This week guys... This week has been a rough week, a fun week, but a rough one. I have ,been looking forward to this week for quite some time. It's the first week working with my new coach, John Harris, a man notorious for not only his own personal success in the bodybuilding industry, but for coaching other well known athletes as well. Even though I was slowly losing on my own, I wasn't positive that my diet was supporting my workout and conditioning. I was losing weight but also lean muscle mass and that body fat percentage wouldn't budge. Having John help me out with my diet is going to be key to my success. I trust him 100% to get me where I want to be, so I know the time, energy, and effort I put in will eventually yield the results I crave. So to say I was excited, is an understatement. But as I've learned with most self improvement and spiritual growth, the moment you decide to follow Christ or to do the right thing, or whatever that thing is that is going to propel you forward in life and in faith, the Devil attacks you with everything he has to knock you off your high horse and tempt you away from the path less taken. Whatever will discourage you or question God's ability to work this through you.
Day 2, I started coming down with a cold. My throat was itchy and post-nasal drip, the works.
The morning of Day 3, my 4 year old baby girl has an accident on our living room couch. Turns out, she had diarrhea, but no other symptoms. All through out that night, my poor girl was puking or pooping herself, so my already fatigued body was hitting it's limits. Add to that, my mother read one of my Instagram posts where I mentioned her opinion on my body building goals and she didn't take too kindly to it, so while I'm elbows deep in puke and poop, she's angrily texting me and hurt that I would post our private conversation. I should note: my mother is happy that I'm happy and doing her best to be supportive. She just doesn't get it and has a lot of contradicting ideas about what body building is. My post was intended to encourage other women to continue to pursue and follow their dreams despite what other people may think or say. I never thought it would hurt my mom by posting her opinion, but alas I am human and not perfect. So... here I am 2am holding my daughters hair back and hearing my phone vibrate and vibrate and vibrate, every "vvvvvv" like nails on a chalkboard, so I raise my closed, tired eyes to the sky and whisper, "enough. Please, Lord, I need you. I need a break." 10min later, Evalee is back in bed, my husband crawled in there with her to take care of her if she awoke again, and I got to crawl into a warm bed all to myself! Praise God! I turned my phone to silent and fell into the deepest sleep I've had all week.
Luckily, we kept Evalee home from school on Friday and the sickness let up. We had no issues all day and all night. Jerod even watched the kids when he got home from a long day at work, so I could keep to my training schedule and get to the gym to do both my weight training and cardio sessions. I started to feel better, then Saturday poured in, LITERALLY, raining all day long, Evalee's sickness came back (diarrhea again throughout the day), so we had to cancel all our weekend plans including Boo at the Zoo with friends and the women's group I lead each Sunday. I'm trying to see it all as a blessing. I was forced to truly rest today and spend some quality time with my kids, building tents, watching movies, and playing board games. We also took a family walk around the block tonight, put on our rain boots and splashed in some puddles. The best part, I made it through Hell Week and was able to stick to my diet and training routine 100%! Beat that Satan! If I can make it through all of this sickness and ugliness and still maintain my diet, training, motivation, and drive, then I can make it next week and the week after that and so on and on and on it goes. God has me. He'll carry me when my legs are like jello and I am physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. He will be my light in the darkness and keep me focused on that end goal. My baby sister, Annie, posted a verse from this poem at the beginning of the week and I do not believe in coincidences. I think I was meant to see it and you all are meant to read it as well. It was a poem that was written on a pretty beach picture that was framed and hung in the hallway of my childhood home from the time I was 4 to 15 years old. I remember it well.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”
Mary Stevenson, 1936
The last couple days have been a whirlwind of emotions both positive and negative. It started with a calling for change, an unnerving nagging and thirst for more that I couldn’t quite quench. I feel like I just haven’t been living up to my own expectations, but of course I am a perfectionist so no one could really live up to my expectations, but if I had to ask myself honestly, I have been a bit lazy and docile when it comes to my new years fitness goals and especially my dieting. I had to ask myself, “Is this really something you want to do? I know you think it is, but is it REALLY?! IS IT?! Because this is going to be hard and a lot of the time it’s going to suck really really bad.” The resounding YES echoed off the deepest chambers of my heart and washed life back into my limbs in the form of goose bumps all over. I need this. I am meant for this. I am so freaking able! Get behind me, Satan, for I know who goes before me and I know who stands behind! Can I get an, Amen!
