January 21, 2019
4 Life Lessons and 145 Pounds Lost
WRITTEN BY Amanda O'Brien

We all have aspirations for bettering our lives, whether it’s to receive a promotion at work, scale a business, lose 15 pounds of fat, hit a 2x bodyweight deadlift, or become more mindful.

After years of working with individuals to help reach their goals, I've come to the realization that it is not the goal we set that makes us more or less successful but the way in which we attack that specific goal. Eva Cranford is a testament to just that.

Of course we all want to become a healthier version of ourselves and/or create a successful business, but whether or not you actually believe you can achieve that goal is the differentiator.

I was introduced to Eva Cranford in the fall of 2016 as I began the journey of planning for my wedding. My mother-in-law, Elizabeth O’Brien was friends with the Westlake High School journalism teacher, Deanne Kuntz. Deanne referred her former student Eva to us and had nothing but complimentary things to say about the professional, up-and-coming wedding photographer.

After working with Eva, who delivered the most beautiful and elegant wedding photos, I began following her weight-loss journey through social media and was completely blown away. Not only did she attain great progress, but her entire demeanor changed. She was happier and more confident; she was literally glowing. Her positivity was contagious! So I set out to learn more about what it took for her to lose over 145 pounds of total body weight, taking her weight from 322.9 pounds and 53% body fat to an astonishing 177 pounds and 20.4% body fat.

She had set out on this journey multiple times before with little success, and even when she did reach her weight-loss goals, she found herself back in her old routines after a short period of time, causing her weight to steadily creep back up.

What was the difference this time?

The change started when a faithful friend spoke the honest truth in Eva’s best interest. Before she began her third but final kick-start in her weight-loss endeavor, her good friend sat her down for a tough chat. It was then she realized that when she was not making the time to take care of herself and she was not the best version of herself. This, in turn, affected her work, her relationships and her emotional health.

After our almost 90-minute conversation over hot coffee one chilly Wednesday morning last December, I came to learn that the way in which we view our own circumstances is pivotal in our success. Her words were inspiring. In short: By changing our inner dialogue, anything is possible.

Below are the four pivotal life lessons and quotes that Eva not only learned but utilized throughout her journey that led her to a weight loss of almost 150 pounds AND a newfound love for her health, fitness and long-term betterment.

“There is no quick fix; everyone would do it if there was.”

Becoming the person we want to become requires change. If we continue doing the same things we have always done, it will be near impossible to expect a different outcome. As Albert Einstein said:  “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

It isn't until we accept that the journey will be difficult at times and change will be necessary that you can begin to take the crucial steps that will move you in the right direction towards the best version of yourself.

“If there was a pill, workout plan, diet, trainer, or exercise that made everyone healthy and happy....everyone would be healthy and happy. Taking the time and patience necessary to create a plan that works for YOU and is sustainable in your lifestyle long-term is the key to finding success in your health and fitness goals.”

Accept that the journey won’t be quick and that at times it will be difficult—and you have already overcome half the battle.

“The greatest threat to success is boredom; it’s the ability to keep going when it’s not exciting that makes the difference.” -James Clear from Atomic Habits

“I am not a victim of my circumstances.”

We have all heard of the importance of taking personal responsibility for our actions, whether it be in the workplace or at home, but rarely is this heard in the health and fitness industry. But, by truly adopting this model of thinking you will remove a massive roadblock in reaching your goals.

There will always be excuses, whether you think they are rational or not, but the people who don’t let those excuses define their actions are the ones who climb steadily to the top.

Simply changing your mindset AND your language is extremely powerful.

Instead of saying, “I didn't have time,” saying, “I didn’t MAKE time,” is one of many examples. We all have the same 24 hours in the day, it is how we CHOOSE to spend that time that makes the difference. Yes, you have a choice, YOU are in control.

Instead of saying, “I hate going to the gym,” think of the reasons WHY you want to go to the gym, why you ARE showing up and why it is important. Then, resonate with that instead. Just by thinking it is a positive experience, you will begin to associate it with a positive feeling.

“While I definitely had obstacles in my life that contributed to my weight gain, nobody but ME made the choices to eat the crap that I was eating and stop moving. I had to make the active decision to stop letting my circumstances victimize me and make me sicker and instead, use them as fuel to propel change.”

“The number on the scale will not dictate my mood; my mood will be dictated upon my actions.”

Often we allow circumstances that we have absolutely zero control over to dictate our emotions. The weight on the scale is just one example and it’s easy to focus solely on that one number instead of the many other factors over which you do have control. To name a few: what you fuel your body with, how often you move and when you go to sleep are things you DO have complete control over. Focusing more on your actions instead of the end result will allow your journey to become successful and enjoyable!

“Did I get my workout in? Did I drink enough water? How did I sleep? Has the quality of my carbs been good? Am I enjoying time with my friends and family? Am I carving out time to do the things I love? The answers to THOSE questions are what will dictate my mood. Not the number on the scale.”

“Balance is the key to success”

Nobody is perfect, and the sooner we can accept that fact for ourselves, not only will we develop more self-compassion, but it will be easier to adopt an “always something” mentality over an all-or-nothing mentality. As we have discussed before, an all-or-nothing mentality leads to yo-yo dieting and minimal long-term progress. When we can focus on an ALWAYS SOMETHING mentality, we create a healthier balance within our lives.

Maybe you’re traveling and there is no way to make it to the gym. Instead of saying screw it and throwing all your hard work out the window, you can focus on other things such as increasing NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), proper hydration and/or protein at each meal. Or, maybe the holidays are rolling around, and instead of throwing in the towel, you commit to a plan that involves the ability to have sweets in a manner that works best for you, while allowing you to continue moving towards your health and fitness goals.

“Nobody, even trainers, has the perfect diet for the rest of their lives. They have cake, drink beer, indulge in chips and queso. They even have interruptions in their workout routines. So if imperfection is permitted for trainers, why wouldn’t it be for the client or health-seeker? I learned that it’s okay to miss a couple workouts and rest instead, to go out for Mexican food with my friends, and to drink the occasional glass of wine. Food, drink and exercise is meant to be enjoyed, and should never be a punishment.”

As my own personal coach, Sam Smith, quoted just this week, “There are no failures, only experiences. There are no mistakes, only lessons.”

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