This is Personal – That Time I Hit Bottom

Do Not Fear Failure
photo: some rights reserved by Tomasz Stasiuk

You’re likely familiar with the expression “spill your guts”.

This is what that looks like.

I’m finally ready to share something incredibly personal with you – one of my greatest failures – for reasons explained later in this article. Are you ready? I am.

You’ve heard of celebrity sham marriages that ended in a matter of days, or even hours. Heck, there are also people who go to Vegas for a fun-filled weekend and get hitched in a drunken stupor because . . . Vegas. (“Do I? Of course I do! Now pass me that whottle of Biskey.”)

Where is this going? you’re likely wondering. Now (drum role please) while I don’t have the record for shortest-marriage-ever, I was probably pretty close.

Eighteen months.

That’s how long my first marriage lasted. And, no, it wasn’t a spur of the moment Vegas-style, alcohol fueled ceremony either. I was 20 when I got married and a ripe 21 (yes, that’s sarcasm) when it ended.

I’m by no means proud of my 18 month marriage that can be summed up as an epic fail. Heck, that’s why I’m just now mentioning it, almost eight years later. But I’m not ashamed of it either. That experience provided me with some valuable, life-changing lessons, and that is why I’m sharing this with you.

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How to Build a Better Body, The Truth About “Perfection”, andWhy You Won’t See Pictures of Me in a Bikini

My terrible attempt at putting a bikini on the Lift Like a Girl logo.

“Nia, why don’t you post photos of you in a swimsuit? You must not know what you’re doing if you never show photos of you in a bikini.”

I’ve received other similar messages calling me a fraud and claiming my “methods must not work” because I don’t display photos of me in a bikini. (And, last time I checked, my “methods” aren’t anything revolutionary or ground breaking. Unless, of course, you consider taking the Sane and Simple approach to eating and working out as the latest and greatest thing in the fitness world. Actually . . . that might make sense). Moving on . . .

Let’s put this “where are your bikini photos” topic to rest, once and for all.

You won’t see photos of me in a bikini on this website or the Lift Like a Girl Facebook Page.

Sure, I rock out a swimsuit whenever I chill out at the pool, lake, or beach, but I won’t post these photos.

Here’s why – it’s just not my thing.

Not the answer you wanted? Fine. I’ll elaborate.

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Get Off the Scale – Why You Need to Stop Weighing Yourself

scalepic2You can achieve better body transforming results and be much happier during the process if you stay off the scale. So, first things first – if you’re going to participate in the following challenge (staying off the scale), you need to get rid of it. Now. Yes, I haven’t told you why yet, but that doesn’t matter.

Go grab your scale, and then get rid of it.

Put it in a very inconvenient place so you’re not tempted to step on it; in the attic, somewhere in the garage, like a creepy corner that hasn’t seen a good spring cleaning since the 80s, or anywhere it’s not easily accessible. If you know you’ll crawl on your hands and knees into the dark abyss to retrieve the scale, then have a friend or family member hold on to it for you.

Or, and I really like this option – take it outside for some target practice.

“Ready! Pull!”

Go ahead. I’ll wait right here.

Seriously. Go. Put. The. Scale. Away. *Raises eyebrow and impatiently taps foot*

Now that you’ve put away the scale, we can discuss why you did so.

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Why You Should STOP Focusing on Fat Loss

Letting Go of the Fat Loss Mindset ImageThere have been numerous articles posted on this website that expose some personal situations I’ve endured. One of the most popular was My Experience with Disordered Eating. I didn’t expect that article to receive such a huge response in addition to the emails and messages from other women and men sharing their stories and thanking me for revealing mine.

I was once hesitant to share personal experiences regarding my less-than-positive strength training or nutrition endeavors, because I didn’t know if anyone could relate, or if anyone would even care. However, it’s been my experience that many other individuals have gone through similar circumstances. It’s because of that fact I’ll continue to share events I’ve personally endured.

