When you embark on a body transformation you might be aware that there will be hurdles to overcome. After all, anything worth having doesn’t come easy, right?
But did you know that the hurdles you experience are very closely related to the stage of transformation that you’re in?
Understanding the various stages of a body transformation journey, just like understanding the various Seasons of Transformation, can help you realise why you’re coming up against these hurdles, and help you move past them more quickly.
There are 6 stages of transformation and these are:
On your transformation journey, you will pass through every one of these stages. You may spend longer in some stages before moving on, and you may go back to a stage as you learn new things or start working on new habits.
The journey is different for everyone. Some people will stay in various stages longer than you, or may seem to progress to the next stage faster than you. You may be in the Resistance phase while someone is in the Action stage, and vice versa.
How your journey unfolds will be unique to you. However, knowing what you can expect, and why you may be feeling certain ways throughout your journey, will help you understand that what you encounter is likely to be very normal. Just keep working with your coaches, because they know how to help you progress from one stage to another.
Denial is the first stage. It begins with you knowing that change is required, but not being ready for all of that change to occur. You might be ready to lose weight and feel better about yourself. But when you’re told that you need to work on changing your habits and mindset in order to lose weight permanently, you don’t believe this or want to hear it.
Instead, you think that exercise and diet is all you need to lose weight. That you can stay on track and lose the weight if only you have enough willpower, or if you restrict your food and stick to your workouts. Instead of being open to a new process, you want to stick with what you think you know, believing that the answer to your problems is found in what you eat, and how you move.
If you’re in denial you will:
- avoid any discussions or mention of the things that make you feel uncomfortable (e.g. habit or mindset change)
- appear uninterested or ‘stick your head in the sand’
- act as if your problems aren’t that bad and continue on your own merry way
- only do the things you want to do
- think that the issue will resolve itself
- blame others or external events for your situation
- think that you don’t need to change anything
- believe that the answer is in food and exercise.
- think that you’re totally in control.
Denial is a defense that occurs as a way to protect you from getting out of your comfort zone, and the fear you feel about doing that. However, it’s very hard to recognise that you’re in denial. For example, if you have a habit of drinking a lot when you’re with a certain group of friends, and your coach points this out to you, you may say things like: “I don’t drink all the time” or “Drinking isn’t a big deal” or “My friends respect what I do” or “They’re really nice people”.
Denial is a normal phase of transformation, but unless you stop denying what is really going on in your life, you’ll never get results.
This is the stage that follows denial and it’s when you begin to realise how much pain you’re actually in. While denial is a protective mechanism, anger is a masking effect that you use to hide all the emotions and pain that you’re carrying. The pain of being overweight, the pain of not liking who you are, the pain of feeling that you don’t belong, etc.
For example, you may be starting to realise how much your weight has impacted your life by preventing you from doing what you really wanted to do, or even wearing the clothes you always wanted to wear. These feelings are likely to be confronting or even heartbreaking, and so you cover them up with anger instead.
When you reach this stage, you might:
- be angry at your coach, especially when they point out things that are sabotaging your weight loss
- feel bitter or resentful about things unrelated to your transformation journey
- use anger or aggression to push people away
- focus on your regrets
- feel overwhelmed
- beat yourself up
- feel embarrassed or ashamed
- complain that things are unfair
- be angry at others who don’t seem to have the problems you do
- be angry at yourself for not being in control of your weight
- skip your workouts
- block out people who are trying to help
- criticise or gossip about others who are taking action
- take things personally
- blame others for your situation
- turn to emotional eating as a way to block your feelings.
Resistance occurs where you’re in between the comfortable and the unfamiliar, and you’re anticipating what the next step is. You may still feel angry, but you’re mostly scared. You may be worrying about losing friends, not being able to do the things you once found pleasurable, or putting in the work and still failing. The fear you experience may be paralysing you from taking action, and you may feel discouraged, disillusioned or upset.
For example, you may now be starting to see that you do actually drink more alcohol when you’re with a certain group of friends (just as your coach has pointed out), or they don’t really respect your desire to change your life and your body. On one level you know that the people you’re associating with are enabling your poor habits and contributing to you self-sabotaging, but you’re afraid to cut them out of your life, or put boundaries around time you spend with them.
This may make you feel resentful towards this group of people, frustrated with yourself for putting up with it, or even angry at your coaches for pointing it out to you.
Resistance is the point where you can see that you need to make changes, but you’re not sure how, or if you can. Fear will be driving your actions and behaviours at this point. When in the resistance stage, you’re likely to:
- ask “why me”
- doubt what your coaches are telling you
- complain or act like a victim
- think that what you’re being asked to do is impossible
- feel overwhelmed
- worry about what others will think of you
- want to give up
- become quiet, and hide away
- put a deadline on when you want your results by
- say “this will never work” or “what would they know?”
- complain that things are unfair
- pretend you’re further along in the journey than you really are
- look for an easier way to get your results
- be jealous of others who don’t seem to have the struggles you do
- compare yourself with other people
- hide behind excuses of being too busy to
- look for other quick-fixes and diets
- be distracted by what others are doing
- focus on your past failures and use them as an excuse why you can’t do something
- gossip about or criticise your coaches
- complain about not getting your results, even if you’re not doing the work
- seek out other people who are in a similar situation to you, and have pity parties with them
- stop putting in as much effort into your transformation
- give up.
