‘I Passed Out On The Stairmaster While Prepping For A Bikini Competition’

Growing up, my main form of fitness was riding horses competitively. That was a pretty good workout, but I wasn’t very active otherwise, and I ate how I pleased—which included a lot of pasta and cookies.

In high school, I started to feel the effects of this lifestyle. I got back from one vacation where I ate my weight in food, and I felt so uncomfortable. I had zero confidence and felt like I was busting out of my clothes. I was tired and sluggish; I hated it.

So I decided to change. Based on the knowledge I had at the time, I thought a healthy change meant eating like a bunny and doing a ton of cardio. So that’s exactly what I did.

After a couple of weeks of this, I did indeed lose weight. But instead of feeling strong and confident, I just felt weak. And I was miserable. The constant cardio and calorie restriction didn’t feel sustainable, and it was eating away at my confidence and happiness.

Happy #MovementMonday bbs!!!☀️? Bringing y’all a KILLERRRR back & hamstring workout!!! I have been loving these posterior chain days & decided to incorporate them into my workout split regularly for the time being ??? — Incorporated a few new movements/movements I haven’t done in a long time. I definitely felt the burn ? — ?BOOKMARK & LIKE THIS POST FOR MORE WORKOUT VIDEOS!!!? — ✨Single leg DB stiff leg deadlift 4×12 each leg SUPERSET ✨Bent over DB row 4×10 ✨TRX “pull ups” 4×10 ✨Cable underhand low row 4×12 SUPERSET ✨Cable deadlift 4×12 ✨Straight arm lat pulldown 4×12 ✨Laying hamstring curl with single leg eccentric 3×10 each — Super important with all of these to focus on mind to muscle connection & control the movement! Comment your favorite back and/or hamstring exercise below?? — • • #fitfam #strongwomen #morethanabody #beelevated #fitnessmotivation #workoutvideo #workoutvideos #workoutmotivation @gymgirlvids #freeworkout #fullworkout #backworkout #backday #legworkout #hamstringworkout #posteriorchain #getfit #faithandfitness

A post shared by Brittany Loeser – Health Coach (@brittanyannette) on

A post shared by Brittany Loeser – Health Coach (@brittanyannette) on

It felt so empowering—exactly what I had been looking for. I learned the proper form for basic movements and found workout plans online. I also started following YouTube fitness channels for meal plans and workout ideas.

About a year after I started lifting, I began noticing real changes in my body. I was getting stronger but also leaner. The thing was, at that time, I was only eating around 1,400 calories a day because I felt like I needed to restrict myself to have my dream body. Because that was so low, I would binge once a week. It was a vicious cycle.

Then I decided I wanted to do a bikini competition, so I hired a coach who told me I should be eating closer to 1,800 calories—just for weight maintenance. Competition prep became really intense and my life geared up at the same time—I prepped through my 18th birthday, through prom, and graduation. At the time, my parents didn’t totally understand it, but they were supportive.

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Then, one day, I was finishing my workout on the Stairmaster, and blacked out. My parents had been watching the toll competition prep was taking on me, and after this incident, they insisted I go to the doctor.

It turned out I had some pretty severe issues with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) from treating my body so horribly. My parents became super nervous about my health at this point—and rightfully so. They wanted me to stop prepping. But I thought setbacks like this were just part of the process, and my coach wasn’t telling me to step back or stop training, My parents trusted my decisions, so when I decided to push through, that’s what I did.

But in reality, this was just the tip of the iceberg of signs the whole training cycle was creating a lot of disordered behavior in my life. In the throes of prep, I was completely blind to how much all the eating restrictions and bingeing were taking a toll on my body. And when it came time for the bikini competition, I didn’t even enjoy it that much.

Then, I completely crashed. I couldn’t keep up the binge/restrict cycle you’re forced to do for prep, and I couldn’t keep up with this image that I was trying to portray—perfect and in control. I was only 18 and I was miserable, forcing myself to work out when I didn’t want to, not enjoying foods that I wanted to in fear of gaining weight.

I had a completely warped body image post-competition—I was TINY, but since I didn’t look like my competition self, I thought I was fat. I was so used to prepping my food and eating everything on my plate, so I had no idea what a normal portion size was or how to feel hunger cues. I actually made myself sick eating too much on multiple occasions.

I look at these photos and I see something completely different than you do. – I see a girl who was lean and thought she was fat. I see a girl who was starving, drained, miserable, and blacking out almost daily from low blood sugar. I see a girl who thought shrinking herself was the answer, but came to find out that self love doesn’t happen at a certain weight… it happens at a certain mindset. – I know you may think lean = happy, but I want you to really hear me when I say that BEING LEAN IS NOT THE ANSWER!!! If you hate yourself when you’re not super lean, you’re still going to hate yourself when you are. Take it from me, I know from experience. – Now, I weigh almost 20 pounds more, and I’ve never felt so free and at peace with my body and my mind. I eat balanced meals, I eat “treats” daily (holla @ my sour gummy worms!!), and I workout to empower myself, not punish myself. I don’t stress if I miss the gym. And you know what? Im freaking HAPPY. Happy with my life, my body, my character. I’ve never felt more confident. My thoughts about food and body image don’t consume me anymore. There’s so much more to life than what you look like. You don’t have to have a six pack to be fit and healthy. You are #morethanabody. – If you’re stuck in a hard place, keep pushing. Work on your mindset. Don’t stay where you are… because I promise, it gets better. – • • • #girlswithmuscles #girlswholift #healthcoach #beelevated #beforeandafter #selflove #foodfreedom #fitfam #fearisaliar #faithandfitness #gymmotivation #growthmindset #mondaymotivation #ditchthediet #bikiniprep #npcbikini #iifym #intuitiveeating

