My Own Weight Struggles & TRUE HONEST feelings about Competing

I am going to do something I really never have done before. I’m going to talk about the phases of my weight fluctuations and my most honest feelings about competing.

I have never considered myself overweight in my life. As a kid I was extremely active. I did cross-country, soccer, softball; you name it. I was a very finicky eater, and hated vegetables. I had 1% milk with dinner every night and frequently drank Coke. I loved McDonalds and tacos and ice cream. However, I also loved fruit and was naturally smaller.

I remember always being called small growing up. I never felt that I would ever have to worry about my weight. However, with slightly overweight parents I wondered if one day I would have to watch what I ate. I always thought that would be when I was a mom, or something.

I remember my freshman year of high school beginning to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I had just finished cross-country season and was not doing a spring sport. I enjoyed drinking every weekend. I would have English muffins with butter, scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and orange juice for breakfast. I would have either a bagel with cream cheese or chicken nuggets with tator tots for lunch every day in the cafeteria. I would come home and have a grilled cheese or tacos and lay in bed and watch Netflix and do homework.I ate power bars as snacks. I remember getting to the point where I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, but I never remember feeling fat

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.26.58 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.26.48 PM(Above pictures are age 15 versus age 22)

            By my junior year of high school, I began watching what I ate more. I felt uncomfortable in bathing suits and made healthy switches. I made smoothies, and ate vegetarian chicken patties or veggie burgers. I would eat salads, and began taking classes at the gym such as Zumba or Power classes.

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(Above picture gym obsessed, mostly healthy eating but lacked protein and cheated weekends)

            Then, when I was a freshman in college, I was gym obsessed. My diet wasn’t great. I usually ate healthy Monday through Thursdays and fell off the wagon on weekends. But I spent hours at the gym doing cardio. I consider this my skinny fat phase.

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I struggled with disliking the shape of my body and admiring Fitness girls I followed on instagram. I began attempting to lift weights but didn’t know what I was doing so much. I ate a lot of fruit, spinach, and salads and drank lots of water. I cut out sodas and milk and white bread.

As time went on, I met people who liked to lift and tried cross fit and learned a lot about efficient workouts. I loved feeling sore, and when I saw girls compete in fitness competitions at my gym, I decided to give it a try.

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(First competition versus second)

            I had a horribly rocky prep my first time around and thought I would never compete again. All grilled chicken, fish, and asparagus felt miserable. I didn’t do it the healthy way because I switched coaches mid way and almost quit a few times. My stage weight was 102 lbs.

(Below is post prep weight gain, lack of muscle tone from not going to gym)

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After my show was over, I decided I needed a mental break. I was tired of planning and eating and living at the gym. But a mental break turned into a gluttony lifestyle. I felt like my mind worked differently and that I always needed to eat everything in sight. I found myself waking up and eating pancakes with tons of butter and syrup and not letting myself get hungry before planning my next meal. I would snack in between meals, and literally every meal I would eat beyond stomach- ache. I would buy ice cream bars and eat them in my car alone so that no one would see and then throw out the wrappers. In two weeks I put on twenty pounds. I slowed down after that but consistently put on about two pounds a month after that. Finally, I felt uncomfortable and miserable again. I went from my dream body to the worst body of my life in two weeks. I felt embarrassed in even a sweatshirt and sweatpants. My face was so full and puffy. I had no energy to workout. I decided that the only way I could lose the weight was to train for another show.

 (below is post show gluttony)Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.33.23 PM

            So January 5th, I picked three dates for competitions and started cold turkey with a coach I trusted more than anything. My prep was much more livable. I was never hungry, had six cheat meals along the way, and had carbs almost every day. My workouts were strenuous, but I wanted to be successful more than anything so I found myself pushing harder than ever.

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My first show was last Saturday and I placed 6th. I was so happy with my improvements from my last show, however disappointed not to get a trophy or be nationally qualified. (Top 5). I have two more shows to go, and find myself mentally struggling through these last peak weeks.

I ask myself now, is having a perfect body worth the mental strain and sadness you feel through the process? Is this a shallow sport? Am I a soul or a body? Has this been worth all of the holiday sacrifices and time spent in the gym? Will I be able to maintain this?

