Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Changing Shape

As I was picking out today's work clothes last night, I started to think once again about my attitude toward clothes and my body size. I was looking at my collection of dress pants, which range in size from 0 to 6. That means, I have at least 1 pair of dress pants in size 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6. All of these pants have fit me at one point within the past 5 years. At my height, those sizes represent a 20 lb weight range.

Currently, I'm leaner than I've ever been (besides the 8 times I've stood on stage). The weight I'm maintaining is less than what I weighed in college, yet my clothes are bigger. What the heck?! The difference is the muscle mass that I've built up, which has completely changed my body shape.

The other night I tried to fit into a size Small Adidas tank top. I couldn't get it past my delts. Then I tried to fit into a Small Under Armour sports bra. Same issue. The next day, I tried to fit into a Small slip from Target. Same issue. Awhile back, I tried to squeeze into a pair of size 5 shorts from Wet Seal. I couldn't get them past my knees. Then I tried a pair of size 5 skinny jeans. Same issue.

After those experiences, I have to admit I was disheartened. I weigh 105 lbs, and I can't fit into a size Small?! Or a size 5?! Who are these companies making clothes for?! When I was in college and weighed 105 lbs, I wore XS tops and size 0 jeans and shorts. I also had a lot less muscle.

I've written about this topic a couple times, and I'm still trying to come to terms with my shape and size. The dress pants I'm wearing today were once my "Fat Pants." Now they're my "Skinny Pants." I remember the day I bought them. I'd been seriously training legs for a couple months and couldn't fit into my size 3 pants anymore, so I went to The Limited and bought a pair of size 0 dress pants. Yes, a womens' size 0 (not to be confused with a Juniors' size 0, which is waaaaaay smaller) was my "Fat" size. That purchase started my journey into serious training and re-shaping my body.

I'm still trying to be comfortable with the fact that my lats (which I love love love!) make it impossible for me to fit into smaller size tops. And the fact that my quads (which I also love!) can't squeeze into Skinny Jeans.

I'm still  learning to love the shape of my body to be less critical of it. Yes, my shape has changed, but I've built it that way. My body represents years of hard work, dedication, sweat, tears (literally), and heavy weights. And as a result, I've built a strong, healthy body. I'm continuing to push past my natural limits and even further change my body, because the changes represent something I enjoy. Something I'm passionate about.

So who cares if I can't wear a Small Adidas tank top? The Medium fits great, and shows off my lats. A larger size does NOT equal more fat. It equals hard work and heavy weights. And that makes me prouder than anything!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I know the secret to every competitor's success on stage ... it's CONSISTENCY. It's not some fancy training/cardio routine, it's not some complicated diet protocol, it's not the use of illegal substances, it's not some widely touted supplement ... it's just plain hard work and consistency.

Every competitor has a different plan that gets them to the stage. Different combinations of training, cardio, and diet work differently for each person, but the one thing that all winners have in common is a determination to succeed by working hard and by being consistent.

Consistency means sticking to the diet and training plan exactly. No deviations. The plan was written specifically for YOU by a trained professional, so why would you even think to question it? The diet is geared toward YOUR body's responses, so why would ask to substitute something? The entire protocol was developed for YOU to win ... to succeed ... so why wouldn't you follow it?

So many people question why their own methods aren't working, so they hire a trainer or a nutritionist or a coach. But when the professional gives them a customized plan, the person starts asking questions, trying to change it, to fit it to their current lifestyle. That's not how it works! You want to lose fat? Follow the diet! You want to get stronger? Follow the training plan! Simple as that!

But yet, for a lot of people, it's not that simple. Life gets in the way. There are parties to attend that have all kinds of yummy goodness to eat. There are luncheons at work at restaurants. There are events during the usual training time. For some people, these things can be show stoppers - reasons to not follow the diet or to train. What they really are ... are excuses.

They're excuses people give themselves for failing. They're excuses they give themselves so they don't have to take responsibility for not following the plan or making the progress they should have (or would have) made if they'd followed the plan. And then they wonder why they're not losing weight? Or getting stronger? Or getting leaner?

Consistency means holding yourself accountable and taking responsibility for your own actions. It means eating when and what you're supposed to eat. It means not skipping meals. It means not eating anything that's not on the diet plan. It means doing the exercises outlined on the training plan. It means doing the full amount and the kind of cardio at the designated times of day listed on the plan. It means not licking the spoon or the bowl after you make something that's not on your diet. It means drinking the amount of liquids you're supposed to drink each day.

In theory, this seems like such an easy, simple concept. But it's not, because life isn't consistent. That's no excuse for not making the diet and training consistent, though. The trick is making it a priority in your life. It's making your goals a priority.

So next time you find yourself about to lick some cookie batter off a spoon ... or trying to substitute almonds for olive oil ... or thinking about skipping the gym because you have a lot of homework ... or skipping a meal because you have a meeting at work ... or reaching to sample a piece of cake at a party ... think twice.

Think about your goals. Think about being consistent. Then think about being successful, and how good it feels to achieve your fitness goals.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pumpkin Egg Muffins

I'm really starting to get sick of my turkey diet, so, thus inspired by a couple of my online friends (Becca and Genie), I decided to try a new recipe that I can actually have in my diet! This was a huge step for me, as I'm not well known for my cooking or baking skills. But much to my surprise, these actually turned out AND tasted good!

Pumpkin Egg Muffins

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp Splenda (or Stevia)
1/4 tsp almond extract (or vanilla or coconut)

Combine all ingredients into small bowl and whisk together until well blended (there may be some clumps - I couldn't get them all out, but it doesn't matter cuz they still tasted good!)

Spray large muffin tin.

Dump ingredients into 1 muffin hole in the pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 min  or until the muffin is solid.

Remove from pan, spray with no-fat butter, and sprinkle more Splenda and cinnamon on top for extra flavor. Viola!

Since my diet only calls for meals of 4 egg whites, I mixed up 3 separate batches of these to make 3 muffins.

These are making me hungry just lookin' at them! YUM!!

I sprinkle more Splenda and cinnamon on the plate when I eat these, and also spray each piece with no-fat butter. They taste best when warm, naturally. :)


Nutritional Breakdown
1 muffin
Calories: 64
Protein: 16 g
Carbs: 0 g
Fats: 0 g

The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown has begun ... I know this because I don't get any more Treat meals until after the show. Two weeks ago, Jerry told me no more Treats, but then we reevaluated my progress, and I got to have some treats last weekend. But not this weekend. That's how I know I'm in the final homestretch (is that redundant?) before the show. I have 3 more weeks. That's 2 more weekends of strictly diet food ... no treats ...

