the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body.Now isn’t this definition vague? What is a healthy body image? I firmly believe loving your body at every stage of life is a healthy body image.
Now is this easy? No.
If I was asked when I was my happiest and most secure in my body and therefore self esteem I would hands down say when I was in the military and weighed 155 pounds. By far the happies and most secure with how I looked and felt.
Now, imagine I compete in the Bikini Division in the NPC. I train harder than I ever have, eat stricter than I ever imagined. I have transformed incredibly and look like the “Ideal” shall I say “Popular Desired Look” and I have the worst body image. Dont get me wrong, I look in the mirror and am happy with what I see. But unlike when I was training in the military, I see flaws, I see areas of needed improvement, I see areas that wont respond to training etc. See my problem? I’m hands down way more unhappy with my body image now than I ever have and I physically look the best.
The hardest part of competing and cutting, meaning leaning out is the mental game. the self talk and how hard we treat ourselves. Especially when we deplete ourselves of nutriance and carbs the closer we get to show day.
I am mentally harder on myself 8 weeks out and 4 weeks out than I am off season. I have weighed as little as 132 pounds at this point or less. And I look better than off season. It logically makes no sense, but I’m not logical at this point. My new coach just tells me, “Don’t think, just do”. So I have tried to take this motto to heart and to try not to think too much.
Now you want to know what is harder than my negative self talk and weary body image on show prep? Having my impressionable, beautiful teenage daughters think that their close to show date, competitor mothers body type at this time is “Normal” It is NOT NORMAL or HEALTHY.
Its a very controlled and watched time in a competitors life where we are worn out, miserable, exhausted and grumpy. Nothing about maintaining this physique would be normal. People dont generally show prep year round because of how hard it is and how unhealthy it is. We push our bodies past the point of comfort. It can be down right miserable.
It makes me reflect on my own self talk and helps me put things back into perspective. I don’t want my daughters thinking this small window of time body image is “Normal” Its not. Its a huge accomplishment that I am very proud of. But it is not normal and I dont plan on staying this lean year round. My sanity cant take it and my poor family shouldn’t have to deal with a grumpy mom or wife this long. Heck, I’m annoying myself some days! #truth
You have to see what my middle daughter showed me today. She said she came across a meme that reminded her of me. I’ll share it with you.
HA! If this isn’t proof were miserable on prep, I don’t know what is. Just think, my husband competes as well and imagine a two parent home who compete a lot and how this can set a tone for the home? It’s a balancing act. In the last two years we have competed in 6 shows. That’s a lot of depleting and moodiness and different examples of body image. I can only imagine how confusing this can be to a kid.
All I want to learn from this is to be happy at every stage. Our bodies are amazing and are capable of so much. I try to teach my kids how to eat a balanced diet and how to balance exercise. But in no means do they need to body build or hold themselves to these unrealistic standards or expectations. I didn’t compete in a show until I was 38. There is LOTS of time to be serious about it when and if they ever decide. But I don’t want them to waste their time this young worrying about things they don’t need to. Enjoy being in high school, enjoy college, enjoy being a kid!