I am a very passionate person. When I find something I enjoy doing I put my heart and soul into reaching my goals. Being this passionate can also be slightly dangerous, well at least for me. I am going to tell you my story from showing in my first bikini competition to becoming a mommy.
April 2017 I showed in my first fitness bikini competition, January 2018 I became a Mom. When I first set my sights on competing I was not fully aware of the grind and dedication it took to reach that level of fitness until I was half way into my training. Now before I continue I need to say I struggled with anorexia and binge eating for years prior to competing. If I can give any advice to someone interested in showing, make sure your mind is in a healthy place before you start training for any type of fitness show.
I began my training in August 2016 and went hard into a food plan and training that pushed my body to new lengths. I instantly started to see results on the scale and in the mirror. I was obsessed. I wanted more. I wanted to lose more weight and gain more muscle. I wanted to be so lean I could see my abdominal veins. My mind was solely focused on me and only me. I became so selfish and self absorbed I lost sight on who I was. It wasn’t until after my show I truly understood how much this show effected my relationships with friends and family. My husband and I talk now about how distant we were during this whole training timeline. Mainly because we never had date nights, we never got to spend alone time together, this was all due to my obsession with meal planning and spending countless hours away in the gym.
After the competition was complete I found myself lost in my fitness journey. I thought many times what am I working towards now? What do I have to look forward to? What am I training for? This wasn’t the only struggles I faced, I also found the number on the scale creep up. I was becoming more and more frustrated as the numbers increased. I was so use to seeing the numbers decrease I was not fully prepared for the aftermath of competing. My mind was so confused at this point in my life I was becoming discouraged with my fitness. I had let something I loved so much become an obsession with trying to be ‘perfect’ in my eyes.
One day after the competition I was in the gym early in the morning before work and I felt so incredibly ill and nauseated. I was approached by my husband’s boss who worked out at the same time and asked me if I was feeling well. I replied with no and explained how sick I felt. We joked with whether or not I was pregnant. When I left the gym that morning and arrived at work I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities of being pregnant. I decided to take a test. Low and behold I was pregnant! After being told by my doctor my body had just went through a very intense prep and my body may take awhile for me to be pregnant. I was ecstatic! We had created a baby after trying for some time. She is our miracle baby!
After the initial excitement I started to notice my body changing even more so than after competing, obviously. My belly was growing and so were my legs and arms. My whole body was looking and feeling heavier than it has ever before. While we were excited to have our little Aspen enter this world, I struggled greatly with how I looked being pregnant and how my body would recover afterwards. I gained a total of 60 pounds while being pregnant! I was told many times by my doctors I needed to slow down with my weight gain. How do you tell a pregnant woman this? The healthy weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds depending on where your weight was to start. Mind you I was at least 4 weeks pregnant when I stepped on the stage at my bikini competition, I competed at 104 pounds. My body fat was extremely low for a female. My ‘normal’ is roughly 125 pounds give or take a few pounds. Towards the end of my pregnancy I felt so incredibly uncomfortable and large I was starting to feel as though I would never have the body I had worked so hard for.
On January 16, 2018 little Miss Aspen entered this world during one of NC’s largest snow storms. Ironic. Weeks after delivery I felt my body losing the weight quickly. If felt amazing seeing the numbers on the scale decrease. Most of that weight being Aspen, blood, water, placenta, etc. When the numbers stopped decreasing, I started to feel discouraged again.
One morning I woke up to Aspen laughing in her bassinet. I rolled over to see her eyes looking up at me with the biggest smile and sweetest giggles I had every heard come from her mouth. I thought to myself how incredible is it that we created this little bundle of joy? How could this angel come from my body? I got out of bed and looked at myself in the mirror and wanted to give myself a high five! Women are amazing creatures to go 9 months growing a baby inside us! How could I be disappointed with how I look. This is the body of a champion! It was at this moment I was the most proud of myself I have ever been!
I decided I am no longer going to self shame my body for how it looks. Rather I am going to live this life in a way where I can be healthy and active while caring for my daughter and husband. I will no longer be selfish in the gym fighting to be someone I am not. I am going to create a body I am happy to say is my own.
I have found a new passion with my health. I walk with Aspen frequently throughout the week and get her involved with health and being active, together. It’s our mommy daughter time. I want to raise her to be happy with herself, to be aware of healthy options, be excited to be active and move daily. I do not want her to feel as though she has to be someone else to be happy. I will not let her be ashamed of her body or view herself as anything other than beautiful.
There it is Mommy Tribe a down and dirty story from being a bikini competitor to Mommy, my very best accomplishment, being a mommy that is! I would be lying if I said I don’t struggle with body image on occasion, however, I am at the most healthy mind set I have ever been. I owe this to my daughter, Aspen. I have been blessed to have a beautiful little girl, I want to show her the joys of this life and all it has to offer. Don’t waste any time wishing or dreaming you were someone or something you are not. Live your life happily, don’t let stress rule you daily existence.