I'm feeling really good about my progress. I'm tightening up faster than we'd expected, and I'm hungry all the time, which means my metabolism is crankin'! Apparently, the things we changed in my training really made a huge difference.

So here I am, ready 3 weeks early. What a weird feeling for me. I've always been that girl who stood on stage overtrained and dieted to exhaustion. But not this year. I wasn't overtrained for the Arnold (was ready 2 weeks out), and I'm not overtrained now. I'm just reaching the point where I cry easily (or should I say, more easily than usual?), and moving seems like an effort.

I'm still in better shape than Jerry is, so I've been trying to be the strong one in the house. That means doing more of the chores without nagging him. LOL It also means I drive almost every time we get in the car. Last time he drove, we missed the exit cuz he was so unfocused. NOT safe behind the wheel sometimes! LOL Perhaps the simple fact that he's in worse shape than I am is keeping me in better shape mentally?? Because I know I can't just hand things over to him and make him do things for me this time; he's got enough on his plate to worry about, and I don't want to add to his stress?

Regardless, I believe this prep is the easiest prep I've ever done. Don't get me wrong - it's still not a piece of cake (mmm ... cake ...). I'm still doing 2-a-day cardio sessions, training intensely, and sticking like glue to a very boring diet. But I'm not feeling like I'm behind or overtrained, like I usually do. And I'm so thankful for that!! Maybe another reason it's seemed easier is because I've been in pseudo-prep for so long that it wasn't much of an adjustment to shift back into full blown prep.

It was time for progress pics on Saturday after morning (er, afternoon, since we slept in so late) cardio. I'm still not thrilled about my backside, but that's always my weakest point anyway. We're workin' on it!

I'm still holding a bit of water, so when that water goes, I should be just right on stage. We're working on filling out my muscles more too, especially my delts, which have a tendency to flatten out. The muscle is there, but for some reason, it likes to hide. :(

It was a thrill putting my suit on again, even just for these photos. I love the feeling of wearing it, since it reminds me of how it feels when I stand on stage.

Every morning at the gym, Jerry and I drag in there looking like zombies. And the regulars who have already been there for 3 hours like to comment on how happy and excited we [don't] look. As I was trudging out the door today on my way to work, I got asked why I put myself through this when I'm so very clearly miserable. My face lit up as I explained how I absolutely adore the feeling of standing on stage. There's nothing like it in the world! I love seeing how I can change my body, and when I'm on stage, I love knowing that I look my best and I'm damn proud of all my hard work. Plus I like trophies (ok, I left that part out, but it's true).

I only have a couple more hours left at work, and then I'll hit up the gym to train with Jerry. I wish I could be there with him when he trains, but his time is in the middle of the day, and I'd have to do some fancy scheduling arrangements in order to be there with him.

So we're officially into the final 3 weeks ... no more treats. Just intense focus, determination, and hard work. Bring it on!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Archive entry. Originally posted July 2009

You know they're out there ... in fact, they're everywhere! Some are very obvious, others wear masks that obscure their judging eyes and sharp fangs. If you compete, you've run into them. At the grocery store, behind the deli counter, in your office, in your home, at the bar, at restaurants. Who am I talking about? Haters!
People who don't understand and don't TRY to understand the bodybuilding/fitness lifestyle, and as such, feel it's their perogative to comment, remark, judge, make fun of, and laugh at you.

As I'm struggling with my off-season diet, I'm running into these people more and more. People who I thought were my friends, who supported me, who maybe didn't understand, but at least admired what I was doing. Those people who, 3 months ago, encouraged me to keep working hard now cheer and laugh when I eat a cookie (which is most definitely NOT on my diet!). They think it's a victory of sorts when I cave and give in to temptation. It's like they won - they cracked the Invinsible Kari Keenan! Three cheers for Kari getting fat, retaining water, battling reflux, and feeling like sh*t! Don't they understand that when I give in to temptation, I hate myself for it?! It's not a victory, not something to cheer about! It's me losing focus of my goal for a short time, and subsequently feeling sick physically and mentally. How is that a good thing?!

Yesterday there was the usual Friday BBQ at my work. I went over to have a plain burger with some pickles (loves me some pickles!). When I got there, however, I discovered the cookies ... my biggest weakness. So I gave in to the temptation and took a couple. When people saw I had cookies, their eyes bugged out and they all exclaimed, "YOU'RE gonna eat COOKIES?! Hooray! Good for you! You deserve it!"

Wait a minute! I "deserve" cookies?? I "deserve" to get fat? To feel sick? To feel disgusted with myself? I must've done something really bad to "deserve" cookies! But in their minds, the sugar was a reward for working so hard. Except ... in my mind, the reward for working so hard is to continue to stay lean and to look good! Not to completely mess up all my hard work!

I know their comments are based on jealousy, ignorance, and insecurity, but they still hurt nonetheless. How would they feel if I told them they're fat and there's no way in hell I'd want to look like them? I'll never say anything like that, because who am I to judge what others do, say, eat, or think? I just wish they'd keep their comments to themselves and not actively encourage me to fail.

I was talking with a friend tonight at the gym, and she told me that while she was staying at a world-renowned hospital, they kept feeding her chocolate cake and cookies! And when she tried to tell them she wanted healthy foods every few hours, they informed her that she didn't need to eat that way. What?! How can medical professionals not understand or support a clean diet?!

Speaking from my current experiences, it's really difficult to maintain a healthy, clean diet year-round without the support of others. I'm surrounded by people who think it's a tragedy that I pass up cake and pizza. They cheer when they see me eating M&M's (literally CHEER). They ask me when I get to "eat" again (as if I haven't been eating the last 6 months).

I wish I could say I'm strong enough to deal with these situations on my own ... but I'm not. I need the support of others to help me continue to resist temptations. It's a choice I have to make at least 10 times a day, and I always want to make the RIGHT choice - the HEALTHY choice. I don't want to cry to Jerry every night on the phone about how fat I am because I'm struggling with my diet. I wish I could be surrounded by people who understand my lifestyle and support my choices. Since that's not a possibility where I live, I need to continually remind myself of my goal and be honest with myself. It's a continual struggle, and I'm glad to be a part of several online communities - where I know I can find people who understand what I'm going through.

COOKIES and Off Season Choices

Archive entry. Originally posted June 2009 after Jr. Nationals

I've officially entered my "Off Season" ... and am now facing a whole different set of challenges than I faced during contest prep. My plan is to stay almost in contest shape - within 5 lbs of my stage weight. Why? Because I like how I look and I feel good! Simple as that. I'm amazed to discover, however, how baffling this concept is to almost everyone around me!

