I have always been a competitive person. Well let me rephrase that I have always loved competition. The psychology of it fascinates me. I love that there is so much anticipation, dedication, hardwork, energy, and focus about performing in a sport or activity. Although I love the idea of competition I have not always been athletic or a competitor. In high school I quit every team sport I tried. I just didn’t care enough. I enjoyed watching others compete.
I was never overweight during school and I was active; just not fit or athletic. I was often quoted as saying I did not want to sweat. So it is funny how things have turned around in my life. Now sweat is my norm. It took me a long time to get here though.
After high school I joined thousands of others and went to college. A small town girl at a large private university, I felt I could conquer the world. The only thing I conquered were a few bars and frat parties. All the drinking, partying, unehealthy eating, and late nights caught up to me. I gained some weight. I didn’t let this bother me too much. I learned to love myself at an early age and I knew to love myself despite my weight. However I stayed stuck in this unhealthy lifestyle for many years (after 4 years of college I spent another 2 years getting my masters degree and liboving the “college dream”). I know now that my unhealthy lifestyle was related to my stress, anxiety, lack of energy, poor choices, and being sick all the time. I finally turned things around when I decided to save money and stop eating at resturants. I started losing weight and I had more energy. With all this new energy I started working out. I bought 2 $10 Dance DVDs and worked out in my living room a few days a week. I lost more weight and started feeling better.
The scientist in me always wants to know more and wants to continue to have education and information. I started reading books on fitness and articles on working out. I hired a personal trainer to show me how to really workout and working out gradually became my way of life. I read so much on how nutrition impacts your body. I may have read too much though because I became obsessed with what I ate. I counted every calorie, restricted, bought only certain foods. I would avoid meals and plans with friends because I did not want to harm my body with food. After reading a particular book I became a vegan. I was proud of my choices. I was being fit and healthy. I got very skinny and had health issues. But I had abs and biceps so I didn’t care. My self esteem started to decrease because I started to feel insecure despite the evidence in front of me. I started to question and doubt my body and soon became obsessed with my body. This was not good. I weighed myself every day, sometimes two or three times a day. My self worth was based on the number on the scale. One day I was driving to my friends house and I had to pull over and cry. I cried because I “felt fat”. I felt fat because my stomach was not flat. I ended up driving around for an hour thinking and crying about how fat I was, and I missed going to my friends house that night. I was too “fat” and felt I was better off at home. I went home to workout and cry. I never thought like that before and I knew I had a problem. I called a therapist the next day. I was in therapy for a few weeks and we talked a lot about finding balance. We looked how I can be fit, eat well, and be healthy, and still have fun. Simply understanding that helped me let go of my obsession.
I was obsessed because I was trying to control something in the wrong way. I had stopped enjoying the art of working out but once I had this insight working out became fun again. Working out and eating well became a choice I could make for me! It became something I could choose. I can choose to eat cake. I can choose to eat grilled chicken and brocolli and skip the cake. I can choose to workout or I can choose to skip a workout to love on my family and friends. Having a choice gave me power.
And so my fitness journey has continued for several years. I choose to keep getting stronger. I work hard in the gym and I eat well. (Don’t worry I eat bad sometimes and I skip going to the gym when I should have gone). I love the sport of strength training. It has taught me to love my body. I has taught me I am so much stronger and more capable of things then I originally thought. I love the body strength training has created, and a competitor has slowly emerged!
I want to always learn and grow. Staying the same and maintaining is not something that suits me. I will be a life learner and I will be someone to try everything in an attempt to be the best me! My strength training has brought me to this point. A point where I am ready to compete. I am not competing in a bikini competition to show off my body. I do not want to be skinny or lose weight. I do not want attention or to be sexy. I want to challenge myself. I am competing in a bikini bodybuilding competition for me! I want to see how disciplined I can be. I want to see my body change with training and focus. I want to show myself that I can! That’s it! I want to because I can.
And I want to share something with you, you can too! You can have the body you want. You can even compete and shine on stage. You can love your body and love yourself and make choices that you want to make. You choose what you eat. You choose what you do with your body. You choose how you live your life. Isn’t that awesome!?! You can!