What Goes On Behind The Scenes (a very personal post)


The greatest, most meaningful compliment I ever get is when I’m told to post my “before” pictures to prove that my method of training is effective because people may not believe that I ever had a weight problem. I definitely did, so nothing is more personally rewarding to me than someone telling me that I look like I never had to struggle with my weight. If I in fact do look this way, I want people to know I put in a lot of effort to look as though I never had to struggle with it! As much as I wish I was, I am sadly not one of those girls who are genetically blessed with a fast metabolism and a perfect body she hardly has to work for (hate that girl! lucky bitch) (jk but not really)

Posting my big girl pictures has always scared me because it’s embarrassing, but hearing someone tell me that encourages me to let go of my hesitation and show people I’m not lying! It took me a lot of hard work and a long time to get here, and it’s important to me that you know that I went through the same obstacles, setbacks and frustrations you may be going through now: the loss of motivation, the yo-yo-ing, the lack of confidence and patience for results, etc.

a chubs 15 year-old Bella


I hope seeing my before picture is helpful, but what I really wish I could show you is the “during” picture: the image of what actually went into getting to the “after.”

I think it’s interesting that when we see someone’s “after” picture, we tend to think they’ve always been that way, they’ve never had to face the struggles we’re facing and everything just came easily to them. It’s what I think when I see a rock star on stage or an actress on the red carpet. I only see the glamorous image of them and don’t consider the long, sleepless nights they spent writing songs or going over their lines to make sure they got it perfect. That is the “during” image that no one sees and rarely considers.

There’s a life-size (very silly) picture of me on my storefront window in a tight dress that highlights my waistline–a waistline I didn’t believe I had for a very long time. It was covered by a layer of excess fat that I spent many years trying to get rid of. It’s a cutesy, kind of glamorous (again, very silly) image of me–the “after” image that took me years to achieve. I understand that most people looking at that image would not consider the story behind it.

Picture a chubby, sweaty, not-so-cute 17 year-old girl at a 5 am step class. That was me. Not glamorous, not sexy, not unlike anyone else pushing themselves to be in shape. That’s what I looked like for years (6 to be exact).

I remember the mornings when I made myself get out of bed and drag my fat butt 3 miles to the gym in the snow, angry because all I wanted to do was sleep and resentful thinking of all the skinny girls who were asleep because they didn’t have to do what I’m doing. I remember going to Spain on summer vacation, shopping for swimsuits with my always-thin mother and sister, hating every single bikini I put on and hating my body even more. Years of not seeing anything come of my hard work, my grueling workouts and dieting, feeling like a failure and frustrated beyond belief, losing motivation and on the verge of giving up. That was me pretty much everyday for six years.


Elana and Bella at 17. At least we were in the National Honor Society :-/


I wish I could show you that whatever you’re going through, I went through it too. What allowed me to get to my “after” was my will to push myself through my discomfort, laziness and loss of motivation. I wanted my goal more than I wanted to sleep in or skip a workout, but believe me, I wanted to sleep in and skip plenty of workouts!

I don’t want anyone to look at me and think it came easy to me because that would be a lie. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it came easy. I wouldn’t know HOW to do it if it came easy. I wouldn’t have the motivation to help other women if it came easy. I also don’t want anyone to think I’m special in any way; I’m just someone who really wanted to get where I am now.

My clients who see the same results also want their goal as much as I wanted mine. What we do at the studio is what goes on behind the scenes, before anyone sees the flawless bride walking down the aisle looking perfect in her dress, before summer season comes and anyone sees one of my clients looking stunning in her bikini, before any of the compliments or accolades, we do the work that no one sees. All that work produces the glamorous after image that everyone sees.

As tempting as it is to look at that image and assume that girl can’t relate to the hard work you have to do, realize that she already did that work, and if she can do it, you can do it. You can be the girl that other girls look at and assume it came easy to you. You just have to want your goal bad enough.

Here's my Before and After. Funny right?

PS. It took me years to feel comfortable posting these pics. I can do it now only because of how open my clients and people I admire and respect have been about their own struggles. Elana and I always want to be completely open and honest about why we’re doing what we’re doing. No false advertising here!

About the author

Bella Barak

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Bella will help you create a body you love. For daily fitness, healthy eating, beauty and lifestyle tips, follow BBF on Twitter @BellaBodyFit and Facebook/BellaBodyFitness.

5 Responses

  1. Bella,

    All I have to say is wow. I cried when I read this because I know how it feels and felt as if I was in your shoes and am very proud of you with what you’ve achieved. I can’t wait to get back from Vietnam study abroad and get revved up to achieve my bride body and body for life just as you have from August through October and beyond that. This is truly inspirational, and thank you for posting this. I know it’s really difficult to do this. I’ve been in your shoes and lets just say most of my pictures are still locked up in my safe!

    • Kimmy thank you! I’m so proud of you for getting so far! Knowing you’ve been there and can relate makes me even more motivated and excited to really get into it when you’re back! XO.

  2. Ooooh I wish I lived in Houston…. I love seeing before and after pictures, what a great inspiration for everyone! I am not chubby… but I do have to tone…a lot! I watched some of your videos, can’t wait to try these exercises tomorrow at the gym! If you want to tone, is cardio still as important, or should I concentrate on pilates?

    • Thanks so much! Pilates is excellent for muscle strengthening, toning and lengthening, but a balanced fitness routine isn’t complete without cardio! You want to do daily cardio to strengthen your heart and lungs and to build endurance. If your goal is to trim a few inches off and bring out the tone you achieved through strength training, you’ll definitely want to do cardio, since it will help you burn excess calories and carve out your curves! Cardio can be anything that raises your heart rate for a prolonged period of time. It should be fun and feel good…I love dancing, jogging and anything outdoors, but a good cardio DVD you can do at home will do the trick. If you’re ever in the Houston area, come by for a super fun trampoline class with us! XO.B.


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