Beauty On The Beach: Filiz McNamara, IPL’S Newest Evening Gown Pro!
INTERVIEW BY BEN YOSEF | IMAGES BY MICHAEL BROOKS
Filiz’s final fantastic finish at the 2019 IPL Sunshine State Championship On April 13th in Daytona Beach, Florida was in Evening Gown Open. To recap…Filiz had already competed in two divisions. Bikini Novice, where she placed a very respectable 2nd in a tough lineup. Then Fitness Angels Open, where she earned her first Pro Card of the day.
Finally, it was Evening Gown Open. Another very tough lineup. However, Filiz was spot on, landing in 1st place, earning her second IPL Pro Card. Filiz and her gown were so stunning that both appeared on the front cover of SEAM Magazine shortly after the contest. How is that for an IPL competition debut!?!
BEN YOSEF: Congrats on your performance at the IPL Sunshine State Championship! You were amazing! How are you feeling about how you did?
FILIZ MCNAMARA: It is much harder to walk on stage than most of us imagine! I could have practiced and represented myself better, but I am very honored and proud. I am blown away by how this program was so effective and easy to track! I have digestive issues, pain and illness most of the time. I had lost so much control over my health in 2017 and 2018. I was nervous about committing to this contest and I needed a lot of help. I saw Jennifer Micheli post about the program and I said maybe this is it! I personally did not walk on the stage to win. I just wanted to be there with others! I needed motivation, support and to feel good again. I do feel absolutely beautiful and proud!
BEN: Wow, I did not know about the challenges you faced heading into the show. What were the things that you struggled with health-wise, and what would you say are the main changes that you made to overcome them?
FILIZ: I have Ulcerative Colitis and beginning stage of Crohn’s. For over three years I have battled to find what medication will work. I have tried different things with my kitchen routines to find the real cause or the trigger for the inflammation. Many doctors don’t believe food has any connection, yet I am very much a believer that food is medicine.
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My husband and I lost five babies over the years. And last year while I was sick we lost our baby boy “Atlas.” It was the toughest year yet, but I got stronger.
I became Ovo-Vegetarian, took fresh vegetables and fruits out of my lifestyle and no seeds or nuts. This made my house like a real laboratory to understand food. I also decided to go to school to learn nutrition and took classes online about Holistic Nutrition to become Nutritionist.
It was very hard, yet I was seeing the difference between who I wanted to become and who I was! I appreciate you asking these questions because it is funny…I went through this and forgot. I did not give myself credit for this huge fight.
Jennifer Micheli is one great leader. She knew my struggle. The simplicity of her approach is so clean! “Yes you can do it”, was enough for me to get brave enough to sign up for the challenge.
I stayed on my plan 100% and promised to follow every little detail. It was me vs me. I wanted to show everyone that this can be done with good nutrition! I messaged Jen I believe at the tenth week. I was having a flare-up and pain very heavily. I said, “Sadly I am not sure if I can walk on stage. My belly is hurting so much and the flare-up is absolutely terrible. I don’t know if I can push the last 5-6 weeks.” Her message was so short, I remember. “Filiz, you got this. You don’t have to walk on stage, but you are not stopping this!”
Overall, my real WHY is I promised myself my 40’s will look good on me. I will not hurt everyday anymore!
“I am absolutely feeling great! I had a very new experience with this journey.”
BEN: Such an amazing story! I am so proud of you! It has now been about three months since the show. How are you feeling today?
FILIZ: I am absolutely feeling great! I had a very new experience with this journey. I stuck with my nutrition and did not get back to my old habits. I kept my toned body and can see a huge difference with my progress. I was very much excited to join the next IPL contest, but I had an opportunity to open up a new business that I am building with my team and will join back with a better version of me!
BEN: Well, the IPL stage will certainly miss you. And I look forward to seeing you back up there! Thank you so much for this candid interview and congrats again on your success and landing the cover of SEAM. You are very inspirational. Any final thoughts?
FILIZ: IPL has been an incredible experience. I recommend and encourage everyone to have this beautiful journey to get the best out of themselves. Me vs Me has been one great way to find a better version of myself. Thank you for being who you are, Ben. And allowing us to feel absolutely great! You and your company are the best thing to ever happen to me! SEAM