Why I Decided To Transform
In 2010, I started getting very weak and sick, and started losing a ton of weight without even trying. I ate healthy, exercised normally, and was an all-around healthy girl. Then, I started dropping weight like crazy without doing anything. It was happening so fast, and I was even trying to gain weight by eating.
At one point, I ate a 4000 calorie diet filled with whole wheat pasta, bread, and literally anything I could get my hands on that was healthy to put on weight. But still, even with my attempts, the scale kept going down, and I soon found myself at 5'5" and 78 pounds. It was also the most hellish time in my life because everyone took one look at me and made the immediate judgment "anorexic" and proceeded to avoid me like the plague.
I was extremely scared, and my family was too. It was the loneliest, most painful time of my life. At the same time I was literally fighting for my life. I didn't know why I should continue to fight if I was just going to be harassed for the rest of my life.
The doctors were also mystified and could not figure out what was going wrong with my health. For a while there, I was literally almost about to die. Not many 20-year-olds can say they've faced imminent death, but I did.
We did tons and tons of research, exploring every single possibility we could think of until one specific diagnosis came up. I had every single symptom of it and it turns out that I had a very severe case of celiac disease!
When I found that out, everything suddenly made sense, and now it was time: I either had to change, or die. The reason why I was lost so much weight was because my body could not absorb the wheat I was giving it, and everything I was eating was just serving to make me even more ill.
Well, I am proud to say that since discovering my celiac disease, going on a completely gluten-free diet (higher in calories of course) and lifting heavy weights, I've successfully put on 34 pounds over two years and my health and life are finally thriving!
I have never been more in love with fitness and life. Since transforming my body and being diagnosed, those who judged me now know the truth. I was never anorexic - I was sick and fighting for my life.
I would hope that transforming has earned their respect. I feel as if I've been given the greatest gift ever, which is a second chance at life. It makes me want to help others in every possible way to achieve their goals and dreams in fitness and in life.
In 2011, I studied to become a personal trainer so I would know how to work out the right way. I started my own personal training business, because I love helping others get fit, too. I have amazing strength, newfound self-confidence, energy, inspiration, and an amazing new body to live my life in. The difference between how I felt then and how I feel now is night and day. I finally feel alive.
If I can gain 34 pounds with a disease that makes gaining weight incredibly challenging, then I want other people to know that they can lose 34 pounds, or however much they want to lose. As I live in this new body, not sick anymore, not harassed anymore, and not fearful anymore, I am reminded that life and our bodies are gifts. We cannot afford to take any of it for granted.
My message for those around me is this: no matter what size you are, weight you are, what your struggles are, or what you're going through, you can do it! Don't let anyone, including yourself, ever tell you otherwise.
Your dreams were given to you for a reason, and you will live to see them become a reality if you make a decision and act. I have, and I am living in that dream, in my healthy body, right now.
How I Accomplished My Goals
I took drastic measures to change my body. Once I got my weight up to about 95 pounds through eating a major surplus of calories, I joined a gym and started weight training to build muscle.
I also ate a ton of gluten-free high quality foods such as organic chicken, fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, and wild rice every two hours to fuel my metabolism. I currently still do that, and I eat extra protein and carbs to fuel my muscles and training.
I take the weekends off and eat triple the amount of calories of my basal metabolic rate - of healthy foods - to give my body extra calories and glycogen to build muscle throughout the week.
I mainly take inspiration from strong women, such as Oxygen magazine models. The strength and beauty they portray is something I desired more than anything, and I know if I keep doing what they do, I will one day have the body they have.
My dream is to be a fitness model and spokesperson for Bodybuilding.com, like Jamie Eason, and also to compete in the Arnold Classic one day. That dream has also been a huge source of inspiration for me.
I have my family to thank for being with me every step of the journey. The love and support they have always shown has given me an inner strength which is not easily broken. This has helped me to never give in or give up.
There were many days when I thought about quitting. Sometimes I didn't feel good, and sometimes I accidentally ingested gluten and got extremely sick, which made working out, and even living for that matter, extremely difficult.
On those days, I just buckled down and went to the gym anyways, knowing that getting my health back was priority number one.
Supplements That Helped Me Through The Journey
I own a health and nutrition business with amazing vitamins. They have given me incredible health and energy to support my workouts!
What Aspect Challenged Me The Most
The biggest challenged was my mind. It was so difficult to see myself as a strong person while I was physically weak. I had to overcome many mental barriers in order to push myself to lift heavier.
Also, dealing with the criticism of other people was something that I had to learn to overlook and ignore. Some days it was difficult, but I finally learned to not care about what other people thought about me. I pressed toward my goal, knowing that in the end I would win and they would finally see the truth in seeing me succeed.
Visualization helped me immensely by helping me seeing myself as a strong woman. I pictured myself as Jamie Eason or Erin Stern on stage, receiving a trophy for winning the Arnold from Arnold himself. It was very challenging to find a way to eat that made me feel good.
Eating gluten-free is very challenging when you have zero tolerance for gluten. Gluten is in so many things. There was a big learning curve in figuring out what I could eat and could not eat.
Finding a way to eat that worked for me was a process of trial and error. I got sick many times before I finally found a way that worked.
My Future Fitness Plans
I would love to become a fitness model for Oxygen magazine, as well as become a spokesperson for Bodybuilding.com or another sports nutrition company.
One day, I would love to compete in fitness competitions, eventually making it to the Arnold. And I aspire to win the Arnold. I am currently a certified personal trainer, so that is a dream that I've fulfilled.
Suggestions For Aspiring Transformers
To those who feel that it's not possible or that they can't do it, my advice would be to just start where you are, with what you have, even if and when you don't think it will work.
Believe in yourself and be your biggest encourager. You'll be amazed at the possibilities that lie within you once you get in the game.
Find a good role model or coach to emulate. Having someone to look at who is a living, breathing example of who you want to become is a powerful motivator which will propel you to success.
Finally, remember why you're doing what you're doing. Keep your dreams and goals in front of you and never give up on them. They are your destiny.
For those who are already transforming, my advice is to keep at it and don't ever give up! Keep setting goals and hitting them, and always visualize yourself succeeding. In the end, if you never give up, you will succeed!
How Bodybuilding.com Helped Me Reach My Goals
Bodybuilding.com has connected me to Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer, which has given me a great nutrition plan to follow for building muscle. It has given me a comprehensive plan for how to eat and lift to reach my goals.
Also, the website's exercise logs have helped me to create and keep track of all of my workouts, which is important for anyone who works out. The exercise videos have been a great resource to teach me proper form. Proper form is very important, and it always helps to give myself a "checkup" so I don't hurt myself.
The articles have been very motivating for me and have answered a lot of questions in regards to training and nutrition. The entire website has equipped me with knowledge and has helped me learn a lot more about my passion!