An inspiring story of transformation and self-love.
“Don’t ever forget where you started or how far you’ve come. I used to roll my eyes at people who ran obstacles courses.” - Elle Savage
We got to sit down with Elle Savage to learn more about her incredible transformation story. Here’s the complete talk.
Lukafit: We’re sitting down with Elle Savage from Toronto, Canada. She began her fitness transformation and journey to self-love in March 2017. Like most remarkable stories, her journey starts with simple beginnings where she began working out exclusively in her basement doing free workouts from YouTube. To date, she’s lost more than 100 lbs after weighing more than 320 lbs.
Elle, you’re such an inspiration to all women and we’re excited to learn more about your transformation story. What were the top things that kept you motivated during your journey of self-love and discovery?
Elle: My daughter is easily the number one thing that keeps me motivated on my journey. My fitness and wellness journey started because of her and wanting to model a positive healthy lifestyle for her. I didn’t want her to grow up thinking that fast food was the norm for our family and that working out was a chore. I’m proud to say my daughter loves going to the gym and exercising with me and she eats well just like her mama.
When I began my journey I also created an accountability and support group with like-minded women. The group has grown and evolved since its creation in 2017 and with each new round, the women help to motivate me and keep me learning new things about myself.
The third thing that keeps me motivated is results. Physically, I’ve watched my body transform and accomplish things I didn’t think were possible. I completed my first 5km (3 mile) obstacle course and while training for it, I was running up to 8km (5 miles).
This is coming from someone who hated running (and it’s still not my favourite activity, to be honest). I also recently went for a physical and my doctor was shocked, in a good way, by my low cholesterol levels. He never mentioned them previously so it wasn’t something I was concerned with or that was even on my radar. It was reassuring to know that the lifestyle changes that I have made are having a positive impact on my overall health!
Lukafit: Absolutely! Healthy choices always trickle down in positives ways to our overall lifestyles. If you could define your self-love how would you and how do you show yourself this love?
Elle: I would define my self-love as unconditional and overflowing. I have always shown myself love but as I’ve gotten older and wiser, the ways I show it have changed drastically.
When I was younger I showed myself love by buying myself material things and overindulging on unhealthy foods. These days my self-love is shown in the form of self-care, taking a long hot bath, reading a good book, giving myself a face mask at home, etc. I also consider every healthy choice I make for myself a form of self-love. If you love yourself, you need to take care of yourself in all ways, not just physically.
Lukafit: Yes, self-love is indeed self-care. What are some hard lessons and traits that your journey to self-love have revealed to you about yourself? How do you handle them?
Elle: The comparison game isn’t a good one to play. Your 200 lbs aren’t going to look like the next person’s. Your “beastmode” in the gym will be your own and unique to you. In the age of social media, there is often an untold story behind every single image you see – a picture can often mean nothing.
I am extremely competitive so when I joined a Biggest Loser group early on, I was determined to win. I became obsessed with weighing myself almost daily and considered resorting to unhealthy measures for the sake of winning.
Ultimately, I decided against those methods and I didn’t win first place. Whomp whomp. It was a blow to my pride but I quickly got over it. My integrity is worth more than prize money and I’m proud that I didn’t take the easy way out.
Lukafit: You hit the nail on the head there, “the comparison game isn’t a good one to play”. So often we get caught up in other people’s stories that we forget to focus on how we are writing our own. When did you stop comparing yourself to others, fall in love with yourself, and step into your own confidence?
Elle: My fitness journey differs from a lot of others I have followed because I fell in love with myself and have always been confident from a very young age. My confidence didn’t manifest as a result of my weight loss and I have never disliked my body. I will say that I appreciate my body more now and I am in awe of the things that I now know it is capable of.
I think this appreciation began soon after giving birth to my daughter, I “snapped back” for lack of a better term to my pre-pregnancy size almost immediately and that was completely unexpected. When I am weight training and increasing the weights that I lift week after week my mind is blown. I still see candid photos of myself on occasion and I don’t even recognize myself.
Lukafit: Looking back is always full of emotions, both beautiful and courageous. You mentioned earlier a group of fitness friends that helped you with your accountability. Can you share more about that?
Elle: Most of my fitness friends are online. I found most of my fitness friends through my fitness pages on Facebook and Instagram. I think that surrounding yourself with the right people, online or in real life, really helps to shape your behaviour and outlook on life.
When I see my fitness friends doing something great, it inspires me to do better. I am able to gain access to new information and motivate myself daily. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at home procrastinating and will see a post of someone that I know in the gym and it gives me the push that I need to get myself there. I also check in on people in my life who are on their own fitness journeys via text regularly because accountability is a good thing.
And I think this has been the game changer and major contributing factor in my weight loss journey thus far. Previously, I embarked on different diets, cleanses, workout routines, etc. The difference between then and now is that this time, from the start, I formed a community to support me and keep me accountable. I couldn’t find what I was looking for in terms of a community so I created my own, in March 2017.
I found the social media accounts that I’ve connected and interact with mainly through the use of hashtags and following fitness pages that highlight other fitness folks. I contribute to the community by sharing recipes, workouts, motivational posts and anything that I feel may be beneficial and help someone who needs it.
Lukafit: At Lukafit we value and promote accountability and supporting each other. Can you share with us what role you personally feel like family and community play in our journeys to self-love and discovery?
Elle: Oh boy, this is a loaded question. On one hand I feel like your family and community can make or break you. On the other hand, I know (and we probably all do) people who have been through extraordinary circumstances and come out the other side either triumphant or defeated. Siblings who grew up in the same toxic or loving environment and were affected by their surroundings differently.
Negative family experiences can really instill a sense of low self-worth in a child from a very young age. Alternatively, if you grew up loved, respected and encouraged by your tribe, then that shapes your sense of self in the most wonderful way! It’s something I consider on a regular basis because I am raising a daughter and trying to do the best job possible not only with my actions but by controlling the people who interact with her and may ultimately have an influence her.
Lukafit: You are working so hard to inspire your daughter. What Black woman inspires you?
Elle: Definitely my Auntie Laura. When I was younger I looked up to her as my super cool, outspoken auntie who didn’t put up with anyone’s b.s. As an adult she is one of my best friends and inspires me in many ways. As a single mom she’s raised 3 awesome kids while working hard and making her family her priority. Throughout the years we’ve both motivated and encouraged each other on our respective fitness journeys.
She taught me that there’s nothing wrong with being a strong, opinionated Black woman and if you have something on your mind, say it! I’m proud to call her my aunt and grateful to call her a friend.
Lukafit: That’s awesome, Elle. This talk and peek into your journey of self-love and transformation has been so inspiring and we are so excited to connect with you. What advice or self-love tips would you like to leave with #TeamLukafit?
Elle: "Health is wealth" is the closest thing I have to a daily mantra. Throughout the years I have seen first hand what this means by watching various friends and family members battle through health struggles. Most people associate wealth with money but you can be rich in many ways and I believe being healthy is the epitome of wealth!
Lukafit: To continue with Elle on her self-love journey follow her on Instagram and Facebook at ElleSavageFitness. We’ll see you soon with our next spotlight. Thanks again, Elle!