Just One More Piece To My Puzzle

So here it is, I’m at a hockey game, eating my chicken breast thinking about pancakes, AND of course scrolling through Instagram, when obviously an image catches my eye.

I click on it.

I read the caption.

And just like that… I learned how to pose for a figure competition.

I mean I haven’t competed in forever because I was struggling; I was fighting demons and shit; trying to just “find the road back to fitness”, you can read about that here but once you get the blood pumping, it kind of never really stops running through your veins.

Literally and metaphorically speaking.

So like I said, (and excuse me I’m excited about this and my adrenaline is pumping from the amount of carbs I’ve had about two hours ago or I’m just water drunk. Either way I’m pretty fucking hyper) there I was, stuck in an Instagram trance, going through the umpteenth photo of someone posing half naked (I did say I was on Instagram hehe), when suddenly I was stuck on this photo of a figure competitor in the shape of a perfect V. Symmetrical, beautiful lines, definition, but that taper (as in V taper) though….

yea that’s what she said..

I’ve heard about the “V taper” when I was in the process of competition prep, and I knew what it was, but I never really “got it”…I mean, I may have been developing it physically, but mentally, um, yeah, null and void.

No connections made. Whatsoever.

I just never really understood why in the hell I had to stand up on stage and pose that way. Obviously, as you can see from my first figure competition in 2012:

Proud I made it that/this far though

Proud I made it that/this far though

(you could also check out more about my first competition here

But right then, her picture, her caption in that one photo undid all of that. Those few words; stinging my eyes, stimulating my thoughts, and the blood in my veins were burning with adrenaline.

I sat there, like a black puck in the center of the ice, being slapped with a hockey stick into the goal. That was me. And that’s how I felt.

I finally connected the dots. I connected another piece to my puzzle. I finally understood.

No matter how much I practiced those poses, I just felt awkward, shy and uncomfortable. No matter how much I twisted, bended, turned, I couldn’t get it right. Simply put, I was like a newborn calf encountering ice for the first time. Yeah, envision that.

And that just turned into yet another addition to my constant mind fuck during competition prep…

The whole, “I can’t even pose, why the fuck am I doing this” or “I can’t pose, I’m not good enough…at well, anything”
Or the, “someone is already doing this, why bother anymore…”

You know….How even just one thought can seem like complete and utter despair? Been there?

If only I was just told:

“For front, back, and side pose, focus on creating that “V taper” with your body; to show off the lines of your well sculpted physique.”

Or basically, “create the best fucking “V” you can.” More simply put: Contort your body into the shape of a V…like you’re at a wedding and the chorus from “YMCA” from “The Village People” comes on. Ok maybe not EXACTLY like that.

But seriously, you should check out this beautiful figure competitor who just made a difference in my life.

Because it’s always the little things that you don’t think are going to mean a whole lot when you simply hit “post” or “share”. All of the thoughts, experiences and memories are just pieces to one huge, amazing puzzle that you get to seize and grab hold of to make it complete one day.

And please don’t NOT visit her Instagram page because you don’t compete… if you listen to her 2 year transformation story on her Youtube channel, I’m certain you’ll take something away from it.

Instagram: @fit_tiff

Power of Contest Prep


To my anxiety-ridden mind:

I know that if I set up something far in advance, I become overwhelmed with you and just unwillingly, sabotage myself ahead of time…

I was doing fine, I set my own diet and followed it, didn’t have cravings, didn’t have the need to constantly go out to eat for greasy food or sugary treats. I was cutting my own weight and doing fine. Once a week, on the weekend, I’d go out to dinner with my husband and that was the extent of it. I felt better, I didn’t have the feeling of being hungry, I was committed and I felt strong. Everyday I woke up with determination and set out to become even better and stronger than the day before; to get that much closer to my goals. Whatever that was. No. I mean it. I didn’t have a goal to drive towards. I was just kind of idling day by day, conflicted and tortured by my own anxiety. I wanted to compete in a figure competition again, but I didn’t want to say “Ok I’m doing it”. Just like that. No, that made me feel too much. Besides, I felt like I was just setting myself up for failure once I spoke about it out loud. If I just kept it quiet and shifted it back into my own head, no one would know, and I wouldn’t feel pressured or anxious. It was my way of maintaining control; or at least I like to think so.

Once I made a commitment, I felt like I lost control and relinquished to some unknown bleak hole that would rupture my very existence; my little bubble that I often contained myself in for fear of treading on anything that might make my mind explode and reel with anxiety; send me into a panic attack because of the secrets I would have to keep so no one would or could judge me or criticize me, or even just sabotage my goal because they didn’t want to see me succeed. Oh but that was me. Right now. All the time. That’s me. So I guess in a way if I don’t speak about my goals, then it’s not really there. But if I take it day by day, than I can better control it all.

The other day, I relinquished control to an online coach for contest prep. Twelve weeks in advance of a figure competition. It started out with a simple email and erupted into a full blown commitment. Right away, I went into panic mode, trying to find a way to make adjustments already; adjustments so that I could maintain some kind of control. But since Saturday, when I submitted the final information and payment, I cannot stop eating. It takes him a couple days to get my custom plan together, so until then I have been thinking of ways to sabotage myself. Apparently.

