Healthy Mind + Body

Bikini Competition through an Eating Disorder Victim’s Perspective

20151109_231323000_iOSIt sounds pretty ironic right?

“Let the girl with disordered eating habits, low self-esteem, and 10 year history of yo-yo dieting compete in a bikini competition”

 

 

That was my first thought as well. How could I, the girl who after months of therapy sessions and dietitian visits and doctor visits, be “okay” enough to compete in a sport that revolved around rigorous training and demanding calorie needs and restrictions.

Sure, my dietitian told me I “graduated” from disordered < 500 calorie/day eating to a healthier, daily eating schedule. But did she know I just lied and made my food journal look like ideal, perfect American diet with 50% of calories from carbs, 30% from fat and 20% from protein? Did she know I wasn’t mentally healthy yet? No, but in order to end those monotonous and silent sessions with Carol in which I never wanted to speak at and to free up my Wednesday afternoons from dietitian visits, it had to be done.

 

And it was stupid.

Because ten years later and I’m still where I was. Except I’m not the same emaciated 90lb girl. I was a regular BMI, starving girl who would gain weight after anything more than 1000 calories due to the starvation mode that I’ve been stuck in. I was sick and tired of being well…sick and tired. I was tired of the fear I had behind food: behind rice, and peanut butter, and potatoes, and oils. And that sounds extremely silly; as my gym owner called it; “the killer carbs!”

 

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But you can’t laugh at my fears; you can’t laugh at the disorder that’s fueling these fears. You certainly can’t laugh at my attempt to wake up everyday and fight it.

So what in the world would force me to change? I was tired of striving for a feeling of happiness through health that I wasn’t obtaining; I was tired of being afraid. And maybe it was egotistical of me, and maybe it was selfish, but I wanted to look and feel better. So I contacted a friend regarding bikini competitions and how to get involved.

Now, I was about a BMI of 24 in the beginning of prep, close to the overweight zone due to muscle mass and some excess fat.

I was given a meal plan to follow and weekly check ins to see how the diet worked and if we needed to tweak it. Now, following the diet was key to success. A lot of people found it hard to follow because it eliminated so many things. But for me, following this diet added more calories than I was already eating; more carbohydrates and fats than I was already eating. And the anxiety began there, but I put trust in my coach that it wouldn’t lead to a weight increase.

Trust is key, that’s an important element I learned.

Seeing that I had to eat pastas and sweet potatoes (yes—they are healthy complex carbs which take longer to digest and are full of fiber & key nutrients…but tell that to a girl with an ED or someone recovering and they won’t listen) made me nervous, but like I said…trust.

After weeks went by, I started dropping some weight and losing some inches; a very healthy progression. Sure, I plateaued several times, and I won’t lie, I’m fairly certain it’s due to the fact that I overtrained several days a week and sometimes I chose not to eat that extra carb choice in the day because I was too afraid too, and that’s my own damn fault—you LEARN from your mistakes.

My diet included several different foods all laid out with relative times an portion sizes, such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, tuna , chicken, oils, salads, rice cakes, etc. I wasn’t used to eating all of these different foods–I mean I was a vegetarian prior to this, so it was a whole new experience!

Now I sit here and type to all of you as I eat some egg whites and 1/2 a sweet potato in prep for Saturday’s competition. Yes—I chose to compete again. Why? Because this whole journey…this experience…this six long ass month experience of 3AM gym sessions, two a days, “no I can’t drink” speeches, HELPED me. How did it help me you ask??

  • I don’t fear carbs like I used too. Actually, I want a freakin bowl of my mother’s ziti (ground turkey and low fat cheese of courseWinking smile ) and a turkey sandwich with whole wheat bread.
  • I found the connection to food, your body, and your energy output—I see how important food choices are to your body for athletic performance
  • I found motivation in myself that I never thought I had
  • I found a new appreciation for food and health: FUEL your body with healthy choices. In other words, eat better not less.

Doing this competition (along with my desire to please everyone and to not let someone down), I wanted to win. I wanted to be the best. Weekly/Bi-monthly check ins’s with coach to ensure I was on track really helped me well….eat. It also helped me change up my workout routine and learn the importance of strength training. I no longer am that cardio bunny–but a strong woman–both mentally and physically.

Sure, my mentality is and always will be skewed. I feel as though I will always see a plate of food and see numbers instead of deliciousness; calories/fat/protein instead of how aesthetically pleasing it looks

 

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But that’s just who I am. If it becomes a problem and interferes with my social life like it used to (sorry girls from the 8th grade soccer team…I really did want to get that pizza after the game I just mentally couldn’t go!) then  I know I need to get help. I think it’ll always be with me, but more so it’s the actions I can control and how I go about dealing with it that can change.

