My One Year Plateau, Part 3

20 Oct

So here I am, I’ve gone from a Personal Banker to a Competitor who had taken my dieting and exercise plan to the extreme. I now knew I had the will power to do anything I wanted. After all, I had gone 3 solid months of no carbing. I’m not sure many people could do that, as it was the most challenging thing I’ve ever set my mind to.

At this point, I just got back from Idaho, shooting with Andy Anderson (Nike Photographer, and more) for Bodybuilding.com’s Lift Life Ad Campaign. I was on top of the world. So here I am, HOME, and I decided that since I didn’t have anything coming up, I had deprived myself and my body of carbs too long, so I decided to add them back in. I didn’t add them back in very slowly, I just went back to normal carb eating, maybe 120 grams a day is all I could handle. My stomach would bloat right away and I just felt like I gained 10 lbs. Truth be it, I gained 12 pounds back immediately. Now, some would say, well, you’d have to consume 3500 calories extra for one pound, and some would say, well, it could have been mostly water weight. I think it was a combination of the two. I think my body was in starvation mode and used everything I put in it for fat storage as well as held much needed water, as I was completely depleted. I mean, seriously, I didn’t even touch a strawberry in Idaho. so I was completely carb less.

So immediately I begin thinking, what the. I knew something was wrong. So fast forward two months. I get an email from Bodybuilding.com that they want me to represent them as a spokesmodel for the first ever Team Bodybuilding.com. I flipped. It was an amazing moment. I just felt like, man, my dreams were really coming true.

Now, during this time, my body had come down a little to a normal weight, but I realized that my normal weight consisted of having a belly still. That really bugged me. Looking back at picture of me as a teenager, I realized I have always had a belly. So this began the viscious cycle of me being bothered by this stubborn area.
I even noticed weight coming back in my arms, lower back, sides, and legs. Things were less defined, but yet, I was doing everything right still,e xcept eating healthy carbs now. My training was ridiculous and I can confirm this because no matter what I do, I am always progressing, whether it’s with my knowledge of a healthy, clean diet, or with exercise. Always.

So here are my stats for the past year.

When I hit the weight I truly felt like I was looking so good at (looking back)…this was one yaer after deciding to lose weight the healthy way.before no carbs I was 152, down from 183.
This was all me.  All my hard work and natural.  No deprivation of any sort.  This was before the No Carbs.

This was October, 2009. Just 10 months after starting a Healthy Lifestyle. I thought I looked great!

I had never fit into these pants before. Let alone tie my shirt up to show my belly. I was loving my body. For the record, I cannot fit into these pants currently and I"m eating better than I was then.

December 7th, 2009. 12 months into my journey.

February 19th, 2010. One year and one month. STILL, before my first competition. I was eating heatlhier than 2 months prior, working out normal, but lifting more here than ever before. I was seeing major changes in my body.

February 19, 2010. Front view....my stomach was slowly getting there. I honestly can say, that I like my definition here better than the flattness from no carbs. Looking back at these is really hard for me. I was doing everything right and I just want to say this....I'm so glad I have the opportunity to reach people and hope that they won't make the same mistake. It is very challenging for me now. I hope that one day my body will recover and let me continue moving forward healthfully like I was, the right way.

This is me. This is me feeling so good.

and finally March 2010. This is about where I hit my plateau and stopped losing more fat but continued gaining leg mass. haha. oh my good old legs. I get them from my papa.

sorry to flash you here. I was pretty lean then for just eating healthy (which isn't even as healthy as I eat now) and I would have a cheat meal or two on the weekends and never restricted myself. I ate really healthy during week and rank lots of water and worked out. Nothing crazy. Nothing like I would have to do later to get even near this.


When I did no carbs for 3 weeks I was 142. The smallest I’ve ever been.

When I went to lift life, it was hard to get back down there, I got to 145 on no carbs again.
There are no pictures in between here because I didn’t like how I looked.
Then when I got back, I immediately went back up to 162. No joke. I put on over 15 pounds of weight immediately.

