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).