Yesterday afternoon I was in the kitchen heating up Meal 2 while chatting with one of my co-workers. She asked how the show went, if I got to eat some cookies afterward, and if I'm excited about "getting to eat now." Getting to eat ... that implies that I DON'T get to eat during contest prep. So if I'm not eating, what do you call the things I eat 5 times a day? Tongue out I informed her that I ate a ton of cookies and carbs for two days after the show, and then I felt really sick. My reflux kicked in and I ended up throwing up for 4 days. NOT FUN!! So I'm back on a clean diet, feeling good, and looking good. She got a puzzled look on her face and exclaimed, "Oh NO! Why are you back on that diet again?! That's terrible!" WHAT?! How is feeling good, not throwing up, and being happy a terrible thing?? Does she really want me to be sick and fat??

Last night as I was leaving the gym, I ran into another co-worker who also asked if I'm now eating lots of cookies (hmmm ... does there seem to be a trend with me and cookies? LOL). I said, yeah, I ate some for a couple days, got sick, and now I'm back on my diet. He looked at me (puzzled also), and said, "So you're not gonna eat cookies and get fat?!" Um, NO!! I glared and him and said, "Why would I want to get fat?? I like how I look so why not stay this way?" He just shrugged.

These are just a couple examples of what I've been facing every day since I got back from the show. People keep asking me if I "get to eat now" and if I'm eating whatever I want. Why yes, I AM eating whatever I want! It just happens to be very similar to my contest diet. LOL All the other years after a show, I'd eat junk, and then I'd be mad at myself, hate how I looked, and slide into a slight depression because of it.
Well this year is going to be different! Why put myself through that misery just for the satisfaction of eating something yummy for 1 minute? It's SO not worth it! Plus, I have a goal! I want to turn Pro. And I want to make a name for myself in the fitness industry. I can't do that while looking like an overweight, bloated cow (which is how I've looked every summer for the past 3 years :( ).

Am I struggling a bit with this new concept? Yes, I definitely am! It's a whole new outlook for me. I don't have any problems staying on a strict contest diet because I have a goal of standing on stage, and I refuse to be the Fat Girl on stage. Foods that would normally tempt me aren't a problem to resist because in my mind, they're not Options. Off-season, however, everything becomes an Option to me. And therein lies the struggle. I need to consciously decide NOT to eat the foods now, whereas during prep, it wasn't even a decision - not an Option. I'm ashamed and embarrassed to admit that I slipped up really badly yesterday. I had a few bites of a donut, a HUGE handful of M&M's at work, and a bunch of cookies last night. I'm extremely disappointed in myself, and I noticed my body is smoother today, which is not at all how I want to look! Eating those foods are NOT going to help me reach my goal!

So after I confessed to Jerry this morning (which was really difficult, honestly, because I feel like I not only let myself down, I let him down as well), I got my head screwed on straight again. There's a BBQ at work starting in about 15 min, and there will be root beer floats - one of my favorites. But I turned them down two weeks ago, and I know I can turn them down again. I just need to keep reminding myself that the BBQ food isn't an Option. I don't eat those kinds of foods. And I'm a National Level Figure competitor who's working hard to turn Pro, which means I need to be in training mode year round, keeping my goal at the forefront of my mind, and living my own lifestyle, despite tempting foods and negative comments from others who don't understand.

Jerry had a good point about the interactions I mentioned earlier ... people don't understand why I choose this lifestyle, why I eat certain food at certain times. And that's ok! Because I don't understand why they go out drinking every weekend, polluting their bodies with empty calories and alcohol. And I don't understand why my co-workers swarm around free food like they're starving children in a third world country (which they are clearly not!). So why should I let their negativity affect me when it's clear we just don't understand each other's lifestyle choices?

So I'm going to head over to the BBQ to be social. But I'll head over AFTER I eat Meal 2 so I'll be full and less tempted to cheat on the diet. Although people here don't understand me and my choices, I know I've got people online who know what it's like.

Thinking Like a Pro

The leftover cake from yesterday is now sitting out on the counter in the kitchen at work. It was in the refrigerator this morning, which kind of threw me for a loop when I went to put my turkey and broccoli in there. I'm not feeling very strong mentally today, so seeing it was kind of a kick in the teeth. I walked away.

On Fridays since I work at the gym in the evenings, I train a earlier than usual. So I'm spacing my meals out a bit to fit around my training schedule. I've been hungry since 1:45 ... it's now 3 pm, and I'm just starting to eat my meal. I received another shock when I went to get the food to heat it up ... the cake is now sitting out ... cut into nice sized (read: large) pieces ... with its sugary sweetness odor wafting around the kitchen. I bout passed out.

Yes, I stuck my nose about a mm away from it and gave it a good long sniff. Yep, you read that correctly. I sniffed the cake. Then I sniffed another piece. And while I was waiting for my turkey and broccoli to heat up in the microwave, I sniffed the cake again.

This is how I feel today.

In between sniffings, I had a conversation with myself. Here's how it went:

Amateur Kari: There's a little bit of frosting lying on the counter. It won't hurt if you just eat that.

Pro Kari: Eating just that small amount WILL make a difference in my diet.

Amateur Kari: You know if you have just that tiny amount, it's not gonna matter at this point, since you're right on track and have enough time to rectify any damage to your prep schedule.

Pro Kari: I will not stand on stage knowing that I didn't do everything possible to win. What if I don't win the Overall? What if I don't even place? And I could've if I hadn't eaten that frosting?

Amateur Kari: Oh c'mon ... we all know that tiny bit isn't going to be the difference between getting or not getting your NQ.

Pro Kari: But what if it did? How mad at myself and disappointed in myself would I be if I missed the NQ and knew that I'd cheated on my diet? Once I'm in contest prep, I don't cheat.

Amateur Kari: Well, just put a little bit of frosting on your finger and lick it off.

Pro Kari: I'm scared to think that once I had a little taste, I wouldn't be able to stop myself from eating a whole piece.

Amateur Kari: You know you could stop with just a taste.

Pro Kari: I don't even want to chance it.

Random Co-worker: Ooh! Cake! Sugar rush!

Pro Kari: He's knows it's a sugar rush and that he's gonna feel like crap in an hour, but he's still gonna eat it? I'm holding out and staying strong. Food is done. Just walk away.

Seriously, those were almost the exact thoughts that went through my head during the minute my food was heating up. I'm going after my Pro card this year, and I need to think like a Pro. I can't let a little thing like a craving for cake to throw me off track. I've come this far. I've dieted for 20 weeks. I have a show in 3 weeks that I need to WIN.

