Category Archives: NPC Competition Prep

The Negative Side to Achieving Female Abs

With all this talk about summer and needing to be sexy in a bathing suit, I felt the need to share a little bit about my own experience with working towards those gotta-have abs. If you’re looking for the secret to abs, please stop reading immediately and continue to search through the Oxygen Magazine sitting on the coffee table nearby for the answer- because I promise you, what I’m going to tell you will either disappoint you or bring you relief and peace. I’m hoping it’s the second option.

I’m going to share a little bit about my story on the quest for perfect abs. But before we go into that, I am going to be blunt and tell you that I am still on that quest. Everything I am about to tell you is for both your benefit and mine, because I too forget the truth behind what it takes to get a six pack for females. I often look at photographs of my favourite fitness models and competitors and drool over those tight tummies, and then get a little infatuated with reaching that level of chiseled..ness.

As you all probably know, I was 100% dedicated for my fitness competition last year. No fruit. No sugar. No almond milk. No gluten. No dairy. No cheese. Honestly, the only foods I had for 20 weeks were egg whites, chicken, brown rice, oats, protein powder, broccoli, green beans and asparagus. Oh and one tablespoon of peanut butter per day. Every once in awhile I switched out oats for a little sweet potato. But there was NOTHING ELSE. If you think I’m kidding…well, I’m not kidding so just believe me.

At first, this post may seem like I’m dissing myself or aggravated at my fitness prep but that’s definitely not the case. There is more to this, I promise. I have a point and a message I want to send but first I want to recap last year’s quest for the perfect shredded physique.

This was my grocery cart for 20 weeks.

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photo-9This cooler was with me every where I went, whether it was to a party, to a meeting, to a study group or what have you.

I mean, the water bottle still goes everywhere with me but that’s still a downgrade from what I usually carried.
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4774220004f811e290351231381b5983_7 I spent my Friday nights in the fitness room of my gym wearing my heels, walking up and down checking out my smile, turns and making sure my booty was “poking out” enough. This was indeed a little fun for me, but at the same time, I do remember turning down a few really fun parties to do this instead. Oh, and I had to retake this picture several times before I posted it on Instagram because I thought I looked fat in some of them.
photo-25I was eating calorie free chocolate dip, dressings and pancake syrup. Calorie/carb/everything free dips….do you know how many chemicals were in this thing to make it taste so good but be so guilt free? My body HATED me for this. I was not “healthy” I was skinny..and this was my secret. Deathly, disgusting fake products.

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This became the only thing I read because it was the only thing that I was really interested in any more.

Now PLEASE do not get me wrong. I LOVE FITNESS MAGAZINES with my life. It’s actually been a dream of mine since I was little to work for a fitness magazine. It’s a huge passion for me. But it definitely shouldn’t be my only passion, right? I was become information-overloaded and it was all I was starting to think about.

Until I started to look like this.

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Now, you may not know my face very well but I’ll just tell you, I have a very round face. I have always kind of had that child-like face and even my body tends to want to be a little on the softer side. This picture here scares me. You probably can’t tell, but this is not what I look like. My legs look like twigs here and I have absolutely NO muscle development. All gone! Thankfully, this was mid prep and I ended up filling out a little better right before my show and developed a little more muscle definition.

So dieting+no social life+ eating out of Tupperware religiously+ no freedom in food choices+cardio every day+fake food= MY abs. I’m not saying this is how you got your abs, but I’m saying, in 2012, this is how I achieved my abs because I did what I was told by my coach and followed the fitness competition norms.

There are different ways to achieve abs I’m sure. Some people have awesome genetics. Some people take fat burners. Some people diet and don’t need to do much cardio to get abs. We are all different. But this is my story, so I’m sharing how I got them. I would love to think that eventually I could learn how to have them again by doing it differently but for the mean time, I’m not stressing. I enjoy being lean just from choosing whole, clean foods and that’s good enough for me. I absolutely LOVE getting stronger and seeing muscle growth. As a matter of fact, my face is getting fuller. My arms are getting bigger and stronger. My abs actually FEEL stronger, even though they are less noticeable. I get to cook fun meals and post them on my blog! I could never do that before because I was too scared to eat outside of my normal diet.

