- Firstly, I want to say congratulations on winning the New YOU Transformation category.
- When you decided to be more active, what was your initial exercise plan, and how often were you doing these exercises per week?
I really didn't know anything at all about fitness and although I was interested in lifting weights I didn't know how to use the equipment and felt very self conscious. So, at least I could use the eliptical and decided I would do 30 minutes twice a day (once before work and once after). I made it a challenge everyday to beat the number of strides I could do in the same amount of time. I also made a rule that the minute I said to myself "I don't feel like it" it was my cue to stand up and just go do it. Little by little I started adding in different things but it wasn't until I got a trainer that I really learned how to get the most out of my workouts. That wasn't until I had lost most of the weight but had no muscle and was kind of flabby.
- When people read your story and read that you have lost the amount of weight, what was your diet like, and was it a certain process?
I ate vegetables, lean protein and avocados and very small portions. To be honest, I regret not learning more when I first started. I was scared of carbohydrates because let's face it, the media still promotes a lot of fear-mongering over certain kinds of foods. I'd like everyone to realize if you are following someone who tells you to avoid this or that kind of food or macronutrient, run. I learned how to be okay with being hungry which might not sound like a big thing but a lot of people, myself included are really scared of being hungry and really uncomfortable with the feeling of hunger. In fact, when I was overweight, I would eat extra even when not hungry, in case I might feel hungry later. I also did a couple of different things when I was tempted, the first was check the calories on My Fitness Pal when deciding if a certain food was worth spending my calorie budget on. I also asked myself, does this help achieve my goal? And I reminded myself that "my body is a temple" and "you had 25+ years of over indulging, you had enough treats!"
- How important is it to have family/friends in your corner through your journey?
This might be an unexpected answer but, for me, not important at all. I have many clients that can't seem to get over this fact that a health journey has to begin with you, regardless of what is happening around you. They will blame their partners, their kids for not having time, other people in the house or office for having snacks or junk food around. Not once have I expected my kids or family or co workers to change what they eat to accommodate me and there had to be some times where I chose me first to fit in my exercise. Imagine what you could accomplish if you stopped expecting other people to prop you up.
- You are now a personal trainer now. Did you see yourself being a trainer when you started on your fitness journey?
Not at all! But as I became more fit and had obviously achieved a huge weight loss goal rather quickly and kept it off, co workers and friends started asking me for advice. I would often devote one hour of my time to other people at the gym teaching them what I had learned and helping them. I started to think maybe I would take a certification anyway and at the same time, my trainer and another coach I know started suggesting I become a trainer.
- How did you feel walking on that stage at the WNBF Vancouver show? Being backstage and being in the moment of a bodybuilding competition?
It was quite surreal. I'm pretty uncomfortable with my loose skin and cesarean scar and don't like to show my stomach at all, so it kind of blew my mind that I was going to be facing my fears and doing just that. Backstage I was just blown away by how amazing all of the other athletes looked but strangely, didn't feel like I didn't belong. I could tell the other competitors were extremely nervous, but I wasn't as nervous as I expected to be at all. Honestly though, winning the New You first really gave me a burst of confidence and satisfaction if you know what I mean. As in, even if I don't do well in bikini, this can't be taken away from me! I had zero time to get ready after New You (almost didn't get into my bikini in time!) which was stressful but maybe it was a good thing as I had no time to start getting nervous.
- How did you come across the WNBF New You Transformation competition, and would you recommend it to others who are contemplating telling their stories?
My coach told me about it when I first decided to compete in the WNBF. I actually didn't think I had a chance of winning so it was an emotional moment for me when I did! I absolutely recommend that everyone celebrate their achievement in this way.
- You own Dragonflag Fitness. How do you feel that you are an inspiration to your clients?
I think they see my dedication and that I don't let my age or injuries stop me from trying. Also, I think the fact that I started at age 54 is a real eye opener for them. Anything is achievable. I also make sure they know I don't believe that any particular diet is better than another for fat loss so there aren't any foods that I don't eat and my goal for any fat loss client is ultimately to help them create a body that can eat ALOT of calories, and enjoy a balanced lifestyle. Not to diet down and live on cucumbers and salad. I proudly eat a lot! After the competition I am on my reverse diet, building back my calories and planning to end up eating more than ever before while maintaining my goal physique. I used to want to be skinny, but now I want to be strong and jacked!