My story is not intended to glamorize eating disorders, but rather create awareness for everyone and offer hope to those who suffer or have suffered from an eating disorder. We are no different than those trying to lose weight. We all strive for the same thing – to be healthy and happy.
Prior to my competing days, I battled with an eating disorder, anorexia, off and on for about 10 years. My eating disorder was stress-induced. I had it in my head that food, or lack thereof, was the only thing I could control in my out-of-control life.
Five years ago I weighed 125 pounds, wearing a size 2-4. I felt good, but at that point I hit a very stressful time and unfortunately, the stress-induced anorexia got the best of me. I lost 25 pounds in less than three months. As a result, I was extremely underweight and my ribs and hip bones were prominent.
Over the next three years I struggled to put the weight back on, dipping as low as 98 pounds. At 5’5”, 98 pounds was just not acceptable for me. Nor was it good for my family. I wanted to be a strong role model for my babies and set a positive, healthy example for them. That part of my life was very scary, and I never want to go back to that dark place!
Finally, after a lot of hard work and dedication, I won the battle and gained back the 30 pounds I had lost. In 2011, I was 125 pounds in a size 6 with a body fat of 24%. I was finally in a good place and was happy with my weight, health, and fitness.
When I made the decision to start competing, I not only wanted to compete, I craved winning. To prepare for my competition, I hired a trainer in July, 2011 and worked with him one day a week and on my own the other days. I started training dirty and ate cleaner than I ever have.
In the beginning, per my trainer’s instruction, I had to increase the amount of food I ate from just one or two meals a day to six meals a day in order to bulk up. Once he felt I had enough bulk, he transitioned me to the “leaning out” phase. This was six weeks prior to the show where I completely cut out all processed foods, dairy, sodas, juices, and alcohol.
I used myfitnesspal.com to thoroughly log everything I ate and drank. I tracked my calories, protein, carbs, and fat on a daily basis. Through the whole process my weight fluctuated from 130 pounds to 125 pounds. I was a size 2 with a body fat of 18% for my first show in November, 2011.
I put in the blood, sweat, and tears and worked as hard as I possibly could during those four months and it paid off! I competed in my first Ms. Bikini competition November 5, 2011, and I have to say, I caught the bug!
After that competition in November, 2011, I became a Pro-Wellness Ambassador, which is a huge honor! Working with wellness products and sharing my knowledge with others keeps me focused and makes me feel even better about myself. I have learned through my experiences that it’s not a certain size or a certain weight that equates to happiness, but that health and wellness are the key to a happy life.