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Tiffany Lee Gaston

Ever wish you were taller, shorter, thinner, more muscular or anything else you are not?  Of course, we all have.  I’m at a place where I’ve overcome anorexia as a young teen, learned to love my body and appreciate keeping it healthy.  Wishing for something I will never be is not in line with my mindset and I no longer struggle with poor self image.  I’ve come a long way, but it didn’t happen overnight.  Educating myself on the proper ways to be fit and healthy has had a lifelong impression on me and many around me.  The discipline of maintaining a lifestyle that is not the norm can be challenging, especially with such a huge percentage of the population being overweight and obese.  Wanting to make a change is the first step.  You can accomplish anything you set out for, you only need to believe in yourself.

For the past several months, I have been rehabbing my abs.  Let me explain…  In the world of bikini and figure competition, it is very common to wear a squeem.  A squeem is in simpler terms, a corset.  For about 16 hours a day, over the past year, I wore one of these hellish torture devices in an effort to bring my waist in smaller.  I should mention, my waist is only 25 inches, so it’s not big to begin, however, because I have narrow hips, I appear straight up and down.  Something I’ve always liked about my body, had become a hindrance in my sport.

What was the outcome of consistently wearing this miserable thing?  NOTHING, not a damn thing!  I uncomfortably wore a waist binding device religiously, having to conceal it under my everyday clothing.  What a pain, literally and figuratively.  It made me miserable and cranky as you can only imagine.  All for what?  My waist appeared no smaller than before and in fact, my abdominals atrophied to the point of weakening my back and core drastically.  I’ve always had a strong core and this changed all of that for me.  It encouraged me to avoid bending over and twisting because it was such a discomfort and hassle.  Training my abs even became an afterthought because they were already so weakened.  I was not allowed to do any exercises where I twist my core because that would build my obliques and only cause me to look wider.  This really limited me so I didn’t do much for them.  I still appeared to have a six-pack, but that was all diet revealing the muscles beneath.  I’ve always been a big proponent of training the body as a whole and that you are only as strong as your weakest link.  My abs had  become a very weak link for me.

After my last show in August, I  decided I would NEVER again wear this ridiculous thing.  Even placing as well as I did throughout the year, the judges frequently told me that my waist appeared too big on stage even though they knew it was not.  I can’t live my life for an illusion on a stage for 5 minutes.  I just  won’t do it.  I am genetically built this way and I actually really love my athletic build.  Having a strong core, obliques that pop out and a washboard stomach was always something I was happy to work for and have.  I never thought I’d be penalized for it.  God made us all unique and I’m done fighting what I was meant to be.  These narrow hips birthed a 10 lb 11 oz baby boy so they’ve not held me back in the grand scheme of things.

The message I’m conveying here is to make what you  are work for you and stop trying to fight it.  Love and be good to yourself!

In good heath,