Well, I asked you what you wanted and here you have it. I tried to think of the best way to describe my journey, and I know a lot of my followers like discussing the tough stuff. From body image to learning acceptance, here are five hard truths I learned when dieting. Feel free to share.
1. I lost friends: When I took time off from drinking and partying, many of my friends did not stick along for the ride. When I wanted to do a show, there were some that questioned it. I learned about “complisults,” which are the old”compliment insults”. The “Oh I could NEVER do that or wear that,” or “you’re braver than me.” Whatever. What I learned is that people are like crabs in a bowl. When one tries to crawl out, they all grab and try to drag the successful one back in. I have talked to men and women who have spouses who try to derail their successes or those of you who talk about friends who get upset because they won’t go out and get messed up. Understand this, you will never be a success in the eyes of a failure. People simply are afraid because your successes are a direct spotlight on what they themselves cannot do. Cut your losses, move on. The people who are worth loving will take the high road with you, a much tougher road, but worthwhile.
2. I faced demons: It was only when I really cut out alcohol and bad food that I realized how much I depended on it to cope. Just thinking about a stressful day at work makes me want bacon cheese bread. No shit, dieting is kind of like rehab. Your body wants to die and shake on the floor, and the only way not to relapse is to face all the crap that made you start the addiction in the first place. It is critical in dieting to understand why you are eating and face it head on. It sucks, but its necessary.
3. I learned acceptance: Competing is a harsh sport. Being judged on your body is like OMG IM DYING. I remember riding in the car on the way to my show and saying, “Well I don’t want people to judge me just on my appearance.” My husband replied, “You know you literally signed up for a show where people are judging you on your appearance right?” Oh yeah. My bad. When I received my judges comments back, they said things like “lean out,” or “be way leaner.” Being a formerly heavy, it hit hard AF. My default is to cry hysterically while running uphill on a treadmill, but it’s not healthy. Next time, I will try different workouts and tighten my food, but my package is my package. You may look at a girl and say “Oh my gosh, I wish I had her arms,” but I guarantee she’s wishing she had your legs. At the end of the day, whether you are in a bikini on a stage or in a suit in a board room, people will judge you. Deal with it.
4. Being unhappy with your appearance doesn’t change when you reach “goal weight”: I remember specifically saying the phrase, “I’ll be happy when I weigh…” DONT EVEN GO THERE. Because you won’t be. Another level brings another devil. Competing has given me some body image issues, I’ll be honest. When my abs left, I almost held a funeral. I know staying “show lean,” is what I want, but it’s not sustainable. I’ve only gained 4 lbs from my competition, but my head feels like its 15. The fat version of myself would tell me to go jump off a bridge because I would have killed to have abs like EVER. Offseason is meant to grow and rest, so I have to understand I’m not Beyonce right now. In order to combat these awful feelings, I like to focus on other goals aside from appearance. I set new benchmarks, like perfecting boxing combinations, hitting PR’s in weightlifting, or trying a new activity. I eat foods competing won’t allow; in fact, this week I had a butternut squash ravioli that would bring you to your knees. Most importantly, I’m always f*cking Beyonce, are you kidding?
5. Losing weight is a journey, not a destination: You will never look exactly the way you want. If you pull up a photo on Instagram and say “I want to look like THAT,” you’ve already screwed yourself over. During my prep, my body changed every two weeks. Some weeks I hated what I saw. I had worked harder than ever and NO CHANGE. Ever seen someone hold their own arm fat and cry? Come on over. I would beat the crap out of myself wondering where I went wrong. Hindsight is 20/20, and yes I did change, but you have to trust the process. Follow a plan and don’t focus on weight or “trouble spots.” My legs did not come in until the final week.
But I’m not going to be all talk here. In an attempt to be as honest as possible with you, I am going to drop in UNEDITED and UNFILTERED pictures of my check-ins during prep. Understand that these were taken 1-3 weeks a part. (There are too many to include all of them) I didn’t have pics in the beginning, so the first is a picture of about my starting point. I also want to point out that my starting weight was about 135 and my finish weight was 124. Trust me, I still felt too heavy to go to stage (which is absurd) but I want to give you some perspective here.
I also want to point out that I would love to show you my progress from the back, but unfortunately some gentlemen (or not so much) seem to think this is for their personal enjoyment. There are plenty of great, awesome guys that follow me, but the pervs have now ruined it for everyone.
I truly help these help you on your journey. If you have any advice, questions or comments, drop them below.