Growing up the chubby girl never really bothered me up until high school. I was nearly forty pounds overweight and had no idea about anything pertaining to nutrition or fitness. I had done martial arts in elementary school and middle school, but like many people, I didn’t get past a green belt. Puberty didn’t treat me kindly for years to come. I was a part of a car enthusiast group which did not judge me by how I looked, but respected me for my knowledge. I was introduced to the coveted ‘Import Model’ archetype; not far from current social media’s vision of the perfect woman. Suddenly, I found myself being self-conscious because I wasn’t even close to that image. I began crash dieting and doing hours of cardio. If you’ve been there, you know it’s not fun nor remotely healthy. A close friend talked me into competing in my first figure (bodybuilding) competition. That’s when I fell in love with weights. While the traditional bodybuilding diet isn’t the healthiest, I lost over thirty pounds in sixteen weeks and wore a bikini in public for the first time in my life. I took home first place in Teen Figure and that is when my lifestyle completely shifted into a fit lifestyle. But, what came along with that victory and lifestyle was an eating disorder. I was abnormally fixated on dieting and maintaining my stage-lean physique. Something that is extremely unhealthy and quite frankly, impossible to do long-term without health complications.

Two years after my competition I had to have Spinal Fusion surgery to correct severe scoliosis. It was a massive surgery that left me looking emaciated and completely atrophied. I went from a healthy 125lbs to being wheeled out of the hospital at 97lbs. All of a sudden I was skinny. I was there. That was my goal, right? It was, only I hated it. People thought I was a little girl. I didn’t feel attractive at all. It took me two years to gain the weight back. And then as soon as I gained it back, that nagging voice in my head came back telling me I was fat. It was a battle I would have to deal with for another three years.

It wasn’t until seven years post-competition and five years post-surgery when I started Crossfit that my mindset truly shifted from wanting to be skinny to being strong and fit. I joined to lose weight (go figure) and ended up gaining nearly twenty pounds. Is all of it muscle? Not quite. Do I care? No. What I care about is that I eat to perform and look good as well, but I have gained back my sanity. I have been “one of those people” that carry around a gallon of water and a lunchbox full of prepped meals for the past twelve years. However, my vision of health and fitness has evolved from the ideal of being skinny to being strong and fit, and I have stayed true to my ultimate goal of feeling good in my skin. The difference now is that I am achieving it in an emotionally and physically healthy manner. Changing your lifestyle takes dedication and consistency. Something I did not understand for a long time. Finding the balance in my training and nutrition to be able to live life without “dieting” all while supporting my goals is something I thought couldn’t be possible. Like you, I have tried nearly every diet possible and tortured myself for years chasing an unrealistic and unhealthy body image. There is no one size fits all diet or training program, or anything in life. Fitness and health can be achieved in a way that works for you without losing your mind in the process. That is what I’m here to show you.

 

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