I never did like roller coasters

In 27 days I will walk across the stage as a first time NPC bikini competitor. At times, the days seem to drag and other times I can’t believe that I’m almost there. And, at times, I am beyond excited about the entire experience and at other times I am 100% miserable.

Quite honestly I can’t wait for it to be over. It has become something that has consumed my entire being. I am no longer who I was back in January. Am I better off? Of that I’m not sure. At 18 pounds lost to date, I am a shell of the person I was, not only physically but mentally as well.

If I could relate it to anything, I would imagine that it’s kind of like being brain washed at my own free will. I’ve become obsessed with food, on a totally different level. I’ve become obsessed with my body, on a totally different level. I’ve become obsessed with perfection, on a totally different level. And in the past week I’ve noticed that my hands shake. I’m pretty sure it’s due to nerves and being overly anxious.

My dad, who is my very best friend and tells me like it is, has handed me my ass on a plate when I discussed this with him. He reminded me that I started this journey to have fun and that if I’m no longer having fun, I either shouldn’t do it or change my prospective. He reminded me that no one is perfect and that this is not my job, so taking it too seriously is unnecessary. To quote him, “If eating a hamburger is going to stop you from being emotional, then go eat a hamburger!”

I’m an emotional eater and because I can’t eat my emotions right now, I am forced to feel them. It is causing me to burn bridges with people. It is causing me to have frequent break downs and mood swings. It’s as though I am no longer in control of myself.

I can stand in front of my mirror at home and think “Holy cow! I’m lean!” and then 30 minutes later, I can be at the gym with my peers and think I’m the fattest girl in the room. I can put on a pair of pants when getting ready for work and stand there shocked that they are literally falling off of me, and then at the same time feel bloated.

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What good has this done? What good is being “skinny” or “fit” or “pretty” when your mind is so screwed up that no one wants to be around you? Sure, I’ll look good in a bikini, but I’ll be standing alone.

As far as I can tell, the things that I’ve lost are not worth the things I’ve gained. I may have a different thought on April 25th, but today I feel like I am none the better for doing this.

My dad told me that, as a little girl, I was pretty level-headed. So why, as an adult, can I not get it together? I’m pretty embarrassed and ashamed. At 39 years old, I should have myself figured out…shouldn’t I?

At the same time, I have numerous people telling me that I’m too hard on myself. That I don’t give myself credit for my accomplishments. This is true. Oh, so very true.

Where is the middle ground?

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You sure do cry a lot

Lately I’ve been learning a lot about myself…some good, some great, and some down right embarrassing stuff…but I’m using these as opportunities to better myself instead of remaining at a stand still.

One thing that has stood out is that I cry a lot. I mean, I kinda already knew this, but it’s become less about the emotions that others have brought out in me and more so to do with the pressure I put on myself to meet my expectations and the determination to overcome my past.

Case in point…this weekend I celebrated my 39th birthday. I woke up early the morning of my birthday and walked to the beach and watched the sun rise. It was spectacular.

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I stood there watching this amazing sight and I cried. I cried because I’m finally beginning to feel happy in my life. I cried because I had felt so much pain in my past. I cried because I was grateful for my parents who gave me life. I cried because I felt blessed enough to witness mother nature at it’s best.

I then cried when my dad, the best dad in the whole world in my opinion, called me at 10:10 a.m; as he does each year because that’s what time I was born. 

Later, after posing practice with a group of girls in their mid-twenties who appeared muuuuuuch leaner than me, I cried because I felt old and because I was feeling unsure about whether or not I’d be ready for the April 25th show.

I cried again when a sweet, sweet friend gave me a birthday present.

I cried yet again later that night when I tried to fall asleep. No explanation. I just did.

When I woke up the next day, I cried because, again, I felt old. 39 is almost 40. How did I become almost 40? I have nothing to show for all this time on Earth. No children. No husband. No home. What a failure…at least that’s how I felt for a few moments.

I cried later that morning when I went beast mode on my workout…it was SO very, very hard and the tears welled up in my eyes as I fought to hold them back.  I made myself proud of my hard work. The feeling of proving to myself that I was strong and determined was awesome.

Yep, I sure do cry a lot. That’s a ton for just one weekend, and I don’t even have PMS. I could make an excuse for myself and blame the new lower carb diet my coach put me on, but truth be told, I cheated quite a bit this weekend.

I’m not sure how long it will take to overcome this little idiosyncrasy or if it will ever change. I suppose the important part is that I’ve become aware of this and I don’t deny that it’s part of my personality. I don’t want to consider myself an emotional wreak, nor do I want to appear to be a basket case, but maybe I am. And maybe that’s ok. I’d rather feel than to be cold-hearted. It’s who I am, and I should embrace it.

