One of the main lessons that I learned early on in my journey of transformation is that I can not do it alone. Having my God, my super-friends and my “team” of people to hold me accountable, be there to celebrate victories and let me shed tears is what has made my transformation possible.
In all my years of trying to lose weight in the past, I always felt alone. I was in denial of exactly how much I weighed. I used excuses of other health issues. I was ashamed to talk about my weight and too embarrassed to ask for help. I would tell my family, but I didn’t share everything I was going through or feeling with them. I was worried about the judgement when I didn’t succeed or of letting people down.
In addition, I felt like this was my burden to tackle on my own. I am smart. I know that I have not been the healthiest in my ways since high school and I only had myself to blame. Why would I want to burden anyone else with my issues?
You know what? Every time I thought that way, I failed. I would quit. I would give up. Because you know what? I had no-one checking on me, to see how I was doing. I had no-one holding me accountable. I found I could quietly either slow or stop the diet or exercise and no-one would be the wiser. I never had to worry that I was disappointing anyone. BUT, I would get nowhere and sometimes be worse off in the end.
When I started my final journey of transformation in January 2018, I realized I had to do it differently. I began with first putting my trust in God that he will guide me on my transformation journey. I did a lot of praying and meditation. I had a lot to change in my life, including my health. In the past, I never included God in the process. Sure, I would pray for him to change my life, but what I didn’t do was come to him humbly and say I could not do this alone. I mainly begged for miracles, but never really made him a partner in my transformation. As I prayed and meditated, this verse always came to the forefront of my mind:
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength - Philippians 4:13 NLT
I realized that I was never going to transform with my strength alone. It starts with God’s strength and the strength of people he put in my path to help me on this journey.
As I have mentioned before, I started the Transform Coaching in February of 2018. One of the early lessons we talked about in the program was rallying your “team” and having a super-friend. A super-friend is someone that will hold you accountable and you can clear your integrity with. When you screw up, they are not going to enable you, but say “integrity cleared, now get back to work”. Your team are people that will not enable you, but will have empathy. They are people you can trust and share your goals with.
As this lesson was fairly early into the coaching program, I was still working on trusting not only my teammates but also my coach, Bruce. I started thinking about who in my life I could put on “my team”. I struggled with this. My best friend is my husband, and RULE #1: Your significant other should NOT be your super-friend. It will not turn out well for either one of you. I also have some really great friends who I love, but I was not sure whether or not they would be “on my team”. So, I decided I really needed to start working toward putting my trust in Bruce.
Several years before, I had tried a personal coach/trainer at our local gym when we lived in California. It sounded great at the beginning, but I quickly found that when I was at the gym, all he wanted to do was tell me an exercise to do and then go off and talk to the pretty girls or his buddies while I completed my exercise. He also wanted me to be in the gym 5 days a week for 2 hours at a time. Keep in mind, I had three kids under the age of 10 and worked a demanding full-time job. My husband worked some overnights at the time, so getting 2 hours in the gym was impossible. 45 min to an hour was my max. He gave me no alternative things I could do at home and got mad when I told him I was doing Weight Watchers for the nutrition side. He was unrealistic and inattentive and so I quit going after a few months. This left me with a mistrust of most trainers. When I started the Coaching program, this was something I had to get over and learn to trust my coach, Bruce.
I would love to say this was a quick process, but it wasn’t. It had absolutely nothing to do with Bruce and 100% to do with me. I had to learn that it was ok to be vulnerable and tell him when I messed up. Bruce was extremely supportive and would thank me for clearing my integrity and then tell me to get right back on track. It still took me a while as I am also a people pleaser. I was so afraid of disappointing him. I didn’t want him to think less of me. Again, this was all in MY head and I knew I had to get over it.
I can’t pinpoint the moment that the lightbulb finally clicked. When I realized that I was never going to get judgement from Bruce. That all he wanted was to make sure I was clearing my integrity, because he knows we are all not perfect. BUT, if we didn’t clear that integrity, it can immediately send us into a downward spiral right back to the beginning. He was on my “team”. He was my super-friend.
Next, I continued to grow my relationships with my teammates in the coaching program. This was easy to do, but not until Epic Weekend this past January did I really build the bonds of true friendship with them. It has been so important having this group of men and women who I can 100% relate to. We hold each other accountable. We rally each other when we are going through tough times. We cheer for each other when we meet our goals and allow each other to cry when we need it. These are my people. They are beyond special to me. There is a special bond that I can never fully explain. The love I have for them is as much as my own family. It is an unbreakable bond. This is my “team”.
When I was still part of the one-on-one coaching program, my main super-friend was Bruce. It was easy as he was checking on me daily and I knew I could clear my integrity with him. As I began transitioning into the Transform Graduate program a month ago, I knew I needed to find a super-friend that I could continue to clear my integrity with and hold me accountable to my goals.
It was actually a no-brainer on who I would ask to be my super-friend. She may live on the opposite side of the continent (Canada), but I knew that due to the friendship we had built, she was the perfect person. We had a special friendship that really started after Epic. Her and I started on our journeys close with similar starting weights. We got to know each other better at Epic and had a similar interest in improving with our running. We started with daily check-ins with each other on how our runs went and encouraging each other as we trained and completed races. I actually cried when I asked her to be my super-friend. I was a little scared stepping out from the daily coaching with Bruce and I just hoped so much she would say yes. Even though I knew she would, I still had that thought in the back of my mind of “what if she says no”. She of course agreed and actually had a few tears as well. Our friendship has grown so much and I am truly grateful that she is my super-friend.
My encouragement to you is to figure out who is on your “team” and who may not be. Sit down a make a list. Who will hold you accountable? Who won’t enable your old bad habits? Also look at how are your friends and family are reacting to the transformation so far. Many times our family and current friends may be scared. What if these changes mean you won’t want to be with them any more? What if you won’t have time for them since you are spending so much time at the gym? What if these changes means you won’t be the same on the inside because you are changing on the outside? My answer is to just keep loving and encouraging them that you are not going anywhere. That even though there will be changes on the outside, and maybe a little on the inside, it does not mean that you love or care for them any less.
I will say as you are going through the list of who is on your “team” and who may not be, you might realize that there are some people that you may need to cut ties with. They could be mentally or physically unhealthy for you. Don’t be afraid to cut some of those ties. In the long run, for you and them, it will be for the best.
Next, find that one super-friend. It may take some time to really decide who would be the right person. This needs to be someone you trust. This needs to be someone that is not going to enable you. This needs to be someone that will call you out, but not in a negative way that will shut you down. It needs to be someone that can have empathy, but not let you have a huge pity-party. As I said before, 99.9% of the time this is NOT a significant other. Many times this is not a family member or even a currently close friend. It could be a co-worker. It could be a neighbor. It could be the person you met at the gym and have talked with a few times.
Do not go through this journey alone. You will not be as successful as if you have a team of people that have your back. It does not have to be a huge team, they just have to be the best team for you.
I will forever be grateful to my God, my “team” and my super-friends for continuing to love and support me on this journey. They will forever hold a special place in my heart.