If you are about to follow or thinking about following a similar approach to getting abs you need to simply ask yourself…is it worth it? Are abs worth giving up 90% of everything else? That’s the question I have to ask myself from time to time. I need to channel my energy elsewhere, like developing stronger relationships, getting lost in music, calling my family to tell them I love them, help others learn how to be more than just LEAN but how to LIVE.

My dream is to help females STOP fantasizing and drooling over fitness models and their perfect abs and thinking “Oh if only I looked like that.” or “I’ll never be that skinny.” Because I promise you, those ladies had to make some serious sacrifices to get there and that’s because to them, it’s worth it. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. They had to give up some things and work really freaking hard. I know this because I had to do the same. And after my competition, I remember telling my mom exactly this, “Mah, I had the perfect body for a few weeks. The one I’ve always wanted. In return, I lost social skills, missed out on relationships and had nowhere to go with this ‘perfect’ body because i was so terrified of messing it up. I will never again sacrifice my life for a lean set of abs.”  I do not have a 6 pack naturally and I never will. I was not born with those genetics. It’s easier for some than others and if you’re one of the “others” you need to decide what you really, truly want in the one life you have. Laughter and stress free dinners with family and friends? Or sweat-inducing nervous breakdowns because you’re scared of what that banana might do to your body fat levels. Maybe you can have a little bit of both. And if you can, that’s amazing. That’s called balance. It’s a point I have finally reached. I am conscious of my food choices but I allow myself to live in the moment.

These days when I find myself fantasizing, I just remember what it took for me to get to that “dream” level of leanness. It’s not what I want for my one and only life. I want to be happy. That’s where my heart truly lies these days.

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Some Really Deep Thoughts About Post-Competition Stress

Happy Monday! I’ve been doing some thinking lately that I thought would make a good post and could be potentially helpful to some of you that are thinking about competing or are body conscious. This may be a fairly deep post filled with lots of different things I’ve been thinking about so get ready and hopefully it will be of some use to you.

First of all, it’s been about 5 or 6 weeks since my competition.
DSC_9424Until recently, I’ve been perfectly fine with my body and the slow changes it’s been making. Nothing “bad” has changed about my body… but of course, once you get as low as 6.5% body fat, anything above that just doesn’t feel as good. I knew from the start of my competition prep that I would most likely reach a fairly unhealthy level of body fat that would be unreasonably possible to maintain. I knew I would only be like that for a short while, and then I would start having to eat “normal” again and start looking AND feeling normal. During my contest prep, I was getting deep, dark bruises from my lack of vitamins, I would feel dizzy if I didn’t drink a full gallon of water, I was freezing all the time, my stomach was frequently upset and any time I ate something out of the usual I felt sick. These are NOT good signs and definitely not good for long-term health. I was getting really excited to start incorporating little things back into my diet like fruit, salsa, condiments, avocados, etc.

But first, I want to appreciate the positives of post-competition.
1. I’m extremely happy that I’m not measuring and weighing every portion of food. I AM very grateful to have that freedom back.
2. I’m no longer stressing about eating every 3 hours but I still try to get in a meal about that time. But if I’m at a party, in a movie, working somewhere, it’s OKAY. I simply eat afterwards.
3. I can eat something that’s healthy and available even if it’s not on my meal plan. In fact, right now I don’t even have a meal plan. If I’m hungry and want to eat something healthy- then I do it. I don’t HAVE to eat only chicken. I can make something else if my lil heart desires!
4. Date nights. Social life. Saturday night glass of wine. Beautiful.
5. When I was dieting, I would spend an hour contemplating if the 5 extra calories in a Tums would potentially ruin my chances on stage, even though I really wanted one because my stomach hurt. That’s very sad but true.
6. Most important lesson I learned from my competition- DO NOT TAKE LIFE SO SERIOUSLY. Remember- life is for living. You only get ONE life and then it’s gone. Never again will I trade in the “perfect” body for my treasured relationships. People, good times and memories have never been so precious to me as they are now. The moments I get with my family and friends are what makes me feel alive now. Once I got that “perfect” body I didn’t even care for it. You must decide for yourself what’s more worth it if you have to make the choice. Some people can manage to have both, but it’s rare…it’s rare at least when you’re as extreme as I was. Learn to have some fun and still stay focused. That’s the perfect balance.

