Regular users of Instagram will no doubt be very familiar with certain fitness related hashtags such as “Transformation Tuesday”, “Workout Wednesday” and “Throwback Thursday” (to name a few) and my followers will know I enjoy posting these themed photos on my account (@wildcatfit just in case you’re not already following me). #throwbackthursday has to be a particular favourite of mine, because for me looking at old photographs of myself before I started my fitness journey are one of the best ways for me to track my own progress. It can be hard on a daily basis to see how far you’ve come, but when you compare where you are now to where you were one, two or maybe even more years ago chances are the changes will be more obvious to see. Some days when I’m struggling for inspiration I have a look at just how far I’ve come for that extra motivation to continue on the path I’m on and ensure I don’t skip my training that day (yes, even PT’s struggle for motivation from time to time…. there are days when I’d much rather spend an hour reading or shopping or having coffee rather than training…. but I NEVER regret a workout once I start!) and this is one such comparison shot that I’ve recently shared on my Instagram.
These two photos of me have several years between them. Several years, a lot of heartache, small wins, big setbacks, unlimited dedication, many, many mistakes… but the results were worth it. But when you have the results you’ve been working all that time for…. then what?
Whilst the difference is (I think) clear to see though, as highlighted by conversations with a close and special friend a couple of weeks ago who has also been through an incredible weight loss transformation herself, there often can be no exact goal weight, dress size or set of measurements that will make you “happy”. Weight loss and fitness of course have so many physical and mental health benefits – but if you are on a weight loss journey to find your “perfect” body, then be aware this may be something you never find. Despite there being over 3 stone and almost 10% body fat difference in these two photos, I still have my dark days (I have shared my struggles with body dysmorphia here) and still feel there is work to be done – reaching the dress size I always dreamed of those years ago has not automatically enhanced the quality of my life or made me a better person. Don’t be so focused on the destination that you forget to enjoy and learn from the journey. And don’t become so fixated on an exact destination that you end up with a sense of “now what?” when you get there.
Workout and eat well because you love your body, not because you hate it. Vow to improve your health, increase your energy levels and nourish your body with real, wholesome food. Having goals is fantastic and indeed I encourage clients to train with results in mind, but not to expect that their world will change when they get there.
In addition to the physical changes, the biggest difference for me between these photos is my attitude and mindset. In the left I was indeed out partying when this photo was taken – I appeared bubbly but I was wracked with self doubt and lacked confidence. I was so unhappy and unsure in myself and comfort eating seemed the only thing that was always there for me. I knew that this was no way to live and I wanted to be so much more and fulfil my true potential, so I started exercising to feel more confident in my body in the hope that I’d be less shy around strangers.
I know I still don’t have the “perfect” body and there are still changes I want to make – but what I do know is that I am happy, healthy, full of energy, confident in myself and most importantly proud of my hard work. You might not feel like you’re “there yet” but don’t be afraid to look back and see how far you have come. Comparing photos like this is a great way to track progress – and therefore celebrate achievements rather than focus on failures.
No matter where you are in your weight loss journey, just remember to keep going. It might not be easy and it almost certainly won’t be quick, but being a healthier, stronger (physically and mentally) version of yourself surely has to be the ultimate destination?