Dasha’s journey: Losing close to 45 pounds turned out to be just the beginning

Hi KB community, to thank you for all our your hard work and dedication I would like to share with you a story about my – losing close to 45 pounds turned out to be just the beginning

I know so many of you have been working very hard on the #LoveYourJeanschallenge (we only have one week left). And because of that I thought it might be important for me to share a little bit of my own journey with you…

  • Our final week 8 workout calendars will be available starting tomorrow HERE>>>
  • 10% off discount still active: use discount code LoveYourJeans to grab a Body or Scorcher program and start training in your living room HERE>>>

and now Dasha’s two part story about her own journey

I lost about 45 pounds… but that was just the beginning of my fitness struggles

When I turned fourteen years old almost twenty years ago, I began to gain weight. It came on fast and continued all through high school and then college. A tough transition to say the least, going from being comfortable with myself to feeling like a lazy outcast. I remember feeling trapped in a place that felt foreign, sad and uncontrollable- slowly blaming my body for all of my problems.

I think the worst thing is having to identify yourself all over again. Looking in the mirror at the reflection of a person you no longer recognize. Suddenly I hated jeans, shorts, dresses and the dreaded bathing suit. When I look back now I am not sure how I gained so much weight so suddenly; a breakup, puberty, a lack of sports programs in my school, stress over college, stress over getting my first job afterwards. The point is, I hated the way I looked in the mirror and how I felt every day.  I was at a  lack of energy, a lack of confidence, a lack of control and unhappy with myself.  Because of that I avoided things, many things. I remember torturing myself in long pants in the heat all summer because I did not want to wear shorts or dresses.

Making Changes…

By my last years of college I knew I had to do something, take action, if not my entire life would be spent feeling like I didn’t belong in my own skin.  To start I visited a few gyms. Eventually I settled on a martial arts school, and paired that with my first systemized workout; a strength and cardio workout DVD I could do at home. Soon I began to see and feel a difference. I will say that I was not able to lose all of the weight I needed until I committed to an actual program of training. Just working out and being active helped, but when I met my first fitness friend, a famous figure competitor and model, is when I realized that true results (lean muscle, definition, arms, abs, strength) come from programs. That was my first lesson in fitness (and perhaps the reason I have never filmed an individual workout DVD, instead I believe in putting together a program: my Body and Scorcher Series programs, and our Love Your Jeans Challenge workout calendars as examples).

Seeing It…

I remember clearly the first day I saw my abdominal muscles in the mirror. I remember the first time a guy approached me at the gym to ask for my phone number (who me?). I also remember the day I went shopping for my first pair of tight fitness pants (WOW! what a reward that was). It was incredible looking at my actual body staring back at me; legs, abs, arms – all visibly toned and strong. More so, I was full of energy and life, I was active and strong and through that had found a whole new meaning to my goals (many that were outside the gym).

Turning Progress Into Pain… 

It was a year later that I was finishing college and moving to the city. The change of pace and the new responsibilities set me off of my routine. In the blink of an eye I had lost my fitness mentors, my gym and my training routine. I began following a random schedule of gym visits and workouts with no structure. It was shorty after that I began to gain weight again. I was stressed,  not sure why my gym visits where not helping me stay as lean and strong as I was when I was on a focused program. The fear of gaining my weight back loomed over me constantly. I began to compensate by skipping meals and under eating, sometimes not eating at all and other times overeating from stress. Suddenly my strong and defined shape became weak. I no longer had muscle definition or a healthy glow… instead I was constantly exhausted and stressed about food and exercise. My healthiest habits became my biggest points of stress. I remember being consumed with the fear of gaining weight. More then that I was constantly exhausted and stressed about food and working out. The same things that brought me so much joy and accomplishment where now points of tension and confusion. I felt lost and hopeless. Dreading the idea of spending my entire life stressing about food and training.

By my early twenties I knew I needed an intervention. In many ways I had come so far, losing weight, becoming active, building the body I wanted. Then, while moving I had lost my regiment and the fear of gaining weight threw me into a spiral of poor habits; yo-yo diets, lack of structure in my training and unsustainable nutrition habits. I had to start over. I remember re-starting martial arts, and revisiting a few of my fitness mentors to help me reset my path. It took time, regaining the trust I once had in myself. Finding the patience to train, eat and live correctly. I think the toughest thing was finding the balance between hard work and smart work. I had to learn to trust my routine again, trust my eating and trust myself.

It was that journey, spanning almost a decade, that helped me make the decision to leave a corporate job and go back to get my Masters degree in Sports Science. My weight and fitness stress had taken almost a decade of my life away from me and I was never going to let that happen again. Furthermore I was, and still am determined to help others find a better way; A lifestyle not a diet. A program not a workout. A habit, not a trend.

I am not going to say that getting my Masters degree in Sports Science was the only thing that helped me, that was just the beginning. It was a mixture of martial arts discipline and training, the support system I had around me, the decisions I made for my self to finally change, and the commitment to a system of training, nutrition and health. Those factors were actually  far easier to sustain then all of the other stuff I had been cluttering my life with, like starvation, over exercising, lack of a routine, bad program design, supplements, bad information, poor body image and stress.

What really matters… 

As you look at my before and after pictures here I think it is important to understand that those are just images. Especially as women we still place too much emphasis on how we look verses how we feel and what our abilities are. My bikini will not be able to tell you that I can pull my own body weight up.  It will not give you my belt rank in martial arts. It won’t tell you  that I can run, walk, hike, swim and be active and pain free in my daily life. A bikini will only tell you so much, and hopefully the calm and authentically happy face I have on that picture can help tell the rest of the story. None of these pictures are airbrushed or re-touched in any way!

Today I feel secure, confident, strong, relaxed, happy and fit. In my workouts, my nutrition habits and my lifestyle feel both challenged and relaxed at the same time. I feel proud and humbled by my journey. I feel inspired by my students, family and friends. I feel inspired by your stories and your dreams and even your battles (thank you for always emailing and sharing them with me and the KB family).

I hope that this story can help all of us, in one way or another be nicer to ourselves. Be it a tale of caution or a mirror image of your own struggles, I hope you learn something from it. I also hope you understand the three key points that I had neglected to identify for too many years:

  • You must be on a systemized, sustainable fitness and nutrition program in order to see, build on and keep your results for life.
  • You must look at your body as a vehicle for happiness, including your ability and capability for life, not just your jeans size.
  • You must be patient; some steps take longer then others, some parts of the journey are more challenging then others… be patient and commit to your future.  Do not set time limits of your success and do not compare yourself to others (we are all different).