I finished Bikini Body Guide (1.0 week 1-12) in June just in time for Maui. I knew that I had done everything I could have done (except start earlier), and I felt okay but I wasn't satisfied. Mind you, there is a good chance that I will never be satisfied with my body. That's just how I am, but I still have hope that some day I will at least feel comfortable in my skin, and I wasn't even close. Not one to give up, I kept exercising. Not with the vigor and consistency of BBG, but I was still in the game until I wasn't. It wasn't even the holidays that did me in. It was frustration with lack of progress and those muffin tops I couldn't seem to get rid of. I felt like the only person in the world who didn't lose weight on Whole30 or have a magical transformation after BBG. It was just a lot of things, but ultimately I gave up because for the last two years I'd lost the ability to control my body I so treasured. I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't, so why bother. Then the time changed. The weather got cold, the nights got darker, and I went into hibernation. It was too dark to walk after work, it was too cold to get out of my pajamas. My motivation had completely left the building.
I quit exercising altogether in December, but come January I was ready to get back on the wagon. I signed up for an 8 week exercise challenge on Instagram with @Ashley_Cavitt to keep me accountable and get me motivated. I had no idea what the workouts would be or what I'd be eating, but I needed to be told what to do. I had an exercise schedule, macro recommendations, and bi-weekly check-ins. The rest was up to me. There were lots of gym days with lifting and cardio. I had to google almost every exercise before workouts, but I did it. I figured it out and I pushed myself in the gym and did cardio afterwards when all I wanted to do was get home. The circuit training exercises, that could be done at home took me anywhere from 40-60 minutes long to finish. They were longer and harder than the Bikini Body Guide and I didn't think that was even possible. I did five days a week for eight weeks. I didn't miss a single work out and there was exactly one cheat meal and a few cheat items. It was so hard to do it day in and day out when I saw no progress and was hopeless that I would, but that was nothing new. It hurt my heart to pay good money to get my hair did on a Wednesday and sweat it out on a Thursday, but it had to be done. I was chronically sore for the first 4 weeks. I meal prepped. I hit my macros. I pushed myself and FINALLY started to feel like I was making progress. It was not free and I'm 99.9 % sure I didn't win the challenge, but it was time and money well spent.
Ashley kept saying the body will respond over time. It is all about consistency and the changes you see physically that don't necessarily show up on the scale. I'd heard it all before. Blah, blah, blah in one ear and out the other. It's always been about the scale for me so I never believed it before and I still didn't until I finally saw and accepted it for myself. My measurements and body fat went down. I could see the difference in pictures. I have gained so much strength that I'm actually worried that my BBG workout schedule won't be challenging enough. I probably shouldn't say that when I'm only on week one! In one circuit I whipped out three sets of twenty burpees like it was no big deal and I remember how hard ten was a year ago. The sad thing is that I think I gave up too soon last year after BBG 1.0. My measurements went down, then too. I was shocked, because I was so upset that I had accomplished nothing. I did a side by side with my progress pics. I saw the difference but I was impatient and blinded by lack of progress on the scale. I believed that because I didn't have the kind of drastic transformation in twelve weeks that I see all over Instagram I failed. If the scale did not drop significantly, I failed. If I couldn't fit back into my size 25 designer jeans I failed. It was that black and white for me. Had I not lost all hope, I would probably be much further along right now, but that's fine because this is the journey that I am on. It isn't going to be easy for me and I have to learn the hard way. I used to consider exceeding 800 calories a day failure, so it is going to take me a little while to get where I need to be not just physically, but emotionally as well.
Motivation is one of those things that can't be forced. Well, it can be but it's really just you forcing yourself and not motivation in the truest sense of the word. Sometimes we need to be forced, but it is so much better when the drive is already there. When you are willing to do what it takes and ready to take on the challenge. I already know there will be plenty of days over the next 12 weeks where I will want to give up, but for now I will ride this wave of motivation as far into the sunset as I can.
I posted my 8 week progress pics on Instagram @MahoganyDrive. Don't ask me how it's any different, but I'm not not posting them here!