‘I Wanted Abs To Prove My Cyberbully Wrong—But I Gained So Much More Than That’

I continued to work out throughout my pregnancy, but still managed to gain 47 pounds. It’s totally normal to put weight on when pregnant, but considering that I’m only 5’2″, that was a lot more than expected. So after my son was born, I was anxious to get my body in shape, and feel like myself again.

The only problem: I just couldn’t find the drive or motivation to stick with anything at that time, whether it was breastfeeding or exercising. Despite entering the greatest phase of my life—motherhood—I was struggling deep inside.

Like most new moms, I posted pictures of everyday moments with my son—from his baptism to just the cute things babies do. A lot of the time, I was in these pictures as well, but avoided being front and center.

One day, though, I saw there was a new DM in my inbox. It was filled with nasty comments from a family member’s ex’s new partner, and she didn’t beat around the bush: She said I was fat, ugly, that my teeth resembled Mr. Ed. She blatantly called me out on my postpartum weight, too.

New moms out there can surely empathize with the distress of this—my body had, of course, changed during pregnancy. But to be not only called out on these changes, but also in a way that made the miracle my body achieved seem like a negative—I was beside myself.

And even though I knew I should’ve brushed off the comments, I let her get in my head. I started to believe what she said about me, which shot me further down the path of destruction, yo-yo dieting, and inconsistent fitness routines.

A year ago I made a decision and took a chance on an amazing opportunity. Taking that leap of faith has led me to self-love, confidence, life-long friendships, and a new sense of being. ? . . Flashback to June 2016…. I was a new mom struggling to find balance in my new role of taking care of this amazing tiny little human and finding time to care about myself. I got stuck in an awful cycle of putting myself last. This cycle put me into a depression like state of mind where I didn’t want to leave my home and hated the way I felt. I would get tired just carrying my sweet baby boy up the stairs. I was unhealthy and unhappy. . . In October 2016 I joined my first accountability group. I instantly fell in love. It was a safe place for me to share my journey to lose almost 50 lbs! You could share the good and the bad and everything in between with no judgement. . . Flash forward to March 2017… I finally made the decision that in the beginning of April I would become a coach. I LOVED the community of faith-filled women who supported me daily in my journey! So, I made the commitment and haven’t regretted one moment of this ride! . . Here I am today rocking the crap out of my own journey and helping others in the process. Working with my ladies to build confidence and find happiness has been such a rewarding experience. I have found my tribe who have been there for me and vice-versa! . . If you ever thought about jumping in and taking a chance with me, what’s stopping you?! This has been the best thing for not only me but my family. I found my happiness within and it dispersed into all areas of my life! I am a better mother, wife, daughter, friend, etc! ❤️ . . . . . . . . . #throwbackthursday #NotPerfect #onajourney #blonde #progresspic #progressnotperfection #boymomlife #healthychat #thefitlife #healthyeating #StrongisthenewSkinny #postpartumjourney #coffeelover #resistanceloops #healthylife #fitfluential #bestmum #motherlove #momlifeisthebestlife #lifeofamom #Boymom #toddlerproblems #dailyparenting #mompreneur

A post shared by Gabrielle Dawn (@fab_fit_momma) on

A post shared by Gabrielle Dawn (@fab_fit_momma) on

Luckily, a few months later, a friend’s postpartum transformation caught me at the right moment, and inspired me to get active.

I followed exactly what she did: During my son’s nap time, I started streaming workouts on my Apple TV like dancing and kickboxing. Soon, I was working out five to six days a week, doing my “Naptime Hustle.”

My friend also introduced me to an amazing support group of women on Facebook who encouraged me to keep it up.

And it worked. Within six months, I lost 47 pounds, which was actually 12 pounds more than my initial goal. I couldn’t believe it.

But despite conquering this huge hurdle, gaining new muscle, and having a new tribe of amazing, strong, fit new mamas on my team, my cyber bully’s comments still had ahold of my thoughts.

“You can’t draw water from an empty well.” . . We hear this a lot in our adult lives, but do we actually stop to consider what this means? Moms, I’m specifically talking to you! I relate with you, I get it! It’s tragic, but we often put ourselves last. We take pride in our ability to multi-task and do it all. I think we end up actually self-sabotaging ourselves. . . Take a minute… take a deep breath. Today take some time to fill your heart and your body with something good – rest, water, a long walk outside, whatever it may be- do it for you! . . Running on empty isn’t good for anyone! So here is a friendly reminder to slow down and enjoy life! Do something for you ? . . #lifeinventory #tuesdaytip #tuesdayvibes #selfcare

A post shared by Gabrielle Dawn (@fab_fit_momma) on

A post shared by Gabrielle Dawn (@fab_fit_momma) on

At the beginning of 2018, it had been two years since her original comments, a year and a half since losing the weight, and I knew I couldn’t live with her in my head. Clearly it wasn’t just about a number on a scale, so I had to find another way to banish her hold over me.

Up to then, I was doing 25 to 40-minute workouts, almost exclusively cardio, and with little or no equipment. I decided to start a new at-home workout program, one that included more weights, focused on shaping the booty and strengthening the core, and required top-level commitment.

