Sunday I had a moment I’ve experienced every single prep…. and even though I’ve always known it was coming and I can actually see the signs, stopping it is like trying to stop me from drinking coffee. Just not possible.
Suddenly everything became beyond overwhelming, and prep was happening for all the wrong reasons. I sat myself down on my break and replied to an email from the coach with my thoughts at that exact moment.
I’m not doing provincials.
It’s pointless to do another show and place second to last and go home disappointed… again.
Everyone else is improving so much and I’ve stayed exactly the same.
In short. I quit.
I hit send and that was that. I finished my night at work, went home and went to bed. I got up and packed my meals and went off to the gym. In my head I knew i wasn’t quitting. I knew what I wrote wasn’t true. Maybe I needed the reminder, maybe I needed to just get it out there how I felt.
But why? When did competing ever become about a placing to me? A 5$ trophy that will sit on the window ledge collecting dust? A little bit of validation from a panel of judges? I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it would be nice to place, but when did that become the be all end all? Why was winning suddenly so important and the only reason I was stepping on stage?
Yes, Provincials is a competition just like any other, but at the end of the day it’s not about competing with anyone but myself. Challenging myself to be just a little bit better every single day, push myself to get in that extra rep, do one last sprint, change myself on the outside, but more importantly inside. Yes, I know that I don’t need to step on stage ever again to continue to do that, but for me show day is the fun stuff. Unless you’ve stepped on stage you can’t really understand that moment when after months of hard work you walk out to center stage and hit that first pose.
In that moment you suddenly realize everything you accomplished. Nothing else matters. You put everything on the line and deep down you just know that you did everything you could in your power to be the best you possible.
The email response I got from my coach Monday morning was real. He pointed out my strengths, my weaknesses and talked about the sport in general. He also pointed out what I already knew, that he never thought this was about placing for me, it was about continuing to improve and challenge myself.
Since November alone the improvements I’ve made to my mental health have well surpassed any physical goals I could have ever dreamed of accomplishing. Yes, the changes are happening to my body on the outside, but I truly believe it’s because of how I treat my body from the inside. No longer do I see food as a comfort/social/crutch in my life. I eat to fuel my body.
That’s not to say I eat dry boiled chicken and green beans 10 times a day. I eat food that I enjoy and cook it in a way that tastes good to me, but I also have learned what foods agree with my body and make me feel healthy. There isn’t a need to come home after a bad day and drown my sorrows in icecream, I just don’t have that pull anymore. Yes, I do have moments of weakness and I do have the occasional cheat when I’m not close to a show, but this is truly a lifestyle now and that alone is more than I could have ever dreamed of.
Honestly I don’t know what my plans are for after November. Will I compete again? Most likely… yes. But I can’t say for sure. What I do know is that competitions or not, this sport has turned into so much more than a 16 week diet and “looking like the girls in the magazines”. Looking back when I said two years ago that this was a lifestyle I was lying to myself. It wasn’t. It was a diet. It was a prep. I wanted to get on stage, but I didn’t want to do it for the right reasons. It was a dream of winning, go hard for 16 weeks, rebound, repeat.
In short, no way to live.
After Atlantics and my move I left my scale at my parents house. I haven’t weighed myself since April, I haven’t obsessed over a carb count or the thought of grabbing icecream that one Sunday night in June being the reason I spiraled out of control. For the first time in 2 1/2 years of competing I didn’t rebound, I gained a healthy amount of weight, and felt amazing. I didn’t beat myself up every single day or avoid mirrors or trying on clothes. Do I feel like I have “beat” disordered eating? No, I think that is something that will always be in the back of my mind. But the key is now I’m aware of it, I see the signs, I can combat it. No longer is it my dirty little secret, I can reach out for support.
So here’s to eight more weeks of prep. Eight more weeks to improve, grow and learn more about myself. Maybe the judges will like what I bring to the stage… maybe they won’t. At the end of the day all that matters is I know how far I’ve come and eventually other people will see that too.
All I know is that when I step off stage in November I’ll know it’s for the right reasons… and that when push comes to shove quitting will never be an option for me.