I walked away from the cake. And now when I'm standing on stage receiving the Overall trophy, I'll know that I deserve it because I stayed on track even when my mind tried to take over and deter me from my goals.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

There's CAKE in the Lunchroom!!

OMG ... there's CAKE in the lunchroom!! I purposely skipped the going away party afternoon because I had a feeling there was going to be some goodies there I needed to avoid (and I don't know the lady who's leaving the company). But when I went to refill my water bottle (for the 4th time today), I walked right into temptation in the form of cake.

When I saw the cake, my mouth dropped open and I started gasping for air (ok, maybe not the last part, but definitely the first part). Why couldn't they serve something like carrot sticks? Or broccoli? Just HAD to be cake.

And this coming at a time when I've been facing some struggles and inner turmoil regarding my diet too. Everything has looked so yummy lately, and even things that normally wouldn't tempt me (read: rice cakes) look SO delicious these days.

This thought actually even ran through my head: "Well, I could have just a tiny taste of frosting." What?! This thought coming from a National-level competitor who's in training for her Pro card this year?! Not good. So I refilled my water bottle and walked away. Crisis averted.

How badly do you want it?

How many times have you started something only to stop halfway through? I think we're all guilty of not finishing things we've started, for a variety of reasons. Maybe we got bored, we let other things take priority, the going got tough, we were missing things we needed to continue, the plan needed to be revised ... the list goes on.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking about following through with things. As I'm only a couple weeks out from a show and my body (and mind) is starting to rebel against me, I've started to ask myself how badly I want to do the show .. and to win. I'm also thinking about others who are either just starting to think about fitness and those who have been gym rats for years.

We all decide to join a gym or to work with a trainer or to do a show with the best of intentions. In the beginning, we're excited about the process! It's all new and fun! We can't wait to get a training program or to get started on a diet. And the first week is always fabulous! We're workin' hard, we're gonna make some changes! It takes a couple days to get the food and supplements for the diet, so we're 100% certain we'll be on track with the diet ... next week.

And then the second weeks rolls around ... and it gets more difficult to stick to the diet. We start making excuses not to go to the gym. And we start making substitutions in our diet (because peanut butter is the same as cashews, right? Cuz they're both nuts.). Worst of all, we haven't seen any changes in our bodies yet. Over the weekend, we revert back to our previous lifestyle. We go out to eat, we have a couple drinks, we skip the gym (because those are "Off Days" right?).

Monday of week 3 ... we REALLY don't feel like going to the gym today, and we didn't plan ahead yesterday, so we don't have our diet food prepared. Guess we'll just have to grab something "healthy" at the restaurant across the street at work. An egg McMuffin is healthy, right?? And just a tiny bite of the donuts in the lunchroom won't make a difference, will it? We don't feel like going to the gym. The scale hasn't moved, and all this exercise seems like a waste of time. I don't really need to do 12 reps, do I? Ten seems like plenty.

Week 4 ... Well, we gave it a shot. Didn't see any changes, so it's ok to have that grande extra leche mocha along with the raspberry scone before work. We have to meet with our trainer tonight anyway, and we'll prolly just work it all off in the gym.

Does any of this sound familiar? It's totally familiar to me! I can push myself beyond my body's natural limits during contest prep, but when I hit the off-season, I discover that I'm really good at making excuses. I can justify anything! But by doing so, the only person I'm letting down is myself.

With only 3 more weeks to go, I really need to remain focused and consistent. I need to brush off the little thoughts that keep popping up in my head (OMG there's CAKE in the lunchroom!!), and remind myself how important this show is to me.

Think about this next time you start something ... how badly do you really want it? If you want it badly enough, you can do anything!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Flaw in Women

To all you wonderful, fabulous, strong, beautiful ladies ...

One Flaw In Women 

Women have strengths that amaze men.....

They bear hardships and they carry burdens,

but they hold happiness, love and joy.

They smile when they want to scream.

They sing when they want to cry.

They cry when they are happy

and laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in..

They stand up to injustice.

They don't take "no" for an answer

when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.

They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.

They love unconditionally.

They cry when their children excel

and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about

a birth or a wedding.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.

They grieve at the loss of a family member,

yet they are strong when they

think there is no strength left.

They know that a hug and a kiss

can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you

to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what

makes the world keep turning.

They bring joy, hope and love.

They have compassion and ideas.

They give moral support to their

family and friends.

Women have vital things to say

and everything to give. 

(Originally from an email I received)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cookie Cravings

I'm really craving a cookie right now. I'm only 3.5 weeks out from a show, so I know my diet has to be 100% on point, no treats. Which is probably why I want a cookie. Or it could be the fact that I've been dieting for almost 20 weeks straight. And still have 12 more weeks to go until Team Universe in July. Sigh.

I don't really think it's the 3.5 weeks that bothers me. After that, it's 5 weeks until the Jr Nats when Jerry competes, and then only 3 more weeks after that to Team U. When it's broken down like that, it doesn't seem so bad. But it really hit me this morning when a co-worker asked why I couldn't have "just one m&m" and I told him that I'd be eating turkey and broccoli for 12 more weeks. TWELVE weeks. That's THREE whole months. That's like a lifetime to a little kid! It's the length of a whole summer! Cripes, now I'm really depressed.

Maybe I'd be more enthusiastic if my body were actually responding better this time around. I made the decision not to push myself as hard during training in order to avoid all the asthma attacks. Each time I have an attack, my lung tissue gets a little weaker, and I'm more prone to more attacks more frequently. Vicious cycle! So we've toned down the intensity of my workouts, and it's very clear that my body really needs the higher intensity to burn fat and keep muscle. I'm still at the same weight, so that's not a concern; I just look flat and watery, which IS a concern. The changes we made last week made a difference, but I've plateaued this week. The plateau could also be caused by the fact that I'm female too, so we shall see.

I still want a cookie. I had to return a movie to the grocery store the other day (hooray for Red Box!), and some youth group was having a bake sale outside the entrance. My job turned into a slow saunter as I went by their table, and my mouth automatically started watering. Pretty sure I was literally drooling too. They had my favorites there: sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles. OMG I just drooled on my keyboard while typing that.

I think I need another piece of gum.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Virtual Attacks

I'm sitting at my desk at work, struggling not to cry right now. I hate crying at all, especially at work. But I'm really upset right now, and so disappointed with some recent events. Jerry was hurt today, and for no good reason at all. No, the attack wasn't physical - if it were, he could've defended himself much more efficiently and quickly than with a verbal assault. But alas, the Internet is a virtual world where fights and disagreements are handled in online forums.

