Since my fitness journey has been very public, I want to have a real talk moment with you. I have used facebook as a platform to share my weight loss journey with people, and so I figured I would update you.This was a very hard post to write. In fact I am not sure it was the right decision to make this post. I am still going through a lot of soul searching with competing. I’m sure some of you want to know what life has been like since competing right? The last two weeks (although fun! Getting to eat so many foods that I have wanted since prepping) have been very uncomfortable for me. I have struggled to find the words to use to share how I feel and what is going on with me. I am going to do my best. The second photo you see below, yea I do not look like that, not even close. In fact it was gone within two weeks. Now I face the journey of being okay with that. I am making this post because I do not want my followers to ever think that looking the way I did on my competition day is something that is maneagable for the average woman on a daily basis. Not even close. I have way to many people reaching out to me asking how they can look like that and that is how they want to look… and I have to break the bad news… I don’t look like that anymore, and you wont look like that every day even on your fittest hour. In that second photo I was 13.5 % body fat (maybe lower), had very little water that day, and had been eating a very high protein and lower carbohydrate diet for 5 months. I consumed very little sodium and almost 0 sugar (that includes fruit! I had some blueberries but that was it). I never got sick, because I took my vitamins religiously, and drank Shakeology daily (I am shocked I did not get sick). I also lost my period 2 months before this shot was taken. Clearly my body was not in a normal state. Keep reading.
The second photo in this before and after is probably more so what I can maintain and manage.
I eat healthy 80-90% of the time. I am a clean eater based on habit. We took a family vacation to Florida and then our trip to Puerto Rico. I decided that I would just eat a normal balanced diet leading up to Puerto Rico, and then I would enjoy myself in Puerto Rico. I had these ideas that I would reverse diet (slowly lifting calories and carbs to maintenance so that my body would not retain a ton of water weight) in Florida and Puerto Rico, but I just wanted to relax and enjoy food with my family without thinking about all of the carbs and calories I needed to count. By the time we hit the Florida border I was burnt out on trying to keep up with it all, so I threw in the towel and hit my maintenance calories. I FELT FREAKING AMAZING! SO MUCH ENERGY!!!! I COULD FINALLY THROW MY DAUGHTER IN THE AIR AND WRESTLE HER ON THE FLOOR. While in Florida I could tell that I was gaining a little bloat, but nothing to alarming. I could still see my definition, but my belly was poking out a bit. My diet was very similar to my competition prep diet, however I added tons more fruit, and two- three more servings of complex carbs. I would have a couple of bigger meals here and there, but I worked out hard in the gym every day no matter what!
I am fighting to find the proper words for what I am going through!! Is it called a rebound? Is it all mental? Let me pre- face all of this with: I worked my ass off. Lets be real. To step on stage I gave it blood, sweat and tears. To look the way I did took some serious sacrifice, but SORRY FOLKS (AND I SAY THIS WITH TEARS IN MY EYES) looking that way is not possible all the time. I refused to diet on my trip with my husband. I worked out every single day, but I refused to diet! I ate clean 80% of the time, but during the evening I enjoyed myself and my husband. We ate delicious meals (but never gorged, just got full) and enjoyed a few drinks here and there. Within 2 days of my trip I saw a few photos of myself and realized that my body had ballooned abnormally. My stomach, my thighs, my arms were larger than they were before I started to prep for my competition. My ankles were bloated! I felt so un-comfortable and sadly none of my clothes fit, not even my pre competition prep clothes! I made the fail mistake of doing some measurements and behold … I had gained inches on top of what I was before I started to prep! I had to take a trip to a store to purchase clothes that I could actually wear. I was devestated and I cried. I sat int he bathroom and stared at my stomach for 20 minutes and asked myself “where on earth did my abs go?” The thoughts running through my head were negative, mean, self loathing. I called myself words that I would never call someone else. I called myself words that I would never call myself. Even when I was 200 lbs, the words I used on myself this last week… never even crossed my mind. I had become to hard on myself, and so self critical through my competition prep that I have found a way to completely hate on my body! I had some very long chats with Eric and my coach. They both told me that clearly I am mentally not prepared for this.
