Since I first Jumped into the health and fitness arena at the tender age of 19 I have always admired body builders. I love strong women who have muscles and I admired the discipline they have to go through to compete in such a cut throat sport. I was told since starting work at Les Mills in Christchurch in 2007 that I had a great figure for it and that I would do well if I applied myself – determined old me thought, hell yes! When I do it, I’ll do it damn good! Iv’e always been a serious food lover too! When I first met my now husband, on our second date he said he just can’t believe how much I eat! He thought it was awesome, I thought ‘you have no idea how much I have to train to maintain my figure’! BUT, I thought it was pretty normal too as so many PT’s had the same problem. It was a silent problem and it still is.
I always had very strong cravings in my early 20’s. I loved sugar and savoury. These cravings were similar to pregnancy cravings – so strong I would have needed a stray jacket to keep me out of the fridge. I would binge then leave the stressing till the next day when I would do a pump, attack and an RPM class all in one day assuring myself that it will be ok now then going to binge again that night. I thought, ‘how do these body builders fight off these cravings? Sure, maybe they don’t get them as bad as me but surely they get them sometimes?’ I thought doing something so disciplined would fix my eating habits and prove to myself that I controlled food it wasn’t the other way round.
I thought, YES. This is the challenge I need! I knew that one day I would compete on stage flaunting my sculpted muscles that I worked so hard for.
A couple of years past and I worked hard as a PT at Les Mills in Christchurch growing my business and furthering my knowledge on exercise and the different forms of it. In 2010 when I was 24 I had my first son and I got back into exercise quickly and started experimenting with nutrition.
You see, before having my son I would educate my personal training clients on nutrition and write them plans but they never worked as they should have. Some clients did well and others just didn’t. The thing that really frustrated me was that I couldn’t find a balance with my eating. I beat myself up because I thought I knew it all but yet I couldn’t get my body into a shape I was proud of! Everything was low fat, there was a lot of grain, very little red meat, heaps of man made protein, I prescribed this diet to clients because that’s what I had been educated to do. I did sports nutrition with my PT course and it was quite extensive. It was hugely based on calories and the FDA approved food pyramid. There’s nothing worse than telling people that are paying for your help information that you truly doubt and don’t believe in.
3 months after my son was born I started to study again. This time purely nutrition. I wanted to learn more about nutrition AND use myself as an experiment while doing so. I studied and researched and put in hours and hours of time and effort. After many frustrated attempts to create a muscular toned body before I had my son I had finally discovered what it really took 9 months after his birth. When he was born I declared to the universe that my son would not eat crappy food. I made the hugest efforts when it came to him eating solids. All his food was home made and of the best quality. It was fresh from the ground, fresh quality meats, wheat that gave him sustained energy and naturally sweetened foods like fruit, dates, figs etc. I remember standing at my kitchen bench processing his food using all fresh produce and a light bulb went on in my head…..Our little boy was thriving, he was so incredibly happy and healthy and he had the best appetite ever. Why am I feeding him this food to be in optimum health when I eat differently to lose fat. Shouldn’t losing fat and being healthy be linked in some way or ALL WAYS? I thought – why don’t I just go back to the basics, stop avoiding fat, stop throwing away the egg yolks and using trim cows milk, stop having salad after salad and ensuring low fat was on every label in our fridge. I thought I might as well give it a go, I was the experiment at that stage and I was learning about the importance of having ALL nutrients, vitamins and minerals everyday from my course. The way I was eating it was cutting out many of these – the big one being fat! I said I’m going to start eating real food. Food that is just in it’s natural form. I researched the paleo diet and FELL IN LOVE!
One WEEK into this whole foods lifestyle and my stomach had shrunk. My bloat and my uncomfortable tummy pains (which had been around since I was a kid were GONE) Not only that, I felt full all the time, my binging had almost disappeared, I had SO much more energy to run round after my son and to train. The salads were ditched for steak and green beans with broccoli and butter and rock salt! Yum, It was amazing!
I went back to work before my son turned 1, just starting with a few clients at night and over the weekends when my partner would get home from work. I knew my whole foods approach worked on me but I had to try it on others to really see if it was the real deal…….WOW! One client lost 17 centimetres off her waist in 2 weeks, another lost 25 kg in 4 months, another lost 40 kg over 1 year, AND everyone I worked with just felt incredible! They LOVED it!
