I would say, gaining self confidence because of leaning out, the challenge of the consistency, looking/feeling better then ever before. Yes, I felt accomplished by achieving my fitness goals but also everyone has different goals. It took me a while to believe in the process but once I saw progress, was really 'into it' and was feeling really good. And yes I grew a lot (physically, mentally and emotionally). Being able to see how much my body can change by the way I eat is so fascinating to me. Also, it made me realize that If I put my mind to something and follow through with it to the end, I can achieve anything!
It's also not a weight loss challenge, it's a competition of every aspect and that you have to have the right mind set to do a fitness competition. Yes, it's hard to wrap your head around the fact that you only look that good for a few days but that body is not realistic twelve months a year. You do learn a lot about your body and yourself. How to be disciplined, motivated and determined to want to change your body.