Since I was young, sports have been a huge part of my life. With a highly competitive personality, I participated in soccer, basketball, gymnastics, swimming and martial arts throughout high school. In college, while I did participate in intramural activities, I became less and less involved in team sports. This forced me off the field and into the gym. While at first the gym was more of a “have to” than “want to,” by the end of my college career I couldn’t imagine my life without going to the gym.
Unfortunately, while I worked hard in the gym and tried my best to eat well, I wasn’t happy with the way I looked or felt. I became an avid reader of fitness and health magazines, researching new fitness and nutrition information, hoping it would help me to transform my body into my version of the “ideal” body. I began to push myself harder and harder, both in and out of the gym, trying new techniques, new supplements, new diets, only to end up stuck, with even lower self-esteem. I was surrounded by too much information. I had overwhelmed myself and became even more lost and confused. I began to obsess over what to eat, when to eat, how to eat, when to work out, how hard to work out, etc. It had become an obsession that began to overtake my mental health and social life. I secluded myself from friends and family because the thought of going out and not being able to control exactly what and when I ate and when I could work out made me extremely anxious. I am not anorexic or bulimic, but I have (I believe that I will fight this disorder my entire life, so I refer to it in the present tense) an eating/exercise disorder.
When I recognized that I had gone too far, I did my best to turn around my health and fitness mentality. I learned to control this obsession (relatively). It was vital that I controlled this obsession, but I still wanted to change my body, and get in better shape. I worked hard to try and balance my disorder while still losing weight and gaining muscle. However, I couldn’t seem to break through.
It was roughly three months ago that I decided that I needed help. I needed someone to help guide me in the right direction so that maybe one day I could be happy with both the inner and the outer Rachael. I sought out a nutrition coach and over the next 12 weeks began to transform my body. I was given the tools and knowledge needed to learn to how to eat and exercise the right way. My results astounded me; I transformed my body, my mind, and my outlook. I had done it; I succeeded.
This success has sparked a ferocity in me. I have awoken the competitor within and want to see what I can accomplish. I have decided to compete in my first Figure competition. To step on that stage among the other strong and beautiful women is something that I cannot wait to accomplish. I believe that with this decision, I will also begin to take another step towards fighting my disorder and become healthy both mentally and physically. I hope that my journey can inspire others who battle against the same pressures and the same questions that I do. Over the next four months, I will learn how to balance my goals and aspirations with my mental and physical health, and hope that others will learn along with me.