Tamara Walcott: After years of food addiction, record-breaking strong woman says weightlifting 'saved me from myself'

Tamara Walcott: After years of food addiction, record-breaking strong woman says weightlifting ‘saved me from myself’

When she entered the scene, Walcott’s competitive spirit wanted her to try herself. Soon, she had a weight resting on her back and was preparing to perform her first ever squat.

The spark was instant.

“When I felt that weight on my back, my first squat…I just fell in love because you were doing it for me,” Walcott says.

This was 2017, and at the time, Walcott had already been training with dumbbells for a year in a desperate attempt to lose weight. After having children and a divorce, she weighed 415 pounds and was routinely feeding late at night.

Dumbbell training and healthy eating habits had already made her lose 100 pounds, but weightlifting became Walcott’s salvation at a time when her mental health had deteriorated badly.

‘Powerlifting has saved my life,’ says Walcott. CNN Sport. “It saved me from myself, it saved me from food addiction; it was my therapy, it saved me from depression, and it changed my life.”

Perhaps the special, rooted importance of weightlifting in her life somehow explains Walcott’s success in the sport.

In July, she broke the WRPF world record for heaviest cumulative bench/squat and press lift, 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 at 639 lbs. Keep in mind, this is roughly the weight of a coil dexter cow Or a baby grand piano.

But years before even considering lifting those weights, Walcott had to find a way to become acceptable in the male-dominated world of weightlifting.

When she first started exercising, she was regularly the only woman in the weight room, occasionally the subject of side looks and sneakers.

“I remember men saying to me, ‘Don’t sit down because women don’t have to sit on the bench,'” Walcott says. It will change the shape of your chest, so you shouldn’t be sitting on the bench.”

“I could hear people saying I didn’t do it right. I remember hearing someone say, ‘Why is she here and not on the treadmill?’ “…I stuck to it and kept moving forward.”

However, Today Walcott notes a shift in attitudes and says that women are “taking the weightlifting community by storm.” She founded Women in Weight Lifting in March of this year, an organization dedicated to increasing female participation in sports and removing negative stereotypes about female weightlifters.

For Walcott, who uses the surname “Plus Size Fitness QueenOn social media, empowering other women to exercise is one of her main aspirations.

“That’s why I wear my collars, why I wear my eyelashes, and why I wear my jewelry when I lift,” she says. “Sometimes, I put on lipstick—because it’s okay to be beautiful, it’s okay to be sexy, and it’s okay to be a woman and carry heavy weight.

“For other women, I would tell them to do what you want to do – go to the gym, own it. It gave me more confidence.”

“pure dedication”

An influential female figure continues to inspire Walcott’s weightlifting career.

Her grandmother, a cook on the Caribbean island of St. Croix where Walcott grew up, passed away in 2019, and Walcott becomes emotional as she recalls her grandmother’s lifelong spirit and open generosity.

“When she was cooking pots, it wasn’t little pots of food,” Walcott says. “It was like she was feeding the whole community.”

Karenjeet Kaur Bains Power Lifter

Throughout her weightlifting career, she drew strength from her grandmother’s memory, and used it as fuel during her most challenging moments.

“I’ve been chasing 496 pounds for about a year, and I just couldn’t break it,” Walcott recalls. Two months after her death, she broke it by channeling her energy, saying, ‘I’m going to do this for you,’ you know? And she was finally able to shut it down.

“I remember being full of emotion. I was crying in the gym. Everyone was looking at me in that moment – everyone was cheering, everyone was clapping… It’s almost like she gave me her energy or something, I don’t. . I do not know how to explain this “.

The impact of weightlifting on Walcott’s life was extensive, giving her purpose and self-confidence when she needed it most.

Tom Stoltman uses

Central to this was her changing relationship to food and healthy eating habits.

“I’ll be totally honest — has my food addiction gone? No, I’ve replaced that with something else,” she explains.

“Early on, when I first started lifting and training, I remember late at night binge eating when I was heavier, and said to myself, ‘You know? When I start feeling those cravings, I’ll go down and do 20 pushups or 20 sit-ups, or I’ll go for a big glass of water. “

Walcott’s new lifestyle also includes drinking a gallon (about 4.5 liters) of water a day and making sure she gets enough sleep every night – which can be difficult when balancing workouts, childcare and full-time work in real estate.

Sometimes that means turning to your late-night gym sessions—finishing it close to midnight—and enjoying sleep at any free opportunity. Walcott even tinted her car windows to help get some precious daytime rest.

“I make it work,” she says. “Motivation died a long time ago for me. All this now, it’s pure dedication.”

Walcott makes a deadly leap during the competition.


Walcott is now planning to take a break from competitive lifting. She suffered from osteoarthritis in her knees earlier this year – so much so that she was barely able to squat and switched up and down stairs just weeks before she set records in July.

She talks about possibly competing in an international event at the end of next year, but is now committed to her “My Strength is My Excitement” athletic tour, where she shares her weightlifting journey in gyms across the United States.

This does not mean that they have lost sight of their competitive goals. She spoke to her trainer, Daniel Fox, about the goal of the “747” lift—the 700-pound squat, the 400-pound bench press and the 700-pound deadlift.

“Doesn’t this look good?” Walcott says. “I’m a big Manifest; I’m big at putting things in the air, just let it grow and say it out loud.”

Setting her own goals — and exceeding them — has been Walcott’s style since she first entered a weightlifting gym five years ago. She’s never looked at who else is on the roster at competitions and hates being told how heavy a bar is before trying to lift it.

“I don’t want to hear all that, it’s going to bother me,” Walcott says. She’s competing for herself, all her motivation comes from within.

“Right now, it’s just me versus me,” she says. “I challenge myself to be better every day – I think I like that aspect of it.”

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