Competing in the sport of bodybuilding was never on my radar as a naturally gifted athlete in my teens or as a young adult in college. Now that I’m in my late 40s, it has come to the forefront of many of the goals I set for myself on a daily and yearly basis. This past year has been incredibly rewarding as I attained a huge goal that I set 3 years ago, after stepping on stage at my first bodybuilding competition. I won Figure Overall in an NPC (National Physique Committee) sanctioned regional show in Tahoe, CA. By doing so, it qualified me to be able to compete in ANY national bodybuilding competition with the ultimate goal of earning my pro card and being able to compete as a professional in the IFBB Pro League. This past November I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Miami, FL to compete in the largest armature bodybuilding competition in the United States and place in the top 10 against women that were more than half my age (did I mention that I’m 48), with a body fat of 6.5%!
Health and fitness has slowly-but-surely been a major focus in my daily lifestyle for the past 6 ½ years but before that, I spent most of my 30s overweight (borderline obese), unhappy, and feeling like my life was on a downward slope...weighing upwards of 200 pounds for a good 10 years. As I was entering into my 40s, I had a horrible clothing addiction as I was desperately trying to cover up the embarrassment of my weight through clothing that would hide my fat rolls. I also had been taking anti-depressant drugs to with hopes to mask my depression and addiction to donuts and Starbucks high-calorically dense, high-sugar, coffee drinks.
So you ask, “What made you change? What was your motivation?” Well it was like a light switch just went on, but not your normal epiphany. In March of 2011, I attended a Lady Gaga concert with several couples, who at the time, in my eyes, were absolutely gorgeous and super sexy. Feeling fat, ugly and like I didn’t belong, I sat in my seat enjoying the concert of one of my very favorite artists. That’s when it hit me! It was like she was singing directly to me with the message of: BE A STRONG WOMAN. You see, I have always been that person, but for 10 years I put my family and career first and my health on the back burner. I had to come to grips with my addiction to food and how I would use food to ease my pain of feeling incredibly inadequate, unlovable, and unworthy.
The night of the concert I said to myself, “You ARE a strong woman!” And the following day I set my very first goal to cut out the addictions to sugar, high fat foods, and foods with no nutritional value. After losing 20 pounds in the first 2 months by simply cutting out soda, sugary coffee drinks and choosing healthier choices on the menu, I joined a gym. In the following 7 months I lost another 40 pounds, reaching my goal of a healthy weight at 140 pounds. For the past 6 ½ years I have trained in that gym religiously, 5-6 days a week ultimately turning fat into muscle.
Over the last few years I have a new addiction! It’s a really, really great addiction! I love healthy food! You see part of preparing for a bodybuilding competition is choosing foods that fuel your body. When workouts are extremely strenuous and taxing to your body, you really can only put foods in your body that help you succeed and reach your goals. Prepping for food on a bi-weekly basis has become the new “habit”. And in turn, that healthy lifestyle has helped me achieve more things than just a bodybuilding trophy or title. You see I’m now happy with who I am! I feel like that strong woman again, who can conquer the world! Most of the goals that I have set for myself in and out of the sport of bodybuilding, involve eating well, exercising regularly, and in general living a healthy lifestyle.
If you are looking to make significant changes in your health, here are the first steps that you need to make. Cut the crap out of your diet. Now this doesn’t mean cut all of the fun out of your diet! Find yummy alternatives for foods that you love (but don’t necessarily love you). I use the Cali'flour pizza crusts to make so many different healthy recipes - from pizzas, to enchiladas, to egg bombs (Check out my Egg Bomb Recipe out here on this week’s episode of “What’s Cooking With Cali'flour". Get creative with what you eat and detox from anything high-sugar or over-processed. Then - get moving! Exercise is not only good for your body, it really can be therapeutic once you get into the habit of doing it.
One of my goals currently is helping others realize their own potential; to get them to see that they too can achieve a healthy lifestyle. Follow my journey on Instagram here.
If I can do it - so can you!