For those of you who have been following closely along since the beginning of this year, you might be surprised to see the title of this post—The Mommy Makeover Contest: Danielle’s First Check-In.
Danielle was our runner-up in the three-month-long lifestyle transformation contest we held from January through May. We had almost fifty women enter the contest, and Danielle was one of the five selected to participate. You’ll learn more about her personal journey below, but when it came time to vote for the winner, she fell short by just 14 tiny, little votes.
She was so dedicated and did so well throughout the contest that after some reflection, the advisers and I didn’t want to leave Danielle hanging after working so closely together for three months and making such huge changes in her life. So a few days after we announced the winner, Courtney reached out to Danielle to see if she’d be interested in sending us check-ins each month and continuing on her journey to lose twenty pounds before her wedding. At the end of the three months, if she meets her goal, we’ll fly her in to Dallas to be part of our next revamp!
At the end of the day, this wasn’t about “winning” or “losing.” This was about building community and helping each other grow stronger, healthier, and more mindful. In that spirit, here we are with Danielle’s first check-in. She’s getting married on October 22nd, so we’ll receive check-ins from her for July, August, and September.
Read on for Danielle’s beautiful, raw post about finding out about not winning the contest and how she turned that negative into an astounding positive.
On February 1, I started on a journey that I never in a million years thought would happen—the Mommy Makeover Contest. I was able to connect with so many amazing women who’ve made a positive impact on my life. They’ll never know how much, not only I, but also my family appreciates what they’ve done for my life. I’ve learned so much throughout this process, and I realize now, more than ever, that everything happens for a reason.
When I started this contest, I had two specific goals. If any of you followed along, you’ll know that I not only wanted to lose twenty pounds, but I also wanted to feel comfortable enough in my own skin to go wedding dress shopping.
That was literally the very bottom thing on my to-do list for the wedding, and I was dreading it. I don’t think I can emphasize that enough. Back in November, I went and tried on one dress. ONE. My sister was home for Thanksgiving, and there was a huge sale going on at a local bridal shop. I figured if I went with my sister it might not be that bad. But honestly, I had a panic attack. I broke out into hives and cried the entire time before leaving the house. My sister couldn’t figure out why I was so terrified, and I couldn’t explain it to her. I could barely explain it to myself. I had this image in my head of the way I wanted to look on my wedding day, and back in November, I was nowhere near being that person on the inside or the outside.
So that was my real goal behind entering the contest. I knew that if something didn’t change for the better, I would never get to that point.
The contest wasn’t easy, but I never gave up. I knew I had no other option. I needed this. I was chosen for this. When the contest was coming to a close, I had a mix of emotions flowing through my system. Never in a million years did I think I was going to win, but I had so many people encouraging me and supporting me, I couldn’t help but to be hopeful. I woke up that morning with a fire lit under my butt. It was Monday, and I was determined to start my week out amazing.
But things slowly started happening, and I knew I was in for a trying day. As the morning continued, I was extremely busy at work but found out that I hadn’t won. In fact, people were blowing up my phone to let me know that the results had been posted. My heart dropped. It was the beginning of the workday, and I knew I owed it to the students to put my thoughts aside and be on my A-game. Many approached me throughout the day asking for results, but I couldn’t talk about it without getting emotional. I was embarrassed and couldn’t hide my emotions. Very quickly my old habits of negative thinking came flooding back and I couldn’t control them. I started beating myself up for ever putting myself out there. I couldn’t believe I’d posted pictures of myself and shared them for the world to see, only to lose at the very end. I felt as if I’d let everyone around me down, but most importantly—myself. I was in it to win it, and mentally there were no other options.
I haven’t had a day like that in a long time, but once in a while you need one that humbles you. I felt sad, confused, and disappointed. Most of all, I felt like I let so many people down. The support and love I’ve felt from each and every single person has been something so special to me. When deciding to enter this contest, the thing that scared me the most was that I knew people would see my pictures. This is so outside of my comfort zone, and I contemplated not sending them because I knew once they were out in the world, there was no going back. Like seriously, would you get in shorts and a sports bra and post them on the Internet for the whole world to see?! Haha. Let’s be serious. Most of us wouldn’t.
I was mortified by my health and the things I was dealing with on a daily basis. Most people wouldn’t understand, and it’s not something I talk about all the time. So having this opportunity felt like an amazing chance to take control. Even though things didn’t turn out the way I hoped, I wouldn’t take it back! I lost 12.4 pounds and 26.75 inches in a little less than three months, and that’s something I may not have done on my own. It’s given me the motivation to continue and keep going strong after this contest. The contest was a blessing and I’ll forever be grateful.
After coming home from work and having chats with the people who are most important in my life, I quickly realized I didn’t lose. I won. No matter what the votes said—I won. I’m in a better place health-wise, emotionally, mentally, and I’m a better overall person and mommy. Which is what this contest was all about. Although I’d been battling back and forth all day with the emotions of the contest being over and not liking the outcome, I got a reality check real quick after coming home, which helped motivate me to shut off that old thinking and make things more positive!
