What I learned on my journey to get fit

After I had my 2 kids, I found myself very unhappy with my weight and the way I looked.

It seemed like the old me was gone and gave place to this new mom looking one. Someone who never took time for herself, never exercised and nibbled all day on whatever unhealthy snacks I could find in my pantry. I’m sure many moms out there know exactly what I’m talking about.

Back then, at age 33, I decided to go to weight watchers, which helped me lose 20 pounds but I still felt thin but not fit. Also the eating habits of that diet were not great and many of the foods they recommended were all processed foods from their own brand.

When my second husband and I started dating I was 35 years old. Things changed a lot because he loved to work out and to keep him company, I started to go to the gym.

After months of hard work at the gym, I mentioned to my husband how frustrated I was with the fact that my weight was the same. He then asked if I would ever consider changing the way I was eating.

Well, let’s say, I was eating bagel and a mocha frappuccino almost every morning for breakfast!!, hello!!, I would need to live at the gym to burn that sugar loaded meal!!

That day it was the beginning of a life changing journey for my healthy, mind and body. I started eating healthy, reading everything I could about right eating habits and I dropped not only weight but body fat, I went from a 23% to 15% . I looked and felt great!

Then one day someone at my gym asked me if I would consider competing on a fitness competition. I couldn’t believe it I was 41 at the time, I thought that girl must be crazy to ask me that. I did not know there were woman in their forties competing.

I decided to give it a chance and in 2011 I competed on the NPC Competition at the bikini division in San Diego, I competed against the bellow 35 age group winning 5th place and above 40 years old group winning second place. I couldn’t believe it. I got 2 trophies right on my first trial.

I was so excited that I decided to compete at the National level at The Masters National in Pittsburg. Beyond my wildest dreams I got second place! It was a great experience, but also the hardest work of my entire life!

You dedicate so much to accomplished that goal that you pretty much forget how it is to live a regular life.

I wanted to go back to my social life, eating with my friends instead of at home every meal because I needed to watch every gram I put into my body.

I noticed that many girls who competed always gained weight afterwards. Many times a lot more weight than they previously had before competing. Well I fell in the same category, my body metabolism went out of whack with all the crazy diets, protein shakes and supplements. I never took any drugs or steroids as part of “supplementation”.

I was 10 pounds heavier than before I started competing, that was so frustrating!!

I did the Atkins diet, the Dukan diet and the Zone Diet just to name a few. Many of my friends would say that I looked great, but at 5’6″, weighting 124 pounds before competing than going to 117 pounds at my competitions and 134 after that, can make anyone really unhappy.

I know that the look you get while competing is impossible to keep, but I just wanted back the body I had before after all the crazy diets and competition habits. All of this made it harder to lose weight and all the deprivation during that time made me eat so much more sweets and crap than I ever did.

I was eating all these protein bars, protein shakes and all these processed foods because I didn’t want to gain weight but needed the low sugar snacks. Fruits were enemies, just berries were okay because the low sugar content. But the funny thing is, on many of the diets I did, you can eat unlimited vegetables, leafs and etc.. which did help a big eater like me.

Don’t get me wrong. I did lose weight on many of these diets but I could never keep it down. Many times I was hungry or tired. On the so-called “cheating days,” I wasn’t just eating one cookie, I ate a box of cookies!

Finally this past month I found the solution to my problem, thanks to a wonderful blog called Summer Tomato. The creator Darya Rose, a trained neuroscientist, and as she says on her blog a “chronic dieter”. She was rated the 50 best web sites of 2011 by Time Magazine.

Her secret? Just eat real foods. As fresh as possible. Create mindful eating habits, meaning eating slowly, chewing your food, watch your portions, walk 10000 steps a day, lift weights at least 3 times a week and cook at home as often as possible but the main thing, enjoy your food without guilt!

OMG!! I thought, I used to be that way! I ate healthy and lost all my body fat before competing. Summer Tomato opened my eyes again. Back to basics, stop dieting.

And as simple as that, I bought a pedometer to count my steps. I got tons of organic vegetables, fruits, and started eating them every day. I also started eating the forbidden bread, since that is a no-no for competitors. I cut all processed food from my life, like protein bars,shakes, etc…

After 2 weeks I lost 4 pounds. One inch on my waist, I’m down now to 128 pounds, but best of all, I feel great. I don’t feel deprived. I enjoy eating with my friends, I love working out again, not for the purpose of loosing weight. I already lost weight just by eating real food. I work out because I love going to the gym and love seeing my 10000 steps goal on my pedometer.

People think, due to the fact that I competed that I didn’t have weight or food struggles. I just want to keep it real and the best advice I can give is to tell every one my story and give hope to people with the same issues.

Go back to the basics, eat fresh foods, work out regularly, and drink plenty of water. Many of us have heard of this kind of advise many times before, it must mean that it truly works!

NPC competicion in San Diego

  NPC competicion in San Diego

Masters National Pittsburg

Masters National Pittsburg

My trophies

My trophies

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