I'm from Long Beach, Cali.
Q. Did you play any sports in school?
In high school, I played basketball for 2 years. I tore my ligament in my left knee during a game and didn't play since my injury.
Q. Did you always have a weight problem?
I didn't always have a weight problem. I was an active kid and in high school, loved playing sports and being outdoors. After my sports injury, I was less active. During my college years was when the weight began to pile on.
Q. What started your emotional eating in your 20's?
My emotional eating began as a coping mechanism from stress. I had a hard time managing my time at work, plus going to school full time and maintaining a long distance relationship. Ultimately, I neglected myself for the sake of others. I was oblivious to the damage I was doing to my body and mental health.
Q. Did you realize you had a problem that you needed to overcome?
Yes. I realized I had a problem with my weight in 2001 when I saw my pictures from my vacation to Hawaii. My friends and family told me I gained weight but I brushed their comments off. Then one day as I was looking at my pictures, a light bulb came on and I saw what everyone else saw in me. An overweight girl.
Q. When did you decide enough was enough and started losing weight?
I decided in the winter of 2001. I realized I didn't know how to eat healthy, what proper portion control looked like, how to eat physically vs' emotionally, how to read my body's hunger needs and how to work out. I began by going to Weight Watchers and learned portion control. Which was the best education I ever received. From there I began to educate myself and learn along the way.
Q. What were the tools you used to help you with your weight loss?
My tools were my armor. Weight Watchers, a gym membership I invested in, new sneakers and accountability by journaling my foods I ate and my workouts.
Q. You started losing motivation until the tragic loss of your mother. How did her passing open your eyes to how important healthy eating and exercising is?
I was able to keep my weight between 140-150 from 2002-2007. But the summer of 2007 when my mom passed away and the few months after, I weighed in at 160 and stayed at that weight until 2009. In dealing with her death, the grief and the many emotions I had during this time, my eyes opened because I began to see her death as something that could have been preventable. My mom passed away when she was 60 years old. She had a minor heart attack 3 months before her passing. And when she passed away, she suffered 2 major heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes and pneumonia. I remember the doctor always talking to her about proper nutrition and exercise. My mom didn't follow any of the doctors advice. I realized then that I didn't want to have those same illnesses that I was headed towards at my weight. Even being at 162, July 2009 I turned a new leaf, and committed to having a fit lifestyle. Not a temporary weight loss, not a goal to be fit for a wedding or event. I decided to invest in my life and love myself completely. Today I weight 133 and 23% body fat. I want to get down to 10-15% body fat, compete in figure and bikini competitions and continue to challenge my body.
Q. When did you start working out?
Although I began working out in 2002, it was cardio and light weights. I didn't have a strict regimen. I would say that in 2009 when I committed to being serious about my physique, I began my journey.
Q. What do you love most about working out?
First of all, I love the sense of satisfaction of seeing the sweat after an intense cardio session or heavy lifting day. It's satisfying! I love challenging myself to think mind over matter and push harder on my last set or run another 5 more minutes. Ultimately, I love that by each workout, I have bettered myself physically.
Q. You went through more tough times with a recent divorce, how did you stay on track?
I must admit, while going through the divorce, being at the gym was my sanity. It was my therapy. There have been MANY cardio sessions where while I was running I literally cried because as I ran, I processed my thoughts. And in my thoughts, I came to realize certain realities. I ran and thought through my personal failures and disappointments. Little did I realize, while I spent time at the gym, I found self acceptance for myself. I learned to love myself completely. So in going to the gym, the workouts helped me stay on track mentally for me first. It's quite the opposite in that I didn't go to the gym to stay on track during a tough time..rather the gym saved me to stay on track. :) I hope that makes sense. I depended on the gym to help me with my tough time.
Q. What are your goals in the future?
My personal goal is to get to 10-15% body fat and face the stage. I want to compete in figure and bikini. I'm not the type of girl to be front and center. I'm putting myself outside the box, out of my comfort zone and going for it! Another goal of mine is to understand how to diet better and to ultimately inspire others to a fitter lifestyle both mentally and physically.
Q. How is your motivation today?
My motivation is stronger than ever! I keep in touch with many fitminded people and within the community it helps me to stay motivated. I really want to achieve a physique i've never had. One day when I see my six pack, it will be a milestone!
Q. What words of encouragement do you have for those out there that are willing to give up so easily?
Don't give up! YOU are worth the investment. Go to the gym and workout because you value yourself and not because you don't like what you see in the mirror.
Q. Any other words?
Aside from the description I gave before, I want to also say that from what I've learned, patience and consistency are very important in reaching our weight loss goal. It takes time and not overnight results. And the mind is more powerful than you think. Let your mind tell your body what to do. Don't let your body tell your mind! Louisa May Alcott once said, "I'm not afraid of the storms for I'm learning how to sail my ship." In your weight loss goals, don't be discouraged or dismayed at the hurdles that may come your way. You are learning along the way and will be able to navigate your way in time.