Now for the challenging things I’m working on overcoming right now.
Body image. I’m no longer at an itty bitty measurement of 6.5% body fat…in fact I have no idea what I am because I don’t want to become obsessed over the number. I’ve weighed myself once and that’s all. Nonetheless, I can feel a little extra “skin” layering on me from the diversity of foods I’ve been eating and that is enough for me to stress over. Because I’m not eating the same amounts/portions/foods every day, my body is adjusting and kind of fluctuating. Not by much, don’t get me wrong. I’m not waddling all over the place with swollen ankles- I’m actually building on more muscle nicely BUT with more muscle also comes higher bf% percentage. And it’s also the holidays so my indulgences have been a little more frequent because of what I said up there^^ I’m learning to focus on good times and not ONLY fitness 100% of the time.

It’s pretty difficult to spend 20 weeks creating strict habits that you constantly stick with and then trying to find a new balance. I’m struggling with knowing exactly what to eat, when to eat, when it’s okay to have a lighter workout or what is appropriate to eat on a daily basis. How much fruit is too much, how often can I have a glass of wine and still have a fast metabolism, how much healthy fats should I have daily? These are all the questions running through my head because I ALMOST feel like I’ve lost the ability to put together my own meal plan- even though I make them for others all the time!
What I need to focus on now is to 1. find balance and 2. love my body. Something I often tell others that are trying to lose a few pounds is that our bodies will always fluctuate. We will never be ONE size or ONE measurement because we will never be in the same place in our lives (thank goodness). I need to take a dose of my own medicine!
We’re always growing, changing, maturing, and that goes especially for us women. So like I said earlier, if you’re struggling with loving your body in every shape and size, remember what life is really about. It’s about living, It’s about enjoying every moment with whomever you’re with.
Don’t take your image too seriously…if it was meant to be one size forever, it would be. But it’s not, it’s supposed to be healthy and happy. Competitions are all about self-accomplishments so you must be able to look back and appreciate the fact that it even happened and you did what you set out to do. Afterwards, simply eat right and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about because you’re doing the best you can without becoming obsessive, controlling and stressed.

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Eat clean, train dirty, and enjoy life.

CHEERS to my first interview, conducted by Pruvology! I can’t believe I was asked to do an interview. A year ago, I never would have thought any of this would be happening. So excited to make more moves in the fitness world and a huge thank you to everybody who’s helped make this possible!

NPC Texas State Naturals 2012 Recap

I DID IT!! I competed in my first NPC bikini competition!! I can’t believe it finally happened- it’s pretty surreal. I had an amazing time, met some wonderful girls, learned a lot of tips for next time, got to hang out with my mom and sister and best of all, I accomplished something I really didn’t know if I could or not. Ready for a play by play?

I woke up around 5:50, poured myself a little cup of coffee and anxiously devoured 1/2 cup oats and 1 scoop of whey. This meal seemed a little heavy to me, but I was just going along with the plan my coach had made for me.

Inside of my cooler I packed quite an assortment…sirloin, rice cakes, chicken, brown rice, oats, peanut butter, a crunch bar (sugar makes muscles pop out more on stage ) and a ginger kombucha (for AFTER walking out).

