On January 8th, 2018 a brave woman named Liz emailed me her “before” photos along with a “why” statement to tell us why she wanted to participate in the 60-Day Transformation Challenge. Here is her “why”:
“I want to be part of this challenge because I cannot seem to find weight-loss and health success by myself. I need to lean on and connect with support from people who can relate to my struggles, and still give me some tough love when needed.
I want to win this challenge because I don’t want to be in the same place a year from now. For the past few years, I’ve gone up and down in weight, but now I am ready to take back control of my health and find that fun-loving, confident person I used to be.”
Liz reported her start weight at 270.1lbs and 60 days later, her end weight was 245lbs. She decided to join the MBM Community for further coaching after the challenge ended and has been with us since. Her calories have increased four times since the start of the challenge and not a single week passed in that time where her weight did not decrease. She increased from 113g carbs per day to her current daily carb intake of 159g – and every week she eats – and this is great – a Snickers Bar. This weekend, 326 days after that initial weigh-in, Liz weighed in at 169lbs.
That is a total loss to date of 101.1lbs in 326 days – while INCREASING her calories.
Throughout her journey, Liz has shared her “aha” moments, her insights, her struggles, and her successes, with the MBM community. Every week we are floored by her efforts. It hasn’t been easy for her and her life is not obstacle-free, but her commitment to the process has been nothing short of inspirational. I am not exaggerating in the least when I say this: Liz is an inspiration to me. She’s a wife, mother, caregiver, daughter, and friend – yet, she shows up emotionally every week for her community and for herself. Women don’t become overweight without layers to their personal experience and hits to their self-esteem or self-worth – yet, despite the place she started in and the challenges she faced along the way, she put in the emotional work. THAT is inspirational. It is SO easy to just say “fuck it – I’m too tired to work through this” and proceed to scratch our emotional issues with our usual coping mechanisms *ahem, food*. Liz felt those same pulls and yet, here she is – 101lbs lighter because she leaned in when things got hard and she refused to give up on herself – even though it felt easier to just throw her hands up (again) and walk away.
Because I was so moved by this amazing woman’s journey, I wanted to pick her brain about how she worked through it all to share it with you. I hope you’ll take a moment to appreciate this journey with me. It’s worth it, I promise.
Do you remember the moment you decided to commit to joining the challenge? Tell me about that.
I had a friend who mentioned MBM to me at least a year prior. I had watched her success and she spoke to me about it, but I wasn’t ready to listen. Finally, after months of “I’ll eat better starting tomorrow/Monday/after Christmas”, I woke up on January 1st and laid in bed and cried. I was so unhappy with how I felt and what I looked like. I was emotionally and physically in the same (if not worse) place I had been the previous New Year. So, I had a good cry and then I dried my tears and told myself “You’re going to be 45 years old in a few months – if you don’t change things now, you never will”, and as cheesy as it sounds, I looked myself in the mirror and vowed that I was NOT going to waste another year. I was not going to wake up on January 1st of next year and realize that nothing had changed.
During the course of the challenge, what was your biggest challenge/obstacle?
Realizing that if I was going to have any success, I needed to make the time to make this work. I needed to make meal planning and food prep a high priority. This was hard. (some weeks it still is). I’ve spent so long letting my needs come in last, that it was hard for me to take a couple of hours a week to prep and plan my food and let something else fall to the bottom of the priority list. I had so much guilt at the start, but during those 8 weeks, I just kept doing it until it became a habit (or at least the start of a habit). By the end of the challenge, it wasn’t perfect, but the foundation was there.
Was there a recurring theme in your journey that illuminated a pattern in your behaviour/relationship with food or self?
It was hard to break the habit of dropping my needs the instant life got hectic. If life was running smoothly, then I could easily fit in my food prep or self-care. But when life got busy (as life often does), it took a lot of practice to keep my own needs high on the “To-Do” list. Now, most days I can find the right balance, but once in while that old habit tries to creep in. When that happens, I usually try to remind myself of the big picture… like if I don’t take the time for my needs today, then I will be scrambling all week and that will just pull me farther and farther down.