I’ve been on a non-stop binge fest. I’m having cravings and urges to go out to eat all the time now. For every meal.

I look in the refrigerator and see food and just want to devour it. I rationalize my behavior; try to soothe my mind. I’ve literally been fighting the urge to just keep bingeing. Part of me says it doesn’t matter, it’s just food, and it’s not going to hinder my goals. But the other part of me reminds me that success doesn’t come from excuses or rationalizations. But, I just want to have control.

Not only that, but I automatically have become consumed with so many antagonizing thoughts and worries that it literally feels like they are taking the very breath from deep within my heart and the lack of oxygen is so undeniably debilitating. I freeze at the thought of being asked to go to lunch with a friend or to go anywhere. And subconsciously, I isolate myself and place limitations in front of me that might otherwise be a challenge or a test of true worth or true strength. Maybe I’m afraid of the answer… I’m almost afraid to question it or to go up against it. It’s fear. I know that. It’s a lack of control. I know that there are options but it doesn’t matter in those moments when I set out to achieve something. It’s like getting in the car and purposely taking the wrong turns or inadvertently making sure that you just keep going in one big circle as long as you know you’ll end up where you started. But I want so much more. I feel it. I mean I can really feel it. It’s like a bleeding wound that burns with even the slightest amount of pressure. It feels like an attack. If you try to cover it up or dress it in bandages, it’ll just seep through or either that it’ll just dissolve the bandage making it as nonexistent as my confidence or self worth. That’s the problem I have very little self worth. I think everyone else deserves much, much more than me, and if I could I’d  be willing to give it all to them. Whether I knew them or not. And then I see these people who didn’t really notice me before or probably more likely I didn’t notice, asking me to do things, go to lunch and I look at them as challenges and obstacles that are trying to block me in my attempt from going any further when even I know deep down inside that’s the biggest lie; the biggest flaw of them all.

When I feel a loss of control; I freeze up. My body won’t move. There’s an external force that cannot be reckoned with. Over and over my mind tries to bludgeon the anxiety from my mind, and to tell you the truth, it works for a little while. Just a little while. And if you understand, then you know that you just have to keep fighting; have to keep yourself guarded, not against the world, but from your own mind. You’d understand that you cannot just walk out on your own skin; your own mind. Your body will scream like it’s beckoning anxiety and pain, but we have to remember that we’re so much larger than that. Than any of it.

We are strong enough to rise and succeed. We’ll always find a way to reach another step; another goal. And I know. I know because I did it. I seem to always find my way to the center of my goal; the center of my fear that is engulfed with the belief that I can overcome anything. And so can you. Because if you don’t do it, someone else is going to. Someone else is going to be living your dream; your life. And that control that we may so desperately cling to and think we have is going to turn into feeling of hopelessness, regret, and instead of living you’re just going to be dying. Your just going to fall into darkness and that will transfer into anger. So don’t let fear stop you; the unknown prevent you from living. And not because we have to; not because you think you don’t need to or that you have to give up control. And not because you don’t consider yourself as worthy or deserving.
Besides, I guess we’re not really controlling much when we are losing and surrendering to our anxieties; our fears and doubts. No, I guess we don’t have control if were being suffocated by fear. Fear controls us. And we need to stop it.

So here I go again. Round three to the stage.

It’s Not a Diet; It’s a Lifestyle.

Don’t expect approval. Shit, if you’re going to change your body, you better learn to dig deep down inside and find the shovel with the longest handle to dig all of the strength and courage that you have. And believe me. We all are capable.

Winter is long gone, and Summer is here.

Still. I don’t pay attention to “seasons”.

I’m either training to build muscle, lose fat, or manipulating my way to build muscle while minimizing fat gains, and the list goes on…Anyway, the point is that it can leave you feeling pretty isolated from the rest of the world. It’s no doubt one of the hardest transitions to make. At first, some people will either distance themselves from you or gravitate towards you;  it’s a toss up; heads or tails. There will be times where you may find that you are excusing yourself from, say, a party to, “use the bathroom”. Translation: you’re about to shove food into your mouth nearby, out of sight, just so you can get in Meal whatever number you’re on as fast as you can.

If you don’t excuse yourself, prepare yourself for questions, silent judgments, potential concerns that are expressed about your health, or maybe even an awkward moment or two when other people think that you are judging them on their eating habits. Trust me, I’m not. I just want to eat my food in my little Tupperware container please.

 So yea, I’ve been there. Some people ask a question about what you’re eating and why, then move on. Then there are others will ask many more questions, and end up with a look of confusion; like they don’t know what to make of it. Eh. I don’t care now,  I used to feel awkward. I mean, it’s not a secret, I’m not doing anything wrong, and I’m definitely not starving myself. At first, I used to obsess over it, I would get anxiety from it, I mean, I had to eat!!! 2 hours would go by, and I’d watch the clock, 3 hours, I had to eat! 4 hours…OMG I didn’t care what I was doing; who I was with, I HAD TO EAT!!

