Battle of the Bulge: Fit for BJJ

not fit for bjjThere I was, walking away with a few wins at a local competition, feeling great. I had kept a consistent fighting weight at middle, not my goal weight but better than where I had been. With over a year and a half of daily grinding on the mat and watching what I ate, I wanted a break. My body needed it, not to mention that I wanted to focus more on family life; something I will probably go into later in another post… For now let’s talk about this battle of the bulge I have dealt with in these past couple of months and struggling to stay fit for BJJ. Well, being honest it started as a young adult. Ready ? Okay here we go…

I was never athletic, besides your mandatory P.E class, I did nothing but be a teenager. What kind of teen ? Well, I went to school, came home, did homework and ate, snacked as much as I could. As with a number of teens, I became an emotional eater, something I have battled with for years, and currently still battle am. Feeling sad, upset, happy, food was the answer. I always, for the most part, was what most consider skinny. Prior to my teen years I was never inside, I was outside playing like all kids should. I would stay outdoors with friends as late as possible, just being an active kid. At 18, I weighed 120, but throw in a couple kids and that “skinny” body became something I no longer recognized. Something, I became ashamed of, now I am sure a lot of you are saying but you had kids, it happens. Well, yes, it does, but that didn’t make me feel better, and to me it wasn’t a good enough excuse. Seeing your body stretch to its max and not go back to what you looked like is very hard. I had tried for years on and off to change my eating habits, but never added fitness. After my last kiddo, at the age of 30,  I was at my heaviest weight of 180 lbs, no matter how much I “tried” I couldn’t get that number down. I was also going through a lot of personal issues that didn’t help my struggle. One day I looked in the mirror and told myself enough, I need to change.

I tried to start training BJJ again , but getting on the mat a month after having a baby, I felt so fat. A legit rolly polly, maybe even the Michelin man ??  I was 30 pounds over weight from when I first stepped on the mat. It was hard to run, do drills and I was discouraged. So I did what a lot do, I stopped training after a couple classes and focused on dropping some weight before coming back. I didn’t give up, I did a juice cleanse and watched what I ate. I lost 20 pounds and came back at 160 lbs and at 5’6 and 160 lbs I was still carrying around additional weight, but I got a gym membership and looked for a BJJ school to be a part of.

This is where the actual hard work started, 160 lbs and well over 30% body fat, I started training again. I was going to the gym once a day and hitting BJJ twice a day. I was hungry for a change, and while I hit many bumps especially those plateaus I finally dropped down to 135 and 22 % body fat. It took a year and a half, to get here. Training everyday, and not eating junk helped . I will say lifting consistently and training BJJ made me very hungry, so  I ate a lot, but it’s all about what you put in your body. I have a sweet tooth and bread, well… It’s my kryptonite.  So I added more veggies, lean meats, and left soda behind. Water is a key to loosing fat, as it cleans your body and flushes out toxins. And then I got to this point, where I understood how so many “skinny ” people still considered themselves fat.  Yes, I had gone from 180 lbs to 135 lbs, but I didn’t see these changes on myself.  Until, I looked at pictures, this is when I said okay, I’ve made progress.  Taking progress pictures will help you tremendously when you are on your own journey. Because even if it’s a little bit of progress, it’s still progress. I think, well, for me anyway, I am very hard on myself.  As a lot of people can be, we are our own worst critic.

Due to the fact that I was on the sidelines, dealing with the pressure of recently earning my blue belt, and facing the fear of the dreaded blue belt curse. I returned to an old friend of mine for support. This wasn’t just an overnight weight increase; it was 6 months of dealing with injuries, being out of competition and feeling sorry for myself. Mat time was at its minimum, but once again I had to push myself to get back into my old routine. I might not be able to train every day, and I might not be as good as others; in fact many have gotten way better and they now tap me out.

Fit for BJJ: The Journey Continues…

I am still here, not giving up on myself and to me that is what matters. Nobody is going to make you eat right, make you go to the gym, make you train, you alone have to do these things. You see, over these past 5 years, I have learned to love myself, and accept that I am not perfect. That while having kiddos might have left me with a body I no longer recognize, I in-turn have 4 amazing boys that I would die for.  As a woman,  as a person, a human being, I think loving yourself, truly loving yourself and accepting this “you”,  is one of the hardest things to do. You have to just realize who you are, so to all of you reading, I started eating healthy again, came back to lifting and I am still on the mat. I am happy to report I am officially down 10 of those pounds I had gained and getting some muscle tone back. Don’t give up, keep on keeping on. I will continue to write about my journey and hope it can benefit someone.

5 thoughts on “Battle of the Bulge: Fit for BJJ”

  1. Great story of what you went through. Inspires me and others to continue. I’m 44 years old and started working out when my back, legs feet were hurting just rolling out of bed. High bloo preassure and diabetes runs in my family. So I needed a change and started doing KRAV Maga and working out. I feel great and energized. You keep it up and continue to inspire!

  2. Emma, you are so awesome! Thank you so much for sharing your story. What an inspiration! You’re right – no one else can put in the hard work except for yourself!
    Get it, girl.

  3. Thank you for your story. I too was 180 and just dropped to 175. You’ve inspired me to get down to 130. Thank you!

  4. Thanks for sharing! It is always inspirational to hear of other stories. I have also been dealing with self image and trying to get to a “goal” weight. Along with injuries and life in general I completely understand the struggle of not being able to make it to the mats and still trying to lift to keep muscle tone. Keep it up and good luck!

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