Daphne Dougé-Espinal

Aids Health Foundation

I began struggling with my weight after giving birth to my daughter. The balancing act of work, being a new wife and mom, and also failing to pay attention to what I ate, finally took its toll on me. It wasn’t just physical, but also mental and emotional. After several years of an out of control and undisciplined lifestyle, I knew I needed to do something to get my life in order. I chose to start with my body. I couldn’t believe how much weight I’d gained and I hid who I was behind it. A person who was once confident, believing she could achieve whatever her heart desired, was now feeling insecure. Again, I wasn’t only feeling this way physically; it bled into other areas of my life as well.

I started going to the gym but I wasn’t dropping the weight as quickly as I thought I would, which was odd since I was no stranger to that atmosphere. When I was in my early twenties, I went consistently and immediately saw results. This time around in my late thirties, I was going for almost a year and no changes. So I tried a fad diet and saw some results, but I looked “skinny fat”. You know….when you look great in clothes, but once the clothes come off, everything else falls. I realized there were factors in my life that I didn’t have when I was much younger, factors that can affect one physically. Many of those factors were stress related.

While looking to hire a personal trainer to help me reach my goals effectively, I came across a fitness competitor on social media and an advertisement about training to “look” like one. To make a long story short, I went from wanting to lose weight to, after much internal debate (more like fear), making a decision to take it to the next level. What better way to stay focussed on transformation and also challenge myself than by signing up for a fitness competition?web-Daphne-9166

Along with weight training, nutrition played a huge part in my transformation. And believe it or not, so did getting plenty of rest. Training for a competition challenged me on so many levels. It kept me motivated and serious about obtaining my goal. The physical aspect was pretty easy. I was able to stick to the diet and fitness program. It was the emotional and mental part that was challenging for me. I had to make sure I stayed the course even when “life” happened.
When I finally got on stage for the first time in April of 2014, I placed 2nd in the Bikini Masters Division! It was the most rewarding feeling in the world. After that moment, I knew my life could no longer be ordinary. It was time to be extraordinary!

I’ve competed again since then and will be competing this year, with high hopes to obtain my pro card. But the most valuable thing I’ve acquired from competing is having the passion to help other women not only transform their bodies, but to transform their mindsets. I’m so excited to be launching Lift Brooklyn this Spring and taking “personal” training to a new level!

For more information please visit Lift Brooklyn at

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