In short, there was drastic fluctuation. Some would call this Yo Yoing. I would completely agree.

So I was doing all I could, nothing was changing. So then enter a contract from BB.com saying I would be working their events in 2011 and that in March, I would attend the Arnold with them. Wearing a sports bra and tighty pants. I was nervous to be honest because my body was not RESPONDING to anything anymore. This is truly (when I came back for the second time with no carbs and added them in) when I began feeling stressed with working so hard and not seeing results. So I took it up 10 notches. I was doing 2 a days, eating 1400 calories (I didn’t know better at this time) and lifting, increasing my cardio and NOTHING; I mean NOTHING.

So fast forward now through Christmas, New Years and February. The ARnold was right around the corner, I was doing everything I could and nothing was working. I began to think I just couldn’t lose anymore weight. The first year had been cake compared to now, Oh that sounds soo good….j/k ;0 but really, what had happened. the only thing I could think that would work was doing no carbs again.

So round 3…no carbs. 3 weeks and I got to this point for the Arnold. Still, not as great as my first competition (those last three words would be the 3 words I put on a pedestal for my “smallest I’ve ever been”). I always compared where I was at to where I was at for “my first competition.” Yet, another thing that began plaguing me, comparing. This only added to my stress and frustration.

At the Arnold, honestly. I felt uncomfortable. Standing up next to girls with 2 packs or 6 packs, I felt VERY, extremely out of my comfort zone. I was standing there, in a sports bra and tight pants. If I would have been wearing shorts, I think I would have felt better as I love my legs, but I felt they only emphasized my weak area, squeezing tightly around my midsection. It seemed to me as our outfits were intended to draw the eye to the midsection. Damn! Now, some may have said I looked great for losing weight and I don’t have to look like the other girls…now, I would agree, but then, I didn’t see it that way. It only frustrated me more that I deprived myself YET again (and had done everything I could do to work my ass off in the gym and eat super clean without going no carbs but nothing was happening…my body was not responding)..and here I am, the worst looking one there. But I smiled and put my face on and moved forward doing my best to be “comfortable being uncomfortable.” A quote I came up with from this experience.

Putting the body issue aside, I had an amazing time and feel so grateful to have been there and to have been asked to represent Bodybuilding.com. I always put that in front of my mind when I began obsessing too much about the negative….that this huge door had opened for me and this was my time. this is my 30 seconds….this is another crack in the door opening for me and I’m actually walking through. I only wish I would have realized what I know now so I truly could have enjoyed the positive feelings more than the negative. Live and learn.

I met some amazing people while there, and here are some pictures.

You can see how much my body has changed just by adding 10 extra pounds. This was when I did my third round and final round of no carbs. My body was having an adverse affect. Adding weight on.

Me and Randy Couture.

me with my girl Maritza!

Me and Robert Kennedy, Publisher and Editor of Oxygen Magazine.

me and the Sweaty Betty's:) Aubrie and Danny J.

At the Arnold, we took more pictures and here’s what I looked like in the professional pictures that I will not post to this day: Pictures by Levi Bettweiser. Maybe you’re thinking, wow, you don’t look fat. But in my head, I didnt look the same anymore and I was just stressed and unhappy that I was a cat catching it’s tail. Would you be comfortable standing up next to girls with great bodys? I just felt like I was losing my definition and gaining weight. But trying ten fold.

Here is my video of behind the scenes at the Arnold. I actually met arnold, such a nice man!

You can see my body has not responded the same as the previous times of no carbs. Almost, it looks as though I might work out and eat pretty well but still have “a few pounds around the edges.” Blas! These pics really bothered me. Only one has been published on BB.com. haha Hmm, I wonder why.

In my mind, I didn’t know if each time BB.com saw me, they wanted me to be progressed physically. I wasn’t exactly sure what MY role was on the team. I would later come to realize what it is.