When motivation was low what do you think helped you remain/regain focus on the process?
As much as I’m doing this for me, I realize that I have a teenage daughter and pre-teen son watching my every move. This year has been about me leading by example, showing them that food is not good or bad, teaching them balance, and how to be more active and take chances on trying new things. So, that for sure has been a big help in staying on my path.
How was this attempt to lose weight different from the others for you?
I’ve struggled with my weight since my mid-20s. I’ve tried dozens of diets, bought supplements, pre-packaged “meal replacements”, read book after book about what the “best” way to eat is… but not one of them had me doing the mental and emotional work and reflection that I have this past year. Realizing what my triggers are, figuring out how to re-write that story and create a new one has been huge for me.
Also, and just as important, being part of MBM community has been more valuable than I would have ever realized. To be able to be honest and vulnerable and know that others have felt the same way and are still there cheering me on gives so much strength. There’s also power in being able to offer support to someone else.
I’ve always thought that one of the most amazing things about the MBM Client Support group is that there is zero drama… I challenge anyone to find a group of 20-30 women who interact with each other on a consistent basis and have no drama whatsoever… I believe that speaks volumes about the way YOU treat US. Sometimes there’s “tough love” but there’s always respect. Also, you show us your highs and lows and you are vulnerable with us and show us that you are a real person, and some days life is messy! It’s a lot easier to take guidance from someone who is leading by example. One of my favourite Brene Brown quotes is “If you aren’t in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback”
What do you think your biggest mental block was prior to this successful attempt at weight loss?
I viewed every diet as a “diet”. A temporary way of eating as a way to lose weight which will then make me happy. I started each diet with one foot out the door… counting down the days until I could go back to eating “normally”. So after giving it a month, maybe two, I’d find a reason it wasn’t working or an excuse as to why I “deserved” to eat off plan… and then within a few weeks, I’d be back to where I was – overeating and unhappy and feeling like a failure.
Also, most of these diets resulted in me feeling like crap. Yeah ok, I lost some weight, but I had very little energy, was a moody bitch, was freezing all the time and was miserable.
What is the biggest realization you’ve made about yourself to-date in this past year?
That I am stronger than I ever thought. That I can want something and stick to it and find success. That I am worth the love and effort I give to other people.
There will be women reading this story about you who will think “I wish I could do this, too. I wish I had her strength and determination but I don’t. I fail every time.” — what would you say to her?
Well, first of all, she needs a hug.
Then: “A year ago, I didn’t have any strength, and felt I could never succeed at getting healthier. I would read about someone who had lost a large amount of weight and think the same thing – there is no way I could do that.
But why not take a chance? Yes, there are going to be stumbles, but stumbles are not failures and they are certainly not the end. You trip, you look at what caused you to trip and you dust off and take the next step. Then another. And another. Sometimes those steps are just taking it one meal at a time, but little by little, the habits will build, and the strength will come.
Surround yourself with people who will help you stay on your path. Find a village of cheerleaders who will be the voice of strength when you can’t find your own voice. On my hardest days, I just had to reach out to my MBM community and they reminded me of inner power”.
I told you it was worth it. I wanted to add one last thing. Because MBM is an online community I rarely get the chance to meet clients face-to-face even though many of them are within 100km of me personally. One day, several months ago while shopping at Costco, a woman approached me amidst the chaos and said to my husband “I know you don’t know me but I want you to know your wife has changed my life”. I was so floored by that experience that I really didn’t even know what to say and to be honest with you, I’ve regretted that I didn’t say more at the time than I did. So, today, in this post, I want to tell you, Liz, what I would have said if I could go back:
“Liz, YOU have changed my life, too. Our community is better for having you and the Ambassadors and I are better coaches for having worked with you for this past year. You renewed my faith in my business and with this one interaction convinced me to focus on reaching more women and making our “safe-space” – our community – bigger and better. So, Liz – thank YOU. YOU are an inspiration not just to the women who’ll read this but to me and I am forever grateful.” <3