 

Hold the salt, please

After the frustration I experienced with my monster PMS and the terrible cold, I was more than a tad concerned that I may have gotten off track. My coach assured me that I would be fine and still able to do the April 25th show. Yet I still had doubt…and then I took some progress pictures.

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I am shocked and amazed at what my body is capable of doing. I have never seen myself look this way before and it’s a relief that my hard work is paying off.

Truth be told, I’ve had my fair share of cheats and treats. I’ve stuck to my diet 90% of the time, but I have indulged more than a few times. I’m now seven weeks out and have promised myself that there will be no more cheats (except for my birthday this week).

I know that eating like this won’t be forever and that, if I choose, I can go “back to normal” on April 26th. However I have a feeling that I will want to continue competing. I’m loving all of what I’m learning and experiencing. It’s empowering to know that I can do this despite the fact that depression still looms in the dark corners of my mind, waiting for a weak moment to attack and settle in close to me, preventing me from having the drive to carry on.

I have proven to myself that I have strength beyond physical abilities. And, right now, mental strength is harder to obtain than the physical.

On another note…I had dinner with my family the other night. I didn’t want to order from the restaurant because I haven’t “eaten out” since I started prepping. I talked myself into it and ordered something very simple…beef, raw spinach, and avocado. As I was eating it, I knew it tasted too good to be plainly prepared. The flavor was just too good!

When I woke up the next morning I knew that the sodium content was off the charts because I looked like this

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 I’ve been lucky enough to have this happen to me before and I know that salt is the cause. Not a pretty sight! Not only were my eyes almost swollen shut, but my abs were also extremely puffy. The puffiness around my eyes has gone down, but I’m still feeling bloated. Yikes! No more restaurant food for a while! Hold the salt, please!

We need to break-up

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have a very serious, unhealthy relationship in my life. I knew it all along, but this week it became painfully obvious. I need to find a way to break-up…with food.

I’m obsessed with it. It’s all I think about. It’s the only thing that is standing in the way of 100% success in my prep. I need to get a handle on it, or I will not be able to do my best on April 25.

And although I knew that food was an issue for me, truth be told, this true realization came during a very unfortunate experience. I had a cheat meal. An entire pizza. It’s not because I ate the pizza that made me realize this, it’s the fact that I ate the whole thing. It was almost like I stopped breathing. Nothing else mattered in the entire world. Just me, that cheese, the sauce, and the crispy crust. I had to have it. All of it. And nothing was going to stand in my way. Five minutes after my last slice, I was in the bathroom. My stomach was ripped apart because I was not used to eating this way anymore. I was miserable for the rest of the night as I made frequent trips to the bathroom. And in-between my tears, I realized that this could be avoided if I regained control of myself and ended this unhealthy obsession.

The most difficult thing is going to be during the three to four days that I have PMS. I turn to food because it tends to be the only thing that can calm me down. I’m lucky enough to be cramp free and pain-free during this time, and I don’t even have my period for very long…two to three days at the most. But the cravings and the emotions that I experience make me feel like a troll living under a bridge waiting for the next Billy Goat to cross over it so I can rip him apart with my teeth.

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I will have PMS two more times before my show. The second time will the week of my show. That will really prove how strong I am.

I’m going to do it.

I have to do it.

9 more weeks…

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We’re not in Kansas anymore…

I’ve reached the point in my prep where there’s no turning back…not only have I seen dramatic results, and told my entire family, but I have also finally picked my show date. April 25, 2015 is the big day!

I was encouraged and motivated when I took my progress photos. And even though I know I have a long way to go, I felt on top of the world knowing that my hard work was paying off. It gave me more confidence and when I stated practicing my posing, I felt sexy and as though I could rock that stage at any moment!

But, then it happened…I caught I cold. However, I pushed threw it and didn’t miss a workout or alter my meals and juuuuusssst as I started to feel better, I caught a stomach virus that lasted for two days. I couldn’t eat right, but pushed through my workouts anyway. Nothing was going to stand in the way of my goal! Well, I realized that I was not the one in charge here…because then, moments after my stomach regained its normal routine, my cold returned. This time worse than before.

This entire week has been a wash. My workouts suffered. My diet has been altered. And with only 8 weeks left to go, I fear that this setback will prevent me from being 100% ready.

So far this experience has been one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters I’ve ever been on. I go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. And just when I thought I was on the up swing, I get hit with something completely out of my control. I just hope that the rest that I’m forcing myself to take will do the trick and that next week will be better.

A nice audible fart…

Following my run in with the Snickers on Friday, I proceeded to eat two donuts and an entire personal sized pizza. After which I cried my eyes out and fell asleep on my couch shortly after 6:30 p.m.

