Do I let you in on the truth? So I really pondered over whether or not to write this post. One part of me wondered if it was a topic anyone even cared to know about, and another part of me wondered If I wanted my readers to know some ugly truths about me. As much as I promote living a healthy lifestyle, the truth is, I haven’t always practiced what I preach. I decided I would let you guys in on some areas of my past in the hope that you may learn from my mistakes, and/or at the very least if you pursue the life of a figure competitor, you know what you are getting yourself into.
I’d like to back up a bit into my history. Growing up I was always on the “chubby” side. I had developed horrible self esteem. The boys I went to school with would moo like a cow at me when I walked my them. Yup, kids are mean. As much as you want to tell yourself, “they’re stupid, don’t let them get to you.” It does get to you. In fact, it still, “gets to me.”
I would say gaining this low self-esteem played a big part in the next big part of my life. I ended up marrying a very physically abusive man. I am not telling you these things for pity, it is what led up to me starting to compete. So, I had finally after a horrendous physical encounter with my ex, got the courage to leave him. Yay for me right? At this time I had two small boys to take care of and no Idea how to keep them safe, or provide financially alone, and going through a divorce. I started dropping weight like crazy from the stress. Although it was not a healthy way to go about it, I did enjoy the new attention I got from men. It helped me gain a little confidence. I started working out a lot, because it helped me cope with life. I had known someone who competed and they told me about a figure competitor camp. I went and I was hooked! My first show was a very small one and I lucked out and got first place. It was the best feeling I ever had in my life.
Things were starting to calm down for me at that point and I had regained a normal appetite. Two weeks after the show and eating normal again, I weighed myself the first time and to my horror I had gained 20 lbs. I sunk into depression. How was that possible? I had always had a slower metabolism. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and typically due to hormone dysfunction it is harder to control weight, but 20 lbs. in 2 weeks! I talked to some other competitors and they reassured me that post-show weight gain was normal except for those who follow a competitor diet year around.
Time went by and the weight did not fall off so I figured I needed to do another show in order to have the discipline and motivation to lose weight. Well having that carrot dangling in front of me did work, but it also turned me into someone I didn’t want to be. This time it was not before. Weight was not falling off from stress, and I was following a typical figure competitors diet, but weight was not falling off for me like it did for other competitors. I became obsessed with having a show worthy body. I cut my calorie intake down to 500-700 calories a day to make it happen. I do not recommend this for anyone! I did lose my weight but did not do nearly as well in my second show.
My next hang up was that all the girls who were more successful than me and winning had breast augmentation. I am very competitive in nature and sometimes don’t know when to quit! So despite the risks involved I needed to compete with those girls and went under the knife. I obviously was still also dealing with some self confidence issues as well. After the “new and improved” me, I had to try another competition.
I obsessively worked out, and was cranky from being hungry all the time. All of a sudden, I realized it wasn’t fair to my family. I shouldn’t be taking all my free time to work out and I shouldn’t be cranky towards them for a choice I made. I also realized I was competing for wrong reasons.
Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to say bodybuilding competitions are a horrible thing. There are some people that thrive with competitions like these and good for them. What I do want you to get from this is that it can have a mental and physical impact on you. If you want to compete you need to go into it with a strong mind-set and for the right reasons. You also need to not get so wrapped up into it that you are willing to compromise your health, because it is not worth it. Take it from me. I now have a chronic illness and can’t believe I took my health for granted like I did. I also hope if you do compete, you would remember that keeping a competition ready body year around is not a realistic goal. Even the pros have weight gain in off-season. They just aren’t posting those pictures on Instagram!