It is almost impossible to find words that detail what this transformation means to me. Most transformation posts are coupled with discussions about how much happier or healthier the smaller body is and how miserable and hated the larger body was. That was not at all my truth. I loved my body on the left.
In fact, I loved her so much I let her grow and recover and restore after years of dieting. I had gone from disordered eating and exercise abuse to justifying it from 2012-2016. Then I took time to step out of the identities I thought equaled healthy or enough and chose myself and my body. I faced dark demons within me which was so challenging but necessary.
After really focusing on shifting my perspective on my body, food, and the bodybuilding lifestyle I decided to return to the stage for the second time and prove to myself I could do it with a healthy relationship with food and my body. I did that. But then I hung onto it so tightly, getting caught up in the chase more than the process.
I went on a run of shows, ignored body signals, and really ran myself down when I needed to build. I don't regret that. 2017-2019 competition season was epic fun. I learned so much, fell in love with the sport in a healthier way, launched a podcast, and enjoyed every bit of it.
I was competing, winning, and feeling so good. But my body wasn't. While I didn't rebound after my show, I struggled a bit. In applying the principles I once used in conjunction with new knowledge from my psychology degree and experiences as an athlete, I was able to fully and truly mend my relationship with food and my body. This sparked an evolution in my business as well that I am forever grateful for.
But, I also was so committed to coming back to the stage that I threw shit at the wall hoping for something to stick so I could. I had to get my period back, restore my health, and build. I went to drastic measures to do this. I gained weight from intentional loving actions, not loathing binge episodes.
I didn't end my season in 2019 like 'I am going to put on over 40 pounds to get my period back' I just went in knowing I had to. In retrospect, I would have been even more patient and methodical so as to protect from so much weight gain. You see, on the left, I am healthy from a hormone perspective. I had my period again, I was lifting heavy 5-6x a week, I was able to do long hikes, I was enjoying food in new ways and following a fantastic protocol I built over many months from my show. I got my calories up high, I was doing nothing too stressful, and just trying to support my body best I could.
I still knew the stage was coming. But I had to start.
I had still been living the bodybuilder life though, don't get me wrong. I was eating nourishing foods, lifting heavy, and focused on my goals every day. I posed often and kept my mind in the process, the long term game...
So I got back with my coach and we did some more off season work together, then began a prep at the end of September 2019 with the intention of being super slow and steady.
I prepped for the body on the right, the show on the right, my first go at a national stage, from the moment I began that prep.
This transformation doesn't show you everything I described before.
It doesn't even show you the way I learned to sustain my results and honor my body through the cancellations of show after show.
It doesn't show how much healthier my relationship with food is now because of the inner work I have been building upon for years and years to come.
It doesn't show my body image which was positive and loving in both of these stages because body image is not as much about our body as it is about our congruency with ourselves.
I wish this transformation could show the breakdowns, breakthroughs, and curveballs. I wish it could show the patience I was able to develop that served me through that prep, through the cancellations, and now going into another extended off season with less urgency and more peace.
I am no longer so attached to an outcome (a win, a qualification, a title, a menstrual cycle) that I rush the process.
I am so grateful for myself, for my body, for my journey. I am proud of the weight I shed. I have no doubt that the 47 pound difference between these two bodies is not just human tissue, but also limiting beliefs, negative behaviors, old thoughts, past experiences, identities, and so much more, gone forever.
April was not the start of the transformation, it was more like the middle. I was not unhappy, I was not unhealthy--but I was ready to go after what I wanted as an athlete and showcase what I build physically with the support of my new mindset.
The extended prep proved to me I could maintain, sustain, and honor my own needs along the way. I am in no rush anymore because I have truly learned how to relish in the process.
Releasing attachment to surface level results has proven to be just as effective as any other form of freedom. It has given me the opportunity to be my best self, make my best choices, and honor myself fully without the external expectations, beliefs, or standards of anyone else.
I am not ruled by others' definitions of the identities I embody- competitor, student, mentor...I choose to define myself and my journey.
I am the only one who truly knows what the true difference is in these photos.
I celebrate the physical changes as a representation of my mental transformations. Both on the left and on the right. I share this because I know who I am, and when you know who you are, there is no doubt you can fulfill the expectations that come with that definition of who you are.
But be careful, because when you overidentify with harmful, unhealthy, unsustainable, conditioned and mindless definitions the results are fleeting more than they are fulfilling.
You will feel more fulfilled by a process that aligns with your values, leaves room for your continued development, and fits seamlessly into your life.
It is not about meeting the standards of others, it is about choosing to rise to the occasion of what you demand from yourself with love, mindfulness, consideration, and giving yourself full permission to do it in your own way, in your own time, and with a deep love and appreciation for the challenges and triumphs along the way.
I couldn't be more grateful for the support of loved ones, coaches, friends, clients, people at the gym, and of course my family.
I am so happy to share this because YOU can do anything. Sometimes it may not look how you expect or others expect but when you know who you are and what you are after, you can accept the journey as it unfolds so long as you are taking responsibility and choosing intentionality along the way.
I am now a better athlete, competitor, and mentor because of the experiences I have had. I have learned my important lessons and now I apply them to support my continued growth. I choose patience now and I learned that by releasing pressure around me, I can find the presence within me.
I know I am worthy of the results I have, and the results I desire. I know my habits are a reflection of me and my best self. I know that by showing up for myself, I can more effectively show up for others.
I am more likely to succeed because I am truly one with myself which empowers me to make the best decisions for myself. I am grateful for my body, for my relationship with food, my mental peace, and my lifestyle.
I am a champion for myself, for my clients, for mental health, and for the process.
I preach BUILD MORE THAN JUST A BODY because I BUILD MORE THAN JUST A BODY. It is not only my mission, but it is my lifestyle, my purpose.