I don’t care now, but it’s just not the only thing I think about, and I¬†certainly don’t place my entire self-worth on what I¬†weigh or freak the eff out (like I used to) if I’m up a few pounds on the scale or my jeans fit a bit snug.¬†The panic just isn’t there anymore….

If that happens and I feel the need to make some changes – I take a good honest look at what I’ve been putting in my body over the past 2 weeks or so and decide if I’m willing to let go of the “extras” that I’m sure I’ve been having more of. That’s it. Most likely I’ll decrease the amount of wine I’ve been drinking (or not), or really watch how many handfuls I steal of my kids’ snacks. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying that you don’t have to go balls out to get results. Small consistent CHOICES go a long way.

Back then I also cared a lot about how OTHER people thought I looked. Now I realize that what other people think of me is absolutely none of my business.

This alone has helped me to grow in so many ways. Not only in how I view my body, but also with taking my business online and sharing so much of my personal life, opinions etc. here and in my emails.

What people¬†think of me has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them (I gotta give a shout out to Jill Coleman and her BOY mentorship, for introducing me to so many great books on this topic).¬†It’s never about me. Never take anything personal. Amazing.

I was also very¬†judgmental about OTHER women’s bodies as well¬†(a sign of my own insecurities). Hate to¬†admit that, but it was true.

I used negative self-talk as a way to motivate myself to change my habits – which¬†didn’t work. Calling myself a fat ass surprisingly didn’t motivate me to run harder. It made me want to cry. For most of us, it doesn’t work, but most of us do this. A LOT.

My boys just ran their first 1 mile fun run last weekend. I couldn’t even IMAGINE saying to one of them, “run faster you lazy shit”. Seriously?! Yet, that would be a regular convo I would have with myself….wtf???? I really had to start taking a good hard look at how I was talking to myself…would I ever say that to a friend? I didn’t have kids at them time, but now I think about that a lot. Would I ever look at one of my kids and be like “bleh, you are gross”. That makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it….yet, every freaking day I would say that about myself.

None of the answers I was looking for were ever found in a meal plan, in a coach, or at a competition.

The hardest “workout” I had to do was on my myself….and it is work (at least for me it is).

I had to change the story I had been telling myself for so long. The more I told myself that I¬†needed to “follow a plan” or “it’s ok, you can start on Monday” or “this one little bite won’t make that much of a difference” the more I believed those things, and the more they happened.

I practiced becoming aware of my negative thoughts and when I noticed them creeping in, I’d acknowledge them, then choose to change them into something positive….or at least something different.

I started focusing on all the choices I made that brought me closer to my goals, instead of zooming in on¬†the few that didn’t (and there were / are, ¬†ALWAYS more¬†that did than didn’t).

I started a gratitude journal….best thing I’ve ever done. Someone will always have more money, a bigger house, better clothes, nicer car, be more successful – that has nothing to do with me. As my client who is a swimmer says “stay in your own lane”.

I started focusing on what my body could DO rather than only how it looked. This body carried 2 healthy boys (both 5 pounds 14 oz.) to 37 weeks 5 days and was able to FEED them for 14 months. That’s freaking incredible and has really put things into perspective for me. They could care less how much I weigh, or what size jeans I wear, in fact, no one who matters to me cares about that stuff.

But they are impressed that I can do 10+ chin-ups and run “faster than Superman” ūüėČ

racepic

 

I honestly feel blessed that I get to use my experiences to help women get fit, and lose fat, but more importantly – learn to love themselves again.

Getting messages like this makes sharing half naked bikini shots worth it ūüėČ

alix's quote

 

After sending a similar out to my email list, I got quiet a few questions that I’ll be responding to in Tuesday morning’s email. Here’s a few of the questions:

What should I do if I still have 10-15 pounds to lose?

Lifting weights makes me feel bulky. What do you suggest?

I’m 52 years old and I’m doing everything right, but I still feel like my body is changing. Any suggestions?

If you’re not on the email list,¬†get on it here¬†(you’ll also get a free “kit” with workouts, recipes and more!), and if you have any questions you’d like me to answer , feel free to comment below or shoot me an email¬†and I’ll add it to Tuesday’s Q+A!

Thanks so much for reading. I despise long blog posts and usually just x right out of them, so if you’ve made it this far – thank you. I appreciate it.

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