Liz Cole -From Food Obsession to Healthy NPC athlete
I’ve always been quite the “foodie.” I grew up with parents who enjoyed cooking and entertaining, and were quite good at it too. They also enjoyed dining out frequently as well. Even to this day, holidays spent with my family of 10 looks like it is feeding a party of 20+. My father grew up very poor and was lucky if he even got to eat on a daily basis. Needless to say, food was always in abundance in my household.
As time went on, I got older and my eating habits caught up with me, I developed an unhealthy relationship with food. I’m 5’0 tall and at my heaviest was pushing close to 140lbs. I didn’t realize that my obsession with food had gotten so out of hand. I tried all sorts of fad diets and the latest cleanses. Over the years I joined Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, tried the Cabbage Soup diet, read all sorts of books in which I never utilized the information. I did drop some weight but was still considered “overweight” for someone with my height and frame. Aside from being overweight, I still psychologically had a negative relationship with food. Some days, I wouldn't allow myself to eat. Other days, I would wake up in the morning and make myself a protein shake with some fruit thinking I was being healthy and then not eat until later in the afternoon where I would eat whatever I wanted. French fries, chicken fingers, burgers, pastas, were always on my mind. There were some days that I wouldn’t eat anything but a slice of cheesecake and thought that was a great thing. My thought process was that by not eating all day long, the extra calories I consumed later would even out. Wrong. My metabolism slowed down and I found myself sleeping away most of my day until I had to go to work. The weight wasn’t budging and I looked at food as comfort instead of what it should be, fuel. It’s no wonder I had no energy.
My next bright idea was to convince a doctor that I had ADD so I could begin taking Adderall because a friend who was prescribed the medication told me she never had an appetite. That sounded great to me. I didn’t have ADD but I didn’t care because what was important to me was not having an appetite. For a while my little idea worked. But what was I putting in my body for the sake of weightloss? What was I doing to my metabolism?
After years of “dieting” and harming my body, I woke up one day and told myself I no longer wanted to live this way. I had to realize there was no magic pill or fad diet that was going to make me healthier and more confident in my body. It was going to have to be a lifestyle change. I had to change my eating habits and begin exercising. A friend of mine began training to compete in the bikini division of the NPC and I knew that’s what I had to do. That’s what I WANTED to do. In June of 2013, I did some research and contacted a trainer/coach that was well known in the industry. I refused to set myself up with a “trainer” who was going to steer me down the road of more unhealthy habits. It was hard at first to completely change my lifestyle like I did. There were no more late night meetings with friends for drinks, nachos, and pizza. Clean healthy foods and a strict 6 day a week workout regimen was my new lifestyle. It was a hard, drastic change but the more changes I saw in my body, the way I felt physically each day, the more I fell in love with the process. Under the guidance of my coach, I competed in my first NPC competition in November of 2013 and placed 5th among a stacked group of beautiful girls. I was never so comfortable in my own skin, even standing in front of hundreds of strangers.
After almost a year of this new lifestyle, I’m still learning about my body. I’m educating myself on proper nutrition coupled with regular exercise. I have never felt so free in my own skin and that is an amazing feeling. Every day I wake up with the intention to make today better than yesterday, to be a little bit stronger and strive for progress, not perfection.
I want other women to experience the freedom I have in my body but most importantly the freedom in my head. I no longer stress about food and can treat myself to a meal once in a while without guilt because I am no longer looking for ways to get skinny fast. I now understand that food is fuel and I can feel the difference in my body when I eat poorly.
This journey has led me to pursue my Master’s in Nutritional Science from the University of Bridgeport. I know what it’s like to fight a constant battle with food so I want to help to educate others on the importance of nutrition. On top of grad school, I’m pursuing my Personal Training Certification through NASM. I also try to post motivational and inspirational pictures and quotes on social media. I know personally, when I’ve had a bad day, someone else’s posts have pushed me to get to the gym or reminded me that I am strong enough to overcome whatever obstacle that is standing in my way.
Through my own education coupled with my passion, I hope to one day help others become the best version of themselves.
Liz can be reached at
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