This is my honest opinion. Competing has its place. It has been an amazing experience for me. It has let me push my body to an extreme and see myself reach a level of fit that I never would have achieved without it. It has given me confidence, pride, and purpose. It has taught me patience, endurance, and that hard work brings success. However, competing has its dark sides. It is extreme and not everlasting. You will find yourself in your best shape of your life, and still criticizing your body instead of appreciating your success. You will find yourself at times miserable, tired, sad, and lonely. You will find that people appreciate you for something as shallow as the shape of your body, and you will feel like you are missing something in your life. You will not be spending your holidays and your nights drinking and getting dinner with friends. You will not be baking cookies and laughing and eating ben and jerrys on movie nights with the girls. You will be waking up early to do endless cardio, pushing yourself through workouts, and going to bed early. Your days will revolve around work not pleasure. However, it will be worth it.

I see myself competing but not forever. I hope to become nationally qualified one day, and maybe go for my pro card. Maybe I will help other girls train for shows or reach their goal weight. But ultimately this is a hobby for me. A passion, yes. But a hobby. This will not be my career. I hope to find balance in my life after this. I hope to find that I can eat well for my body, and workout every day. But I will not miss weddings and holidays forever. I want to be able to celebrate my life, and taste good food! And not constantly worry about prepping and cooking and cardio and sleep. I want to get married and have a family and be successful. I will not go back to blind eating, gluttony, or obsession. I will prep when I feel like prepping for shows and go for my goals as hobby. But maintaining a stage ready body is not realistic, and there is a very dark, lonely side to competing. I do not regret it, it has taught me so much. It has been the best experience of my life. However, there is more to life.

Current Update

Hi Friends!

It’s been a long time since my last post unfortunately, but I’m back and going to make a sincere effort to keep my posts more consistent!

I just wanted to update everyone with my progress.

My last show was August 2014, Muscle Beach! After this show (My first ever) I gained 15 lbs in two weeks. 0_0 This was a result of the fact that I didn’t reverse diet out. I continued to consistently gain about 2 lbs a weeks until I reached an all time high for me (135 lbs at 5’2”). Then I plateaued.

I was a complete GLUTTON after my show. I was eating very few meals.. averaging 2 meals a day. They would be HUGE portions, often fast food, tons of dairy, always ending in excessive dessert. I was drinking coffee with cream and sugar (EVEN though I prefer black coffee). I was eating candy before bed just because I could. I wasn’t even enjoying my food anymore. I was drinking every opportunity I got.

I was unhappy with the mirror. My face and arms looked fat for the first time in my life. My only way to get back was to start another show prep.

So here I am 8 weeks out from my first show! I plan to do 3 back to back. May 2nd, May 16th, and May 23rd! yay!

I am back down to 118 lbs, and ideally plan to weigh about 110 at my show date. Last years show, I weighed 103 and felt too skinny.

Here are some pictures of my progress and my next post will shed some light on my current training schedule, cardio, and diet!

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Thanks for reading!

Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water


During competition prep, I drink 15 water bottles a day with lemon juice!

Never at any other time in my life did I have such clear, glowing skin. I swore my creases in my face were less visible, I had more energy, and felt cleansed.

Drinking lemon water has endless benefits:

clear skin, boosted immune system, natural energy, detoxes unwanted waste, cures throat infections, helps relieve respiratory problems, promotes weight loss, reduces fever

Being hydrated and drinking water in general is one of the best things you can do for your body. One tip for drinking more water: write down a schedule. One bottle with breakfast. One bottle before shower. One bottle before, after, and during workout. One bottle with each meal. One bottle before bed. One bottle every time you leave the house. These are just a few examples to make yourself more aware of when your drinking water!


My Favorite Nutritional Smoothies

cakebatterblueberry shaake

Cake Batter Blue Berry Oatmeal Shake- Very filling and delicious. A Perfect breakfast option for leg day. Recipe: 1 scoop of Cellucor Cake Batter Whey Protein, a handful of blueberries, 1/3 cup oatmeal, almond milk & ice.

strawberry banana shake

Strawberry Banana Shake- Recipe- Banana, Almond milk, and strawberries with ice.

spinach smoothie

Paige Hathaway Inspired Veggie Smoothie- Recipe- Celery, Kale, Cucumber, Ginger, Lemon, (Apple) optional.

berry smoothie

Berry Spinach Smoothie- Black berries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Spinach, Water, & Ice.


Healthy Pancake Alternatives

One of my favorite off-season treats are pancakes. However, classic pancake batter is not good for you. Here are a few healthier alternative pancakes I have discovered for a great pre-workout breakfast in the off-season!

proteinpancakes1One of my favorite pancakes (pictured above) are my oat pancakes. Recipe: 1/3 cup of oats, 1 banana, 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, splash of almond milk. Cooked like regular pancakes in your choice of coconut oil, butter flavored PAM, or smart balance buttery spread.

proteinpancakes2Another great option are my banana protein pancakes. Recipe: 1 scoop of whey protein (I used unflavored why isolate protein powder by Isopure), 3 eggs, half a banana (microwaved and mashed), a splash of vanilla extract, some ground cinnamon, unsweetened almond milk, and a little bit of honey!


