Saturday, October 31, 2015

From The Outside Looking In: A Transformation Story

Instead of talking about myself in this post, I decided we can focus on my readers. I had a 'good' idea of interviewing my friend Brittney H., who had just competed this past weekend and won her Pro card at the INBF amazing before/after story since she had also come from a place of insecurity, but interviews with successful athletes ask the same typical questions with the same typical answers. So, my husband and I opted for a different approach. 

It is an interview of Brittney from a different perspective. From the outside looking in. We all are typically held back from pursuing our goals because we are concerned what others in our support system may think, and it is those possible negative judgements that make us hesitant. In fact, those insane ideas going through your head are the complete opposite from the truth.

We (my husband Sam and I) interviewed Colleen, Brit's mom, so we can see Britt's transformation through someone else’s eyes instead of her own.

Intrigued?  Alright, here we go...

We started off by going back to Brittneys' early years. "Well, she was a very self-conscious girl.  She would always be covered up." as Colleen mimicked pulling an imaginary sweater all the way up to her chin.  

"Oh no, she might get mad at me for saying this" Colleen said jokingly. She collected her thoughts and in a serious tone responded "it was really her body image and her bad eating habits.  She would not try anything we ate as a family.  She wouldn’t try anything new.  She never ate red meat and she still doesn’t, which was really hard for my husband and I because we were on a beef farm. She was a very picky eater. So, it was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, chicken fingers and chicken nuggets…all processed stuff...all the time...that's it!  When it came to her school lunches, it was Cheese Whiz buns...hmm...maybe for about 8 years.  There was granola bars...that breadstick thing that you dip into the cheese.  Like I said, she wasn’t a good eater."

She continued "The rest of the family would eat beef, potatoes, vegetables and salad. That was our regular meal.  It wasn’t the healthy kind either.  I have to admit.  That's probably why I was overweight all my life.  At the beginning, we would try to make her…you know...say stuff to her like...'you are not leaving the table until you eat this.'  You would try it at least but it didn’t matter how long, she would just leave it and wouldn’t try it. I always cooked her what she wanted because I would know she would at least eat least it would be something, rather than nothing.  So that part is my fault.  Because, yes, I cooked two different meals.  I cooked for us and I cooked for her.  It was very hard.

"Whenever we confronted her about her habits, she would be mad at us if we brought it up too much.  We would talk about it, my husband and myself but we wouldn’t talk about it with her anymore because she would cry or would be sad & it didn’t help anyways. I remember her once trying red meat & that was it.  She wouldn’t try it anymore. I just really forgot about her eating habits when she was younger until now. Wow!"

We then shifted the focus of the interview to Brittneys' beginning of her transformation and competitions. 

"I noticed her eating habits start to change for the better after she started going out with Ryan…so that’s been 5 years now...  He took her to different restaurants.  He would eat anything and then she kind of started eating different stuff.  Now, it’s mostly chicken and salmon.  Although before she was happy, she was still scared and self-conscious. Once she started on her goals, (Sam) helped her through that and then she became more confident.

"I think the turning point was when she started coming here to Snap...that’s when I started hearing your name.  Sam this and Sam that."

I quickly pulled out my phone to show a before picture of Brittney to Colleen that was taken when she first started her journey. 

First Picture: Brittney in Hawaii in 2010.
Second Picture: Brittney at the INBF Champsionships in Oct 2015

"Oh my god!  Wow!  It’s such a difference seeing it side by side.  That’s gotta be a picture from Hawaii....about 5 years ago."

I pulled out my phone once more to show a before picture of Brittney when she first started training at Snap Fitness Leduc. 

"Oh yes. That's her.  I remember when she started though, she was very cranky.  She wasn’t herself. She was snappy.  It didn’t seem like a happy time but I think that was with the eating and changing everything.  Now, her father is old school.  He was just used to her being more curvy. So, his reaction to her changes was she was too skinny or thin.  We had seen her & Ryan together during her competition and it was a little tense…just the whole process.  I had also seen it with my son & his girlfriend too.  It was tense.  He wasn’t as supportive.  Whereas Ryan has always been supportive of Brittney."

She continued "I've always have said I don’t care what you do.  I don’t care how you of it.  I just want you to be happy.  So, if this is what you choose to do, then go for it.  If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t of done this.  There is no way!  I know that.  How can she be so fit & open up a fitness store & her mother is overweight?  How can I?  Like…I dunno.  I was very happy she did that.  Doing her competition…that was a big achievement & it kind of makes you think, it’s a lot of hard work but that you can do it.  She’s come a long way & I just never thought she would be where she is today.  We are very proud of her & her accomplishments & everything that she has done."

We finally came around full circle and took some time reflect on Colleen and her own journey.

"It was right around Britts' first competition where I kept thinking she is doing this & doing that and that  I should try to be healthier. I never had the motivation to do it before.  I did take a long time though.  I had the help of Rhonda.  She was going to start working out & I wasn’t.  She said she was going to start with Britt with personal training & said 'let’s do it together'.  It was doing it with someone else that helped.  It’s easier at the beginning to work with somebody I found.  Also, it was healthy cooking, following my meal plan and exercise plan.  Where before I tried the whole diet thing to lose 20 pounds but you would end up gaining it back.  I was more motivated this time.  How can I sit on the other side of the counter at the store & help her when I am overweight?  Do you think anybody wants to come in & buy anything there or take me seriously?"

"I want to be around.  I want to be around for grandchildren *chuckle* AND NOT JUST DOGS!" 

"I can NOW do it on my own.  I don’t want to push the gym to the side because I am going to fall back into that bad habit I was in before.  You have to make it a part of your life.  Now that I see it can be done like Britt, you have to incorporate the healthy eating and working out into your life & it’s really not that hard when it’s only an hour or an hour and 1/2 out of the day.  You just gotta do it."

"I never enjoyed the whole process at the beginning. There are some days where I wanted to choke people.  You see people who are fit at the gym and you’re overweight & you think 'what am I doing here?' but then as you progress, it’s great!  Now, I see other people at the gym who are overweight & think 'good for you...good for you for coming & good for you for doing this' because I didn’t want to be dead at 60 years old.  I am down to 1/2 pill from 2 pills in my blood pressure medication."

"Like I said, if it wasn’t for Brittney pushing me,  I don’t think I would of ever made it.   It was because she was my daughter & I wanted to show her that I could actually do this."


With Brittney, although the whole experience was a hard one, what made it easier was having the positive support system that she had.  You see, it's always the people who you surround yourself with that either help you (even in the smallest way) or deter you away from your goals. Say adios to those Negative Nancy's!!!  It's absolutely not fair to you to always second guess your healthy decisions.  No one needs that constant reminder that it is possible to go back to those old habits. And if they do want to stay in your life, make them understand they have to respect your life and what you do with it. Plain and simple. If not, they are disrespecting you and your decisions and can just bugger off. 

Another thing a person has to understand is besides having a great support system, that a healthy decision or a fitness decision has to be made by YOU and only you. 

When is it the right time to start on your journey?!?  The answer?  Only you know that. There is no 'perfect time'.  Don't wait for perfect conditions because it will never happen. Just do it!!  You'll be thankful that you did. Happiness within yourself is the key here and if being healthy makes you happy, then you know your on the right path. 

Stay the course and you'll find that finish line. Trust. 


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