After heading out of my apartment, I went over to my friends place to get my next two coats of spray tan. HOLY COW I was so ridiculously dark. My friend Shar is a trainer at my gym and she did my tan, as well as make-up (of course, those are the things the judges gave me the highest score for– a huge thank you to Shar!!) Afterwards, we headed to the school where the competition was being held so that I could sign up for my critique card and start getting ready.

Shar doing my eyes all purty like.

I met some pretty awesome girls from Austin that were also first timers for the stage. It was really great to have other like-minded ladies around me for once. For most of this process I’ve been on my own and then all of a sudden, I’m thrown into a room filled with 100  people, all going through the same thing as me, munching on rice cakes, drinking a gallon of water every day and missing out on all the “normal” social events. It felt really great to be able to connect with so many other competitors.

This is Lisa from She’s Losing It.net. She’s one amazing woman and definitely an inspiration to me. She’s a fit mom who can balance work, family AND competing all at once. Dedication!!

After taking pictures, running around getting three different tan touch ups, replacing the band aids on my pinky toes a million times, and several applications of lip gloss, it was finally time to line-up for prejudging. I’m not going to lie, at this point I was nervous but SOO excited, I could barely think about how nervous I was. I knew I was going to do good because I had been working so hard and there was no way I was going to think negatively and risk it all. It also helped that the girl in front of me was giving me lots of tips and distracting me from my own nervous thinking.

So there we all are, behind the stage lined up and before I know it, they call out ” 160 Miss Madelyn Moon” and I’m strutting out on that stage, hips swinging and head high. The 10 seconds we get on the stage fly by so fast, let me tell you! All I could think about was “Walk slowly Madelyn, keep your head up Madelyn, SMILE SMILE SMILE!” And somewhere in my poses I decided to add in a little wink and some personality! It was amazing. I felt confident and I enjoyed all 10 seconds I got in the spotlight:)

Out of 20 girls, I was the 8th one called (in the 2nd call outs) and I’m proud of that! Of course I had hoped to place, but for my first show, I’m happy for the package I presented. I did everything I could and that’s all the matters.

After prejudging I reunited with my family and friends. A big thank you to all of you and of course the camera woman, who just happens to be one of my number one supporters and my lovely mother!

One of my critiques that the judge gave me was to add padding in my top.

WOMP WOMP.

I had a feeling that would be one of the things I got marked off for. At least now I know for next time!

OH and you know the first thing I had after prejudging was a kombucha. Nothing has every tasted so refreshing in my life.

After pictures, we had about a two hour break so my sister, mom and me went to a Chili’s, where I brought in my chicken tubber ware and munched away while they ordered some nomtastic salads. I wasn’t ready to splurge yet- too nervous!

Then we went to a mall. Oh goodness. Did I mention I was almost 100% black?! Imagine me walking into a Bath & Body works looking like this. I mean, I don’t blame people for all the crazy looks they gave me.

Nonetheless, I had a blast walking around and getting some girl time.

Around 5:30 everybody was back at the school, reapplying their makeup, doing more touch ups and going to town on the rice cakes. Let’s just say we were all pretty exhausted and all everybody was talking about was what their first meal would be. Pizza and burgers seemed to be the popular vote.

Finals came and went and everybody got to do their poses once more. This usually never happens! I was pretty excited they let us have one more moment on the stage. I didn’t place top five which was a bummer but I gained so much more from this. The real prize was the fact that I set a goal for myself and accomplished it. I thought there was no way I could do what I did and the second I decided I would do it, I dedicated all my time and effort to make it happen. I’ve learned many intangible lessons along the way and I believe I’m a different person than who I was four months ago. I’ve also made many great acquaintances and started new friendships. I’m truly blessed.

My mom, sister, Shar and me then went to Hopdoddy’s to do some indulging. After 4 months of no cheats I thought it would be okay to have a BIG FAT cheeseburger and a NUTELLA/PRETZEL milkshake:) Nutella milkshake….yes, that’s right.

