This is something I believe in fully. It’s true for so many aspects of your life. You can’t go to a specific college to make your parents happy or have a specific course of study. You can’t lose weight to get someone to notice you. You also need to search hard and find what makes your happy. For me, it’s lifting and setting goals. I like challenging myself because as I said in my last post, I don’t trust that others will challenge me enough. The problem then becomes how high is the standard. Am I setting my own bar too high?
We’re going to debrief, briefly what’s going on in my head so you can better understand what has led up to this week because what you believe you derive from social media isn’t ever the full story.
- April 30th – Competed in the Jay Cutler Classic
- May 2nd – Started reverse dieting
- May 25th – Found out my apartment was being foreclose on and I was being evicted and the last meal before surgery
- May 26th – Abdominoplasty for excess skin removal and dropped macros to meet daily intake with little movement
- June 9th – First day back in the gym
- June 13th – First day back to work
- June 17th – Finalized papers for a new apartment
- June 20th – Started work travel
- June 29th – All day work retreat
- June 29th to July 2nd – Moving into the new apartment
- August 1st – First day of competition prep and work travel ramps up
- August 29th – JP put in his notice at work
- September 9th – JP moved home
It really is a bunch of dates, but let’s just look at them a little closer.
The Cutler was amazing and I had started reversing my diet afterwards with the help of my trainer/coach at the time. A red flag should’ve been the lack of communication on show day, but honestly, it wasn’t my first show and I knew I had a lot on my plate so I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it. The second red flag should’ve been when I couldn’t determine the method to my reverse – how do we determine how many calories or grams are added based on movement? I asked questions and didn’t get answers. The third red flag and I think this is kind of where I started having some slight issues with food this summer, which has caused me to be VERY FLEXIBLE in my daily consumption, much more than I actually was in the spring prep – the last meal before surgery.
My surgery was a half day out-patient surgery. It started at 7 am, no food or drink from midnight until surgery. We finished at noonish, and I wasn’t released until after 1 pm because of nausea, very common. My first meal on surgery day was 1/4 cup of oats with 1T of protein peanut butter around 4 pm. I know this because I wrote it down for JP so he would know what to feed me. The first 16 hours of the day I had nothing in my system.
“The last meal” was going to be guilt-free because I knew my macros were going to be lower and with surgery I wasn’t going to be consuming much the first day or two. I had checked in with my trainer/coach at the time because I trusted her enough to help me through a surgical recovery, but her response to me saying that I was getting a burger and a cupcake was not what I expected. It went something like, “Do you have to have the bun?” I then reminded her that I was having surgery the next day and wouldn’t be eating. The response was “I guess that’s okay.” It wasn’t me putting the restriction or the guideline on the food, but it was an external person that I trusted. You can’t fully blame someone else, I still ate it, but those words definitely stuck with me all summer.
After surgery and clearance to go back to the gym, which I was thrilled about because I was on bed rest and stuck inside for so long, we reversed me again. But again, no method and I had to ask for larger increases in nutrition. We also never had the talk about what maintaining actually means. It’s not just the same number on the scale being reflected. It can mean a 1-3 pounds fluctuation on the scale, but your clothes fit the same. I know that stage weight isn’t a year round weight, but we never did anything to even push me into maintenance that would’ve brought me to a weight just above stage. So at the end of the day I usually sit at about 130 to 131 after all food and water is consumed. My stage weight per-surgery was 130.0 and they removed 1.6 pounds of skin.Before I started prep in August, I was still sitting at a weight that could be considered my stage weight. Now, I’m 5’4″ and it wouldn’t be unheard of for 126 to 129 to be a normal weight for me anyway and I wasn’t as lean as many of the others on the stage beside me, except my body fat percentage is pretty damn lean too.But we never had this conversation to mentally get me ready. It’s been a constant pep talk with myself, which I also believe everyone should have. We need to be a cheerleader for ourselves.
There were definitely days I had gone over my macros, but if wasn’t going to impact the reverse much I wasn’t super concerned. For the most part I hit them pretty spot on, but I noticed that I was getting much more flexible. I don’t mean my cupcaking once a week, I mean in my thinking and execution. I noticed I was taking in a less balanced ratio of veggies to cookies, but my body wasn’t having a issue with maintaining so I didn’t really care. I can joke about sugar cookie gains all I want – those cookies are an experience. I believe food should be an experience. Things that are home made are made with love and can be unique. But I was looking for more than an experience, it was satisfying something else.
As different events happened throughout the summer, I noticed myself staying flexible, but getting slightly frustrated – I didn’t have anything to prep for, but yet the structure on my nutrition made me a little concerned.
In August when I started prep, I knew I was going to have to create a deficit with nutrition and exercise, not realizing how much deeper in a deficit I would need to be because of my leanness already. Again, very typical. It’s harder to lose when there’s less to lose. This sport is my safe haven because of the structure because I can control it. But slowly as August progressed and I was seeing slight changes, I saw other stressors around me increase and ultimately put pressure on this. I started to feel like because prep is something I can control, that it needed to be perfect. The truth is unless I’m going to make myself get in the top 5, this shit isn’t going to be perfect. Even those who place high could alter something in their plan for the next time. During weeks 4, 5 and 6 I found myself talking to JP about if I should compete at all – it’s costly, it’s timely, I’m tired. But he wanted to support me because he knows I love it.
