Why I Joined 1st Phorm’s My Transphormation Starts Today

I have decided to chronicle my journey with 1st Phorm’s My Transphormation Challenge.  July 1st was my start date.  I know I started at a crazy time because of the holiday weekend but if I didn’t do it then, I wasn’t going to do it all.  So far, I don’t regret it.  I had actually started using their meal plan 3 days before I signed up.  It was also a surprise to everyone.  No one knew I was doing it.  Joining was pretty terrifying to me because I knew I would be putting myself out there.  WAY OUT THERE.  Participating in the challenge was strictly because I needed to get myself back under control and to also show our Facebook group that it can be done.  When I say “get myself back under control”, I mean emotionally and physically.  This is the heaviest I have ever been.  This is also the lowest I’ve ever been. 

Backstory time.  I have been an athlete since the 4th grade when I started playing softball and was also in the drill team in high school.  Actually, softball was the only sport I was ever really good at.  I played 1st base.  What do you think of when you think of a 1st baseman?  You think of tall, lean and flexible.  Guess what.  That was me.  I am 5’8″, definitely not lean anymore nor as flexible as I used to be.  Now, I LOVE my family with all my heart BUT sometimes words can have an effect on a young person.  Because I had that description of myself, I was always told I should be a model.  Hell, at one point my nickname was “Legs”.  So, what did my young and not so wise ass do?  I looked up to the supermodels of the time.  Yep, women like Elle McPhearson, Cindy Crawford, Christi Brinkley and Heidi Klum.  What did I eventually fall into?  You guessed it.  Eating disorders.  Mainly binge eating during my high school years.  Of course, later on, I graduated to bulimia and anorexia.  I don’t talk about it because it’s just not something I wish to discuss or open up a lot about.  Moving on.

After high school, I continued to struggle with my old habits.  I began to gain weight.  The only way I knew how to get the pounds off was by reverting back to my old ways.  The lowest my weight has ever been as an adult is 95 lbs.  I achieved that by not eating at all.  My mom figured out what was going on and we worked on getting my weight back up.  I gained way more back than I originally lost.  Needless to say, it was an endless cycle until Jason came along but the emotional scars from it will always be there and I will always fight those demons.  Mind you, when I met Jason, I was still playing softball.  It was slow-pitch but at least it was softball.  I think about 4 years ago, I decided to have my knee looked at because it had been hurting for so long.  We’re talking years.  Turns out, I had been playing on a micro-fracture.  The plan was to have it fixed, heal and play ball again.  That’s not what happened.

After surgery, I was on the couch with my knee in the “bending machine”.  I have no idea what it’s really called.  Jason turned on The Olympia.  I had never watched it before and Jason was really excited for me to see it for the first time.  I had always had negative views on a lot of muscle.  I always thought you were supposed to be skinny (model skinny).  When I first saw the bikini competitors, I didn’t like that division because it reminded me of a beauty pageant.  I have tons of respect for them but it just wasn’t my thing.  Next was figure and I got into that pretty good.  Nicole Wilkins won and she looked amazing.  Then came physique and I was hooked.  As soon as DLB stepped on stage I picked her to win.  Guess what.  She did and I have been following her ever since.  I told Jason I wanted to start lifting as soon as I could.  I stopped playing softball not because I wanted to only lift but because my knee was never the same.  I learned the right way to get weight off and wanted muscle for the first time ever.  I asked so many questions when we were in the gym, we decided I should just take a course.  I did and I am now a personal trainer.

Flash forward to a very rough and traumatic year.  2016 was wonderful because it seemed like everything was falling into place with my training.  It was also one of the worst years of my life because we found out my mom never had thyroid cancer (she had her thyroid removed the year before because of that diagnosis).  She was misdiagnosed.  It was actually lung cancer and had spread to her brain and bones.  It was crazy because I couldn’t wrap my brain around her having lung cancer because she had never smoked.  We were made to feel like we could get at least 5 – 7 years with her according to her doctor.  That wasn’t going to happen and I never saw it coming.

