Motivation and the Power of Before & After


Motivation and the Power of Before & After


I love a good before and after photo as much as the next person, but seeing my own is a whole extra level of amazing. When I look at these images, I not only see a slimmer, healthier version of me, I see the months and months of hard work and lifestyle changes that went into it.

But now that I’m a year out, what motivates me to keep going?

One year ago I made the decision to have a sleeve gastrectomy. While my surgery wasn’t until October, June 30th of last year marked the start of the entire process. This began with several months of dietary restrictions, fitness tests and therapy, followed by a two-week pre-surgery liquid diet. Post-surgery required additional weeks of liquid diet that eventually eased me back onto solid food. So while some may view bariatric surgery as the “easy way out,” it is far from it.

After the procedure and initial weight loss, thus began a lifetime of changed eating habits, exercise, positive attitudes and heaps of the aforementioned hard work. Which is where I am today. I figured the anniversary of my journey was a good time to take stock, admire how far I’ve come, and consider where I want to go next.

Motivation and the Power of Before & After


The things that motivated me 12 months ago are different than what will keep me going today. A year ago, three things were my primary incentives:

  1. I felt like crap. I looked like crap. I didn’t want to do crap. (I know that’s three things right there, but they share a crappy commonality, so I’m counting them as one.)
  2. I saw drastic change in someone close to me.
  3. I was on the precipice of 50.


Now that I’ve turned 50, lost 90 pounds, and am enjoying lots of support, energy and new clothes, what’s going to keep me on track? This one is harder to answer, as I’m in the midst of it. Honestly, it’s kind of a hit-or-miss, trial-and-error type thing. I try things and if they don’t work, I move on. I’m fickle like that, and mixing it up is what works for me. Bear with me as I explore this further…

I don’t want to diminish the constant motivators in my life — my husband, my son, my desire for a long, healthy life. But if I’m being honest, getting compliments and clothes shopping also help me get out of bed in the morning.

Another thing that I’m enjoying is being more attuned to my new body. Not just enjoying the way I look, but the way I feel. Noticing muscles and bones I’ve not felt in decades. How much less space I take up. How my legs and arms move and cross and stretch with more ease. It never ceases to amaze me.

Additionally, while the changes to what I eat have been quite drastic, it hasn’t been as difficult as I’d imagined. I’m not saying it’s always a piece of cake, but I can say with all honesty that I rarely miss the things I’ve given up (which includes cake).

Exercise is another matter. While my body can do more and different things than it did 90 pounds ago, I would still rather do pretty much anything other than exercise. My favorite activities as a little kid are my my favorite activities today — doodling and sitting in front of screens.


Looking at my long/sporadic/tumultuous relationship with working out, a few things regularly spark me into action:

  • Simplicity
  • Convenience
  • Accountability
  • Having reachable goals
  • Celebrating benchmarks
  • I also love the way it makes me feel afterwards — tired yet energetic; weak but powerful; and a sense of having done something good for myself.

So this post is sponsored — which means I’m getting paid to tell you about a product. Yet as fate would have it, I was on the market for some new motivation, which came in the form of the new Bowflex Max 8 Trainer! I’m still in the beginning stages of checking out this beast of an elliptical, but so far it’s ticking all the boxes… and kicking all my ass.

Simplicity: It offers bite-sized workouts that pack a punch.
Convenience: Having it in my own basement is beyond convenient.
How it makes me feel: I’m able to see the before and after in just 14 minutes — how I feel as well as indicators on how many calories I’ve burned.

Bowflex Max 8 Trainer - MOTIVATION!

Me, BEFORE working on the Bowflex Max 8 Trainer
BEFORE: excited, motivated, happy I didn’t have to leave the house.
Bowflex Max 8 Trainer
READY! I click the MAX button, then work out for 14 minutes with intervals of intensity and recovery.
Me, AFTER working on the Bowflex Max 8 Trainer
AFTER: sweaty, spent, wobbly… and proud that I did something good for myself!


Here are some new goals I’m putting out into the universe:

  1. Strength and weight training, 1-2 times a week at my neighborhood gym.
  2. Workout on Bowflex 3 times a week for cardio, core strength, and generally limbering up my 5o-year-old body.
  3. Explore more of the Bowflex features, as well as the Bowflex Experience app and armband heart rate monitor.
  4. Play the long game. I want to lose 20 more pounds, but I’m giving myself a year. That comes out to less than 2 pounds a month — totally doable.

As a result of all this, my hope is to not only lose weight, but continue to gain energy, tone my muscles and loose skin, gain more muscle mass (especially in my butt)… and of course do some more clothes shopping.

Check back here and on social media (Facebook & Instagram) as I share my progress over the next few months!

Looking at my photos makes me really, really happy. It inspires me to keep going, and I hope it does you, too.

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I’ve received compensation from Nautilus as a partner for Bowflex. However, all opinions and content are my own.

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