When I first began training with Katie in 2010, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Honestly, I have always made healthy food choices while exercising regularly. But, I am also an Italian girl who loves food. So, the thought of having a trainer did make me a bit nervous because I didn’t want to stop enjoying so many of the foods I loved.
Three years later and looking back at my first time meeting with Katie, I am proud to say that I have learned so much not only about making healthier food choices, but about myself. When I first started working with this fitness and food guru, we decided that I would follow my meal plan, but was also allowed one cheat meal per week (which of course, I was most ecstatic about). At first, it was difficult to follow my plan during the week without having some goodies here and there. But, after a few weeks of staying on track, I began to feel better about my body, so then it was much easier to stay on track during the week. This taught me a great deal about sacrifice. If I had plans with friends to go out for dinner during the week, I learned to make better food choices so that I was not straying from my meal plan.
I have also developed the understanding throughout the years that healthy eating does not have to mean “dieting.” I actually dislike the word dieting because if you make wise food choices on a daily basis, then that is not considered a diet in my book. I have come to love the foods I have encountered throughout the last few years. There are some wonderful gluten-free breads and dairy-free ice creams that I eat a few times a week, for example.
For the last two years, I have been competing in the Miss America Organization, which is the largest scholarship provider for women in the world. Last year, I placed 4th runner-up and won the talent (I am a violinist) and swimsuit awards. This year, I was the 3rd runner-up and won talent again. I could not be more grateful for my placements both years, but it isn’t the placement that is important. I have grown immensely as a person this past year, and have also learned a lot more about my body.
I began training for my local title, Miss Middleboro, in January, and won in March. From there, I continued on with my training for Miss MA, which was at the end of June. I stuck to my plan as best I could each week during that time, and tried not to stray too much from my meal plan. But, hey … we are all human and need to enjoy life … and food. Also, stresses (both the good and bad) and obstacles of everyday life sometimes made me want to turn to food for comfort. But, that was where the sacrifice came in, especially as it got closer and closer to the competition. With interview coachings, talent prep, fittings, and appearances as Miss Middleboro, the months leading up to the pageant were extremely busy, and I would sometimes get upset when I couldn’t eat what I wanted to or enjoy a sinful dinner after a long day of appearances. So, how did I overcome that struggle? It wasn’t always easy, but I just needed to remind myself of the reasons I wanted to compete, and also, that food for the next few months needed to be “fuel, not comfort” (Katie Boyd).
Through working with Katie and sacrificing so much, my motto has become “It’s not training … It’s a lifestyle.” Simply put, even on the “off-season” of competing, I have learned to eat well and exercise so that I can feel good all around – mentally and physically. We put our bodies through so much on a day-to-day basis with the busy lives we all lead, so why put junk into our bodies and feel sick as a result? It only makes sense to take care of our bodies by nourishing them with healthy foods that aren’t only good for us, but make us feel great as well.
Now that it is the “off-season” for me, I am still eating healthily and making healthy food choices on a daily basis. But, like I previously mentioned, we are all human, and should be able to enjoy foods that are not included in our meal plans at times too!
My relationship with food is still there, no doubt. It is a relationship I am stuck with for life. But, it has changed. I have discovered through Katie Boyd that an occasional food indulgence isn’t going to ruin your weight loss goals. It’s all about finding a balance.