Archives for category: health

I can’t say there is some night and day difference already, but I noticed something today. I used to joke all the time and say I felt like I was “walking through jello”. It was the best way to describe how I sort of felt like I was moving in slow motion, but I never really knew why I felt that way. I also didn’t notice that it was there all the time, until now that it’s started to go away. I’m 2 days in on my T3 medication and about a week off Microgestin Fe BCP, and about ten days off Spironolactone. I don’t necessarily have leagues more energy, but I feel more clear and alert. I’m not struggling to stay awake and I don’t feel like I need a nap (which I normally would in the late afternoon). I could get used to this :)

Heh. Curveball.

So I finally muster up the strength to announce my secret master plan after a year, finally commit to a show date and go figure- something makes it all go wonky. Thanks life, you’re a fickle bitch.

I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that something was up with my hormones for quite some time. My mother’s thyroid gland basically died in her 40’s and I always wondered if I’d inherit her adrenal issues. Over the past year as I’ve been diligently putting in gym time, meticulously watching and logging my food, calculating my macros I’d see people doing the same and sailing past me in progress. I tried to ignore it, chalking it up to them being younger, maybe they had a genetic propensity to a leaner build, maybe they were thin when they were young. Over time as that continued and my efforts never waned, I started to internalize it. Are my workouts not good enough? Maybe my 60g of carbs a day is too much? Maybe I should do two low carb days and one high. Maybe my interval training isn’t intense enough. Maybe I should do cardio twice a day…. The negative self talk was kind of inevitable when I’d see everyone else succeeding and my efforts, while seemingly equal, were somehow not enough. I’d remind myself that consistency was key and it would pay off eventually. Plus, it wasn’t that I was seeing NO results- I look and feel better than I have my entire life.

I finally had advanced blood work beyond some high level tests I had gotten a few months before. The results were a fucking drag, man. Suspicions confirmed. My hormones are kind of a wreck.

Maybe I’ll make another post about the actual results and go into detail, but here’s the short story- my T3 is very low, I have virtually no bioavailable testosterone (women need some, just like men need some estrogen), I am significantly vitamin D deficient and my HGH levels are very low. All of these things unfortunately point to my body holding on to every extra ounce of fat, me not having much energy and my body refusing to build muscle. There were several other issues but these were the ones that were likely stunting my progress.

How I felt getting these results was very confusing. On one hand, I cried in my car feeling overwhelmed that something so critical in the picture of my health had deteriorated. It’s kind of scary. Part of me also felt a little wash of relief- it wasn’t for lack of effort on my part. It wasn’t just in my head that I should be seeing more results. There was a legitimate explanation. I also felt optimistic as the doctor explained the options for treatment. Most of these issues can be managed/corrected with medication.

So what now?

First off, my goal hasn’t changed
I WILL hit that stage. I’m not pushing for very long, either. I started treatment with the doctor right away, and my workouts are remaining intense and focused.

Second, I’m going off hormonal birth control. The doctor said that it is causing a whole host of problems so no reason not to nip that promptly. If it’s poisoning my body, I don’t need it.

I’m re-evaluating who I want bringing me to my goal. I know my gym produces winners- that’s not a question. The owner is coaching more IFBB pros than anyone in the state, and is one of the top coaches in the world. But I’m not trying to go pro. I’m trying to be my best, healthiest, fittest version of myself. After my most recent iteration of my diet costing me 4lbs of hard earned lean muscle and and increase of 2% body fat in just 3 weeks, I don’t think this is the direction I want to go. I can condition my body without drastic cuts and without hour long daily workouts while on 1200 calories. Don’t get me wrong, I get competition diets are rigorous and there is a point where I’ll probably need to shred down with some drastic measures, but wasting away for 16 weeks is kind of counter intuitive. When I saw those numbers it was a wake up call and it honestly made me a little angry. I worked really hard for those 4lbs of muscle. That’s not a small amount for a woman.

So I’m keeping my eye out for the right coach and team that will be sensitive to my health while still pushing me to get me on stage sooner rather than later. My eye is on the show in September, but I’m going to wait to truly commit until a little further into my treatment to see how things go. Also, until I find a coach and get their professional opinion as to what is realistic and achievable.

I won’t lie- it’s hard to keep my game face on right now. I had a little pity party and ordered desert last night. Not good to console myself with food, I know… but old habits die hard. I’m going to focus on my health and be kind to my body and am actually excited to re-embark on this journey with a fresh perspective.

This is barely a setback- if anything it’s a stepping stone. As Max put it, we found the hurdle and now we get to jump over it.

