Off Season Body Image

Posted: October 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against yoga and what it does for your body, but I think we can all agree that yoga and being a figure competitor are two whole different things and please see my side of the story and don’t get offended. I’m not trying to offend any body types here.

Ok.

It’s really no secret at all that I’ve been offseason since July.

aug 23 018 I have also talked at great lengths about not feeling like… myself. Just off.

Yes, a large part of that was quitting my job, packing up my life, moving 1000 miles away to a city where I am unemployable… then moving to another city and finding a pretty great job that runs me all over the place.

… but yeah, I digress.

The other very large part of not feeling like myself is a very long offseason this year. Last year I competed in May, July and October. I finished dieting in mid October, and began prep on January 7th of this year. Not a long time at all. Whereas this year I finished mid July and well… here we are mid october and I’ve been on offseason for a bit.

While my gains in the gym are going up and I’m getting stronger and bigger from some of the weird (to me) things I’ve been doing…

oct 003 

I also just feel… bigger in general. Oddly enough this time around I’m staying lower on the scale and now beginning to slowly drop (… going on clothes, me ditching the scale is a whole bigger post) and I still have some form of definition going on… I still feel big.

Often times I go to the Goodlife gym downtown. Around noon… when all of the office bees go in to do their les mills classes and yogalates (is that still cool) in their brand spanking new workout clothes (lululemon of course) and full hair and makeup.

Then I stroll in. Unshowered, in my 7 year old (Lululemon) gym pants and my hat pulled low over my unwashed hair.

(… yes boys out there, I am a catch!)

I can totally say that 95% of these women have yoga bodies. You know, tall, slim, a little definition (but not “manly” definition… ugh), perky, tiny.

… And then there’s Becca. The girl that feels like a tank when I walk into the gym.

photo (4) 

I can honestly say I have not worn jeans in…um… months? but all my yoga pants and sweats still fit! I’m obviously very soft compared to July, but I clearly didn’t rebound and gain 60 lbs. Gaining is a necessary evil when it comes to competing and I accept that, but why is it that often times I look in the mirror at this slightly rounder version of me and see… This.

Before photo

Comparing then to now I’m still at a loss of oh… about 100 lbs give or take.

Um yeah, what’s the issue here?

At work I’m repeatedly called tiny by my boss (… I wear a youth large tshirt instead of the real adult tshirts), my parents comment on how stuff is easy for me because of my size, blah blah blah…. but I just don’t often see it.

Admittedly I do have good days and bad days…. and the good days far outweigh the bad at this point, and not just because I am slowly losing (it’s like bye bye bloat not bye bye fat people). It’s a constant reminder to keep telling myself that this strength I have is good, being able to load the equipment for work without help, having the energy to jump around with the kids, not wanting to die going back to a commuter lifestyle.

It’s all a progress.

aug 23 090

I’ve written about this before and I know I’ll write about it again… but I just felt like getting some thoughts out. It’s so hard to try to explain to people why I buy size thirty bf style jeans (…. umm… I’m like a 26-27 offseason normally) without trying them on because that’s how big I see myself, or why I fear someone trying to pick me up and realizing that while I look tiny I’m far from light.

… yes I know that’s a good thing as muscle is denser than fat, but get inside my head here people!

It’s an ongoing struggle, and one I know is getting better…  but it’s still there. I don’t do tons of cardio to try and “fix it”, nor do I shove more food than a family would eat down my throat in a heartbeat then not eat for 2 days… The physical aspect of the disordered eating is not present in my life at this moment (or for the last two years), but the mental aspect is still there and to me that’s the hardest part to get over.

To look in the mirror and see ME… not a lack of abs or my puffy arms. Just me.

Maybe that day will never come, but as long as the days when fat Becca isn’t in the back of my head are getting less and less that’s all I can really keep aiming for. Baby steps right?

For the competitors out there… how do you deal with offseason gains?

For everyone else… winter weight? Changing body shapes… how do you feel about it all?

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Comments
  1. Girl I hear ya. Even when the scale, our clothes, others tell us one thing, it’s hard to not listen to the voices within, especially if is that gut feeling that something is off.

    My body is (obviously) changing shape for a totally different reason and while I can embrace some parts (hello belly and big boobs!), I’m having a hard time with the wider thighs and generally swollen look. It’s just different.

    Maybe there is a period of adjustment, maybe there is some emotional work behind the scenes, I’m not sure. But the important thing is getting to a place where you feel like the YOU, you want to be!

