Fitness America Pageant in 2012. Standing proudly next to Kelley Tyan, from Kelley's Bootcamp for Woman. Kelley is a breast cancer survivor, a mom, winner of the Classic Division and great person.
“BA-lieve” is what we, Northeastern people, say; we don’t just say “be-lieve”. Like my husband, a Rhode Islander, who does not like to pronounce his r’s, most of us have a unique way of speaking in comparison to the rest of the states. We love our food, our families, our sports, and live life with a passion. “BALIEVE” In Yourself” is one thing that I never did till 2012. If you don’t believe in yourself; you won’t achieve your goals.
I want to share with you my story of who I am so you could understand why I BAlieve! I want you to find your reason why should YOU BAlieve in yourself and join me on my journey.
I graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.A. in Speech Communications and along with a degree: I picked up some horrible eating habits. In the 90’s, my diet consisted of fast foods, French fries, sandwiches, chips, pizza, pastas, breads, cakes, diet soda and beer. When I went on a diet, I would only eat salad or not eat. I never stepped foot in a supermarket. I was a “skinny-fat” in my 20’s.
I started working for a travel company in Rhode Island in 2001. One of the perks of my career consisted of traveling the world. I have been to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South America. While working at the travel company, I met a woman named Barbara. She was intelligent and beautiful. She told me that she left her career to raise her children. Now, that her children were older, she decided to return to work.
Now, in my 30’s, I put on a lot of weight. I was the proud recipient of many wonderful compliments such as “you have a fat face” or “congratulations for being pregnant”, when I wasn’t. My diet consisted of processed foods, fast foods, beer, wine, office take-out lunches and dinners. I was a yo-yo dieter. Standing at 5’4 ¾” tall, my weight fluctuated from 140lbs. and up to 180lbs. I did not understand that I should not be on fad diets to lose the weight; what I needed to do was learn to eat a healthy lifestyle.
In 2008, I gave birth to our first son, Ian. After my maternity leave, I went back to work for only two hours since I got laid off with 60 other employees. It was tough times. We had to down size and sell our home since we were now a one income family. Then in 2010, I gave birth to our second son, Evan.
When I checked in at the hospital to deliver both my sons; I weighted 210lbs.! The way I coped with change and stress was eating. I found comfort in food. Even when I was eating “good” foods, the portions were too big, too much, and too often. I had absolutely no concept of portion control and what was the definition of healthy eating.
My asthma and allergies were always an issue throughout my life. In 2010, it seemed like my health was at my worst and I was always sick. I also discovered that I had morton’s neuroma, a swelling nerve on the bottom of both my feet. Determined to lose weight, I enrolled at a boot camp in January 2011 and tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and sprained my collateral ligament in my left knee. I was a complete mess. The sight of me limping with a bad knee was pathetic. I did not want my children to grow up looking at an overweight miserable mother. They deserved the best in their lives and I was going to give it to them. I needed to start “BA-lieving” in myself for them. Knowing that I had to take care of these children, gave me an inner strength that I never knew that I had. I started to watch what I ate and started to lose the weight. I found the reason WHY I should BAlieve in adapting a new lifestyle for myself.
Sadly, an awful accident took the life of my colleague, Barbara. She passed away on January 30, 2012. At the age of 47, she left behind her husband of 28 years and two children. She was such a wonderful woman and will be missed by so many. Barbara wasn’t a close friend of mine but I will never forget her infectious smile and spirit. How many of you have lost someone and find yourself asking the question “WHY?”. It breaks my heart when I think about all the people I know that have already passed on and still had so much left to do in this world. My point is, that Life Is Too Short! Don’t waste your time on making excuses.
On my 40th birthday, I wore a gorgeous size 14 green dress. Even though, I was a size 14, I WAS a beautiful mother, wife and woman. I just wasn’t at my healthiest point in my life, YET. Two years later, now wear a size 0-2. I have been every size on the rack at the department stores and feel the healthiest and happiest today. I discovered in my journey that there were some people in my life that did not even acknowledge my weight loss! That was extremely disappointing and hurtful. Remember, that there is something wrong with those people that are negative, not with you. I had to learn to move pass those negative people and focus on the fact that I live a healthier lifestyle for my children, my family and myself. In your journey, do not ever lose focus on what you want to achieve and do not let anyone make you feel less than happy for yourself.
On April 29, 2012, at the age of 41, I entered my first fitness contest, the Ms. Bikini New England Classic Division. It is never too late to start to BAlieve in yourself and your dreams. It took me so many years to believe that I could actually be one of those girls who were healthy and fit. I never believed that I had the discipline so it never happened. I would like to thank Cathy Savage, from Cathy Savage Fitness, and Jules Chapleau, from Best Fit Body, in helping prepare for my show and to get on that stage. I first began my journey in “BA-lieving” in myself for my children but discover that I needed to do it for myself too!
I would not have gotten to where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of my parents and my sister. I would especially like to thank my husband, Ray, for always loving me unconditionally at every stage of life that we have shared. He has always been there for me no matter how awful I felt about myself or how I looked. He always knew that someday I could become the fit and healthy woman that I envisioned.
On September 21, 2012, I became certified as a personal fitness trainer by the International Sports Science Associations. I absolutely love living this healthy lifestyle and want to inspire and help others reach their fitness dreams. If I can do it in my 40’s; anyone can make it possible.
It is never easy to achieve your dreams and goals….but you first have to BAlieve ……and you could make anything happen! What are your goals? What is your reason? Why? Join me on my journey and maybe I could help you by sharing my stories and guiding you to a healthier and fit YOU.