I started on this fitness journey just over a year ago, and what a journey it has been. If you told me a year ago what I’d be capable of in 12 short months, I probably wouldn’t believe you. It has been nothing short of a roller coaster with an insane number of peaks, valleys and loops. There have been moments where I have felt on top of the world, like I could take on anything. Others have left me in tears and full of self doubt. It’s probably one of the most difficult things I’ve taken on, as it is completely within myself. That sentiment is what got me started in the first place. Your body, fitness and diet are things that you are 100% in control of- the Type A control freak in me really digs this, but it’s a sobering realization. Nobody is making you fat but you. Sure, genetics plays a part but you can fight it. There is very little that hard work and discipline can’t overcome eventually. It’s about finding strength, perseverance and the will to carry on even when what you see in the mirror or on the scale doesn’t necessarily match up with what you expect.

So why a competition? If you know me, you know the stage is nothing new to me. I have been involved with pageants and performances since I was a teen- coaching my sister to numerous state titles and competing nationally. Though my involvement with pageants is largely behind me, the pull for the stage never really left. Besides that, I have proven to be someone who works best under the pressure of a deadline. I got in my best shape before my wedding with the looming deadline of being a beautiful bride. While exceptionally stressful and going about it very much the wrong way, it worked. I looked good and felt confident on my big day. Besides that, I just want to accomplish it. It’s the ultimate antithesis to all the years I spent being overweight. I never felt like my life was lacking- I was popular in school, got invited to parties, had a boyfriend, etc- but I always felt one step behind. I always felt like the ‘fat friend’. I didn’t try out for basketball cheerleading because I thought my legs were too fat for the skirt. I heard more times than I could count “Oh you have such a pretty face.” I’d always do my best to brush off the backhanded compliments, but as much as I hate to admit it I’ve carried them around with me my whole life. With them are the memories of not buying a prom dress because I thought it was pretty- I bought one that was hid my trouble spots. Not shopping in the junior’s section of the department store because they didn’t go over a size 12 when I was that age. Shopping at Lane Bryant for my first office job. Those things sting, and they run deep- but I made the best of it, put my sparkling smile on and loved my life. I laughed and had wonderful relationships with friends and built a strong sense of self. Unfortunately the aforementioned was always in my mind. Always somehow holding me back, stifling at least some small percentage of my self confidence. Acting as this negative inner monologue quietly telling me that I wasn’t *quite* good enough.

So then Instagram happened. Not kidding. I was lying in bed scrolling through my feed and came across two photos from some fitness inspiration accounts and my mind was blown. Girls who started arguably heavier than me were able to transform their bodies and do fitness competitions.


Courtesy of @ashleehendry_fitness on Instagram


Courtesy of @tattooedpinup82 on Instagram

It was something I had looked up to since age 21 when I attended a friend’s competition and watched him win first place. I was always in such awe of his dedication and hard work, and was shocked when I saw him on stage and experienced first hand the way he transformed his body. He looked nothing like the mild mannered bouncer that worked at the karaoke bar with me. Anyway, I had never even considered this being an avenue for me. I literally assumed I was a lost cause- that I had been heavy all my life, and my loose skin and stretch marks could never be hidden. Seeing those two girls immediately lit a spark and for the first time made me feel like it was a possibility. I could actually do this. The very next day I did some searching and got on the phone with a local gym that specialized in training competitors. I scheduled a consultation and went in with the big question- can you transform me in a year? Is it possible? Am I that lost cause I’ve always considered myself or do I actually have a chance of stepping on stage? The answer I got from the owner was a resounding YES. I wasn’t ‘too far gone’ and they could have me in shape within a year given I follow my plan and stay dedicated to my goal. That was a year ago.

I know it’s often said to stay accountable to your goals, you should make them known. Historically that is always what I have done, until this. I kept this close to myself, telling only my boyfriend and closest friends. I picked the brains of my friends who currently compete or have in the past and asked them lots of questions and for advice (thank you x a million Zlata and Allison), but I kept it guarded from the public for a number of reasons. First, it was mine. It was my goal that I wanted to accomplish and for some reason it felt comfortable to keep it to myself. I didn’t want to share it with the world. Plus, at first I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to do it. Could I maintain this level of activity, planning, vigorous workouts, and dedication? I had never managed to get in the gym more than 3-4 times a week my entire life, could I handle 6-7 days a week, often twice a day? I didn’t know, so I kept it quiet. Turns out I can do it, and have done it for a year now.