With that in mind, I want to discuss the fat loss mindset with you today. Letting go of the fat loss mindset is something I had to battle for years.

Before I explain what I mean by “letting go of the fat loss mindset”, you should answer a few questions:

  • Is fat loss the main goal of your strength training, cardio, and nutrition efforts? Let me rephrase that – have you been training and eating with the goal of fat loss for an extended period of time, as in several months, or perhaps even years?
  • Are your workouts fueled by the “I want to lose fat and look better” mindset?
  • Are your daily food choices driven by thoughts like “I shouldn’t eat that” or “that will just make me fat”?
  • Are you constantly concerned about being in a caloric deficit each day by restricting even healthy foods and getting in “extra” workouts?
  • Do you weigh yourself on a daily basis, or several times per week, in hopes of seeing a smaller number? Definitely read this => Stop Weighing on the Scale.

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Food Struggles & Victories

Food Struggles & Victories ImageToday’s post shares the stories of a few of the Girls Gone Strong ladies and other contributors. After writing and releasing the past three articles – My Experience with Disordered Eating and the two follow-up articles Beautiful Badass Strength Training Principles and Beautiful Badass Nutrition Principles – I reached out to several women to capture their own story when it comes to food.

As I stated in those previous articles, I know that what worked for me when it came to healing my relationship with food will not work for everyone. Therefore I wanted to get stories from other ladies where they reveal their own personal struggles and successes. If you didn’t relate to my experience and can’t benefit from my solutions, hopefully one of the following stories will help you.

There are several stories below, and I strongly encourage you to read them all. If necessary, take a break after reading a couple and then come back later for the rest. You don’t want to miss any of these.

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Beautiful Badass Strength Training Principles

Beautiful Badass Strength Training Principles ImageThis article is a follow-up of sorts to My Battle with Disordered Eating.

Believe it or not, the approach I took my workouts was a huge contributor to my recovery from the disordered eating habits. I forced myself to approach my workouts in a different way and it helped me overcome my poor relationship with food and negative body image.

Something I didn’t mention in the Disordered Eating article was that at the peak of my disordered eating habits strength training became a chore and form of self punishment. I once loved lifting weights, but at that point, it was something I “had to do”.

Whenever I was in the gym my only concern was burning as many calories as possible. I would do endless circuits of squats, chin-ups, push-ups, Romanian deadlifts, and other exercise combinations. The workouts were nothing less than brutal. My lungs would burn, my muscles and nervous system would get extremely fatigued, but I would keep pushing harder and harder. I loathed every moment of it and finished each workout utterly exhausted.

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My Battle with Disordered Eating and How I Broke Free

disordered eating
photo: some rights reserved by Darren Tunnicliff

I once struggled with disordered and binge eating habits. For a period of about three years, I had daily battles with my body image and obsessive food habits that I felt controlled every part of me.

It’s my hope to provide some insight into a form of disordered eating I experienced, and maybe even help some people who struggle with similar issues. But, please, keep in mind that what helped me conquer my problems with food may not be the best solution for you. I don’t say that to discourage you, but to highlight the fact that what works for me may not work for you. If that’s the case: don’t give up! Simply move on to something else (provided on the recommended reading at the end of this article).

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A Day in the Life of Nia Shanks: Training

Deadlifts - Gotta love 'emToday is the first article of a three part mini-series called A Day in the Life of Nia Shanks. I really don’t like referring to myself in the third person, but that is the best title I could think of for this series. It will be divided into three parts – my training, nutrition, and everyday life.

Today you will get a glimpse into my current strength training program; several videos will be included throughout as well. The nutrition and life sections will be posted this week and early next week, so stay tuned.

Before we get into my current training set-up, I want to share the “why” behind this little series. I simply want my readers to get to know me a little more, and so I’ll do my best to let more of my personality come through with videos, stories, and just providing a sneak peek into my daily life. My hope is that this series is entertaining as well as informational.

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