Post-Contest: Ignorance is Bliss

They say ignorance is bliss. I can’t help but think “they” are right.

It’s been one month and two days since my first NPC bikini contest. And I’ve been MIA.

Leading up to the contest I was posting once or twice weekly. I’m sure none of you wait for my blog updates on pins and needles, so you probably don’t give a rats rear end that I haven’t posted. But I feel guilty. I was priding myself on being honest and open about what it’s like to compete, but I’ve been absent for the biggest struggle of them all.

 

The pre-contest Brooke ate whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, and never worried about a thing. Lots of carbs were involved. Pizza, fruit, oatmeal, cream of wheat, baked goods. You name a carb-loaded food, I probably was so in love with it I would have married it. I was loving life, eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia here and there and snacking on a warm, sweet, buttery bowl of cream of wheat before bed most nights. I was a fairly healthy eater (besides my occasional treats), but I paid no mind to the macronutrients in my food.

Macronutrients? What’s that, you ask? Well maybe you should stop reading here. Like I said, ignorance is bliss.

When you prep for a show, you want to get lean, which means dieting, which means a set amount of carbs, fat and protein that dwindle each week, which means hunger. All the time. All you think about is your next meal.

If you’re smart and have the mental strength to do it, you’ll reverse diet after your show. This means you’ll stick to your set macros that will increase slowly over time, so as not to freak out your metabolism and make it easier to lean out for your next show.

Reverse dieting was my plan. Eat all the creamy jalapeño and fajitas at Chuy’s after my contest, then get back to the diet come Monday. I started out doing pretty well. And then I slowly began to lose my mind.

So I ditched it. I said “to hell with it” and had a plate full of enchiladas verdes, rice and beans, and a margarita.  Followed by ice cream when I got home. I told myself I deserved it and from here on out I’d be a little more flexible with my diet.

About three days after falling off the diet wagon, Jared and I are lying in bed one night and he says, “I’ve really liked the past few days.” I busted out laughing because I realized what a ball of stress I’d been all throughout prep.

 

I don’t see food the same anymore. I can look at a plate of food and know immediately if it’s going to put me over my carbs and fats. And I can’t un-know it. I desperately wish I could.

Before, I’d make healthy choices, eat until I was satisfied, enjoy a few treats every now and then, and that was that. Now, if I know something I ate is putting me close to my macro limit, I’ll completely shut down and binge for the remainder of the day. The binge is followed by intense guilt and an obsession over getting fat.

I know. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And probably really annoying to the people out there who have truly struggled with their weight and body image.

 

The competition reorganized my life in so many positive ways, but I never saw this coming. I don’t know if I’ll compete again, because I don’t want to do this all over.

So for now, I’m going to keep working hard at the gym, give myself some time to reflect and shake this diet nonsense with the help of prayer (lots of prayer) and my supportive husband.

And before I sign off, I’ll leave you with this epic cartoon that makes me feel a little bit better about my predicament each time I look at it (warning: this contains some profanity).

Peak Week: On the Road to the Ronnie

One more day! I can’t believe it’s almost here.

Stay tuned for more updates today as I get my first ever Oompa Loompa tan and attend the athlete’s meeting this evening.

I also plan to do a few more video blogs tomorrow on contest day, so be sure to check those out, too!

To make sure you get all the updates, follow my blog. You can do so by clicking “follow” on the right side of your computer screen or if you are on a smartphone, scroll all the way to the bottom and click “follow.”

Peak Week: Sparkles & Snapshots

It’s peak week, y’all! I am five days out from my first ever NPC bikini contest and I couldn’t be more excited. I must admit, I get major butterflies when I think about the possibility of placing. Of course I want to do well, but I have worked my rear end off, so I’ve already won. Cliché, yes. But true. Oh, so true.

After a dip in the emotions coming off of Easter last weekend, my spirits have soared back up after a relaxing few days with the hubs/coach and a fantastic photo shoot with the lovely and talented Amy Robinson at Stakked Couture in Houston.

