A picture speaks a thousand words. Boy is that ever true, and if I had to share with you the thousand words that went through my head when I saw the picture at the end of this post it wouldn’t be pretty.

Let me back up a minute.

My name is Courtney and depending on how long you have known me, you may know me as a fitness personality who inspires others to get in shape. Or you may know me as a fitness model and competitor, or someone who followed their passion and changed careers to be a personal trainer and nutrition coach, or maybe as a random hotel worker from California who started competing in bikini competitions and you’ve seen my pictures online. My point is, regardless of how you view me or how I view myself, all of those identities revolve around one thing- the state of my abs.

courtney prather

 Ok not just my abs- but I am someone who makes a living off being in shape. There is no other way to put it, it’s just that simple when you boil down to it. (I’m not complaining…I promise I have a point) But it wasn’t always like that, and I haven’t always been “Courtney, that fitness friend” and all my conversations at bars and parties didn’t always revolve around how-do-I-get-my-blank-to-look-like-that brain picking.

When I stepped on stage the first time 3 years ago (yikes) I didn’t know the depth or permanence of the effects. It lit me on fire. I was high on confidence- which I had found for the first time in my life and on the power you feel with having control over something. That something was how my body looked and felt. For the first time I was beginning to understand the benefits of weight training and exercising and the cause and effect relationship with what I put in my mouth and what I felt like in clothes and out of them.  Maybe you have been there and you get it and maybe you haven’t and that is ok. It is empowering, but it is also a Pandora’s box. Once you know it, you can’t un-know it. Let me explain…

After that show, I competed a total of 9 more times, all in the course of a year.

I probably tried as many different diets and could count the amount of times I cheated on my diet or ate at a restaurant on two hands. To say it was a restrictive diet was an understatement. I was miserable most of the time and exhausted all of the time. I forgot loved ones’ birthdays but remembered with precision accuracy the exact order of foods I was going to eat after a competition (pizza, pasta, cupcake, froyo, Oreos dipped in Nutella and yes all in one night). I have written before about finding balance after competitions so I won’t get too much into it again.

What I haven’t shared before (because I was obviously in denial) was how far from ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ I was for a long time after my last show. Here’s where the un-knowing comes in. Restrictive diets are not healthy and are not sustainable but they do teach you that if you eat certain foods you will look this certain way. And if you eat foods you used to eat (aka go back to normal) you will gain all of the weight back and not look good anymore. Hi rock, this is hard place.

I spent so many months waiting to go back to ‘normal’ then when I reached the finish line, I realized ‘normal’ was just a form of blissful ignorance I had for most of my life about what were actually healthful foods and what was junk. I was no longer the Courtney who could eat Chinese takeout and watch TV all night without a guilty thought in my mind. I was someone who could recite macronutrient counts for most foods, determine portion sizes by eying it and know exactly how many calories I would burn doing various workouts. That is the unhealthy side effect of being a fitness professional that no one tells you about-it’s easy to become obsessed with healthy.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, so much that it blinded me.

I thought I found balance, I knew it took me a while, but I really thought I eventually found it. I would eat ‘clean’ for weeks at a time and then have indulging sprees-sometimes they were a night long and sometimes a weekend or week. I figured if the ‘good’ days outweighed the bad, that was what was important. Plus, I was still working as a fitness model, never lost a job because of my shape, still felt fit and essentially didn’t see any signs that I had a problem. That is until I compared pictures of myself-thanks to Instagram and the iPhone I have a selfie from almost every week over the last year. (not proud of that, but hey, don’t hate)

I just didn’t look healthy. My back and forth eating was keeping my progress stalled and although I wasn’t packing on pounds, I was clearly inching my way to a body I wouldn’t be happy in. So I did what any trainer and nutrition coach would do…I set out to figure it out. I figured if I was struggling with yo yo dieting and weight fluctuations then non fitness professionals must be fed up too.

There had to be an easier way.

I started with myself and then with my clients in LA and then with my online clients. After a while it became obvious I was on to something. The weight came off effortlessly, my body was less inflamed, I just looked like a leaner, tighter version of myself. The lower belly fat that would only disappear to reveal a 6 pack on the day of the show is now gone for good. My clients lost weight, and they kept it off. I didn’t binge every once in a while and heck I didn’t even want to. I had finally found a way to eat foods that make me happy in a way that kept me lean. And I have to admit I am so freaking proud of this that I made the program into an Ebook.

Like literally I made it. And the website. (If you are wondering why I haven’t been posting as much lately it’s because I have been a hermit with my laptop and my business partner desperately trying to figure out WordPress and all it’s annoying software cousins.) So if you don’t like it, tell someone else…JUST KIDDING. But seriously, I want you to know that because so many fitness programs hire someone like me to put a picture like this

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on their website and promote their product which may or may not be how that person with an 8 pack actually got in shape.

I stand by this. I live like this. It’s how I got from one side of the picture below to the other. And while we are on the subject I guess if you have read this whole thing I can share a photo even I am embarrassed to put out there and where I got 30 days later and plan to stay for good:

30-Days-Before-AfterMay my future Instagram selfies be my judge.

If you want to see more about my 30 Day fat loss program check out www.30DaystoLean.com and if you have any questions for me please comment below!  I hope you check it out, I know you will love it- There are over 50 pages of my fat loss strategies, full daily meal plan and workout calendar, over 40 gluten free recipes (with vegetarian and vegan options), high intensity workouts that can be done at home or in the gym, over 50 exercise videos demoing the moves for you and much more! No guesswork, just results. If you want to look like a fitness model, this is for you.

Give me 30 Days, I dare you.

Keep it real,

Courtney

PS- I LOVE YOU GUYS FOR THE SUPPORT. You are truly the reason I do what I do.