That reality check came in the form of an eleven-year-old boy who calls me Mom. I had to break the news to Bryce, and he was the one person that I was most devastated to tell. So many people have supported me, but Mike and Bryce have been my rocks through this at home. Bryce has been rooting for me since day one and said that I was going to win because “you’re my mom.” Telling him that I didn’t win was probably the hardest thing I had to do through the entire contest.
When I broke the news to him, without a thought, he responded, “You deserved that award. You did all the hard work. You did good! You are the real winner, Mom.”
He was watching me the whole time, and in that moment I knew I’d taught him something important. In those moments that were difficult, he learned that if you step outside your comfort zone and commit, you’ll get results. Things may not turn out the way you hope, but pushing through those moments just for the chance of progress at the end is worth it.
That’s all I could have asked for. This contest was about mommies. I taught my eleven-year-old son that getting uncomfortable is worth it. I taught him that he can do anything he sets his mind to. Our kids are constantly watching us and learning from what we do. I always knew that, but I didn’t truly realize how much until the contest came to a close. I can’t be sad or upset that I didn’t “win.” I DID win! I taught my son a lesson that he’ll carry with him for the rest of his life, and that’s all I can ask for. He makes us proud each and every single day, but that day he went above and beyond. This contest was about being a mom, and I feel like I accomplished that! If I changed one person’s life, and it just happened to be my son’s, that’s the most important prize I could ever win.
Since we weren’t finding out the results until about a week before the winner was being flown to Texas, I had to request off work at both jobs. In hopes of traveling to Dallas, I wanted to make sure everyone knew the possibility of the contest and there would be no surprises. The contest came to a close and I didn’t technically win, but I still had the day off at both the salon and the school where I teach. Avoiding the weekend and social media, with all the fun stuff I was missing out on, was going to be nearly impossible if I just sat at home. So I decided to take something that could have been a negative and turned it into a positive.
Since I already had work off on Friday, I called two bridal shops that I wanted to visit to look for my wedding dress. I literally called Thursday, but miraculously, both happened to have availability on Friday. So with one day’s notice, I scheduled appointments at both places and was able to have two of my bridesmaids and my mom go with me. We all work, but somehow…some way…we all made it.
I was nervous. Not nearly as bad as it was the first time back in November, but it was still there. Quickly after arriving, we began picking out dresses. The first one I tried on, my consultant said, “Well, this one is way too big, but we can pin it in the back to give you the illusion of what it will look like.”
I’m sorry. WHAT DID YOU SAY? TOO BIG?!
My anxiety started to fade and excitement set in. Almost every dress I tried on, everyone loved—including me! My list of likes was growing way too long, and my dislikes were few and far between. What was happening?!
At the first place, I narrowed it down to three favorites and had to travel to my next appointment. The second shop was my number-one choice of visiting when I knew I was going to start looking for a dress. I was praying that it would be a great experience but dreading the day that it would actually become my reality. I walked in on that Friday and something clicked.
I was drawn to all the dresses. They were pulling dresses for me that I never, not in a MILLION years, would have put on my body. I was under the impression I needed to hide my curves, not put a dress on that exposes them!
The consultant brought me a dress. It wasn’t something I would’ve never picked out for myself, but when she zipped up the back, she said, “Okay, you’re good to go.” No pinning, no clipping. Just me and the dress.
I turned around and it was perfect. It fit me like it was made for my body. No extra pieces. No clunky clips.
The consultant was in awe and said she needed to check if that was a dress I could purchase off the floor because it looked like it was made for me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a floor model for sale, but that was okay. I went back and grabbed our three favorites again. I started putting them on to give them one last look to see what we thought about them after seeing others. My mom and bridesmaids of course loved them all, but when I came back out in that PERFECT dress, all three of them were speechless. We ended up crying, and I ordered my dress on the spot. I didn’t need to think about it anymore. It was the one. On a day that I had planned something else entirely, it ended up being a totally different kind of special.
I may not have been in Dallas with all of the advisors, but I was doing the one thing I’ve dreaded for over a year—my entire goal for this contest. I not only taught my son a valuable life lesson, but I bought my wedding dress and had a blast doing it! I literally cannot wait to put it on again. A day that I was terrified of quickly turned into joyful, positive encouragement for myself. It made every workout, every salad, every sore trip to the bathroom and barely being able to get back up of the toilet, every tear shed, completely and utterly worth it!
Starting a new job and getting into a new swing of things has been a challenge for my new lifestyle, but I’m determined to make time for myself and never lose this great feeling. We all have bad days, but as long as we pick up right where we left off, those bad days can never defeat us. We are stronger than that. You are stronger than that. I AM STRONGER THAN THAT.
I’m one step closer to celebrating one of the happiest days of our life. Bring it on, and all the little moments in between!
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