While we were in KW, I decided it was time to do my first ever "real life" photo shoot. If you follow me, you know it's been over 3 years since I've stepped on stage, in that 3+ years I've suffered numerous health issues as well as injuries. I struggled with my weight as I had to take many weeks and months off from training and finally find the right nutrition strategy for my body that my GI system can take. One that allows me to feel good physically and mentally. I've also had to significantly modify my training due to my busy schedule and my injuries. In fact, I don't even belong to a gym anymore! My garage, or as Eric calls is, Peratino's House of Hurt, is my gym now for my 4-5 day p/week 30 min interval training sessions. Yup, that's all I do. 30 min, 4-5 times p/week...and at 4:30 am no less. My diet consists of approximately 2400 calories p/day filled mostly with moderate proteins, high (good) fats, and low to moderate carbs. I take absolutely no supplements. I don't eat before I train. I don't follow anything that some would believe is "ideal"; but I do what works for me and makes me feel good. I eat "intuitively" and practice intermittent fasting, not because that's ACTUALLY what I'm trying to do, but more because I only eat when I'm hungry. There are some mornings I don't get my first meal until 10:00 am; and that's usually after getting up at 7:00 am. Now, this is usually only happening on the weekends, my weekdays are far more regular since I'm up earlier, but my point is, I listen to my body. I don't always eat every 2-4 hours, but mostly I do. It all depends on my schedule and what my body wants. Oh, and did I mention I most certainly partake in adult libations? I love my vodka and wine (no, not together), but yes, I partake.
So what's my point in all of this? Well it took me such a long time to get here after suffering the consequences of so many years competing; it was just really rough on my mind, body and soul. I am FINALLY in a place where I am 100% happy in my skin (ok, maybe like 95%); but really I am happy. My clothes fit (I wear a 0) and I no longer care about any number on the scale. In fact, this weekend, I was able to wear a pair of shorts that I wore for a photo shoot in 2012! It's the little things! So, again, to my point. I have struggled for years with body image as so many do when they leave the stage (or even while still on it). I forgot what "normal" was for so long. While I was competing, you wouldn't catch me doing a photo shoot when I wasn't in competition shape. I decided, this weekend, after all my years of struggling, that it was time to do a "real life" photo shoot. I wanted to show not only myself, but other women that it's OK to NOT be in competition shape and still be (and feel) strong, fit and sexy. So I took the plunge and did it. At first, I wasn't sure I loved the pics because for a moment, my mind went to my last competition photo shoot and these pics were most certainly NOT them. Then I remembered quickly why I had done this, where I am currently in my life and how I really feel about myself...which is pretty damn good.
So I wanted to take this moment to share some of myself with you. To share with you that I feel good in my "normal life" body and wish desperately for all women to feel the same. Our news feeds are always full of hot hard bodied photo shoots, but rarely you find the real life ones..at least not from fitness competitors. Ladies, please remember that a competition body is NOT your ideal body or your ideal body weight. It is intended to be captured for a moment on the stage and not be your forever skin that you live in. Competing shouldn't be your life, and neither should your competition body. If I have to always be 5-10 lbs over what someone else might call ideal, I'm ok with that because that 5-10 lbs is my real life. Could I be leaner if I wanted to be? Sure I could. Do I want to give up the fun I have in my life for it? Absolutely not, at least not now. I will leave you with a few shots from this weekend. Here I am, in my real life body. I'm 4'11.5", 120-123 lbs (121 in these pics), 42 years old with 1 child and 20 years of lifting under my belt. I eat potato chips and drink wine (in fact, I had 3 glasses of wine the night before this shoot). Live your life ladies. Your body doesn't define who you are or how you should feel about yourself. This is real life.