All my life I have had issues with body image. I am a perfectionist by nature and always wanted a perfect physique. I never saw myself the way others did when I looked in the mirror. I was never happy with the way that I looked. I was never an athlete due to multiple knee injuries, but I tried to stay active and worked out some in high school. I had my 1st child when I was 18yrs old. For this pregnancy I gained 85lbs and was 220lbs when I delivered. I had the misconception that a ton of new moms have which is that I thought since I was pregnant that I could eat whatever I wanted to. Of course, lesson learned, this was not the case. In my 8th month, I developed toxemia which is a common condition in young moms where blood pressure rises and you develop fluid overload. I was miserable and very swollen and the ultrasound showed my son weighing in over 9lbs at 37 ½ weeks. My doctor decided to do a C-section. Dylan was born and weighed 9#3oz. The day after delivery I lost 35lbs of water! After looking at pictures of myself post-delivery I was not happy. I was determined to lose the weight and do it quickly. Unfortunately, I chose to take diet pills and starve myself to lose the weight. This process worked and I lost the remaining weight in 3 months; however, I was left with what we call "skinny fat". In addition, I actually slowed my metabolism. From that moment on, anytime I tried to go back to eating normally (or what I thought was normal), I would gain weight. In addition, I had just started nursing school full time and was very busy with a new baby and husband. This was the beginning of a roller coaster ride that many women struggle with. It is hard to enjoy life when you are unhappy and constantly worried about the way you look.
I had my 2nd child when I was 20. With this pregnancy I tried a little harder to maintain a healthy weight but still gained 72lbs. Again after delivering a healthy baby girl, I was determined to lose the weight. I was always fixated on the scale and wanted to weigh the golden weight of 130-135lbs which for my height of 5’8, I perceived as the perfect weight. I wanted to be back in my size 2 jeans. So I again chose diet pills and starvation because this method has seemed to be effective in the past. Sadly I still was not aware of the damage I was doing to my body. My weight continued to fluctuate and after my 2nd child I could never lose the last 10lbs.
Three years later, I was pregnant with my 3rd child, a girl. I gained around 60 lbs in this pregnancy but only carried her until 31 weeks and she was delivered stillborn. This was an extremely traumatic time in my life. I was not only mourning the loss of my 3rd child but still struggling mentally on a daily basis with my weight and body image. I was never really happy with myself. I was always trying to change something to try to achieve perfection. I repeated the cycle of starvation and dropped the weight. Again never introducing exercise into my regimen. I was definitely active with 2 small children and a nursing career, but this was not enough. Unfortunately, I lacked the knowledge of the power of clean eating and exercise. In addition, my marriage was crumbling so I lacked a support system. This was a very hard time for me. I tried to begin working out with a personal trainer at this time to try to tone up but with the issues I was having at home, working as an RN and being a mom to 2 active children, I was unable to focus on myself and my commitment to training wasn’t there.In 2006, exactly one year after the death of my daughter, I found out I was pregnant. I had been trying to conceive for a year without success and decided to seek help. After one round of fertility injections and a process called IUI or insemination, I was pregnant, with TRIPLETS. This was definitely a shock but a blessing. After the traumatic experience I had gone through losing my last pregnancy I was a nervous wreck the entire time. In addition, I had entered graduate school to obtain my license as a nurse practitioner so I knew that my world was about to change significantly, but I was ready. Thankfully, my beautiful baby girls were born at 34 weeks weighing in at 4lbs, 5lbs and 5lbs 3oz. They were only hospitalized 12 days. For this pregnancy I was determined to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight for the safety of my girls. I only gained 65lbs and they were all born without any issues. Of course after again dropping the weight the wrong way, as I had done many times in the past, I was skinny but not tone and again not happy. My marriage continued to plummet downhill and in 2009 I filed for divorce. By this time my self-esteem and confidence level was extremely low. I never felt good enough. I continued to pursue my career as a nurse practitioner and focused on my kids and schooling. I started working out with a personal trainer and began to learn the basics of clean eating and exercise. My trainers mentioned to me the idea of possibly competing in a fitness competition. This was the first time I had ever thought about doing something like this. I was excited about the thought of transformation and was ready for the challenge but my home-life was not stable enough.
It wasn’t until 2011 at the age of 30, when I was introduced to my personal trainer Sean Smith, that my world was forever changed. A friend of mine had been doing personal training in The Woodlands, TX with Sean and was prepping for a fitness competition. As I mentioned before this was something I had wanted to do in the past. I was still struggling with my body image, but I had managed to keep my body fat around 16% with clean eating and exercise. I began weight training with Sean in May 2011, 3 times a week with the intention of participating in a bikini competition in November. I followed a strict nutrition plan with no cheat meals for essentially 16 weeks. I performed an hour of cardio everyday with circuit workouts & bootcamps on the weekends. In the meantime, I was entering into my final year of nurse practitioner school and raising 5 children under the age of 12. Thankfully, my loving parents were there to support me and help me in any way possible. After a long 5 months of consuming 6 meals a day, cardio and weight training, I placed 5th in my 1st show and 4th in my 2nd show. I cannot even begin to describe what this process did for me. I was not only physically stronger, but mentally stronger. My self-esteem and confidence levels were higher than they had ever been. I had defeated what I thought I couldn’t which was myself. I had successfully dropped down to 8% body fat in 16 weeks while improving my metabolism and gaining muscle. No more roller coasters. Even though my weight was 140lbs, I looked completely different. I finally was happy with what I saw in the mirror and I had achieved it by actually eating. I had learned so much about myself and my body. The changes I had made in such a short time inspired me to want to share my story with other women who may be dealing with similar physical or mental struggles. I was determined to change as many lives as I could with my story. Thus beginning my fitness journey.
Since this time, I have encountered even more obstacles along the way including turning 35, imbalance in my hormones, low thyroid, the opening of my own business, IVF treatment, weight gain of 55lbs and the birth of my twins in 2015. it has been an incredible journey of ups and downs, good times and bad. There have been many times I felt like giving up and throwing in the towel; however; with the support of family and friends motivating me to push through, this FITMOM of 7 is happy, healthy and ready to inspire as many women as possible!!! Remember, what the mind believes, the body can achieve!
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