The road to leading a healthy lifestyle began with my own struggle of gaining weight after my transition to civilian life from the military. I was able to recognize the significance of making better choices to contribute to my overall fitness and health.
While in the military, I was confronted with many challenges. After being deployed to Iraq, I dealt with underlying wounds and found myself falling apart, mentally giving up on myself with constant self-pity. Physically, I ended up gaining 35 pounds. After the military and graduating college, I was not able to find a job and became nearly homeless, sofa surfing at a friend’s house. My diet consisted of consuming a box of oreos daily, just to make myself feel better. It wasn’t until my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and high blood pressure where I truly considered the repercussions of my lifestyle. I also examined my father’s history, as he always lived a sedentary life style and abused alcohol.
I was determined to avoid following in their footsteps and instead create my own journey that would heal my internal wounds and help me gain my confidence back. I needed a change, not only physically, but I needed to change my attitude and just believe in myself!
Exercise has become my way of self-medicating and achieving internal peace. I have no control over what happens to me, but I can control how I respond to situations. Instead of dealing with life’s disappointments in a bottle, I turned to the gym. Working out causes me to feel empowered and strong. However, there was still something missing… something that I needed to feel complete. Then I heard of Cathy Savage, but initially could not help feeling discouraged and intimidated.
While in the military, I was constantly endeavoring to fit in. During my deployment in Iraq, I was the only female on my squad and was never considered equal or part of the team. The same fears sprung upon joining Cathy Savage. I was not sure if I would be accepted or even good enough. I had lost a little weight, but did not have the body and abs like the many beautiful women on their website and magazines. Finally, one of my friends from work, Destiny Biron (a member of Cathy Savage) convinced me that there were no “catty girls” in Cathy Savage and people would not only accept me, but would welcome me in with open arms!!! It sounded too good to be true…
She was absolutely right and it was very much real!!! This team full of beautiful inspiring women, gave me love and support… I am part of the most magnificent group of women. Sometimes it is hard to believe that we are competing against each other. The coaches go out their way to ensure that we have the best experience!! They are always there for us and I appreciate them so much!
My first show Fitness America (FAP) New England, I won third in bikini and third in model. My second show Fitness Universe Weekend Miami, I placed fifth in bikini. That was a huge surprise to me. Every show I do not anticipate winning a trophy or even placing in the top ten. I am truly there for the experience and to celebrate having my health. I cannot even express how surprised I am. I never envisioned myself as one of those beautiful women that I admire so much. My only hope is that I can be a role model for someone else and to have a positive impact on one’s life.
Someone asked me how come you compete, if it’s not about winning the trophy. I received so many emails of people telling me that I am their inspiration!! I mean to influence someone’s life and journey towards being healthy… To give someone that hope and reality that with hard work they can achieve ANYTHING they put their minds to…. and to be able to share my experience and is unimaginable. No score or judge can ever measure what we do for other people.
My experience with my team, and the shows, has always made me feel like I am winning. I am truly blessed! The many friendships that have formed backstage, makes me realize how grateful I am to have this opportunity. I never felt so appreciated and accepted in my life. This is not only a team, but my family. The experience has been worth more than what words can express!! I love Cathy Savage and the impressions in my heart that the many women left!!! The empty void that was once there is now filled with love and I hope to always offer that same love and support to anyone else!! I love you all ladies and you have always inspired me.