Friday, May 19, 2017

WBFF Fitness Atlantic Weekend Recap

My weekend at Fitness Atlantic held at Mohegan Sun was nothing short of magical and life changing. I pushed my anxiety disorders and fears aside and graced the stage in the transformation division to show off my 150 lb weight loss transformation. It was one of the most stressful, scariest, exciting, and overwhelmingly amazing experiences. The road to get there was long and difficult (will save that for another post discussing my first prep). There were many hurdles to get over and hoops to jump through to make it here, but it was so worth it!

Hubby had school and work the days leading up to our trip and so I was left to do most of the packing alone. He had a finals paper to drop off that night on our way to the airport, so we were already pressed for time to make our flight and were still packing up until the very last minute. We ended up missing our first flight (1 of 3 missed flights 😂😡). We got a hotel close to the airport for the night. We tried to make our next flight out to Rhode Island the next morning and MISSED THAT ONE TOO! This time it was my fault because I had 4 days worth of prepped food with me and getting through security was a pain in the ass! I got a mandatory pat down in front of my daughter while flirty jokes were being made between the young woman's older co-worker and my hubby as she was performing the pat down. Hahaha! I still don't see why people get so uptight about TSA pat downs. 😜 I ended up getting my food through the checkpoint though. That would of been bad if they had to throw it away as I was still on a plan all the way up until show night and had no way to make and cook food, so I would of had to change my diet and make do with what I had access to at the store.

Every time we missed a flight my nerves about the competition went away and I felt a little relieved, but I still felt more stressed. We FINALLY made our 3rd flight that was scheduled about an hour or two later from the last one. It was Harlie Jade's first plane ride and she LOVED it! She loved it so much that on our way back home from the trip she whined and cried because she wanted to ride again! I guess having connecting flights on the way back home was a good thing. 😂

Harlie Jade's first plane ride!

We finally make it to beautiful Rhode Island Thursday afternoon. Mohegan Sun was about an hour's drive from the airport we came in to. It was a beautiful drive! It still looked like Autumn in the area instead of spring!

When I arrived at the resort I had a beautiful package from my suit designers waiting for me that gave me even more motivation and encouragement to slay the FA stage. They sent me a package of butterflies! They knew butterflies had a very important meaning to me when I told them I wanted them incorporated into my suit, but they didn't have the full meaning and symbolization of what butterflies mean to me, my life, and my journey. They don't know just how grateful I was for that package of sequin butterflies and the note.

We had an amazing view from our hotel room!

We went with the double queen beds. I got my own bed for the entire time we were there!! It was awesome! 😂 Reason for that was because we all decided it would be better if I had my own bed, so that after I got my tan I wouldn't have little baby footprints all over me from her kicking me all night long and that I would be a little more at ease in my own bed and able to get a better night's sleep without a toddler crawling all over me. And I must say that aside from competition nerves, it was the best sleep I had gotten throughout my entire prep and even more so after the competition was done.

I was highly impressed with Mohegan Sun. It was an atmosphere for the whole family to enjoy! They had shopping, restaurants, casinos, an arcade for kids, an arena for concerts and so on. It was huge and it was GORGEOUS! The staff and service was TOP NOTCH

I was able to relax and enjoy a tiny bit before all of the activities began the next day on Friday. My day started off with my tanning appointment. It was my first naked spray tan experience! It was a lot of fun chatting with my tanning person. She made me feel really comfortable and she got to hear a bit of my story and how much weight I had lost so far and she was so intrigued. She did such an amazing job with my tan! I wish I could remember her name. I am so bad with remembering names, faces and ages! LOL!

Registration to get my lucky number was next! I got lucky number 135! 💖

After tanning and registration I was able to relax until the athlete's meeting. After the athlete's meeting was done with we headed out to a few stores to pick up some things and to get Jeremy and Harlie something to eat. Of course it was stuff I couldn't eat and was totally jealous, but hey... we don't get these awesome transformations eating junk, right?! 😉

"Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." #sacrifices

Athlete's meeting.

