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I participated in bodybuilding.com’s 12 week 250k Transformation Challenge. The goal of the challenge was to commit to your diet and fitness to create your best body in 12 weeks (that’s how I interpreted it at least). There was a monetary prize at the end (hence the 250k) but I was more motivated by the transformation. I’m far from where I’d like to be as this challenge comes to a close, but I did learn a few things.

Aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I used to be very good at making my weaknesses stronger. Whether it was in dance or working with horses, I knew where I’d falter so I’d be proactive and prepare for that situation.

Listening to my trainer is one of my strengths. I do what she tells me to do. I show up to the gym and workout. I lift heavy and perform HIIT 3-4 times a week.

My clean eating is an area I can tighten up. I enjoy it. I love veggies. I didn’t know I could like chicken this much. Didn’t know I’d be okay having eggs every single morning. A treat once a week is okay, but little cheats add up (sugar on oatmeal, a couple of jelly beans). I am a lot more aware of what I eat, when and why. Going to look at adding more variety to the line up.

Celebrate little wins. Little wins build bigger wins. I’ve always been a night person but I do try to sleep. There have been a couple of nights when I haven’t slept at all. When I’m genuinely hungry, I’ll make a midnight (or 3 am) snack. I’ve identified I want a crunch. The tortilla chips would be easy, quick, and convenient. They’d also be empty and I’d feel guilty in the morning, knowing I could have made a better choice. Asparagus and hummus has been a better choice. Peanut butter instead of the cookie when I want something small and sweet (not the greatest, but neither is being up all night).

It is a journey. I used to use “journey” for better word choice, but it’s sunk in at a different level. After 12 weeks I’m not where I’d like to be, but it’s pretty good. I stayed aware, kept recommitting and turned a corner. My body suddenly snapped together. I’ve never been this far on the journey, this close to the destination before, truly falling in love with the process.

It’s also been a milestone in my relationship to my body. I’m very competitive. I used to be a perfectionist and very cruel to myself. Nothing was ever good enough. I remind myself constantly what a privilege it is to be able to move, to move this well, to have the opportunity to let my body play and feed it well. For one of the first times in my life, I was constantly kind and supportive of my body. I think that’s why I turned the corner and saw new results.

The transformation isn’t over. It’s just a marker on the map.