It seems like every day we are constantly told that we are simply not good enough. We have people on one side telling us we are too skinny, others telling us we are on the larger side and then there are the haters who think that if you’re a female with some muscle mass that you’re going to evolve into Wolverine overnight.
I have been labelled everything mentioned above. It’s as though others think they have the given right to be callous and share their nasty opinions when it’s unwarranted and completely unnecessary.
When you undergo a body transformation of whatever kind it may be – losing weight to fit into that cute bikini for summer, gaining some weight to feel better from the inside out or losing fat and gaining lean muscle mass – it’s not only your body that goes through some significant changes, it’s also your mind. Without the mental capacity to push yourself through some gruelling workouts when on a low-carbohydrate diet, with your body tight from yesterdays workout you are ultimately setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. This then progresses to the mental games that your mind likes to play. You may make excuses for missing a training session, miss a meal or think you deserve a deliciously greasy burger because you have earnt it; when in fact these will all set you back and will then progress to feeling guilty and a vicious cycle then occurs.
During comp-prep I am on the money. I train with vigour, deep intensity and with purpose. I know that in 15 weeks I am stepping on stage in a tiny, red bedazzled bikini in front of a crowd of strangers being judged purely on my appearance and aesthetics. My diet is spot on and I stick to it religiously. Each meal is weighed right down to the gram and I carry my five meals with me everywhere I go, and will eat wherever I am – even whilst driving or at a concert. It’s a disciplined sport and I am a goal-orientated person. If I set myself a task I will complete it to the best of my ability, even if it means juggling a lot of commitments at once the job will always get done.
Like most competitors, I do suffer from post-comp blues as they call it. It’s a time where you come off a complete ‘high’ from having competed and looking your best and feeling like a million bucks, to then coming back down to reality and feeling at a loss. What do I do now? What do I have to work towards now? What most people do not understand is that you cannot remain stage-lean all year round – Unless you are my coach Maria Andriano who has a phenomenal physique that she maintains year-round and is incredibly disciplined, more so than anyone else I know.
I have never had a real issue with binge/emotional eating until July this year, or if I did it certainly amplified tenfold. This is me being completely honest and frank. No smoke and mirrors here, I am being very black and white with no grey in between. My first comp was the standard ‘rookie’ error thinking I could eat what I wanted and still train and keep my body in check – boy was I wrong. My binge eating spiralled out of control before I got a good handle of it and dropped some weight for my overseas holiday at the end of last year. I used the extra food I had been shovelling down my throat to fuel some really good lifts and pack on the much needed muscle mass I have now so it did have its pros and cons.
My comp in July of this year was possibly the most difficult prep for me. Training, diet and motivation are easy for me. I am an incredibly motivated person as I mentioned before, but life threw me some serious curve-balls this time around and it played some serious mental games with me after competition. I began emotional eating. I was in a car accident two weeks before comp and being under 25 years of age I was slapped with hefty insurance excess leaving me in debt. I was having difficulty in my private life and it was showing on my body with what I was eating, which leaves me where I am today back on the ‘muscular thick’ side like I was post-comp last year.
I am not proud of overeating, but I am also not ashamed or embarrassed by it. What’s done is done. I cannot go back in time and un-eat all the food I have consumed, but what I can do is work towards healing my mind and my body and this is what I am doing right now and I feel that I am accomplishing this ongoing task. Once again, I am going away in 9 weeks at the end of the year where I plan on donning a bikini on the beach and looking mighty fine whilst doing so. I have set myself a goal and I am going to stick to it. I will treat it like a comp-prep and use it as a means to drop some weight before I do choose to compete again next year which will make it less taxing on my body with having to drop a smaller amount of fat through intense diet and training rather than a large amount like I did last prep.
I will be accomplishing this mini-goal I have set myself with my coach Maria Andriano tweaking my diet and training programs to suit my needs and help me reach my goals in a holistic and natural way. She knows what foods work best for me with my trusty bowel which chooses to be erratic with its tolerances and intolerances with food, so I have full confidence and faith that we can drop the much needed weight to get me to where I want and need to be before I start prep again. My training will be done at a place that should be called my ‘second home’ but let’s face it, I spend more time there than I do at my actual home – City Gym, Darlinghurst! There’s nothing better than walking through the doors at 5am and being greeted with a smile from the team of staff who don’t even ask for my membership card, I just walk on in like I’m part of the furniture. As always, City Gym will be my domain for making the changes to my physique that I have set myself.
To anybody else stuck in a rut with their body image, I urge you to set some goals. Short term goals are great in the lead up to your final goal which may be just fitting into a cocktail dress or looking your best for a photoshoot. If you’re anything like me, setting goals will help you tremendously and when you ‘accomplish’ a goal you have set for yourself, it definitely will urge you to keep on pushing and continue onto the next one.
Don’t give up. Put your trainers back on and hold your head high regardless of what others are saying. There is no need to hang your head in shame for over-indulging, all it will do is make you feel worse about yourself and even more of a recluse, and this is when the mental games will begin again and again. Over and over.
Walk with purpose. Move with intensity. Look intently. Speak with confidence. The rest will all follow suit, and fall into place.
Remember, it’s not a sprint.