Volumetrics Diet
Best Diets
514 views
514 views

Volumetrics Diet

SPFadmin - October 19, 2017
247 Views

‘How Training For A Bikini Competition Helped Me Deal With The Pain Of My Divorce’

Alejandra Mace fitness transformation
Photograph courtesy of Alejandra Mace
When I first got married in 2002, I followed the all-too-typical newlywed path: I had kids and gained weight that I couldn’t shake. I tried to lose it through what I read in books and magazines about nutrition and exercise, but I never hit my goal weight. I was eating healthy Monday through Thursday, but then my husband and I would go out on the weekends and eat fast food. Plus, in addition to getting my MBA and raising two kids, my lifestyle kept me from ever getting below 140 pounds (I’m 5’ 4″).

Then, in 2013, my world was rocked. I found out my husband was having an affair. Commence: screaming, fighting, divorce. At first, the stress dropped me down to 120 lbs. But as the divorce proceedings went on, it got real nasty. The pain was so, so bad and I became severely depressed. I wasn’t working out. I started eating everything.

All I could think was: Who is this person looking at me in the mirror? I wasn’t the woman I remembered before marriage. I felt like there was nothing left to me other than being a wife and a mom, and after the divorce was finalized in 2016, I was only one of those things.

When my 38th birthday hit that year, the landmark kind of snapped me out of it. I woke up the next morning and just said, “Enough is enough. I have to do something.” So I decided to compete in a bikini competition. I honestly don’t know why I chose that—the thought had literally never crossed my mind before. But I was tired of being so angry and sad. I needed to put all this pain and emotion into something more productive. (Kick-start your new, healthy routine with Women’s Health’s 12-Week Total-Body Transformation!)

Alejandra Mace transformation tuesday
1/4 Photograph courtesy of Alejandra Mace
THE CHANGE

In May 2016, I went in 100 percent for this new, albeit random, goal of entering a bikini competition. I went to my local gym and got all the information I’d need to start competing. Considering I really knew nothing about working out or eating right, I sought guidance from a nutritionist and a trainer. I didn’t really have the money for it, but I felt so deeply that this was important and something I needed to do. So I went home, found a way to pay for it, and never looked back.

Employing someone else to take care of all the details may have been expensive, but it made all the difference. It allowed me to focus solely on healing emotionally and took away the stress of whether my progress was on track, or what my workouts this week would look like. But I also learned a ton about nutrition in the process. Every Sunday, I’d prepare my meals and pack all my food for the week. Anything that wasn’t on my diet I gave up completely (though sometimes I needed a little reminding from my kids that their snacks weren’t on my eating plan.)

I also never weighed myself. My nutritionist and trainer kept track of everything to make sure I was progressing like I should, and all I had to do was follow their instructions.

From the moment I decided to commit, I never really struggled with willpower. I gave it 100 percent. The pain I had inside me was just so bad, that my goal to to compete had to be even bigger. Fitness became my therapy, and I threw myself into it.

I went to the gym six days a week, even on holidays. My focus in the beginning was on getting my lower body in really good shape, so my trainer had me concentrate on a lot of lifting. I did about 30 minutes of cardio every day—typically some form of HIIT—but my focus was really on weights every day, namely total-body lifting with a heavy concentration on legs and glutes.

Related: ‘5 Things I Learned When I Meal-Prepped Every Sunday for a Month’

Alejandra Mace transformation tuesday
2/4 Photograph courtesy of Alejandra Mace
THE SURPRISE SETBACK

I was on track to accomplish my goal of competing this year—I had followed my training and nutrition plan to a T, and I was in killer shape, having gone from 27 percent body fat to 17 percent in a year.

But in the summer of 2017, I had to go back to court with my ex-husband, whom I hadn’t seen since the divorce, and it got really, really messy. The situation took a massive emotional toll; I was completely drained. I had no energy to put into the competition. I had put so much time and effort into the goal of competing, but, after a lot of deliberating, I decided it would have to wait until next year. The stress of court and fighting was just eating away at me, and I knew I didn’t have enough emotional reserves left to give the competition my all so soon after.

See Mama June’s incredible weight loss transformation:

Mama June’s Weight-Loss Transformation
Alejandra Mace transformation tuesday
3/4 Photograph courtesy of Alejandra Mace
THE FOUND STRENGTH

But a funny thing happened: When I got to court, I had been so nervous I was going to break down, cry, and get mad. But I was actually in complete control talking to both the judge and my ex-husband. I realized how weak I had been before—literally and figuratively. Now, after pushing myself so hard during training, I discovered that I had so much more strength inside of me than I realized. I am strong. Fitness helped me discover that.

