Danielle (36)
Stay-At-Home-Mom/Fitness Competitor
Port St. Lucie, Florida

Danielle is a stay-at-home-mom of six children ages 2 through 14 and has been married to her husband Mark for over fifteen years. Danielle’s family moved from the small town of Appleton, WI to Port St. Lucie, Florida earlier this year. In Florida, Danielle has found herself immersed in a culture of toned bodies, exposed skin and impossibly fit women and mothers. Upon arrival she felt overweight, inadequate and embarrassed of her appearance, not wanting to be perceived as a simple Mid-Western housewife. Determined to make a change Danielle lost 30lbs in a matter of weeks and drastically altered all aspects of her lifestyle. She then decided to pursue female fitness competitions and has become an avid competitor. Danielle isn’t looking back: she wants her IFBB pro-card, to open her own gym and to become a personal trainer. Her biggest issue now is she doesn’t know how to not be in training mode. 

Whether training for a show or not, Danielle works out twice a day at the gym and once at home, everyday. While at the gym she works out for 90 minutes in one session; meaning that Danielle will work out up to 3 ½ hours a day, 7 days a week, at three different gyms. Danielle has routinely used diuretics and laxatives to lose weight, which have wreaked havocs on her internal organs--so badly that she needed to go to the hospital. Moreover, Danielle admits to an addictive personality so the extreme temptation to abuse fat burners and steroids are very real for her even though they could have potentially lethal results. 

Danielle’s marriage has been affected by her new fitness mania. Husband Mark doesn’t understand why she is doing what she is doing, what changed for her and what happened to the woman that he married? They hardly see each other which makes raising children and maintaining a marriage difficult. Also, their intimate relationship has all but stopped. Mark and Danielle haven’t been on a date that didn’t end in tears since they came to Florida. The children have also begun to notice that what mom is doing isn’t healthy and they have said as much. Danielle has even started keeping some of the older kids home from school so that they could watch the two year old so that Danielle could go to the gym.

Lastly, Mark is frustrated that they are spending so much of their money on Danielle’s fitness addiction and in return he and the kids come second. They have spent thousands of dollars on entry fees, training, gym memberships, tanning, outfits, hair and makeup, supplements, etc. It’s incredibly draining on a single income family. Also, Danielle hasn’t been able to establish roots in Florida or create a social life for herself. Once other moms realize how intense she is at the gym or how very little free time Danielle has, they are dissuaded from pursuing a friendship. 

What started as a way to gain confidence and a healthier life has turned into a dark, all-controlling addiction that has isolated Danielle. She is a shadow of the mother and wife that she once was and she feels incapable of diverging from her unsustainable fitness routine. She is hypercritical of her body and always imagines herself bigger than she actually is. Her own friends have even refused to keep telling her that she isn’t bloated. Danielle is terrified that if she continues that she might seriously injury herself and won’t be there for what truly matters most in life: her loving husband and her beautiful children who need her.