Project Revamp: I Can’t Believe I Did It

And so, the revAMp comes to an end. But does that mean Abby will return to her sugar-and-carb-laden ways?

Abby will celebrate her accomplishment—but not with cake.

It’s hard not to get all reflective when you come to the end of something big in life. The revAMp could have been a quiet, personal journey but I chose to make it something more. Bringing it here to Be Well Philly and talking about it with all of you gave it more weight in my life—instead of being accountable to my own (very lenient) self, I committed to a larger community, and that has helped me to stay focused and true to the contract I signed. So, thanks for your help!

The revAMp started as a way to help people transform their lives. The idea of transformation is so much bigger than just changing the way you eat or looking better in a bikini, and that has been the most surprising thing about this whole experience. I’ve seen the physical changes, for sure: I can do a lot more push-ups now, and my mom says my hair looks shiny. The changes I didn’t expect are more big-picture. I’ve found myself wondering, “If I can change this part of my life, what other less-than-awesome parts need some revamping?”

That is a big thought. An overwhelming proposition. Who would have thought six weeks ago that ending my love affair with sugar and butter would lead me to examine my entire life on a macro level? But I guess it makes sense: eliminating the toxic (yeah, I said it) elements of my diet has helped me see more clearly the figurative toxins in other areas of my life.

I’ve changed. But I have more changing to do. The goal of revAMping was to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle, not just test the limits of my self-control. That means next Monday, when my contract officially expires, I won’t be eating a celebratory pizza and drinking a beer. I’m going to continue down this road a while longer to see what happens. I know that my body takes a long time to adapt to changes, so while six weeks was a good time frame for reshaping my thoughts and feelings about food and exercise, it might take another six for my body to catch up, and I want to give it a chance to do that. I’ve always wanted sick biceps.

Ambivalent as always, my excitement about the future is tempered by a bit of disappointment. I mean, who wants to admit that their most beloved foods are actually little demons in disguise? Not this girl! Yeah, I know, I should be focusing on how great I feel and using this momentum to keep up the progress. Blah, blah, blah. I just have to accept that while these things all hold a special place in my heart, they won’t be getting as much real estate in my stomach from now on. Once I get a handle on the impulsive part of my brain, the part that loves to choose the taste of a cupcake now over the satisfaction of defined triceps somewhere down the road, then I’ll be ready to incorporate some indulgence back into my life when it’s really worthwhile. Doing things in moderation has never been easy for me—I’m definitely the all-or-nothing type—but finding balance is the only way to be happy and satisfied. Completely eliminating bad things from my diet forever won’t make me happy, but neither will eating them regularly. It will always be a decision, but one that I’m prepared for now, and I know the value of making the better choice.

When I embarked on this adventure, I wanted to end up healthier and more aware of how my body responds to the fuel I put in it. Mission accomplished. The reality is, though, that I haven’t “ended up” anywhere. I’ve only started a process that will hopefully become a habit that will ultimately be a lifestyle.

So thanks—thanks for sharing the first chapter with me.


Abby McKenna, a management-training consultant living in Bryn Mawr, loves to bake and travels a lot for work. In June she signed a contract to revamp her health, fitness and eating habits in six weeks. Catch up on the series here.