  2. Kerryne says:

    As a competitor I struggle with the “post show blues” every time. I just competed in my 9th show last weekend and every time I swear that I will not let myself “go” but its really hard to go from living a lifestyle that is SO restricting and SO routined to just being a “normal person”. I am only a week post show and already feeling the wrath of the gain. Its so hard to control. A lot of it is water weight but still. I think the best thing is to just have a plan. Which I did, then my kids had to have birthdays and there had to be cake and ice cream and cookies made… so… yeah.. plan failed. Just know that you are not alone, there is such a large community of women who go through this. Take it one day at a time. Plan your meals, prep your food but allow yourself little “treats” every week. I think that is the key! 🙂

  3. Holly says:

    I feel ya too! While I don’t compete and consider myself a runner I do lift pretty heavy weights, especially on legs (probably still light for you) and my thighs are pretty muscular at the top and my butt is nice and round. I have trouble fitting into pants because of this fact. I need to change the style of pats I buy but don’t have the money to do so 😦 I was never the fat girl, so I don’t have that complex but it is still hard to not have pants fit in the legs because of the muscle. While I eat a pretty decent, healthy diet I probably eat more calories than necessary because I also run and so I have a small layer of fat on my hips, which probably doesn’t help. I feel ya!!

  4. Tenecia says:

    I will be entering my first “real” off-season in a couple of weeks and I am certain that I will struggle with going from my competition body to my “regular” body. I’m scared but excited to see what these next few months hold for me!

    And if it makes you feel any better, I’m 250% sure that I am a tank next to you….and I don’t own any Lululemon 🙂

    T.

  5. Lisa says:

    I can’t even tell you how much you sound like me. I’d love to compete again but I’m just so afraid of the after, because it’s been so hard for me. I still feel huge all the time, even though people call me tiny too. I too have come from being a big girl, so I totally understand what you’re saying. You are not alone my friend.

  6. Kari says:

    Welcome to the distorted body image club! What you just described is what most competitors feel after their shows, to one degree or another. Even after 6 years of competing, I still feel it. The reason why we feel that way is because we know what our bodies CAN look like – in contest shape (which is completely unrealistic for most of the year). But for some reason, we use that as our standard by which to judge our off-season weight and clothing size. Doesn’t make sense, right?! I’ve come to terms with the fact that if I want to look and feel smaller, I need to keep an eye on my diet. That’s what I’m doing now, and I’m much happier about my body now than I’ve been in any previous off-season. Also, keep reminding yourself that even though you may FEEL big, you’re NOT. You’re FIT, not big. And that’s a big difference! Besides, I bet those yoga ladies couldn’t leg press the same weight you do. 😉

  7. I hear ya. I lost a lot of weight in ’07 and when my clothes were literally falling off me and my mom took me shopping, even though the size 8’s were fitting almost too big, in the mirror, all I could see was the same size 18 Jen as before.

  8. have to agree with with what everyone else here is saying…
    as a competitor myself,i have struggled with the post show body image. at one point i had totake a full year off from competing just so i could find that balance,to find “me” again,and to get a grasp on the difference between being in “show shape” and “in shape”. i had to set realistic standards for myself,i planned my off season meals,but also allowed for “treats” and moderations…i also stared setting goals for myself after a show. it seems like once the off season rolls around,the post show blues of “now what do i?” surface. so i make mini goals such as shifting my focus on running (yeah thats how i try to stay lean in off season) whether its dropping 5k times or 1/2 marathon times…or even weekly goals in the gym,something to hold me accountable…..
    you are not alon here my friend! just take it one day at a time!!!

  9. Jen says:

    I still buy clothes two sizes too big cause that’s how I see myself still… It’s crazy. I’m hoping my head will catch up one day… I still see fat when on a good day I know there’s none there. One day maybe… 🙂

  10. Jess says:

    I have definitely been where you are about a million times, but for the record you are one of those slim girls. I just wanted to say that!

  11. Chelsea says:

    Just finishing my first show, I am trying to figure myself out right now. I know I can’t look stage like year round and a competition diet is not something I want tobstick to year round!

    I laught at your gym picture. It reminded me of Fritz :o)

    I may need to buy a pair of lululululemon pants as they seem to wear really well!

    You are not alone on this on sister !

  12. Sarah says:

    Becca I totally hear you on this. Even though I’ve never competed (want to, working on it) I’m constantly training and very aware of my body image. We know that it isn’t true, that we are healthy and kick ass in the gym but sometimes it isn’t enough. Distorted body image times 10, ya it sucks. Don’t ever feel alone on this subject and always know that you can be honest about it. I’m here for you girl 🙂 xo

    Oh and lulu’s are wonderful…. the 7 year old ones I mean, lol!

  13. sglgirl says:

    ditto on the feeling huge 😦

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