After my second show, I enjoyed life and all its wonderful flavors.  In May, John and I went on our long awaited trip to Italy where I indulged in cappuccinos, prosciutto, olive oil, wine, bread and occasionally pasta.  I thought of Italy as a reward for all the hard work, dedication, and restrictive eating I did while I was training for the shows, and I thought that once I got back home I would go back to a healthier way of eating.

However, the Italy indulgences continued when I got home where dinner lots of times became nothing more than grazing “Italian” style.  We would go to the store for prosciutto, Parmesan cheese, and bread.  Once home, we’d serve “dinner” with olive oil and a bottle of wine. This way of eating became routine.

I knew that I needed to do something to get me back on track. I heard a lot about the Keto diet, how eating that way trained one’s body to burn fat instead of carbs and how people have shed weight eating that way.  I decided to immerse myself in that way of eating hoping to lose weight and make a sustainable lifestyle change.  I bought books, read articles, and joined private groups on Facebook where I found the support and help from others who made Keto a lifestyle and found great success.  I enlisted the help of this Keto community to make sure that my macros (carbohydrates, fat, protein) were accurate for my goals. I joined the premium version of My Fitness Pal so that I could use grams to track my macros and I meticulously tracked everything I ate.

During my Keto phase, I was also trying to build muscle mass. I started working with a personal trainer, who embraces the Keto diet and even intermittent fasting.  During our training sessions, I always weaved in questions that I had about Keto.  During working with him, he shared that from his perspective it is very difficult to build muscle with Keto due to the way that the body needs glycogen to build muscle.

I was still determined to make Keto work.  For months, I meticulously tracked my food and made Keto inspired recipes however, the pounds were not falling off.  In fact, the scale was going the other direction (slowly). I thought to myself, “Don’t worry muscle weighs more than fat.”   However, that wasn’t the case.  I wasn’t putting on muscle as much as I was putting on weight.  I did not like how my clothes were starting to fit.  I knew that I needed to do a major reset.

During Thanksgiving, I got a black Friday email from Fitworkz, the promoter of the OCB show I competed with last April, offering half price registration for the April 14, 2018 show.  This was the push that I needed to reset myself, my eating and get me back on track. And so I registered for the show and the journey to the stage began.