In one of the forums I belong to (which, up until now, was my favorite one and the place where I felt most comfortable), Jerry offered some opinions and knowledge. He'll be the first to admit that he's a bit rough around the edges, but there's no disputing he knows his stuff when it comes to training and nutrition. The long and short of it is that he offered his opinion and knowledge, was unreasonably attacked, and he responded in kind. What started out as a respectful discussion turned really ugly really fast.

I'm no stranger to forums, and I understand how things can get misinterpreted and misread. I also understand that a lot of people have a false bravado behind the keyboard, and forums can spawn some ugly nastiness. Usually I try to stay out of arguments, mainly because I feel they're a waste of my time and energy, and I'd rather focus on my own real-life situations. Even when Jerry get into an argument (and believe me, he's not scared to stand his ground or to fight for what he believes in - that's actually one of the many things I admire about him), I try to stay out of it. Until he gets unjustifiably attacked. And then I step in.

I stepped in once today, calling someone on what I felt was a cruel, unnecessary remark about Jerry's physique (which was completely off-topic, by the way!). But when multiple people starting jumping the bandwagon to attack him, I couldn't take it anymore.

I'm no longer a part of that board; I wrote a good-bye post. It wasn't a decision I made lightly, but I cannot be a part of a place that lets brutal, unjustified attacks happen. I'm upset it had to come to this, and most of all, I feel awful for my boyfriend. I know he's very hurt and upset right now, and doesn't need the added stress in his life.

He and I are both only 4 weeks out from a show, and we're both barely functioning day-to-day as it is. We're both overly critical of our bodies, and are stressing about everything from diet to cardio to training. The last thing we need is to deal with some angry people in a forum who attack without any justification or provocation.

I'm sad that I needed to leave that forum, because I met some really great people there! And I hope to continue to remain in touch with those people (cuz hopefully they're reading this right now! ;) ). But I just can't remain at a place that allows others to be so cruel to someone I love.

So we're going to continue to focus on building M3World to be a POSITIVE, INVITING, and NON-THREATENING place for people to go to. We're proud of what we're building, and hope we can provide a place where incidents like what happened today never happens.

Listening to My Body

This past week was tough for me. With all the changes to my diet, training, and cardio, my body was really hating me. I nearly fell asleep during my Friday evening shift at the gym, and just the thought of doing anything other than sitting perfectly still seemed like an effort. So clearly, I'm doing something right.

Earlier in the week when my parents were visiting, we played tourist and did a lot of walking around and moving. While it was a lot of fun (we toured the White House!), it was also draining. And by Friday, I was ready to relax. Since Jerry is also in contest prep (we're doing the same show; isn't that cute? LOL), he was exhausted too. We both decided to do absolutely nothing on Saturday ... well, absolutely nothing besides double cardio sessions and eating at our usual times, that is.

After morning cardio and my first meal, I found myself sitting motionless on the couch ... doing absolutely nothing. Oh sweet heavenly peace! I realized I hadn't just sat on my couch and done nothing in over 8 months! Ok, so my couch was in storage for 6 of those months ... but the point is that I actually took some time to just sit. In my busy day-to-day life, I always seem to be on the go: packing my bag, cooking food, running to the gym, getting ready for work, cleaning the house. There's always something to be done, and never enough time to do everything. At the end of each day, I practically fall into bed. I constantly ignore my body's signals to slow down and rest. I just keep pushing and pushing.

And on Saturday ... I just stopped. I listened to my body. And I rested.

I sacked out on the couch for over and hour and a half, sometimes sleeping, sometimes just lying there resting. It was so nice!! And then I got hungry again. LOL So Jerry and I traded places, and I sat at the computer while he sacked out on the couch. (I think we need 2 couches.)

Saturday night, we rented a movie and vegged out again. On Sunday, we slept in until almost noon (SOOO uncommon for me!! Felt like college again), and started in on getting everything ready for the week. Grocery shopping, food prep, laundry, cleaning, etc.

While it may seem like a boring weekend to some people, it was just perfect for us. We both finally got to listen to our bodies and give them the peace and relaxation we've both been craving. It's important to remember to slow down sometimes, and take some time to relax and let your body recharge. I'm ready to hit the ground running this week!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gasping for Air

I never thought of myself as having a disability. Using my inhaler before doing anything athletic was just second nature to me. I didn't really think anything of having to go to the Nurse's office every day before gym class to use my inhaler so I could participate in class. I never let asthma get in the way of doing any activity I wanted to do.

I always carry an inhaler with me, and usually find one stuffed in the pocket of a winter coat every Fall. My inhaler is like my cell phone; I feel lost without it, and stress out if I don't have it with me. In short, my inhaler is my ticket to normalcy. Almost.

Because Albuterol (the medicine in the inhaler) is most effective 30 min after taking it, I always use my inhaler BEFORE working out. Not in the middle of training or cardio - always before. Just because I use the inhaler doesn't mean it always works, though. There have been numerous times when I've finished an intense activity like a sprint or a long weight exercise and immediately have difficulty breathing. The key is to take slow, deep breaths and calm the mind. Panicking only makes it worse ... but I'll admit it's not easy to keep a calm mind when my bronchial tubes are so constricted, I can't get enough air in my lungs.

Without even thinking too much about it, I've adapted my training style to fit my lungs' capacity. It's not my muscles that give out first - it's my lungs. Completely reversed for most people. I rest a bit longer between sets, and hadn't done a lot of super sets or high intensity plyometrics, because I'd have issues breathing.

When I first started training with Jerry, I assured him that my asthma wouldn't affect my training. Little did I realize how much I'd adapted exercises for my lungs! The first time we had an issue, he'd asked me if I could do jump squats in between regular squat sets. I said, "Sure I can! I'm not disabled!" Then I promptly had an asthma attack in the middle of the jump squats and had to sit down for a couple minutes before resuming regular squats. We've tried other plyo and high intensity combinations, and have realized that while my body can handle the intensity, my lungs just can't. It's so frustrating! And it's scary for others to see.

The first time Jerry saw me having an attack, he freaked out. He looked at me with wide, helpless eyes, and asked what he could do. I just shook my head and told him to give me a couple minutes, and I'd be fine. And I was. I don't like pushing my lungs to their breaking point. It's scary, and it's unhealthy. The more attacks I have, the more inflamed my lungs get, and the more easily I have attacks. It's best if I listen to my body and stop before things get out of hand.

I'm having a difficult time accepting the fact that I just can't train like the other figure/fitness ladies. A lot of them are talking about all the high intensity, functional training and plyometrics and track workouts that they're doing. And I want to give them a try to see if they're effective for my prep. If I could increase the intensity of my workouts, I wouldn't have to spend so much time on the treadmill every day. So we gave it a try ... and I failed miserably.

