Since I last posted, the school year finished and we had a graduation. I wonder what it’s like to just end a school year and go home? We always have a dramatic ending which provides a sense of closure, but it’s also sad for me. Many of my seniors are kids I’ve known for years. I’ve seen them every day for at least an hour – but a few manage to find their way back into my classroom for more than one hour a day. I fall in love with these kids every year, I’m so proud of them when they graduate, but my heart always breaks a little, too.

So I’ve been a little emotional the last couple of days. I’m nervous about this show. I don’t mind that there are people coming to watch – the audience at these things is always supportive. I’m nervous that I won’t look as lean as I wanted to look. Or that I won’t pose well. I’m annoyed with everything I have to do for the show – except lifting.   The “peripherals” I call them – are distracting.  Hair, makeup, suit, tanning, nails…ugh.  I don’t do anything of that stuff in my real life.  And I’m bored with my food – haven’t had a cheat meal since February. I’m very disciplined, but that’s a really looooong time. I was doing OK until a few weeks ago.  Broke down this week and got some flavoring for water, otherwise known as “chemical shit storm” in clean eating circles.

But you know what? It’s all part of the process. I eat a lot of food for someone who is “dieting”. Coach is smart. He’s been adjusting macros based on what he sees happening with me and I’m steadily losing weight – every day – on almost 2000 calories a day and not a lot of cardio. Maybe 30-40 minutes a day tops. Usually HIIT cardio, but some steady state when my hips and legs are feeling a little beat up.

From what I see in the mirror today, I’m on track.  I am losing a little weight everyday.  I’m sure it’s mostly water, but the plan is that my body is burning a little fat, too.

I’ve already started making plans for this next off-season, which begins with the first meal after this show. I’ll have a reasonable cheat meal – won’t go overboard. And then I’m going to start a reverse diet immediately the next day. I will eat exactly the same way that Coach has me eating this coming week. I will slowly increase carbs a little bit at a time and watch what my body does with them. As I increase the carbs, I’ll decrease cardio. My goal is to be eating like a 15-year old ectomorphic boy, maintaining a healthy weight with body fat percentage around 20% by Thanksgiving. I’m convinced ANYTHING is possible with the right nutrition. Anything.

I wanted to write a little bit about body image. As my competition gets closer, I’ve struggled with this same demon again. I know I compare myself to others a little bit, but mostly, I compare what I see in the mirror to what I see in my head. I’m not there – yet. I don’t know how to explain this in a way that doesn’t sound vain. How I look is not about being attractive or slim or whatever – how I look is the result of my efforts.  The food prep, the precision of serving sizes, the amount of water I drink, the number of sets, reps, running bleachers most mornings – all of it is designed to achieve a specific thing. I’m sculpting something from the inside out. I’m closer to what’s in my head this year than I was last year, and I’m proud of that. But I get impatient. I had a little mental break yesterday during my leg workout with coach. He reframed things for me. After only three years of training, I’m preparing to compete with whoever shows up and it’s probably women who have been doing this a lot longer and they are probably younger. Some may not be ‘natural’ either, even in my division. If I can stand there and look legit, I’ll be happy.

Part of the body image issue is learning to accept and then ignore the things that make me nuts – like the loose skin. People ask me about this all the time. I do have a little. One of the reasons I wanted to do the reverse diet was so that I might be able to stay a little leaner during this off season to see if my skin would tighten up just a tiny bit. But I don’t have so much that I can’t pose around it.  Pretty, huh?  Not a view most people see, but everyone who has lost more than a little weight looks at something like the “Abs Laying” every day.   It’s like my old 2X sized t-shirts – just a little too baggy for my body now.  But it doesn’t serve any purpose to hyper focus on it.  Just stand up and keep going.


Here are the pictures Coach wanted a couple days ago.  Yup.  I’m in my underwear.  But honestly, my underwear has more coverage than my posing suit.  Body image – I’ve gotten comfortable in my skin, even if doesn’t fit me that well any more.

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