In 2012, I was obsessed with being less. Constantly needing smaller & leaner. Yet today, in 2019, I simply enjoying being strong, fit & fierce with a lifestyle I can sustain.
Competing was a really fun time for me. I had the time of my life watching my body transform, the lights, glamour, spray tan and posing. Pushing myself to new limits & feeling like I was achieving the impossible, I don’t regret any of it, I liked having the willpower to eat only veggies and chicken. I loved testing my limits & going to the gym 2x a day. I felt unique, strong, & disciplined but it’s a slippery slope, at least for me, especially when even here, I thought I wasn’t small, lean or toned enough. The whole process consumed my life. It took all of my energy to work out & prep food. I was useless at work, obsessed with how I looked, would check my abs or flex some thing every time I looked in the mirror, do push-ups & squats in my office at work because I didn’t feel tight enough.
After competing I rebounded hard, it was awful. Being stage lean is one thing, but keeping it is unrealistic. I had no idea what was coming, wasn’t prepared for the AFTER. I struggled with what was going on with my body. Why am so tired ALL THE TIME? Why am I sick so often? Why is my digestion off? Why am I so emotional & my sleep so horrible despite being so tired? And, I hated both myself & my body even more. It was a hard hit to my self esteem.
It has taken years, but I have finally achieved a strong sense of freedom & balance. I no longer care if I have visible abs or what size I wear. It’s not about the scale but about living my best life. We change constantly throughout our lives, goals change. You have to navigate through all the BS & find what works for you. I enjoy being fit, strong and eating well because it FEELS good. I have chocolate, wine and pizza on occasion & finally, no food is off limits. I no longer count every calorie or macro, I don’t feel bad when I eat unhealthy food nor do I feel like I need to punish myself with hard workouts or extra cardio.
Competing is a great goal but, like everything else, without the proper mindset it can really fuck with you mentally. I know that competing for me, personally, was very unhealthy. With an already sour relationship with food & exercise, it just made things worse, I still looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. I still obsessed over my scale weight, even though I was a size 0. Can you imagine, I was the leanest I had been in my entire life, but still thought I wasn’t good enough or skinny enough!?! You can eat the cleanest diet and exercise every single day, but if you don’t fix what is going on deep down inside of you, you’ll never be healthy. Mindset — it’s huge!
Through all of this, I remember vividly thinking “one day you’re going to help women realize their full potential outside of sizes & numbers. You are going to show them that their physical & mental health should come before any number & that self-love is important.” I want my clients to realize that being fit is about so much more than looking a certain way. It’s having the confidence to be the only woman in a weight room. It’s the empowerment & realization that you can now do something you couldn’t do 2 weeks ago. It’s about loving life & loving yourself enough to use fitness & nutrition as a means of showing that love so that you can live a higher quality of life rather than using it as a means of punishing your body. It’s about living!!
Over the years since competing, I’ve had to practice considerable patience and learn how to love my body no matter it’s size. I had to stop trying to dictate to my body & instead, learn to work together with it as a team. The day I stopped obsessing over how my body LOOKED is the day my health & body finally started to change. It literally blows my mind that I can go out to eat & truly enjoy it without fussing over guilt, that I can listen to my body & skip a workout without punishing myself with extra the next day. In the last several years, I’ve gone through considerable personal growth, it has taken A LOT to get here. So much, in fact, that when I look back, I’m surprised by my resolve to keep going despite how much I’ve had to push through & overcome. But, I’m happy to say that I have come out, on the other side, better for all the struggles & failures. I workout LESS, I eat MORE, I feel FREE & balanced. I’ve found my happy place (physically & mentally), perhaps I deserve it because I’ve worked my ass off to get it!?!
Living a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be miserable. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a healthy, realistic mindset when it comes to progress & goals. It has taken me many years & a lot of tears to sculpt the physique I have today. I feel fit, strong & confident but my life doesn’t revolve around workouts or eating. So while I can appreciate the competition, & any dieting experience, I am so happy to be out of the all or nothing lifestyle, and finally at peace with myself. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to FINALLY be here. I couldn’t be happier with where I am right now.
And, you know what, with resilience, patience & some perseverance you can get there too.
Be strong, don't quit!!
Until next time,