Cake Batter Protein Pancakes- Recipe- 1 scoop Cellucor Cake Batter Whey Protein, 2 eggs, Splash vanilla extract, 1/4 cup oatmeal (cooked).


Plain Protein Pancakes- 1 scoop of oat flour, a scoop of unflavored whey isolate protein powder, mixed together with egg whites, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.


Fluffy Protein Pancakes- One scoop of cottage cheese, oat flour, egg whites, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and whey protein.


Clean Eating Shopping List

Clean Eating Shopping List

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In this post I am going to talk about what you will find in my shopping cart during contest prep and off-season clean eating. Here is the difference:

During Contest Prep you will ONLY find:

-Chicken breast cutlets

-Flounder cutlets

-Bundles of Asparagus

-Sweet Potatoes


-Egg whites

-Whole Eggs

-Mrs. Dash Salt Free Seasoning



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“Off-Season Clean Eating” you will find:

-Kashi “Go-Lean” Crunch Cereal

-Unsweetened Almond Milk


-Lean Ground Turkey




-Greek Yogurt (plain)

-Almond Butter





-Chicken Breast Cutlets

-SO Delicious Coconut Milk Lactose Free Icecream

– Kashi Oatmeal Raisin Flax Cookies

-Rice Cakes


-Celery and Carrots


Healthy Whole Grain Pesto Pasta

Healthy Whole Grain Pesto Pasta

Pesto Shrimp or Chicken Pasta

1 lb of Shrimp or 3 Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced zucchini
2 diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of pesto
1/2 box of pasta (preferably whole grain)
3 cups of chopped spinach
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
4 cloves of minced garlic
salt, pepper, & Italian herbs

Boil water and cook pasta al dente.

If Shrimp: peel, rinse, and flavor with lemon, salt, & pepper and sauté for 3 minutes.

If Chicken: Spray Pan with cooking spray and bake until thoroughly cook and season to preference and slice in thin slices.

Sautee herb, garlic, zucchini, and onion in coconut oil in a large pan.

Drain pasta when al dente, add contents from the large pan to the pasta. Turn off heat. Add pesto, spinach, and chopped tomatoes. Top with chicken or shrimp and serve immediately.

This recipe serves about 5 people, however is very good reheated. I make it at the beginning of the week and have little portions the next three days. Extremely nutritious and delicious 🙂


My Favorite Packaged Products

My Favorite Packaged Products


My usual advice for anyone trying to eat healthy is: to avoid anything packaged such as store bought snacks and protein bars and instead eat natural foods like vegetables, nuts, and fruits as snacks.

However, sometimes these snacks are boring and it is easier to buy things when we are busy and on the run. While many of these items are off limits during competition prep, they can serve as healthy alternatives during the off-season while trying to stay very healthy.

Here is a short list of a few of my favorite health products:

  • Trader Joe’s Cold-Pressed Juice (Green)- For someone who has trouble getting enough vegetables, this is a good alternative. Each bottle is only 100 calories with seventeen kale leaves and a whole pound of spinach. The only sugar is all natural and just 11 grams.
  • Walden Farms Pancake Syrup- The perfect topping for delicious protein pancakes or oat pancakes. This syrup alternative has no calories, gluten, fat, carbs, or sugars of any kind.
  • Walden Farms Ketchup- A great tasting ketchup alternative with no calories, gluten, fat, carbs, or sugars of any kind.
  • Quest Bars- My favorite flavors are cookies & cream and cookie dough. These bars have 21 grams of protein, lots of fiber, and no added sugar.
  • Lenny & Larry’s All Natural Complete Cookie- A delicious clean cheat. These cookies are vegan, gluten free, and taste better than any other item on this list. These cookies have 16 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. While the sugar is higher at 15g a serving, there are no added sugar alcohols or preservatives.




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            The first thing that I want to say about supplements is that you are throwing away your money if you are not putting in work and committing to a healthy diet.

However, if you are practicing a well-rounded healthy lifestyle and weight training supplements can take you that much further. They supplement your diet.

There are so many supplements available it is difficult to decide where to begin. Once you decide what is worth taking for you, offers lists of top quality supplements.

Here is what I take and what for:

Multivitamin- Every morning I take my multivitamin. A multivitamin is crucial, and even when I am not in training I maintain my multivitamin regimen. Even when our diets are perfect we often are deficient in many nutrients. These nutrients are essential to our body’s overall nutrition and your fitness goal’s progress.

