The Shocking Photo that Jolted My Reality

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Have you ever seen a photo of yourself that made you do a complete shift in your life? A reminder of something you already knew and ignored or simply refused to do something about? That’s what happened to me when a friend shared this photo of me on stage speaking a couple months ago.

I was shocked at what I saw. That didn’t look like me.  I didn’t recognize that person.  I had become OK with letting myself go and lying to myself that I hadn’t. I had become the heaviest and most out of shape I’ve ever been other than when I was pregnant with my kids many years ago. If you are thinking, wait, this doesn’t look bad, what is the problem?  You are right it doesn’t look bad in the overall scheme of things but for me it was the culmination of a few years of slacking and letting myself go.  I stopped working out at my normal intensity, was eating badly and gained over 10 pounds.  Now that’s not much by anyone’s standards but that’s the key, it violated my standards.  I never let it get beyond 5 pounds in the past.  5 turns to 10, 10 turns to 20 and so on if you don’t get a grip on it. Also I have a very small frame so a 10 pound weight gain is like 30-40 for someone else with a bigger frame.

Why did this become a big deal?  I was convincing myself there wasn’t a big problem while at the same time many of my clothes were getting too tight to wear. Also, since I am someone who has been physically fit all my life and been very disciplined with it, it was not acceptable for me to let myself go when I knew I could stop it from happening but was choosing to ignore it.  That is until this photo was posted.

This was a big wake up call for me and glad it happened.  It was tied to a much bigger problem; my negotiating with myself that it was OK to let myself stop exercising, stop being disciplined in how many “blow it” days I let myself have and allowing myself to eat more of the things I know I shouldn’t and that my body doesn’t like. Things that make me feel sluggish, low on energy and causing a weight gain.

Why did I let it happen? I was using the getting older and my body is changing and gaining weight is a normal part of it excuse and not enough time to exercise excuse. I was also using the it’s not really that bad excuse when deep down I knew I had let myself go too far. Some stressful personal life circumstances also contributed to me getting in a rut of making the excuse to not work out. I was walking a little here and there and stretching some in the morning and telling myself that was enough. Based on results it was not. Also, I have knee and back problems and didn’t want to upset those. I know I can’t run anymore unless I want some serious knee issues so that’s another excuse. I was giving myself a lot of reasons and not getting any results and negotiating an agreement with myself that it was OK to let that happen.  I think this is how we end up in circumstances that negatively affect our lives, we lie to ourselves and negotiate bad agreements with ourselves.

Not OK! That picture was what I needed to kick myself in gear and decide to get back on my routine of exercising in the morning with P90X3. It’s only 30 minutes and I modify what I need in order to not injure myself. I know this works for me.  You have to choose what works for you. I was not willing to accept where I was any longer and not willing to buy a whole new wardrobe of a bigger size.

That’s it, no magic pill, no special sauce, only a simple decision in my mind to make a change and stick to it. Oh and printing the above photo out and posting it by my computer monitor at my desk to make sure I remind myself of what I can stay at, go beyond or change.  Its a motivator and accountability mechanism for me.  Again, you have to choose what works for you.

Today I’m at the end of week 5 of P90X3 and here are the results so far. Same dress. Noticeable difference already. By the way this is only a 5 pound release of weight.  It’s not as much about the weight as it is about what happens when I am more fit.

It didn’t happen overnight so I don’t expect it to change overnight but after 5 weeks I’d say there’s a lot of progress. I will print these out and put them next to the photo I have and remind myself it’s progress not perfection. I am making progress and don’t expect perfection. I will post another after a few more weeks. Posting this is also accountability for me as well.

As I always say – The Power is in The Work!  You do The Work, you will have The Power to make your dreams come true.  Want a free Confidence Booster Session?  Email me at to find out details.

To your success.


Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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