My Rock-Bottom Moment

Did I ever mention that I used to work in a dog salon? In May of 2011 I was a wife, mother of a grade-schooler and a part-time receptionist at a locally owned grooming and self-wash shop.  By now you are keenly aware of my obsession with fitness, but prior to that there was (and still sort of is) the obsession with dogs.  We’ll leave that topic for another post, but suffice it to say that I was in dog heaven at my new job.

Things were going well – my daughter loved being at school, I loved having several consecutive hours to myself, and I was making a little income working for a wonderful couple and feeding my obsession with some exceptionally cool canines and their people every morning.  Everything appeared to be great until it hit me one afternoon as I was getting dressed for a kids’ pool party.


Wish I had a more accurate picture. This was when I was still working out, but eating poorly. I looked and felt much worse a year later. Remember to take those before pics, no matter how painful it may seem. You’ll thank yourself when you get to the AFTERlife!

Because my little chicken was not yet an independent swimmer, I would need to accompany her into the pool for the entire swim session.  I grabbed my trusty black Old Navy one-piece, which had served me well over the past two slowly expanding years.  It gave good coverage, had a flattering neckline and was my last-ditch effort to avoid a suit with a skirt.  I generally felt OK in it, but that day something changed.  I stood there and gaped at my reflection in the mirror.  Having not worn a swimsuit in 7 months, I’d expected to look a little pasty, a little momish, maybe even a little frumpy…but WHAT was THIS?  WHO was this CREATURE standing in front of me all misshapen and upholstered?!?  I certainly had not given her permission to be in my bedroom, let alone wear my clothes.

I collected myself and threw on my cover-up.  I tried to put that person out of my mind and get on with the day, so  I rustled up the little person, all her accoutrements and headed for the pool.  Upon arrival I was greeted by the birthday girl’s parents and a few other sets of little people supervisors, most of whom may I add, were fully clothed.  This was not good…not goot at all, and my stomach sank.  I was hoping to at least commiserate with some other not-so-in-shape-after-the-long-cold winter types.

little mermaid cakeNo dice.  I was completely alone in my blubbery gloom as the other little tykes swam swimmingly in the kids’ play area.  Determined not to spoil my daughter’s fun, I managed to slither into the pool without too much of a splash, but felt miserably anxious and preoccupied during that entire hour.  By cake time I was out, clutching a towel around my middle, trying to make small talk as I half-enjoyed my customary slice.  It was chocolate (not my favorite choice) and dry, like chocolate always seems to be.  And the small talk fell dreadfully flat because all I could manage to do was apologize for how out of shape I was, and how miserable I felt and on and on.  I eventually got sick of hearing myself, and figured everyone else did too, so I finally shut up.  I cringe now just thinking about it, but in that moment emerged the beginning of the end.  I had started the transformation.

After I got home that feeling of less-ness stayed with me.  I was disappointed and sad because I’d let myself go, and I had become that stereotypical mom in her 40’s who had just given up.  I realized that this year had marked the second round of clothes purchased in larger sizes to accommodate my recent growth.  Two rounds of acceptance of a myth that turns out wasn’t really true AT ALL – you get older and you get out of shape.  It’s just a fact of life.  That was B.S., and I finally called it on that day.

canesBut how did this happen?  I had been lifting weights for over 10 years!  The problem was that for the year I’d worked my part-time job, I had no time to work out, and I’d been indulging in fast food lunches ordered in by my co-workers.  Let’s just say I was a ‘mature’ addition to the team, so the kids I worked with had no issues with metabolizing chicken fingers and pizza on a multiple-meal basis.  As a 42 year-old, who’d fallen off the workout wagon, this was clearly the potholed path, and I needed to make a change.  So I resigned from the dog shop.  It was a really hard choice to make, because I loved it, but looking back on it I realize it was for the best.  Ultimately the Lobster was relieved as well, because he had been secretly struggling with his assigned domestic duties, and was ready for me to lead the charge once more. Some dads are cut out for this type of work.  Some are not.

