Funny (and Not so Funny) Stuff

There are a few funny and not so funny things that happen post competition, especially between competitions. Some things I can laugh at and other things I just have to get through.

A funny side effect of posting my competition pictures is that I got a lot more attention from them. One of the neighbor guys that Charley has been teaching a few mechanical-type things over the last couple of months came over the Sunday after my competition to ask a few more questions. He told Charley that he saw my pictures on Facebook and didn’t know I did that stuff. Well, I already mentioned my stomach problems after my treat meal a few weeks ago and it just so happened that as they were having that conversation out in the garage, I was curled up in the fetal position in pain in the living room. Charley told me about their conversation later and joked that he should have said, “If you think that’s hot, you should see her now.” We had a good laugh at that.

Another thing that happens is that the tan fades. The stage tan is very thick and doesn’t wear off evenly, it gets quite blotchy in fact. I have been exfoliating my skin and even applying my regular sunless tanning lotion to try to cover up the blotchiness, but I’ve still gotten quite a bit paler, pretty quickly. I’m pretty pale normally, but I had gotten used to seeing the base tan and then the show tan, instead of my normal skin tone. In fact, one morning I woke up and looked in the mirror and thought, “I don’t look like I feel well. I hope I’m not getting sick.” I felt fine and couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then it hit me that the face I was looking at in the mirror was paler than it had been in weeks. I laughed at myself for that too.

But I laughed harder a few days later when Charley approached me cautiously. He asked me if I felt okay. Then he started backtracking when I gave him a confused look…”I mean…you’re beautiful and everything…but…are you sure you feel okay?” Then I realized that he had noticed I was paler too. I did have to give him a hard time about telling me I looked sick though.

Since my next competition is in Vegas, I thought it would be appropriate to add more stones to my suit to glam it up a bit. I listened to a podcast from one of my fellow competitors to learn how to do it and then selected stones in varying complementary colors and two different sizes- most were in the 3mm size and a few were in the 5mm size to match some of the bigger ones on my suit. I didn’t really think about how small 3mm is and how long it would take to put just under 600 additional stones on my suit and shoes. As Charley joked, “It’s 6 square inches of material,” how long could it take? Well, it took just over 4 hours of picking each little stone up one by one with a tweezer, putting a dot of glue on it and sticking it to my suit. Here’s my pictures that I sent in for my check-in with my coach.

1-Week Out- Vegas

Can you tell? I could just barely, but I’m hoping that the bright lights of the stage really make the stones pop, like they say they’re supposed to. Oh, and in reference to the “pale” comments I made above, this picture is actually of me with one coat of base tan. Yes, I’m that pale.

Another side effect of having a lower body fat than is natural is that I am always cold. When you’ve worked this hard to get this lean, you want to be able to walk around in tank tops and shorts, but I find myself running for sweat pants and sweat shirts and drinking warm herbal tea on a regular basis. Not fun. Of course, being cold all the time is also a sign of imbalance so it could also be that my body is telling me I’m supposed to have a little more fat. Which, while as a society we’ve been shamed by the media into believing we’re supposed to look like Victoria’s Secret models, I’ve known for a long time that I can’t sustain this little body fat for any extended period of time. But it’d still be nice to enjoy it while it lasts.

I’ve already mentioned a few times how I’m learning to listen more to my body by trying to do this the healthy way. And I’ve learned more of the same in the past few weeks. Too many carbs from the wrong sources makes me bloated. Too little good carbs makes me, um, cranky. Too much animal protein, in conjunction with the lack of carbs makes me angry and easily irritated. Everything has a balance and the game that I’ve had to play the last few weeks has wreaked havoc on my balance. It’s okay to do to accomplish a goal every now and then, as long as I can remind myself why I’m feeling the way I do and remember it for the future.

Either way, I have one week left until it’s all over. One more week of having food in its basest form- fuel for minimum activity. Then I get to go back to finding my normal balance. Hopefully it’ll be somewhere between where I am now and where I was in August when I started my prep. Until then I’m going to keep practicing my posing and look forward to meeting all of my teammates that are also competing. We may not be able to go crazy in Vegas (not like I would anyway), but we’re still going to have fun.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

Cravings!?!?! Really!?!