Of course, as superficial as it sounds, I wanted abs so badly to prove to my bully she was wrong. I thought that was really what would solve it.

But what was really cool about the program I started (80-Day Obsession with Autumn Calabrese) was that it also emphasized self-care and the value of loving your body.

So for three months, I hit every workout for 45 minutes to an hour. Each was so intense and no two were the same—the videos were filmed live and each workout was different to avoid plateauing. They used all range of weights, but also resistance loops and sliders, materials that were new and exciting for me coming off almost pure cardio. I was excited to do the longer workouts and push myself harder.

I also dove into the self-care. I started taking Epsom salt baths and getting acupuncture to help my body rest and heal faster from the tougher workouts. I took time during the day to read and journal. Between being a new mom and working out so hard, it was so nice to nourish my body and my mind.

Slowly, the mix of all of this together began pushing every doubt and negative thought far from my mind.

Where do you see yourself in a week, month, or a year? . . When I first started my journey, I’ll be honest- I wanted to be “skinny” again. I wanted to look like I did when I was 18. Where you could eat a whole bunch of donuts and drink pop and not gain any weight- at least that’s how it was for me. . . Then I found myself struggling to lose weight, find the motivation, and manage my time to eat right and exercise. But what it really came down to was excuses…. I didn’t have the drive to commit and I didn’t have the right intentions. . . I found myself tiring easy chasing my little around and just feeling weak and blah. It finally hit me that I needed to be healthy and strong for my little boy. That’s when everything changed for me. I joined an accountability group just like the ones I now run and my before picture here was about 3 months into my journey! I ended up losing a total of 47 lbs and GAINING LIFE! . . I am STRONG, HAPPY, and HEALTHY! I just needed to change my perspective. It isn’t about being skinny or looking like I did when I was 18, it’s about being healthy for me and my family, for being strong, for encouraging others and lifting them up!! So I guess the real question is, what are you waiting for?! Join me and find life again! . . . #findlife #changingmyperspective #strongnotskinny #transformationtuesday #transformationtuesdays #myjourney

A post shared by Gabrielle Dawn (@fab_fit_momma) on

A post shared by Gabrielle Dawn (@fab_fit_momma) on

After 13 weeks, the commitment definitely paid off. I gained muscle, got more toned, and scored those abs!

But the biggest change to me was the outrageous amount of confidence I gained. This program not only worked my body but my mindset—it was like a personal development course within a workout. I finished it feeling better than ever, stronger than ever, and more confident than ever.

And guess what? That cyber bully was finally out of my head. The fitness routine reminded me of my value and my worth. (The abs were just a bonus.) I took back my life. Those mean words had been replaced with true self-love.

I got into fitness wanting to prove something to someone else, but I ended up proving things to myself—that I can reach goals labeled as “unachievable.” Taking the time for my workouts, nutrition, and self-care taught me to love myself no matter where I am in my journey. I am worthy, I am capable, and I can do hard things. The way my body has changed is just an added bonus.

I haven’t heard from my cyberbully since posting all my transformation pictures, but I actually ran into her while shopping. For a moment, I considered saying something, but instead I just walked past her with a smile on my face, letting my results do the talking for me.

A post shared by Gabrielle Dawn (@fab_fit_momma) on

My week is pretty chaotic with a toddler, so I still take advantage of the “Naptime Hustle” to guarantee I get a workout in, without taking time away from my family. I’m currently wrapping up a 60-day intense cardio conditioning program that I stream through my Apple TV, with 30-minute workouts, five days a week. Next, I’m going to get after another streaming program that’s 12 weeks and a mix of HIIT and weight lifting.

And, just as importantly, I still maintain my self care. “Me” time is so valuable and something no one should compromise—just taking some time each day for yourself—whether it’s for a workout or personal development—really helps shape all aspects of your life.

Of course, sometimes I miss naptime, and on those days, I’ll work out with my toddler around—but he joins in on the fun, which I absolutely love. It’s important to me to set a good example for him and be my best for him.

Real life Mom here with the same struggles, off days, cheat meals, and days where I question myself as a momma. . . Hey, it’s life right. This something a lot of us moms go through and struggle with. But, guess what. You are totally awesome and crushing it ?? Just because we have days with little to no patience or days where we are super mom, every day we try. Why, for that amazing little human looking up to you. . . When I see my son watching me and now joining me with my workouts, it literally makes my heart smile. I first started my journey because I was getting winded walking up the steps carrying him. I knew my health needed to change! Now I do it because I want to be strong and healthy and be active in his life! No more side-line sitting for me- I am done with that! I’m jumping in and going to be right there next to my wild child! . . So keep going momma, whatever it may be! The struggle is real sometimes, but you are strong ?? . . . #strongmom #womenupliftingwomen #transformationtuesday #inspiringothers

A post shared by Gabrielle Dawn (@fab_fit_momma) on

A post shared by Gabrielle Dawn (@fab_fit_momma) on

Find that fuel that’s deep down inside. There will be bumps, but you have the strength in you to fight it. For me, that fuel was my son and wanting to be the best version of myself for him. Use that fuel to bring out the fighter in you.

Follow Gabbie’s journey @fab_fit_momma.

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