A 10 minute read.

I was physically, mentally, and emotionally burned out.

The nonstop pursuit of a perfect body and greater business had caught up to me…

I had packed on an uncomfortable amount of weight (almost 30 lbs). My anxiety was through the roof, and body dysmorphia was my constant, cruel companion.

In 2019, I was at my heaviest weight and my lowest point of mental health… 

My struggles seeped into every corner of my life, forcing me to make painful choices between living expenses and business operations…

I was drowning…

But… fast-forward to the end of 2020, and the tide had turned.

Meals of Dopeness hit its first $100k year.

I had more clients than ever, my mental health was improving, and I was shedding both physical and mental weight.

How did I escape that dark place, you ask?

It wasn’t pretty…

The journey involved hard-fought mental shifts and an evolution of my perspective that transformed everything.

christina relaxing on the beach

When God Closes a Door, He Opens a Window (Meals of Dopeness)

Our story begins in the summer of 2016. I was laid off on the last weekend of July. 

It was already a scary time, as I was essentially all alone in a big city on the opposite coast of the US. I had just graduated from college and moved from my home in Colorado to begin work in Washington, D.C. 

This was my first big-girl job out of College. 

I was working at a non-profit dedicated to helping small businesses grow through technical assistance, workshops, and networking. 

From the outside, I was winning… 

It was like a dream come true! I was at galas every other week, rubbing elbows with Ambassadors, members of Congress, and other prominent leaders in the Greater Washington area.

christina in front of whitehouse

All my hard work through college seemed to be paying off finally!

But then, suddenly, it was all over…

I had no job… in a big city… with expensive rent. 

It was a crushing blow, but I had to keep going…

So, I explored different avenues, such as waitressing, hosting a high-profile online magazine, teaching soca dance classes, and even tapping back into my barbering bag.

christina dancing soka tribe dance

If it’s one thing I know to do, it’s figure it out!

Through it all, I had been sharing posts online about my fitness journey and started to build a platform.

Funny enough, that very weekend when I was laid off, I saw the first sign of life in that seed that would sprout into find your dopeness, fitness & nutrition coaching,  

With nothing left to hold me back, I plunged head-first into the world of fitness. I doubled down on creating fitness content and worked full-time as a personal trainer at a gym. I was changing the lives and mindsets of DMV professionals.

Finding my Dopeness

My personal training was also where the first seeds of Meals of Dopeness began…

I noticed how much one of my clients was struggling with his nutrition.

We had worked together planning his meal prep on Sundays, but his lack of cooking skills meant he was having trouble executing and making food he actually wanted to eat.

It just so happens that I had provided meal prep for two of my superiors at my last two jobs (I hadn’t realized I was actually on to something), 

So, I offered my client the following option…

Pay for his groceries, and I would cook for him, along with my personal meal prep…

He loved the idea.

Quickly, this became our norm. 

a tired christina is proud of her meals of dopeness

My meal prep was convenient for him, helped him stay consistent, and actually made his goals a little more attainable. 

With consistent proper nutrition, he started seeing EVEN MORE results! He was losing his desired weight, feeling better in his training sessions, and even recovering faster.

Within a few months, I was offering this option to all my clients! 

On May 1st, 2017, I joked on my Snapchat that I was going to start “slanging meals of dopeness.” It was a word play on “find your dopeness,” and the people loved it—both the name and the service.

The Highest Highs and Lowest Lows: Meals of Dopeness and Bodybuilding

In September 2017, I moved to a new apartment with a pretty nice gym and a lovely kitchen. This space allowed me to leave the 2 gyms I was working at and work full-time for myself. (At the time, I didn’t quite see myself as an entrepreneur; I was just trying to pay the bills and was happy to be doing something I enjoyed.) 

I was able to train all my clients at my apartment gym and then go right back upstairs to cook. 

I was a training and cooking MACHINE!

Christina is excited for the huge amount of meals she is going to prepare

Not only was I training others, but I was also training hard myself: I was heavy in the world of bodybuilding, and in October 2017, I competed in my first show. 

Since many of my clients were also bodybuilders, my business was heavily focused on that lifestyle. 

When making my menu, I eventually felt limited in my creative abilities. So, I decided to pivot to making more inclusive food that everyone could enjoy, and once again, I followed my heart. 

My dishes became more elaborate, and my skills increased tenfold. 

Oh, did I mention I was a self-taught chef?? 😏

As I continued to share my journey, my business continued to flourish, both in personal training and meal prep, as well as my body-building pursuits.

I competed in 5 shows within 7 months, from October 2017 to June 2018, winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards, a posing award, and a clothing brand sponsorship.

playing for keeps an winning
Bikini Body Building Woman Holding Sword

I was obsessed. Though it came at a cost…

If you’ve never competed in bodybuilding, let me tell you, it is a grueling process.

You constantly criticize yourself and push yourself to the next level of training, nutrition, and conditioning, and then weight cuts come… 

Cutting down to such a low body fat essentially becomes slow starvation accompanied by repressed hormone levels that make you feel terrible and an ever-growing cloud of mental fog. 

The truth is that competing is an extreme sport and can be extremely unhealthy.  

I was physically, mentally, and emotionally burned out.

By 2019, my weight and anxiety were through the roof. I had returned to my pre-competition weight and then some! (almost 50 lbs up from my stage weight). By now, my body dysmorphia was running rampant.

I struggled to show up for myself.

I hardly wanted to look myself in the mirror, let alone post myself on social media…

This resulted in my content becoming less and less and my business taking a bigger and bigger hit. 

At this point, I was living at my friend’s house and meal-prepping at a rented space in a community kitchen.

My business took such a hit that I was forced to decide whether to pay my rent where I live or where I cook….

By the grace of God, my friend was kind enough to allow me to sometimes pay only $200 in rent so I could continue to run my business.

I had worked so hard to be where I was, so I knew I had to keep on going. 

I was NOT going to give up.

You’ve survived 100% of your toughest days

In 2020, with COVID-19, we actually managed to acquire several contracts to bolster our revenue and keep the business going!

one of the contract jobs that saved meals of dopeness

I was laser-focused on getting my mental health in a better space and prioritizing my health. 

Through sheer determination and a lot of searching for my dopeness, I started to find my groove again in fitness. I was able to find beauty in the journey instead of hyper-focusing on the outcome.

I was losing weight and gaining the will to show up for my business, regardless of how I felt…

That year, Meals of Dopeness hit our first 100k. 

Every year since, we have continued to see revenue growth.

christina stands proud of her meal of dopeness that she prepared.

From that dark time in 2019, I have built confidence and a belief in myself that helps me persevere no matter what comes my way. 

Since then, we’ve made many changes at MoD, both big and small.

I’ve seen many failures, but I have also had some amazing wins. Every day I continue to surprise myself and prove myself wrong. 

I’ve built a life for myself on my own terms. 

My imposter syndrome, though very much still present, has learned to take a back seat on most days. 

No other title explains my life better than “entrepreneur.” 

The challenges have not gotten easier, but I’ve become stronger. 

At the end of the day, none of this would be possible without you.

Whether you’ve supported me since FYD, since we were pick-up only, or just stumbled upon us in 2024… without your continued support, we would not be celebrating our 7 years of dopeness.

Cheers to all the adventures and dopeness that lie ahead. Thank you for being part of our journey and making this first-gen Latina’s dreams come true.

happy christina making salmon cakes

Stay Believing, Stay Strong,  Stay Dope <3

chef dopeness

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Meals of Dopeness