September 2012 Newsletter: Competitor Spotlight Debra Ricci

I normally save stories that relate to competition for my competitor’s newsletter on the first of the month. This month, I have chosen to share with you a special success story in that this journey started as a personal quest for excellence and continued on as a competition experience.

Many people who are far off the mark make it a goal to compete. Debra is an example of someone who made it a goal to get in shape first, then decided to get in amazing shape in order to step on stage for a show. Debra is an example of a client who followed all instructions to the letter, who never faltered in self discipline or self determination. She is self motivated and that is what makes her story so incredible.

As a coach, I can pave the way for anyone but I cannot inject the secret ingredient that no-one really speaks about and that is self motivation. Debra has that, and because of her self motivation the seemingly difficult journey of getting on stage to compete, was an easier journey than expected.

At the time I called it a diet… it’s now become my way of life.
By Debra Ricci

Back in 2002 right after graduating from high school the fun began, the partying, the drinking, the late night eating at the diner after the clubs would close. However, the fun didn’t last long after I started noticing the weight gain, I knew I needed to make a change or it would just get worse and harder as I got older. I made a change right then and there. My weight in 2002 was somewhat around 150lbs, I am 4’11. I was always tiny growing up because all I did was roller skate 4 times a week. I lived at the roller skating rink from age 3 up until age 16 when I thought I was too cool to go roller skating anymore.

January 2002 was when I changed my life. I started going to the gym consistently and I didn’t leave the gym until I burnt 600 calories on the elliptical machine. Living at home I had to buy my own food and not eat what my mother would cook for meals because I knew they weren’t healthy for me. My family was not supportive of my weight loss; I was often called hateful names by them. I did my best to shut out the hurtful names, and when they would say things to hurt my feelings, I would just leave and go to the gym. There were times where I would be in the gym twice a day because I knew I had to do this for me, and the hurtful names I was called just made me push harder, not turn to bad eating habits.

Six months went by and people started noticing that I was losing weight and the compliments started coming. It was a great feeling that people were actually noticing and that gave me more power to push even harder! I dropped 50lbs over the course of 2 years on my own without the help of a personal trainer or nutritionist and started becoming very addicted to the gym, working out and eating healthy, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I really took my fitness to the extreme! People always asked me how I did it, and if I ever thought of doing a competition, my response was “I did it by eating right, and working out, I did it the right way, and yes I have thought about doing a competition, it’s on my life list.” I sat back and said to myself, “what am I waiting for, why don’t I do a competition.” That’s when I made the decision and said “Debra you’re going make it happen this year.”

In April 2012 I had my first conversation with Nancy, I was weighting in at 105lbs, and we set a competition date for September 8, 2012. Nancy was extremely helpful, and I am the type of person who will fully execute any plan that I am given. I stuck to my diet and workouts and didn’t let temptation affect me. I would still go out to dinner with friends, but I most certainly packed my own food and brought it with me! Competition prep was all new to me, yes I was used to eating pretty healthy, and working out, but the structure and preparing all my food at home was all brand new to me, and it’s very time consuming. During competition prep I really didn’t have much of a life, and I am very thankful for the friends I have because they understood I had a goal I was working towards and they never had anything negative to say. I had a lot of loving and supportive people in my life this time around, versus back when I started to lose weight in 2002. However, I occasionally heard the comments like “you’re too skinny, why are you doing this to yourself, you’re going to end up in the hospital, and we like the thick Debra and now you’re the crazy fit Debra.” I had to explain myself when I really didn’t feel like it.

During competition prep I fully executed my diet and workout program to the best of my ability. I was nervous and excited for my 1st competition. Nancy was there every step of the way, from teaching me and educating me on why I was eating the foods I was eating, and what my body would go through, to the posing practice and building up my confidence to get on stage. Competition day came and I placed 3rd for my height class. I was beside myself, I didn’t think I would place in the Top 3, I was ecstatic!

I am now in my “off season” because I know that there are areas that I need to improve on before hitting the stage again in 2013. My 1st competition was just the beginning of many more for me. I will continue to compete and I am hoping to get to a National Show in July 2013. I remind myself and tell others all the time that “If you believe you can achieve.”

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