God blessed me with a lot of things, but athleticism and a speedy metabolism didn’t quite make the list. Needless to say, sports never really worked out for me. I was a dancer, a cheerleader and the occasional runner. From the time I was little I struggled with my weight and became cautious of what I was eating. To make matters worse, my friends were all the a-team athletes who could eat pizza and popcorn for dinner and maintain their perfectly trim frames. I hated my body.
Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I had had enough. So, I downloaded MyFitnessPal and the app told me lose 2 pounds a week I should eat 1,200 calories. Along with only eating 1,200 calories a day and dance practice, I would run miles on miles every week. I lost 25 pounds in 3 months, everyone told me I looked great, and even though I liked what I saw in the mirror, I was not in a good place mentally. I was obsessive, I weighed myself multiple times a day, and I would beat myself up for every ounce that the scale went up. It was a constant chase to maintain.
With obsession and over training comes injury. After one of my typical runs I began feeling a lot of pain in my hip, it hurt to walk, sit, stand, lay down, everything. No relief in physical therapy eventually lead to an MRI, where they discovered that I had hip impingement, my hip bone was turned inward, and I had scoliosis. My doctor scheduled a cortisone shot, and said plainly, “you’re just never going to be able to be a runner.” He had no idea how those words affected my fragile, obsessive, mind. Running had become my sanity, the only way I understood how to exercise, and how to stay thin.
My Dad was a competitive bodybuilder in the 90’s, so the concept of lifting was nothing new. But, I didn’t want to become “bulky,” (insert eyeroll). In what I would have called at the time desperation, I asked my Dad to teach me how to lift.
Between my Dad and the internet, I soon became comfortable lifting in the gym, and I was tracking my macros instead of just calories. I learned to have a healthy relationship with food again, and I put the scale away. I lifted because I loved it, I did cardio because I wanted to, not because I had to. My mindset through my college years shifted, I knew my body could look better but making memories with my friends was more important at the time.
I graduated college in May of 2018 and started my full-time job 3 days later, which was a huge adjustment for me. My job didn’t feel fulfilling, I no longer had a goal or a degree to work towards, I was slumped. I had always said I wanted to compete someday, just like my Dad. So, after a rough week at work in October I began my search for a coach. Before I knew it, I was on my journey to the stage with Ryan Irwin.
32 weeks later I hit the stage and competed in the NANBF Natural Iowa show. That day brought a lot of emotion for me, I had never felt prouder of myself. I knew that I wasn’t where I needed to be to place against the other girls, but I was okay with that. From where Ryan and I started those 32 weeks ago, we delivered my best.When the time is right, I’ll be back on stage, and my best will be better.