Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Year with Jillian Michaels

      This time last year I was a week into Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred workout. I had regained 30 pounds three different times in one year. I'd get it off and it would come right back! While I feel like I looked amazing regardless, I did not feel good. My body felt heavy and my mind was beginning to feel the guilt and fear of weight gain. I had promised myself and my blog readers that I was going to wear a bikini in the name of self-love that summer and I was not going back on my word. Even if that meant I'd be wearing a bikini in a bigger body. What I could not have foreseen is the impact this decision would have on the rest of my life. 
Let me tell you about my year with Jillian Michaels. 

     I completed all 30 days of the workout and wore my bikini with pride. Those first 30 days showed me I wasn't breakable. Soreness is a temporary discomfort that yields pride and change. In 30 days I went from push ups on my knees to three real push ups. May not sound mind blowing, but it was just my Chapter 1. Everyone has a chapter one, a day one. I wore my bikini and felt like a million bucks. I do not know how much weight I lost because I never stood on the scale. If I made it about numbers, I knew it would diminish my self-pride and I was not about to hand that over without a fight. The pictures speak for themselves...it worked!

     I had no long term plan, I had a 30 day plan. I was thrilled with the results so I kept doing the workouts, rotating between levels two and three until I felt ready to move onto other Jillian workouts. I went month to month, never imagining I would do this for an entire year. Honestly, even I was waiting for me to quit in the back of my mind. That disbelief in myself is actually responsible for me not quitting. I began to enjoy my new physical abilities and I did not want to go back to my old ways...so much so that I vowed to stop quitting. When I say I vowed, I mean it in a biblical sense; I told myself from my soul that I would quit holding myself back. I wanted to see what not quitting would do for my body and mind. It's all documented on my Instagram account @newfigureforward, you can scroll from the very first workout to today's workout. 
 Jillian Michaels got into my head. Her workouts proved to me that with hard work, transformation is possible. My body is proof. Her empowering words proved to me that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for in life. My mind is proof. It's hard not to change after hearing messages of how incredibly awesome I am and how I should be proud of the work I am doing. Jillian made me feel good in my mind. She got into my head and beat down the negative voices that tortured me since fourth grade. Within a few months of daily workouts (most no more than 30 minutes), Jillian had me believing I was badass. I cannot put in words what that feels like - to have come from a dark place of depression and obesity to a place that I believe I am truly capable of anything I set my mind to! I felt reborn. 

     My love for Jillian, I thought, was something only I had. Oh how wrong I was! Facebook can be an amazing tool to connect people to other like minded souls. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a whole group of Jillian lovers called Jillian Michaels Workout Junkies, a private group open only to women that supports each other. Thousands of women from all over the world encouraging each other to keep pushing and smash goals. This group helped me no longer feel alone, I had people who understood me instead of eye rolling and thinking I was nuts. The daily workout check in and supportive messages helped keep me focused. There is power in knowing someone gets you and I have thousands of Jillian fans that get me. It's amazing the positive power these amazing ladies have had on my journey! 

     About six months into my transformation I began to smile at myself in mirrors, have a little swag in my walk, and I liked myself. I continued to lose weight and became more and more athletic with each passing month. I had a huge reduction in my anxiety. Turns out that for me, the deep conviction that I am badass turned off my anxiety. With my new mental freedom I signed up for a Spartan Race and felt beyond proud of myself as I jumped the finish line fire. Jillian's words, heard 6 days a week, rewired me. I am not the same person. The person I was settled, floundered around, and got by. I had no passion or sense of purpose. I have gotten out of bed for the last four and half months with purpose.

     I have a goal. My reason to do what I do everyday. It's a different kind of life. I decided to go back to school, at 34, to follow my heart. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, I never had a passion. Then one day I figured it out and my heart caught fire. It's a different kind of life now. What I do now I do because someone in my future needs me to not give up. Someone will need help and I will be able to help them. I found my superpower...to not use it to help people is to waste it. I am strong, brave, and determined, all qualities needed for the next chapter in my life. I believe in myself because a lady named Jillian Michaels has told me to for the last 56 weeks of my life. It's a different kind of life now. 

     I wore a new bikini this summer, I lost 40 pounds over the year. I have an athletes body, 17% body fat. I am a badass. My training routine will change to accommodate my EMT certification schedule starting in late August. I will still have my daily sessions with Jillian, I need her to continue to whip me into shape. EMT training is only step one in pursuing my goal. You can follow my fitness journey on Instagram @newfigureforward. I post updates often of my achievements and goals. Reinvention is possible, I am proof! 

     That, folks, was my year with Jillian Michaels. I went in wanting my self-confidence back and discovered a badass! I quit quitting on myself and it changed my life. Jillian may not be for you, she's not for everyone, however be proactive about finding what you enjoy and do it! Do not quit! On days you don't want to, do it anyway. Half assing still counts. Quit quitting on yourself. The scale did not make a smooth drop down 40 pounds, it went up and down. The trick is keep doing it! Show up for yourself everyday and get addicted to personal pride. My sister once told me that you only get bragging rights after a workout if you finish it.
I still get my bragging rights.