While there are no specific timelines for the stages of a body transformation, resistance can last a while, or it can crop up many times, as you confront the various habits and mindsets that you need to work on.
The resistance phase is the one where you’re most likely to quit and throw in the towel. But if you can hold on for a bit longer, there is an easier path ahead.
It can take a while to get to this stage, but the closer your work with your coach, and the more you trust the process, the quicker you’ll get here. You’ll note that Accepting is on the second row of the diagram. This is an important stage to acknowledge and celebrate because once you reach the second row of stages, you’ll never return to the top row.
That’s right. Once you accept your situation, you’ll never again live in denial, anger or resistance again.
The stage of acceptance is an important one because it’s where you finally stop fighting the process. You may not be ready to take action yet, but you’ve finally accepted that you are where you are, that you need to make changes, and you need help to change. This resigned acceptance may not be a happy space, but it’s one in which you’re finally ready to accept your situation for what it is.
In this stage, you’ll probably:
- be willing and able to set a goal
- start exploring WHY you want to make a change
- look at your situation with a more open-mind
- stop complaining about your situation
- accept that you need to change, but feel overwhelmed with what you need to do
- feel vulnerable
- be afraid of the amount of work you need to do
- feel vulnerable and scared
- feel more committed to your transformation
- feeling afraid but being willing to confront your fears
- start to think about a new future and what you may achieve
- be willing to be more accountable to your coach
- be more willing to ask for help
- start to seek advice from others who have been through what you’ve been through
- understand that your coach has your best interests in mind.
Once you’ve accepted that change is necessary and important, you’ll enter the Exploring stage where you’re ready to think about what you need to do, and what is possible. In this stage, you commit to learning new skills, to work on your habits, and to put consistent effort into your transformation. While you still may feel overwhelmed at what you need to do or worried about what others may think of you, you’re more willing to work with your coaches and seek their help to get past these habits. Instead of seeing change as a threat, you’re now seeing them as an opportunity. Instead of looking at things in a negative light, you’re now seeing the positives.
In this stage it’s common to:
- be more teachable and open to new ideas
- increase the level of accountability with your coach
- start thinking about your body shape goals
- be more willing to take risks and try new things
- focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t
- accept that you have responsibility for your life
- feel excited about the future
- feel more energised and ‘pumped’
- focus on your results
- be tempted to do more to speed your results
- try to change too many things
- worry about getting everything right
- think that making a mistake will send you backwards
- feel a little impatient
- take action and then take a few steps backwards because you’re afraid
- hold back from taking action, due to fear.
The final phase is when you take action. This is where you finally stop making excuses as to why you can’t do things, stop procrastinating and fully commit to doing what you need to do. You may still be afraid of some things, but you’re willing to stand strong and confront your fears because you know that’s the only way forward.
You may find it easier to take action with some things over others, so procrastination may still occur. But the more action you take, the easier it becomes to take action — even in the things that scare you the most.
In this phase you’ll fully accept that your life is based on your choices and your actions, and you’ll take full responsibility for your situation. You’ll also increase your accountability to your coach even more as you continue to realise how accountability keeps you progressing.
In this stage, it’s common to:
- feel uncomfortable about what you need to do, but do it anyway
- feel out of control
- feel proud of yourself
- have moments of doubt, without getting bogged down in them
- trust your coaches fully and not question their advice
- be more open and honest with your coaches
- get rid of habits such as people-pleasing or comparing yourself
- rely on your coaches more and call on them when you need help
- feel sad that friends and family are not on the same journey as you
- be tempted to try to get them to take action too, so they can join you
- feel lonely — because not everyone is doing what you are
- feel excited about the future
- fall in love with the journey and process
- feel nervous because you’ve never done this before
- experience wins and understand that importance of celebrating them
- feel as if you’re finally progressing
- let go of your result, because you know the answer is in the daily actions
- start to understand how small actions can lead to big results.
Not a linear journey
Transformation is not linear and you may zig-zag through stages. You may spend a lot of time isolating between Denial and Resistance for example, before finally moving onto Accepting.
After taking action towards changing one habit, you may go back to Accepting, as it becomes clear that you need to work on another habit. But remember, once you have made it to the acceptance stage, you won’t go back to anger, denial or resistance, because you’ll have more awareness about the process and how taking action will bring you results. If you’ve already confronted some of your fears and taken action despite feeling afraid, you’ll also know that there are better things for you on the other side of fear. This will make it easier for you to take action again.
Don’t give up
The important thing to remember is not to give up. The body transformation process isn’t always easy. There will be challenges and difficulties along the way. But the more you let your coaches help you, the smoother the ride will be.
Those people who get results aren’t special. They don’t know any more than anyone else, and they haven’t had it easier than anyone else. The only difference between people who get results and people who don’t, is that those who get them, never quit. They just keep going and pushing forward.
Once again, be sure to read our blog The Seasons of Body Transformation, to fully understand the transformation process and how you can get real weight loss results that will change your life.
If you’re finally ready to step into the life you’ve always craved, to feel proud of yourself, to be happy to have your photo taken, and to wear the clothes you’ve always wanted to, we can help you navigate the stages and seasons of Transformation, and get you the results you want.
Through our structured, personalised program, we can identify the habits and mindsets that have been holding you back for years, and provide you the accountability in order to succeed. We will help you navigate the hard times and help you stay tough, so you can come through the other side a changed person, with a new outlook and a new body.