Mom wanted me to help her gain weight and workout to build up her strength because we knew she needed it for the treatments.  I wasn’t ever able to help her fully do that.  I believe the diagnosis was official in March 2016.  In May we found out it had spread.  I was the cheerleader.  I believed we could beat it.  At the end of July I was bringing her back and forth to Houston almost everyday for her radiation treatments.  Once that was done, in August she was able to start the chemo pills to target the gene that mutated.  My mom passed away on September 9, 2016.  I never saw it coming.

During August, there was a power outage in our town and we had to stay at a motel that night.  We had our back workout the night before that happened.  The next day I was feeling sore but it was normal.  The next morning when I woke up at the hotel, I could barely move my back hurt so bad.  The way it was radiating around to my abs made me think I had maybe pulled an oblique muscle.  I stopped working out for about a month to give myself time to heal.  Once that month was up, I got to workout for maybe a week and the pain came back.  During the middle of September, I went to the chiropractor.  She wanted me to have an MRI and of course being the badass that I am, I refused.  I cannot even begin to describe the pain I was in.  I went back to see my chiropractor in November and finally agreed to the MRI.  The MRI showed an anomaly in my spine.  She said blood clot.  I said oh shit.

Further testing showed that it was indeed a blood clot.  The neurosurgeon I went to informed me that it had to go.  Surgery was scheduled for December 9, 2016.  I was also told that if I felt any kind of tingling or numbness in my legs, I was to haul ass to the hospital.  The fear of being paralyzed was way too real.  Mind you, the MRI with contrast showed my spinal cord looking like a highway overpass.  My spinal cord was being pushed out of place.  I got a reprieve from surgery just a few minutes before I was about to be wheeled into the operating room because the doctor wanted another MRI to check on the blood clot.  It had gotten smaller so surgery was cancelled. 

My next MRI at the end of February showed the blood clot was gone but I was still having back pain.  I still wasn’t able to lift.  I had some nerve damage and needed nerve blocks with antibiotics in the injections to help the nerves heal.  I had 3 rounds.  I was finally released to workout the beginning of April.  Of course I was scared to death the blood clot would come back because there was no reason for it to be there in the first place.  It’s supposed to be a high impact trauma but nothing like that had ever happened to me.  I’m actually supposed to have another MRI to check on things in September.

During all that time, I gained 20 lbs.  How did I manage to do that even though I’m a personal trainer?  What I didn’t realize was I was depressed.  OBVIOUSLY.  I think I was in denial about everything that had happened.  PAY ATTENTION HERE.  I WAS ONLY EATING 1 OR 2 MEALS PER DAY.  That’s a big no-no.  I didn’t even realize I had gained 20 lbs. because it happened SUPER SLOWLY.

On to the next phase that made me realize I needed to get my life back under control.  Jason got us VIP tickets to 1st Phorm’s Summer Smash.  I would dining with the big dogs.  A cocktail dress was needed and I didn’t know that until 1 week before our flight to St Louis.  A lot of things happened during that week that made me take a long hard look in the mirror at myself.  I had to leave the VIP dinner, not because someone did anything wrong (NO ONE DID ANYTHING WRONG) but because back in August 2016, I was almost to my goals.  I saw all the beautiful women and SAW WHAT I ALMOST WAS AND WHAT I WOULD’VE BEEN PHYSICALLY.  I have never officially had a panic or anxiety attack and I’m pretty sure I was on the verge of one.  I will never forgive myself for leaving and that was the start of this journey.  I knew I had to get myself back in check.  I haven’t felt that way in a VERY LONG TIME.  I was angry with myself, disappointed and ashamed but most of all, my self hate returned and that is unacceptable.  I thought I had beaten all of those things and those emotions slapped me in the face all at once. 

So here I am doing something about it.  I never want to feel that way again.  I will fight to be back to where I was and to improve myself after that.  That is the main reason why I joined the Transphormation Challenge.  I am also doing it to show that things happen to the best of us all.  Even personal trainers.  By showing others that I can do it and fight for it, I hope it will encourage them to do the same.

 

Brandi

 

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