This is the first time in my life that I've truly come face to face with asthma as a disability. At least once a week, I have trouble breathing while on the treadmill, and I have to step off and slow my breathing down before resuming cardio. I'm doing super sets now, but we're very selective about which exercises I'm supersetting. I can't have 2 high intensity exercises back to back or I have an attack in the middle of the second exercise. I need to come to terms with doing hours of slower cardio because I can't do the high intensity workouts the other girls may be doing.

I'm disappointed with my limitations. And I'm realizing that asthma is indeed a disability. But it doesn't have to limit or prevent people from any activities (other than scuba diving, that is). I can still do cardio, train, and compete; I just have to modify my training and workouts to be the most effective for my body. I guess it's kind of like competing natural too - it's a longer road, but it's possible.

I hope others who read this will be encouraged to try new things and to not let a disability or a handicap prevent them from chasing their dreams. With my inhaler in hand, I'm running as fast as I can toward my dreams.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Must Be Doing Something Right

I feel like crap. That means I must be doing something right.

Only a bodybuilder or figure/fitness competitor understands exactly what that phrase means, and the significance of it. Last week I felt ok. Not great, not crappy, just ok. So we changed things, because clearly, I wasn't making the progress I needed to make if I felt ok.

Contest prep isn't about feeling great; it's more about the hard work behind looking great. When I read that sentence, I laugh to myself, thinking how odd that really is. The better I feel, the worse I look. The worse I feel, the better I look. Why can't I LOOK and FEEL great at the same time?! LOL

Last week, my body seemed to be stuck. I wasn't making any progress, so we decided to drastically change some things to shock my body into responding again. We discovered that while my weight was remaining constant, I seemed to be exchanging muscle for fat/water. NOT GOOD. So we changed everything - diet, training, and cardio. I'm now doing 60 min of cardio in the morning, and only 30 in the evening. My training intensity has increased: I'm either doing abs between sets, or I'm super-setting exercises. Apparently, my body responds very well to higher intensity training. I build and retain muscle, as opposed to losing muscle doing just straight sets (hmm ... makes me wonder if that was one of the issues in previous contest preps). I don't mind the higher intensity workouts. Of all the things to change, the workouts are mentally the easiest for me to accept. I hate adding cardio or making my diet more difficult.

My last Treat Meal was on Saturday. Jerry and I had our customary all-you-can-eat sushi meal, and were then back on our diets for the remainder of the day. Since we're only 4 weeks out this Saturday, we don't get any more Treat Meals. However ... as a result of the changes we made this week, I've dropped 6 lbs since Saturday. And I feel  like crap. So that means I must be doing something right. ;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Contest Prep and Being a Tourist

It's been a couple days since I've written anything. My parents arrived last Friday afternoon to visit for a couple days, so we've been running around DC, playing tourist. While it's been really fun seeing the monuments and touring various places, it's also been exhausting. It's really driven home the fact that my body isn't functioning at its normal level right now, and it's very clear that I'm in contest prep.

I was discussing this with Jerry last night, concerned about life balance. I always strive to have some semblance of balance in my life as much as possible, but I'm finding that contest prep is really affecting my ability to do certain activities ... like sightseeing. In the past 4 days, we've toured the US Naval Academy, the Capitol, the White House, and the Mall. And in those past 4 days, I've packed my cooler full of food and brought my water bottle with me everywhere we went. It was a pain in the butt, but I gladly did it, because as soon as it was meal time, my body started to shut down. What was most challenging, though, were the tours that didn't allow food or drinks. Yesterday's tour of the capitol and today's tour of the White House added 2 extra hours between meal times. By the time I got to my food, I was practically dragging on the floor. What kind of balance is that?!

So thus concerned, I broached the subject with Jerry, who always helps me declutter my mind. He compared contest prep to a sports training camp, like football. Or like baseball Spring training. Players are sent to a training camp for several weeks or months to prepare for their season. Their main focus is on their job, which is their position and duties on the team. There's very little balance in their lives, as they spend the majority of their time practicing and preparing for the upcoming season.

Bodybuilders and figure competitors don't have a "camp" to attend; instead, their seasonal preparation takes place during their regular life activities. Somewhere in between meals and training, we find time to do our regular full-time jobs, spend time with friends and family, and partake in other recreational activities. We bring our own food along to functions and events, and we stay up late or get up early to make sure we get all our training and cardio in. (Jerry and I were at the gym at 5:30 am this morning doing cardio because we had a 9 am tour of the White House. Usually we're at the gym at 7:30 am.)

I've had several meals in restaurants the past 4 days when I'd usually have maybe 1 a week. Granted, I didn't eat any food that wouldn't normally be in my diet, but there's always a chance that the food isn't prepared like I'd prepare it. I've even heard one story of a restaurant cooking their egg whites in butter, and when asked if they could use cooking spray instead, they said it wasn't possible. What's the point of having egg whites if they're cooked in butter?!

I'm happy I can still do the tourist activities during prep, but I'm also looking forward to my off-season, when I won't have to worry about packing 4 meals for a day trip, eating cold turkey, and finding a bathroom every half hour.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meet My Best Friend: Caffeine

Jerry just shaved his hair into a true mohawk. Not the fauxhawk he's been sporting the past couple months (which I adore, by the way), but a full fledged mowhawk. Hair only down the middle of his head, with the sides shaved. My parents arrive tomorrow for a 5-day visit. Go figure. I can only laugh. :)

On a completely unrelated subject, I realized something today. I think I'm addicted to caffeine. Ok, I'll be honest. I KNOW I'm addicted to caffeine. I've been trying to fool myself into believing I don't need it until the afternoon, when my body naturally starts to get sleepy. I take a few sips of Endorush in the morning before cardio just to get my legs moving faster than 1.2 mph on the treadmill. And then I don't have any caffeine until after 1:30 pm. Why 1:30 pm? Cuz 2 pm is meal time, and if I take a caffeine pill, I want it to be on an empty stomach - digests faster.

What made me realize this addiction today? Well, I was having difficulties focusing at work today. I kept getting distracted, and was completely unmotivated for most of the morning. I have a project due tomorrow, so there were quite a few things I needed to finish for it. Yet I found myself taking very frequent breaks in the middle of tasks. Then I started getting sleepy about 1 pm, so I took a caffeine pill at 1:30 pm. And by 1:45, I was smiling, walking with a bounce in my step (on my frequent trips to the restroom), and was motivated to accomplish every task on my list. I was a working machine this afternoon!! Didn't even stop to take my Scrabble turns (sorry Shawn and Tara - I promise I'll play tomorrow). About 5 pm, I finally surfaced and realized I had just concentrated for several hours in a row ... a record accomplishment for me, as I'm usually an ADD-type worker.

