By Guest Blog Post Writer Alicia Ceccarelli
Whether you are a loyal fan of her soulfully indulgent podcast like I am, or found her coaching programs through a search engine, or came across this amazing opportunity in your own unique way, you are in the right place. I recently took the leap by registering for Trish’s Breakout program, and my journey on this Road to Confidence has been priceless.
When I stumbled upon her podcast, I was desperate for a way to gracefully deal with the stressors in my life. Juggling a hectic management position in the restaurant business was enough by itself to turn me a balding twenty-something, but I was also a newlywed with full-time enrollment at my university, commuting 40 minutes to each place and raising a rescue puppy too.
There was something special in Trish’s weekly message that gave me hope, energy and joy. Consequently, when I found myself feeling low or discouraged, I correlated it with a lapse in listening regularly.
Early on, I found myself identifying with one of her most eye-opening insights: the self-defeating “When This, Then…” mentality. This mindset that we get from time to time, or perhaps live by, that tells us once this happens, (insert that thing that supposedly solves all your problems) then I can really be happy. Or, then I can begin my dream…etc. I recognized that pattern in my own thinking and I wanted a change. I wanted to be happy in THIS moment, regardless of my circumstances.
It doesn’t matter where you are in life, if you have ever felt like you weren’t living your boldest, dearest dreams, or felt like your potential was stuck in the mud, then you are here for a reason. I am here to share my story to give you that nudge that will help you decide definitively that this is the best investment you can make for yourself and the perfect time to do it.
Living in the Valley of Depression :
Each year that passed me by was like another layer of dirt, burying me in the coffin of mediocrity. My twenties had been a scattered, rollercoaster-ride of yearning for growth and self-exploration, and plummeting into self-sabotage and stewing in the shame of my failures. Each venture, each risk I took, was just another line on my rap sheet of things I was incapable of accomplishing. Every year that went by served to solidify all I didn’t have the heart or willpower to achieve. Then there was this uneasy acceptance of this self-defeat, and suddenly I found myself ashamed of the things I had once dreamed for my future. How outlandish, how audacious, how full of myself was I? What was I thinking?
Now I am not saying that lessons weren’t learned through my experimental years. I acknowledge that there was value in all my failures, and that I was enriched in many ways, specifically by the books I read along my journey. In fact, that was part of what perplexed me about my squandered potential the most. I was a well-read young woman who, somewhere in the depths of my scatterbrained mind, knew the brilliance behind big-time achievers like Robert Kiyosaki, Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, John Maxwell, Joyce Meyer, Eckhart Tolle and countless others. My big breakthrough question, was how was it possible to be exposed to this elite knowledge and have so little reflection and manifestation in my own life?
This is the question that was answered during my journey in Trish’s Breakout program. Its not enough to know it, you have to live it, and in order to live it, you must take action everyday even in the face of fear. (Often in the face of fear.)
Let’s look at one element of my life that I had been dissatisfied with and felt hopeless for change. Just before starting Breakout, I moved to back to my hometown in South Florida with my husband in mid-December. I weighed the most I have ever weighed in my life: 162 lbs.
Full Story of My Battle with Weight Loss:
In the past, for the better part of my twenties, I effortlessly weighed between 133 lbs. to 147 lbs. My fiancé and I moved to Pennsylvania in 2009, but with the isolation and the cold winter, among other factors, my weight exploded to 152 lbs. in under a year. It wasn’t until I saw a picture of myself on Facebook (and split my dress while bending over,) that I put my foot down and committed to losing the weight for the first time.
I saw a meme on Pinterest that helps me laugh at this curse of weight fluctuation we experience as we age: You know, the cartoon picture of the Victorian woman in the sitting chair, grasping her aching head in anguish? “I wish I was as fat as I was when I first thought I was fat.”
My first weight loss attempt was a short-lived success. I changed to a less demanding job, joined a gym and ran regularly. I was down into the higher 130’s and feeling magical. I was more addicted to seeing the scale move down each day (progress) than I was to eating for comfort and drinking to mask my insecurities. After all, I had a wedding to prepare for, and after I lost the weight, then of course, my life would really begin.