In Part 4 I am going to tell you of my time at Fitness Model International in May of 2011, when I really began putting myself out there as a Fitness Model. My plateau, struggle and stress continued…There is an end:) Two more parts.

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13 Responses to “My One Year Plateau, Part 3”

  1. Lekki Frazier-Wood October 20, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Reading your journey is so helpful to me. I have / am struggling with some of the issues, not with some of them, and some different ones. But… it really helps. Thanks for writing šŸ™‚

  2. Bonnie Faske Lynn October 20, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    I just want you to know that you have other women out here that have lived with the exact same issues (and I’m serious–I got chills as I read this blog post because it was as if I were reading about my own life). There are many factors that play into how we feel about our bodies (and my mid-section, which is where I hold my heaviness, too!), and I think the hardest one to overcome is our own misconceptions of how we look.

    You are so brave to have shared your story! It actually makes me feel better that there ARE other women out there struggling with the same body issues as I am. I am learning slowly that if you take it one day at a time, and be kind to yourself (inside and out!), you can eventually find a grace within yourself.

    Thank you for sharing šŸ™‚

  3. Marta October 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    OMG reading it i kept thinking thats exactly me!! (well not exactly, because I’, not attending any competitions or shows, or public events…) I hit the same plateau, and nothing works!!! Please tell me there is a way to break it!!! (and what is it?????)

    • fierceforward November 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

      Marta, THERE IS!!! You have to write down everything you’re doing and realize THAT is not working. I’d have to see what you’re doing…..:)

  4. fierceforward October 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    Girls thank you for your comments and for your honesty. I agree Bonnie, be kind to yourself inside and out.mostly inside:) thank you for reading and letting me know that there are others out there feeling the same way. let’s move forward:)

  5. Adam Leven October 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Ashley, I’m not a woman, but I’ve spent the entire year (bolt italics and underline! It was my 2011 new years resolution) on a similar path to what you’ve been doing. I am no model, but I am definetly trying to form my body in to what I picture is a perfect version of myself. I’ve lost almost 40 lbs. Started at 220, now down to 181. I did this because I was disgusted with the way I looked. I never really cared how others saw me.

    I can honestly say, no matter how hard you work, or how much you try and cheat, the waist donut is the freaking toughest thing to get rid of! I wish I could do better with mine, but I refuse to sacrifice a proper diet for a slightly less grabby (I say grabby because there comes a point where flabby isn’t flabby anymore, but you can still grab a chunk!).

  6. Angela October 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Do you believe any of Joel Marion’s stuff? He says to cheat every 7 days. And then there’s others like Brad Pilon who do not believe in “starvation mode” if you’re lifting. I agree that 1400 cal/day isn’t enough for being as active as you are, but if you had a cheat day once a week and then no-carbed all week long…perhaps after one week of rest? šŸ™‚ I can not speak from a lot of personal experience. I lost all my post (5th) baby weight and then succombed to “emotional eating”, but as I lost, I found a cheat day made the scale drop 1-2 lbs. over night after a week of clean eating. All the best, Ashley. I think you look phenomenol and just keep doing what you love!

    • fierceforward November 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

      Angela, I DO believe in a cheat meal, absolutely for the reason you mentioned you noticing first hand. it shocks your metabolism and revs it up again. NOTHING done all the time is effective, even if you are eating the same clean foods all the time. your body needs variety, as does your mind. Thank you for your words of encouragement and your support Angela! Ash

  7. Angie November 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Wow, you are so amazing! For you to share these times of vulnerability with us is so unselfish and kind. I stopped competing because I couldn’t handle being a nurse and a competition diet. I’m healthy and stay proud of that because of stories like yours. Thank you for sharing and I really hope you know how wonderful you are and also hope you inspire others to compete the RIGHT way.

    • fierceforward November 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

      Angie, thank you so much. That is so amazing to hear. YOU rock. thank you for reading what I write and for supporting me in my endeavors to empower others to reach their goals healthfully. Ash

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