Eric and my coach both told me that I look awesome and healthy! And ya know what!?!? I do!! But I got so hooked on the way I looked before my competition, anything “fuller” than that seemed “over weight.” I know that the thoughts that are going through my head are totally unhealthy and un realistic, and that I need to get it under control! I loved my body more when I was 180, than I do right now, and I know I am no where near that weight. This isn’t a matter of actual weight gain, this is a matter of my mental state… something isn’t right! After staring at Bikini competitors for so long on Instagram and YOUTUBE (mostly studying their posing), I had grown this idea that the ideal image of a woman is that of a Bikini competitor! Before competing my ideal image of a woman was curvy, healthy, and toned! Clearly something in my mind had changed.
Up until last week I was so certain that I was going to compete again right away but I am not certain I can handle the roller coaster that my mind and body is going through. I clearly could not maintain what I had done with my body, and the mental strength to be okay with the changes may not be there. In order for me to balance my business, and a healthy relationship with my family… I cannot put in 2 hours a day at the gym, and diet that hard! Besides that I WAS JUST DAMN SICK OF BEING ON A DIET AFTER TWO YEARS OF DIETING OFF AND ON, I WAS JUST BURNT OUT!! I needed a mental and physical break. I just wanted to maintain and be healthy.
I sacrificed time, energy, and I kicked my own ass to look like that. I had hoped that I would at least keep some of the progress I had made! I mean I had lost 60 lbs before this and kept it off no problem! But this… this is different. The weight I gained isn’t exactly fat…it is mostly water. There is no possible way I gained all of that fat back within weeks. You need to consume 3,500 calories on top of your calories to gain 1 lb! I know for a fact that leading up to Puerto Rico I was under my maintenance calories! My stomach has shrunk and I could barely fit 1500 calories of clean food in a day. So what gives? I researched and researched and found a bit on water retention post low carb dieting. It is water being added between my skin and my muscles. When you are on a much lower carbohydrate diet and you add carbohydrates back in suddenly, your body retains fluids. Your body has no clue what to do with all of those carbohydrates and in an effort to metabolize, water is retained. I am not certain I completely understand the science behind it all, but it doesn’t exactly make me happy. I also consume a lot more sodium and natural sugars now, and after being so stripped of these things for so long, by body went into complete shock!
I don’t really know what to do or the path I want to take. I’ll tell you this much, I am burnt out on dieting! I do not want to exist another day in a calorie deficit. It is exhausting (especially keeping up with a toddler and thriving business). I toyed with the idea of getting back on my competition prep diet, but I do not want to go through the rebound again! I want to be able to maintain a toned, lean, healthy body and not have to worry about ballooning, retaining a ton of water, and feeling like my stomach is going to break open my pants.
So that is where I am at with all of this. My plan is to find balance. To get to a point that I can maintain a healthy fit body and get back to not being so dang bloated and puffed up all the time! I saw tons posts on Instagram about being post competition “fluffy”, and I never really understood it until now. I am def “fluffy” and my goal is to get to a point where I am not “fluffy” (I am guessing fluffy means bloating and holding a lot of water). I go back and forth on whether or not competing is for me. I loved it while I was going through the actual competition, but the after math is not something I ever want to go through again. I am hell bent on finding a way to not have to go through this again, and if means not competing again, then so be it! One thing is for sure, I never want my daughter to think about her body the way I have been these last few weeks, so this has to stop now! I need to set the right example for her and for my following! Even if I am not gaining any weight, the fact that I am so obsessed with the idea of it is plain WRONG and I need to work on that.
I need to be okay with my post competition body/off season body if I am going to ever compete again, and that is what I need to work out right now. My relationship with food is all out of wack, and my relationship with my body is bad. I am hiding from the camera and that is clearly WRONG! I can’t live like that, and its not healthy. I have some soul searching to do before I decide to enter this sport again. I loved my body more in the first photo than I do in the second as of lately and something is very wrong with that.
I clearly need to practice what I preach.