If you read my last blog on how I overcame a troubled past then you have an idea of where I used to be. There was a time in my life where I honestly believed I was limited to what I was conditioned to believe about myself. I never thought I had an athletic bone in my body and I definitely had zero confidence in myself. Anytime I accomplished or achieved anything note worthy I was either embarrassed by it or thought it was just by chance I even did anything “right.” My friends, those types of thoughts is what years of abuse does to you.
Dealing with abuse as a child I didn’t realize until later why my weight even started to creep up at such a young age. On top of a troubled home life I would come home from school after dealing with being bullied and isolate myself. The television was pretty much my babysitter and I would eat anything I could get my hands on. Food was something I clearly turned to for comfort, but at the time I had no idea that was what I was doing. The concept of exercise was foreign to me. I did manage to attempt various sports in middle school, but was never good at anything I tried. I pretty much decided being an athlete was not my thing.
By the time I became a young adult I realized weighing over 200 pounds was not healthy. From a physical stand point it definitely wasn’t healthy, but I also did not feel good internally. I dealt with so much depression it was unreal and I never truly understood what my purpose in life was. At 19 years old I finally stepped into a weight room for the first time and hired a trainer to show me how to lift weights. I started running and deliberately restricting calories. Less than 6 months later, I had lost well over 50 pounds. Little did I know I would battle years of yo-yo dieting because I had no concept of a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
I was never diagnosed, but throughout my 20s I truly believe I developed horrible body dysmorphia because despite how much weight I lost I could never get the picture of me being my heaviest out of my head. What we tend to see in the mirror is not how others view us, but it was a mental struggle for me. I also struggled with depression and I definitely did not fuel my body properly. Like most young adults, nights out with friends ending up at a Taco Bell drive thru were common. I did stay mildly active, which I think helped my weight from ballooning completely out of control, but I still wasn’t happy. I never lifted weights consistently because of I was self-conscious and just didn’t have it in me.
Toward the end of 2016 at 36 years old, I was dealing with a lot of stress. At the time my personal life was getting out of control and I needed a healthier outlet. It was then I decided to commit to more healthy and consistent habits because I did have about 15 pounds I wanted to lose as a goal. I think it’s the same type of goal most people have approaching the new year … a desire to lose a few extra pounds and feel better. I had no idea that goal of mine was going to bring me into my current space.
I ended up committing my new goal and it was amazing to see what consistency and overhauling my habits bit by bit did for me over time. I found a style of eating that worked extremely well for me and I educated myself on how to properly get myself out of diet once it ended. The following year I reached my goal and realized I wanted more. I had developed a new passion for weight lifting and was amazing how my body responded to the effort I was putting in. After some encouragement from some friends I decided I wanted to compete in my first bodybuilding competition.
The interesting thing about competitive bodybuilding is you realize you need to be at a certain bodyfat level to compete, but often times many people just desire to be lean and forget actually building muscle is important. After educating myself on the challenges and risks associated with such an extreme goal, I realized I needed to spend some time building and also work on having a healthier intake. Both were doable, but I had to invest a considerable amount of time and be perfectly ok with not dieting, which was new territory for me.
I won’t lie, reverse dieting … working my way up to eating more than 2700 calories sometimes was extremely HARD. I would argue that dieting down is a little easier in some ways. I had to spend a lot of time being uncomfortable, but I got stronger and the process taught me so much patience. I focused a lot less on the way I looked in the mirror and set goals to be consistent with my diet and got stronger. After several months I noticed my body changed quite a bit and although the scale went up, I noticed the weight gain was not fat. I was also blessed enough to connect with my current coach. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways and will bring people into your life at just the right time. I had no idea I needed Rachael, but she was exactly the coach for me to help me with this huge goal of mine.
After a little over a year of eating and building, I realized my window for prepping for my first bikini competition is getting smaller. I’m getting older and currently am in the best shape of my life. There will be a time when other things are going to have to take more of a priority, but given my current life situation, I don’t have much holding me back. I don’t think there never is truly the right time, but I do think there are more optimal times than others to pursue a goal like this. Most importantly, my coach thought I was ready and had saw potential in me way before I ever did. After discussing things with her I realized now is the time so right after Christmas I started my prep and am now almost 7 weeks in.
So far I’m actually enjoying this journey. It’s taking my discipline to a whole new level and I’m realizing I’m truly an athlete. Trust me when you are prioritizing training, rest, walking past the appetizer tray at a party and opting for sparkling water instead of wine because you’re trying to get stage ready you’re definitely an athlete. This is a whole different level of operating for me and I think I’m going to get exactly the self-development from it I’m seeking.
I’m currently down a little over 5 pounds at this point. We are taking a very controlled and slow approach because there’s no need to be aggressive for many reasons. I’m not saying the aggressive approach is wrong, but for me, and what I want to do, it’s not necessary. Our current approach is what is making this journey enjoyable for me. It is very challenging when you’re already smaller to lose a considerable amount of bodyfat. This goal is pretty extreme and once I’m done with my competition I will be working to get right back to normal bodyfat levels because the level of leanness for the stage is not healthy, sustainable or normal.
I have been pretty transparent with my journey because I want women to understand what it takes to take the body to that next level. The grind, workload and lower calories have started for me, but it’s going to become much more as the weeks go by. For now I’m trying to live as balanced of a life as possible, but as the weeks continue to fly by, training, diet and rest will have to take even more of a front seat, but it’s all temporary.
This bodybuilding journey of mine has unlocked a passion I never though existed and has taught me so much in the last few years. I’ve learned so much through this process that I’m actually going to dedicate another blog to the things I have learned through the sport of bodybuilding because it’s way too much to include in this blog.
We currently have no set timelines. My body is responding and as things start coming together more my coach and I will discuss options for which competition makes sense for me. The best part of competing in bodybuilding is there are shows everywhere all the time. I want to work with my body and not against it so right now timelines are not on the table. I will say if what is currently happening continues we will definitely be in a good place with what I have in mind timeline wise. The best part is I’m ok with taking a little longer because slow and steady is going to be our friend with this goal.
My fire is lit in ways I never though possible. My heart is completely in this right now and I’m grateful. This is a choice and I wake up everyday reminding myself that I’m choosing this life. I remind myself every time I’m tired or feel like I’m missing out on something. This is exactly why I want to do this. The mental gains I’ve already achieved have been unreal and I can’t wait to see what happens next. For now it’s one day at a time. Thanks for following my journey.