I think the combination of the pressing deadline (procrastination anyone??) and the caffeine really kicked my butt into gear, and I worked crazy mad hard. While I'm proud of myself, I'm also a bit disappointed that I needed a supplement to help me be productive. Is it the diet and extra energy expenditures of contest prep, the lack of sufficient sleep, or just a general lack of motivation that caused me to putz this morning?

I'd like to be this productive all the time (my clients will love me, that's for sure!), but at what expense? I could try working really hard without the boost of caffeine tomorrow morning, but I know that wouldn't be a true test, because I'll have the added excitement of seeing my parents soon. Maybe I'll try it later next week.

Until then, I'll keep bringing caffeine pills and Endorush to work with me, and hopefully make my clients happy campers with my high productivity.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Body Dysmorphia

I officially started (or re-started) contest prep again on Monday, and I've already dropped 2 lbs. Granted, those 2 lbs were most likely water from my high carb (read: junk) day on Saturday, but I dropped them faster than usual. I feel like I'm already starting to lean out, which is exciting! I was watching my shoulders in the mirror yesterday while doing cable crossovers (THE best exercise for checking upper body leanness, btw), and was feeling pretty good about myself.

One of our other M3World members came over to our gym to train and to meet some of us in person, so we all took a group photo. I was on the end, and of course did my slight sideways pose like Tanji Johnson taught us several years ago ("Whenever a camera is pointed at you, remember to turn a bit and pose. You don't ever want a bad picture of yourself, do you?"). When I pulled the picture off my camera today, though, I was surprised. My arms look like crap. :( There's hardly any shape to them - my shoulders are flat, and there's barely a delt line. Basically, they just look like big, off-season arms. Which is fine in the off-season, but not 6 weeks before a show!
 Now I realize some of these thoughts may just be in my head - what I see, not what others see. When I look down at my arms, I see the delt and tri cuts. But when I look in the mirror or at a picture, I don't see them. Granted, some of the issue may have to do with lighting, and some of it may have to do with some additional water retention or modifications to my diet. Jerry and I both agreed that I look a bit flat right now, meaning my muscle bellies aren't full and pushing against the skin to create that rounded look we all strive for.

I'm disappointed to be continually reminded that I don't and can't always look fabulous. LOL There are times when changes to my diet and training make my body look flat, watery, full, bloated, or stringy. We can control it to a certain extent, but the changes we make are necessary. So the different looks are just temporary. Thank goodness for that, but I don't EVER want some of these looks!

I never used to be this critical of my body. In college, I just knew I was in good shape, could eat anything I wanted, and my weight stayed about the same. It was only when I began competing that I really began to be critical. I'll be the first to admit that I have a tendency to obsess about my body. How many women do you know who do ab checks on every other of the 15 trips to the bathroom throughout the day? How many women do you know who run through their quarter turns every night before taking a shower? How many women do you know who get excited when they see a vein running through their forearms? How many other women do you know who suck in their tummies all day at work in an attempt to squeeze in just a bit more ab work? Yep ... I do all of those things. Every day.

I weigh myself every day, and even though I know the judges don't care how much I weigh on stage, I like to know the number. I like to know how I look at certain weights, and I use it as a guideline. Should I do this? I could argue both sides. Whenever I see someone comment about their weight, decide on a goal weight, or obsess about a pound or two, I always tell them to step away from the scale and to not rely on it. But do I follow that? No ... Will I continue telling them to step away while I continue tracking my weight? Yes ...

What I (and nearly every other competitor I've talked to) am dealing with is a very mild form of body dysmorphia. (I just read this Wikipedia article, and had no idea it could be so severe.) Basically, I mean that we don't have a realistic view and/or expectation of what our body does and should look like. It means we nit-pick every little thing and are overly critical of our physique. I'm pretty sure it's not the healthiest approach to take, but it seems to go hand in hand with competing. I'm very well aware that I have a distorted sense of how I should look, and I'm consciously working on accepting myself for who I am as a person, and not for what shape my body is in. I struggle with the desire to look small and  lean all year round with the cravings to lead more of a normal lifestyle, where I can eat a variety of foods (mostly healthy ones) without feeling guilty or worrying about how they'll affect my physique. Don't get me wrong - I don't want to lead the average Normal lifestyle where I eat pizza, pasta, soup, and cheeseburgers every day; I just want to be able to eat yogurt with granola without worrying that I'll bloat up from the dairy (which I will).

Any lifestyle changes I make will be down the road from now, as my main focus now is competing. I want that Pro card this year!! So I'm going to try not to freak out too much about the little changes my body is going through now, and just realize that these changes are all part of the plan to get me on stage looking my best. I'll listen to Jerry's critiques (which are always delivered in a positive way, bless his heart), and keep working my hardest during training and cardio. My diet is on point, and I'm making progress; that's the most important thing. Onward and upward!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mid-Afternoon Musings

So many times throughout the day, I find myself staring out the window just watching the traffic. Today is no different. The thermometer on my computer says it's 88 degrees outside, and here I sit, trapped in an air conditioned office building. I want to be outside, enjoying the beautiful weather. I want to be sitting on a beach right now ... or lying in my front yard, tanning and reading a book. But instead, I'm sitting in front of two large monitors, trying to focus on media files that won't upload to the server unless I rename them each time I make a modification (software bug, anyone??).

I think my restlessness is a combination of things ... frustration with the software I'm using, dissatisfaction that I'm stuck indoors on a beautiful day, and reaction to the changes in my diet and training. Every Tuesday, my body fights ketosis. So every Tuesday, I find myself staring blankly at my computer screens, feeling like crap.

Why have carbs on the weekend if I feel like this a couple days later? Because it's worth it to me. Those Treats on Saturday give me something to look forward to all week, even if I only have one different meal. My body functions very well while in ketosis, but getting to that point sucks! I've been hungry all day, and I'm starting to get sleepy now. I've got my trusty Endorush sitting on my desk next to me , and at the moment, it's my best friend. Pretty sure I'd feel better if I hadn't stayed up so late last night too. :P

Well, I better get back to work. I need to check the links in a References Cited document to make sure they all open correctly. If they don't, I'll correct them, rename the document, upload it to the server, and change the link in the html code. Oh joy.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Before I launch into a different topic, I want to follow up with how my non-gluttony Saturday went. I'm very proud of myself for gorging myself all day! We ate a big sushi meal, I had a few treats, and then didn't eat for a couple hours. I had an actual meal of oatmeal and protein powder (a treat for me, as neither are in my daily diet), and then cut out the carbs the rest of the night. I didn't feel like a whale last night, my stomach wasn't upset, and I didn't have to sleep with my feet elevated, as I usually do on Sat nights cuz my feet swell. Part of the reason I was able to be ok with cutting out the carbs earlier than usual is because on Friday, Jerry and I learned that the show we were both prepping for had been changed.