A post shared by Brittany Loeser – Health Coach (@brittanyannette) on

A post shared by Brittany Loeser – Health Coach (@brittanyannette) on

I tried to loosen the reins on my regimen and allowed some flexibility in my diet and my training. I fueled my body with what made me feel good instead of trying to hit certain macro numbers. If I craved it, I let myself have it—in healthy moderation. I hired a professional for a bit, but it just took a lot of time and trial and error to figure out how to eat normally without counting macros.

That said, it wasn’t easy to make the switch. I struggled a lot with reframing my thinking into more mindful eating. But by accepting that I can eat “treat” foods every day and still reach my goals, eventually I was able to get away from the “all or nothing” mentality.

And fueling more had a major advantage: I was able to push myself more and gain more strength. In the initial months after competing, I hired a coach, but once I got my personal trainer certification, I started creating my own programming. I cut back on cardio but kept lifting five times a week.

Fitness became fun again, and if I didn’t make it to the gym five times a week, I didn’t stress over it. My body was less lean but I was finally happy, and the number on the scale stopped controlling me.

I remember this time in my life painfully well. Prepping for a competition I had no reason to do, aside from an excuse to get lean. Crying over cardio, obsessing over food, blacking out from low blood sugar & hypoglycemia. I quit everything I was passionate about to focus on prep. I thought more about my next meal than I did about my friends, my family, or my own happiness. — I wanted to be small. I thought abs would validate me. I thought I was inspiring people… But all I was doing was hurting myself and everyone around me. — You don’t realize the toll it takes on your loved ones when you’re so immersed in this state of shrinking yourself. I was always hungry, emotional, explosive, stressed out, and frankly, unhappy. I didn’t enjoy my 18th birthday, graduation/grad parties, prom, and so much more like I should have, all for a selfish goal. — I remember being at orientation at Ole Miss 2 weeks out from my show. Everyone was going out, having fun, getting dinner, and instead of making memories and friends, I locked myself in my room, ate my prepped tilapia that I brought from home, and went to sleep. Miserable. — I never want anyone to feel the way that I felt. Getting smaller will not make you love yourself. TRUST ME. Genuine self love comes from the inside, accepting who you are through and through, no matter the stage. You are so so so much more than just your body. Fit and healthy come in every shape & size. — You are the most beautiful when you are happy, resilient, healthy, and thriving. Giving freely to others will fill you up more than any physique ever will. Food freedom, self love, and kindness to yourself and others… That’s what will change your world. Not the reflection in the mirror. #morethanabody — • • #strongwomen #beforeandafter #fitness #beelevated #onlinefitnesscoach #healthcoach #healthylifestyle #healthy #getfit #gainingweightiscool #npcbikini #bikiniprep #bodybuilding #transformationtuesday #transformation #muscles #girlswholift #chasingfreedom

A post shared by Brittany Loeser – Health Coach (@brittanyannette) on

A post shared by Brittany Loeser – Health Coach (@brittanyannette) on

It’s been over three years since hitting that low. Now, I’m 21 and I work out around four times a week, usually lifting, but I also love getting out in nature—hiking, walking my dog, literally anything outside. I eat over 2,000 calories per day and follow the 80/20 rule, eating mostly super nutrient-dense foods but with some fun, indulgent treats. I never label foods as “good” or “bad” anymore.

I’m about 20 pounds heavier than when I was while prepping for that bikini competition—and I’ve never felt so free and at peace with my body and my mind. I’ve found confidence and security with who I am. I’m no longer trying to look a certain way to impress anyone.

Long weekend got the best of me and I totally forgot about #movementmonday so you get a MOVEMENT TUESDAY WOOOO!!? — Had to run out of the gym early on this leg day due to a doggo emergency (everyone’s fine!) so the last two exercises I planned on doing weren’t recorded, but I’ll include them in the description for ya ? — ?Leg press 4×10- lower and more narrow feet placement to target the quads. ?Single Leg extensions 4×10 each ?Cable front squat 3×12 ?Calf raises 4×12 ?Romanian deadlift 4×10 ?Walking lunges 3×10 each — Still haven’t been able to workout since my procedure, my insides are pretty sore lol but going to try to workout today even if it’s short & sweet! Any muscle group requests???? — • • • #fitfam #strongwomen #morethanabody #beelevated #faithandfitness #girlswholift #iifym #personaltrainer #healthylifestyle #workoutvideo #workoutvideos #workoutmotivation #fitnessmotivation @gymgirlvids #fulllegworkout #getfit #fatburningworkout #legday #freeworkout #onlinefitnesscoach #fullworkout

A post shared by Brittany Loeser – Health Coach (@brittanyannette) on

A post shared by Brittany Loeser – Health Coach (@brittanyannette) on

If you don’t love yourself where you’re at, you aren’t going to love yourself once you lose 10 pounds.

Follow Brittany’s fitness journey @brittanyannette.

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