Body image was always a struggle of mine, 29 years of life, until 2012 when I decided to make a lifestyle for good!
Going way back to 2004, I was at a fashion school, getting my degree in Graphic Design. I was a tomboy then, still am now. I never tried to fit in, but I did feel a little out of place because of all the girly girls… and then there was me. I was dating a guy who was all about his appearance, and he was very opinionated. He told me at one point that I would be more attractive if I lost weight… I was 175 pounds. So I got a gym membership and focused on losing weight. I was 19 years old.
Down to 130 pounds and dealing with not eating, doing strictly cardio, but still with someone who made me feel like I wasn’t beautiful enough. Finally, a total stranger saw me; boney, pale and faking a smile. He said I was beautiful the way I was and gave me the strength to leave the relationship. But something happened. I was single. I felt like I had no purpose. I was unhappy in every relationship after that and lost control. I hated being thin and gained 107 pounds.
In 2009 I was 237 pounds and constantly feeling down. I finally decided to take my new boyfriend’s advice and try to run. Let’s be honest, being a bigger girl, running was painful, and I was slow, but it helped. I became obsessed. I went from never running to running four half-marathons in a year, along with many smaller runs, a tough Mudder, then finally a full marathon for my 26th birthday. But once again something was wrong.
Four-hour cardio sessions resulted in me storing body fat. I had no weight training at all in life. I wasn’t eating right, so back up to 215lbs.
By Spring of 2012, I vowed to change my entire life and prove to everyone that I could change, be healthy, and do anything I dreamt of! Intending to compete in a figure competition the following year, I learned the importance of clean eating, weight training and doing a lot less exclusive cardio.
Sure enough, by the following summer I weighed 140 pounds, on stage, winning 3rd place in the figure open, and 5th place figure novice! I was excited enough to compete again in October.
Around my next competition in May, I realized there were too many people telling me what to do and how to do it. It turned into something that wasn’t for me anymore and I wasn’t dedicated to the show. People trying to get me to do things their way it made me realize I had to trust more on my coach and myself. Even though I still competed and got 4th place, it felt good to know that doing it for anyone else wasn’t going to work.
Summer of 2014 was my “off season”, to prep for a show in October, at which I finished in the best shape I’ve ever been in, feeling beyond confident and healthy. I got 5th place in open and have been humble ever since. I decided to take time this year to train and prep for August. I have a huge passion for weight lifting and seeing how I can push my body to the next level. I feel focused. I am never going to quit on my goals and all everything I can do to challenge myself for the future.
5 Tips That Helped Me Along the Way:
1. Get the right help for you! I hired a coach, who has a background in nutrition. Denise (www.trainingloft714.com) provided me with one on one personal training sessions, a nutrition plan and 24/7 contact whenever I needed.
2. Have a support system. My boyfriend wasn’t the only one there for me, but my grandma is my biggest fan! Always into asking me questions, checking in on me, making sure I do this for myself. My bosses at Starbucks too always have my back.
3. Meal prep! Always be prepared. You never want to be out and with friends and not have the right foods with you at those moments when you are super hungry. I carry Quest Bars in my gym bag, Six Pack Bag and in my purse at all times.
4. Pack your gym bag bag the night before and bring it with you first thing when you leave the house. There’s no excuse to skip the gym if you are already prepared to go.
5. Make it fun. I joined Training Loft 714 because I knew there would be many other men and women like me. I was right because we are all a family now and support each other. We help each other to keep going and never give up.
You can find Elisha on:
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