It was finally show day! Filled with crazy nerves... I make my way downstairs with Jeremy and Harlie Jade as they joined me to walk me downstairs to the ballroom lobby. I head to the dressing rooms and a lady came up to me and told me the last ladies dressing room is the least crowded. So knowing me... that is exactly where I headed. I noticed the first 2 rooms were hectic, crazy, and busy with women running around everywhere. I make my way to the third and last ladies dressing room and as I looked in and then walked in, I instantly felt relieved. It was calm and quiet and had a laid back vibe, which was the type of environment that I needed right then and there to stop myself from feeling nauseous and full of general and social anxiety. I got settled in, stopped panicking and started small talk with a few competitors at a table that had very few girls and asked for help with my suit. I felt like I was in school all over again. HA! I jumped right on in because I didn't want to experience this and go through the day alone. It definitely makes for a less miserable and more fun experience. I still wasn't as social as I would have liked to have been, but I am surprised with how social I was and how much confidence I carried throughout the day.

Just got hair and make up done and still had about an hour before I hit the stage.

After a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (literally - I'm not just using it as a "saying/quote") throughout not only this 15 week prep, but 4 long hard years....

I stepped on stage that day with a 150 lb weight loss sitting at 130 lbs, breaking a plateau (plateau weight range 137 lbs-145 lbs) of almost a year! 

As one of my followers recently told me in the weeks leading up to my show....

"Just master your shoes! The rest you got." 

And I did just that!

Pre-judging morning show. Too bad the photographers didn't capture this pose. I love it so much!

Photo Credit: & Mama's Boy Media, LLC

Photo Credit: & Mama's Boy Media, LLC

I have wings!!!!!!
Photo Credit: David Ford Photography

Photo Credit: David Ford Photography

That back though! Wish I had moved my hair! 😩
Photo Credit: David Ford Photography

Top 5 Transformation Winners!

I think my stage photos that I ordered came out cute for the most part and are beautiful, however, I feel that the sharpening of some of the images exaggerated my skin quite a bit. My skin doesn't look like that on a daily basis and didn't look like that in person, videos, other photos, or in any other type of lighting. It didn't even look like that in the group comparison photos... only in my solo stage photos. Regardless, I still think it shows confidence, beauty, the warrior princess and fighter in me and some amazing poses and moments were captured. 💪💝👑😜

I thought long and hard about which before photo I wanted to use and which ones meant the most to me throughout my journey. Which ones really showed the STRUGGLE behind the journey through pictures alone. I thought about using one fully clothed like a majority of people do, but the more I thought about it... the more I didn't feel satisfied with that decision. I wanted to show just how much fat I had accumulated on my body. How much fat I actually got rid of throughout my journey. How much I had changed my physique throughout the years. When it comes to fully clothed photos, you get to see their size, but it doesn't tell the whole story. You don't get to see their actual physique in that current form. While that may be all good and well for others, it was not good enough for me, especially in a competition and one that was so special and meant a lot to me because no other bodybuilding federation has a category like this (that I know of) and if it wasn't for this division, I wouldn't have seen myself competing in ANY category (figure is the category I've been eyeing for years) until I've had all of the extra skin removed. I wanted that "WOW" factor with my photos and transformation and by choosing the one that I did, I thought it would be pretty successful in delivering that punch.