But devastation and life-changing events happened instead. All of my progress depreciated, and my priority went to other things I used as an excuse to fall off in my consistency. The wedding went on hold indefinitely. By the time my fiancé and I found our way back to each other and ready to start planning our big day, I was back to 152lbs. I was motivated though. I knew I would be spending thousands on pictures and I wanted to love the way I looked in them. I searched for a personal trainer to keep me accountable, but never pulled the trigger on it even though I was aware I had accountability issues. I borrowed P90X from a friend and struggled so miserably, I discouraged myself from getting through even the first CD. When I filled out my height-to-weight ratio on their health and nutrition website, I found myself in the Obese category, and became completely deflated in accomplishing my weight loss goals. I still ran when I could and lifted some weights, but I let go of making any substantial progress with achieving happiness with my fitness. Then I told myself a lie that would cripple my fitness ambitions and spike my weight to an unprecedented 162lbs within the next few years. I said to myself, “If you couldn’t lose the weight you wanted for your wedding, the biggest, most special, most expensive day of your life, there will never be another motivator more important. If you could not lose it for your wedding day, then be honest with yourself and realize you will never have a better reason. You can’t do it.”
I tacked on the next ten pounds by compromising my sanity at a job that failed to serve me any purpose but stress and aggravation. I compensated with eating hastily as an escape, and drinking as my form of dysfunctional therapy. I became distant from the girl in the mirror and disconnected from my expanding body. I dreaded wearing a uniform that caused me to tuck my shirt in and accentuate the pounds that were rolling over the top of my pants. Needing an inch here and there, as the months went on, I would intentionally rip at my pants in the waistline for breathing room and attended classes in nothing but sweats. My face was beginning to look distorted and soon the anxiety of looking at myself began to sicken me. I kept saying to myself in disbelief, “Oh my god, is that really me?”
The hurtful remarks didn’t end there. They snowballed to the point where I didn’t want even to leave the house. I told myself that my good-looking, healthy years were behind me. I told myself to accept that feeling feminine and radiant was just a memory to hold onto in pictures from the past.
Starting the Program:
Looking back on my entire journey into the dark valley was the key to my breakthrough with Trish’s program. It is the intention to spend time, daily, to reflect on how we got off our happy path. How can any doctor or scientist, attempt to cure an affliction or problem, that they haven’t bothered to research or investigate the cause of, and what makes it exist in the first place? It takes 28 days to break a habit, and it is no coincidence that Breakout is a 30-day program. This was the pivotal element that started my emergence from everything that was holding me back.
The first week of the Breakout program focuses on the place we are stuck in: The Cage: At first, I doubted why it was necessary to examine the negativity, the demons, the failures, the downtrodden feelings. After all, I wanted to be free from them as soon as possible. I had spent my whole life in this cage and freedom couldn’t come fast enough for me. However, I soon learned the importance, the paramount purpose of examining the place we are imprisoned in, in order to escape. Just like a real-life prison break, we are better prepared for success if we have an idea of the layout of the compound, what the building is made of, the security procedures and daily schedule, correct? With thoughtful examination of my history, I recognized that certain fallacies were acting as predominant arguments in my thought process and resulting in my failures. Once I was able to recognize my self-defeating thoughts as lies, it opened my mind to what was truly possible. This is how you see outside of the cage.
But Trish doesn’t leave you there, outside of your cage.
Being able to dream without censorship was liberating. One of my favorite exercises was sketching out what my dream would look like. What started with just a flattering version of myself in the center, became a detailed storyline, with all my loved ones and various accomplishments. The challenge of drawing something to represent my ambitions warmed my soul. I gave myself permission to dream again. It was one of the most loving moments I have awarded to myself in a long time. With Trish’s help, I finally knew I deserved it, and that I would be better to my loved ones for allowing myself this tangible indulgence in my dreams. Visualization is a huge part of keeping the momentum and excitement it takes to sustain the energy necessary to pursue our passions.
Then it was time for solidifying what it really meant to be me. Together, we developed my mission statement, embraced and celebrated my values and virtues, and created my “dash.” Once you know who you are at your core, you are equipped to stand tall and strong in the face of adversities. This changed my mentality about obstacles and hardships. I used to succumb to the discomfort of the obstacles that stood between myself and my goals. Now I recognize them, embrace them, and invite them into my story. After all, what kind of story is really worth telling that doesn’t have a compelling catalyst, or challenging crisis to move it forward? So I put my goals first. This meant plotting out the month, and investing in and exploring any resources that could give me a better understanding of conquering weight loss. This meant analyzing my weaknesses and anticipating temptations before they arose. I identified excuses that snuck their way into my psyche and gave them the boot. I committed to having unwavering integrity as the challenges became greater and the temptations more enticing. Then I broke new ground in my stamina, and my longest runs became my warm up length. I gave myself permission to really see Alicia, to really watch her shine. I know pride now, and I believe it is something everyone deserves to feel.
