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Tiffany Lee Gaston

I learned a long long time ago to stop comparing myself to others.

I learned this at around 12 years old in fact.  I was a gymnast when I was young and have always been genetically predisposed to having an athletic  build.  As a young girl, I was always comparing myself to my friends whom weren’t necessarily genetically the same.  The principles of body composition and muscle weighing more than fat were not yet clearly defined in my mind.  I had no real understanding yet, that the way I looked would be something I would come to appreciate and be praised for.  So, because of my skewed perception, I only knew that I weighed a bit more than some of my friends.  This was also the early teenage years which is oh so much fun regardless of who your are.

Needless to say, my misunderstanding of health and body types led me briefly down a road of anorexia.  Now I must say I have never again in my life been able to control myself to eat essentially nothing.  It’s kind of impressive and I still don’t understand how I could have done it.  I must have had some kind of crazy willpower at just 12 years old. I don’t think this has really ever changed, maybe just been redirected for better use.

For a period of time, I ate nearly nothing.  I do recall drinking lots of water and eating only lettuce.  It’s clearly stupid to me now, but as a young girl, I was so misinformed that it really upsets me.  My own mother was always “dieting” or complaining of feeling “fat” though she has never been overweight.  Growing up and absorbing this likely shaped my thinking.  As a mother of 2 girls ages 9 and 8, I know I may well deal with them feeling similar at some point simply due to society. I have always made a conscious effort to never say the F word around them.  “Fat” will never be part of my vocabulary.   I’m sure my son will never experience the issues my girls will face.

After my mother threatening to take me to the hospital, have them put an IV in my arm and pump me full of calories, I really did snap out of it.  I came to understand that muscle weighs more than fat, I was muscular and to get over it.  I began to try and educate myself on what foods were healthy and provided my good fuel for the sports I did.

As girls we are inundated with images of beautiful women on the cover of magazines that most people dream of looking like.  What most people aren’t realizing is that these women seldom look like that themselves!  After hours of makeup and hair, there are then hours of photoshopping to reveal these images of near perfection.  Most of these women have cellulite and their own body images which you’d never even know.

I became involved in weight training, running track and cross country and embracing the way I look.  At an early age of 16 or 17, I knew I wanted to compete in Fitness competitions.  When Figure competition were created, that appealed to me even more.  Though once a pretty good gymnast, I found I was now terrified of doing the once crazy stunts I did as a kid.  I suppose now I feared breaking my neck.  Figure was all the same hard efforts into molding your physique but none of the gymnastics.  Perfect!  I’ve done Fame WNSO fitness model and figure competitions as well as compete in the NPC for figure.  I love to be on stage and show off my hard work.

The bottom line is, you were created to be who you are genetically.  The rest is up to you.  Not everyone is built like a runway model.  All you can do is be happy in your own skin.  To be the very best “you” is all you can do.  Why not focus on that instead of dreaming of looking like someone that you can never physically compare to.  If we all looked the same, this would be one boring life to live.  Appreciate your strengths, work to improve on your weakness and love yourself.  Truly love yourself and it will shine and exude from you to display an inner peace and confidence.  That is what is attractive!

Live healthy,