As I wake up in my hotel room lying in bed thinking about yesterday and the emotional moment I had with my hubby and daughter when I saw them for the first time after the night show.... I can't believe last night really happened! I guess London really is calling my name. Picked up this @vspink shirt last night and it's perfect! 😍😍 . . I am officially a @wbff_official World's qualifier. I am hoping to see myself on that world stage in London come August. I can't thank you all enough for all the of the amazing encouraging words of support. You guys have been the most amazing support system... And I don't even fully have the words right now to express how much I treasure each and every one of you. We are all fighting on this journey to better health. Never think that you are alone in this because you don't have to be and you are not. Supporting one another on this journey is one of the best things we can do because we get so much further when we support one another and the reward is that much greater when you are surrounded by nothing but love and positivity. . . And don't you for one minute EVER think that you can't do something. If you work hard, believe in yourself and constantly fight to push yourself further... You can do some pretty freaking scary yet amazing things in life! Can't wait to share some more of my favorite and least favorite moments from the weekend, stage photos, and more... but until then.... It's time to get up, pack up, take my butt downstairs to Dunkin' Donuts for a much needed coffee and treat before we leave this beautiful venue and on to the next hotel to enjoy the rest of my trip until it's time to fly out tomorrow afternoon. . . @wbff_official @paul_dillett @allisondillett #Huffnpufftobuffntough #fitnessatlantic #150lbweightlosstransmformation #transformation #dreamsdocometrue
A post shared by Katie Bolden (@huffnpuff2buffntough) on

A couple of my indulgences after the show.

Donuts and a vanilla swirl iced coffee from my favorite place - Dunkin' Donuts.
Chili cheese fries and a juicy bacon burger from Johnny Rocket's.

That night after my cheats before a nice warm shower. I felt super dirty and disgusting after a day of not showering, spray tanning, not washing my hands and peeing through cups with holes punched into them to avoid pee splashes and drips that will RUIN your tan. I think I looked A LOT better off stage and away from those stage lights, or maybe I'm just more confident with my posing off the stage and behind closed doors. I did forget to flex here and there while on stage because I was so nervous. 😂😜

Yes, I took a crap load of selfies before I officially ended the night. 😂 And why not... we work hard for this! I may not have what competitors with no massive weight loss and loose skin would call a lean stage body compared to other categories and that's why I'm not in those categories lol, but keep in mind that all stage bodies cannot be maintained year round. It's not sustainable, especially the dehydration. And this is MY body in top condition, MY competition stage body. Carrying the most muscle that I've ever had and the leanest I've ever been as an adult. This is me currently in the BEST shape of my life! Could it be better? Absolutely! And I intend to keep pushing the limits.

On Sunday morning it was time to say goodbye to Mohegan Sun 😪 and head to our next hotel that was on the Connecticut and Rhode Island state line.

Still looking good Sunday morning! Personally, I think I looked MUCH better after the show and the following day versus the stage. 😒 I know I said this already, but I still can't get over it! Natural lighting ALWAYS brings out my best and crazy definition. 

Exploring Mohegan Sun one last time while getting breakfast before we headed out that morning. Harlie Jade was OBSESSED with this tree fountain. Who could blame her... I was too!

I didn't think we would have a whole lot of time or any time at all to actually take advantage of to go out and explore, but we somehow found time and managed to get out and about for a little bit of exploring on Sunday and Monday after the competition and found ourselves on a beach - Misquamicut State Beach in the beautiful town of Westerly - 10-15 minutes from our hotel admiring the Atlantic Ocean for the first time!

For those that may have missed the Instagram post above with the VS PINK London shirt and not know what the whole "London" thing is about... when I placed in my division I became a Worlds qualifier and I am invited to come and compete for the world title in my division at the worlds competition being held in London at the end of August. 

What's Next......

Onto Chicago in July and (hopefully) Worlds in August if I can raise enough money to make it there - Click Here To Help Support! I'm really looking forward to doing the Chicago show and as a bonus, so my friend's and family who couldn't travel to FA will be able to attend. Plus I'm always up for getting some extra experience. 