I think what I was looking for was validation that it’s okay to back off sometimes. That sometimes you need to listen to your body. I think he thinks I was genuinely concerned about cost and trust me I am, but it was and is more about someone else saying “Cristina, take a break, this won’t make you a failure.” And as I type those words at 5:52 am on 3 and half hours of sleep, I’m tearing up. Because I so badly want to believe that I am not a failure. Not just with this, but with other aspects of my life. There are days I’m just like “wow, I’m a bad adult” not that anyone isn’t allowed to have a bad day or not get it right, but some days I just think I need nap time.
So this brings me to this week.
It’s been a lot and it’s been building up. Wednesday I listened to JP be high and excited that we got so much down and in a 5 minute phone call he was very low and canceling our afternoon plans to the mall as we were on our way to the mall. I don’t think he fully grasps how this impacted me even though we’ve talked about it. He’s down and he dragged me with him. Twenty minutes later he changed his mind and since the mall was in the same direction anyway, we navigated there. The whole time my mind was racing – just like last night. A list of a million things and not one being fully committed to or concentration on. I kept coming to this thought:
I can’t compete this season, my heart and head aren’t working together. They’re working against each other.
When we got to the mall, we walked over to a cupcake shop – of course I know where it is. I got out my wallet, asked the woman which one she recommended. I looked at JP asked if he wanted to split two and he picked one out as well. I paid and we sat down. We cut them in half and traded, we’re predictable. I bit into my cupcake and started crying. My voice broke and I told him I couldn’t compete. I told him that it’s more than stretching my wallet thin. I said, “my heart loves this and right now my head is telling me to cut the shit and sit down.” I said between work and the move and surgery and then prep, I’m exhausted. I said “16 weeks isn’t a long time you know.” He looked at me and said “I guess we’re going over macros with these then.”
That started what I would call a binge. While there were planned meals like 4 ounces of chicken breast for the car ride home and ground turkey for the airport. Date night was burgers and fries at the place we had our first date. I ate the bun and had a beer. Ate all the fries. My belly wasn’t super full – it was content, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a binge. Remember new body, new person. What makes me feel worse is that I fought Tuesday so hard and had a plan. I talked on the phone to a friend and that helped a lot. But Wednesday and Thursday straight mindless binging. Even Thursday I plugged everything in a it didn’t look so bad as far as the overage – I want to say 10F over and 70C over my cutting carbs, that was when I was figuring out things before I left the office. My dinner and dessert were already plugged in. But then I got home. I changed. I was just talking to JP while he was doing the dishes and I walked into the pantry. I had a biscotti here, a cookie there. Walked to the fridge, had a yogurt there and some green pepper. There wasn’t a method to what I was reaching for.
He asked me if this was binging. I said this is binging for new Cristina and I need to get my shit together.
Ultimately, between Wednesday and Thursday I consumed about 7,000 calories. I know some people are like it could be worse and to you good sir, fuck you. On Tuesday I posted about what old Cristina would consume in a day and the base was pretty high, imagine what a binge looked like. So yeah, maybe a binge now looks like a base of what I was consuming before, but that doesn’t make it any less of a problem just because it’s less food. It’s the action that’s a problem. It’s the stress and events that trigger actions like binges and panic attacks. It’s words like “I might as well just leave and go back” after you’ve had the conversation of the fear of being left that triggers your anxiety.
So I’ve been in and out of panic attacks since Wednesday and I couldn’t even fully come clean to Alicia, which made me feel like garbage because if anyone knows stress and anxiety and triggers and me, it’s that girl. I texted her yesterday in the middle of the day about said I wasn’t competing and explained why. She said she supported it because there’s a lot going on and we all need a break. There’s that phrase.
So I have my meals with me for the day. They made it through TSA.
- Breakfast – 1/2 cup of oats with 1T of brownie batter almond butter and 1/2 scoop chocolate protein
- Lunch – 4 ounces of chicken breast + 220g of yellow squash
- Dinner – 4 ounce of 93/7 ground turkey + 2T of medium salsa, mushrooms and peppers and avocado verde (my dinner meeting is over a drink, not actual dinner)
I have a new to me protein bar for during the day and I have located a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods if I need other veggies or yogurt. I still have half a L and L cookie plugged in for dessert.
Today’s plan may not even make it to the gym, but I am going to walk around the city and also get some work done in the hotel room. Today’s plan is to stick to my macros because I do want to keep cutting and seeing how my body responds as I try to lessen the stress around me that I can control because cortisol is a bitch and impacts losses even when you’re 100% on point. I think taking out the stress of the actual competition that I was putting on myself will give me an idea of how this as a test case is for me. I want to reverse properly after. A friend asked why I wouldn’t just reverse now: the past few weeks (aside from this week) were great with food and exercise, but my stress levels were so high I think it truly impacted me. I want to see how I am without the added stress.
Today’s Instagram will be a day of eating with macros shown at the end. This post won’t go live until noonish, I’m scheduling it right now, so you’ll already see a few food posts before then.
We all have fuck ups or what we consider to be fuck ups. We all put pressure on ourselves and that combined with pressure around us doesn’t also result in a diamond, sometimes you just combust into a powder. Something has to give and we have to not dwell on it or beat ourselves up over it. Bad things happen and we need to examine why and then move on.
This is prep series is going to continue because I’m continuing the cut, but it’s going to be a little looser and I’m going to look at finding my happiness again within the sport. I’m going to work on my balance of love of food and experimenting in the kitchen with the understanding of food as fuel because it is. I say it is all the time, but I need to truly mean it and believe it. Without it we don’t survive and with too much it consumes you.