That brings me to the next topic: redirecting. There have been a lot of changes of directions lately as far as shows and prep is concerned. After we realized the Arnold was not a National Qualifier, we decided to get me ready for Team U instead of Jr Nats. So I had picked out my qualifier show: the Virginia Grand Prix, scheduled for May 29. This show was also to be Jerry's warm-up show for the Jr Nats. I still had 9 weeks to go, so I was just going to maintain for a couple more weeks before beginning to buckle down. And then Jerry talked with the Maryland NPC Chairman on Friday, and found out that a bunch of show dates have changed ... including the Virginia show. It's now scheduled for June 26, which is too late for Jerry to do as his Jr Nats warm-up show.

With that news, both of us had to stop for a second to regroup. If you've ever started prepping for a show only to realize you can't do it for one reason or another, you can identify with this. Both Jerry and I are at a condition of about 6 weeks out from a show. So we couldn't pick another show any sooner than that. Yet, we don't have the extra money to spend flying to a show, so we needed to focus on shows within a reasonable driving distance. (And by the way, this whole driving-to-a-show thing? Is very COOL! SOOO not possible in Montana!) I tried to look at NPC online, but that schedule is out of date now, which is very frustrating!

(And that's another point I'm upset about. If Jerry hadn't known the Chairman, how would we have found out the date had been changed? There's no notification on the NPC site announcing date changes. This is a big issue, especially for a first time competitor who is relying on that schedule to start their prep.)

We lucked out and found another show that fit into our timeframe: The Lehigh Valley Championships in Pennsylvania on May 15. I'm going to sound like a complete snot here, but ... I've never done a show this small before. It doesn't have its own website, and it's not even listed on the NPC site (which we all know by now is not a valid source of information anyway). I make it a habit to only do shows covered by Muscular Development. Yup, that sounded really snotty. :( But I'm not in this as just a hobby to see if I like it or if I can do it. I'm in it to turn Pro; I want my contest resume to be impressive, and I want the big companies to be present at the shows I'm in. I want huge National coverage, and I'm absolutely dying to have my picture in NPC News! LOL

Ok, so that was a slight tangent. The point is, I'm now officially 6 weeks out from a show, and am in full contest mode. I start morning cardio tomorrow morning, and it sounds like Jerry is going to make some changes to my training as well. I've been doing cardio every day since the Arnold, but it's only been once a day, after training. Hopefully some fasted, morning cardio will make a difference. We're also making some slight changes to my diet as well.

We took progress pics yesterday morning after cardio. My weight was 107 lbs, although I'm at about 110 lbs now after yesterday's carb-up (read: YUMMY foods) day. I'm hoping to be down to about 108 lbs by tomorrow evening or Tuesday morning. I can tell I'm holding a couple pounds of water right now, and my muscles are flat (hate that!).

I'm completely embarrassed about the back photo, but I guess I need to be open and honest, cuz that's how I look right now. Sometimes the camera is more honest than the mirror.

So ... with 6 weeks to go until I'm on stage again, it's time to tighten the belt (literally and figuratively) and get back at it!

* Site that contains updated show information for the mid-Atlantic region:

Friday, April 2, 2010


Another week is nearly over, another Saturday dances in front of me. All week long, I look forward to Saturdays because I get to eat CARBS! Meaning cookies, sushi, pizza, protein bars (yes, those are a treat! Cuz they're not as good for you as you may think they are). Two weeks ago, I went all out and stuffed myself. I felt so sick that night! And I was SO disgusted with myself! So last week, I didn't eat as much, didn't force feed myself. Yet I still gained about 5 lbs. I dropped about 3-4 of those lbs by Tuesday, but I came to a realization: by eating so much food on Sat - and the kind of food I'd been eating - it was taking nearly 5 days for me to drop the weight I gained in just 1 day! So I'd spend the week trying to find my Fat clothes to wear because my gut was sticking out, or I couldn't fit my fat (read: watery) thighs into my skinny pants. Granted, I haven't gained fat - it's all water weight, which is why it comes off in just a couple days. But the point is ... I'm spending most of the week feeling bloated and gross. Definitely NOT the physique I want to maintain.

I made a resolution earlier this week to not be a glutton this Saturday. I'm getting enough food on my diet to maintain my physique and to keep myself only a couple weeks out of contest condition, so there's no reason I should be going crazy on the weekend.

At this point, I'm only about 5 lbs over my contest weight, which is exactly where I wanted to maintain. I've never held my conditioning this long after a show, and I have to say, I'm proud of myself! :) I still have the usual post-contest mental battles, where I try to convince myself that it'd be ok to "just have a bite" of something. Or I ask myself, "Really, how much damage could 10 g of carb do?" The answer is - probably not much damage physically. But it would completely throw me off course mentally. Because then I'd start rationalizing and making excuses for so many other things. It's just not worth it. I was reading Maxine Muscle's blog today, and totally identified with something she said - she got to eat a really tasty bar on her diet, and liked it so much, she had 2. Then she realized she'd consumed an extra 220 cal! So she asked her trainer to remove the bar from her diet because it kicked off cravings for so many other yummy foods that she shouldn't be eating during prep.

Some people may argue that such measures aren't necessary. And perhaps they aren't for some, but are absolutely necessary for others. I know that I can't have just 1 bite of something, because I have such a difficult time stopping there. That's why I like to smell food. That's right - I smell food that I can't eat. I've stuck my nose so far into Jerry's oatmeal/protein powder combo before that I actually got oatmeal on my nose!

As I sit here eating my turkey and walnuts, thinking about tomorrow, I'm resolving (again) to be true to my resolve of not being a glutton. We're not going to stop at the grocery store tonight to pick up cookies and that giant apple fritter/donut thingy I so love just so I have food immediately after my cardio tomorrow morning. Instead, I'm going to bring my new (FREE) Oh Yeah! Caramel Crunch bar. Then we'll hit up sushi, and I'll restrain myself from gorging there. I like looking and feeling good. I like looking and feeling lean. I'm going to keep repeating that to myself the rest of the day and all day tomorrow.