When I did my first competition I did not journal or diary the road I was on. I believe it was because it was in fact my first competition and I had no idea what to expect or what I was doing. Every single day there was a different “thing” thrown my way. I think most of the experience I wanted to keep between me and me! There was a lot of soul searching that took place during that process. Before I decided to compete I had been dealing with some lingering emotional ties to fried food, beer, and dessert. During my “cheat” meals, I caught myself binge eating! This was something I THOUGHT I had under control, but it was presenting itself on a massive level when I began my preparation for my last show. I felt very deprived from the foods that I wanted (these are things I did before competing too, I just never came to terms with it or realized it was the reason I was regaining my weight that I had lost) ! So rather than slowly enjoying those foods, I would eat so fast and so much that I was left in pain and sick. I really wanted to take care of that problem quietly on my own. When I was about 2.5 months out from my last show I saw those issues with food start to disappear! I was not feeling like a prisoner anymore. I managed to stop myself when I was full, and I felt totally in control when I was eating. I am not quit sure where the desperation came from? I felt like I had to stuff myself so full because subconsciously I felt like I would never get that food again… which was not the case at all! I had to really do a lot of personal development and praying during this process. I had to be able to control my mind, my hands, and my mouth. I had to be stronger than the urge to binge eat. This is part of the reason I continued to prep for my competition… to work on that demon inside of me that I could not tame. I was a little concerned that the over eating would come back after I competed. I thought “geeze, once this is all done, I will go back to stuffing myself like a wild woman every day and all of this hard work will have been for nothing!” I kept going though, because I had to prove to myself that I was strong enough to do this. Food should not be that big of an issue for me, and I will not let it me. This process will force me to face my emotional issues with food.
What I learned: For so long in my life I had used food for an emotional release. I would say since I was 13 I battled with extreme weight loss, and extreme weight gain. There was never a balance. I never stayed the same weight. I either dieted dangerously, or I gained dangerously. It was always an extreme, and each time reflected my emotional state in life. I did not know this about myself until I had to be “perfect” on my diet for that competition. I knew I had a weird relationship with food, but I did not understand the extent of it. Through this process I learned to react differently to food. I found other ways to relieve my stress, to enjoy life, and to not rely on food for my happiness. Instead of going out and eating crazy amounts of food, we would go get a quick snack like Frozen yogurt and then we would go walk the beach line. Or we would go play an indoor sport, watch a play, go on coffee dates!! Over time I became stronger in my ways to cope with that feeling of missing out on food. At the end of the process of my preparation for my competition I had no urge to binge eat, I had no urge to run to food for emotional reasons, and I saw food for the first time as a source for fuel… I felt tired sure (I was getting very lean), but I felt in control, and I felt amazing!!
Cut to off season!! FREEDOM… and I was nervous about it. We went on two vacations, and then went into several holidays and celebrations. I shocked myself. Sure I gained back some necessary body fat to maintain a normal healthy body (you should only ever stay that lean for an athletic event like competition like this or a triathlon, race, but only for a a couple of months, any longer than that you will start to really hurt your metabolism and hormonal balance.) but I am so happy to report that my issues with food stayed under control. I created a meal plan for myself coming out of my competition that I could follow, that would allow me to gain back some necessary body fat, keep me gaining muscle, keep me from gaining to much body fat, and I allowed myself 2 treat meals a week. I finally started to work with my Coach Crystal Raby, and she helped me to develop an even more dialed in meal plan for my goals to gain muscle, and maintain a healthy weight. Every month I will admit, I was scared. I was waiting for my inner demons with food to rear its ugly head. Each time we went out for dinner, I became very nervous of my over eating. I would tell my husband to keep me in check and help me with my portions. I had a slip up here and there, but I am happy to say… I almost never had an issue. I would eat until I was full, and I was able to stop. My drink choices were light. I would drink a glass of wine, and I would be fine! Cut to December of 2014, I checked my body fat to check to see my progress after my competition and living my regular (none competition pre ) fit life. I was 17.5% body fat, and 143 lbs!!!! This made me so happy to see. I managed to maintain a healthy lean physique, gain muscle, and live a balanced real life! I was able to go out with my husband when I wanted to and not fret or obessess about food, but rather enjoy his company and enjoy some treats slowly and within reason. I had accomplished something huge in my life. Not only did I compete and cross that off my bucket list, I was able to continue to live a fit healthy lifestyle without a deadline ahead of me. I had nothing holding me to being lean or fit, I just did it for life and health. I was not dieting, I was living and within balance and reason. SO MUCH WINNING!!!