For me, it was really helpful to have someone there to help me construct each stepping stone that paves my way to true happiness and freedom. I reached my weight loss goal of losing 8 lbs in one month and my tactical goal of reaching 8 miles in my run. My jeans fit, my face is glowing and lean, and I have energy to tackle the day ahead. Yesterday, I went clothes shopping for the first time in months. It finally felt like a treat, not an exhibition of my distorted body mass. I felt like a 30-year-old should feel: youthful, fit and free.
I now have all the tools I need to take action in spite of my fears: a mind that is resilient and armed against adversity, and a healed heart that believes I am worthy. This never would be possible if I wasn’t willing to undergo this transformation and accept more for myself. I am never going back to defeated thinking. I now see my fears as doorways to greatness and am looking forward to realizing my scary dream in a few months: my first ever, half-marathon in Miami, April 25th, 2015.
A Breakout Recap:
Stopping the hurtful labels I put on myself was crucial. You have to treat yourself right first or you won’t accept that you are worthy of change and it just won’t work out.
I started putting labels on my excuses and lies instead. By doing that, I removed their power over me forever. I can never again say, “I can’t work out today, I don’t have time.” I know it is an excuse. I’d be embarrassed to turn that card in now.
I know exactly why I wanted to fully commit to the challenge of becoming the best of myself. For me, I’m doing it for the people I love. I want to be a real-life example of inspiration and perseverance, especially for when I become a mother. How could I really look my children in their eyes and tell them they can be anything they want to, if I can’t achieve my own month-long goal?
How I Got It Done
I did it the right way. I accepted that the results I ultimately wanted were not going to be instant. I still want to lose more weight than the initial 8 lbs, but I knew starving myself, taking risky diet pills, or pushing myself unreasonably with my workouts would end in failure. Instead, I focused on doing what was right for myself and everything else fell into place.
I drank as much water as I could, as often as I could think of it. I made drinking water my job. I committed to it so whole-heartedly that I carried a special thermal bottle with me everywhere. I even turned around for it once while heading to work. Water became my savior in tempting situations. It filled me, replenished me and helped me to recognize true hunger. I never once felt like I was starving. Sure, sometimes I had a craving towards bedtime, but I recognized this as a feeling that would pass. I went to bed and was lighter on my feet the next morning.
Trish recommended an app called My Fitness Pal, to help keep track of my caloric intake and assess my ratio of sugar to carbs to protein. While this is a huge timesaver, at first it required daily dedication. But I felt so rewarded to see that I had stayed within my calorie goal and that “If every day were like today, I would weigh 148 in five weeks.” I never deprived myself of the foods I loved but I set my intention on the discipline of eating slowly, appreciatively and giving myself a standard portion.
A Summary of My Meals for the Month:
Making most of my meals gave me control over the sneaky ingredients that add up like butter and sugar.
- Soups: chicken and kale, chilled Gazpacho
- Salads- arugula, spinach, romaine with my own lemon vinaigrette and various veggies
- Fish tacos with avocado
- Greek yogurt with honey and almonds
- Peanut butter and apples
- Eggs with veggies and cheese
- Protein smoothies with coconut milk, kale, and frozen blueberries
- Blue corn chips and hummus
- Strattachella gelato
- Pasta and Meatballs (Mother-in-law’s to-die-for recipe)
- Baked chicken wings with barbecue sauce (For Football Sundays)
- Shrimp and steak kabobs
- Grilled chicken with whole grains like brown rice and quinoa
- Oven-charred veggies like broccoli and sweet potato
Does that sound like I deprived myself at all?
The biggest obstacle was replacing wine with alcohol-free alternatives. I stocked up on sparkling water with fruit essence, infused my own flat water and embraced Sleepy Tea to cap off my evenings. There was a direct correlation between my lack of alcohol consumption and my decrease in ravenous appetite. I found myself satiated sooner in the course of my meals and without the sudden and extreme desires that I used to deal with. Additionally, without massive or mild hangovers, there was one less element holding me back from my daily workouts.
My results began to snowball and yours will too. This lifestyle was initially a drastic move but now it feels effortless.
My Breakout, and breakthrough, Take Away:
In this 30-day journey, I realized something so precious that I have to share it. I realized that…Of all we desire in life, of all the things to buy, experience, obtain and enjoy, the best gifts of all will always and only be the ones that no one else can give to us but ourselves. Your unrealized dreams are not in your possession because of one thing alone: your mentality. Love yourself enough to decide to change your life forever. Choose to become the best of yourself, and give yourself all the rewards that will come as a result. If you gave this to yourself, the gift of true self-actualization, just imagine what you could then give to others as a result?
The next session of Breakout is currently open for registration and it begins on Sunday, March 1st. Spots are limited. Give yourself the gift of self-investment, give yourself the most transformational month of your life by registering at: www.trishblackwell.com/breakout