WARNING: This blog post is RAW, and has triggers of drinking, eating disorders, suicide and depression.
One year ago I was thriving financially, getting tons of lucrative shifts at my bar job, but I was dying slowly inside.
I was working a lot, and making more money than I ever had before. I started working with my coach, and dabbled in the idea of competing.
But, I was also drinking alcohol nearly every night…ok, actually every night. I had just gone through a traumatic couple of relationships, and alcohol and the gym was the only thing that eased my pain. I was also training for a marathon. Yea, I know, it all sounds messed up!
I wasn’t tracking my alcohol, and siting around 150-155lbs at 5’7″.
I kinda felt on top of the world though. I was making money, it was no issue for one of the first times in my life. I was planning a vacation to Florida to visit my Mom, who I missed terribly after she moved the year before. Rent was no issue. I had a couple close friends and no boy problems. But I was drinking every day. Whether I was working or not, working out or not, I would crack that bottle of wine, tequila or vodka open every night and tell myself I deserved it for working so hard.
Marathon training intensified, and I was working hard in the gym. Alcohol helped me get through long, late night shifts, and customers always wanted to buy shots so it helped fill my tip bucket. So I thought, I earned it, I ran 10 miles today! I was kind-is following my plan from my coach, not tracking my drinks, guesstimating macros instead of weighing my food, and thinking I was “trying”. I went to visit my Mom and had a great time, so great I actually want to try to move down that direction because I feel it fits me so much more that freezing cold, no job availability Rhode Island.
Here is where things started to change. I came back from Florida and work was slower, and I had to start dipping into my savings to pay rent. I splurged on things I didn’t really need. I had a spending habit and a lifestyle I was used to. But my cheese started to move (read the book “Who Moved My Cheeese?” if you have no idea what I’m talking about.) While it wasn’t awful, it wasn’t great. Then my bar shift began to get cut and I was only waitressing, which wasn’t awful, but wasn’t as dependable. All my shifts started to fall on holidays or snowstorms that made the roads impassable. My savings was wiped clean in a few short months. I was struggling.
I had sent a show to my coach that I was interested in and she was ready to start my prep in January. Well, after getting the rona and being out of work, snowstorms messing up my jam, and being inexplicably cut off the bar, I wasn’t in the greatest mental state. I would drink, eat whatever, and then feel guilty that I would let everyone down and would go back to my old habits of purging. I would drink so much I would feel sick for 2 days. My weight pretty much stayed around 150 and I was upset I wasn’t losing, after all, we had a show date of April 30 now.
My job was unstable, only having 2 waitressing shifts a week, I started to apply for graphic design jobs again, with nothing but rejection and feelings of worthlessness, and started working on my wedding photography business again. Desperate, I fell for a marketing scam promising results and put $2,000 on a credit card into some stupid scam that would make you “bargain bride” ads, and tell you to search for your target bride and then friend request them and message them. Ew. So. Cringy. (If you have any questions about this, message me so you don’t fall for the same!)
I tried to get other jobs, but they were false promises. I was still doing better where I was and had my whole week free to work out, work on weddings and prep….and drink.
It wasn’t until after my birthday in February that it hit me. I’m going to be the fat girl on stage if I don’t change something. Or I let my coach down and drop the whole idea. Or I change my mindset, body and life.
After my birthday binge eating/ drinking, I had no alcohol left in the house and treats were gone. I only had healthy food and started stalking some preps on YouTube during cardio for meal ideas and prep ideas. I would have 1 drink on date nights (I might have forgot to mention I started dating a kind, caring, supportive, loyal, awesome man that December!) and that was it. I signed up for the show, not on April 30, but 2 weeks later in the OCB instead of WBFF. And what do you know, my weight started dropping like crazy. I swear those first few weeks I think I lost 10 lbs. I was weighing my food, tracking, doing lots of cardio and having my 1 drink a week. At first it was hard, I missed it and I craved it. I wasn’t “cool” anymore at work, even though I told people WHY I wan’t drinking. My friends found me boring, but my boyfriend stuck by me when I told him NO ANYTHING. No treats, not food or drink surprises, everything is planned, tracked and weighed. And I kept dropping.
While my work life got worse and I started to really go broke, my body was transforming into something I had never seen before. I would cry about struggling to pay the rent, and everyone said don’t do the show, it’s an expensive sport, but I had given up drinking entirely and it showed. I felt prouder than I ever had. My clothes were basically falling off, I WAS going to be on that stage.
