After years of food addiction, record-breaking strongwoman Tamara Walcott says powerlifting ‘saved me from myself’

After years of food addiction, record-breaking strongwoman Tamara Walcott says powerlifting 'saved me from myself'
As she took in the scene, Walcott’s competitive spirit willed her to try for herself. Soon after, she had a weight resting on her right back and was getting ready to perform her first ever squat.
The spark was instant.
“When I felt that weight on my back, the first squat… I just fell in love because I was doing it for me personally, ” says Walcott.
This was in 2017, and at the time, Walcott had already been dumbbell training for per year in a desperate attempt to lose weight. After having kids and going through a divorce, she weighed 415 pounds and was routinely binge eating late into the night.
The dumbbell training and healthier eating habits had already seen her lose 100 pounds, but powerlifting became Walcott’s salvation at a time when her mental health had deteriorated badly.
“Powerlifting saved my life, ” Walcott tells CNN Sport . “It saved me from myself, saved me from food addiction; it had been my therapy, it saved me from depression, and it changed my life. ”
The private, deep-rooted significance powerlifting assumed in her life perhaps goes some way to explaining Walcott’s success in the sport.
In July, she broke the planet Raw Powerlifting Federation (WRPF) record for the heaviest cumulative lift for bench/squat and press, registering a total of 1, 620. 4 pounds in the squat, bench press and deadlift at the American Pro competition in Virginia.
In the same competition, Walcott broke her own WRPF deadlift record with a weight of 639 pounds. Put into perspective, that’s roughly the weight of a Dexter cow or a baby grand piano.
But years before she might even contemplate lifting those weights, Walcott had to find a way to become accepted into the male-dominated world of powerlifting.
Walcott took up powerlifting in 2017 and started competing in 2018.

When she first took up the activity, she would regularly be the only woman in the weight room, sometimes the subject of side-glances and snickers.
“I keep in mind guys telling myself: ‘Don’t bench because women shouldn’t along with. It’s going to change exactly how your chest is definitely, so you shouldn’t counter, ‘” says Walcott.
“I could hear people saying I was not doing it right. I remember hearing one person say: ‘Why is she this website and not on the home treadmill? ‘… I trapped to it and just type of kept going. inch
Today, however , Walcott provides noticed a shift in attitude plus says women are usually “taking the powerlifting community by thunderstorm. ” She started Women in Powerlifting in March this year, an organization dedicated to improving female participation within the sport and removing the negative stereotypes around women powerlifters.
For Walcott, who goes by the moniker ” plus-size fitness queen ” on social networking, empowering other women to take up the sport is one of the girl chief aspirations.
“It’s why I use my hoops, exactly why I wear our lashes, why I actually wear my jewellery when I lift, ” she says. “Sometimes, I wear lip stick — because that it is okay to be beautiful, it’s okay to be sexy, it’s okay to be a woman plus lift heavy.
“To other women, I would inform them to do whatever it really is that you want to do — walk into the gym, bought it. It’s given myself so much more confidence. inch

‘Pure dedication’

An important female figure continues to inspire Walcott’s very own powerlifting career.
Her grandmother, a recipient on the Caribbean Island of St . Croix where Walcott were raised, passed away in 2019, and Walcott gets emotional when keeping in mind her grandmother’s larger-than-life spirit and open-armed generosity.
“When the lady cooked pots, this wasn’t small cooking pots of foods. It had been like she’s giving the whole community, ” says Walcott.
Throughout the girl powerlifting career, she gets drawn strength from her grandmother’s storage, using it as energy during her the majority of challenging moments.
“I was chasing deadlifting 496 pounds meant for like a year, I couldn’t break this, ” Walcott recalls. “And then a few months after she exceeded, I broke it by channeling her energy, saying: ‘I’m going to do this to suit your needs, ‘ you know? And I was able to lock it out finally.
“I remember just getting full of emotion. I used to be crying in the fitness center. Everyone was looking at myself at that moment — everybody was cheering, everyone was clapping… It’s almost like she is given me the girl energy or something, I don’t know how to explain it. ”
The particular impact powerlifting has had on Walcott’s life has been wide-ranging, giving her purpose and self-confidence when the girl needed it many.
Central to that has been her changed romantic relationship with food and more healthy eating habits.
“I’ll become completely honest — is my foods addiction gone? Simply no, I just traded it out for one other issue, ” she points out.
“Early on, after i first started lifting and training, I recall late at night I used to binge eat while i was heavier, and I said to myself: ‘You know what? When I begin having these cravings, I’m going to get lower and do 20 pushups or 20 situps, or I’m going to go drink a large glass of water. ‘”
Walcott’s new lifestyle also involves drinking a gallon (about four. 5 liters) associated with water a day plus ensuring she gets sufficient sleep every night — which can be hard when balancing workouts with childcare and also a full-time job within real estate.
It occasionally means resorting in order to late-night gym sessions — feasibly completing close to midnight — and catching up on sleep at any free of charge opportunity. Walcott has even tinted her car windows to help get precious shuteye during the day.
“I make it work, ” she states. “Motivation has passed away a long time ago for me. All of this right now, it’s genuine dedication. ”
Walcott perfoms a deadlift during competition.


Walcott today plans to take a break from competitive lifting. She struggled along with arthritis in the girl knees earlier this year — to the point where the girl could barely squat and was reduced to hobbling down and up stairs just days before her record-breaking lifts in Come july 1st.
She talks about maybe competing at an international event at the end of the coming year, but for now is devoted to her “My Strength is My Sexy” gym tour, where she is sharing the girl powerlifting journey at gyms across the US.
That’s not to say she’s lost sight associated with her competitive goals. She’s spoken to her coach, Daniel Sibel, about the goal of lifting “747” — a 700-pound lift, 400-pound bench push and 700-pound deadlift.
“Don’t that sound great? ” says Walcott. “I’m a big manifester; I am big on putting things in to the atmosphere, just letting it grow and saying it out loud. inch
Setting — and surpassing — her own goals has been Walcott’s style ever since she initial walked into a powerlifting gym five years ago. She never looks at who else can be on the roster with competitions and hates being told how weighty a bar is before attempting a lift.
“I don’t want to listen to all that, it’ll psych me out, ” says Walcott. The lady competes for himself, all her drive coming from within.
“Right now, it’s simply me versus me, ” she says. “I’m challenging me personally to be better everyday — I think I really like that aspect of this. ”