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It's about the journey, not the result.


So, I sorta missed out on the deadline with the whole.. successes and failures blog competition thing, but I wanted to post something anyway since it's a subject that spoke out to me recently.

Sometimes, success can be a real matter of perspective, and sometimes, it's not always visible. We, as onlookers can point to others and assume that "this person is succeeding" and "this person hasn't really gotten that far" when we really don't know their whole story. We can also safely assume that others do the same to us.

The picture I've posted here was something that I was originally ashamed of. In my latest picture, I had felt that I've not progressed, but rather.. even actually regressed.

If anyone took this photo out of context, maybe you'd agree. Yeah, I've actually lost muscle. Yeah, you can see I put on a bit of fat, too. What kind of progress is that, right? Isn't that actually a bit of a failure, not a success?

I've always been really critical of myself, and I still do fear judgement- though not so much from strangers, but from those who are closest to me, because I can't help but care about what these people think. In doing so, I forget to care about what I think. When I look at those photos, I forget about all the struggles and I forget about the real progress that I've made. I forget about everything that I've learned that you guys don't see- because it's not immediately apparent. I forget about the "untaken" pictures between those milestones that I've just posted.. and that's where the true successes lie. The real successes are in the constant learning and the constant discovery.

You see, what you don't know, however, is that around this time last year, I had dropped down to a BMI of 16 at 37kg or 82lbs (which is underweight for my height of 4'10" or approx 148cm) and I have gone through a lot of changes and struggles to get back to a normal, healthy point for myself. Unfortunately, I don't have any fitness photos taken in this style, to show you (or even to show myself.) In my quest to move as far away from the unfit, frumpy girl I was unhappy with, I had forgotten the reason why I made all the choices that I have to begin with; to be a better, healthier, and happier version of myself.

As a bit of backstory, weight is something that I've always struggled with. I was a quite overweight as a child from when I hit puberty up until my late teenage years. At my heaviest, I was about 30lbs bigger than that picture from 2010, at a BMI of around 27. I weighed around 145 at my heaviest. At that time I didn't care because I was quite depressed, so I found it hard to find motivation to do much for myself- concentrating all my energy on my studies, instead. Though, at some point, I did make a choice to try to clean up my diet a little. That helped quite a bit (I had lost 10lbs before University 8 years ago just by cutting soda out completely) but I was still never really that active, so I never had a body that I could say was fit and healthy. I hovered around 110-115lbs for most of my young adult life.
It was a few months after I moved abroad for work, and I was heaving heavily whilst carrying my shopping home- that I said that I needed a serious change. I needed to be healthy because I was on my own and I only had myself to look after. I joined a gym.

When I became underweight last year, I would say that I had been struggling with quite a few things at that time, such as general stress and certain changes, coupled with a "diet mentality" that I have had for so many years, which is what I think lead me to that point. After a few rough months of trying to find a good balance in my life, I slowly overcame that. I put on some weight and lost some muscle, and I'm on the road of trying to maintain a better, healthier balance. So although, in a sense, the pictures look as though I've "backtracked." I feel as though I have progressed a lot mentally, emotionally, and I've learned quite a lot about my body. I still stumble quite a lot. I still I struggle with my diet (I have a huge sweet-tooth, and sometimes I don't always make the best choices) and I still also struggle with finding gym-motivation sometimes, but I try my best to treat every day with the best intentions.

Something that someone recently told me has stuck with me in terms of success and failure: "As long as we're constantly trying to improve ourselves, we are making progress no matter if the current steps we take might be heading in a different direction than our goals." So, putting my fears of failure aside, here are my latest progress pictures. Exposure might be scary, because I expect judgement from others- but then I remind myself that this is my own journey, and the most important thing is that I'm working towards being a better "me" every day. That, in itself, is success.

Bidoof FTW

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What you've done is a great thing! I also have been working out/eating healthier since early May and it can definitely be hard to resist sweets, chips, or staying at home. This story was really refreshing to know that someone I've seen around here a lot has similar challenges. It was a great read and well written, thanks for posting this :)
Muscle is a use-it-or-lose-it kinda thing, especially for women because testosterone levels are lower, so it's perfectly normal if you're not training as intensely. To be honest though, you look only marginally less ripped around the arms and I'd say that you have pretty much the same figure as you did a year ago. I wouldn't be downhearted if I were you though, because achieving a low body-fat percentage is something that takes an extreme amount of effort and a lot of professionals only maintain their peak physique for a certain amount of time during the year when it really counts so I don't think it's too big of a deal/regression.
That "regression" is barely even noticeable and you look pretty freaking awesome quite frankly. You shouldn't be hard on yourself over that and anybody who judges you for it is out of their minds.

It's a shame not to see this in the Blog-Off, but I'm glad you got around to posting it still!