Twelve weeks. 18 pounds gone. Confidence gained. And now I have the opportunity to reach a goal I set a decade ago. But I need your help. Here's the story behind my recent changes.
Ten years ago, I found fitness. I was 28. I had never been an athlete: No team sports, no individual sports. Nada. I was the very definition of "average," but I longed to be more. To DO more. I found Oxygen Magazine and a new passion was born. I inhaled information like it was my very breath. I couldn't get enough. Like many fitness-minded women, I decided I wanted to be on the cover of Oxygen. Instead of just longing and wishing and hoping, I wanted to make it an actual goal: First, I wanted to make sure it was a realistic and achievable goal, so I sat down and emailed the late Robert Kennedy, founder and then editor-in-chief of Oxygen Magazine. I told him that I knew I had work to do on my body but asked if I had the face they might put on the cover (knowing that looks DO matter when it comes to selling magazines). I told him I knew he was busy, so a quick "yes" or "no" response would be great. A few weeks later, I received a response from Mr. Kennedy. It simply said,
As the girl who'd been the dork, the "scrub," in school, I couldn't believe my eyes. So then and there, I officially set a goal to land the cover of Oxygen.
Ten years and three babies later, I entered the third Oxygen Challenge. I knew that as I was rapidly approaching forty, and this would probably my best (and perhaps my only) shot at landing the cover and realizing that goal. Feeling unmotivated and stuck in a rut, I hoped this would be just the thing I needed to get my head back in the game. Sure, I've been going to the gym fairly consistently the entire time, even during my pregnancies, but it was more out of habit. I wasn't seeing results because that little extra OOMPH was lacking. After discovering flexible dieting and working hard to develop a good relationship with food, I knew the time was right, so I registered. I worked, but I didn't take on the "whatever the cost" mentality that some might take to win a contest. I took on the "Is this sustainable?" mentality. I've done drastic weight loss attempts before, only to gain 30+ pounds within a month after it was over (damaged metabolism + endomorph body type = rapid weight gain). I love myself too much to do that again. I love my family too much to sacrifice time with them in the name of winning a cover. I had to adjust my mindset and come up with a plan that would not only work in the short term but that would be easily sustainable.
If I do win, I want women to know that the gal who landed the cover didn't work out more than five days a week. She only exercised an hour or less a day. She didn't meal prep. In fact, she barely cooked at all. She was busy and struggled and dealt with major roadblocks but still managed to make it happen. My heart's desire is for women to realize that they truly can achieve a great physique without being a slave to the gym and without starving themselves or restricting their favorite foods (I ate fast food at least twice a week throughout this challenge with the exception of the last week or two.) I want them to look at me and feel encouraged to see a fit woman who won't turn down a good slice of pizza or a nice cold beer. Life is just too short.
Fitness is HARD, y'all. Really hard. To those who did this same challenge and stuck with it for the entire twelve weeks, you have accomplished something wonderful. Don't stop here. If you haven't done LiveFit or JEFFTAT (From Flat to All That), I highly recommend those programs. If you're like me and tend towards laziness (truth be told, most of the time I'd rather just sit and watch a movie instead of doing anything active), keep going through the motions, even when you'd rather not. You may not FEEL motivated, but the discipline of continuing to go will help you develop lifelong habits that will mold your thinking and lead to long-term success.
Even as what some might call a "fitness professional," I've never felt like one because I struggle constantly, too. I've never really taken the 'Hey, I know a lot and can teach you, too!" approach. I've been the, "Hey, let's trudge through these muddy waters together" kind of gal. I've spent years cultivating a community of women who can lean on each other when an outside support system just doesn't exist for them. I thrive on helping others, and that in turn pushes me to work harder as I strive to lead by example. This challenge has been no exception. Many of my dear friends participated in this challenge, and I'm just as thrilled about their progress as I am about my own. Many of you who clearly busted your hump to make truly phenomenal progress...it's been so rewarding to witness that. It's a tough spot to be in - truly wanting the cover to reach the goal that I set a decade ago and have been crawling toward ever since, enduring countless setbacks along the way while also wanting to see someone else achieve something they never thought possible. I'm thankful to have been able to do this challenge with Jamie as the coach, and although I purchased both programs, I never did one of Kaisa's workouts (although I plan to later) because Jamie's style is so well suited to my lifestyle and personality. I'm thankful for the Facebook groups that were made available to us and although I didn't post often, I was in there often reading posts and appreciating the camaraderie that was built there in a short period of time. It was just what I needed to get my head back in the game.
I think it's funny but entirely appropriate where I find this giant goal completely within my reach, but where I'm also 100% reliant on those of you who helped me get to this point. I hope and pray that you'll take a minute out of your day each day this week and go cast a vote for me. I'm eager to be the first Oklahoman and the first military member on the cover of Oxygen. It'll be a huge yet humbling honor.
I'm proud of all the women who did this challenge with me, and honored to have gone through this challenge with them. Let this be just the beginning. Keep going!