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Last week as I was checking in with our Virtual Gym like I do every day I came across this picture that Erin Marie Schmuker had shared in the private group with our community and our clients. She shared about her progress and how it didn’t have to do anything with the number on the scale. I immediately wrote her a private message and asked her for permission to share it. At first she said that she wanted to take a better picture but then shortly after I received a message saying I could share it along with this beautiful caption and life lesson. I’ve been a coach for 10 years now and this NEVER gets old. It’s what I live for. Seeing people grow, transform, and FIND THEMSELVES by learning new healthier lifestyle habits like reading good books, working out, and making smarter food choices.

“I was hesitant in sharing the after picture with everyone because of all the excuses I was making in my head as to why the picture wasn’t perfect: “My hair is frizzy” “My makeup wasn’t done” (thanks allergies) “I’m recovering from a weekend of terrible eating and I look tired” “I’m sitting funny”I could keep going… but then I stop and look at my smile. Then I look at the smile in the first picture and remembered how I felt that day.

I cried that day putting on clothes that didn’t fit. I’d rather stay in my oversized sweatpants and baggy t-shirts. My “fat jeans” were too small. I had to put on a super tight tummy band to fit into my jeans. I tried on so many shirts to try find the right one that didn’t make me look pregnant. That shirt is a size XL and I can still remember how tight it felt on my arms. Then, the worker asked to take the picture. I tried to “suck it all in”. I held my breath as she took the picture. I also remember turning my head to look at her and smile. I felt like I was wearing a neck brace. It was an uncomfortable feeling. I honestly don’t even know how much I weighed. I wasn’t weighing myself at that time. I don’t think we even owned a scale. I didn’t want to be defined by a number. I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar 2 that year and we were in the long, grueling process of finding a medication to help balance out my mood swings. It was a nightmare!

Steve is THE MOST patient man I know for walking along side me during that journey!!! Looking back at my current picture now, I notice my posture. I wasn’t trying to sit up tall and “suck it in”. I’m probably in one of the most non flattering postures for your stomach you could be in. But I didn’t care! I was having fun with family, doing what I love with the ones I love! I even showed my mom the before picture and she didn’t recognize me. I’m sharing this with you for a couple of reasons…

#1 – it’s not about the number on the scale. My goal always has, and always will be, how I feel in my skin and when I’m wearing clothes.

#2 – your before and after pics don’t have to be perfect! I struggled with this one. The lighting looked off and I’m not in the exact same position as the first pic.

However… it’s night and day in my face how much happier I am!!! I don’t look like I’m forcing my smile. I’m genuinely happy.”If you have read this far, I want you to know that YOU are invited into our community. Where you currently ARE doesn’t have to be where you stay forever and we’d be happy to be your hype squad and support group. I am only a message away.