I believe in the meant-to-be situations of the world, and this one was no exception.  It just so happened that on my last day at the dog shop, the principal of my daughter’s school called to offer me a job.  I had interviewed with him 6 months prior, when the dog business was in transition, and my job status was unsure.  Though I hadn’t been chosen after that first interview, I was recommended for a new position as a playground and lunchroom supervisor.  The key was that it was about 6 hours per week;  totally doable because I would work only during school hours and I had weekends, holidays and the summers off.

Now that I had some valuable time back in my pocket, I sat down with my Body Sculpting Bible for Women  and reread the whole thing cover-to-cover.  I took special care to absorb the nutrition section, making myself understand the numbers behind it.  Do you hear the faintest flicker of the light bulb FINALLY going off?

2008shortsMy initial goal was to be able to fit into the clothes I’d brought with me from Texas in 2008.  I did this within a month and a half by working out 5 days per week and eating (mostly) clean.  Once I surpassed that goal, I was feeling great, and upped the ante.  I kept whittling away at my eating habits and decided that although I didn’t necessarily want to compete, I wanted to look like I did.  I still maintain that progress can be one of your biggest motivators, so use it!

jamie-trainer-bioEnter Oxygen.  Oxygen was a magazine I’d read for years, so with my new aggressive goal in mind, I poured through all the issues I’d collected.  I somehow zeroed in on Jamie Eason, whom I’d never really noticed before, but was writing for Oxygen at the time.  I liked her look, upbeat attitude and kind nature, so I did some surfing online and found her strong connection with  This site really gave me some good resources to pull from, especially the inspirational stories of people who’d completely changed their lives, and Jamie’s LiveFit Trainer.  I also began following Nicole Wilkins and Erin Stern,  IFBB Figure Olympia Champs, on Facebook.  The goal was not to actually look like them, but to train and eat like they did so I could achieve my best physique.

I credit these fitness celebrities for a lot of my success.  Without their generosity and virtual support, I’m not sure I’d have had the knowledge and courage to really go after my dream.  They made me believe I could do it, and I did.  It took hitting the bottom to inspire me to shoot to the top.

And the rest is history.  I am still working out with a vengeance and eating clean at least 80% of the time.  And I’m still improving.  Still!  After two years!  That is one of the most unexpected gifts of this lifestyle – it just keeps on giving.

Were/are you at rock bottom?  What did it take for you make a change?


[…] of shape.  It’s just a fact of life.  That was B.S., and I finally called it on that day.  In this moment  43fitness was born; a cure for the common […]

Stina Lyday

Fantastic share! It seems so many of us hit bottom before rising to the top…then we don’t stop the journey. Congrats!


Thank you so much for taking the time to offer such supportive comments. This whole ‘lifestyle’ thing is for real, so you have to embrace it for the duration (as you well know)!

Colin DeWaay

Thanks for sharing your story, my how far you’ve come! I wish I could remember a single moment that changed everything but I can’t. I do know it happened shortly after my son was born and I really didn’t like the way I was starting to look after a summer of really unhealthy living. Not sure what clicked but it sure did and I haven’t looked back since.


And the rest is your new history, which inspires all of us every day! Thanks for stopping in and keep CRUSHING it, Colin!

Colin DeWaay

I can say the same to you! Thanks!


You truly are one of my inspirations. What a transformation, not just physically, but you had to make mental changes as well to change your lifestyle. My rock bottom was last July when size 10 jeans were too tight. I’m now a down to a size 6.


Thanks for the kind words, Tigress! It’s all just a mind game, and once you figure that out it really comes so much easier. I’m really excited to hear about your progress, 2 sizes is a big deal! Sounds like you’re in an excellent head space!


Great story of your rock bottom moment! Sorry you had to quit the dog shop, but hey you knew what was most important for your life. 🙂 I agree with the 80% thing, although sometimes I think I eat healthy more like 70%, at least lately… I want to get back to the healthy balance without going too crazy on the weekend.


Thank you kindly Leanne! The food is hard, and I won’t pretend it’s not. I still struggle with it sometimes even after all this time. It’s so unfair – why do we have to work so hard as we age? After all we’ve accomplished in our lives at this point, why can’t it be EASIER? Oh well, ONWARD and keep that 80% going!


