It's been a while since I've blogged. You see, I blog about my fitness journey and I haven't felt very fit lately. Not for a year, to be honest.
I was having tea with Tina and Raima this week and told them that I didn't feel very much like part of the Center Stage team. You see I never actually competed under Mama T, although we met just before my one and only competition in the summer of 2012 and have talked competition since. I don't feel like part of the team, because I have let myself go. I have lots of valid reasons, including a very difficult year for one of my two sons (ages 9 and 11), the addition of three dogs to my family (which already had two cats) since last August, the death of my brother in January, a persistent shoulder injury and a broken left arm. All of this as a single mom.
All of that said, I'm embarrassed. You see, I felt so good getting to stage. I lost almost 40 pounds to get there! But I was not prepared to deal with any of the emotional or mental components of post-stage and I have gone from a stage weight of 128 lbs to 24 lbs ABOVE my pre-comp prep weight. Yes, the math is a 64 pound weight gain. I am back to where I was after the birth of my second child. Tina said that I didn't have to show my body in the pictures but this is part of my journey. It's real talk. Real show and tell. You can see me throughout my journey: post-baby #2, pre-comp, comp prep, comp day, and this summer. I'm not going to hide anymore.
I switched coaches within a week after my comp in an attempt to get some support on the mental side of competing. My first coach taught me about the physical dedication that it takes to get to stage. The coach I switched to after my comp really cared about getting my head in the right place. And yet I wanted to do things MY way. I wanted to prove that I could get into shape and be HEALTHY using spirituality as a basis for the decisions I make about my body. (That doesn't mean not working with a coach or following a meal plan, but it does mean a completely different mindset to doing so!) It means awareness. I don't ever want to count green beans again. I don't want to be afraid again either. And yet my head still wasn't in the right spot.
Raima and Tina both pointed out that when you hide in the darkness, you give away your power . Today I AM TAKING MINE BACK.
While I had some very valid reasons for not making it to the gym as much, there are also lots of bad excuses too. I imagine some of you will recognize them: I'm tired. I already walked the dogs. Three times. I'm sore. The kids have scouts (or swim lessons or horseback riding lessons or basketball or soccer or church youth group or…) The lawn needs mowing. The laundry needs folding… oh look! I have more lives on candy crush. And five notifications on Facebook. I DESERVE a break.
Not working out was bad but the way I have been eating was even worse. I tried to stay on a meal plan of some kind for about nine months after my competition, but the weight kept coming on. (What I was seeking was not even definable at that point.) Eventually I wondered if it mattered anyway and I ate anything I wanted. (There is a mind game for you! For the record, it DOES matter.) I was also tired of eating so much meat, and went to a vegetarian diet. (I'm glad I did this, and it is the right answer for me even now, although it flies in the face of convention for most competitors.)
So I'm going to lay it out in front of you now. Raw. Vulnerable. We all have our reasons for competing, and I was looking for something. My first competition left me COMPLETELY disillusioned. I definitely didn't find IT. What was my "it"? Acceptance. I wanted to feel like I was part of a TEAM. I wanted to feel BEAUTIFUL. I wanted to feel ACCEPTED by others and by me. With the exceptions of this new crazy friend I met named Tina, and two friends who came to watch me compete, and one woman back stage that prayed with me, I felt very little of that. (In hindsight, I should've been very focused on those four people that day…)
Over the past year, I have been on the spiritual path to figure out how to get that sense of acceptance. How do you step out of the darkness (of being alone, of not being good enough…) and into the light?
The timing of my tea with Tina and Raima could not of been more perfect. Divinely inspired, even? 😊 (Tina and I attempt to have coffee or tea every week, and only see each other every 2 to 3 months... Lol) God is good! When I told them that I was thinking of leaving even the Facebook page, they both insisted that I don't. Tina asked me to write this blog. (Although it is so long she might be regretting it about now! LOL) Our conversation wandered all over the place from eating and how we felt about it, and Center Stage and the amazing group of people Tina and Eric have pulled together, to family and friends and marriages and worry for those sick and, well, LIFE.
Accepted by friends. Who are also from the competition world.
Accepted by myself. Here telling you that I weigh 192 pounds, two years post-comp, and that most of it isn't muscle. And I'm going to jump back in because health is that important! It starts now. And it is in sharing this story that I understand my own imperative.
Accepted by God. Always. No matter what I look like or what I weigh. (Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Love your neighbor as sincerely and ardently as you love you. That implies you need to love yourself too!)
No more hiding for me! Maybe it took gaining 64 pounds (and ADMITTING IT) to finally realize feeling acceptance comes from INSIDE. To realize that friends are friends regardless of whether you're at stage weight or not. To realize that becoming vulnerable can create connections with others too. Perhaps none of us are as alone as we imagine ourselves to be. Finally, to realize that it took being okay with where I'm at to come out of the darkness, so that I can start back on the path of health and fitness that I'm meant to be on!
Perhaps it's time to start blogging again because my fitness journey is on…. It never really stopped. The world is full of light. I've got friends who love me and God has got my back. Bring it!
Raima and my advice to Amy -
I'm glad you were able to get this out of your system. :)
I encourage you to look at your weight as relative to a reasonably healthy goal (such as 150 lbs or XX% BF) as opposed to your stage weight which was not healthy and representative of being too lean and having lost a significant amount of muscle. Related to this, I enourage you to make your journey to a healthier you be about lifestyle vs. competing. You should spend some time (3-6 months?) at your goal weight/BF% so you know what it feels like to be grounded. Once you are there, then you can think about competing. Just my opinion...
In any case, I hope that you continue to feel empowered, encouraged, and as part of the team.
Mama "T" and Raima