My multivitamin of choice: Optimum Nutrition’s Opti-Women Women’s Multivitamin

BCAAs- These are amazing for building muscle, muscle recovery, and energy. I take these before or after I train. Often I mix them with my creatine and drink together after my workout.

My BCAAs of choice: Cellucor BCAA Powder

Creatine– This has by far been the most effective supplement I’ve ever used. I immediately saw results after taking this. It aids in muscle growth and strength. Creatine helps you gain size in your muscles. I take this immediately after weight training. However, because creatine holds water in your muscles you must discontinue use the week of your show in order to be your leanest.

My Creatine of Choice– Creacore Blue Raspberry.

Metamucil– fiber aids in weightloss and keeps you regular.

Protein Powder- I use Cellucor Whey Protein Powder in flavors mint & cakebatter. I only add water and ice. I drink immediately after my workout.


How to Diet out of A Diet

How to Diet Out of a Diet: IIFYM & Reverse Dieting

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Competition Prep Dieting often utilizes “clean-eating”, which is a diet that consists of natural foods. This means no added sugars, no hydrogenated fats, trans-fats, or anything unnecessary or unnatural.

In the body building world, this diet usually consists of six small meals a day, often eaten out of Tupperware and eaten every few hours.

These small meals usually consist of complex carbohydrates such as rice or sweet potatoes, green vegetables, and lean protein such as chicken or fish.

A clean eater will not cook their food in butters or fatty oils, will refrain from drinking anything other than water, and will maintain this diet day after day.

While “clean-eating” is the traditional body building diet for competitors, there is another controversial approach to dieting that has been proven effective for some people.

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This form of dieting is called IIFYM, or If It Fits Your Macros. This is a less restrictive form of dieting where you calculate your macronutrient needs.

Macronutrients are made up for three components: carbohydrates, protein and fat. IIFYM is customizable. You set your goals, and you eat a certain amount of each depending on your goals and your caloric expenditure.

While I have found the results of this diet fascinating in numerous cases I’ve seen, I just haven’t mastered the concept enough myself, nor do I trust it whole-heartedly enough to rely on it during competition prep.

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So then why do I talk about it? Because it can be used effectively to transition from clean-eating and low caloric intake over a long period of time (such as competition prep) into an off-season, or more livable diet, that won’t completely destroy your goals.

When I started my competition prep I heard HORROR stories from girls who competed before me that would be fatter than they had ever been in their life just weeks after being in the best shape of their lives. So many of them stayed in the worst shape of their lives and still haven’t gotten out of it.

They all told me: “I wish that someone had told me not to eat the way I did after my show”

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Still, knowing that, my competition came to an end and I wanted to be able to eat whatever I wanted without worrying. I even consulted an IIFYM diet plan specialist that tried to reverse diet me out of my show prep. I told her that I wanted a few weeks off from caring at all, and then maybe I would try IIFYM to find balance again. She warned: “It’s up to you, but I strongly suggest you reverse diet out… You will find yourself unknowingly consuming thousands of calories and gaining weight at unhealthy rates.”

Still I proceeded to gain weight and now it is more difficult than ever to get back to where I started.

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So I am writing this post to provide readers with the advice and knowledge that I Ignored. How to Reverse Diet out of Competition Prep (or any lengthy low caloric diet):

Things to know:

Weight Gain is not a goal of Reverse Dieting. The actual goal is gradual increasing of calorie intake with the least amount of weight gain. It is a gradual reintroduction of certain foods and the restoring of the levels of fat loss hormones.

With Reverse Dieting there are no cheat days, just re-feed days where you get more carbs, however everything is monitored.

How to Get Started:

First you want to determine your macronutrient breakdown. This is your daily caloric intake as well as what makes that up (Proteins, Carbs, Fats).

Decide your goals. For most post competition the goal will be to build muscle or maintain muscle mass while gaining the least amount of fat possible and being less crazy with diet.

To calculate the macronutrient intake that would satisfy your goals, you can use macro calculators. By googling “Macro calculator” many options will be readily available. There are also many apps available as well.

For competition dieters, the most common approach to reverse dieting is simply increasing your carbs. Without calculating, a common approach is for women to slowly add 10 carbs to their daily diet. At the end of the first week of increased carbs, there is a cheat meal or “re-feed”. This is portion controlled.

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The idea with this is the slow reintroduction of carbs so that your metabolism keeps up. After the first week the idea is to maintain the 80/20 idea. This idea is that you are 80 percent on your diet and 20 percent of the time you cheat. In the off-season you should aim to only have cheat meals 1-2 times a week. This will keep you in close to competition shape year round!