I was honored to have the opportunity to model one of Amy’s gorgeous suits for the Stakked Couture website. I can’t wait for the edited photo to be up on her site! Stay tuned for updates on that.

If you are a competitor you have got to check out her store. If you are in the Houston area, you’ve got to stop by the shop. Amy is incredibly helpful and has every product and bit of advice you need for your show, whether it’s your first or your 17th.

Here’s some behind the scenes shots (compliments of Jared with my iPhone) from yesterday’s session. Makeup by a Stakked employee.

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Temptation & Support

I hope you had a wonderfully blessed Easter! My husband and I were able to spend time with both of our families and attend a wedding which meant food, delicious food and more food.

As of Saturday, I was 2 weeks out from my contest, the Ronnie Coleman Classic on May 3. On Friday, we went out to eat. On Saturday, I ate at a wedding and on Sunday I didn’t think I could withstand any more temptation!

I do not advise eating out 2 weeks from your contest if you can help it. Coach Jared said I’m lean enough and that the food wouldn’t hurt me. I was also very careful with what I ate and left room in my macro calculations for extra carbs and fat. I look pretty much the same and haven’t gained any weight, so that’s great! Although last night I went nuts and ate 4 milk duds and 2 Hershey’s Kisses that didn’t fit my macros. (I like how what was once a snack is considered nuts!) I’m convinced my abs aren’t as defined today, but thankfully I have a little time to make up for that mistake. I am not proud and I do not suggest doing what I did. You will feel guilty and IT’S NOT WORTH IT!

Banish the Binge

Coming off this weekend was hard. I spent Sunday with my family which meant delicious food. My dad grilled chicken and it was amazing! But there were other delights I couldn’t indulge in, like potato salad, beans, corn on the cob and dessert. I never realized this before this weekend, but on special occasions, my family will eat and not immediately put the food away. This leaves everybody trailing in to the kitchen and snacking here and there. TORTURE! I sneaked a small bite of potato salad and beans, and allowed 2 Starbursts to fit in my macros.

I really think coming off the weekend of food had me in a tizzy yesterday, which lead to my evening candy binge. I also had the urge to be constantly eating, so I went to the store to get celery, since it’s a safe snack. Well, I discovered that Walden Farms, a line of calorie free condiments makes peanut butter spread. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to devour my guiltless snack! Well, let me tell you, it’s pretty awful. Yet I kept eating it! Which only made me feel worse. Sure, it doesn’t have any calories, but it made me sick to my stomach and my out-of-the-ordinary behavior left me feeling guilty. So when you’re reaching for that fatty, sugary food that doesn’t fit your macros or are tempted to overeat the things you can have, STOP! Think about how you will feel afterward and save yourself the pain.

You’ll Probably Cry & That’s Okay

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Overtired from getting back home way too late on Sunday night, I had a breakdown Monday evening. I just burst in to tears in my room because I had just sliced my finger open cutting an avocado, the kitchen was filthy and there were clothes all over my bed. Not a great reason to cry. But when you are exhausted, contest exhausted, it’s bound to happen.

I am so blessed to have Jared as my husband, my coach, my supporter. He sort of freaked when my face started waterfalling and cradled me on the bed until we started laughing at the reason for my tears. Then we went shopping for an outfit for work that actually fits my leaned-out body. He’s the best.

You have got to have that person–mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, significant other–who will be there for you when you are struggling. They don’t have to understand everything you are doing, but they need to love you and build you up! And not let you have that pint of ice cream you so desperately want because that’s what you used to do when you got upset.

It’s going to be tough, and it’s okay to cry. If it was easy, everyone would do it. If it was easy, you wouldn’t be growing from the experience.

 

Protein Mocha Frappuccino

You can put that $5 bill back in your wallet. Starbucks is coming to your kitchen, girlfriend.