Still, after the court appearance, I fell off the bandwagon for three or four weeks. I would show up at the gym because I knew that consistency was important, but I had no energy and no motivation to be there. I was so emotionally drained after the court proceedings and letting go of the immediate dream of competing. But I recognized that and gave myself the time off, because sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is rest. After a few weeks, I felt ready to get back at it. Now, I’m training again with an eye on competing the summer of 2018.

Related: ​The Best Diet for Losing Fat and Building Muscle

Alejandra Mace transformation tuesday
4/4 Photograph courtesy of Alejandra Mace
MY NUMBER ONE TIP

Take care of yourself, and recognize your accomplishments. After choosing not to compete this year, I realized even though it felt like I didn’t accomplish what I put my mind to, I had actually accomplished quite a lot. I had learned how to be strong. I had learned how to respect myself and be proud of myself. And that’s more of an accomplishment than any competition or goal weight will ever be.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Volumetrics Diet
Best Diets
514 views
Best Diets
514 views

Volumetrics Diet

SPFadmin - October 19, 2017

Overview The aim: Weight loss. The claim: You'll drop a pound or two a week. The theory: People tend to eat the same weight, or amount, of…

We Asked Trainers To Decode 9 Confusing Gym Phrases
Fitness
586 views
Fitness
586 views

We Asked Trainers To Decode 9 Confusing Gym Phrases

SPFadmin - October 16, 2017

If you've ever heard a fitness instructor use a phrase in class that makes you think 'WTF does that mean?!', it's not just you. There are plenty…

The #1 Reason Why You’re Not Seeing Results From Your Butt Workouts
Fitness
459 views
Fitness
459 views

The #1 Reason Why You’re Not Seeing Results From Your Butt Workouts

SPFadmin - October 13, 2017

But some women struggle from something we like to call “SBS” (that’s sleepy butt syndrome, for newbies). Most women with “sleepy” glutes can blame the constant desk…

This ‘Scandal’ Star Walks 6 Miles Per Day—Here’s How She Does It
Fitness
340 views
Fitness
340 views

This ‘Scandal’ Star Walks 6 Miles Per Day—Here’s How She Does It

SPFadmin - October 12, 2017

This 'Scandal' Star Walks 6 Miles Per Day—Here's How She Does It Bellamy Young swears by these essentials in her gym bag. By Elizabeth Bacharach October 17,…

15 Breast Cancer Survivors Share What Surprised Them Most About Having Cancer
Health
382 views
Health
382 views

15 Breast Cancer Survivors Share What Surprised Them Most About Having Cancer

SPFadmin - October 10, 2017

Getty Images Unless you're a breast cancer survivor yourself, there are some things about the disease that you simply can't know or understand. Yet most of us…

​6 Signs You Should See A Poop Doctor ASAP
Health
570 views
Health
570 views

​6 Signs You Should See A Poop Doctor ASAP

SPFadmin - October 8, 2017

Getty Images It’s a simple fact of life: Everybody poops. And, while it’s unlikely that you discuss your BMs on the regular with your bestie, you probably…

I Started Eating 600 More Calories Per Day And It Totally Changed My Body
Fitness
685 views
Fitness
685 views

I Started Eating 600 More Calories Per Day And It Totally Changed My Body

SPFadmin - October 7, 2017

Three months after having my second child, I decided it was time to get back into shape. At 182 pounds, I had put on over 40 pounds…

Biggest Loser Diet
Best Diets
461 views
Best Diets
461 views

Biggest Loser Diet

SPFadmin - October 6, 2017

Overview The aim: Weight loss, and disease prevention or reversal. The claim: Six weeks of healthy food and regular exercise not only is a great start to…

Vegetarian Diet
Best Diets
407 views
Best Diets
407 views

Vegetarian Diet

SPFadmin - September 30, 2017

Overview The aim: Depends, but may include weight loss, heart health and diabetes prevention or control. The claim: Going vegetarian could help shed pounds and fend off…

TLC Diet
Best Diets
418 views
Best Diets
418 views

TLC Diet

SPFadmin - September 30, 2017

Overview The aim: Cutting high cholesterol. The claim: You'll lower your bad LDL cholesterol by 8 to 10 percent in six weeks. The theory: Created by the…