I talked last week about how the high I felt after stage was followed by a low (literally lying on the floor) after my treat meal. I got bad stomach cramps from the food followed by cravings for more sweets. Well, this week has been more of the same. Well, not the cramps, but the cravings have really gotten me down.

It’s been a struggle honestly. I was so excited and focused and then I really just kind of lost it. I’ve still followed my workout plan, but I’ve had a few slip-ups in my diet. My cravings have been pretty bad for more chocolate and other things that I’m not supposed to have right now. For the most part, I’ve been able to give my cravings the smack down, but I’ve somehow lost the focus that I had right before my last competition.

It’s kind of frustrating really- and I’m sure that many of you are also frustrated by cravings that you don’t understand. I’ve really sat down this week and thought about what was going on and why I’ve lost my focus, why I’m feeling these cravings.

I’ll go more into all the 8 major reasons for cravings at a later time, but now I’m going to kind of dissect mine for an example.

I hadn’t had pizza and fried chicken in a long time. When I tried them they just weren’t as good as I remembered- that was affirming for me that I was doing the right thing. However, the chocolate was definitely as good as I remembered it to be. Ever since I let myself have those indulgences I have wanted more.

Recent and past history with foods can do that. Sometimes when you haven’t eaten something in a while you’ll be like I was with the pizza and fried chicken- it just won’t be as good as you remembered and you’ll be able to move on from that food. However, sometimes you’ll resurrect strong feelings that you had had for that food and you’ll find yourself wanting more in the days to come. This is also true with foods that you had a lot as a kid.

I also think that maybe I wasn’t drinking enough water. I have found that I do better when I drink at least one gallon of water a day. That’s not true for everyone, but it’s true for me. For some, that much water would lead to bloating and mineral imbalances.

Lastly, I think there was a little bit of self-sabotage going on. I was excited about starting to work with new clients at the new gym and I was feeling really excited about Vegas so my body gave me cravings for foods that would return me back to the normal balance.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past few months I’ve gotten stuff out of the freezer and had to reach past the treats that I made for Wyatt a while ago without a second glance. This week I’ve wanted to eat the whole bag of cookies. I’ve also helped my kids make sandwiches for their lunches, but the other day I saw the knife that my daughter just used to make her peanut butter sandwich in the sink and I wanted to snatch it up and lick the peanut butter off. Weird, huh? It’s not balance either.

Either way, I have been working to get my mindset back on track and focused on Vegas, I’m making sure I drink lots of water. My coach has given me some tweaks to make in my diet for this last week before peak week begins and has encouraged me to continue my posing practice. I also bought some new stones to make my suit and maybe my shoes a little flashier as well. I’ve never done that before so I’m excited to see how it turns out. Maybe next week I’ll post my pictures again to let you see. Keeping the focus where it needs to be has helped me change my perspective.

I want to finish this blog by saying that normally there’s no reason to not enjoy an indulgence or two every now and then. And there’s definitely no reason to beat yourself up for it. That being said there is a difference between foods that make us feel better and have more energy and foods that may give us some instant gratification but make us feel lethargic in the long run. Finding a good balance between the two types of foods is key. Binging is not balance. If you’re restricting yourself so much and beating yourself up for every little mistake that all you do is dwell on the “bad” foods and eventually give in to eating a whole box of cookies, then you don’t have balance. I encourage you to sit down to reflect like I had to do and figure out what is really going on. It’s usually not about the food.

I’m going to write more about cravings and emotional eating in the future. The two topics are very big as I get asked about them a lot. For now, I just wanted to share my struggles because they may help you as well.

If you’re on Facebook, join me at One Buff Mama next week for a week-long challenge so we can help motivate each other to stay on track.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

What a Crazy Week

This time last week I was getting ready for my competition. I had gotten up at 5:30 to put my last coat of tan on and then met with my hair and make-up artist in order to be done and at registration by 10:00. Then I sat around for a while. We had an athlete’s meeting and then took pictures for the media portion.

