I talk about this often enough, but I’ll say it again. This adventure started as a blog. My background is in journalism and public relations, and as a professional I missed writing because it’s not in my daily job. Blogging is my outlet and when I got into fitness it made sense to document my journey. I’ve had an Instagram for about three years and it’s ALWAYS been my personal account. I see every comments, follow and like. I try to respond to everyone – which is a job in its own. I started adding some videos when I thought topics were too much to write out – because be honest, who reads that.

Someone yesterday said I’m relatable. Well, I fucking hope so because I’m a typical 27-year-old with a full time job who likes cupcakes and doughnuts and lifting and bikini competing. Maybe it’s not so typical because I’m really into fitness and health, and I don’t know many in person who feel the same, but I am relatable because I’m a real person. I share my journey as honestly as I possibly can. I share things that impact me like my long distance relationship with my boyfriend. I also share parts of me that many would keep secret like my history with binge eating and body dysmorphia from large weightloss and surgery.

I am a runner because I like to run. I enjoy 5Ks and sprinting. I am not the fastest, but that doesn’t make me less of a runner.

I am a lifter and have been for two years as of June 20th. I am a self-taught lifter. I Googled everything I wanted to know. I have also asked questions when I could lot determine answers. If you want to see the resources I’ve used check out the Educate Yourself tab above.

I am a macro counter and flexible dieter. I have been for two years since June 20th. Again, I researched eating styles and came across IIFYM when I decided to start bodybuilding and bikini competing in June 2014.

I am a bikini competitor and honestly, I think that makes me different than many who are looking to lose weight and just be healthy. The way I train and the way I eat is different than most. I am okay with that and I know the difference between stage lean and “off season” living. But I don’t think many of you do.

I like engaging with people globally about health and fitness and flexible dieting. Like I mentioned, I try to answer questions, but I also get frustrated when I answer the same ones over and over again. I also get frustrated when I’m asked subjective questions that are 100% dependent on the individual.

So, here’s what I am NOT:

1. I am not a trainer.

I started with cardio to get moving because that worked for me. Zumba was cardio of choice. I slowly added classes then running and then lifting. I coached myself for my first bikini competition, which took place fall 2014. I started working with Alaina Sanders in October 2015 after doing it on my own for quite some time. Partnering with Alaina meant that I could have someone else focus on my training while I focused on my career. Like cooking, I follow the directions and sometimes ask questions and make suggestions based on taste. I knew I could do the eating, but creating my circuits was time consuming.  That’s where working with Alaina has been extremely helpful.

If you want to know more about lifting and training, check out the educate yourself tab above or contact a trainer that you feel confident can help you with your goals. Look for someone certified who will give you time and patience. Ask questions and don’t just follow along because they say to. You should be educated to ask “what is this doing for my body.”

2. I am not a nutritionist.

I educated myself about flexible dieting and nutrition. I don’t believe in food timing, but some do. I believe in not labeling food as good or bad because it’s further creates a negative relationship with food. I eat enough fat, carbs and protein for my body. That’s what macro counting is – counting macro NUTRIENTS, not calories. Every nutrient has calories anyway. Working with Alaina hasn’t been an education about what I can eat, it’s just an education of how and when to adjust my nutrition. I have learned from her the benefit of refeeds during competition prep. ONE BIG SCIENCE EXPERIMENT – let me tell you. If you want to know more about IIFYM and refeeds, check out the Educate Yourself tab.

3. I am not a doctor/surgeon/nurse/medical professional

I know that sharing my experience with my plastic surgery and a standard abdominoplasty has educated a lot of you. It’s helped ease the mind of some who have been questioning it. I has also prompted many SUBJECTIVE questions. Here’s a short list of questions I get, that I DON’T feel comfortable answering and will always respond with talk to a doctor.

  1. Why is your scar so high?
  2. How long was recovery?
  3. How long do I need to say out of the gym?
  4. What garments should I wear?
  5. I’ve been cleared from the gym, what exercises should I start with?
  6. Do I need to take the full dose of pain killers that my surgeon prescribed?
  7. I’m having pain at my incision, what should I do?
  8. Why don’t I have drains like you?
  9. Why is your scar symmetrical and mine isn’t?
  10. I’ve lost a lot of weight, should I have surgery like you?
  11. How much was your surgery? I don’t want to spend too much.
  12. Will my insurance cover the surgery?

That’s just a few of the questions I have received. As you can imagine, I’m flattered that people feel comfortable enough to ask me because I think many don’t want to talk about their bodies usually. The flip side, I bet some of your are reading that list and saying “shit, how does she deal with these questions?” I ask myself that too.

If you want surgery, but are unsure, here is what I suggest:

  1. Talk to your primary care doctor. If you’re losing weight, there are chances you’ve been going to a general doctor already. Start the conversation with them. Ask their opinion and ask who they trust and respect in the community to conduct this procedure.
  2. Research the surgery and surgeons in your area. Look at their portfolios and their backgrounds. How long have they been a doctor, what is their specialty, where did they learn their skills?
  3. Call your insurance carrier and find out what the guidelines are for this procedure for your specific insurance policy. I didn’t qualify for coverage, but there are guidelines to meet to get it covered, so i understood why I couldn’t have mine covered.

If you’ve had this surgery and have questions:

  1. CALL YOUR DAMN DOCTOR.

You’ve invested a lot in this surgery. You’ve invested a lot in your body. It is not an inconvenience to call them and ask about the changes happening to your body. I followed my surgeons protocol to a T and that’s why I’ve been successful even with a small complication between days 5-8 post surgery. Your surgeon can tell you every thing you need to know, no matter how long it’s been since your surgery or the time of day. If they aren’t available right away, they have a nurse or staff that are. Utilize them. Take control of your body. They’re waiting for your call.

4. I am not a therapist

It’s true. I’m not. I am 100% a proponent of counseling/therapy. Sometimes the world is a lot to take on alone. I have and am seeking counseling for various issues from my parents being split to life transition like starting a new job as well as my own eating disorder. I am not in a position nor do I want to be to give advice about what there’s should do about their own relationship with food – other than seek professional help. If you don’t like the first person, break up with them and find someone new who meets your needs. You can find someone who specializes or you can speak to a generalist.

Insurance should cover behavior health, but you can also call your insurance carrier and ask what your policy allows.

I am a normal person who was interested in her own health enough to seek information and educate herself about what changes could be made in order to move forward. I also acknowledge when I can’t do it all on my own. That’s a huge thing for me. To say, I can’t and I need help. I will try to figure it out on my own as much as possible, but sometimes it’s okay to say, I can’t, but who has experience and expertise that can. That is why I have a trainer and that is why I am seeking counseling for body dysmorphia.

Do I want to be a trainer or licensed health coach one day? Definitely, it’s something that I am passionate about, but right now is not the right time and since I have NO EXPERIENCE other than what has worked for me, I don’t think I’m qualified to assist a lot more than help you understand the resources your reading and using.

I think social media is an excellent tool to create community and be inspired. But I think so many of us forget that everyone, or mostly everyone out there is a person who doesn’t have all answers and also has bad days.

Try to utilize my blog as much as possible.I share resources that have helped me, but remember that there is so much information out there – good and bad, you might need to invest more in yourself to learn what works for you. What works for me isn’t necessarily right for someone else and I am a bikini competitor, so my structure and training aren’t supposed to be for everyone. My why, my motivation – won’t necessary be yours, but I hope it sparks a fire in your to figure yours out.

❤ Cristina

 

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