Back home, mom presented me with a goodie basket filled with some pretty awesome stuff. Three books, two candles, two workouts tanks, a beautiful bracelet, some pumpkin coffee, multivitamins, seasonings and some perfume. Best mom award!!

Okay, so after this ridiculously long recap, I would like to write just a little bit about what’s next for me.
I love competing, it’s amazing and I definitely want to do it again. BUT I do plan on enjoying the rest of the year without thinking about competitions or whatnot, but simply enjoying my workouts and building muscle. I won’t be adding many more calories to my diet but I will probably add a couple hundred more so that my body can work on building more lean muscle. I want to focus on having a balanced life. When I compete again, I will want to find a way to incorporate it into a balanced lifestyle without having to be quite as extreme as I was this go round. I do not want it to control every aspect of my life but to instead enhance it. I’ve made many sacrifices, and I wouldn’t take any of them back, but I also want to focus on a few other things. For example, I’m about to graduate from UT Austin and I’m also in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I really want to work on my health coaching practice, find a job, and enjoy life to the fullest. Competing is also expensive so that’s another factor. Now that I’m about to be on my own, I need to make sure I can support myself! Nonetheless, I will be making another appearance on the stage but right now I’m just going to smile and be grateful for the accomplishments I have just made.

Life is good.

1 Day Out- Things You Should Know About Peak Week

Tomorrow is the big day! I’ve had a crazy & hectic peak week, having to get all the final touches ready and make last minute purchases. My diet hasn’t really changed for this last week but yesterday I did have a high carb day to help fill out my muscles. Tomorrow I’m adding in some foods I haven’t had in ages, like rice cakes and sirloin. It’s supposed to help with tightening me up and filling out.

Plus, not to mention I’m hoping to splurge a little after my show…it’s been 120 days…I think I deserve it this once, right?! 🙂

I’d also like to share with you guys that I’m NOT going to be dehydrating for my show.

Say what, Madelyn?!

Yes that’s right. I love water too much to do that to my body. So instead I carry this thing around to class and enjoy the amply awkward looks I receive.

But the real reason I’m nixing the dehydration step is because my coach is really against it. Honestly, how he explained it to me made a lot of sense. In case you don’t already know about the whole dehydrating thing, it’s where you deprive your body from water before the show (starting the night before usually) and only take baby sips the day of the show. It’s supposed to give your body that “tight” look. This can be extremely dangerous. If you dehydrate too much, or if you’re body can’t handle it, you could run the risk of passing out on stage. Please be careful before you decide to dehydrate for your show and really learn all of your options. You can still achieve that tight look just by manipulating your carb/protein/fat ratio throughout the week. When picking your coach for your show, ask them their view on this and how they plan to go about peak week just so you know EXACTLY what you’re in for.

On another note. I’ve learned a couple things this past week.

1. Don’t buy the Equate teeth whitening “strips”. They’re not even strips, they’re like mouth guards and the unusual pressure (assuming your mouth is semi sensitive) will bruise your gums and it’ll hurt like CRAP. Just a simple touch to my gums making me wanna cringe and I only used them twice!

2. Waxing hurts. But get it done early so that there’s enough time for any skin irritation to go away.

3. Polygraph tests are not just for criminals! Even bodybuilders sometimes have to take them before a show just to make sure they’re drug free 😉 (quite an experience!)

4. Target does not have good fake eyelashes. Don’t rely on them.

5. If you’re small chested to begin with, you will probably lose 50% of what you already have- be sure to add padding in your bikini top before hand! This is a mistake I will NOT be making for my next show.

6. Go 80% in your weight lifting sessions. Don’t try to make personal records and end up breaking down your muscles. The goal this week is to look FULL by show day, not flat.

7. Pack your bag for the show ahead of time, don’t wait till the last minute. This also goes for prepping your food and locating the competitor’s hotel if you have to go there for a meeting. I had to go to the hotel for drug testing yesterday and of course my GPS took me everywhere in Austin except for the right place so I had to call for directions. Oops.

