Category Archives: Barre9 Challenge

A year later: before and after: there is no ‘end game.’

Visualize the end game. The result.

That’s what you’re supposed to do when you set out on a journey, a challenge, towards a goal.

But at first, I never could quite visualize the end game, the result, from the opportunity I was granted a year ago for the barre n9ne 60 day challenge.

Why?

Because I didn’t quite believe. In myself. Or even in the challenge facing me. Or in all that it could be, if I set my mind to it.

I was used to going halfway and stopping.

I was used to the field goal.

I had never achieved the results I wanted or thought I could attain. I didn’t believe in “smarter, not harder.” I didn’t believe, even, (not fully) in lifestyle change.

On day one, this was the me I was then. Not quite believing…hoping, not unable to visualize. 

Frustrated with myself physically, feeling like a hamster on a wheel spinning and spinning but with little to show for it, not understanding that I had lost the ability to see moderation in my eats, and having lower self esteem than I ever wanted to admit or be faced with. Day one of the 60 day challenge was a scary day for me. Because it meant facing the things that I had ignored and pushed aside for fear of number fixation, the reality of the situation and doing something I’d never done before. *Not* stopping at the field goal…but going for the touchdown.

The last year has been a year out of my comfort zone, and not only has it taught me that I have the power to reach the goals in which I set for myself, for perhaps the first time in my life, it’s also given me an opportunity I never thought possible. To pay forward what I have learned, in lifestyle changes, the power of a barre workout and how to finally – finally – be comfortable in my own skin.

And, as a result?…this is the me I am now.

When I took this picture, I saw it for the first time. The end game that I never thought possible. I had achieved the ‘after’ that I always envied on infomercials (even pooh-pooh’ing the words these ‘success story’ spokespeople said…words like life-changing, being the me I always wanted to be, etc), losing the inches, pants sizes and weight. Perhaps the best part of seeing this picture? Besides the renewed gleam in my eye that speaks happiness, confidence and pride?

Realizing that there is no end game.This is the life I have built for myself.

And it is the life that I will continue. Moderation, real, wholesome, fueling foods, and a love for barre n9ne, from teaching, to taking classes.  This life. A life that rails against the word ‘diet,’ that focuses on real foods, no gimmicks and the magic bullet of consistency that has opened the door to the happy medium I never thought was possible.

And ultimately? This is a life that I will continue to pay forward.  Because this happy medium life is pretty damn good . Thank you, Tanya, for your belief in us, to my sister Jess in sharing this journey with me (read her post here on her results and thoughts on the last year!), to the barre n9ne community for being such a supportive family (and believing in us then, as the first ‘challenges’ and now, as instructors), and to all of you – my family and friends, for supporting, encouraging and believing.

**as I hit ‘publish’ on this, know that it took a lot of thought and decision-making on posting my before and after pictures…because as much as this journey has of course, been about weight and inches lost, that’s not *all* it has been. I think that goes without saying…but, I just thought it was worth mentioning again.**

More than just a graduation.

This weekend, M graduated. For the fourth (!) and final time. Two bachelor’s degrees, one master’s and now a doctorate later, and M is done, accomplishing something very few ever do, and I couldn’t have been prouder of him walking across that stage getting his degree.

It was the first time I’d truly seen such pride in his face. For once, basking in it, rather than brushing it off, or just going through the motions towards that finish line to get.it.done.

And while I wish I had known him throughout this entire process, seeing him through perhaps the toughest part of his degree, supporting him the best that I possibly could, and throwing him one hell of a party, makes me feel so blessed and fortunate to be a part of his life now, meeting him at such a pivotal time, for him, but also for me.

Because, you see, his graduation day also marked my one year barre n9ne 60 day challenge barre-o-versary. During a weekend of celebration, it was a weekend where I felt as though everything in my life had fallen into place exactly where I wanted, for the very first time. From my life, to my love, to my body.

And when I asked M if he were to make a speech, what he would say, he said ‘I would look around at my friends, my family, and you, and say that three years ago when I started on this journey, I never imagined the people around this table would be around this table today, but I couldn’t be happier.’ 

I couldn’t agree more. 

