Bring de Rain
September 8, 2016
Nellibloom
September 21, 2016

To Thine Own Self Be True

Dionne Thompson. Courtesy: Retrofit Online

The truth is people love to have an opinion and about things that they really shouldn't have an opinion about; that is human nature. The problem comes when we don't remember to keep our thoughts to ourselves. Today we hear how an accountant improved her body and health and still managed to receive negative comments along the way! "When I first started I lost close to 50 lbs ...[people] assume[d] the worst. I was asked if I was sick or on steroids." Dionne's story is one of determination, self improvement, a commitment to tuning out the static and an example of the importance of remembering daily, 'to thine own self be true'.
How old are you?
Heading hard to the big 4-0… I am 38.

What industry do you work in?
I am an accountant.

How and when did you get started in fitness? Tell us about your journey
I have always been relatively active but my weight fluctuated over the years. I started last year with the Bikini Program at ABC Fitness Studios when I was approaching my heaviest weight and was getting frustrated and uncomfortable with my body. The program was challenging but I started to see results which motivated me to keep going. I was gently coerced to compete at both the ABC in house show and then later at Nationals in the body fitness category.

What are some of your accomplishments in fitness?

  • 2015 & 2016 Barbados Nationals Body Fitness over 163cm - 2nd place
  • CAC 2015 Body Fitness over 168 category- 1st place
  • 2015 Darcy Beckles - Body fitness -1st place
  • 2016 Trinidad Sportsworld Classic Body Fitness - 2nd place

When do you train?
Off season I train on evenings/nights.
During the season I train twice a day - mornings and evenings.

How many days of the week do you train?
5- 6 days a week.

How do you manage your workouts?
It isn’t always easy to do so especially since closer to a show I experience low energy levels. I just try to remember my goals and follow the program from my coach. I also admit to myself when I am tired and listen to my body. Injuries can occur when you don’t and can cause major setbacks.

How do you manage your nutrition?
The first year was hard and the second year harder, but it is all about meal preparation. Once you prepare your meals in advance, it makes the process easier.

What are your long and short term goals?

At this point they are the same, continuous improvement. Be a little better every day, every week, in a small way, to see long term results.

What is your favourite body part and why?
Depends on the day! Close to a show I can’t get enough of my legs; they look nice and powerful! But generally I would say my back. I like to see the detail and it is one of my stronger areas to work.

How do you work your back?
Working on my pull-ups game! I try to add one more to my reps every week…that doesn’t always work but I keep trying!

What do you need to work on the most?
This year it was more mental than physical development. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself so I need to work on managing that aspect a little better.

Team Eat Clean or Team IIFIYM?
Team eat clean.

What are your favourite meals?
On diet- Protein pancakes.
Off diet- Burgers, peanut butter, sweet potato fries and any protein that isn’t chicken breast, tuna or tilapia!

Do you have “cheat meals”? What are your favourite ones?
Once on focused prep I generally don’t have “cheat meals”, but I would succumb to small additions, like almonds and peanut butter occasionally. Post show however burgers and pizza!

What supplements do you take if any?
My main supplement is branched-chain amino acids, to aid in maintaining muscle mass. I also ensure to use a good multivitamin and omega 3 oil.

When eating out, where do you go to find a tasty healthy meal?
In Barbados I find eating out and being healthy is a challenge as most things in one way or another don’t fit in the meal plan. I would usually go to Masala Grill and get a burger without the bread and a salad. Coffee Bean also has nice salads as well.

What is the most challenging part of your journey?
Trying to balance my mood. Knowing why I am grumpy vs controlling it are two very different things!

What sacrifices have you had to make?
My social life. Because I train mornings and evenings, late nights out aren’t an option for me. I currently have a small window during the year where I can fully socialize.
What have you learned about yourself and others along the way?
I have learned that generally some people aren’t always as supportive as one might think about such a change in lifestyle. People are accustomed to seeing you look one way for many years and are resistant to change. I have learned that my stubbornness comes in quite handy in these cases.

Have you had any negative comments about your appearance or lifestyle? How do you deal with them?
When I first started I lost close to 50lbs in a relatively short space of time. Unfortunately, people see the weight loss but not the work you do and assume the worst. I was asked if I was sick or on steroids. Heard multiple discussions about how I look bad and I had to be unhealthy. I used it as motivation. As my family can tell you, I am very good at ignoring. I know what my goals are and how hard I work so I can ignore the static.

What motivates you?
Continuous improvement. The only constant in life is change so I try to change for the better.
Who inspires you?
The current Ms Olympia, Latorya Watts. She recently shared a post about the reality of competing with respect to body changes and learning to love yourself and your body no matter what stage you are in. It was very positive and motivational.

Favourite Quote
To thine own self be true.

Tell us about your support system.
I am fortunate to have a great support system in my family, my boyfriend, the ABC gym members and my work mates. My mum, sisters and nephew come to every show. My boyfriend helps with my training, meal prep and puts up with my moods! The gym members are all very supportive. They always have words of encouragement!

Do you find it challenging to have a social life?
What is that again?? (lol) It is challenging. I tell my friends my hours are Saturday 2pm- 7pm. If it doesn’t fit in that time I won’t be there!

What hobbies do you have outside of fitness/sport?
I like to read and don’t laugh; I go to auctions when the time permits. You can pick up some lovely pieces at auctions.

What advice do you have for people looking to get in shape?
Patience and consistency are key. If it took months or years to gain the weight, it won’t come off in 2 weeks. Be positive in mind and celebrate your progress no matter how small it may be.

What advice do you have for people wanting to compete?
I will be frank and say competing is not easy. You are putting yourself out there to literally be judged. Keeping that in mind, once you know you have done your best and put in the work, you are already a winner regardless of the results so go for it.

Any final words?
Enjoy your journey. Accept the challenge for what it is and enjoy getting to your milestones. Body and mind are very much connected, so once you stay positive and keep on working, your body will respond and reward you for the hard work.

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