Now, I can’t say that I don’t obsess over it, but I can also say that I don’t obsess over it. I guess because I’ve made it who I am….

 Until today…

 Plain and simple, the people who know me; are accustomed to me and my endless Tupperware containers filled with food, and know that they can expect that I can take  them out at any given moment. When it’s time to eat, I’m gonna eat.  I have muscle to grow, fat to burn. Plain. And. Simple. It’s a lot of work, time and effort. I love it, and as I mentioned, it’s become my life; who I am.

However, enter new challenge: Introduced to new people, and it still doesn’t get any easier to explain how I eat…or why.  Plus, today would be the second time I was caught “off guard”.  That rarely ever happened. I usually have something to eat in my car, purse, somewhere. But not last week. Or today.

 Last week was the first time I was “unprepared”, “caught off guard”.  My son was asked to go over to his friend’s house, and while hey asked if I wanted them to pick him up, I figured since I was just doing laundry that I could just as easily bring him over to their house and drop him off. Yes. Drop him off.  I didn’t pack any food because I figured, “I was just going to run out and come right back” (It’s important to note that I ate over 2 hours ago at that point.), so I really didn’t see the point in bringing anything to eat. I ran out of protein bars, didn’t have anything cooked or ready to go at that moment, but like I said, I didn’t think any of that was necessary.

 And then I went to drop him off…

 Like any good host, they asked me to come in. Ummm…A few minutes turned into a couple hours. Admittedly, I started to think about  how I was “missing a meal” and in my mind, flashes of my muscles crying out, “Feed us! Feed us!” kept playing over and over.

 Like, seriously.  

 I did enjoy myself, however. It felt good meeting and talking to new people; people who seemed pretty upbeat and positive; were super nice and easy to talk to. But still. I couldn’t stop thinking about eating.  

 Now fast forward to today….

 My son’s friend came over with his dad to swim. I met them down at the pool (I live in an apartment complex). Again, I just ate, so I thought, “how long could I be down at the pool for ?” Well, soon 3 hours came and went like nothing. Time was flying right by, and we just sat there talking about anything ranging from politics to what our kid’s eating habits were.  And suddenly, that got me to think about food. My food.

 Side note: When you start a fitness journey, it’s very likely that you will start to refer to your meals as, “my food” or “Meal #”; you no longer think of it in terms of yummy, delicious, tasty, “food” but in terms of, “what will this do for my body”.  You also begin to pair foods that you never would have thought to pair together before.  Like. Ever. You begin to have a love affair with nut butters. That’s just the beginning…but that’s for another time.

 Back to the pool situation. So, there I was, wondering if it would be rude to excuse myself so that I could run up to my apartment to grab “my food”. Yea. Why didn’t I bring it with me? I know. After 3 years, you’d think I had this all figured out by now.

And look, I know that my muscles aren’t really going to eat themselves, I’m not going to “gain fat” if I don’t cram something into my mouth at exactly 3 hours from the last time I ate. But know this, if you’re training for something specific, it’s crucial to space your meals out. Why? Without getting too deep into it, the simplest reason is that it’s a lot easier to eat a large amount of calories in several meals over the course of a day rather than to cram large amounts of food to meet my caloric needs in 2 or 3 meals.

 Now that you have figured out that I am neurotic and suffer a love affair with “my food” and building muscle, and all things revolving around body transformation, don’t judge me. I have a fricken goal people.  And that’s to be in the best damn shape of my life. When I’m old, I envision myself with semi-saggy skin, yet glowing, taking selfies of myself in the mirror of my super ripped abs.Okay, so I do really just want to stay healthy, shape my body into nothing but lean, pure, muscle. It’s my daily challenge. To myself.

Meanwhile…back to the pool….what did I do? Well…my sister, who lives in the same apartment complex, came down to sit with her kids, and she played host for 10 minutes while I excused myself to go eat. And the best part of the day? When the boys wanted to continue hanging out, we moved the conversation down to their house, and I found out that my son’s, friend’s, mother and I have a lot in common. There, on the table, she had made her own, “dip” using nonfat greek yogurt with something else (that unfortunately I cannot remember), for the carrots and celery sticks that had put out as part of their dinner.  Plus,  I also found out that she suffers from a lot of the allergies that I do and makes her own natural laundry soap, shampoo and conditioner! Her husband (aka, referred to, by me earlier as my son’s dad) even offered me nonfat greek yogurt with raspberries! Oh the things that make me happy!

 Also, we might even meet them up for camping next weekend. How exciting!

 I am so glad that I did take the time to get to know them better. It’s good to invite positive people in your life. Duh. 

Remember, when you make the decision to transform your body, it’ll be difficult at first, and will affect you not just mentally, physically, emotionally; but also socially. It’s important to have a strong support system in place, and if you don’t remain strong; you’re worth it. If you stick with it, you’ll eventually meet new people, appreciate new experiences, and really discover how strong you are. As my mother always says to me, “Megan, it’ll all work out.”