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When I saw my coach on Saturday morning, he knew something was wrong and after I fumbled my way through my workout, we had a long conversation where I admitted my food defeat and confessed that I didn’t think I was mentally strong enough to do this. Talking to him made me feel much better. It’s going to be a long journey. Not only do I need to get my body looking good enough to go on stage, I also need to get my mind right.

I’ve talked to a close friend who has been on this journey before. She has been a competitor for several years now and has done more than extremely well. She told me that no one mentions the meltdowns, the doubts, and the back tracks. What we hear about is the sweet taste of success once the chicken and broccoli has been consumed and the sweat has been wiped away.

When I think about it, I’ve only really been at it for sixteen days. Sixteen days. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a long time. Sure, it feels long because I want to eat what I want to eat instead of sticking to my meal plan. And my muscles are sore allllll the time. But, is sixteen days really enough to change my body inside and out? Clearly not. It’s going to take a lot longer so I must be prepared.

On a lighter note, I cried like a little bitch during my workout yesterday. It’s been a long time since that has happened. My mind kept saying that I could keep going but my quads said otherwise.

Oh, and I farted during my ab workout. A nice audible fart. Twice. That was fun.

It was nice of the coach and my training partner to pretend they didn’t hear it.

Guess nobody mentions that either.

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Changes in Latitudes. Changes in Attitudes.

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Today marks one week since I’ve started serious training and dieting towards my goal to compete in my first bikini competition. Quite honestly, I’m extremely impressed with myself. I have not once cheated, unless of course you count the apple I ate last Wednesday or the scoops of almond butter I had over the weekend. I haven’t had a pretzel in a week. Or pineapple (my faaaaavorite). Or wine. Or cheese. And trust me, I want pizza.

There have been plenty of times that I have wanted to cheat, but I’d only be cheating myself out of the money that I’ve already spent to hire a trainer and I’d be cheating myself out of my commitment. And that is, finally, enough for me to stay focused.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I started to notice a change in my stomach. Not only do I not have a constant bloated feeling, but it’s flatter and I can already see more definition. I suppose that, and my arms, will be the easiest, quickest places to see a change. My backside, however, will take a lot more time and effort. As will my inner and outer thighs.

When I think of how, just twenty days ago, I was a mess. How I was held captive by my emotions. How I was paralyzed by my personal situation. How I had no desire to live. How I felt I had no purpose. It’s amazing and I am relieved that I have found something that I can focus full force on. I have no time to be depressed. I have no one to worry about other than me.

This is taking time. This is taking discipline. This is taking dedication. This is proving to me that I can finally do something for myself. And I love it. My body is sore, everywhere. I’m tired. Oh, so tired. I’m overwhelmed by the food prep. I’m always doing dishes. It’s expensive. I’m hungry more often than I used to be. I have over cooked my rice and burnt my chicken (seriously, it could’ve been mistaken for sawdust when I finally managed to cut it open), but I ate it anyway. The workouts suck and are fun all at the same time. And… I. Am. Happy.

Me? Selfish? Ok, if I must

For the last seven years, at least, I have wanted to compete in a bikini competition…but my excuses have always prevented me from attaining this goal. However, now that I have made this commitment to myself, excuses are a thing of the past…sooooo, yesterday I hired a coach and tomorrow I will begin training for my first competition!

Honestly, I have never been so ready for this in my entire life. Sure, I’ve wanted to do it, but I wasn’t ready. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve discovered the true meaning of not being able to control anything or anyone other than myself. Being a control freak, it’s no wonder that it has taken me so long to figure that out.

And, honestly, I have never been so scared about this in my entire life…because I actually think I can do this. Usually, when I put my heart and soul into accomplishing something, I succeed beyond my expectations. I drive full force into it. I feel that happening with this. The feeling is amazing and there’s no looking back.

However, I’m also scared because I. LOVE. FOOD. Almost as much as I love breathing. Most days, as I’m making my morning coffee, I think of all the yummy things I’ll eat that day. I, by no means, eat poorly on a regular basis, but I do like to eat a lot of food. I haaaaate being hungry. So, I worry about the diet portion of this adventure. And, as with so many people, I eat my emotions, so I’m going to have to keep those bitches in check.

I took charge of my Stressor on Thursday and have changed the dynamics of the relationship. I’m hoping that this proactive move will eliminate the reason why I’ve been so emotional the past four months. I’ve also made the choice to share the decision to compete with a small circle of friends/family; sharing it with only those who I know support me regardless of what I do. I don’t want too many people making judgements or sharing their opinions about this with me. I’m not doing this for the benefit or acceptance of anyone else. I want to do it for me. Due to the fact that I have decided to do this, I need to have the least amount of outside stress as possible. I need to be selfish. And I’m not very good at that. But, I’ll learn.