For him, through a marriage ending in divorce mid-way through his degree, to finding each other, at the exact right time in our lives, and for me, walking into barre n9ne a year ago, never expecting to experience a complete and utter transformation from mind, body, and soul, just as I feel the last three years of my life, in parallel to M’s has been. Full of complete change, struggle, sadness and pain, to strength, confidence, happiness and love.

This weekend, it was more than a graduation. It was the culmination of the last three years of our lives, so gently meeting at the same intersection, together. As it were meant to be. 

And if this picture doesn’t capture the essence of the weekend, and this culmination, I don’t know what does. As a friend on Facebook noted,: ‘you’ll look so content and happy and totally blissed out.” And she was right. ❤

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I don’t normally cross-post to M’s blog, but he wrote a post that made me speechless. It really speaks to his journey from here until now, and if you have the time, please give it a read. Congratulations, love, you are amazing.

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As for the 60 day challenge barre-o-versary, there is more to come, including a before and after picture. But this post just felt like the essence of what I was feeling and thus, the before and after can wait 😉

Throwbacks on comparison and number fixation.

After a most perfect weekend of unplanned-ness, good, quality time with M, and the downtime I’ve been craving (like whoa), I sit here somewhat amazed at a few things I realized about my habits and how they’ve changed.

In particular? Comparison and number fixation. 

These are two things that have dogged me big time in the past year, where I allowed comparing myself to others, including my sister Jess and to well, just about anyone, and my fixation on numbers (namely – the scale) to drag me down and lose sight of my achievements and progress.

There were two instances where I had an amazing a-ha moment that made me realize that I’ve come a lot farther than I really even realized. So, I call this a ‘throwback’ of sorts because I recall it being just about this time last year where I was neck-deep in a downward spiral of self negativity with relation to comparison and number fixation.

The first instance? Running.

At this point last year, I was struggling to embrace running, to love it as much as I proclaimed. To want to run another half marathon. And while I did run another half marathon last year, it was also that experience that made me realize that I am NOT a racer. But deep down? I was comparing myself to my sister. And her amazing PR. And wondering ‘why not me?’ WHY can’t I do it? Why is she better than me?

Fast forward to this weekend. My sister and brother in law ran a kick-ass half marathon…another PR. And I don’t think I could have been prouder if I tried. I was beaming when she texted me her finish. I was excited and proud to see all of the congratulatory tweets and Facebook posts. I reveled in it. And I didn’t feel an ounce of jealousy, frustration or ‘why not me?’ moments. In fact, I channeled her ‘run happy’ mantra on my own run that morning with M, as we spontaneously decided to find a new route. And ya know what? I ran happy.

Compare THAT to last year? I can’t even describe how happy that makes me. I’m not comparing anymore. I’ve released myself of it. And instead? I’m proud of her, and happily running my own way.

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The second instance? I decided to weigh myself this weekend, after not weighing myself since December. I honestly had no idea what the scale would say. Of course, I hoped it would be lower than when I weighed in December, but told myself to only do it if I knew I could handle what it said.

So, as I waited to teach my barre n9ne class on Sunday, I stepped on the scale. And looked down. At first, I was happy. It was below my goal weight of that December timeframe. But then my mind automatically started to want to compare. At first, I did. And then I brushed it off. And then I did it again. I started to fixate. But it was half-hearted. I didn’t WANT to compare, or fixate, or obsess. I taught my class, I channeled my frustration (and probably killed my clients, hehe, but hey, what’s a little extra sweat on a Sunday Funday?!). I looked in the mirror. In my brand-new Lululemon outfit that I couldn’t believe I was wearing. Crops I never thought I could rock. And I smiled. I felt good. The number started not to matter so much, or rather, I started to own that number, to be proud of it, and not lose sight of all that I’ve accomplished in the ‘year of barre n9ne’.

On my drive home, I thought about it some more. And I realized something that really drove it home for me. A proportional loss that made me realize that I had, indeed, worked so hard, accomplishing a number that I wanted to own, rather than ‘wish away’ into a lower, phantom number, I embraced it. 100%. 

And that, my friends, are two examples of harnessing two very almost-paralyzing habits – comparison and number fixation – and instead, embracing and celebrating the change, the progress, and the determination that I’ve worked so hard for. There’s no such thing as comparison…to anyone but yourself. 

This one needs zero explanation. Zero.

