I have had diabetes for 23 years.
When I was diagnosed as young teenager, I had a very bleak outlook on what my life would be.
Since then, I have been fortunate to have given birth to 3 beautiful healthy babies and have had a great career in the beauty industry as a hair stylist. After years of doing the best I could to stay healthy, by working closely with my doctor, I would sometimes get frustrated with the ups and downs of diabetes. I was looking for more; I wanted to be the best version of me I could be.
That dream and prayer was answered when I happened to meet a personal trainer who was in need of a hair stylist. I consider myself competitive and needed something to keep me motivated to train, so having a trainer helped. I have always been active — snow skiing, playing softball, wake boarding and going to the gym were always a big part of my life. I’d also done some modeling off and on. When I was introduced to bikini competitions, something sparked inside of me; I told myself, I can do this. I wanted to prove to myself and others that I could not only compete but also do well.
My endocrinologist was not very supportive in the beginning; he thought the strict diet plan and exercise would possibly be too much for me to achieve. Because of this, I felt an even stronger desire to prove that I could do this, so my routine of weekly meal planning and a strict work out regimen began. I had a hard time sticking to the plan at first, due to lows during work outs and some random highs afterward, but as I continued to be patient, work with my doctor, and trainer, I took one day at a time and started leveling off.
Finally, I began getting stronger and healthier and began to really enjoy my journey. I found the courage to compete in my first bikini competition, (it took a total of eight months in preparation to be ready for my first show) and guess what? — I won! I won first place — I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited, and my doctor couldn’t believe it either. Ever since, he has been extremely supportive with whatever goals I have.
I learned a lot about myself on this journey — mostly that if you choose to be healthy and you want something enough you can and will reach your goals. I continued to compete and slowly the modeling career became more of an option. I was being offered shoots and was having a blast modeling. I found through my journey in fitness, I was able to keep and maintain a good healthy figure for modeling as well as enjoy the benefits of a healthier new me.
Now, I’m training for a 100 mile bike race for this spring and have turned my love for health and fitness into pushing the limit of endurance for road biking. I rode my first ride last summer and completed 90 of a 100 mile ride for the diabetes cure. It’s safe to say, I’m hooked. I’m currently training hard by going to indoor cycling five times a week and cross training with weights twice a week. I eat around 1900 calories a day with seven balanced meals, depending on how I’m feeling.
I still work with my doctor and trainer and readjust my meal plans and insulin almost weekly. I seem to do much better when I stick to a plan and have something to look forward to, like a competition or race. The benefits of just feeling better and learning how to better manage my diabetes is a huge motivation for me to keep moving forward. Looking ahead to 2016, I’ll continue to model and hope to inspire others to work hard and dream big. With or without diabetes — I believe if you work hard, you can make all your dreams come true!