Friday, March 12, 2010

Avoiding the Post-Contest Feeding Frenzy

This is the first post-contest I've had that I've been disciplined with my diet after the show. My first year, I ate anything and everything in sight ... gained 20 lbs in 2 weeks (which is a LOT on a small frame!), got depressed, sick, and disgusted with myself.

This year, I ate whatever I wanted on Sat after the show, and all day Sunday. By Sunday night, my cravings were satisfied, I was all bloated, and ready to be back on my diet on Monday. The thing that's kept me on my diet this week has been pep talks to myself, and getting back into the gym.

Everyone has their own techniques for staying on track, so find something that works for you. Some girls do another show in a couple weeks, some repeat to themselves "I don't eat that food," some remind themselves how much better they feel when they eat right. Find the thing that works for you, and keep repeating it to yourself every time you find yourself reaching for bad food. Remember that this is a LIFESTYLE; not just a "diet." Try not to justify it by telling yourself that since you're not "dieting" anymore, you can eat that food. You chose a fit "lifestyle" that doesn't end when the contest is over.

I don't believe the type of diet one uses is to blame for crazy, wild cravings after a show. If you starve yourself, slow your metabolism to a crawl, and completely deprive yourself during prep, the cravings after the show will be worse. If you can speed up your metabolism and keep yourself feeling full DURING prep, the cravings aren't as bad, because you weren't so deprived. I firmly believe that this was a huge key point for me this year. It had nothing to do with the type of diet I followed. I've been back on my keto diet this whole week, with a scheduled Treat Day tomorrow.

So while that's all good information for preventing the post-contest feeding frenzy, how does it help someone who's struggling after a show?

A couple tips:
  • Throw away or remove all junk food from your house. If that's not possible ...
  • Put all junk food in a cabinet or shelf that you can't reach without climbing on the counter or a chair (trying to get to the food may give you some time to talk yourself out of eating it before you even get to it. Sounds goofy, but it works for me LOL ).
  • Put cookies or chocolate in the freezer behind your frozen veggies and chicken. In other words, make your junk food highly inaccessible.
  • Tell yourself "I don't eat that food. I'm CHOOSING not to eat it. I can have it if I want to, but I CHOOSE not to." When you make it a choice, you're giving yourself the power to resist it. No one is telling you that you can't eat it. Remember that this is a Lifestyle, not a Diet.
  • Post pics of yourself a couple weeks prior to the show to use as motivation. Don't use your stage pics, as they don't represent a realistic goal. Contest shape is not maintainable long-term (or if it is, it isn't healthy).
  • Set up a support system with friends. Every time you're tempted to reach for something, call or text someone.
  • Keep sugar-free gum with you at all times.
  • Go back to eating the foods and diet you were following 2 weeks prior to the show. GRADUALLY re-introduce different foods into your diet. Because your body is adapted to keto, be very careful with the types and amounts of carbs you consume. Your body will adapt to other foods, but it takes a bit of time. Right now, it's a machine designed to process only the foods you were eating on your diet. I agree with Erik - when you throw something else into the mix, it confuses your body and it doesn't know how to correctly process and use it. It's a GRADUAL process, but is definitely possible.
  • Go back to the gym. Start training again, but be aware you may need to use lighter weights. You just put your body through trauma by competing, so give it a bit of a break. Do some steady-state cardio just to keep moving; nothing intense yet.
  • Schedule Treat Meals or a Treat Day into your week, and use those to satisfy any cravings.
  • Remind yourself that you're beautiful inside and out. Prepare yourself for looking different than you did on stage. Remember, that's not a maintainable condition. Again, focus on how you looked 2 or 4 weeks out.

Remember, these are all just TIPS and SUGGESTIONS. I'm not telling anyone what to do; each person needs to find what works best for them. And some may argue (or already have!!!) with my point, but this is MY blog with MY thoughts, opinions, and experiences. And I figure if someone can learn from my mistakes, or from some tips that I use, then it's worth my time to post this information.


  1. Thanks :) I fell into that same mindset after my show in November..the week after was thanksgiving and then christmas...i regret it so much now....all my hard work is gone....and i have to start all over again...i have vowed to myself that i will not do that again! I am miserable now because of it...ugh! When will i learn? LOL!

  2. Great post!!! I'll definitely be bookmarking your blog! I'm 7 weeks out from my first show in May and I don't want to rebound back up to my starting weight...I have to keep reminding myself that I feel great eating clean and seeing my body change!!