8. PRACTICE POSING! I can’t stress this enough. I thought I was pretty good at posing last week but this week I’ve made more improvements and I’m so glad I spent the extra 30 minutes walking on my shoes, trying to get that “sexy hip swing” thang down. It also helps if you can have a friend or another competitor pose with you one day to give you pointers. It’ll be worth the extra time and effort, I promise!

9. Build up a base tan before you get your spray because it will look less orange and more brown. About 5 sessions in a bed should do the trick

10. REMEMBER to have fun! This is serious to me but I still, I have to constantly remember that it’s not something to stress over. The hard part is done- the rest should be a reward.

Today I have to get my eyebrows waxed, pack the rest of my bag, get my nails painted, shower/exfoliate, attend the competitor’s meeting and get my first coat of spray tan. I’m planning on bringing my camera to the show tomorrow so I can get lots of real pictures, not just Instagram! AHH I’m so excited!! If you have a twitter, be sure to follow me @MoonFitness for updates (and I’m sure…Instagram pictures as well  #addicted)

Talk to you soon, loves!

First Photo Shoot Experience & Day 1 of IIN

So much has happened in the past couple of days. I had my first photo shoot experience yesterday, I started peak week today and I also just began my Institute for Integrative Nutrition course! I can’t believe all the wonderful things going on in my life, not to mention I’m 5 days away from NPC Texas State Naturals!

Taking a step back, I want to talk a little bit about my photo shoot. A week ago I had received an email from Denise Clark, author of Phat Phamily, offering to give me photo shoot. WHAT?! I was so thrilled and flattered that her and her husband would take the time out of their day to give me that special gift. Really, they were two of the nicest people I’ve had the opportunity to meet in a long time. Denise and Danny Clark, from Danny Clark Photography, run a great studio in Houston, TX. I highly recommend any of you guys check it out if you are around the area and are in need of some professional shots!

(more pictures will be up soon!)

Something really great about Denise and Danny is that they too are on an eating clean kick and have been making great efforts to improve their health and also the health of their children. Not many parents have the gift of making healthy food kid-friendly but so far they’ve made great strides in providing nutritional value to their whole family’s dinner plates.

Denise has just committed herself to her first bikini competition! That’s unbelievable considering she’s balancing a job that involves lots of travel AND a family! Honestly, I admire her more than I admire most “fitness models”…you don’t need to have your pictures published in a magazine to be considered a fitness model. You just need to live a healthy lifestyle, make goals and lead by example…she’s pushing herself to do something challenging and that’s true modeling!

One of the biggest challenges that comes with taking a trip, no matter how far, is packing your meals and being prepared. I already cook in bulk so all I had to do was separate and measure my meals ahead of time and put them in my cooler. I had 2 tubber wares with chicken and brown rice, one baggie with whey and oats and then one tubber ware with green beans and chicken. Just the usual foods but all packed in and ready to go! When it came time to chow on my oatmeal I was wondering how exactly to go about it. I was on my way back home so I decided a coffee wouldn’t be that bad of an idea anyways…so why not ask for some boiling water from Starbucks on the side?!

TA DA! You have your oatmeal ready to go. I know this may seem weird but these kinds of habits get a lot easier with time. And in the long run you’ll appreciate the changes that come with your body if you take the time to prepare ahead of time.

In other news, I started my classes for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition today and I can’t even describe how EXCITED I am to start this new journey! I am going to be a health coach- can you believe it? Hello DREAM JOB! I have come to the conclusion that helping others achieve their nutritional goals, as well as fitness goals, is my calling in life. One problem that comes with creating healthier habits is that peers, family, society, etc. all affect you either positively or negatively. If it’s negatively, than it’s really difficult to make those changes long term because we as humans need encouragement and support. That’s not a weakness, it means we’re human. As a health coach I want to provide that support and accountability in order to make the transition pleasant and much less stressful. A healthy lifestyle is not hard to obtain, I promise, YOU can have it! With a little bit of knowledge, the proper tools, and a clear grasp on what it means to find balance, you can have a healthy lifestyle in every aspect.  What I love about IIN is that it focused on all different areas of life, not just nutrition. Being healthy means having a healthy relationship, career, social life, exercise life, spirituality, etc. It covers every area so that you can have optimum health that lasts a life time.
Well I realize now it’s that time….posing time. Yuck. Off to walk in some ridiculous heels. Have a restful Monday night!