This time around I plan to go at this prep alone with no coach. Unfortunately, I did not have the experience I was looking for with my former coach, and we did not build the athlete-coach relationship that I wanted. She was not supportive or motivating. In fact, EVERYONE (sponsors, family, friends, followers/fit fam) was WAY MORE encouraging than she ever was after she was paid and hired. It really affected me at times throughout the prep, but I was not going to let that be the reason for any failures. I was never given any feedback after weekly check ins, I barely heard from her and was ignored a lot of the time, and after taking my money she gave off disrespectful and bad vibes as if she had no interest in working with me and helping me become a successful competitor. It just seemed like she took the job of being my coach just to make a quick easy buck and did the bare minimum. I constantly felt that she didn't have my health or best interest in mind and at heart throughout this prep and her actions constantly proved that to me. As time went on I began to feel as though she wasn't interested in working with me because I was not one of her "normal" athletes/clients who hadn't lost over half of their body weight and still retained excess skin and competing with the NPC. She didn't even do everything she was suppose to do on her end, while I did everything I was suppose to do on my end and then some. I just felt like a one woman team a majority of the time.

It's just disheartening when you put a lot of your hard earned money, trust, and faith into someone and they turn around and throw a cookie cutter plan at you while ignoring you most of the time. I don't need people like that tagging along with me on my journey and those that aren't genuinely with me certainly won't be celebrating any victories with me. It hurts my heart to say that about the first person I decided to put my trust and faith in helping me on my journey and trusting them to be a positive addition to my journey. I'll just leave it at this.... We didn't make the awesome team that I thought we could have been. It is what it is though. It all happened for a reason. 😏 Everything does. Whether I like it or not, she was a part of my first prep experience even if it wasn't a positive one... that fact can't and won't change, but I'll be much more cautious about who I get involved with in the future.  

"You live, you learn, and you move on."

Finding a good coach that you trust and that actually cares about you, your health, and success takes time, research, money, and patience.

With that being said... Onto the next and last prep!

Afterwards, I plan to spend the rest of the year working my way out of prep mode and back into a balanced lifestyle with my diet, building some more muscle, continuing to work on my book, relaxing a bit, enjoying my achievements and getting my skin removal consultations done.

I couldn't have done this without the support of my family. I am so blessed to have their support through all of this. Thick and thin... Happy and sad and all of the moments in between. They put up with my even shorter fuse and extra moodiness during prep. And that is something I would like to try and control more during this next prep.

Thank you to my family for supporting my wild and crazy dreams. We all know that in order for wild and crazy dreams to become reality, it becomes a family effort and sacrifices from all to make it happen.

When you compete in any sport it's not just about you and that is something one has to remember constantly. You aren't the only one sacrificing things for your goals and dreams. The entire family is sacrificing something. Love you both so much! Words can't describe how thankful I am for you.

Fitness Atlantic went above and beyond my expectations for a show. It is definitely not your plain Jane bodybuilding and fitness show. The stage and the lights were literally "LIT" 😂 and beautiful! Brian, the show promoter, makes it very clear to the competitors how much having a good solid stage production for a show means to him. You can definitely tell when you see the beautiful stage and final production whether you are on it, or in the audience and I have seen the stage from both perspectives that weekend. I wish more promoters of fitness shows put this kind of effort into creating a beautiful stage production for competitions. You can definitely tell that the audience definitely appreciates the beauty and are very entertained unlike other shows, which get boring very quickly, especially when the show is drawn out and too long. I've been to plenty of them as a spectator to know. 😉

The venue is drop dead gorgeous!! It is very classy and you don't see many fitness events held at such a beautiful venue. It really does set the vibe for the whole event and the bar very high!  

Morning meeting with the head judge and seeing the stage lit up in person for the first time.

