Over the last 26 years of my life my body has been lots of different shapes and sizes. I am 5'10" and have weighed 130 lbs and have also weighed 170 lbs. Each year so far has been a huge learning experience especially when it comes to ME and what makes me happy. After many trials and errors, setbacks and leaps forward both mentally and physically I finally just feel like "YASSS, I know what I am doing and am EXCITED!"
Looking back on the majority of my teen years up until I was about 22, I can distinctly remember never feeling 100% with how I looked. Now, that may be surprising to people who know me because I was a swimmer, I was athletic etc... but I would say a I spent a good chunk of my time feeling very frustrated with my body, how much I weighed, how "skinny" I should be and just overall how I looked. Even though I had always been super active with sports and swimming - I dealt with a few body image issues and I'd say a lot of them stemmed around just trying really hard to look a certain way but actually not knowing how to accomplish my goals in a "healthy" manner.
my swimmer days
As a swimmer I usually just ate whatever I had wanted without thinking about it, but as soon as my swimming career came to an end I soon learned that wasn't going to be the case moving forward. In order to maintain that "skinny" look without swimming, I tried some dumb stuff. I tried "diets" where I'd basically drink V8's, meal replacement shakes and eat salads for dinner, I tried not eating, I tried to just "eat clean" (whatever the f*ck that means) during the week only to give into temptation and binge on everything and anything on the weekends. I would be riddled with guilt and feel the need to restrict myself even more. The "yo-yo" cycle of starting the diet Monday and being super restrictive causing me to fall off on the weekends was simply exhausting and overwhelming to be honest.
It's so crazy to think that it's been about 4 years since I decided that I was ready to make a change and STOP the madness.
This is where bodybuilding comes in. I had just got on Instagram and started seeing pictures of girls competing in bikini competitions. After scrolling through hundreds of pictures, watching YouTube videos of girls competing in the Arnold and Olympia I thought to myself, I want that, I want to do that. Actively taking the leap out of my comfort zone to do a bikini competition was one of the best decisions I've ever made because not only taught me so much about nutrition, health and lifting, but it taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of.
My first year competing AND MEAL PLANS
The nutrition protocols of when I first started bodybuilding were meal plans. After doing some research on how to get ready for a bodybuilding competition I created something pretty generic to get myself started. I knew that in order to get to where I wanted... I had to change my eating habits and follow a meal plan, I had to workout, I had to be consistent. It worked. I started lifting 6-7x days a week (full body days everyday), eating "clean", doing hours of cardio and to loose the weight. I had got ready for a show in 12 weeks and I competed. It was great! I had done what I had set out to do!
Well... it was great but it was also very HARD. 12 weeks of eating the same sh*t all the time was pretty freaking terrible and boring. Even though I saw results very quickly I was definitely feeling deprived and knew that I probably wouldn't be able to last much longer just eating tilapia, broccoli and rice cakes. The meal plan was great to get me started but it was not something that I felt I could sustain in the long term as I started to develop a poor relationship with food thinking anything that wasn't on my plan was "bad" or a "cheat". I really disliked the negative association I had with food and some of the behaviors I used to have of binging and restricting started to creep through again. Something had to change because even though I had done a competition... I still didn't know how to accomplish my goals in a "healthy" manner.
Cue IIFYM and FLEXIBLE DIETING!
This is really where the game changed for me in the BEST way possible. I hired a coach (best decision ever), studied nutrition, learned more about flexible dieting principles and how to track macronutrients. Getting started on my macro journey wasn't all rainbows and donuts as there was a learning curve involved. It did take a lot of practice and guidance form my coach but after applying the principles to my nutrition protocols consistently over time I found that could I achieve a lean and shredded look while essentially eating what I wanted everyday. My food choices were mine to make and my personal preference always took priority when structuring my food intake.
I prepped and competed in a second year of bodybuilding figure competitions all while practicing flexible dieting and achieved THE best look and conditioning I have ever had. It was awesome.
MY SECOND YEAR COMPETING AND flexible dieting
Anyways the moral of the story here is that making the investment in a coach to expand my knowledge, learn and educate myself on how to eat, train and fuel my body for my goals has been life-altering. I no longer have to second guess if I am doing it right, I no longer worry about making the "right" decisions, I never feel anxious or insecure about my food, my weight or my body. I am in the BEST shape of my life and I FEEL so freaking good and empowered knowing the HOW and WHY to accomplishing my goals. I know when I'm sticking to my macros and when I'm not. I know when I'm making smart choices and when I'm not. The simple thing of being able to say "I UNDERSTAND and KNOW how to" is beyond rewarding.
PRACTICING FLEIXBLE DIEITNG AND DOING LIFE ...
I'LL COMPETE AGAIN ONE DAY
Just wanted to give a little share about my fitness journey and my story because I know I'm not the only one that has struggled with this. I love food and I love looking good and I love that flexible dieting allows me to have both. I love that I get to help people feel empowered and "in the know" of what they need to do to accomplish their goals. I want ALL my clients to be successful and feel the same way I do.
It's never too late to change and be and feel the way you want to. You deserve to feel good and eat the things that you love. You should feel happy and excited about your body!