This was it! I had cracked it! My body was in the best shape of my life! I wasn’t killing myself at the gym any more, I was focusing on getting strong and nurturing my body. Muscle was appearing fast and ab’s were popping through! I was preaching high fat, low sugar, lots of vegetables and quality meats to anyone and everyone! I had finally found the answer.
After my second son in 2013 I decided now was the time. We only wanted 2 kids and now I could focus on a few of my goals. When my second son hit 8 months I started my journey towards my first comp. I went to a well known awesome trainer in the industry and worked hard for 8 weeks getting down to 16-17% body fat 6 weeks out (starting at 22%). I had to get to 10-12% by comp week so I had to focus intensely. I had to get to around 54-55 kg and at the time I was 62kg. It felt like it was miles away but I was determined! I had to do 45-60 minutes of cardio early every morning and a weights session that afternoon or evening. I found it difficult to fit in as I was working with a data base of 30 clients at the time and being mummy to my two boys so it was definitely a balancing act. I was ok with that – I’ve always thrived off challenge.
Leading up to the 6 week mark I started to notice old habits creeping back in. Old habits from my early 20’s. I was on a restrictive diet and I was having barely any fats compared to what I used to have. I noticed tummy pains coming back and I noticed my binging getting uncontrollable again. I went back to my trainer for a weekly weigh in and I had gained fat. Typically I had gone back to my old trick of trying to train extra hard to make up for the extra things I was putting in my mouth which at that stage had become stray jacket cravings again!
My trainer said I could still make it but I would have to be 100% perfect for the coming 6 weeks and I still may get up there and not be very happy with my result.
I sadly made the decision to pull out and aim for the upcoming September comp.
While I was disappointed I made it ok in my head by saying ‘it just wasn’t the right time’, ‘works been so busy I couldn’t keep up with the prep and training’ ‘I need to drop commitments in other areas so I can give it more next time’
I started to become deluded and very obsessive with keeping the fat off. I didn’t pick up on what was happening until a couple of weeks after I had pulled out. I didn’t train for 6 weeks after pulling the pin. People that know me will be shocked. 6 weeks and I did nothing but binge and get upset about losing my 16-17% body fat status. I tried to train a few times but I just couldn’t, I resented it so much and hated it. Even weight training which is my love in the gym.
It’s now been about 12 weeks since I pulled out. I am slowly finding my love for training again. I’m still not pushing as hard as I enjoy but I am getting back into it to get strong and to feel mentally released and good, not to strip body fat as fast as possible. My cravings are gone again and my energy is sustained because I am eating whole foods which include – nutrients (protein, carbs, fats), vitamins and minerals.
I will not be doing the September show and at this stage I will not compete in body building.
I still admire SO MUCH the people who kick ass at the sport and there is still a piece of me that wants to do it but there is a stronger piece of me saying it is going to take me YEARS back mentally with my progress and it’s just not right for me.
ALWAYS listen to what your body is telling you. When my body is sending my mind uncontrollable craving signs it is purely just needing something essential to function but instead in the past I would feed it the wrong thing. Similar to when people think they need a coke or a juice when really their body just needs to hydrate with water. Remember our bodies job is to keep us alive. To keep us alive it NEEDS respect and love from you. It needs ALL nutrients, vitamin and minerals to function properly. It needs YOU to be true to YOURSELF.
There is NEVER a right way for everyone. For me, eating whole, real food and doing cardio that feeds my mind and weight training that makes me strong and powerful is MINE! This is what serves me in my life and this is what makes me feel good about me.
Raw, vegan, vegetarian, yoga, biking, fighting, tramping. Find YOUR thing. Find what works for you. ALWAYS ensure your food is whole. Stay away from processed man made food. The research is finally stacking up against it and I’m backing it all the way with pride. If you hate running don’t run. Do exercise that feeds your soul and do it with love and respect. Are you training stupidly hard to make up for something? Is it respecting your body eating crap then ruining yourself at the gym? That’s a serious form of abuse to your body..You will NEVER gain the body your dreams of by treating it like that. Give yourself a break.
Do what makes you feel AMAZING and don’t be afraid to quit something that just doesn’t serve you in your life.
Re-align – Re-focus and Re-Do with love baby!!!