Body Transformation: 90 Pounds Lighter, 100 Times Healthier!

It took everything inside her to get back onstage after gaining 70-plus post-pregnancy pounds. Now Shaylen feels like she can conquer the world in a bikini!

Name: Shaylen Harris
BodySpace: Shay09

Shaylen Harris Shaylen Harris
AGE 26
230 lbs
AGE 27
140 lbs

Why I Decided to Transform

I was always a fit, athletic person throughout my teenage years. When the days of high schools sports were over, I slowly saw my eating habits raise the scale. I joined the Army and even the daily physical training couldn't shake my bad diet. I finally hit a point where I was no longer happy and needed to change, so I dropped the junk food, picked up an Oxygen magazine, and got very familiar with the gym.

In 2008, I was deployed to Iraq. When I discovered and BodySpace, I immediately began logging my training and communicating with other members who shared my goals. I dropped 20 pounds on that deployment from 172 to 152 pounds. I kept eating clean and maintained that lifestyle when I returned home. I then discovered figure competitions and dedicated myself to training and dieting.

Fast forward to 2010 and we were expecting a little boy. I was in contest shape and had just placed seventh in figure at the 2010 NPC Washington Ironman. I knew I would gain weight, but I thought it would be easy to maintain my fitness level throughout my pregnancy and keep off the unnecessary pounds. I was wrong.

I was diagnosed with high blood pressure during pregnancy. I was easily exhausted and wasn't as active as I should've been. Holding water turned me into a sinking ship. By week 39, I was up 70-plus pounds. For the first time in my life I saw the scale hit 230. I was sad, depressed, and hated myself. I was surrounded by fit beautiful women and felt like crap. In my mind, I was never going to get back in the shape I was before.

How I Accomplished my Goals

I already knew my way around the weight room and how to eat right, but I took it slow because I had a rough delivery and recovery. I started with at-home workouts because I was uncomfortable and almost embarrassed to go to the gym. The last time I was in there I was 70 pounds lighter prepping for a figure competition. I cleaned up my diet thanks to my husband who is also my nutritionist.

I slowly started workouts on the track near our house with lots of sprints and plyometric drills. I took my son on walks during the day up and down the hills of our neighborhood. When he turned three months, I started taking him to the kids club at the gym in the mornings.

He loved socializing with the other kids and mommy finally got back in the weight room. The gym was always my escape, so it was the kick start I needed to get motivated again. I set dates for small goals like buying a smaller dress to wear on my birthday or the bikini I wanted to wear on our wedding anniversary vacation.

As the weight came off, I began to feel like myself again. By May of 2012, we went on vacation to Mexico and I wore a bikini. I couldn't believe I was down 58 pounds. When we returned from vacation, I set a date of October 6, 2012 at the NPC Washington Ironman for my first competition. In those 18 weeks, I lost another 32 pounds. I placed fourth in the tall bikini class and sixth at the 2012 NPC Northern Classic the following week.

What Aspect Challenged Me the Most

Dieting was the hardest part. Everything is associated with food. From potlucks at work to hanging with friends, it's always food, food, food.

My Future Fitness Plans

I plan to continue competing on April 13, 2013 at the NPC LA Grand Prix in Culver City, California. I would also love to get into fitness modeling.

Suggestions for Aspiring Transformers
  • Set a goal and stick with it.
  • Take lots and lots of pictures.
  • Communicate with people who have done what you're trying to do.
  • Ignore negativity. This life draws lots of criticism and praise. Take both and keep doing what you set out to do.
How Helped Me Reach My Goals is truly a supersite. I often look up training articles and videos for new ideas. I communicate with people on BodySpace and order my supplements and gym supplies. It's truly a one-stop-shop toward your fitness goals.