There’s not a whole lot of coffee in this world that can rival an overpriced drink from Starbucks, but I’m telling you, this easy-to-make homemade frap is pretty darn delicious and it costs next to nothing! Have it for a post-workout treat or an anytime dessert, but you’ve got to make this. It’s too good for you not to try it!

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Protein Mocha Frappuccino

  • 1/2 to 1 scoop of Cellucor Cinnamon Swirl Whey Protein Powder
  • 1 cup coffee, chilled (I used Un Momento’s Breakfast Blend)
  • 1 tbs (16g) of Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup
  • 10 or so ice cubes
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • optional: Half and half and fat free whipped cream

Instructions:

  • add ingredients to blender (if using whipped cream, don’t add that just yet)
  • Blend until ice is completely crushed
  • Pour into a cup and top with suggested serving size of whipped cream
  • Drink the leftovers straight from the blender :)

I’m one who enjoys cream in my coffee, but the protein powder provides enough creaminess for me! If you’d like to add more cream and it fits with your diet, go for it! I tried one frap with a tablespoon of half and half and it was delicious.

Banana Muffins

The bananas were getting old and mushy, so I had to do something about it. The result was FANTASTIC. These muffins are so good without all the bad stuff! They contain lots of mushed banana, which makes for a very moist, cakey texture.

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Banana Muffins  (Yields 3)

Ingredients:

  • 2 overripe bananas (218 grams)
  • 40 grams oats (chopped in the blender for flour consistency)
  • 25 grams egg whites
  • 1 tbs Splenda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease 3 muffin cups
  3. Mix ingredients together in large bowl. Make sure bananas are mashed well.
  4. Fill muffin cups to the top
  5. Bake for 25 minutes

Nutrition Facts:

Serving size: 1 muffin

  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Protein: 3.3 grams
  • Carbs: 25.5 grams
  • Fiber: 3.2 grams

NPC Bikini: The Psychological Battle

Anything worth doing is going to be tough. It will take time, patience and an unrelenting spirit.

Saturday will mark 3 weeks until my first contest, the Ronnie Coleman Classic on May 3. The struggle is real, y’all. I’m getting leaner by the day, but I’ve had some awful food cravings lately and I’ve been really tempted to cut corners on my workouts and cardio.

I keep reminding myself that in 3 weeks I will have accomplished my goal, win or lose. I will have made it, and that’s all that matters. In 23 more days I can have a post-contest celebratory cupcake and chicken fried steak. Then I’ll start on my next goal (which is awesome because it involves much more food!): a year-long process of putting on muscle for NPC Fitness next season.

In this vlog I talk about the importance of balance. Competing is an awesome goal, but if it’s become your entire life and it’s knocking some of your priorities out of line, it’s not a good thing. Dig deep, prioritize and figure out what works for you. The journey will be tough, but if you don’t enjoy the process and learn from the struggle, it may be time to rethink those goals.

After attending the Phil Heath Classic on March 15, I was inspired to compete in the fitness division in addition to bikini. Fitness involves a posing routine and a two-minute dance/gymnastics routine. I put the pedal to the metal and began training a week later. Well, it was all too much. I was needing an additional hour each day for fitness on top of the time I was already training for bikini. I was stressed and dog tired. Mentally, physically and emotionally. So I’ve decided to postpone my goal.

And then I saw this post from Lysa TerKeurst, best-selling Christian author and speaker, on Facebook:

When making decisions I’ve stopped asking, “What should I do?” 
Now I ask, “What would honor God the most?” That’s the shortest pathway to experiencing satisfaction in Him.

I love how God works! I was shoving too much junk in my life and it was only going to strain my relationship with God and my husband, my #1 and #2 priorities.

Balance, y’all. Balance.

A weight has lifted off my shoulders. I am ready to take on the Ronnie and I am ready to keep killing it in the gym to meet my next goal. But first and foremost I am asking God to make me ready, today and always to serve and submit to Him and my husband in the way that honors Him and shows the love of Christ to others.

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