Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
January 31, 2023
Caitlin "Cat" Johnson

The Journey from Obesity to Fitness Model and Figure Competitor

When I decided to take control of my problem with weight gain, a problem that began when I was eight years old; I had a long difficult task ahead of me. However, Iíve never regretted my decision or looked back. Iím now aware of the pitfalls I fell into with bad eating habits.

Eating can be a way to escape the hurt feelings we have in life. Food provides nourish-ment and one can confuse the need for emotional nourishment by overeating. It is not the correct way but thatís what I did. My parents got divorced when I was eight years old. I didnít know how to cope with my feelings so I started overeating, trying to escape.

From that time to age nineteen, I was sedentary and classified as obese from the body fat chart. Throughout my school years, I was ridiculed with names like butterball, fatty, wide load, two ton, etc. I was depressed and hurt, so I hid away in my room and overate. I lacked confidence in sports and resisted my momís attempts to keep me active. Inactivity and overeating made me gain more weight.

After graduating high school, I had boyfriends whose eating habits were no better if not worse. From McDonalds to Jack in the Box, fast food was my primary food intake and we would supersize! I did make several attempts to lose weight; a weight loss camp, trainers, aerobic classes, etc. However, I always fell off the program and gained everything back.

At age nineteen, things changed for me and I became committed to changing my life. It was a few days after Christmas which Iíd spent gorging on sweets, when I decided to go to a local gym and take a kickboxing class for fun. When I got on the scale, I had maxed out at 181 lbs. Shocked, I realized I was close to 200 lbs, not acceptable for my tiny 5í3Ē frame. I went ahead and took the kickboxing class which I really enjoyed because of the amazing instructor. Her name is Denise Hart and after class she mentioned that she was also a personal trainer. I was so impressed by her physique; sheís also short with a small frame so I could relate to her easily. I signed up that day.

Denise corrected my eating habits, small meals 4-5 times a day, weight training twice a week, and cardio six times a week. As we trained, she would ask me, ďDo you want it?Ē That motivated me to correct the bad eating habits and to train harder. I managed to lose 60 lbs. Motivated and so much happier with my new healthy body, I decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a degree in exercise science.

I read the book, ďChampionship Bodybuilding,Ē and began training even harder more than attending school. One day while doing my cardio routine, I read a fitness magazine and discovered the fitness model, Monica Brant, who has such an incredible physique. I wanted to become a fitness model too. I contacted Monica by e-mail about getting a coach. We had a great talk on the telephone and she was so helpful, giving me all the neccessary contacts. She said the best way to get noticed is to compete. I began training with Joanne Lee and started nutrition counselling with Kim Oddo. Iím training with heavier weights, building muscle, have gone from 181 lbs/ 39.9 % body fat to 115 lbs/ 9% body fat, and will compete in my first figure competition on December 4, 2004. Iíve decided to reach for the sky and compete in Fitness Olympia.

Itís been four years since I began and no one believes I was ever heavy. Iíve changed my whole life, am now an athelete, and enjoy life so much more. Iím proof it can be done!

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