Overall, many people think competitors, whether you’re doing bikini or figure or you’re a male doing bodybuilder or physique (or one of the other trillion classes they have…) that you’re going to have tis disordered mindset and that you’re diet is just super unhealthy and blah blah blah. Well PERSONALLY lemme tell you—this saved my life. This saved my mindset. And I can’t wait to continue to compete.

 

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Tuesday: Bike rides and coach check ins

20160308_134755000_iOSYesterday’s session with the coach went fairly well. Progress is being made + we practiced some posing, so that’s always fun. She’s switching up my diet because my body isn’t doing well with carbs…aka I could potentially be carb resistant at this point. Let’s see how the new diet goes! She has added dairy which makes me super nervous due to the effects of dairy on the GI tract, so I might avoid it still. The thing about food is that how your body handles it versus how someone else’s body handles it may be COMPLETELY different! It’s crazy. And that can be the frustrating part, but it’s all just a science that overtime we we will see how it panes out. I also managed to squeeze in an eight mile bike ride outside (BEAUTIFUL day) plus hit up the library! The library is such a wonderful place, I cannot believe it took me four years in this small little town to visit the public library.

 

This morning after my leg day + 25 minute cardio session, I was off to the preschool to read a book regarding nutrition! Love seeing the kids get all wild when talking about fruits and vegetables. One section of the story discussed how the boy was going to the grocery store with his father & I asked the children if any of them shopped with their moms dads or grandparents, and what they bought. and all of the children said mac and cheese…..

 

like I guess no one buys fruit or veggies or chips or milk?? I could not stop laughing!

And when I came home, I had a nice package waiting on the porch for me….

 

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no…sadly it wasn’t my suit yet Sad smile but my BCAAS and new vanilla cupcake protein by Dymatize came! Cannot wait to give that a shot today. Wonder what recipes I can create with it Thinking smile

Off to do some reading. On my book list to accomplish this year:

  • The Hunger Games Series
  • Gone Girl
  • 50 Shades of Gray Series

 

Any other recommendations?? I haven’t had any me time in so long, I can’t wait to read for actual FUN again.

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Breakfast + Supplements Explained!

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So after literally pushingggg myself into the gym, quitting early (yes…I will be heading back later),  I came home and made my delicious post workout meal:

  • 1/4 cup of oats mixed with 1 scoop of protein
  • 1 cup of liquid egg whites
  • 1 delicious cup of coffee.

These morning carbs ALWAYS put me in a better mood! Carbohydrates are huge when it comes to a person’s mood. Have you ever seen someone on the Whole30 or someone on the Atkins who is Ms. Cranky Pants??? It’s the lack of carbs! Consuming carbohydrates is actually related to the regulation or the hormone serotonin, which is a mood hormone. Keeping a balanced and consistent carb diet is critical in a healthy, happy mood Smile

 

Yesterday I discussed the vitamins and supplements I take on a regular basis, and I wanted to touch back on that today and kind of break down why I personally take them and the importance behind them for my goals of building muscle and living a healthy lifestyle

 

Protein: SUPER IMPORTANT FOR STRENGTH TRAINING!!! I used to workout with weights and go home and not eat anything because I thought that’s how I would lose weight…wrong!!! To build muscle you need a supply of protein, and timing of your protein intake is important to muscle growth. After your strength training workout, aim for a serving of roughly 25 grams of fast acting protein (whey or egg protein) within an hour or hour and a half. This is the perfect time threshold for your body to repair rapidly. No need for two scoops or 50 grams of protein due to the fact that your body can really only digest about 30 grams of protein in a time period.

BCAAS: branched chain amino acids. long scientific name for the basic building blocks of protein. The main ones in the BCAA powders and pills are leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAS, like I said, are the building blocks of protein and can aide in the prevention of muscle breakdown as well as stimulating anabolism of protein (the building of the protein).  I use this as a water enhancer since I drink a gallon a day. I’m still debating on how crucial they are to my diet.

Pre Workout: I like the tingly, jittery, getmegoing type of feeling when I work out, and a cup (or three..) of coffee just never does the trick! Preworkouts high in beta alanine seem to be better for me. beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid (meaning our bodies just produce it naturally) that helps with endurance, delay in muscle fatigue, and can potentially increase strength.