That same day, I contacted my new coach, John Harris, and told him that I am ready to get started. I have been telling myself and others that I was going to wait until January to hire a coach, determined to go at this goal head first and on my own. I wanted the credit. I wanted to prove something to myself - and I wanted to save money ;b But my good friend, Pastor Dave, has reminded me a lot these past couple months to give over my pride and give God the glory. I have learned from past experience that I cannot reach this goal on my own. I have successfully lost weight and reached all new levels of fitness, but never on my own. When the going gets tough, Michelle hates confrontation and she jumps ship! So in my dream world that demands from me Consistency, Resilience, Strength, Determination, Motivation, 100% Commitment to myself, short-term sacrifice for long term gains, and Faith, I cannot waiver and I literally cannot “carry the weight” alone.
So I thought to myself, “I need to tell more people. I need to stop pretending this is in the future, instead of making it my present and my future. This IS who I am becoming. This IS who I am right now and who I am going to be tomorrow and 6 months from now. And I need to live and act and move like I want it. Like it’s already mine.” I decided to reach out to my women's group, my best friends and sisters in faith. Most already knew that figure competitions were a dream of mine, but I wanted them to know how serious I really am to making this goal my reality this year. I will be turning 30 years old in March and cannot think of a better way to celebrate than getting in the best shape of my life and strutting my new mom bod confidence across a stage and bringing home that medal or a chance at championships and pro-cards and “elite” labels and checking more BIG boxes off my bucket list. Of course, they were all super supportive and excited for me.
One in particular, my friend Tina, offered to take some more Before photos for me for free, so I could have something to look back on as I make my big transformation. I immediately took her up on it, even though I knew how awkward it may be, in my still pudgy and round body walking around her photo set in my thong bikini and stripper heels! Trust me, it was a sight to be seen! But, let me tell you guys… I have never felt more confident and excited and exactly where I am meant to be inside my own skin at this very moment, then when I opened up the zip file she sent of all the photos she captured today. I even prayed before opening it up. “Lord Jesus, my booty may be as white as a ghost, my legs may still have cellulite for days, and my belly may still have excess skin from carrying two beautiful souls inside my womb, but God, I pray and ask that you let me see Beautiful. I know that I am, Lord. That like psalm 139:14 proclaims, “--I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Please let me see through loving eyes and know that I am exactly where you want me to be and trust that with you, we can accomplish my dream. In your holy name, Amen.”
And there before me, Beauty and Confidence. All curves and thickness, yes, but strength, femininity, and overwhelming joy too. Because I was doing what I wanted to do. I was living TRULY within my own skin for the first time. Some of you are going to look at my end game, and disagree with my version of Beautiful and that is ok. The important part is that I love me, which is, sincerely, a challenge in today's society. How often have you spoken those words? At all?! Let alone saying them in your head without instantly feeling guilty or conceded or wrong. We are trained to put ourselves down and the Devil wants us to believe that we are not enough on our own. That we need things, money, or relationships to have worth in this world and friends, it is all LIES! You are everything you need to be right at this very moment and he is moving the air and bending the skies and earth behind the scenes to bring you joy and peace and love and everything your sweet soul requires.
Below you will find a slideshow of photos from today's shoot. I did not post them all, because I want to save some for later as my body changes each month, I hope to post more for comparison. Also the back and booty photos, I’m having a hard time posting for the ENTIRE WORLD to see until I have a really good AFTER photo to go along with them. Yes, I know I have to perform on stage for a crowd and judges in a sparkly, thong bikini, but today. Is.. Not. That. Day, friends! Haha! You can wait 6 more months, right? ;b
I’ll leave you with this. Something I learned today through an unlikely source, “Be Kind and Believe.” whether that is in yourself or in a power greater than yourself. In all things, be kind and believe.
I took before pictures again today. I'm not posting until next month when I have a really great transformation comparison. I'm still slowly losing body fat and gaining muscle back, but my motivation and drive has definitely been running at about 70%. I make about half of my gym days and diet wise has been somewhat of a mess. Don't get me wrong, I get my healthy meals in, but I've also been getting many added sweets. I've fallen down the sugar rabbit hole! Yikes! So, I've decided to refocus and step up my game. Even writing this out to the world is making the fat girl in me, break out in a sweat. lol. Now people KNOW, which means I have to actually follow through, What?! Below is what my diet plan looks like and my weigh-in from Tuesday, October 1st. I'm going to weigh-in at the beginning of each month and post to my blog, as a means to hold myself accountable, in addition to my weekly posts on life and faith, etc. Hope you can follow along!
16/8 Intermittent Fasting
2-3 days per week will start out with 20-30min Fasted Cardio before the kids wake up or a run with the jogging stroller if they wake up early.
8:30am - Peach Tea with 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar and dash of honey
*Only tea and water before Breakfast.
