I am going to be completely honest here. You want to know what it takes to compete and actually be successful with it?
- You need to be consistent and accurate with your training and nutrition for an extended period of time
- Having a good looking face and posing helps too
- You must have confidence
- You must be able to be honest with yourself (are you really hitting your macros and training goals) and be able to take criticism
Things I have noticed going through prep:
(I say you but I am talking about me and what I have seen from others and clients)
- You will begin to limit yourself from going out.
- You feel guilty if you go off track.
- You are more likely to body shame.
- You spend way too much time figuring out what to eat. IIFYM has lots of options (both a positive and negative)
- You can’t have many fuck it moments
- The scale can and often does ruin your day
I have had the hardest time lately finding joy in this whole process. I honestly liked my body just as much when I weighed 4-5lbs more and was maintaining that while traveling and eating mindfully. Enjoying live and being spontaneous. I was actually super proud of myself for maintaining my weight during all that traveling. Plain and simple…show prep is not the way I want to live my life.
I originally competed because I was never overweight I wanted to be able to relate to the clients I was training and put myself through a fitness goal. It then turned into me wanting to be my ex-boyfriends golden client. I wanted to be the best to make him proud and I loved the attention, I fought for the attention. After the breakup all I had left was a confusing idea of who I was. I then wanted to compete in January to prove to myself I could do it without him. Then he ended up coming to Vegas and I felt like I did not get to really do a show on my own. Not to say I did not appreciate his help with posing and the confidence his words gave me.
Being completely honest I am doing this show because I said I would. I am doing it to inspire others. To show people that even when your life goes to complete shit you stick to your goals. I won’t lie though.. this is not the show to do that. These are the best of the best girls all on one stage. And realistically if I want to compete with them I need to drop 4-5 lbs in the next 2 weeks. This has sent me on a train wreck of emotions.
Practicing posing the other night I just burst out crying. My mind kept saying “You’re going to be the fat girl on stage”. Now please do not take that the wrong way. I am not saying I am fat nor am I calling anyone who competes overweight. But imagine being the overweight one of your group of girlfriends… well that is what I would be… on stage..in a bikini and stripper heels. This all started because some girl who is competing liked one of my photos. She looks amazing and I began to compare myself.
From that point I continued to step on the scale each morning and watch my weight go from 104 to almost 107…. Again I burst out in tears.
Then somewhere out of punishment and following the plan, I laced up my tennis shoes and headed outside to do cardio. I pushed myself so hard I was dry heaving on the side of the road.
When does pushing yourself and giving it your all turn into punishment? When does competing turn unhealthy?
I come from a background of
- body image issues
- binge eating
- and emotional eating.
Show prep creates a space where you suddenly become a lot more vulnerable to bringing these issues back.
My relationship with food has me on handcuffs right now. Calories dropped to a whopping 782 calories. This is the hardest “diet” I have ever been on. This is not healthy. My coach and I do not recommend it.
You feel guilty if you go off track:
The other day I was making spaghetti squash. There was another 5-10 g in the container after I measured out how much I needed. A normal person thought would be “I’ll just use the rest”. My dieters mind went like this:
- Pause…. ok its not that much and it is a vegetable.. a normal person would just eat this. It’s almost unhealthy if I don’t… its a vegetable Megan.
- Ok, let me just log it.. oh shit then my carbs are over…
- Ok, I am just going to eat it
- Eats it
Then I started to weigh all my other food a couple grams less to “make up” for the non logged macros.
You will begin to limit yourself from going out:
I was in Seattle the other day listening to Jesse Elder. Afterwards wanted to hang out and go get food. I politely declined and said I did not bring a scale. What about whole foods? ugh this would be a great thing to not miss out on and trying to find alternatives is super thoughtful. I decided whole foods would be ok. I had a pretty plain salad with some chicken and balsamic. I enjoyed it until I stepped on the scale this morning.
I then started to feel guilty.
Same thing when someone is eating something and asks if you want a bite. At this point I would not be able to enjoy that. I would be thinking every chew… I wonder how many carbs are in this. Or maybe you’re a nibbler….sneaking a bite here and there as you cook for the rest of your family… well at this point I would feel beyond guilty and shameful doing that.
You spend way too much time figuring out what to eat. IIFYM has lots of options (both a positive and negative):
Sometimes I spend 30 minutes logging possible meals for the day, just to delete them and change them another 2-3 times. I hate eating out of tupperware but shit I do not need all these “iffym” options right now. It is a waste of time.
Sometimes, you can not fit what you are really craving in and sometimes your body is craving things for a reason. All I wanted the other day was some fruit. Fruit… filled with vitamins and micronutrients. But I could not justify eating it based off its carb content. It is hard at this point to actually be eating a healthy well balanced micronutrient dense diet.
All I want is to eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full. I know enough about food and its macronutrient content now.. Hell I am a walking myfitnesspal. All I want is to live my life day by day. Enjoy moments with friends and traveling all while being mindful. Listening to my body and not starving it from what it is craving.
Although it might not seem like it. I am so thankful for this show prep. It has really provided me with the clarity of what my optimal diet plan is. And this is not the same for everyone and I will have periods of logging more exact and periods where I do not log at all. These will be based on my goals and where I am at mentally.
Show prep is hard. It is not for everyone and show prep should be executed with caution.
For those that do compete:
Competing does not have to be a negative thing. Just be aware of the thoughts, emotions and eating behaviors you are experiencing. Most of all be honest to your coach about them. They are normal but they are not to be kept secret. Remember you got into this sport to increase your confidence and take your body to a new level. If that is only happening aesthetically and not physically or mentally, maybe you should think twice about competing.