Multivitamin: this is a little self explantory, but I felt it was necessary to touch on! The average American does not get 100% of every tiny micronutrient that they need, so a multivitamin is important, in my opinion, for all humans to take. If you are on a blood thinner though you may want to check which kind you by (watching the vitamin E/K intake). Since my current diet lacks a lot of fruit, I may be missing Vitamins A, C, magnesium, etc. Using a multivitamin is a great backup!

Vitamin C: It’s cold and flu season, first of all, so taking this as a preventative method to ward off any pesky diseases is great. Higher intakes of vitamin  seem to have been linked to preventing your body from going into a catabolic (muscle break down) state, which is great for those who are looking to build muscle!

Vitamin B Complex: I was a vegetarian for 11 years, and I was borderline anemic, always cold, thin and fragile hair/skin/nails, whathaveyou. One vitamin can’t act alone though. The benefits of vitamin C is greatly increased when taken with a B complex.

 

 

Off to the gym!!! Smile

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Competition Prep and BodyStruggles

20151215_111039000_iOSI can’t believe it’s nearly 12 weeks from my competition! This is the accountability factor over here.  Not only is prep a physical change, but it’s a huge mental change as well as a battle.

Check in with my coach is in two days and that’s when all my changes will begin…new diet plan, new fitness routine…everything. Personally I’m excited to learn more about the science and how body reacts to certain macronutrient intakes. We all hear about low carb high protein, or high fat and low  car, or even carb cycling…so what the heck is the way we should eat?? That’s my goal—to find out which way is best for my body.

Body issues are something many of us, both men and women, struggle with on a daily basis. Whether it’s the fact that we think we are too heavy, too thin, not muscular enough, or whatever the case may be, there’s always something we are nitpicking on. Although I try to be as optimistic as possible when it comes to health and nutrition, it’s easy to say I struggle as well. I still look at my food and see numbers rather than happiness, or I’ll avoid certain drinks due to pointless calories that I could be getting elsewhere. I’ve struggled for nearly nine years now but each year I think it gets easier and easier. So my advice for anyone struggling: don’t give up

Any progress is good progress.  I remember I would eat two apples a day and that was nearly it. I would peel the skin off the apple, doing my best to nearly peel the whole apple into the trash at the same time until my mom caught onto my actions. Eventually I started eating apples without peeling them –> HUGE progress. Whether or not see something like that as a baby step or maybe a milestone, it’s progress.

I’m excited to see what challenges I will encounter over the next three months.

As I sip my coffee and get ready for work, I can only reflect on how grateful I am to be where I’m at right now. Not only have I mentally grew from such tough experiences, but I’ve developed an amazing passion for a field that will allow me to help and motivate others as well.

 

Off to work! Smile Happy Tuesday Everyone!

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back to back job? No excuses!

20150717_110136789_iOSYou know those days where you mentally CANNOT get yourself to do anything?

Hi.

Hi over here.

Yeah, that is me today!!

 

Sadly I couldn’t just lounge around in my gym t-shirt all day like I typically would love to have done on a day off. Instead, I had to get my butt up and get my day started since my first job was from 8:30-2:30, followed by my next job which starts at 4 and ends whenever the heck they choose to send me home (life of a waitress…gotta love it).

I got my first cup of coffee in and (since we meal prepped yesterday) pulled out my Kashi cereal from the fridge and had breakfast all ready to go! The pool was completely dead today. I managed to finish the book I was reading (Take Me For Granted…such a great young adult/romantic novel) and start my second book (Crash Into You…still trying to get into it) Thanks to Bookbub, I get 4 books sent to my email everyday, usually one is free so I always end up downloading it to my kindle, in hopes I have some free time to read it…which thankfully I did this week. It’s hard accumulating free time inbetween jobs and classes and a boyfriend.

After I got home I was STARVING…so I threw together an onion pepper and chicken wrap with broccoli on the side. Today is my high carb day aka I can consume wraps finally!! I’m thinking that’s why I have been in such a funk lately. Mentally I have been so stressed and unhappy, and I’m assuming it’s the lack of carbs. Thankfully I get to enjoy and indulge  today Smile can’t wait for me night time oatmeal either!!! I’ve never been so excited to have oatmeal in my entire life. I’ve learn so much about my body while taking on carb cycling. Not only do I feel less bloated, but mentally it feels amazing to watch my carb cravings subside (and trust me, I used to be the carb queen!)

Off to fix up my makeup for job number two!! Can’t wait to be able to come home and fall asleep…and do it all again tomorrow.

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