My name is Gwenn Stratton. I grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire, and now live in Hudson, New Hampshire. I am a Sr. Planner/Buyer for a company based in Massachusetts. I am 30 years of age, 5'6", and I weigh 117 lbs.
I began making fitness a priority, when I was 20 years old. In my senior year of High School, I developed an eating disorder, anorexia. I had always been thin, but once my senior year of High School hit, my lack of physical activity, and love of sweets started to catch up with me. I was by no means overweight, but this was the time I was really starting to become aware of my body. The eating disorder started out as a diet (I wanted to lose a little weight for my Senior Prom), but then it took on a life of its own. When the people I loved starting showing concern about my unhealthy appearance, I knew I needed to pull myself out of this dark place, and start living again.
The first step was to identify the reason behind my descent, into anorexia. I began to understand that the eating disorder was a result of my perfectionism and my insatiable drive. I was brought up with the mentality, that "if you aren't bleeding, you aren't working hard enough". I knew I had to modify and redirect this behavior in a healthier direction. I began working out, as a healthier outlet. I educated myself on the importance of proper diet, and the negative consequences of overtraining and over dieting. Once I began learning how important food and exercise was, in order to build a strong healthy physique, I was able to move away from the anorexia, and focus on the rewards achieved, from leading a fit lifestyle.
Fast forward 10 years, and I am, healthy in body, mind, and spirit. I am still a perfectionist, but I understand that I can never be perfect. Instead, I look at life as a constant challenge. I always try to take my workouts to the next level, and push myself to achieve more. I now understand that I do not need to be the "Best", I only need to be the "best me" I can be.
I started competing in 2004, because I wanted to take my healthy lifestyle to the next level. Stepping on stage was a HUGE step for me. I am very insecure, when I am put in situations where all eyes are on me. But, I am an avid believer in embracing your fears and overcoming them.
This is one fear, I have definitely conquered!
To prepare for my first show, I was directed to Cathy Savage, for competition preparation. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would make such amazing friendships and memories, with all the girls coached by Cathy. I went into competing, thinking it was about the competition, but I came out of it, realizing it is about the journey leading to the competitions. All of these girls, in these competitions, are my teammates and friends, and I am so fortunate to have them in my life!
I competed for the first time, last year, in the Fitness Atlantic pageant, in Bikini America, and placed 8th.
I just competed in the Fitness South Beach pageant, in Bikini America, and placed 6th.
I work out with weights, 5 days a week, working one body part a week.
Monday - Back
I also practice yoga 2-3 times a week. I do a minimal amount of cardio vascular exercise, because I have the tendency to get too lean, and I train abs every day.
This year I plan on competing in Fitness Atlantic (April 23), Bikini America, Pittsburgh, PA (May 28), Bikini Universe (June 23 - 26), and Miss Bikini America, New York (August 20). Because I have the wisdom, and guidance of Cathy Savage, I know this year will be phenomenal even if I don't place! It is all about the people you meet, and the lifelong relationships you make, that make these competitions great!