Finding Motivation- 10 Days Out

Thursday….my LEAST favourite day of the week.

I’m not a big fan of Thursdays for several reasons.

1. My body is pretty tired from the past 4 days of intense weight lifting and cardio sessions, plus the lack of calories to back up my energy

2. I have those dang classes from 8-2 nontop

3. It’s the day after my “refeed” so I’m sluggish, bloated and tired

4. Tomorrow is my rest day and I can only think about how I wish it was today

5. I have to hit the gym at the most crowded time
Depending on other circumstances, it could be not that bad of a day or it could be a “woe is me” kind of day. Psh, silliness!

Today I was sitting in class reflecting on some of these things when I looked in my wallet and pulled this baby out.

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I got this fortune a couple weeks ago and thought it was probably the most motivating fortune I’ve ever had and it was totally appropriate for what I’m going through! (no I didn’t eat the cookie!)
Sometimes simple reminders like this one can help you to do some reevaluating, refocusing and to simply… breathe. Relax. Think back and remember why you’re doing it in the first place. In my case, I’m thinking about the fact that I’m 10 days out. I can’t believe that at this time next week it’ll only by TWO days. That’s ridiculous!

I’m so excited, nervous, anxious, pumped, thrilled, worried, happy, sad, etc. Pretty much every emotion on the spectrum is mixing together and creating a whirlwind of thoughts. Thankfully, mostly all good thoughts! I’m trying to focus on how far I’ve come and that I should be proud of myself for what I’ve accomplish.

No cheats, restaurant meals, alcohol, dairy, sugar or anything bad for 18 weeks straight! More specifically, that’s no apples, chocolate, red meat, berries, wine, salsa, and of course no extra tablespoon of peanut butter. Reflecting on that really does make me proud. I haven’t missed a meal, I’ve gone to bed at a decent time every night, been drinking a gallon of water every day, prepared my foods in advance, kept up with school and never missed a workout or cardio session.

So has it all been worth it?

So far- YES.

The reason why I’m writing a little bit about this right now is so that no matter what happens after my show, I can reflect on all the positives. Depending on how I do, I could have a few mixed emotions going on but I just need to remember all that I have accomplished.

Side note-

The other day somebody was asking me about why I was doing this competition. I listed all the obvious intangible benefits and all I received back was a blank stare and one of those “…and?” expressions. She asked “What do you get in return??” Again, I restated how this goes beyond money or rewards. This is an accomplishment…something that I can remember and reflect on FOREVER. I don’t think she, or anybody else that was listening in, ever really understood why I decided to do this (I then proceeded to whip out my chicken and brown rice Tupperware from my lunchbox as they cracked open another Budlight).

It kind of makes me sad that some people need tangible benefits as motivation. What about the amazing satisfaction that comes with doing something that requires a ridiculous amount of will power?! I’d pick that kind of satisfaction over a night of partying any day.

In regards to accomplishments that aren’t related to food: I didn’t drink on my 21st birthday, I lost 10 pounds, I’ve dropped to 7% body fat, I’m squatting 180 pounds, my bench press is at 95 lbs and EVERY single part of my body has gotten stronger and can lift heavier. I am feeling very PROUD. I want to thank my body for doing this, for being determined, for pushing through, staying strong, and helping my mind’s goals and dreams become REALITY.

Take a moment right now to just think about how much you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come. Wherever you are in your journey, it’s farther than you were yesterday. Be proud!