Name: Nadine Molina
Location: Merritt Island, Florida
Why I decided to transform
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with weight loss and self-esteem issues. As a child, I grew up in an Italian restaurant owned by my parents, and I ate everything I wanted. They were so busy that fast food was the meal of choice.
By the time I hit fifth grade, I was 135 pounds. I was made fun of and called names throughout my childhood. It made me miserable. I remember going on my first diet at 11 years old, and failing over and over again from that point on. My family has also always been overweight, so I just thought I'd just been doomed with "fat genes."
I turned a into closet binge-eater anywhere no one was looking. It comforted me while I was stuffing my face, but would pay for it later when the guilt and shame hit me shortly after. Food was my best friend and my enemy at the same time. As I got older, it turned into a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. I tried everything from weight-loss pills, shakes, no-carb diets, no-fat diets, starvation diets, and everything under the sun. Of course, I'd lost weight on all of them, but none were sustainable. I felt lost and hopeless!
In 2010, I was hospitalized for an emergency gallbladder surgery due to all the ups and downs of my weight through these diets. Sitting in that hospital, I realized how I let my weight affect all aspects of my life: relationships, family, and even my job. I finally hit rock bottom and decided that enough was enough!
I was so tired of being overweight and letting my lack of self-confidence and weight interfere with my everyday life. I just wanted to feel good about myself for a change. I wanted to stop the excuses for not enjoying my life. I needed to make a change and not let my weight control me anymore.
Once I started implementing good habits, my whole being changed, not just my physical body. Inside, I started to feel happy and confident. For the first time in my life, I liked who I was. I was proud of the hard work I put in to get to where I am, and I was happy to be me.
How I accomplished my goals
I decided that no matter how long it took me, I was going to live a healthy and fit life for both myself and my family. I didn't know where to start or the first thing about proper nutrition and exercise. Never had exercise been in my previous "dieting" equations. I got started by joining a local gym.
I almost cried when I saw my weight at 205—the heaviest I'd ever been—but from that day onward I never looked back. I teamed up with a personal trainer named Jennifer Esposito, who turned into a mentor and wonderful friend. I still carry her motivating words and wisdom with me today. We started by looking at my eating habits, and made small changes in my diet. I also committed to exercising at least three times a week, and fell in love with lifting weights.
My progress was slow, but hey, it was progress! There were many days I just wanted to give up and quit. I had to dig deep down inside and remind myself why I started. Along the way, I took weekly pictures that helped me see the changes from week to week. I could tell by my pictures that I was making progress. There were plenty of setbacks, and my inner demons constantly taunted me with my compulsive habit to eat and purge.
I started to learn how to eat sensibly; I explored the reasons behind my overeating and started to understand my obsession with food. I realized that throughout all those years I had swallowed my fear, anger, and sadness along with all those cookies and cakes. Honestly, I still battle with these old habits and feelings, and probably always will, but the difference is that I've learned to forgive myself for having those slip-ups. I just had to get right back on track the next day instead of losing all control. That was my key to success.
It took a total of three years to get to my goal weight of 145 pounds. A year ago, I decided to take it a step further and compete. I remember going to the 2011 Jr. USA and being inspired by all the wonderful physiques. It was fascinating, but I was certain that over the years I had ruined my body and erased any chance of me ever being able to compete. But why not me? The only person stopping me is me.
I sought out Team Freak Physique, who coached and transformed my body even further, bringing my weight down to 135 and my body fat percentage to 7.5 percent. For me, competing in my first show wasn't about winning; it was proving to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. No matter what happened, I was already a winner—I did it! I conquered my own doubts of self-image and the feeling was priceless. I wound up winning two first places. The very next week I competed again, and placed first in both my figure divisions and overall masters.
I just couldn't believe it! It was a long and bumpy journey, but so worth every minute. Now I'm dedicated to continuing to live a happy, healthy lifestyle, and helping others reach their goals along the way.
Supplements that helped me through my journey
Diet plan that guided my transformation
The most important thing that guides my success with my diet has been meal preparation. Remember that eating healthy foods don't have to be bland and boring! Use different spices and find out what you like. It will make it all the more enjoyable. Find out what works for you and stick with it.
Training regimen that kept me on track
Finding an exercise routine that you enjoy doing and are able to do may take a little time.
What aspect challenged me the most
The most challenging part about losing weight was learning to be patient with the process. If you are doing it right, you should be losing slowly if you want to keep it off. It's hard accepting that you can't just change your habits for a short time. I had to learn healthy new habits for my own life. It was all about trying to make the right choices no matter how tough they might have been in that single moment.
Food journaling also helped me realize why I'd continue to make harmful decisions, and gave me the ability to come up with ways to counteract these moments. I applied a little more discipline every little step of the way, and believed in myself. Over time, it only got easier and easier.
My future fitness plans
This is only the beginning of my fitness journey. I plan on continuing to compete in a few more shows this year. In the meantime, I'm in the process of getting my certification in nutrition and personal training. Eventually, I'd like to open my own fitness studio, focusing on total health and fitness. I want to do my part to help others get where they want or need to be.
I realize that everyone has different reasons and motivations for why they want to change. To me, there is no better feeling than knowing I can help make a positive change in someone else's life, like so many people have done for me.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
If you are feeling lost or depressed, things can and will get better with time. The first step in changing your life is to change how you think. Stop thinking that there is no way out, because there is. The only one stopping you from your goals is you and your mind.
If you can quiet your mind, you can conquer anything. You might have failed in the past, but that doesn't mean you're going to now. Yes, there will be days when you'll eat more than you should or skip a workout, but it's so important to stay positive, move forward, and get back on track. Be patient, because your fitness goals will take time to achieve.
Believe that you can and that you are worth going the distance for. Never ever give up on yourself and the goals you have—the process may be slow, but it will be worth it!
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
Bodybuilding.com has influenced my transformation in so many ways. It's been my number one source for supplementation, motivation, new exercise ideas, healthy recipes, and workout plans through the years.
I have also read so many of the transformations to stay motivated. I recommend this website to everyone at all levels of fitness.
Nadine's Top Gym Tracks
DJ Snake & Lil Jon
"Turn Down For What"
Katy Perry and Juicy J
I would like to thank the love of my life, Jason, for always believing in me, and for his continuous support and love no matter what fitness goals I take on. I love you and thank you for all you do.
Also, I would like to thank my coaches from Team Freak Physique, Eric and Kelly Diffenderfer, for your patience and honest advice along the way. Without your support and guidance, my dream of competing would still be a dream and not a reality.
Photo credit: Florida Fitness Photography, John Hawley (muscle papa.com) for the great stage shots.