This year started pretty good for me. I have to admit that some of the things happening are surreal but I am enjoying the ride. I realize that I started this blog to motivate and support others out there who are in the boat that I used to be but never posted the story of my journey. Well here it is:
Who’s that girl?
I wasn’t always overweight, in fact in high school I was very athletic. I was part of the basketball team and those were some of the best years of my life. I stopped exercising really when I was going to college at Boston University. I was working full time and going to school at the same time, leaving my apartment at 7am to be back at 10:30 pm from Monday to Friday, and if you were looking for me on weekends I was at the BU Computer Lab which was open 24 hours. I didn’t create time for anything else because I figured, clubs will still be around when I graduate. The only thing that wasn’t still around when I graduated college was my size 8 to 10. The day of my graduation I remember my brother-in-law asking my husband and I – we were engaged then – if we were expecting a baby. That was the first time it occurred to me that I had put on a lot of weight. I was at 170 lbs for my height and I would say I carried the weight pretty well. Right when I started exercising regularly again to lose 30 lbs, we got married and pregnant. That’s not a problem I thought to myself, as long as I don’t put on more than 35lbs, continue to exercise and breast feed I will be right back to 170 lbs. Fast forward 9 months and 6 weeks after having my son, when I stepped on the scale again I was at 238 lbs. Ouch ouch ouch ouch! Not what I expected considering that my last 2 months of pregnancy I was having chinese food and fast food breakfast every day at work. That wasn’t fair because I exercised when I was pregnant, I even skipped the epidural for fear of back pain that will keep me from exercising, I was breastfeeding and pumping milk like a bionic woman yet I only lost 25lbs.
And the Journey begins…
I decided to join Weight Watchers for the 4th time and this time I was dedicated to lose weight because at 238 lbs, I was at the highest point of my life. I had incredible support from my husband and my entire family. I was also very flexible in terms of my workout schedule. Sometimes after putting my son to bed, I will rush to the gym and workout for 45 minutes to make it back home by 10:30 PM to wake my husband up to go to work. I weighed in every Saturday at Weight Watcher’s first meeting and would tag along with my baby and my stroller to every meeting, which was quite a workout. My son was a very good baby, feed him, kiss and hug him and he will be quiet for 3 hours. I lost 60 lbs and became a Lifetime member. With Weight Watchers I learned:
- Food journaling
- Not being afraid to travel the path alone. I was surrounded with friends that were on and off their diet. It was quite frustrating sometimes. If my success meant being disciplined alone, so be it.
Now let’s walk on stage with 6 inch heels….
After Weight Watchers, I wanted more. I was up late one night and saw fitness competitors doing back flips, one hand push up and wondered to myself if I could ever do that. I did a google search for a personal trainer and voila I started training for my first show in Boston happening in 6 months.
I went down to 132 lbs and I have to admit I never thought I would be spending hours practicing walking and posing on 6 inches heels. Working out was nothing compared to walking and keeping my posture on those heels. That in itself was a workout. The first day I stepped onstage I officially became an addict. I loved the rush, the challenge and I felt a great sense of accomplishment to just step on stage with seasoned athletes that I’ve been watching on television.
And it gets better….
At first competing was not quite what I expected, and part of it is pretty crazy. I was facing a different set of challenges amongst which the true meaning of loving thyself and the importance of nutrition. In an effort to educate myself on the importance of nutrition, I’ve asked seasoned athletes how they managed to maintain their figure year round. They all said the same thing “nutrition, nutrition is key and a flat tummy starts in the kitchen”. At this point I decided to learn as much as I could about clean eating. While I was learning about clean eating, I started working with a different trainer, Beau Taillefer, the creator of Formula55, who also trained Natalia Muntean and Angelike Psoinos. His method was new to me, I applied myself and soon fail in love with it.
The true meaning of loving thyself.
The fitness industry is highly competitive and I believe if one is not grounded with a real sense of purpose she will get lost, judge herself based on someone else’s standards,try to please others, and even put herself in situations that she cannot take back. I am talking about loving thyself, yet I choose to compete in an industry where you are judge on your physical appearance and your beauty. Beauty is a very subjective topic and with the plethora of things thrown at us in the media placing beauty in a certain category, no wonder so many young women have self-esteem issues.
I made a decision that I will continue to compete with a mastery or achievement orientation knowing that I am unique , that I do not judge my body, my beauty based on someone else’s standards. I love the darkness of my skin, my curves, the fullness of my lips, everything that uniquely makes me ME.
I continue to compete but I make sure that whatever I do concurs with my true purpose. As Angelike had pointed out during my recent Aha! moment, focussing on just winning or being on the cover of a fitness magazine will be limiting myself. I have to aim higher and if those things happen on the road to a greater purpose, it will be the icing on the cake but not the cake itself. An example is that last month out of 500 contestants that took part in Status Fitness Magazine 2010 cover model search, I was amongst the finalists. This was completely unexpected but I feel a great sense of accomplishment because there were seasoned athletes that did not make the list and here I was, the mom of a 3-year old pursuing a dream she had written down years ago, a finalist.
Being a national fitness competitor I’ve learned
- A thirst for self-improvement
- Having fun living a healthy lifestyle
My journey wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard either. I’ve had some fears but I chose to focus on the positive. I’ve dealt with some rejection in the industry but I believe that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. I had people come into my life, to stab me in the back the next day but good riddance like my friend Amy, owner of DamyHealth once told me “Web you do not need people in your life that are not here to stay.”
Where am I today?
It took me 1 year 1/2 to make it this far and this is only the beginning. In the process I discovered my passion which is to help others get what they want. I am now a Certified Taebo Instructor, an NASM Certified Personal trainer, and I find great joy when others invite me to be a part of their healthy lifestyle journey.
I believe in any journey you decide to take in life you have got to
- Have a vision
- Build your support system team with people who love you, want to help you and see you succeed and most of all be truthful and honest with you. I’ve learned in the process to chose my mentors, trainer, acquaintances and friends. If a person was out to tare me down, or be critical, I make a choice of not having them on my team. You can’t reason with a fool and this kind of toxicity won’t help me grow. No one is perfect, I certainly am not, but a true friend and someone who cares respect and cares about you enough to tell you the truth and be there for you no matter what.
- Learn to love some people from a distance. Some people when they see you progress, they get jealous and want to keep you at their level. Instead of encouraging you, they take a good shot at you mostly to feel good about themselves. There’s also those that are just plain miserable in their own world and no matter what you say or do, they will only drag you down with them. The solution is to love them from a distance, after all misery likes company right?
- What others think about you is none of your business. The funny thing is that we may think others are thinking about us when actually they are busy thinking about what others are thinking about them as well (did I confuse you yet?) This part is very important because I’ve witnessed and been guilty in the past of not doing something for fear of what others would think. Fear can be paralyzing. Bottom line if you don’t start you will never reach any destination. Failure is an event, not who you are. Besides like Napoleon Hill beautifully says in Think and Grow Rich, ” Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or a greater Benefit,” so go ahead and take risks.
- Make eating healthy a lifestyle, not a diet.
- Have fun in the process.
This is your journey, so make it about you. We start seeing obstacles when we get our eyes off our destination, when the vision stops, when we allow others to dictate our lives. Not everyone will agree with you, not everyone will believe in you, and not everyone will help you in the process. What truly matters is what you think. If you change your mind, you will truly change your life.
Until next time, spread the love…