"I was always a very active person growing up. I got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do by the age of 12. I was also a dancer all throughout middle school and high school. That was the last time I felt so confident about myself. I remember being on stage and not being afraid of anything and just putting on a show. I was young, confident and fearless!
Right after high school at the age of 18, I met my boyfriend, now husband. I found out I was pregnant and by the age of 19 I had my son. I remember being so happy and so scared at the same time. I didn't have a plan. At that point in my life all I knew was that I had a baby that I needed to take care of and I needed a career. So I chose hairdressing.
During cosmetology school, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. So with 2 kids at the age of 22, my priority was to be successful in my career for my family. Now, I have a great place where I work where my co-workers are people who I consider family and I have built a clientele of people who I appreciate and care for. I love what I do! But something was still missing. I was missing me! For 13 years I've been taking caring of everyone else except me. I lost myself somewhere in the process. I went through depression and anxiety, I wasn't happy with how I looked, I really hated myself. I always had this "not good enough" feeling. I lost my confidence.
Last November, my cousin booked a photo session for my family and I. I loved my photos so much, that I started following Encarnacion Photography on Instagram. One day he posted a photo about his wife. I remember it say saying something like "I'm so proud of her and her fitness journey. Follow her @gofitjo." So I did. From there, I saw a strong woman who was a mom who went through the same life events as me. She had a full-time career with 2 kids at a young age, a husband and still had time for herself to get fit and healthy. I finally contacted Joanne to get her coach's number. That's when I found Coach Huong. One of the best decisions I've made in my life. With her guidance, she has pushed me to where I never thought I could ever be. I started with her 12 week transformation. It was definitely hard work. There were times where I wanted to quit but I knew I couldn't. I wasn't a quitter. I weighed in at 141 and ended at 119, a 22 lb weight loss.
After my transformation, I saw some of the woman of Imago training for a competition and it truly inspired me. Most of these woman are moms competing up there. I thought, if they can do it, I can too!
Competition training is no joke! I thought the transformation program was hard, this was another level. It gave me a true appreciation on what these athletes do to prepare for a show. In the middle of prep, I had to have surgery for health issues. This was challenging for me physically and mentally. I thought I wasn't going to be able to compete. This was definitely one of my hardest times and I wanted to give up, but with the support from Coach Huong, my husband and my kids, my friends and the Imago team, I pushed through. I definitely could not have made it without my teammate Kat. We met each other in middle school and we were able to reconnect through Imago. Again, another strong woman who's a mom with a full-time job and husband. We entered our first competition together and I was so happy to share this experience with her.
This past weekend, I conquered my fear of being on stage again. I conquered my fear of being in a bikini in front of people. I'm in the best shape in my life! I weighed in at 108 lbs, a 33 lb weight loss. I can say that "I'm DAMN proud of myself!" This year was about me taking care of me and I think I did that and more. And because of this whole experience I finally feel some balance in my family, in my career and ME! I'm not done though! The journey continues...." - Diana A.