My Journey to Fitness & Health

By Jessica Gilmartin

The BeautyBlog

For the majority of my life I struggled with being overweight and being the “bigger girlfriend” of other, slimmer women, but when I found myself staring at 268 pounds on the scale, I knew things had to change. I needed not only to become healthy mentally, in terms of the way I saw and treated myself, but also to look better, physically. Never had I dreamed that I would find myself in such an unhealthy state and further from my goals and aspirations before I read that number on the scale.

It was gut-wrenching, terrifying and numbing. My first response was to drown my sorrows in the comfort of food.

What changed for me? After I made myself sick with food, there was a moment. I remember holding my then-year-old daughter, feeling that I had so much more to live for other than myself. That was when I set a long-term goal to compete in a physique contest by the age of 30, which was then three years away.

My passion and desire to compete went back to my teenage years. From the first time I picked up a copy of Oxygen with Monica Brant on the cover, I knew that my athletic body, while considered fat by my peers due to the popularity of Calvin Klein models, was definitely capable of becoming fit and muscular. Back then, the only divisions for women were bodybuilding and fitness, and while I desired the aesthetic look, I couldn’t comprehend or commit to the lifestyle. I was scared of being different or not looking feminine enough.

After you have a child, all your other cares seem to slip away, and you begin to care about being a healthy and positive example. That’s what gave me my motivation and strength—knowing that loving myself and living my passion to the fullest was the best way I could provide a positive role model for my little girl.

Flash-forward three years, and I was onstage in front of hundreds of people at the 2013 NPC Emerald Cup, produced by Elaine and Brad Craig. Many saw my body onstage that night and mocked me. They said I had no right to be there, but, then, they had no clue as to my journey. The best part of the shows run by Brad and Elaine is their compassion and love for anyone who has worked hard to step onstage. In recognition, they give an Inspiration Award every year, and in 2013 I was one of the recipients and was able to share my story with a packed house. It was nothing short of magical and a huge turning point in my life.

Some say I’m a hero or that I am brave for doing what I did, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as a step forward toward influencing other women and men to believe in themselves and become the best version of themselves that they can be.

After my show, I found myself dealing with many health issues and metabolic damage, so I set out to find a healthy balance to life before I started another contest prep. My biggest long-term goal was to put on muscle and increase my metabolic capacity so I could compete again. At the time of this writing, I am 12 weeks out from my next show, the Ironman Naturally on October 1. During those weeks, I’ll be sharing my journey back to the stage with exclusive training, recipes, vlogs, and day-of-show footage and photos. I am excited to share this journey exclusively here on And I hope it inspires someone else to begin a journey of their own.

Meet the Author:  Jessica Gilmartin is a beauty vlogger, fitness advocate, and online weight-loss coach. With more than 10 years experience as a makeup artist, she has worked alongside photographers in the modeling industry as well as for Lancome. It is her passion to make women feel good from the inside out—from their health to their beauty—as she teaches a healthful and realistic approach to losing weight as well as techniques for coping with life.

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