The atmosphere was awesome! The fellow competitors were very nice to one another for the most part. I met some great people and heard some great stories! I did get my $5 wall mirror stolen by another competitor that morning 😒 but I was only going to return it to the store before I flew home anyways because I wouldn't have been able to take it home. So to the girl who stole my mirror (maybe it was an accident and you thought it was yours, maybe it was on purpose... I don't know and don't care)... you're welcome! Enjoy it! 😏 I'm glad it went to somebody who could use it and take it with them, but not before I've even had a chance to use it myself that day. 😩😂 

Thank you Brian for putting on a beautiful show that competitors are beyond proud to take part in and for caring about the "little things" that actually DO matter like the lights! 😜😀 He talks about "the lights" often and how important they are to him. I cannot wait to grace the FA stage again as a competitor. I have no plans on it for next year because hopefully I will be getting my surgeries, focusing on recovery and getting back into the swing of things, but I have my eye on 2019 to come back and grace the stage once again. 

I really did not want this trip to end. The scenery, the vibes, the people... I was in my element that weekend surrounded by nothing, but beauty from nature, positive people with big hearts and it really helped me to relax and stay focused on my goals without letting crazy anxiety take over.

It was such an honor, blessing, and amazing opportunity to be able to participate in this division and win top 5! I will forever be thanking the WBFF for this. For thinking about the rest of us that aren't already "there" and ready to compete in other categories just yet, but have made amazing transformations. To say that the WBFF and Fitness Atlantic is a life changing experience is an understatement! I have faced a bit of judgement from people about me wanting to compete with the current physique that I have, even in a "TRANSFORMATION" division and some of it came from my former coach. It's times like that where you need to block out all negativity and continue pressing on. If you don't, then you will always find yourself stuck in the same place and an emotional wreck if that is all you focus on. Keep on pressing towards those dreams and goals of yours! 😘 

"If you listen to people, you won't live." - Taraji P.

Last, but certainly not least.....

Check out my newest interview and article on BET! 😱😜

BET Article - This mom is Competing in Fitness Competitions After Stunning 150 lb Weight Loss

Things have been extremely crazy this past week. After my stage photo going viral and the BET article... I have been getting lots of messages from family, friends, and fit fam saying they were scrolling through facebook and spotted me somewhere....

Rickey SmilelyFormally Obese Mom Competes In Fitness Competitions After Whopping 150lb Weight Loss

D.L. HughleyFormally Obese Mom Competes In Fitness Competitions After Whopping 150lb Weight Loss

Muscle MadnessKatie Bolden lost 150 pounds in 4 years and here is her motivation

to name a few.... 😱😱😱😱😱

This brings me to one last thank you on my list....

Thank you to EVERYONE who has been sharing that photo that I posted and found motivation and inspiration with it. I had no idea it would get the amazing response that it has. I haven't been paying attention to any of the negative, rude, and ignorant comments on other pages that I have been hearing about. Thank you to those that have stood up for me. Bless your heart! I rarely ever read comments outside of Huff 'n Puff to Buff 'n Tough blog and social media for that exact reason. 😌 #mentalhealth #hatersgonnahate

Thank you to everyone that has been writing articles about me, shared the posts, etc. Thank you for finding me inspiring, motivating, and interesting enough to write about and share my story. 😊 I still can't believe this and I need someone to pinch me right now to make sure I'm not asleep and dreaming. I've been happy crying for days on end! I am so humbled by all of this and blessed. I appreciate every single positive and uplifting person out there! My heart is so full right now! It's not always easy sharing my story and journey with tons of people, but it's always worth it when one person says, "because of you, I'm not giving up" and "because of you, I have hope again" whether they are talking about weight loss, health, life in general..... doesn't matter.... it means a lot to me! Thank you to all for making it totally worthwhile.  

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Such an inspiration!! I hope you know how AWESOME you are and how Proud you should be of yourself!! Here's to London. Will be praying that you raise more than enough funds. Definitely plan to support. Take care and thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thank you! :) I appreciate that! I have already come to the conclusion though that I won't be able to make it due to financial reasons. I just can't afford it and won't be raising enough on time as things need to be planned now. I will be making that announcement later on today as well as the announcement to take break for a bit. Thank you for your support though. It means the world to me.