The Pursuit of My Happiness, Part 2

10 Oct

If you haven’t read Part 1, here is the link. It would be helpful to start there so you can see my entire journey from the start of a healthy journey to something I didn’t realize became unhealthy. https://fierceforward.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/this-is-my-story-this-is-my-roadblock-this-was-the-beginning-of-the-end-part-1/

Someone asked me after my Part 1 post if I had an eating disorder. I believe I began developing a skewed vision of reality. Being overweight once (and no, I know I was not morbidly overweight, but the one thing in common with anyone overweight, is we dont’ feel happy being that)…I believe once you begin to lose weight, you still see that fat version. You kind of carry that with you always and judge yourself against that. I kept wanting to get thinner and trust me, I love food. If you ask me what my life is like now. I say, I have learned an extreme amount of knowledge about healthy foods that your body needs for energy. I have also grown to find Balance. Did I have a disorder of some kind? I’m not sure what it would be called, but it was more a pursuit of my personal perfection. I know what it means to eat clean and I know what it means to be unbalanced. I feel these hard lessons have helped me as a coach, to know what your body needs, and what it doesn’t want. and so much more really!

So July 27th came and my first local competition was before me. 3 ENTIRE weeks of NO carbs. No peanut butter even. Basically chicken/turkey meat/egg whites and vegetables. Here are the pictures from the day of my competition.


I was really happy with my body here. It was the thinnest I have ever been. I worked my obliques a lot and lifted hard. I was Fierce 😉 in the gym, hence where Fierce Forward came from. I got some direction to do no carbs~that it was my only option to do something so last minute. Looking back, I wish I would have known better. I wish I would have stopped as soon as I almost locked my keys inside my car, couldn’t respond to many questions as I couldn’t think fluidly throughout the entire 3 weeks, and so on. All I knew was I was seeing results INSTANTLY. I asked myself, could I finally be ripping up like those fitness models in magazines.


Look at my hair here. I just blowdried it but it was becoming straw like. My hair doesn’t naturally fall, but this was the beginning of my hair turning less healthy. When I look back, I know for sure this is when it all started. (lack of proper nutrition)

So this was the morning of. I didn’t eat anything that morning but had an espresso, something I was used to on a daily basis to keep my energy levels up. :O~
I got a pack of peanut m&ms (not ever something I normally would have chosen) for after the night show. I was standing in CVS and I normally would go for a Reese’s or Kit Kat but went for these, I just couldn’t decide. I almost couldn’t believe I was almost able to have those goodies. I didn’t deviate ONCE> This is where I really began realizing I’m really amazing when it comes to commitment when I want something so bad. I committed to this competition and there was no looking back.

Here are a couple pics from the competition.

I remember walking out on that stage for the first time and felt like it was where I was supposed to be. I felt like for once, I didn’t mind being in the spotlight–because I had worked so hard and loved my body. Sure, If you ask me if I would wear that look again, ABSOLUTELY, if I didn’t have to do no carbs for it. if it was from natural attainment.

Is this what I looked like all growing up? NO. I have always carried about 10 lbs. around the edges, as my gramps used to say to me, teasingly. It never bothered me.

So I placed 3rd out of 4 women and this was the day I realized I don’t have a competitor’s body. This would be a reality that would haunt me for the next year, that I didn’t want to accept.

See, I believe there are no set-in-stones. That you can change anything you want with enough hard work. But what I’ve come to realize is, I have strong, short legs in comparison to my wide hipped, long torso. Is this standard or what’s considered beautiful proportions? No. That was hard for me to get past. But all I know is that I was going to smile and be proud that I worked my ass off and never gave up.

Here are my videos (if you know me or follow my posts, you probably know I’m a video junky!)


Here was my TWalk.

So that night, I get in my car and head over to meet my family and friends who came to support at Hacienda, the mexican restaurant that I got carry out at 3 times per week when I was growing in size.
On the way over, I inhaled my m&m packet and loved every bite of it. Then I began inhaling chips and salsa. I felt full but I ordered a big, tall beer, as I wanted to get back to Ash. That is me, a girl who loves drinking beer with others and enjoying my time with friends and family. Then I ordered a burrito with the works. I basically assumed my body would not respond any way. I didn’t really even consider a consequence except I might get full quick. About 10 minutes later, I experienced my first feeling of puking sensation after eating foods my body was no longer used to. I knew then and there the body is a very sensitive and adaptive thing.

Fast forward 2 weeks. I had put on about 10 pounds instantly. I had a couple crazy days of “binging” on all that I had missed. I just wanted to feel normal. I would come to say this much throughout the next year of dieting.