Of course on my road to show day I had a ton of doubts that I would be ready, a few confidence breakdowns and struggles, but seeing the changes made me not give up. I was a more positive person, I was eating healthy and inspiring people around me to do the same. My boyfriend even lost 20 lbs during my prep!
As I drove to my hotel for the show, I felt unstoppable, a confidence I hadn’t had since maybe my teenage years. It didn’t matter what happened in the show, what placing I got (ok, I didn’t want to come in last!), I had lost 30 lbs, was healthy, and confident. I was inspiring everyone around me! They all asked how I did it and how they could do the same. I felt like I could take on the world, and I felt I could do better!
Well lo and behold, I took first in my class in Masters 35+ and 3rd in Debut! What a rush it was being on stage and making friends backstage! I had such confidence, a renewed sense of self-worth, and knew this was my thing and where I belong. I was ready to do it again, and again we did! 10 weeks later I competed in OCB Hall of Fame and placed 2nd in Open and 3rd in Masters 35+!
But a lot happened between the two shows, I messed up big time, and not on my diet. I accepted a new bar job and was promised lucrative weekend shifts, plus shifts during the week. After weighing pros and cons, and tormenting myself over the idea of leaving a job I loved for something new, I took the plunge….And I learned the hard way the grass it not always greener. Not only was the money not great, the customers are vile, and I get yelled at for eating, peeing too much, not being flirty enough with customers (aka the owners friends…I had no idea this dude was the owner) and when there is nothing to do, trying to distract myself from the fact that it’s FREEZING in there by looking at my phone (studying for the NASM, not texting)! Ok I get that you aren’t supposed to be on your phone at work, so don’t at me for that, but when you’re suck on a deserted back bar having to split with 2 other bartenders that are also bored out of their minds….what exactly are you supposed to do?
Then I finally got somewhere on a remote graphic design job at great pay, but it is only part time. I started this week and absolutely LOVE it. Pray for me it goes full time, because the thing I dislike about graphic design is that everything is a contract that ends in a few months with no benefits.
Through prep, I have pretty much been completely broke, scraping and struggling to survive. But I prevailed.
Now I believe I have ruined myself financially by making the choice to leave my job, knowing there is a slim chance I will be able to get it back (I’m going to go try so keep your fingers crossed)!
After the last show, my coach and I talked about where I want to go in this sport, and I said I will be an Olympian. I will be a personal trainer and nutrition coach. I will work harder than anyone you know. And we agreed I need to get on an NPC stage this year.
So despite the fact that I pretty much have no income, and cry every day feeling depressed, the gym and pushing in prep is what is keeping me going. It’s really all I have right now. Bodybuilding is the only thing ever in my life that I have put 150% into and it has given me 150% back of what I put in. Every job I have had has pretty much berated me, knocked me down, lied and made false promises, and made me feel worthless. My father and half my family wants nothing to do with me…and blames me for it. My Mom is the only person who loves me, and now she lives half way across the country. I feel alone 95% of the time because all my friends are busy with their husbands, living with their boyfriends, and having successful careers while I can’t even pay my rent or electric bill and nobody wants me to live with them.
Prep is the only thing keeping me going, it can’t be taken away from me.
I have on my bathroom mirror: I will do whatever it takes.
Because in 14 weeks I WILL step onto the NPC stage, tighter, leaner and better than I’ve ever been.
I will do whatever it takes.
Even though inside I feel hopeless, that money will never come, that I spend the time I’m not at the gym crying, that suicide has crossed my mind a few times, I will do whatever it takes.
I know this blog might seem negative, but I want to be honest and real with anyone that is following me. I want to show you that if I can prevail, so can you. If I lost the weight and quit drinking myself to death, so can you. If I can step on the NPC stage with basically no job and no help, so can you.
I will be an Olympian one day, and it all starts here.
I will be able to finish my NASM while growing my design/ marketing careers and my wedding photography business will blossom again.
I will do whatever it takes.
I will prevail.
And so can you.
Oh and I did enter to be an Angel Competition Bikinis Sponsored Athlete! While the negative self-doubter in me says I have no chance…..I mean, why not try! It would be the thing to save my prep, and if you never try you never know!