I found out I was pregnant in April, 2007. With two little boys in my belly, I couldn’t be happier. Even though they were born prematurely in November of that year, everything seemed great and my life was as perfect as it could be. I was wrong.
Two months later, my life was completely shattered. A police officer showed up at my door and informed me that my husband, who worked as a teacher, was cheating on me with a student and had been arrested. I later found out that the affair had started in April while I was already pregnant and it had continued throughout my pregnancy. I thank God that I found out after I had delivered the twins, as I don’t know what the shock would have done to me if I was still carrying them.
When I found out I was devastated. I wondered how could someone that I loved, trusted and fathered two beautiful boys with, do this to me. Soon after, he was sentenced and incarcerated, leaving me to take care of two infants by myself. I was scared and depressed, so I turned to food for comfort. It was emotional eating at its worst. I gained weight and felt horrible. But, after two years, I had enough of this unhealthy lifestyle and found the courage to train for a figure competition. Prioe to this chapter in my life, I had competed as a figure pro and I wanted to use competition as a goal to help me get back in shape.
In the middle of the night, I worked out in the gym in my basement while the boys were sleeping. Because of the attention my boys needed, I didn’t compete that year. But, the weight came off and I felt better, despite the obstacles I was facing. When my husband was released from prison, He promised he had changed and things would be different. So, despite warnings from family and friends, I took him back. He said everything that I wanted and needed to hear about how sorry he was and how much he wanted us to be a family. But, I would soon find out that he had manipulated me with his words.
Somehow, he had convinced me that his cheating was my fault and he twisted my grief into guilt. An old friend of mine was opening a Snap Fitness and asked me if I knew someone who could manage it. Since my husband was no longer allowed to teach or coach, I recommended him for the opportunity. Together, we began managing the gym. But, within a short time, he began cheating on me with one of his personal training clients. To make matters worse, when everything was revealed, he walked out on his job – despite having a family and a mortgage – again leaving us in emotional and financial despair.
My life was in shambles. He continued to live in the house, sleeping on the couch, blaming everyone else for his situation and still continuing his affair. So, because I was living in a toxic environment, I turned to food yet again. As the months past, I started to realize that by allowing him to have power over me by reacting with poor eating habits. In other words, I was still letting him manipulate me.
In the Spring, I began to train and diet with the help and support of my friends Rich Fitter, Kori Propst and Dr. Joe Klemczewski . I was still working at the gym and taking care of my twin boys, with ittle help from my now ex-husband. By the fall of 2013, I was able to step on stage at the DFAC World Finals and I had a fantastic time doing something I love. I felt a personal triumph just by being there, as few could understand the road I had to take.
Obstacles and excuses can get in the way of pursuing goals. Believe me, I understand how hard it is. As a working single mother of two, I am a survivor of mental abuse, but I am stronger for it.. I have learned to accept my body and it really is true that you have to be happy with yourself before you can be truly happy with anything else. Live life to the fullest, embrace the little things that mean so much and be grateful for the good in your life. I am thankful for my two handsome boys and for wonderful friends that are like my family. After all that I have been through, that is the lesson that I learned.