If you’ve read my blogs from the past, or if you know me personally, you are aware that in 2006 my life changed when I was diagnosed with a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. I had a successful ablation later that year. I had both physical and mental barriers to breakthrough after all of that. It was rough, I’m not going to lie. I faced everything from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to depression and even anxiety.

Naturally, because I was trying to lead a physically fit lifestyle before with training to be a professional wrestler, I wanted to jump right back into my routine and get back on track with chasing my dreams. Sometimes life doesn’t work out like that, and that’s okay. When I reference having strength, I am talking about having your belief in yourself and what you want tested again and again every day and never giving up on it–I’m never referring to how much someone can lift. Going through all of this made me a stronger person; at points I felt like I had no other choice. As I tried to build my endurance on the treadmill, I felt my body pushing against me. At times, my heart would begin racing out of control and at other times it would give me deep burning sensations that stopped me in my tracks. I had to come to terms with the fact that at that current moment, my body did not want to be pushed… I needed to provide it with time to heal.

From time to time, I would go to the gym and try getting on the treadmill again. No luck. I slowly watched my dreams of being involved in the professional wrestling world start drifting away. There was no way I could be a professional wrestler if I couldn’t make it on the treadmill.

I had anxiety for a really long time over working out since my previous attempts resulted in pain and discomfort. I thought when my heart started racing incredibly fast that it was my condition returning and I was going to have to live through everything all over again (hence the PTSD). It took me years to get up the courage to get on the treadmill again after all of this took place.

I was home alone. One night I decided to do something crazy. I put on some old workout clothes and nervously climbed onto the treadmill. I wound up jogging .75 of a mile. I immediately got off the treadmill when my heart started dancing around at an uncomfortable pace but I was so proud. I did it. I showed myself that there was hope in leading a healthy lifestyle again.

Since then, I’ve taken baby steps. Life isn’t a race, I have no clock to beat. I’ve never taken any supplements to aid me in my results. Instead, it has been about making changes to my diet and just patiently working on my cardio. You know I’m a girl that loves to bake and eat sweets, so I still eat those! I wanted to make sure that what I was doing was realistic and that it was going to be a change that provided me the opportunity to maintain my results. So to be very transparent, I’ve just really worked hard on my diet and my exercise. That’s it. There’s no other hidden secret. I look at myself weighing the 140 pounds and I feel bad for that girl because I know she wanted more than anything to be able to do what I am doing now.

I know some people may look at me and be like, “You have a lot of work to do.” That’s cool. To each their own. I’m extremely happy in my skin and incredibly proud of the progress that I have made. I continue to make new goals for myself and think that it is an amazing opportunity to just be able to always better myself. I didn’t have that same opportunity years ago so I want to take advantage of it now.

If you’ve found yourself faced with issues that have prevented you from reaching your goals, just know that it is okay and that you’ll be able to work on them eventually. Sometimes we have to practice patients which tests our strength. When you’re ready, don’t be scared to take the first step. I have been where you are and I want you to know that it’s cool to jump! Jump into the things that you want and don’t look back. You are capable of being who you want to be and you will get there!

If you want to check out any of the recipes that I share (okay, some of them aren’t healthy so you can pick and choose!), follow this link.