I couldn’t believe the amount of confidence that came from pushing me outside of my comfort zone, trying new things and not being afraid to fail.
I have always struggled with my weight and my self-confidence throughout my life. Starting at high school and going forward, I have gone from the starting phases of anorexia to the freshman15 30 to overweight with heart issues to where I am now. Each phase of my life has made me stronger.
In high school, I just wanted to fit in – who didn’t? Then college, it was time to be free and enjoy life. Everyone was different at college and there was more freedom – easy access to food and alcohol and wrong choices. Post college and starting in the real world was when it all got serious. I started being more ‘health conscious’ right out of college – walking and watching what I ate (lots of salads – poor education on nutrition). Then I took on my dream job as a social work discharge planner at the time and that is when my health got worse. Little did I realize though.
Working in the medical field is rewarding but very stressful. Working as a hospital social work on many challenging floors, I encountered a lot of situations that were like taking on the world. As I worked hard at my job, I let my health fall by the wayside. Plus when you wear scrubs who really notice the weight that you put on; until you go to wear real clothes and nothing fits! As the job continued on and the stress levels continued to grow, my health deteriorated to the point of a cardiologist. I was having heart issues. Heart disease is genetic for my family but typically around the age of 50, not at the age of 24/25. That was a clear sign that something had to change! I was headed down the wrong road.
My friend had mentioned a program she loved and that is where my life started to changed! I started Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping in Jan of 2013 and never looked back. During my 10 weeks, I learned the importance of fueling my body with proper nutrition. I began to notice the importance of healthy food for energy throughout my day instead of the sugary pops and candy during my midday crash. After my 10 weeks, I was down 20lbs and moving in the right direction. I was taking care of myself again! I continued on the Farrell’s journey. The journey of course had many ups and downs because success is not a straight road.
I had moments when I fell off and times when I was locked back in for the change. As I changed jobs and went from the stress of the hospital to Farrell’s, that is when I really took control of my life.
When I started working as the Head Coach at Farrell’s, I found the importance of health and fitness in a new light. I was not only working on improving myself but I was helping others reach their goals of living a better life. As I became manager, I really worked to find myself even more. I pushed my life to the next level! I was not only working out 6 days a week at Farrell’s but also added on lifting weights with a close friend. She introduced me to another form of fitness that took my body transformation to the next level.
I watched my body transform and found a new confidence I had never had before. I couldn’t believe the amount of confidence that came from pushing me outside of my comfort zone, trying new things and not being afraid to fail. As I watched my friend take on bodybuilding competitions, I knew that was a goal I wanted to set for myself.
In 2016, I decided to work towards my first bodybuilding. During my competition prep, I learned even more about myself in a way I never knew possible. Prep was a life changer because it pushed you not only physically to work harder than ever but it was played into mental and spiritual aspects of life.
Farrell’s had already changed me mentally and made me a more positive and upbeat person but prep pushed me to my breaking point and then built me back up. There were days when exhaustion hit and nothing seemed possible but the alarm would go off at 3:30am and to the gym I went to do cardio before work at 4:30am. Through prep, I learned true grit and drive. That if you really wanted something bad enough, you could make it happen with a lot of hard work, time, commitment and persistence!
I had an amazing time learning about myself through competition prep but was thrilled to be back to a ‘normal’ life. Little did I know how different post prep life would be though. I yo-yo’d my weight again, I couldn’t control my eating habits (did I mention I was closet eating and binge eating) and I felt like I was lost. I couldn’t believe I let myself go. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to do what I did for so many years prior to prep. No one tells you just how hard it is going from stage lean to regular body weight or from a strict diet plan to just eat.
My body blew up. I was holding water. I was uncomfortable in my clothes. It was extremely hard to be a motivator for a gym and tell others how awesome they are doing when you felt like a failure and an overall bad leader to them. I could barely bring myself to go to the gym to lift. I had no desire.
I was so fortunate to have a dear friend notice my situation and step in and help coach me back to who I was before prep. I knew I had a long road to go. With their guidance and help, I was slowly getting back into the gym, enjoying it and finding the girl that loved to work out and motivate others. I soon started to love myself again
I had to find ways to approach food in a healthy matter. I had to drop the closet eating and be real with myself. That meant logging everything that I ate – even the bite sized deliciousness candy bars. I had to throw away food I was ‘saving’ and clear the house of temptation. I was literally starting back over from scratch. Looking back, I am so fortunate to have had this friend come into my life when they did because they saved me from a bad road.
It wasn’t until the beginning of 2018 that I felt I was finally able to think about getting back on stage and setting my sights for 2019. This round of competition prep has been nothing like before. I have freedom in my macros and can make my own choices. I am not doing cardio at 3:30am either! I also continue to have confidence in myself day to day and have found myself again. I have rediscovered the girl that loves to work out! The girl that loves to motivate and support others towards their goals! The girl that can have an insane amount of Oreos in her freezer but not eat them every day! The girl with a healthy relationship with food.
I look back on my health journey and continue to surprise myself every day as I move forward. I know all the things that I have had to overcome and that there will be more turns in this road. But at the end of each day, I have to love myself and I am.