This began as a caption for an Instagram progress picture, and quickly turned into a blog post because your girl is what the french call, “long winded”. If you went to the extra double of clicking on the link that brought you all the way over here to read these thoughts…THANK YOU!

On Tuesdays we post #transformationtuesday pics, here on the weight loss journey/fitness corner of Instagram.

But actually, this whole thing has been heavy on my mind recently. The concept of this “journey” and the expectations of what that means. The weigh-ins and progress pics. The many measurable “victories” and milestones all shared publicly in the name of shared accountability and inspiration.

A world I FULLY jumped ALL IN to when I was ready to make a change. I’ve shared every up and down, and was personally embraced by this community, and the culture that has been created around it. The #Weightlosscommunity helped to inspire me to change my quality of life, and even the very course of where my life was heading!!! There is nothing like the feeling of having friends and family get fired up and excited for you! There is a real and powerful place for social media as a source of positive momentum when you’re making such a life change! It has served me so many genuine blessings, and provided me many new and likeminded friends, that I hope to have my whole life!

But, it has also served as a HUGE distraction at times. And comparison trap, if I’m being honest.

Truthfully, the most meaningful progress of all cannot be measured or held to a specific timeline, group of numbers or event to be checked off of a list of goals.

I am the SAME soul, with the same beating heart, navigating through the same, real-life human experiences as everyone else in both of these pictures.

I have all the same triggers, memories and dreams.

It’s still ME.

Sometimes it hurts realizing the times I have gotten myself stuck struggling with FEELING like the more weight I lose….the more valuable I am. Naturally, feeling DE-valued and deflated when missing the mark. It took some time and practice learning how to celebrate my wins while also holding my value as a person separate from weight loss results.

I myself, have contributed to the belief that in order to be accepted and successful, the mindset must look something like: “Yes, I’m fat but I’m brave enough to own it and say so. I am also learning how to boldly live my life out loud, and on purpose anyway…but also…don’t worry guys, here’s what I intend to do about it.”

As if I owe the disclaimer?

As if the permission granted to those of us who dare to be SEEN in big bodies, (here on IG, or working out in the gym, or out in the world wearing leggings/athletic wear) is solely based upon our willingness to share with all those who are “concerned” exactly HOW we intend to change and “transform” these bodies into more “acceptable” ones.

And then, even after weight loss is achieved, the conversation always evolves into the “concerned” questioning about when/how I plan to remove all my lose skin?

But what if the real transformation is simply NOT about this body?

The difference in these pictures is 3 years and around 80lbs or so…but the REAL difference here is in the way I am glowing.

From the inside out.

From the deep, hard fought lessons I’ve had to learn about myself and those I’ve loved, in between these pictures being taken. There were many workouts, many prepped and tracked meals, many weigh-ins and MANY ups and downs between them. But THAT is not what I see when I look at them.

Since I started in 2014 I’ve lost 100+ lbs…more than once.

Some would say, (as far as numbers are concerned) that I have failed. That, in 5 years of living this lifestyle, I have never been able to actually reach the end goal. The ever, indispensable “goal weight” that would stamp me a true “success”.

But THOSE are the exact people who think that big bodies are simply the result of the hungry hands of lazy people…that just can’t seem to stay out of fast food bags.

They will never get it. We know there is MORE going on here.

What I know for SURE is, there is a place, deep within our hearts below all of this noise.

Stripped down to the bare bones of everything…that makes you, YOU.

And me, ME.

A place where we stop waging war within ourselves. We stop worrying about how this body looks showing up, taking up space in the world, and begin to embrace it instead. A place where we shift into becoming more concerned with how our soul, spirit and TRUEST self is showing up and taking up space, within our own LIVES.

That is the progress in these pics.

The transformation.

Can you see IT?

Every workout I have pressed through till the finish.

Every new movement or exercise I dared to try.

Every time I resisted a food binge and allowed myself to remain in the discomfort of my feelings, instead of numbing.

Each time I chose to feel the feelings instead of avoid or ignore.

Each time I have had to take ownership, admit fault, learn from failure and ask for help in humility.

Every time I overcame doubts, fears or failures that threatened what I have worked so hard for and have earned.

That is what I see when I look at progress pics.

Nothing is wasted or lost.

There is no failing.

No matter what the scale says or what my current clothes size is. Or, how many times I have to go back to basics and begin again.

And definitely not because I owe progress updates or weigh-ins to anyone.

We keep going even if it’s just because we DESERVE to FEEL BETTER, and strong and confident…no matter what body we show up in.

Digging deeper and deeper until we strike GOLD.

Who’s ready?