Vicki Roberts’s insides are unrecognizable from a year ago.

“I was like the girl that looked like she had it all together but I was like an absolute mess on the inside. I didn’t believe that I was a beautiful person, believe that I deserved good things,” she said. “Every weekend was the same: work, booze, poor food choices and minimal sleep. What I didn’t realize was I was making things worse and if I didn’t love myself then no one else would either.”

Ms. Roberts went into “a tailspin” when she and her husband separated and when her panic attacks and anxiety increased. The days were darkest when she didn’t have her kids – aged 16, 13 and 9 – and she would try to drink her stresses away.

“I was drowning my sorrows or whatever you want to call it with alcohol and I realized that wasn’t any way to be dealing with things. And if I didn’t want to ever lose my relationship with my children and if I wanted to be a role model for them to look up to, I needed to make some way smarter choices,” she said.

With those goals in mind, and with some added incentive from a weight-loss challenge with her coworkers at Horsethief Creek Pub and Eatery, she committed to doing better and signed up for a fitness competition.

With a lot of determination, along with support from her trainer, family and friends, Ms. Roberts lost 70 pounds in eleven months, developed loads of new muscles, went for counselling, read self-help materials and weaned herself off her medication.

While she said she used to yell at her children and lose her temper when she was frustrated, she’s become much calmer.

“I don’t lose my mind, and I don’t lose my cool anymore. I feel much more put together and grounded,” she said.

Her children agree and say their mom is in much better spirits these days.

Ms. Roberts also feels strong and capable. In November, the 39-year-old placed 5th in an International Drug Free Athletics fitness model competition in Calgary.

“It feels incredible. I still feel like I’m on cloud nine,” she said about her experience in the competition. “Now I feel really confident – and it’s not because I’ve lost all this weight and I have this like supermodel body or anything like that – but I feel confident and strong because I know that I’ve set goals and I’ve reached them and that I’m proving not only to myself but to others that if you set goals and work hard and ask for help that anything’s attainable.”

Now that she believes she can do whatever she sets her mind to, she’s asking even more from herself and will continue training five days a week to prepare for another fitness competition in the spring.

“I plan to build more muscle and sculpt my body even more. I want to become even stronger than I am today,” she said. “My transformation has not only changed my body, but it has made me much stronger mentally as well. It has made me realize my worth.”

And because of this new kindness she’s found for herself, she feels like she can be a better mom, coworker and friend.

At the dinner table she asked her children how they feel about her changes.

Katelyn, 13, told her: “It makes me proud, mom, that you don’t drink booze as much and to see how far you’ve come with changing how your body looks. And you seem happier. When you competed in Calgary, it made me feel very lucky to have such a positive role model in my life.”

With her fitness, family and self-care goals achieved, Ms. Roberts hopes to inspire others with her story.

“I’m just an average person,” she said, adding that she’s a single mom, who works full time and has a busy schedule, but that she was still able to build a much happier and healthier life.

“When you set your mind to something and want to make healthy changes, it can be done. It’s hard work but it can be done,” she said. “Don’t ever short yourself. You’re worth every cent or minute of time you put into yourself.”