New years resolutions. We all have them. Sometimes we keep them, sometimes we don't.
In 2012, I had a New Years Resolution to lose weight and be healthy. I was 5'2.5 weighing my highest of 145 lbs due to inactivity, poor nutrition and bad eating habits. Though I have gotten accumstomed to being uncomfortable in my own skin, I didn't want to settle for oversized shirts and swimsuit cover ups.
How I made the change.
I enrolled in 24 Hour Fitness, researched on how to alter my diet and I began to see changes. What started off as a hobby, quickly became a passion for me. Motivated by the bodybuilding icons on Instagram and Facebook, I became mesmerized by the NPC/IFBB pro athletes who grace the stage showcasing their hard work to bring home trophies. I dropped the weight down to 120 lbs but that wasn't enough. I wanted more.
I prepped 12 weeks for my first NPC bikini competition in 2014 for the Muscle Sport Productions SF Championship. I created my own diet and worked with a posing coach. Going into my first show, I was extremely unprepared. I was a nervous wreck going on stage without a professional tan brought out in 4th call outs.
Devastated. And then the fire was lit.
Following year I prepped harder and did not let this break me because I was angry, hungry and wasn't going to let 16th place scare me. A 12 week prep turned into an 18 week prep for my next show. I spent more for the bikini suit, jewelry, heels, make up, hair, tanning and posing. Gaining more confidence in myself because all I wanted to do was beat my last and have fun. Show day came and the nervous wreck was lost. I realized that being on stage in front of judges should be a breeze and memorable. Show every single judge WHY you deserve to be there and why you deserve to take home the WIN. After 18 weeks of dieting and sacrifice, why hide it and shy away? 1st place Novice and 2nd place Open. Winning never felt so good. I was officially addicted.
3 more shows later, 4 trophies after and 1 last win of the 2016 Overall Bikini Champion at Spectrum Fitness Productions Governors Cup. That was my last rep. Because with every trophy, there always came a feeling of emptiness and defeat. Initial rush of happiness and triumph under the stage lights but when you go back to your hotel room, what is left? Luggage full of oreos, pop tarts, snickers, cheetohs and gummy bears.
Binge eating is one of the biggest dangers and common struggles of every post competition. I was known as a treat hoarder. During my prep I would constantly torture myself by walking down the candy aisle of grocery stores and buying treats to add to my post-show basket. To endure the minute I get back to my room off stage opening every single bag eating uncontrollably until my stomach hurt. Why? Because I felt that feeling of relief that it was OVER. I can relax, enjoy life and have fun again. Did someone force me to strict diet? No. Did someone pay me to compete? No. I was the only one who made these decisions for myself. At that point it stopped being about losing weight and being healthy. I was overly obsessed with the "lean" look, the scale saying 106 lbs and taking home trophies. When your binge eating takes over, your whole life comes tumbling down and lost. Everyday I was lost. The constant fighting of wanting to stay skinny but eat whatever you want.
Over training, over eating and over it. I was officially over it. I became so fed up with looking at myself in the mirror judging every single feature of my body. For what? For nothing. To sacrifice my hormones, my menstrual cycles, my family, my friends, my money and my life. Unless you have a true underlying reason WHY you want to compete... be prepared. Because some people never see what happens behind the scenes. I was blessed enough to fall out of my depression and body dysmorphia with the help of my boyfriend, family and friends. I know there are so many people in this one who are not so lucky for an extra hand or shoulder to lean on.
It took 11 months for me to find myself. To realize that that lifestyle isn't for me right now. The whole reason why I began my journey was to be happy and comfortable with the way I looked. Healthy and living a balanced life I can enjoy without struggle, judgement and sacrifice.
Do I recommend competing? I think everyone should do whatever they feel they can experience and grow from. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. I can tell you how much I have gained from this entire journey. Commitment, dedication, and discipline. Those things you can never take away or put a price on.
We all have our goals and aspirations. If your New Years Resolution is to compete; good luck and know to just have fun. Always prepare and go in mentally ready for what will be in store for you. Be strong and focused. Know that there is no one in this world that can take away your hard work. No coach, no judge. No matter what happens in the end, you are always a beautiful winner inside and out.