At the end of my last blog post, i mentioned how i was focusing on myself both mentally and physically. Well this post is going to be about the mental part of that. This blog post is going to be about Body Image and as cliche as it sounds…. “loving yourself at every stage.”
The second i stepped on that bodybuilding stage my expectations for myself and my body were forever changed. As a bikini competitor, i am constantly trying to change how i look. Whether that be prepping for a competition or training in off season- bodybuilders are never satisfied. We step on stage to be judged strictly on how we look.. not how kind we are or how hard we worked to step on that stage or how many pounds we lost.. we are judged strictly on our appearance that one day.
That is one thing i think everyone who contemplates the idea of competing needs to realize… You will never look at your body the same. As i was prepping for my last show, despite being the leanest i have ever been, i still felt like i wasn’t lean enough. Some days i remember feeling as though i looked “bloated”. I wouldn’t post certain pics on social media because i thought i looked “fat”. Being stage lean, or losing weight, will not change the negative feelings you have towards yourself. When i was prepping, yes i loved the way i looked, however i still was not satisfied…i could be leaner, my shoulders are too small, where’d my butt go….
“Off season” is another time where your self image is really tested. Instead of losing weight, for the first time you are trying to gain weight. Personally, this was really difficult for me. I was weighing myself everyday (which does have its benefits for prep and offseason don’t get me wrong- but thats for another time) and the number on the scale dictated my self worth and how if viewed my body. I competed at 116 lbs. When my reverse started, i was hitting macros successfully and cutting back on cardio as i should have been. Some people i see/saw on social media LOSE weight on their reverse diets. I WAS NEVER THIS PERSON. Even when i ate “perfectly” and got all my gym days in- i did not 1 week LOSE weight. I would ask myself what i was doing wrong? i can do better. I HAVE to stay within 10 lbs of stage weight or i “failed” at my reverse diet. This was my mindset. When the number hit over 125 i panicked. All of a sudden i was viewing my body as “fluffy” or dreading the fact that i could no longer see my abs unless i was flexing. I felt anxiety and as though i had failed… i let my coach know that the scale was giving me anxiety. that a stupid scale was dictating my mood and feelings about myself.
We are our own worst critics. No one knows that you are 5 lbs above stage weight. No one knows if you have a 6 pack under your flannel or if you ate a “free meal” the night before. No one knows about that one time you didn’t hit your macros perfectly or if you have flabs when you sit down. No one knows and the people that matter do not care. Yup, they do not care. For the longest time, my biggest insecurity was my cheeks. My chubby cheeks. If i am not dieting and in prep, i do not have “diet” face. When i gain weight back after prep, you can see it in my face. It would destroy me that people were saying “oh look how circular her face is, her face is so round..blah blah blah.” Why would i let other peoples opinions of my body dictate how i feel about myself? These were the same people who told me that i looked mediocre at my competition and laughed when i placed 4th and 5th. Other people’s opinions are irrelevant and should never dictate how you feel about yourself.
So i guess what i am trying to get across is that a number does not define you. The scale, your macros, how many #s you are above stage weight do NOT matter. When you start seeing your body for its positives- such as how strong you are, how much muscle your gaining, how much you are living and loving your life, how capable and LUCKY you are to be able to go to the gym and workout.. those are the areas that matter. Your internal characteristics (being kind, caring, thoughtful, funny, compassionate, loving) define you as a person more than if you are shredded. You can be taring yourself down and there is someone out there who would do anything to have your body or even have the ability to go to the gym.
It is possible to love yourself and your body but still want to change it at the same time. You can and should love yourself regardless of whether or not you have rock hard abs….. I can finally say that i do love my body. Yes, some days i can say that more confidently than others but focusing on the positives and getting rid of the negative self talk day- in and day-out is definitely a step in the right direction.
Talk soon and as always like/comment/subscribe,