Name: Heather Chavez
Location: Loomis, California
Why I decided to transform
I was fat for most of my life and tried every diet you can think of. I would do great for a while and then my body would stop changing because I didn't give it enough nutrition. I would fail, hate myself for it, and go back to my self-destructive eating. I did this for 16 years.
I started my transformation on January 1, 2011, at age 39. I wanted to attend a party but didn't go because I was fat and couldn't wear anything cute. It was then that I realized obesity was ruling my life.
I smoked a pack a day and drank to numb the pain of failures. I was alive but wasn't living. I never imagined that I would be an obese minivan mom, but I was. After the party dress nightmare, I decided to get in the best shape possible.
I had to change my entire lifestyle, so I went to Bodybuilding.com and read for a couple weeks until I created a plan of attack. I decided to lift heavy with proper form and skip cardio to try to save my skin. On New Year's Day 2011, I took pictures in a big blue bikini, quit smoking and drinking cold turkey, and went to work.
Now bodybuilding is a major part of my life. Without heavy weight, I would have been skinny-fat. I still have lots of work to do and goals to accomplish, but this is the first time in my life when I have felt self-confident and happy in my body.
How I accomplished my goals
It was tough to get used to my new routine. I was afraid of my new adventures and missed my old habits, but I knew that I was a creature of habit and stayed consistent. I hated the gym at first and was intimidated by weights and uncomfortable in my big clothes. In the beginning, I went to the gym every day because I was afraid of going backward.
By reading articles on Bodybuilding.com, I learned that weights and clean nutrition would sculpt my body and save me from skin removal surgery. I added cardio into my plan when I saved my skin from rapid size loss. After a few months, I started to feel stronger and much happier. Around the six-month mark, people from my gym started to notice my progress. That lit a fire in me and I pushed to make my nutrition cleaner.
At the eight-month mark, training and nutrition became my new lifestyle and I was no longer unhealthy and unhappy. I decided to compete and face my fears at Jon Lindsay's Western States Armed Forces Show in San Diego, California, on June 9, 2012. I placed fifth in the masters and ninth in the unlimited class.
Now I'm a beast in the gym. My body transformed and became much better than it was in my 20s because I refused to give up. I've been knocked down many times throughout this process, but I never quit.
What aspect challenged me the most
It was all tough at first because I came from a very unhealthy state. I detoxed from cigarettes, alcohol, and disgusting fast food. A month into the process, I was so sick that I thought I had cancer or something.
It was a huge battle to avoid cigarettes and bad food at that point, but I just refused to give up. I wanted true health. I was tired of being a 39-year-old in a 60-year-old body.
My future fitness plans
I plan to compete in bikini for a long time. I haven't placed well yet, so my goal moving forward is to improve. I'm taking the next six months off to train as hard as I can and bring my best package to the Sacramento Governors Cup in March 2014.
I want to work with people and help them change their lives the way I did. It was a lonely road and I would love to provide support to people who struggle.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
I'm living proof that anything is possible if you really want it. Nothing awesome is handed to anyone. You have to go get it. Be stubborn, stay focused on your goals, and don't beat yourself up when you slip.
Remember that you're important and deserve an amazing life. For the first time in my life, I live on a total high and go to bed excited to start the next day. That's what life is about. Block out negatives in your life.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
I love the entire site. It's very informative and beyond inspiring. It's one of the best things that ever happened to me. Bodybuilding.com literally saved my life.
I have a BodySpace profile that I update consistently and I receive great support from the community. I love to read the articles posted under "workouts" and "nutrition" and the home page.
Heather's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "I Like The Way She Do It" by G-Unit
- "One" by Metallica
- "If I Can't" by 50 Cent
- "Berzerk" by Eminem
- "Work" by A$AP Ferg (Feat. A$AP Rocky)