I grew up on a working black Angus cattle farm – over 250 acres of rolling fields – where we would come together as a family to help deliver calves, vaccinate and ear tag cattle, mend fences, and tend crops like hay, corn, wheat, oats, and barley. We would cut, rake, harvest, and bale hay. We usually had a vegetable garden of some kind and always animals. Cattle were a standard, but we raised all kinds of animals at one time or another: goats, sheep, pigs, emus, mules, horses, rabbits, and chickens. Being raised on a farm taught me the value of hard work.
I always looked up to my sister and wanted to be just like her. She was a gymnast and so, naturally, I wanted to be a gymnast as well. She was always better than I was at gymnastics, but I don’t think anyone could have loved the sport more than I did. I participated in other sports, but gymnastics was my first love. In college, I decided to start full contact kickboxing. I competed, but it made my mother cry and I didn’t have the killer instinct I had quite imagined. I always felt guilty hitting someone else and never got the satisfaction I’d hoped for landing a big shot. Although I continued to spar, I gave up competing.
I went through a few years where I tried other athletic endeavors including capoeira, break dancing, flag football, half marathons, and crossfit. None of them really resonated with me and I continued to gain and lose weight until I’d become the heaviest I’d ever been at approximately 145 pounds. I say approximately because I wouldn’t go anywhere near the scale. I wouldn’t be in pictures, so the before and afters I have are nowhere near as convincing as they should be. I fought to lose weight and finally settled at about 135 pounds. Not perfect, but better than I was at my heaviest. I was talking to a woman that had the body of my dreams and I was asking her how she got to be so fit. She told me about her coach and how much she ate each day and I was shocked. Here I was, overweight, hating myself, and trying to understand how I was supposed to live on 1200 calories a day – she was gorgeous, fit, and lean on over 250g of carbs a day! I couldn’t believe it. She put me in touch with her coach and within a matter of months, I’d made a complete transformation. I entered and won my first bikini competition and won the second to qualify for Nationals in October 2015. Following the competitions, I hit a few rough spots where I gained 7 pounds and lost some of it again. At this point, I’m trying to share how I got to my goal and also how I’m working constantly to find balance and maintain a healthy self-image that doesn’t revolve around being competition lean. I want to educate people on how to treat their bodies well by providing balanced nutrition and appropriate exercises. I want to help people repair their damaged metabolism and learn to eat more appropriate portion sizes for their body. I want to provide holistic advice to help others achieve the strongest version of themselves: mind. body. soul.