I got a call from Bodybuilding.com that I was selected to possibly be a part of their 2011 Campaign called Lift Life. I was ecstatic! I can’t even tell you!!! It was a dream and I was honored I was chosen. They asked if I would be available, I said hell yah! and then let me know there were about 39 other candidates and they would call me if I was the chosen transformation to go.

I didn’t get my hopes up and just decided to keep eating clean and getting back on track to a healthy lifestyle.

A week later I got a phone call I was the girl they chose. I realized right away I could not go with this 10 extra pounds on me, that I wanted to look as lean and cut as I did in my competition so away I went with no carbs again.

This in no way was requested by Bodybuilding.com or hinted at, I just knew that I couldn’t show up anything less than the best I could….it was all me. It was my choice and so I began again. Here is the video 3 weeks after my competition talking about what was going on.
The sparks are not flying during this video as I am carb depleted. Listen to how off this sounds.

So 3 more weeks no carbs. My body didn’t change as drastically this time. It pulled back a little. and I forgot to mention, I was doing my best to workout during both time periods of no carbs. It was rough. Very rough. I did it though and even with 2 a days.

I get to Idaho and the entire experience was amazing. I’m going to sift through my experience since I’m writing about a different subject. I will tell you I got to meet fitness model and Bodyspace member Parker Cote and Fitness Model and Oxygen Author, Jamie Eason.

This is my video of me arriving in Idaho.

here is me after the first day of shooting for the campaign.

This was the beginning of an amazing ride Bodybuilding.com would be taking me on. I felt so grateful.
This is how thin I got again for the campaign. Trust me, for me, this was thin. I’m not saying I got overweight after the first competition just 5 weeks prior, but I definitely bloated out and my body began storing everything I put into it (even the good, clean and healthy) as fat.

After shooting with Jamie and Parker and working on such an amazing creative endeavor and cause, Crystal Matthews (of BB.com) filmed this of me.

I got very emotional while talking and I just felt so grateful and lucky to have been the one that was chosen.

This is a picture of Jamie and I on our shoot. I think it’s important to point out here that we are all different sizes and shapes in life and this picture really made me realize how I was born with a larger frame than most women. It was hard for me to accept this and this thought carried on with me negatively throughout the next year.

here is a video Parker Cote put together of me during the shoot. I’m telling you, I was standing there being photographed and just felt In my element, like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Ok, so what does all of this have to do with my issue that i was developing. Well, this approached a total of 6 weeks of no carbs. Yo yoing in weight in between. Over the top to over the top to over the top. Losing weight to gaining to losing weight.

This was Parker’s meal during our shoot. I had chicken and veggies. I took a picture of this because the fruit looked so beautiful. Parker offered me a strawberry and I said no because I was afraid of it. I thought it would blow me up.

During this entire shoot, I felt insecure. I felt like I wasn’t strong or lean enough for bb.com. Looking back, I know the issue was evolving more rapidly.

Sometimes, I think back to that time and wish I felt differently. Was I a good person, yes:) of course. But did I feel good about myself? No. I wish I would have soaked it up with confidence. They chose me, what was I questioning anything for. Why was I always trying to be thinner and better and when did thin become better than strong in my mind? I was slipping away from the girl I found. I found my confidence, pride in myself and was searching for what was true: me. Slowly, I moved adrift into searching for a thinner body. I wanted this always. I felt it made me feel good about myself. When did this happen? Why did it have such a major impact on me? How could it have changed me like this?

I began holding on to something that i thought would bring me happiness. I felt like my happiness lied in my body size.

For the next year, I would struggle to get back to this thinness, while my body fought me for survival. This sounds dramatic, but these were my thoughts, and they consumed my life.

On a happier note, this was the Lift Life Final Ad that appeared in Shape Magazine.

Part 3 will be what happens next in my journey with Bodybuilding.com and how stepping into the Fitness Industry World only intensified my feelings and actions towards the attainment of my perfection.

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2 Responses to “The Pursuit of My Happiness, Part 2”

  1. capecodbarbie October 27, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Ashley, thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been “trying” for 10 years to lose 50 lbs…and I am classified as obese. I’m 5’6″. Your transformation is inspiring and I admire that you’ve chosen to share the emotional struggle that goes with it. I’m attempting my own transformation and am blogging it here: http://musicalfoodielove.wordpress.com

    Again, thank you so much for sharing.

    Barbie

  2. Robert smith November 6, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    You seem to b very dedicated at what you do for bodybuilding.very proud of you,it is very very hard to stay strict in your eating sometimes.you look awesome,not to big,and not to small,just right..keep up the hard work;-)

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