(My girl Melissa, Nicole Wilkins and myself at my last competition. )
So this leads me to my decision to chose another competition. I told myself I would not chose a competition again unless I was able to just live a normal balanced fit life without a competition holding me accountable. I told myself that I needed to keep my mind right and my health right without a competition, race, business event holding me to my diet plan. Once I realized my new healthy mindset about food and fitness, I realized that I was strong enough to go through this journey again with a healthy mindset and come out on the other side stronger. I also decided I would not commit to a competition unless I stayed around 15-17% body fat, because I refused to start a competition prep at 20-30% body fat and have to go into a long extreme diet to lose the fat in time. Many women go into competition with a very un healthy mindset about food and health. They get super lean for their competition and within in 2 months they will have gained 20-40 lbs because they went back to eating a truly un healthy diet and maintained 0 balance (many women I see at my gym or on Instagram). Many women wait for another competition to hold them to getting fit and lean again rather than just doing so to be healthy and balanced. I told myself that I would not compete again if I fell into that category because extreme yo yo dieting is awful for your health. Extreme weight gain and extreme weight loss does a number to your hormones, your psychological health and your metabolism. Competing can be dangerous for an unhealthy spirit and mind. I believe competing as a sport for longevity takes someone who is very strong when it comes to their relationship with food. I do not believe in “dirty bulking” (putting on a ton of fat while putting on muscle.) I believe that it is possible to gain muscle slowly, while maintaining a lean heatlhy physique. Thats just me though! After years of dealing with yo yo dieting and emotional eating, topping the scale at 210 LB… I had finally gotten my body to a healthy fit place, I was not about gaining a ton of body fat to just gain a few extra pounds of muscle faster. That was not okay with me. I worked to hard to get down to a healthy body fat and weight. I know that the muscle gaining will happen over time without eating nachos, pizza, and ice cream to do so. My journey with food and life at this point is more so about health than lean-ness.
I chose to work with my current coach Crystal because she has a very healthy mind set about this process and has made it a priority for me to maintain my health and my mind set above all else (I just love love love her!).
(I choose the above competition because my coach will be able to be there with me, it is a National Qualifier, it is the prefect date (considering the traveling I have ahead of me in April and May (Paris)), and there will be a PRO division that I will be able to watch !!)
So here I am 11 weeks out. My diet has changed just a bit to support fat loss, but not by much!! We are keeping as many carbs in my plan as possible. I am also eating yummy fats too!! I am eating 6 meals a day, 3 days of Insanity Max 30, and 6 days of lifting. I am doing 1 weekly re-feed meal to restore my glycogen stores, replenish my metabolism and maintain my health. I am started this 12 week journey at 15.3% body fat. I would not really call this a “prep diet” because my eating has not really changed all that much YET. I feel amazing today. I have a great deal of energy. I am not hungry, although I get my usual late night snack urges, but green tea and a little bit of lean protein knocks that right out. My husband is on board with my journey and is so proud of where I am emotionally and physically. During my last competition prep he told me he never wanted me to do this again, but after he saw the changes I had made after the competition he was very proud of me and wanted to see me do it again but in a healthier way.
In the last 8 months I have gained so much in my shoulders (muscle that is), in my glutes, and my quads. My abs are tighter, and stronger. I know I will bring a much better package to this competition and a much healthier mindset through this process. I have had to do a lot of praying and talks with the Lord before making this commitment. There were days and weeks where I swore I was crazy for wanting to do this again, but every time I prayed on it, I felt a sense of peace. Every week my body and my mind went back and forth and I would always land with “I feel better to compete than to not compete. It feeds my soul and it is something I have fun doing, I just need to maintain balance and keep my mind right.” I am naturally competitive, I had always wanted a sport to be a part of, I love weight training, and I love to eat clean. I love being on stage, I love the glitter, the hair and the heels! Everything about competing is fun to me and challenges me. So this is why I do it! NOT TO GET SKINNY! Not for a weight loss goal, but because I am truly passionate about the sport. Many women get into it to get more fit, I got into it to show what I had already accomplished in my fitness and take it to another level.
My goal this time around: Maintain a balance. I take things to the extreme when I am passionate about it, but this is a hobby and meant to be fun. It i s not nor will it ever be my life. My Faith, My Daughter, My Husband, My family, My business.. that is my life. Competing falls into that as a fun hobby. I let it take throw my life balance wayyyyy off last competition.
I am starting my prep much farther out than last night, I am starting much leaner than last time, and I am starting with strength and experience that I did not have last time. I have gained more from competing than not. So that is where I gather my decision to do so.
Today I will be lifting in the gym. On non cardio days it is important that I create the cardio affect in my lifting!! Lets rock!!