Name: Mhariel McDonald
Why I decided to transform
I struggled with weight problems most of my life, but always managed to lose it with the latest fad diet. I decided to make a change because I was tired of feeling miserable in my own skin, and depressed and angry for letting myself get to this point. I was constantly tired, unhappy, and started to withdraw socially because of the way I looked.
I started having health-related issues that affected my sleep and hormonal balance due to obesity. During a routine doctor visit, I learned I was pre-diabetic and it was a major wakeup call. Diabetes runs in my family and I knew that my weight would only make it worse.
After the transformation, I have a new zest for life. I'm capable of accomplishing anything I set my mind to and understand that boundaries are only limitations created within myself. I'm happy that my transformation also inspired my husband to eat clean and start a workout routine.
My life is completely different now because I actually live it instead of sitting around letting it pass me by.
How I accomplished my goals
I started dieting and was able to lose weight, but wasn't satisfied. In 2011, a friend introduced me to Bodybuilding.com and created a workout plan for me to follow. I went back to the gym, read fitness articles, and haven't looked back since. I became an active BodySpace user and joined some challenges on the site while following Kris Gethin's Body By Design.
After seeing good results, the idea to compete became a real possibility. In January 2013, I joined Scientific Exercise Training Team to prep for my first figure show. With the help of my coaches, teammates, and the overwhelming support of my husband, I accomplished my goal. I measured my progress, tracked my weight and body fat percentage, and took lots of photos to compare my progress on BodySpace.
There were days when I thought about quitting on the diet and workouts, but I came too far to give up. I found inspiration in my coaches, teammates, BodySpace members, and competitors. We all have bad days, but you have to stick with it to see results. Side-by-side photo comparisons helped me see changes in my body that I couldn't see on the scale or in the mirror, which helped me stay on track.
What aspect challenged me the most
The diet was the most challenging and time consuming. I wasn't used to eating a balanced diet, so I had to learn to incorporate macronutrients. I overcame the challenge by seeking advice from my coach and by reading several nutrition articles on Bodybuilding.com.
My future fitness plans
I will continue to compete in figure and improve my physique for an upcoming show in September 2013. I would also like to become a trainer and help others with their weight-loss journey.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
- Stop making excuses.
- Take pictures so you can track progress.
- Surround yourself with positive people to lean on.
- Find people who hold you accountable.
- Don't quit.
- Be active on BodySpace.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
I couldn't have accomplished my goal without Bodybuilding.com. I'm constantly on BodySpace connecting with people who have similar goals and struggles. I get lots of feedback and pep talks from my BodySpace friends. I purchase my supplements from Bodybuilding.com and love reading the articles.
Mhariel's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "It's My Life" by Jon Bon Jovi
- "Diamonds" by Rihanna
- "Under And Over it" by Five Finger Death Punch
- "Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys
- "Titanium" by David Guetta ft. Sia