Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's a Lifestyle

I've been back from the Arnold for 3 days, and I feel like I'm still recovering. Every time I log onto Facebook, I see more photos from the show and the expo, and I relive the weekend all over again. I'm still tired and have the "Arnold Hangover," but my daily routine is back to normal.

I'm back to eating my diet foods 5 times a day, training in the gym, and doing cardio. There are some slight differences to my routine, though. The walnuts are firmly back in the diet , training sessions are lighter and shorter (to let my body recover a bit), and cardio is cut in half . Because I don't have to do morning cardio right now, I've been sleeping in this week, which is a luxury I haven't been able to experience for over 3 months! I'm only doing 1 cardio session a day at a steady pace - no intervals right now.

All the small changes make such a huge difference in my stress level, though! I feel more at ease, less tense, less stressed, and most of all - more rested. I feel like I can finally listen to my body now, and let it relax and de-stress.

But what does "Relax" mean now? It still means going to the gym, training, doing cardio, and following a diet. It does NOT mean eating and drinking whatever I want and skipping the gym! Wait a minute ... if I don't have a show in a couple weeks, why would I still do this routine? Because it's not just a "Contest Diet" ... it's a "Lifestyle."

A Lifestyle means I live my life according to this routine; I don't just follow it for x number of weeks and then do something completely different. I've done that before, and it leads to major depression, water retention, and weight gain. NOT something I enjoy! And certainly not how I want to live my life!

I feel healthier, happier, and more energetic when I follow a structured diet and training program. It's not just something I HAVE to do; it's something I WANT to do. And that makes all the difference in the world. I'm CHOOSING to live like this ... to feel like this ... to look like this.

I love knowing I can still fit into my pre-contest clothes! I love that I look lean and fit right now! I love that my delts pop and my abs show a 6-pack. In past years, I'd be way more than just 3 lbs over my contest weight. That's right - I'm only 3 lbs heavier than I was the day we left for Columbus!

For two days after the show, I ate whatever I wanted. I had chicken carbonara, pizza, creme brule, quesadillas, french toast, bacon, biscuits, apple pie fries , protein bars, and Girl Scout cookies. I gained 5 lbs and felt terrible! I completely expected it and was prepared for it, though. Monday I was back on my diet and back in the gym, and already starting to drop some of the water weight. I'm still retaining some water, which is expected, but I noticed I'm retaining less today than I was yesterday. Each day my body will adjust and adapt, and change a bit. I need to keep reminding myself that it's still trying to get regulated.

Luckily, I didn't screw up my metabolism this year. That was the whole plan of how my diet was structured - increase the metabolism so there's no post-contest feeding binge and subsequent weight gain. I ate my food, and now I'm done with that. I'm getting increasingly hungrier each day, which is a good sign that my metabolism is still screamin'.

The other day at work, a co-worker was amazed that I was back on my diet food. I just smiled and said, "It's a lifestyle!"

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