There are a million excuses you can use for failing to achieve your fitness goals. They consist of things like not being able to get enough sleep, not having time to prepare meals, being too busy to work out, not knowing what exercises to do once you get to the gym, or not being able to afford a personal trainer. Everyone is always so sure that if they just had a personal trainer, a personal chef, and more free time they would be in the best shape of their lives. I’m here to explain to you why this just isn’t true.
Throughout the last four years, my weight has fluctuated from 140 to 175 pounds. Over these four years, I went from being underweight and meeting a billionaire to dating that billionaire and becoming overweight, and thence to being broke and in the best shape of my life.
My weight when I met the billionaire was 140 pounds. At 5’9, this is a very low weight for me. I was undereating, not lifting weights, and basically eating zero carbs. I was not taking care of myself properly, and I was in terrible physical shape. The situation only got worse once my relationship with the wealthy entrepreneur became more serious.
During my time with the businessman, my monthly expenses exceeded $12,000. I had tons of free time and access to all the best doctors in New York, trainers, plastic surgeons, high-quality foods and world-class gyms. I even had a special diet-meal delivery service that cost $2,000 a month and unlimited Whole Foods. Yes, he put his black AmEx on file for me at Whole Foods so that I could walk in at any time and buy anything and everything I wanted. (If you noticed a shortage of orchids or king crab legs at the Columbus Circle Whole Foods during the summer of 2014, that was my fault. I’m sorry.)
I dated the billionaire for approximately one year and four months, and by the time I walked away (I would have run but I was too fat) from the toxic situation, I weighed a whopping 175 pounds. I entered into that relationship wearing a size 6 dress and turning heads when strolling down Fifth Avenue, and I left it hiding my body under a long black trench coat in the middle of summer because I was too ashamed to face what I had done to myself. (I did get hit on by a lot of rich Orthodox Jewish men during that black trench coat phase, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.)
So how is it possible that with all this free time, money, and useful resources, I managed to put on 35 pounds and end up in the worst shape of my life? Well, allow me to lay it all out there for you. Below I’ve attempted to compile a list of all the emotions, resources, relationships and motivations that affected my weight and fitness in the super-rich/super-heavy stage of my life and in the best-shape/poverty-level-income stage. I hope it will give you some insight into why having all the money you could ever want doesn’t ensure a sexy body, a sound mind, or a happy life.
Unlimited Money and Resources/Worst Shape of My Life/Weight: 175
When I was dating the billionaire, I lived with constant pressure to please someone other than myself. I was subject to frequent criticism of my weight and body by the person paying for my basic needs.
I was constantly drinking and going out to eat; I had too much free time and nothing meaningful to focus on.
Many days, I couldn’t work out because of terrible hangovers from food, alcohol, drugs, or a mixture of all three.
I had no support system. There was nobody in my life I could to relate to. I would often spend long periods of time in isolation.
I got into a bad cycle of binging and then restricting calories, eating unhealthily and then punishing myself for it.
The unstable situation I willingly entered made me unable to regulate my emotions. I used food to replace real emotional connection and friendships and to block out bad feelings.
With money and food available in unlimited supply, I became wasteful. I found myself pouring soap on food and throwing it out because I didn’t want to eat it and couldn’t stop myself. The food had little value to me because I didn’t work for it. I didn’t buy it with my own money.
Easy money means access to drugs and going out. I had no fear over losing my job; I didn’t even need to have a job.
And yet I was afraid of rejection—which would mean loss of subsistence—if I wasn’t looking good enough. I was surviving not thriving.
Weight was my main focus—and yet I couldn’t keep it under control.
I was deeply unhappy with my lifestyle choices and felt trapped. I was embarrassed about being dependent on someone and aware I was a bad example for others.
The fact that I had no sexual attraction to the person I was with contributed to my lack of desire to feel sexy and to feel good about my body.
Being intimate with someone for the wrong reasons caused me to lose respect for my body. Having low standards for who touched my body caused me to have low standards for what I put inside of it.
Poverty-Level Income/Best Shape of My Life/Weight: 150
At 150 pounds, I’m now 10 pounds away from my lowest weight, but I have the most muscle I’ve ever had. So I’m actually in the best shape of my life. (Weight isn’t everything.) By giving up easy money and a destructive lifestyle, I improved my mental health, muscle growth, cardio ability, sleep cycles, and diet.
It’s because I acted on a very different kind of motivation: I wanted to be the best I could be.
Taking part in a physical competition against other women fueled a healthy passion of wanting to succeed from my own physical efforts. But the real pressure came from myself.
I had a deeper appreciation for my food because I was personally buying it and preparing it.
I had a huge support system. Most importantly, I had someone who cared and who truly wanted to see me succeed for all the right reasons.
I was forced to learn things for myself without being able to through money at others to do things for me. That meant lots of research, trial and error, concentration, and time needed to perfect my process, workouts and healthy routine.
My focus was no longer on needing to feel good enough for someone else or look good enough to keep someone’s affection.
I had the opportunity to earn financial gain directly from my own hard work and efforts. I was using my body as a way to show the world what I can accomplish.
Independence was a desirable and obtainable goal. I was using my own efforts, willpower, dedication, and hard work to get in the best shape of my life and earn my own money.
Being a good role model and inspiring others was a huge motivator throughout the process of working out, eating right, and most importantly giving up large quantities of drugs and alcohol.
I become more approachable because I was happier and proud of myself. It allowed people to reach out to me, and this was a wonderful reminder that I was on the right track.
I no longer had the urge to binge-eat or drink excessively in order to make myself feel better as a means of escaping my daily life or to block out bad choice after bad choice.
I had people around me who protected me, cared for me, cheered me on—and held me accountable—instead of putting my body down.
So, by giving up an endless supply of easy money, I was able to seek out an opportunity to transform my body and learn how to make amazing progress with limited resources. This experience taught me that you don’t need tons of free time, a personal trainer, or a fancy meal delivery system to get in the best shape of your life. What you need is a strong support system, a plan you aren’t willing to compromise on, and sustainable habits, routines and motivations.
You can read more about my journey to the worst shape of my life—and how I turned it all around—in my book, Dependently Wealthy, available for Amazon pre-sale.