How I got HERE

I have recently gotten more than one question about how I ended up a "fitness freak" (this is an affectionate term, I am certain!), how I thought maybe a cut was the way to go pre-competition, pre-wedding, how I decided I wanted to compete, and hell, how I got into working out/eating pretty well at all!

It is a long story, and it took me YEARS to get to this point. I remember being in 8th grade, and for some reason, all of my girlfriends wanted to wear little shirts with overalls to a junior high dance.
Does anyone else remember this look:
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Yeah, some girls that I was friends with definitely rocked this look all the time.  And I did too.  So there's belly visible.  And I, like most 13/14 year olds was growing into my body.  So that is where it started.

Innocently.  I ate no lunch.  Ok, so that isn't so innocent.  But doing 100s of crunches while watching tv in the evenings, that was innocent.  No?  Ok, well it took a while for it to grow to be bigger than that. 

I went through high school in that fashion.  I didn't eat breakfast, I didn't eat lunch, but you bet your *ss I ate dinner + snacks.  I didn't drink or any of those things at that time, I didn't really even know any kids who did, which seems shocking now that I hear about how many kids (J included!) did drink in high school.

College was where it took off.  I really can't explain it.  I don't know how it happened or anything.  I worked out, some.  Mostly walking and continuing my hundreds of crunches while watching TV.  I did the occasional gym workout at my school, but I was mostly miserable.  I sometimes went to the cafeteria (I had a meal plan) only once a day, and then, I ate maybe a grilled cheese sandwich.  Maybe.  Chocolate pudding (if they had it that day) always.  And as the year went on and I grew more and more homesick (I was living in Cincinnati  and my family lived - lives - in Toledo) and more and more starving.  As in, self starved.  I was losing weight.  I was not sleeping.  I was not eating AT ALL.  And I did not even realize it.

By the time I went home from school for the summer I weighed around 100 lbs (I was 5'5") and dropping.  I did not eat much that summer.  I worked in a retail job, and continued not eating.  My mom would do things like offer to get me a bagel from my favorite place Barry's, and even that usually did not entice me to more than a few bites.  How could I not want to eat this?

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I mean, YUM!  But alas, a few bites only.  It really was not a conscious decision to starve.  I was just in an extremely bad mental place at the time.  I started seeing a therapist, and even started taking anti-depressants. 

When I made the decision not to return to Cincinnati for the beginning of the school year (with hopes of returning for the Spring semester after Christmas) I really hit the bottom.  I weighed 93 lbs.  I was starving.  I was writing - all the time - in my very first blog, which I still am semi-active in.  I read others, but I only write here these days. 

Eventually the decision was made that I was not returning to Cincinnati for school.  I was going to stay with my family, get better, and take classes at BGSU.  And here is where it became an "active" habit.  I had friends again.  I started hanging out again.  Dating.  Eating.  Not eating much, but eating enough that I started to become more "normal".  I would eat a slice of pizza for lunch at the student union with my new USAF boyfriend (Steven.  He was -is- hot) and I started to workout.  My friend Chelsea and I started going to this combo cardio/lifting (maybe an early version of Body Pump?) class at the rec center.  Plus, I had classes all day long (earliest at like 9 am, latest, not till 6 pm) and so I would hit the rec to do cardio or a few weights in between classes.  I was learning, slowly, and mostly by watching other people. 

I moved back to Cincinnati in the summer of 2005 after graduating from BGSU with a degree in accounting.  I was going to go to graduate school at the University of Cincinnati.  At this time, I weighed about 125 lbs, and was skinny fat.  I wasn't "anti-strength training" I wasn't a "cardio queen", I just didn't have gym access.  I would walk around the neighborhood I moved into in Cincinnati, I had 5 lb dumbbells and some workout DVDs in my teeny 300 sq ft studio apartment.  And I did them, religiously.  I just wasn't working hard enough to get results.  And I was not eating cleanly in any way, nor was I getting enough protein, ever.

And then Katie joined a downtown gym:
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And said she was getting a trainer and we could work out at lunchtime together, etc.  I was all in.  So we worked out.  We had trainers.  I learned about strength training and splits and all of the like.  I started doing protein shakes twice per day.  I started tracking my calories (and even showing my food logs to Seth for help with them!)  I was slowly getting into the best (hardest) shape of my life in the summer of 2006. 

There were definite lapses in my life between then and now.  I definitely fell onto old habits and stopped eating.  I definitely got down to 100 lbs more than once again.  I definitely have spent 3 hours at the gym on more than one occasion.  But I met someone there who helped me to (many years later) get to the point where I wanted to compete.  Her name is Stephanie and she is a bodybuilder.  And she became my trainer after Seth left the gym.  And she had me thinking, way back in 2006 that I wanted to compete, someday.

And here I am, and now I am doing it.