Thursday, June 6, 2019

Food Life After a Bikini Competition

You may or may not know but I followed macros for my bikini competition.  You can read all about my food journey to competition here.  I had never followed a macro plan before.  Meaning I never tracked calories, protein, carbs, fat... none of it.  I ate clean and I ate intuitively.  That's not to say that it was a free for all.  I limited my carbs daily to two servings of fruit and two servings of "starchy" carbs (potatoes, rice, etc).  In addition to that I would carb cycle having high, low and no carb days.  So while I say I didn't track, I tracked, just not in the same kind of way.

When I switched to macros, I felt VERY hungry at first.  My starting macros were  just over 1600 calories (148 protein, 127 carbs, 57 fat).  By the end of my prep, my macros were 1155 calories  (140 protein, 70 carbs and 35 fat).  This was at the very low end and at the very end of prep.  

After the show was over, I spent two days eating anything I wanted.  I ate a cookie and a burger and fries. I ate sushi, eggs benedict, carrot cake.  I mean I ate it all.  I didn't feel bad about it at all either!  Ha! 

But come Tuesday after the show, I was back to macros.  Why you say?  Why would you do this to yourself?  The reason is a concept called reverse dieting and metabolic adaptation.  You can read all about it here.  I'll give you the gist of it, however.  When you're eating a very low calorie diet (like I was at the end of prep), it's your body's job to make sure you don't starve to death.  The body adapts to make sure this doesn't happen.  So think about it if suddenly you go from eating a very low calorie diet back to even just maintenance calories, your body becomes "overwhelmed" with the excess calories and this leads to a greater storage of body fat.  This is the bare bones of it.  It's obviously a much more complex theory but if you even think about it logically it makes sense. The theory is if you add you calories back in SLOWLY your body will adapt and you won't have excess fat stores. 

I'm still in the process of reversing out of my "diet."  I started back at 1597 calories (124 protein, 138 carbs and 59 fat).  11 days after my show I was up 3 pounds.  Jess was happy with my progress and increased my macros.  I checked in again in a week and was up another 3 pounds. Jess decided to keep my macros the same for one more week.  This week I pretty much stayed the same and so we increased again.  I'm now up to 1871 calories (131 protein, 168 carbs and 75 fat).  I feel like I'm living in a dream-- I can eat so much food.  Ha!  Seriously though, I'm back to intuitively eating (while still tracking).  I eat what I want when I want and check in throughout the day seeing how I'm doing with my macros.  I'm still choosing CLEAN foods that nourish my body but I've also eaten pizza, sushi, and a donut (they were on my post-prep bucket list).  

Donut Happiness 

My niece at a wedding this weekend said she thought I would "bulk back up" after the show and I have. I'm not sure that is visible to everyone around me.  Think how long it takes to notice when someone has LOST weight.  But, I have gained 8 pounds in 4 weeks.  It's hard to NOT feel like it's a lot, but I remind myself my show weight was what I weighed in high school.  It would have been crazy to think I could maintain there and I never thought I would. I'm hoping I'm now in maintenance and I can maintain my current weight +/- a few pounds. I'm  happy with myself where I am.  

Me and my gorgeous niece 

I'm going to continue my clean eating journey because that's how I want to treat my body.  It makes me feel good to fuel my body with quality foods and quality ingredients.  Do "bad" foods still call to me?  Of course.  I'm human. I love french fries and pizza but ultimately I know these food don't make me feel well.  They just don't ultimately make me happy.   There will be times when those food are "worth it" but it's not every single day.  Every day there's a reason to celebrate, I'll decide which ones are worthwhile.  The key to eating success is consistency. It's what you do consistently not what you do occasionally that matters.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Eff You Linda (Bikini Competition: 4 Weeks Removed)

I'm almost 4 weeks out from my bikini competition.  Wow, 4 weeks!  Time has gone by so quickly and I have done a lot of reflecting and wanted to "journal" my most current thoughts.  You can read all about the competition and the results here.

When the competition was first over and I discovered the results, I was obviously not happy. I was hell bent on finding out the judges critiques and figuring out what I did "wrong."  I was determined to  get redemption and already contemplating doing another show (spoiler alert I'm NOT doing another show).  So I sent my front pose and back pose pictures to the judge responsible for providing feedback and waited.

Here's the response I got:

"Hi Susan, Lean out more. Tighten your glutes and hamis and work on your posing.  Especially your back pose. Don't bend over so far.  Hope this helps.  Good luck to you.  Linda" 

Um, ok Linda!  What a joke!  These are my critiques that are supposed to help me improve?  Seriously?  This isn't even constructive feedback.  It's just a woman who spent probably 30 seconds looking at my pictures (God knows if she even remembered me) and typed up a 32 word response.

Her response was honestly exactly what I needed.  I was finally able to let everything go. Linda nor the other judges cared about me.  14.5% body fat wasn't lean enough.  I get it, I promise I do.  MOST bikini competitors are between 10 to 12 % body fat.   I wasn't lean enough by THEIR standards.  I was, however, lean enough by MINE.  Maybe I wasn't stage ready.  Maybe I had no business competing that day.  Who knows.  Who freaking cares!  I did something that pushed me so far outside my comfort zone, allowed myself to be vulnerable and I grew because of it.  There's no judge on earth that can evaluate that.

I've really thought long and hard about what I learned about myself during this journey.  It's totally NOT what I ever would have thought going into the prep.  While yes I learned that I was determined, I think I already knew that about myself.  I'm an all or nothing kind of person and I knew if I committed to it, I'd give it my all-- and I did.  My biggest fear going into it wasn't whether or not I could do the work (I knew I could).  I just didn't know if my body would cooperate quickly enough.  That was the scary part.

I'm super proud of myself for pushing "all in" and I give myself credit where credit is due but that's not the biggest take away from this.  Oddly enough what I learned about myself is that it's ok to be exactly who I am.  There will always be people who judge you, but what really matters is how you feel about yourself.  When I first put on that suit in the hotel room that day, my whole demeanor changed.  I was so happy and so proud of myself and all the hard work I had done.  I had transformed myself physically and I was satisfied and content with the work I had done.  I KNEW I had done pretty much all I could have done before stepping on stage that day.

So yes Linda, I COULD have leaned out more, I could have improved my glutes and hamis, and I could have had better posing, but I was the BEST ME I could have been THAT DAY.  I know this to be true and I can hold my head up high and say it.  So eff you Linda, because I don't need you (or anyone else) to validate me.