12:30pm - Breakfast
-2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites, and roasted veggies (1 zucchini, half a head of broccoli, half a bell pepper, half a medium sweet potato, Tbs olive oil, Tbs honey, Tbs Basalmic Vinegar)
-Multivitamin and probiotic
4pm - Lunch
-5oz boneless chicken breast, 2 cups Spinach, half bag of Dole Sunflower Salad Mix, half an avocado, top with sprouts and a quarter of the Sweet Onion Citrus Dressing or OO, BV dressing.
6 - 7pm - GYM TIME
7:15pm - Post workout VEGA sport shake with unsweetened Almond Milk and PB3
8:30pm - Dinner
-5oz Fish or Chicken and a bunch of veggies.
*If I feel the need to snack in-between, I may have a Mad. Vanilla Kind bar or handful of unsalted raw almonds.
**Special Note: I am almost done breastfeeding! I only feed my son at night to get him to sleep and back to bed if he awakes again. Once he is completely weened, I plan to up my supplement game as well. Adding ZMa at night, a pre-workout on occasion, BCAAs before and during a workout, etc. So stay posted.
Weigh-In (Oct. 1st):
25.8% body fat
6 Phy Rate
24 metabolic age
6.0 bone density
3 Visceral Fat
God is Preparing a Way
This phrase has been jumping out at me a lot over the last week or so. Either people have randomly spoken it to me during conversation or I’ve seen it written or read it in my bible. God is definitely trying to tell me something here. I do not believe in coincidences. Everything has meaning and purpose and phrases like, “Rest in God’s strength, Trust in Him, He’s gotten us through worse.” All of my world seems to be yelling at me to turn from my fears or my anxieties and turn towards Christ and refocus on His power and His strength. Stop dwelling in a pit of my own inability and lean on God’s ability to see my hopes and dreams into fruition. He is working on my behalf even now, as I pound out these keys on my laptop trying desperately to concentrate over the chaos and rumpus dancing out from the playroom where my husband is entertaining our children for a few minutes before we all head up to bed.
He orchestrated my day and evening, so that I could have these 20minutes of peace and alone time. Time for me to reflect and to reach out to the buzzing internet realm who have shown up to read and relate and connect. These moments are few and fleeting when you are raising a family, working, contemplating going back to school, working towards a fitness goal, trying to make time with your spouse, and ya know, trying to shower and look somewhat appealing to the world. I know you all understand this mess way too much. You. are. not. alone.
So I just want to take a moment in the middle of my own chaos, to praise and thank God for everything He has orchestrated in my life to get me to where I am today. All the failures, all the regrets, all the lost time, lost sleep, and trials of faith. I would not be the same women I am before you. I would not understand the world and the broken people in it. From a perfect pedestal, we can look down on others around us and judge their bad choices or their lifestyles decisions, saying things like, “I would never do that! My kids will never act that way! What kind of person would do such a thing.” Until it’s you under the social microscope. Until the devil holds you down in your own darkness and out of all the lies he buries you in, you make a choice that you “never thought you would.” And then you can see. Finally, your eyes are open to the world and its ugliness. I truly believe that without pain and suffering, we can never truly know Jesus --Know what he suffered on that cross and understand the weight and depth of his mercy and forgiveness. So thank God for your suffering as well as your joy. He’s working that pain into cobblestones and creating a pathway for you to righteousness. All He asks is for us to TRUST Him. “Come, take my hand, walk to me, cross through the river, walk upon the water.”
No more waiting until Monday. Or until I have more time. Or until all the details magically fit together. Now is the time to thrive and be the person God calls me to be. I am stepping up to the plate, God. I hear you calling, and I am ready. I've already prepped my mornings with holy armor and end my days with prayer. I hope to include you and hand over all aspects of my day to day, specifically that which does not serve either of us. Over the next 4 months, as I near closer to the new year, I pray you aid me in remaining steadfast to my goals and to my diet plan, so that I can be a woman of my word and hold this commitment to myself precious.
Thank you God for this beautiful thing called, Life. Thank you for an able body to lift, move, run, swim, climb, and rest. Thank you for my children that keep me on my able feet and help me see the world through innocent eyes. Thank you for a loving husband, who may not know you like I do yet, but cares for me and your people more than himself. Thank you for a family that despite its trials and differences, always chooses each other again and again --always says, “I love you,” before walking out the door. Thank you for a home that is enough, food that is enough, and financial stability. Thank you for our friends and our church who support, encourage, and guide us in pursuit of your never ending joy. You are so awesome, God! So powerful and so merciful. So wonderful and dear you are to me.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.