Lately I have been getting the question “When are you competing again?” especially when I attended the L.A. Fit Expo. With some I have avoided answering them or have given a generic answer. The answer to that question is NO. It took a lot for me to write this blog, especially because it is very personal. The reason why I decided to be open about this is because I know there are many girls out there like me that have gone through the same things. They are just too scared and embarrassed to talk about it. I know they feel alone because I did and felt so lost. I wanted to speak out about it because I know I am a role model to others and I don’t want to say that everything I did in my competitive career was easy. I am at a better place now so I feel open to talk about it.
When I got into my fitness lifestyle I just wanted to be healthy and get into the best shape of my life. I really didn’t even know anything about the fitness industry . I just remember seeing the fitness models in the magazines and thought ” Man I would love to look like that”. Having a pageant background I figured hey this is perfect for me I love working out , getting dolled up and getting on stage.I didn’t really know about health issues that may occur. Even if someone brought it to my attention I kind of blew it off and figured they were just jealous because I was actually doing it instead of talking about it. I trained for 13 weeks for my first show and carb depleted 6 weeks out so I was one hungry girl. Rawrrrr . lol… After my competition I remember I pigged out like crazy but hey who didn’t right? I was in absolute carb coma! I remember for about 4-6 weeks I couldn’t stop eating and eventually I put the weight I lost back on. Luckily I wasn’t too heavy before because I was already eating clean and working out so I just looked “normal”. I didn’t think anything about that at all. I just figured since I ate so strict it was ok and normal to go crazy and go to every restaurant. This is a habit I picked up after every show! (like many do) After I would eat bad, I always felt like crap and I thought gosh this is not healthy. The reason why I wanted to get into fitness was to be healthy and here I am wanting bad food like crazy and eating like I have never eaten in my life. At that time I never thought anything of this and I didn’t think it was an issue. I thought I just needed to get it together and get back on track.
I loved the feeling of being on stage and for my first show I did pretty well that I was hooked. I figured I can keep on doing this. If I continue to compete, I will always be in shape. I will just always eat super healthy and strict. I decided to continue to compete and at my 3rd show I had become an IFBB Bikini Pro. I was on cloud 9! It felt amazing to say I was a pro.
In the two years that I competed as a pro the longest “off season” I had was one month. Out of 9 shows, that is not good for you at all especially doing so much cardio and being in a caloric deficit! The first year as a pro I didn’t care and didn’t think anything could happen to me. I just wanted to get that Olympia qualification and Arnold invite. I would have done even more shows if I had to to get it.
Before I went on to my second year of competing as a pro, I experienced my first rebound experience oh and the binging was happening again. This is also when I started having insecurity issues with my image. I felt so embarassed because I had gained weight. I started having a bigger following and women that looked up to me so I felt a little more pressure to be super lean. When your in an industry where you get judged on your physical appearance including body fat, you feel a little more pressure to look a certain way. I put on more weight this time and went into a 12 week prep heavier. If I would have known better I would have taken a break. But the truth is I didn’t. I received my invite to the inaugural Bikini International and who wouldn’t want to do that? Well this was the first prep that I felt so physically tired from the beginning to the end. It was harder for me to lose the weight and to stay motivated. My heart was not in it like it was for the other shows. The rest of the year was up and down for me. I had so much going on that year that I was physically and mentally stressed. I moved twice, restarted my business, traveled almost every week, on top of that, strictly dieting and overloading on cardio. I didn’t realize stress could affect me so much.
After my last show, which was the Bikini Olympia 2011, I had my wedding, honeymoon and just needed a break. In other words not dieting or working out more than two hours a day. I rebounded even worse than the last time. I was such an emotional mess because of the way I looked. It was a drastic change. I didn’t even want to leave the house. I thought people would talk about my weight gain(which in the industry THEY DO!). I felt so heavy and so tired. I switched gyms because I didn’t want people to talk about the super fit bikini girl that turned fat. I didn’t even have motivation to go to work. None of my clothes fit except my black stretchy pants. I refused to buy new clothes because I didn’t want to accept that I had gained the weight. I told myself ” No! I will get back on track and start doing more cardio”. That didn’t work either! By this point I started wishing I had never competed. I deleted my Facebook because I didn’t want to hear about who was training and dieting for whatever show because majority of my friends on it compete.
I had to figure out what was wrong with me. After talking to a few friends that had experienced the same things as me, I finally went to see a homeopathic doctor. Well just like many other figure and bikini competitors I had metabolic damage and my hormones were all out of wack. I thought ” how did I get myself into this mess and what am I going to do to fix it?”.
So what did I do? I got a lot of support from a lot of people. I slept more. I took time off from the gym. I stopped doing cardio and strength training for a little while to let my body rest and reset. For my sanity I did yoga. I ate healthy but I didn’t deprive myself. If I wanted a treat meal, I had a treat meal. I took a break from stimulants. I was drinking too much coffee and too many fat burners. I also gave myself a lot of time. I am still giving myself time. I have lost majority of the weight but I am not so worried about it anymore. I know that it will come and I am no longer in a hurry. When you decide to not stress about it your body will respond better. I have accepted myself any size shape or form. For simply being, we are all beautiful. I finally got to a point where I enjoy working out and love eating healthy again. I don’t get unhealthy cravings all the time and when I do I allow myself to have treats in moderation.
I didn’t write this blog to bash anybody that competes because I respect many women that do. If It wasn’t for competing I wouldn’t be where I am today. It has allowed me to have a platform to continue to motivate others. You don’t have to compete to inspire others though. This doesn’t happen to everyone but it does happen to many. If your going through the same thing please for the sake of your health take a break! Your body will love you for it. Also If your body can’t get lean enough in a certain prep time to where you have to do hours of cardio or crash diet, give yourself more time. Competitions will always be there.
Here are some great people to follow as well if your going through the same things:
Scott Abel- I recommend reading his Ebook on metabolic damage.
Danny J- She inspired me to write my blog. She has posted helpful YouTube videos and blogs about this subject.
Tana Gabrielle- she always posts great info on her Facebook page about these issues.