Cassye, I hit bottom after I had my son. 8 months after having him I made a NYE resolution (which I always had hated and never did). New Years day I started working out. I lost all the baby weight and then some and lived at the gym and worked out 2-3 hours a day. Got my Yoga instructor certification and started working at a gym. I had never felt so good! That lasted a couple of years. But then life and got in my way again. My son is 11 now and I’m at least 25lbs overweight!! Still going in to a gym and trying to chip away at it! Spent $6k at the end of last year and early this year on a personal trainer. Nothing! Only remorse for spending so much and wasting it away! It’s pretty depressing that I just can’t get motivated enough to work hard at it again! I just turned 47 so as a last ditch effort I just signed up at a small cross fit gym…maybe a smaller gym will work for me? It’s a bit cheaper at least. I don’t know. I read your blog and you so inspire me. I gotta find my button again that will motivate me to work hard at it again!! :/


Thank you so much for reading and including me on your journey! From where I stand, the good news is that you’ve already done it! You’ve been there and you know the path, and you know how incredible it feels to reach your goals. They key, as you say, is just getting up that gumption to move forward. Joining the crossfit box is a GREAT beginning. My first love is bodybuilding, but if I had to choose another way it would be crossfit. Yay for you! Keep going and working hard. Being tired is a vicious cycle and you have to move to find that energy again. How is your diet? You can bust your tail in the gym but at this age, you will not get the progress you’re looking for until you address the food. 80%, 80% 80% is my mantra and I stand by that every single day. This is for the duration. There is no end. It’s a new way of living and being. This dream is yours for the taking my friend, so GO OUT THERE AND GET IT!!!!! Please keep me updated on your progress and feel free to email me at anytime.

From Fit to Figure

I’m also a huge believer in “meant-to-be” situations. My mom always said that too. 🙂 Im so glad you’re following me and now I’m following you! What a great blog. I will be sure to share it on my FB page. My sister is a Mom and I think she could use a little motivation/inspiration from you.
I don’t know if I had a rock bottom moment but 10 years ago I hired a PT (reluctantly) and felt amazing. He taught me how to eat right and lift weights and was partly responsible for inspiring me to become a PT.
I think I had a second “rock bottom” moment last year when I was just sick of being average looking. Average workouts. Average boring food too. Complacent is probably a better description. Finally got my butt in hear and decided a competition was the way to go.
Loved hearing your story! We all have our own journeys, thats the best part IMO- seeing where we all started.


I’m so honored you stopped by, thank you for telling your story! I don’t want to get too dramatic about it, but finding fitness is sort of like a rebirth isn’t it? I feel that way and I just want to spread that good word to everyone. Thanks for sharing your inspiration and dedication to figure. I am so excited to live vicariously through your adventure!


Love this. So much of it rings true for me. Last night my 14 year old daughter and I were going through some baby pictures and she still honestly does not believe those pictures of me are me. On the eve of 50 I honestly look and feel 10 years younger than I did at 36. We are never too old to change, be healthy and most certainly never stop striving to be the best version of ourselves.


So well said Sharon, I am in total agreement. I’m not sure where I culture turned when giving up became OK. I’m really glad you didn’t and that you’re such a strong role model for your daughter. Thanks for sharing!


Oh boy! I only wish my rock bottom were as high as that. My rock bottom was when my daughter was diagnosed with autism, two years almost to the day after my son had been diagnosed. Having a second kid given the “disabled” tag just about made me end it all – I came really close. But I had no choice – I had to keep on going. Just living was hell, day after day of it.

Things are better now, but I’m still climbing out from the hole. It’ll be a while yet, I think. But when my daughter finally started talking (aged nearly 5) that really helped me think there could be light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing I know now- I’m the toughest person on the planet. If that couldn’t break me, nothing can. But yep, that finally ended any pretense I had at believing that god existed, or that this was a merciful existence in any way. You have to go through something like that to understand what real hell is.

What changed me? Seeing things improve, first a little, then more and more. And realising I had to live for *me*, not just others. I had to try and find some way of keeping myself afloat. So I guess that’s it.


Wow, I can’t imagine, but so so glad you’ve found some light at the end of that tunnel! I’m sure your kids are channeling your strength! Thanks for sharing.

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