This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by LaLa Dickinson.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I am your everyday mother who was once overweight, 232 lbs 3 years ago, who sought to finally change her life by changing eating habits and lifestyle first. I was tired of yo-yo and fad diets. My health was declining rapidly at a young age. I knew something had to work, I had an understanding of diet and exercise but there was always a missing link.
I made up my mind Dec 31, 2013 that enough was enough and decided to take the plunge, go out my comfort zone and join Bombshell Fitness. Jan 1, 2014 my journey began towards an amazing lifestyle. By fall of 2014 I was down 50 lbs. I wanted to learn more about fitness and nutrition to better help others like myself and enrolled at NASM as a certified Personal Trainer and Sports’ Nutritionist. 2015 I began competing in NPC Bikini Bodybuilding as a self-reward for all the hard work and commitment I put in daily.
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from other people. I do what I do to give others hope, someone real to believe in. Regular everyday men and women like myself who seek to be inspired and motivated by someone like their self whom they can relate too. Those same people motivate me to keep going even on my toughest day. They inspire me to keep reaching for the stars, to break barriers, to prove that our daydreams can become reality.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion - what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
My biggest stumbling block has been living with fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed 3 months after beginning my journey in 2014. I thought all was over after that. I was told I would probably become disabled. I was losing feeling in my hands and feet, legs cramped painfully daily, extreme fatigue, arthritis, you name it, I had every symptom.
Doctors being honest with me, stating that I may need a wheelchair was not the answer I wanted to hear. I began researching and didn’t give up on my new lifestyle. The gym saved my life, it has kept me strong and mobile. My eating and training habits are vital in living daily with fibromyalgia. The more I train, the more I out train my condition.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Self-care is self-love. One must love themselves to realize how important they are. That caring for one’s self is not vain. We all care for ourselves differently physically and mentally but emotionally love is love. Take care of yourself by loving yourself first.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
That women who lift weights become unattractive, we lose our curves, and that we look like men. I say beauty is in the eye of she who beholds muscle. There is an audience or man out there that appreciates a woman with glutes ripe as a peach, a sexy back that that needs no straps, and legs that stop traffic.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
I was once one of those women and through trial and error never lost any weight doing so. Food is key to weight loss. Nutrition counting for maybe 80 percent of your success and training 20 percent. It’s what you eat, the amount, times in which we eat and how your body processes that food for energy.
I love McDonald’s French fries like most but I know that I can’t eat them daily, or even a couple days of the week without consequences. I try not to use the word diet, it gives the wrong impression and leaves no room for error and sets many up for failure. I eat in terms of living healthy and happy. Lastly ladies, when in doubt about what and how to eat to meet your goals, hire a nutritionist or research tips on healthy eating and living.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
That’s still is funny question and a shocker even now. That some women lose their boobs due to weight loss. That was very unexpected for me, no one ever mentioned that.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
I take time off when needed from everything. Spend time with my family and friends. My favorite place to go is the beach when all seems stressful or I am overworked. I enjoy the simple things in life when balance is needed.
How do you stay productive?
My mind is like an overloaded computer. It never shuts off. I bore easily and quickly, always looking for ways to help others, improve my skills, take on a new hobby, new exercises, new discoveries, etc.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
It’s simply a lifestyle dedicated to eating and training to live. My lifestyle is only restricted when in prep for a show. The rest of the year, off season, I eat 70/30, meaning I eat healthy and clean 70 percent of the week and the other 30 percent are treats and food I enjoy with friends and family. I’m a southern girl, I enjoy having my southern comfort foods and eat them without guilt. Everyone deserves a treat on occasion.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
Why didn’t you tell me we would never grow old ;-)
What are your biggest life goals?
To continue what I do and to become better day by day. I hope to have a successful 2017 competition year while meeting some amazing people along the way. The universe has no limits for me right now.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!