Jessica Bento, MSPT
Fat loss and myself have probably the dysfunctional history that most people experience. When I was in my teenage years I was pretty ripped, six pack and all! I think that is what happens when you swim for hours and hours a day on a competitive team. I could eat whatever I wanted, I was still ripped! Looking back my only regret I have about that period in my life is that it was during the grunge era and I couldn’t show it off like I would have liked:)
Being honest, it kinda sucks knowing that the best you ever looked was when you were so young. I think the first time I knew things were going to be different is when my swimming career was over and I was heading off to college. Because of some bad injuries I had stopped swimming, but hadn’t changed my lifestyle. That meant I was getting a big head start to the “freshmen fifteen.”
My change didn’t go without notice to others. One of the most impactful moments in my life is when I was grabbing a snack at home and my mom told me I had to have an apple and my old brother got a cookie. Yep, funny when you can point to an exact moment when you start to develop serious body image issues.
I never “ballooned” in college, but going to a cold weather school and not being involved in athletics definitely wasn’t a recipe for feeling my best. When I moved to California for my clinical rotations it was very different than what I had seen in pretty modest Michigan. Warm weather and people very conscious of their appearance did get me to re-think what I had to do for myself to feel good about me.
I began working out, a little bit here and there. Spinning was actually my favorite as it was both something I could do with my friend and spoke to me more than lifting weights. I was never a big weights person and between the bad shoulders and low back I had, it didn’t seem like a good fit.
Fast forward to the years since I met Josh and started DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workouts I can’t believe how much time I wasted! More importantly, I can look back and see how I am in the best shape I have been in my adult life. It has taken me some time to realize and appreciate how far I have gotten, but doing so has resulted in some epiphanies I think more people need to recognize. These are some REAL, honest truths to fat loss.
I imagine that Josh and I are like most married couples, I ask him daily (according to him) how I am looking, am I doing better? Most times he is smart enough to give me the “right” answer, but sometimes he asks me something different. “What do you want to look like?” Of course in mind I want to be perfect. I get what he asking though and often use these crazy fitness models as a base of comparison. After all, nothing plays with your psyche like seeing ridiculous images of half naked women all day when you are involved in the fitness industry.
At first, when Josh would tell me that wasn’t realistic I would get pissed! Why not?! Am I not GOOD enough to look like these women?! To be honest, I didn’t like his answer for awhile, but over time it has made more sense to me and I am more comfortable in my own skin. He would remind me what these women would go through. He would ask me, “do you want to be constantly obsessed with your diet? Do you want to prioritize diet and training over all other things in your life? Is it THAT important to you?
That is when I realized that my goals and values were in conflict with each other. Sure, I wanted to look like these women I saw pictures of, but it didn’t match what was also important in my life and a lifestyle that I was comfortable living with.
You have to be honest with yourself. Don’t set goals that are unrealistic, set goals that are in line with your entire life and what you want to accomplish. I like the option of having a fun night with friends and not being scared of what I could eat or drink (I don’t go over board, but that is different than being in a constant mode of dieting). Some people use the 80% rule of being good, and to be honest, most of the time I think I am better than that! However, the times I am not I don’t stress myself out, I don’t run to the scale. Be real to who you want to be and who you want to be around!
Cut Yourself Some Slack
I would beat myself up a lot in the past. If I missed a workout, if I didn’t go as hard as I thought, or if I ate something out of the norm, my self-talk would be out of control! After some time I began to realize that my self-talk was probably more damaging than whatever actions I had done.
Over time I actually found that negative self-talk led to more negative habits. “Forget workout out today”, “screw eating well”, more and more. Instead of saying, “I am really tired today, but I am glad that I did what I could do today”, I went for the negative. One of the biggest challenges for me even today is to switch what I say to myself. Positive self-talk funny enough breeds good habits and negative self-talk inspires more negative ones. You have to actually CHOOSE and probably think about the messages you are sending yourself.
Enjoy the Process
Josh told me that one of the biggest blogs we have ever had was mine on how I hated to exercise. I thought that was pretty funny because I was really hesitant to write it. The thing is, it is still sometimes the truth.
I get made fun often by Josh and some of his other industry friends when I roll my eyes about enjoying training. They love it, they love the challenge no matter the day or the workout. Honestly, there are days where it takes every ounce of me to perform a workout. Endorphins? Yea, where?!
As I have been getting use to writing more and more of my own DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workout programs I have learned to enjoy the process more. That is because I have realized I don’t have to be a slave to my workout plans. My programs give me direction, but that is it. I have the freedom to use the principles in the DVRT system to make the workout right for me THAT day! What has happened? I find myself enjoying working out for the first time in a long time!
Guess what happens when you start doing what is right for you? You can be more present, you can put forth more effort, and yes, you might even find some of those endorphins.
These are simple ideas, but I believe they are powerful ones. I hope you can see yourself changing one or two of them and find yourself for the first time really finding yourself making some significant changes that inspire you into 2014.