Now we’re getting down to the wire and my intensity has increased. My diet and workouts have changed and it’s time to get stage ready. I figured that the 15 week mark was as good of a time as any, as I’ll need the support of my friends and my social network more and more. My goal competition is in July, although there is a small chance I’ll have to push to September, I’m certainly not planning on that. My eyes have been on the prize and my focus has never been clearer. The prize to me certainly isn’t some pretty trophy- It’s the achieving of a goal that once seemed completely and entirely impossible. One that literally terrified me, and still does to be completely honest. It’s me stripping away all the baggage and self doubt that has lingered in the back of my mind, and proving to myself that I am absolutely capable of doing anything I set my mind to.

Starting photos taken. Will share in the coming weeks as I progress further.

Starting photos taken. Will share in the coming weeks as I progress further.

**I’ll be competing in an NPC bodybuilding competition in the bikini division. A little googling will show explain that in detail, but it is the division that appeals to me the most aesthetically and is in line with how I envision my goal physique. If you’re interested in attending and cheering me on, I’d love to have you- the more the merrier. Shoot me an email and I’ll give you the particulars.**

I’ve gotten over some sort of fitness hump the past week or so- I’m starting to really notice results. Plus, other people are too which honestly feels pretty awesome. The comments are less “Hey, are you working out” and more “holy shit you look amazing!” I’ll take it!

Other things I’m noticing… I have a second bump in my bicep! I had hardly gotten used to having one. Now I have TWO? I feel greedy.

My giant calves are getting way smaller. This makes Nordstrom Anniversary sale WAY more exciting because mamma needs a new pair of boots! Now if only my knees would get the memo…

I sweat when I do cardio now. A LOT. I don’t think it’s that I’m a sweatier person now, I think I was just always doing it wrong before. Less about duration, more about intensity. I’ve switched things up to sessions of 20 minute sprints and oddly enough… it has kind of correlated with when I’m starting to see all these changes. I think I’ll roll with it. Bonus- WAY less long and boring.

Speaking of sweating, I’m spending so much time working out that keeping up with my gym laundry isn’t easy. Yesterday I had to Febreze my least stinky shirt. Ha!

Some of my workout pants are getting too baggy. This is both exciting and sad. As much as I’d love buying new pants in size small rather than medium, I have like six pairs of my favorite kind, and they don’t make them anymore. Argh!

My ass is finally lifting/tightening. My goal jeans are almost too big, and I finally bought a pair of bright red skin tight skinny jeans. They look good now, but will look even better by the time it’s cold enough to wear long pants. Maybe they’ll even be too big by then 😉 I am trying to remember that as I am commanded to do another set of 147,328 walking lunges.

I’ve been working out and eating right for three months now, and I’m really starting to see some amazing results. The scale has FINALLY budged and is dropping again after a pretty mind numbing plateau that lasted like the better part of two months. Its a great feeling to do things physically that I was never able to do before, and that is fueling me even more than being able to wear my skinny jeans (not that I don’t love that too, of course). I’m getting some great muscle definition in my upper body and my bottom half is really smoothing out. My butt is starting to look more like what it did at 24 which makes me happy beyond measure. I actually tried on and purchased my very first pair of shorts since before high school. Like real shorts… and I didn’t feel like a gross fat. It was pretty liberating. I’ve never felt confident with my legs, so this was a big step for me! Glad the countless weighted walking lunges I’ve been doing are finally paying off!

Most interesting of all has been the process of getting to know my body. Really paying attention to how I feel, how I react to certain foods and how far I can push myself physically has been quite enlightening and I love it. An earlier post months ago I mentioned how I was starting to feel smaller and stronger and I looked forward to what the coming weeks would bring- and this is it. I’m smaller than I have been in years, but arguably in better shape than I’ve been in my life. Previously, I’ve just done hours and hours of cardio and lifted little free weights and gotten pretty limited returns. Never before did I think I’d be able to heave 60 pounds over my head in an olympic style lift. Or deadlift 75 pounds. Or crank out 25 push-ups like it was nothing. I even took ALL the stairs at Universal Studios a few weeks ago- over 300 of them. It felt amazing. Again, I can’t wait to see what the coming weeks bring. Everything I do keeps getting easier and easier, so I push myself harder and harder.

My braces are coming along amazingly as well- they might even get to come off early. I’m six months in and they look fantastic. My bottom row is perfectly straight and the space between my back upper teeth is almost totally gone. I know it might sound silly, but I kind of feel like I’m in a cocoon right now, and this time next year I will be my best, most beautiful and perfected self I had always wanted to be. I do wish I would have gotten with the program a little sooner but I don’t regret anything. All my choices have helped shape who I am and furthered my drive and determination.