I cannot believe today marks 4 years since I stepped on stage for the very first time and three years ago since I wrote my first blog called “Overcome”. Frankly, when I glanced at my abs in a reflection this morning at my friend’s home gym, I honestly thought… “DANG! Let me snap that quick photo. The lighting in here is good!” I sent the photo over to my best friend with a text that said something along the lines of “My abs are just as good now as when I stepped on stage with a lot less stress and a lot more food.” I had no idea today marked 4 years since the bikini show until I opened Facebook and saw the notification. I didn’t believe it was coincidence and I knew it would be a great day to share a little more of my story.
In writing this today, I hope someone will find encouragement from a small piece of my story and it will provide an update on some of the things I have learned. I do not claim to know it all or really know that much. I do know that it’s part of my story and responsibility to share how I overcame terrible body image and learned to respect my body, food, and working out again.
We must first revisit the beginning. First off, let me say that I trained my tail off with the assistance of a full team to complete that competition. It was a mental toughness battle with every bite of chicken and green beans and every 4:30 AM morning workout. I was proud of how far I pushed myself and the goals I reached, but I take full ownership in not understanding or trying to reverse diet following competition, which spiraled me out of control mentally and physically.
Counseling + Therapy.
Some know and some do not, but I began individual counseling following competing and it was such a mindset shift for my recovery and healing process from the terrible body dysmorphia and eating disorder that I suffered. It felt (and still feels) good to let go of everything without judgement. If you are suffering with relationship issues, body image issues, financial issues, counseling is GOLD. I believe that everyone should go. I am not ashamed or embarrassed that I used counseling in my healing process. I loved it and always encourage people to consider going; it 100% changed my life. I am also forever indebted to that amazing counselor and if you need recommendations locally, I am happy to share.
Fitness can change with your season of life.
Fast forward from the bikini shows, it was time for me to have a new environment and a new start and I tried multiple fitness avenues. I just couldn’t find my “thing.”
As you all know, I have now been with Orangetheory Fitness for almost three years (since pre-opening); it’s my “thing.” I have loved the community, the workout, my co-workers, my amazing boss (who saw me through so much of this) and I seriously cannot wait for those doors to open again when the pandemic is over.
What you all should know is that I am okay in quarantine without it. I am self-motivated now to move every day. It’s not my crutch, like it once was. I literally didn’t think I could survive without a gym but I am doing it. I am so incredibly thankful that I workout and consider that alone to be enough. I have been content just to be physically moving my body during quarantine. If you need a good program to follow, you should check out the Orangetheory At Home workouts or please, please walk in our doors when we re-open after quarantine.
What no woman talks about.
Back to the story, I realized the reason I needed to share my journey again is that so many women suffer with body image and eating disorders and NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT.
Do you know how many college girls are home right now with their parents and are having a hard time dealing because they have a secret eating disorder they do not know how to handle? It makes my heart hurt. Women need to talk about it, so I am going to talk about it. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. I once lacked routine and direction and manipulated food unhealthily.
Satan first tempted woman with comparison in the Garden of Eden. What did Satan first tempt woman with? FOOD. Realize it for what it is. Maybe you’re secretly suffering from an eating disorder. Satan has you right where he wants you. He lives in secret and wants you to live in secret. He secretly went around Adam in the Garden to attack Eve. So to the ladies, this battle has been going on since the beginning of time. You are not alone and remember, it’s created with lies.
Accountability + New Challenges.
Last year, I really started missing having a personal trainer and connected with Coach Austin. I absolutely love my group fitness training with OTF and do not think I could ever give that up but I was seeking a one-on-one trainer and wanted to lift heavy weights. (Disclaimer, I still am probably not lifting as heavy as I wish I could but I had to start somewhere). What Austin taught me is that less is more. You do not have to train 7 days a week and you certainly shouldn’t train twice a day. As a dietitian, I allowed someone else to program my food because I didn’t trust myself to eat ENOUGH. (Just like if you’re a hair dresser, you should probably get someone else to cut/color your hair). Y’all. I eat more now than I ever have. I complain about it sometimes but it works.
If you need a mindset shift for lifting and eating enough food, Austin with OYC Wellness was vital in my journey last year. I am indebted to him for keeping a check on me. He continues to program my workouts virtually and if you need a solid trainer to meet you where you are at, you should really contact him.
So much of that time last year was still part of recovering and I needed to reprogram my mindset. I am still a work in progress, but aren’t we all? I can also show you PROOF that you can have abs and eat a solid amount of (healthy) food while still enjoying a glass of clean crafted wine or an Oreo here and there. I also learned that where you are mentally, emotionally and spiritually plays a major role in how your body responds to food and exercise. I am here to tell you that you must give your body enough.
The Power to Choose.
I am thankful the Lord allowed me to go through all these things and sometimes I call the major life events that honestly suck, “the best worst things that happen to us.” You choose your mindset. You choose how you start your day. You choose to slow down and have quiet time or rush through the day without it. You choose what you put in your mouth. You choose whether you do or do not move your body. Start owning it. You’ve been given choices and the freedom to choose. Confess where you need help. Ask the Lord for energy, focus, and strength. Tell the Lord your struggles-He can handle it. Reach out to others for help and encouragement. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human.
Back in Business.
Thanks to the mindset shift last year, I decided to start seeing nutrition clients in person again and chose to get credentialed to accept health insurance so it would open up opportunity to serve more people. If you want to chat nutrition consulting/counseling, please visit my portal and book an appointment. It’s quarantine time so I am working via telehealth. Sometimes we just need a little guidance and help and I would love to help you.