“Before and after” is the classic set-up of weight loss success stories, love in fairytales and a significantly more stylish wardrobe following a makeover. But the truth of it is that most of us are works in progress, striving to improve ourselves, overcome obstacles or make dreams come true. Because it is about the journey as much as the final outcome, I will be spotlighting great people periodically who are doing what it takes to claim a better, happier or healthier life for themselves. Like Kimberly Whittaker, the Founder and Editor at Manifest Yourself.
Back in April 2011, Kimberly was worried about gaining extra pounds and during a visit to her godmother in Florida, stepped on a scale for a reality check. It read 185 lbs for her 5’3″ frame, an all-time high. Stress was a constant companion at the time, as she juggled a full-time job, graduate school and a required internship while planning her wedding. While she bounced from diet to diet, Kimberly didn’t make much progress until after her wedding last year. Changing her approach, she hired a personal trainer to discuss her wellness goals and made a serious commitment to exercise. In the past year, she has lost 20 pounds of fat while gaining more muscle, tremendous confidence and self-esteem. Here’s a quick Q&A about her experience:
Q: How has celebrating success and milestones helped your journey?
A: When it comes to getting in shape, it’s hard to appreciate the non physical changes that happen along the way,” says Kimberly. “I was never one to even notice until my trainer pointed them out from time to time. These small accomplishments helped motivate me along the way, propelling me to work harder in the gym and reward myself with things that wouldn’t set me back on my journey. Instead of driving to my favorite restaurant to eat a three course meal, I would splurge on a form-fitting outfit for work or pick up a new pair of yoga pants for the gym.
Q: Where do things stand for you now?
A: I am still a work in progress. As for weight loss, I still have another 20 lbs to go, but it seems much more attainable than it ever did in 2011. However, what excites me most is that I went from hiding in the corner of the gym where no one would see me to having the confidence to try new and harder exercises in the middle of the gym floor. Even though my body does not look exactly the way that I would like it to yet, I have another layer of self confidence because I know that I can work hard and master new things on the gym floor. Even without my trainer there, I can create my own challenging workouts and see changes in my body.
Q; What advice do you have for others who are looking to make lifestyle changes?
A: Seek help! If you find yourself spinning the wheels in your life, then maybe you need someone to help teach you a new way to ride your old bike. It’s easy to reject help and keep trying to affect change on your own. It takes strength to seek help to find a way out of a situation you are uncomfortable in. This help can be a professional who is trained to help in the area you want to change, or it can be a candid, yet supportive, friend or family member who will motivate, encourage, and tell you the truth.
I always tell my readers that I am constantly manifesting myself. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I have goals that I haven’t reached. But, the important message about getting unstuck is to keep trying. Don’t give up because it feels hard, you are defeated, or you don’t know what to do. Like the character of Olivia Pope said in the season premiere of Scandal, “I always have options!”
To learn more about Kimberly’s stories and opinions, visit www.manifestyourself.com.
In what areas of your life are you currently a work in progress? What milestones or successes have you celebrated recently?