The 3 Keys to My Personal Transformation


From August 1, 2008 to August 1, 2009, I went from wearing a size 8 and running and working out regularly to busting out of size 14 pants and not working out at all.

After years of consistent exercise, I couldn’t believe I was starting over from scratch–again.

I was really struggling with getting back on track.

“Before” photo taken October 2009

While I hated where I was, I just couldn’t seem to find the energy to pull myself out of bed in the morning and move.

Three things were key to my turning around that situation.

  1. Accountability. Support is vital. Having a friend, coach, or group to turn to is huge!
  2. Progress not perfection. Counting every single thing you do during the day that could even be remotely considered part of a healthy lifestyle builds positive momentum.
  3. Mindset training. Shifting your thoughts from hating where you are to focusing on why you want to be fit, strong, and slim is the true secret to long-term weight-loss success. 

Here’s how I did it.

My friend, Julia, was my first accountability partner and we checked in with each other every day to cheer each tiny success and reframe any “stumble.” (Thank you, Julia! I couldn’t have done it without you!)

I set small, attainable goals for how much time I would move my body. Starting with a goal of just 10 minutes a day, I counted walking the dogs, vigorous vacuuming, and even a long walk across a parking lot to my car. I literally counted anything and everything that involved moving. A few weeks of meeting that minimal goal and I bumped it up to 20 minutes, and so on.

And I wrote out all the reasons I wanted to be fit, strong, and slim on index cards—and I read them everyday to retrain my brain while I was retraining my body.

Changing my mindset, focusing on my success, and having a supportive person to report my successes to made all the difference in the world.

Today, I love my body and life more than I thought possible!

I regularly work out vigorously for 25 to 60 minutes, six mornings a week. I eat healthy foods most of the time, and I wear between a size 4 and 6. And I’ve kept the weight off now for more than two years!

“After: photo taken November 10, 2012. Photo by Lindsay A. Miller

I didn’t get here overnight. But by slowly and steadily making those small decisions towards a healthier me, I built momentum and achieved my goals.

And you can do it, too.

If you are already working out regularly, awesome! How can you push yourself just a little bit further?

If you are changing your energetic momentum towards a healthier you:

  • What is the minimum you can do today that will make you feel like you are making progress?
  • What are the reasons you want to be fit, strong, and slim?
  • Who can you turn to get the necessary support and accountability?

Just consistently making those small decisions to move in the direction of who you want to be will help you achieve the body—and life—you want.

Together we can do it!

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51 thoughts on “The 3 Keys to My Personal Transformation

  1. You’re very welcome, Hanna! You were instrumental in my losing 20 pounds, too! You were also one of my best supporters in running my marathon! Thank you so much for all of that, and more. We’re both living, breathing proof that having an accountability partner really works!

      • Not to get all sentimental and mushy here on a lovely Thursday morning although your Smile in the second pic says more to me, personally than a nice dress or set of shoes. Just saying … 😉

        • I TOTALLY agree. I have another photo that is actually more flattering to my figure, but I choose this one because of the Joy and Freedom I felt in it. This is the key! Finding the feeling first helped me lose the weight. It’s about loving yourself first. Then the body and life you want is easier to create and is gravy. Thanks for making that very important point!

  2. Congratulations, Hanna! I appreciate so much how you’ve indicated that it’s transformation of a totally new and exhilarating lifestyle–not just weight loss or “getting in shape”. You have managed so well to convey the excitement of the journey. Mazel tov!

    • Thanks so much, Leta! It is totally about Loving Your Way Slim. It’s not just about the end result. It’s loving the entire journey and creating a lifestyle you love. So appreciate you–and your reading and commenting. Thank you!

  3. I am inspired by your blog stories, your pictures (thank you for the courage to post “before” as well as “after”), and your daily tips. Thank you! You were beautiful – even “before” – but now you are radiant as well!! Like you, I am not a “do it alone” person – and I need the support of a group. I joined our local TOPS and with their accountability component and the support of people like you, I have taken off a pound a week (most weeks) for about 30 weeks now… with 8 more to reach my goal. Thanks for reminding me that “Nothing tastes as good as SLIM & FIT feels!” For me, it’s a matter of MIND OVER PLATTER! ;o)

  4. Wow! I love this post! Now I must say you are beautiful now and back then, but truly I too want to shed some pounds and look even more glorious, the way you are now shining in life. You and your encouraging blog have helped contribute to my return to enthusiastic dog walk/runs (and my happy dog loves it when I run on our ‘walks’). And just yesterday I went for a new hairstyle and the lighter, shorter hair has me feeling sassy enough to maybe even dare returning to the gym (self-image – or lack thereof – can be such a downer!). It’s approaching lunchtime here in my time zone and I am looking forward to my hearty salad for lunch. Thanks so much for sharing about your journey and all the easy tips to help us (me!) to follow in your healthy footsteps.
    Bless your heart! In joy, Gina

    • Thanks so much, Gina! It is all about self-esteem. I wanted my “before” picture to be attractive. Because the key is feeling good about yourself right now, right where you are. Love that you are enjoying your dog walk/runs, that you feel sassy and lighter with your new hair-do, are looking forward to a healthy meal, and are feeling confident enough to head back to the gym. Big WINS! Really appreciate your reading, implementing, and sharing! So appreciate you!

  5. What an awesome and inspiring blog, Hanna! I agree with the previous post ~ you are radiant inside and out!! Thank you for sharing your story. Your are an amazing, beautiful woman!

  6. In the first picture it looks like you were holding a lot of tension. It’s so great and important you found a way to let that go and are now sharing with others 🙂 If you have time, I hope you’ll check out my book on my experiences with an eating disorder, which is now available on my website http://www.laurasusanneyochelson.com. Share if you like; I’d love to be featured or have a review of my book on your awesome (popular!) blog if you ever need someone! ~ Laura http://www.laurasusanneyochelson.com

  7. You are an inspiration to women everywhere Hanna! There’s soooo much out there focused on depriving ourselves and comparing ourselves to others. Neither are positive experiences nor successful long term. I love your approach which focuses on loving your body ~ truly fabulous! And…you are gorgeous!

  8. Hanna – love the photos! I agree whole heartedly with all of your recommendations. Especially during the holidays – small steps and progress not perfection are such important reminders. You inspired me today. Thanks!

    Miss you in fabulous friends. Julie

  9. Excellent practical advice. You are proof, you look awesome. Thiy bos has inspired me to re-start my body identity. Thank you.

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