More Friday lovin’

Keeping my fun/loving/Friday Five theme going because it’s one of those weeks where I yet again have a lot floating around up in my OATTing brain and figure this is the best way to hammer it out without a heck of a lot of detail, yaknowwhatimsayin? <–and I’m clearly a little slaphappy this morning, too!

Some Friday lovin’:

My run-speriment seems to be working (and I just realized I never totally blogged about this, this week, did I? Just mentioned it in last Friday’s post!)! I think I’ve finally found the right balance (at least in my first week’s run-speriment, that is!) for my runs. It’s all about working smarter, and not harder. Back to those basics I’ve talked about before. I carefully planned my runs this week around my barre classes (teaching and taking) rather than trying to do them back to back (it legit feels like what I would equate a brick workout to feel like, in a sense…not that I have done a brick, but if I did…) and did not do any of them back to back with teaching. And every single run was absolutely fabulous! I felt strong, I ran hard, and hit some relatively good mileage too, and that’s with 3 of 4 runs on the dreadmill, no less (we’ve been hammered with rain and yuck weather this week!). That, my friends, is how I want my week’s runs to feel every week. Strong, speedy, and just plain GOOD. <–just the vibes I’ll be sending my sis, brother in law and Samantha as they kick ass in the Providence Half Marathon on Sunday!! Go get it!!

If I haven’t said it enough, I absolutely love teaching barre n9ne. I’ll be teaching a total of 6 classes by the end of this weekend (two more tomorrow and one on Sunday) and with each class, no matter how big or small, I feel more confident, I feel more sure of myself in switching up my plans mid-routine (Me!? Who is this non-planner?!) and there is seriously nothing better than seeing the determination, sweat, and focus in the eyes of our clients at the studio. This feels insanely good. That, and all of the feedback from clients that my sister and I have both been getting, seeing the results of the 60 day challengers and the inches melting away, and on this day, one year ago, when we officially won the 60 day challenge? It feels incredible. (shameless self promotion: check out the feature I scored for Tanya! SO COOL!)

I love my man. More than ever. I don’t know why, but this week, I’ve just felt so connected to him, and wanting to just be near him in every way. Maybe it’s the fact that I am traveling next week, or maybe it’s just another evolution of our relationship, where our love continues to grow and develop, but I just love him so much. I know it’s mushy, but I just do. He’s amazing and I feel so blessed.

Celebrating an unplanned weekend <3. If I could hug this weekend, I would. Hell, I might even marry it 😉 Almost nothing planned (except for a fabulous birthday party tonight) and I couldn’t be happier. M and I will be doing a lil date night in on Saturday and beyond teaching at barre n9ne, that’s honestly all that I want to do. Flit around, do as I please, and just be. 

Happy weekend friends, make it a good one, mmk? Cheers!

 

On recognizing opportunity and never looking back.

One year ago, my sister Jess and I stepped into barre n9ne studio for our very first class…

…and we’ve never looked back.

Two weeks later, we won the barre n9ne 60 day challenge.

…and we’ve never looked back.

There’s something to be said for not looking back. For reflecting on the past, but looking forward. For taking and recognizing a huge opportunity and making it your own.

It doesn’t have to be a fitness-related opportunity (of course). It can be anything you set your mind to, any goal, any passion. It is sometimes easier to step into a challenge, get through it, and then be done with it, and move on to the next.

Can you imagine if I had done that with the 60 day challenge? Finished in July 2011 and left it at that? I would have lost out on one of the biggest opportunities and blessings in my life. An opportunity to finally hit that ‘reach goal’ that I never even dreamed was possible. To gain confidence, kick the self-image battling, shape my body into something I am proud of, and finally attain my goal of teaching something I am passionate about. To push myself out of my comfort zone...for an entire year, and reap the rewards ten-fold.

This is my call to you: is there something you are facing, a challenge, a goal, a new chapter in your life and you hesitate because you’re afraid? Or think you aren’t capable? Or think it’s too scary or too much of a risk? Well, guess what…it’s not. Life is meant for risk-taking, otherwise, what are we doing with our lives, except trudging through it day by day.

My life looks so incredibly different today than it did a year ago. And this is why.

The first step is to recognize the opportunity.

Identify it AS an opportunity, not a risk, a threat, an insurmountable challenge.

Make it your own.

And never look back.