Yep that is me above in the mist of my competition prep. Yes I have a six pack. Yes I am thin. No I am not healthy. No this is not maintainable.
This week I have been listening in to the Triple J Hack program and watched the ABC show ‘No Body’s Perfect.’ On both programs they are discussing different issues surrounding body imaging, talking to a range of people from all body shapes and sizes, and questioning if social media is to blame and are Australians too obsessed?!
I have found these programs so interesting and wanted to share a little more about my body image journey and give you some ways to learnt he art of self love. I have shared this story years ago, but I think it is important for me to share it again because my business is focused around health, nutrition and exercise and I am promoting a healthy lifestyle. Like most people though I still have my struggles and some bad days.
It starts when I got sick with a Thyroid disease called Hashimotos. I won’t go too far into depth here only because I have discussed this often. Bottom line is I became very sick, had a couple of iron infusions, lost a lot of weight, and literally just couldn’t function. It was at this moment I knew something had to change and my gut instinct told me it was diet and lifestyle.
I was 23 years old, a country girl living in Melbourne with 3 room mates who loved to party. I was travelling overseas a lot for long periods of time. living off minimal money so I could travel. I was a personal trainer, working 60 hour weeks to fund my partying and travel.
The only way I knew how to change my lifestyle was to set myself a BIG goal. For me I chose Fitness Modelling. I’m still not too sure why, but when people asked why I wasn’t drinking, partying or eating certain foods I found it easy to respond with “I’m competing” and for whatever reason people would leave me alone as apposed to “I’m just not drinking” then the peer pressure would begin. I met Macca just before I got sick so he has come with me on this journey and been my number one supporter. I remember some of my friends wanted me to drink so bad and fail at what I had committed too, they would buy me shots and when they weren’t looking Macca would do them for me.
My intital competition prep went for 12 weeks. I was not overweight to begin with so I did not have a lot of weight to shift, but I had muscle to gain and 6 pack to get.
Oats, protein powder, steamed chicken, brown rice, broccoli, half a tomato, steamed chicken, green vegetables, protein powder. That is what a days worth of food looked like for 12 weeks. Sad right?!
Every day I weighed in, sent pictures to my coach and every week I went to pose class, and checked in with my coach in person.
The day came and I remember hoping on stage, I was so nervous, my legs were shaking and I almost vibrated back off the stage. I was so proud with my determination and what I had achieved and still to this day am. It was what followed that was my problem.
I competed in 5 shows and was in comp prep for a total of about 6 months. Once the season was over, it was time to start making the changes to my diet and return back to my ‘normal’ life. What you see on many social medias, and the 6 pack abs I believe are only maintainable on a strict lifestyle. No one can live like that forever (I don’t think.)
As soon as I started eating a variety of healthy foods again my body started changing, my abs started disappearing, and at this point I started hating what I saw in the mirror. I had never felt like this before. I remember at one point my mum started getting worried about how thin I was looking, and I remember thinking to myself “no I’m not” if anything I thought I was ‘fat’. Looking back I still had a six pack and looked so unhealthy, I just couldn’t see it. I reverted back to old habits. I went back onto my comp diet, I exercised like a crazy woman and I actually thought the way I looked and what I was doing was healthy.
After months my coach contacted me to start getting ready for another season. When she looked at my photos and realized I had maintained the same lifestyle she instantly told me to stop and told me I wouldn’t get the results I needed to compete again unless I let go of the comp prep diets. With the vision to compete again, I stopped training so much and went back to healthy foods, put on weight and body fat, but struggled with my image.
It took me at least a year after this to start learning to love myself again. During all of this a girlfriend I competed with and I went to a post comp session. It is literally like AA except for body builders. Everyone sits around and talks about their struggles returning to normal life. I have never met a competitor that doesn’t struggle with the transition from normality to comp life.
I don’t regret this journey or my decision to compete. I am proud of it. I stepped on stage, I proved to myself I can achieve anything I put my mind too. I regained control of my health, I healed myself of any thyroid conditions. And most of all, I am who and where I am today because of this experience. This experience made me turn to wellness. It made me realize healthy living is about more than the way someone looks, it’s about more than diet and exercise. And now as my career I help people achieve a well balanced lifestyle. I help people love themselves again. I help people live their dream life.
Please see the link below on the steps I took to start loving myself again. I hope this story has made you see that no matter who we are or what our body shape is, it takes work to love yourself and until you start to work on this key ingredient, I believe you will never truly be happy. Self Love is the key to divine happiness.
One of the unhealthiest times in my life!