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They finally put the schedule up so I knew that I was going on stage about a third of the way through the show…and it went quick. They lined us up, I went out on stage and did my posing, then waved goodbye to the audience.

OnStage Posing

They brought us back for some comparisons and then we were done. I knew my posing was kind of awkward. Believe it or not, walking on stage like I owned it while wearing a couple of sequins and stripper heels doesn’t actually come all that naturally to me, or many of the other ladies. I was so nervous that I couldn’t even remember what I did. Posing, presentation, and confidence are big parts of the score so not getting that right could have cost me a lot of points. Finally, at the end when all of the categories had gotten on stage they called us all out and announced the winners. I was so excited to get third.

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By then I was starving and incredibly thirsty (cutting water to push the water weight out of my body was not fun for me, as I am used to drinking a gallon or more a day). I grabbed a big meal at Pappasito’s and went straight to bed. No partying for this tired mama. I got up the next morning and headed home so I could have a fun meal with my family. We decided on pizza and fried chicken with some cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries from Russell Stover that I picked up (along with some dark chocolate truffles) on the way home. The truffles had strangely disappeared by the time I got home. I don’t know how that happened to those truffles, it was quite a mystery…

Anyway, I had promised my kids that we would decorate the pumpkins for their decorating contests when I got home because I was too focused on the competition to do it before I left. However, thanks to my post competition reward meal, I got the worst cramps than I have had in a long long time. I remembered that there was a reason I had been staying away from dairy and gluten. Ugh! I literally decorated my kids pumpkins for school while lying on the floor on my left side (there’s a pressure point on the left side that my doctor told me about when I was a kid that kind of relieves the pressure- I spent my entire adolescence sleeping on my left side).

The cramps had gone away by Monday which was perfect because I was starting work at a new gym. For you locals, I am now at Anytime Fitness in Lumberton and am very excited about being a part of that team!

In other news, my third test for my Health Coach Program with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is next week and after that I’ll be ¾ of the way through. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown in this course. On top of that, I have to renew my personal training certification in August with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) which means I need to take another course. Since I’m almost done with my Health Coach course and since NASM was running a special I ended up signing up for their Corrective Exercise Specialist course. It will help me help my clients prevent injuries and reduce muscle imbalances and movement deficiencies. My package also included a course on goniometric assessment- to help me learn to assess joint range of motion and muscle length- and a neuromuscular stretching course. I’ve always wanted to take the course so I’m excited to begin it now.

And, because I thought I didn’t have enough to do, I also decided I would start a Pinterest account for my business. I had been trying to stay away from it because I didn’t want to have another distraction, but I went for it anyway. I’m slowly learning how to pick the right pins to make sure that my profile has all the right information. Check it out here and tell me what you think.

With everything going so well for me this week, I have to admit that I have had more than a few weak moments. Ever since I had that chocolate on Sunday, my body has sent me many many more cravings for it that I thought I had conquered. Halloween didn’t help. I felt like a recovering alcoholic tending bar, watching everyone else take a drink. That’s the thing about cravings though. It’s not like you can beat them once and always have them beaten, especially if you eat the food again. They kind of resurface from time to time and you have to fight them down.

Part of me thinks that my cravings may have also been because I took on too much right now, but another part of me is excited and is saying, “Let’s go!” That being said I’ve got to get it in order now because I can’t have any slip-ups for the next less than three weeks. I also have to decide now how I am going to spend the holidays. If I let myself have too many indulgences starting at Thanksgiving then my cravings are going to go through the roof and everything I’ve worked for the past few months will be covered up in a nice thick layer of fat. More important than that, I won’t feel as good as I do now. I’ll be sluggish and blah. I definitely don’t want to spend any more time curled up in the fetal position waiting for stomach cramps and bloating to pass. Yuck!

Well, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to let you know how I did. I have really appreciated your support through this. I will definitely keep you posted on my progress for Vegas. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Jessica