noun; regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).
This is a story about a woman with an amazing weight loss transformation. But instead of focusing the article on the physical side of the transformation, we wanted to share what she had to overcome internally to lose the weight. Her journey begins with self-acceptance and love. As Robert Collier put it, “Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.”
Weight loss requires discipline and hard work. It’s not just about shedding the pounds – it’s keeping the weight off, making hard choices every day on what to eat, fitting in time to exercise, and battling with negative self talk. It’s an emotional roller coaster.
When tackled alone, without support or encouragement, the average “dieting” experience is filled with toxic, negative mental chatter. “I shouldn’t have ate that.” “Why haven’t I lost more weight?” It’s an intolerable cycle that usually ends with someone deep-six-ing their goals before they have even truly begun.
Couple that with the anxiety of being overweight, low self-esteem issues and lack of confidence, then sprinkle in a little stress at work, unbalanced life and family feuds, and you have a recipe for a failed weight loss attempt.
The Emotional Turmoil.
The way we feel about ourselves when losing weight is like a roller-coaster of up and down feelings creating emotional instability. When our sense of self-love is tied to our weight, we tend to love ourselves more once we’ve shed a few pounds, but the minute we gain any of it back, we love ourselves less.
Do We Dare Compare.
Today’s social media culture impacts each and every one of us more than we know. This is especially true with our youth. We measure ourselves every day to others we see on Facebook, instagram and the like. This can be particularly dangerous and deceitful when it comes to weight. When the media – and our own Facebook feeds and Tweets – constantly bombard us with images of people with “perfect” bodies, it becomes easy to imagine that nearly everyone is happier and more loved than we are. We feel that our lives are incomplete or lacking, and the only way to remedy that is to lose weight.
How Do We Create a Healthy Relationship With Ourselves?
So how do we create a healthier relationship between love and weight? Repeat after me, “I am a worthy, lovable human being regardless of the number on the scale.” We don’t need to earn the right to be loved – it is something that we all possess inherently.
In order to create a healthy lifestyle that is viable, we have to approach weight loss as something we’re doing because we deserve good health – not because we see it as the only path to love. Loving ourselves unconditionally will result in truly healthy decisions.
Meet Conner Rensch
If you were to meet Conner on the street, you would never guess that she struggled with her weight and self esteem growing up. Conner has an amazing personality, one that instantly changes the mood of a room for the better. Her smile is contagious and so genuine. She is one of those gals who would do anything for anyone – she’s that great!
However, Conner had an internal struggle going on that caused her to gain a lot of weight through her teenage years. Since the age of 6, Conner battled with acceptance and self love, resulting in a constant struggle with an unhealthy weight. She was bullied at school and would sneak food in the bathroom or eat alone in her bedroom while home so people couldn’t see her eat. She felt alone and misunderstood. She knew she was a good person, so it was very confusing to Conner that people were judging her because of her size. Conner really didn’t experience any major trauma’s growing up, had (and still has) an amazing, supportive family and lots of friends, but Conner’s over-eating and shame only lead to more weight gain and unhappiness. At her highest weight, Conner was 271 pounds.
At age 19, in her first year in college, Conner took a good look in the mirror and decided it was time to make a change. She started working out at Mick Doyle’s gym with trainer Matt Bentley. Conner exercised 5 days a week, saw a nutritionist and within a five month period had lost 70 lbs. That wasn’t easy. It took incredible discipline and a strong work ethic. Because of Conner’s determination and discipline, she experienced tremendous success, but had to cut her training short as she moved to Los Angeles to attend beauty school to become a hair stylist. Conner knew she needed to continue her workouts and eat healthy, but found it challenging in L.A. without her support system. However, she still managed to lose another 30 lbs before returning back to Omaha to pursue her career.
Returning back to Omaha, Conner was determined to lose more weight and live a healthier lifestyle – she knew if she did it once, she could do it again. Conner also knew if she was to lose additional weight, she would need to step it up. Conner was looking for a new fitness routine that would take her to the next level. She called Tim Gorham. She met Tim while training at Mick Doyle’s Gym and heard he went out on his own. Conner set out with Tim and his wife, Ashley Gorham of Style Fitness & Nutrition to make her weight loss goal a reality. When Conner started her fitness program with Ashley and Tim, she was 200 lbs and wanted to lose another 40-50 lbs. Ashley Gorham explained to CTM that in order for Conner to successfully lose the final weight and keep it off, she needed to be on a customized nutrition plan. “Everyone has a different body type, lifestyle, and activity level,” explained Ashley, “a customized nutrition plan is crucial in transformations.”
Ashley went on to explain that those trying to lose weight need to trust the process and trust their trainers/counselors/nutritionists. Eating the right foods, at the right time, in the right portions is very confusing. Ashley stresses that if you trust and follow the plan 100 percent, you will succeed – it’s all about trusting in others.
The Gorham’s also emphasize weight training versus cardio to shed weight and start seeing definition. Conner saw this first hand. Like everyone else, Conner thought she was working out hard when she completed 30 minutes on a treadmill or did any form of cardio. However, cardio is just one component to weight loss and strength. Ashley Gorham tells CTM that if you want to see aesthetic changes in your body quickly, you need to be on a weight training program. As soon as Conner went from cardio to weights – she made the biggest leaps in her weight loss and saw the most results.
The Final Result
About 8 months into her training with Ashley & Tim, Conner saw a weight loss contest featured in People Magazine, showcasing men and women from the U.S. who lost half their size in weight. It was Conner’s New Years resolution last year to submit her photos to People by her 25th birthday in June of 2014. She knew she had to kick it into high gear and really prove to herself she could do it and win! She didn’t tell a single soul she entered the contest, she wanted to prove this all to herself. The end result…Conner was one of 17 individuals featured in the January 2015 issue of People Magazine and she landed the COVER shot.
Loving the Weight Away
Along with finding a dedicated and committed trainer or support group, each of us must also put time into healing our inner feelings about ourselves. Conner had to do some deep thinking and seek counseling and spiritual guidance. She knew she wouldn’t be able to overcome her fears and the challenges that lay before her without a strong, support group. Through self analysis, Conner focused on why she was a people pleasing person. She loved putting smiles on everyone’s face and wanted to make sure that wherever she went, whatever she was involved with, everyone around her was taken care of and had a good time. This would be an emotionally exhausting task for anyone, but for Conner – it was truly a cover to her true unhappiness. Conner had to learn to release the need to please everyone. It was literally affecting her health. She tells CTM that it is still a constant struggle, but now she is consciously aware of it and stops herself in many instances and goes back to her thoughts of self acceptance and love.
Along with a healthy diet and proper exercise, counseling and life-coaching can help you along in promoting self-perceptions that have an impact on our self-esteem. With a secure and confident “self” we can be more successful in achieving any behavioral goal.
Where to begin to love? Click here and read Five Ways to Start Loving Yourself Today!
Complete Transformation Magazine LOVES NoshSense Bars!
Gluten-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened, “made with love” fruit & nut bars! Boosts energy and low calorie! FLAVOR OF THE MONTH: Chocolate Cherry Chia – delicious! Purchase a dozen NoshSense Bars and receive a bag of ‘Nosh Nibs’ in this month’s flavor, Chocolate Cherry Chia! Order online today at noshsense.net and use Coupon Code: CTMOMAHA. Offer ends February 28, 2015.
Story by Cheri Dickmeyer, Founder & CEO