(Forgive me ahead of time for my jumbled thoughts…my brain is operating on no carbs, watch out!)
The time is near…3 days until SHOWTIME! I have a lot of feelings and emotions surrounding this event. I’ll start with EXCITEMENT! How often do you have the opportunity to get all glitzed and glammed up and strut your stuff on stage in the bright lights?! I am SO excited to put on a show! I plan to bring every bit of sass and swagger that this little diva can muster up! Aside from being extremely excited, I am genuinely PROUD. I’m not exaggerating when I say it took blood, sweat, and tears to get here. Everything has been structured, timed, and calculated. I can’t do anything or go anywhere without packing my next meal…no drinks, sweets, or cheats! DISCIPLINE, DISCIPLINE, DISCIPLINE!
It’s an interesting process! At my starting point, I was 8 months post-baby, almost 24% body fat…decent looking (especially for having just had a baby!). I was a little uncomfortable with myself, but I knew that my hard work was going to pay off. It all started with accepting where I was at…THEN I could move on and work towards what I wanted to become! It wasn’t until I understood that principle that I was able to let go of the negative emotions I had about myself. Loving yourself through and through is the key to success in this kind of competition. I was careful in this process not to get too obsessed with the numbers, which can be challenging especially for someone like me. I was careful to remind myself on a DAILY basis that I was proud of ME. At 23% bf, at 20%, at 18%, at 16%, at 14%! Proud of ME. All along the way. I think this also helps with the conclusion of my show. I know I can’t maintain what I’m at right now, it’s just not realistic. I love life, food, socializing, and drinks every now and then! I would be taking myself away from the things I enjoy in order to maintain a low body fat…and that’s not what this journey is about for me. Since I’ve been careful to remind myself that I love ME at all stages of this process, I’m not going to mind going back to 16%, 18%, whatever the case may be. IT IS OKAY. Life goes on! I plan to find a healthy balance between the 2 extremes, continue to grow, and keeping training like the BEAST that I am. I’m kind of a mini beast. I’m only 5’2’’. Call me baby beast.
Anywho- what I’m getting at is that it was a CHALLENGE for me to get to this point that I’m at. One hell of a challenge. It challenged every part of my being. This process allowed me to reflect on a lot of issues that I’ve faced and dealt with in the past. I am happy to say that this process has unveiled a much stronger, healthier, more confident Ashlee than I have ever seen. I feel like I can step out and confidently say, “This is who I am” with a smile. I feel empowered. I feel inspired. I feel a fire that I haven’t ever felt…not only do I feel passionate about inspiring others, I feel passionate about this lifestyle. I really do love what I’ve worked so hard for. In order to grow, you have to step out and challenge yourself. To be completely honest, this whole concept scared the daylights out of me when I first decided to do it. I am a girl who does not back down. I knew that when I sent in my registration, it was a done deal. I’m doing this. The girl who sent in her registration was too self-conscious to lay out at a public pool in a bikini. And I was expected to SOMEHOW obtain the physique and the confidence to rock that physique on stage in an itsy bitsy bikini. What a task! But I needed this challenge at this point in my life. I fully believe that it came at the exact time that I needed it. I’ve learned to love myself, treat my body with respect, and carry myself with confidence and dignity.
It’s been a life changing 6 months. I didn’t think I could make this many positive strides in only 6 months…but I have. I couldn’t have done it without the support group that I have. My family, friends, and team are the most amazing supporters that I could ask for. God bless my husband’s patience! I have to give some special attention to my Shredded & Sexy Team and my trainer (and amazing friend) Aundrea Annin. I have looked up to this woman for the last 2 years. She has pushed me, inspired me, and instilled in me the confidence that I needed to get to the happy place I’m at now. I don’t think that she knows how big of an impact she has had on my life, but it is monumental. She is a woman of grace and dignity and leads by example. I couldn’t ask for a better person to have in my life. As for my team of Shredded & Sexy ladies…wow. I have been training with a phenomenal group of women. How could I not feel empowered and be inspired when I’m around these ladies? It’s not like any of us just have time to train all day, every day. We all have something other than this “hobby” that takes precedence in our lives. Yet – we’ve all made the time and commitment to work towards this goal of competing or taking our training to the next level. We are all taking on challenges and succeeding, even with the demands of our own daily lives. A teacher, planning a wedding in the midst of all of this, A full-time working student, a full-time working mom, a hard working engineer, a full time working new graduate, someone taking on a massive Body by Vi challenge, a military mom and wife, and other mommas on a mission! I mean – these women are amazing! I am so incredibly lucky to have them in my life. I could not have gotten to this point without your constant support, encouraging words, and endless positivity. Thank you.
Ok – so I keep getting the question, “Are you nervous?!” A tiny bit. I won’t lie. Who wouldn’t be?! I am working to turn those nerves into excitement. I really feel like me stepping on stage is my winning moment…I’ve said it before – but it’s true! People may not understand what the organization (WBFF) is all about, or what my personal reasons are for doing this, and that’s ok. I don’t ask you to. All I can say is that this is a huge goal of mine, a monster challenge, and I have never grown or benefited from any challenge as much as I have this one. A big part of this is what the WBFF stands for. World Beauty Fitness and Fashion. The category I’m in judges highly on poise, presence, marketability, and overall beauty. I’m not looking for anyone’s acceptance…I did this for me. If I place in the top 5 – I will be ecstatic…and if I don’t – guess what! Life goes on! I feel that I can confidently step on stage and display my hard work with the utmost poise. It may seem silly to some, but like I said – I’m not asking for anyone’s acceptance. I had set out to inspire people with what I’m doing. I know I’ve achieved this, and that makes it all worth it.
I will end on this for now– I seriously urge everyone to do 1 thing every day that reinforces the love and respect that you have for yourself. Take the time-it’s worth it. You are only as good to other people as you are to yourself. Treat yourself with respect, and chase your dreams!
Wish me luck in my competition on Saturday! I will be sure to keep everyone updated on the outcome!
Countdown to pancakes and all things sugary: T-2 Days, 21 hours, and 5 minutes.