- I’m too small.
- I won’t get lean enough.
- I’m too busy and can’t practice enough.
- I don’t have a routine yet, so I haven’t been practicing that, either.
- I don’t know where I put my posing suit.
- Maybe I should just skip this year, too?
- I lost my pecs.
- My right calf is too small.
- Tanning, makeup?? Where IS my suit???
- I’m 53. Guys in their 40’s are talking about being old – and I’m just starting?? What the hell am I thinking? No one is going to take me seriously. I’m a joke.
- I am a wife. I have a demanding job – people depend on me. I don’t have time for this! What the hell am I thinking?
And all of this happened while I was on a diet break. Five days this week of eating at maintenance – which means I increased my food intake just enough to maintain my weight. Gave my body a break from the stress of dieting. And it is stressful. Body is basically chewing up it’s own reserves to keep functioning. When in a caloric deficit over time, brain doesn’t have enough energy to handle stress well – which is why dieters can be so much fun to be around!
I think the diet break was stressful for me because I’m feeling the time crunch now. 7 weeks. Less than 2 months. It’s already a stressful time because I’m finishing up a school year in a new building. I can’t bring work home. Training, resting, food prep, and life just doesn’t allow for that anymore. But there are piles of things to grade, final exams to write, study guides to write, lesson plans for kids who don’t want to work – classroom management is hard right now. Most of my students are seniors. They are excited and stressed about graduating and making the transition to adulthood. So I’m picking up on all the anxiety around me trying to not let it add to my own anxiety about getting everything done.
During this diet break, I maintained my scale weight better than I have on previous breaks. I kept the calories under my burn because the BodyBugg I wear is probably over-reporting the burn right now. I’m smaller so it takes less energy to move my mass through space. Processes adapt over time to use fewer calories when in a deficit situation. On the first day of the diet break, I noticed I wasn’t as tired at the end of the day. That’s a big clue that I needed to take the break, huh? I was ready for it, but I only wanted to do two days. When Coach said to do five days, I was surprised.
I was also surprised at how emotionally tough it was to eat more for those five days. I didn’t have this reaction to diet breaks before. It’s just my Bodybuilder Brain. I was happy to get back on the diet yesterday. I missed Hungry. Hungry = Progress. It’s not comfortable, true. It sucks some days, actually. But it’s necessary and it means I’m moving forward instead of standing still in my prep.
Now, I’m hungry again. So I’m happy. Moving forward and excited to be back on the ‘growling tummy grind’. Today. Let’ revisit that “happy to be hungry” BS in a week, shall we? Hahahaha!
Bodybuilder Brain also needs to be managed. It’s normal, but it cannot be allowed to run amok because one of my goals for this prep was to enjoy it. There are some things I can do to stay calm and centered.
1) Keep involvement with social media to a minimum. I do better if I focus on what I need to do and avoid looking at what others are doing. We’ve talked about that before over on the FB page. My “teacher voice” starts screaming when I see some of the things I see. (I’m going to refer those kids to the office for dress code violations.)
2) Go outside. Often.
3) Read more.
4) Sleep more.
5) Get caught up at work and ride the year out with as little effort as possible.
6) Find my suit!
7) Just keep grinding. Embrace the suck. I like it. I like the self-discipline. I like delayed gratification.
8) Keep perspective – yeah, sure, I’m getting on stage to be judged. Risking public humiliation, intorvert’s nightmare… yada, yada, yada. But it’s actually easier than you would imagine. It’s mostly just fun. The audiences at these shows are bodybuilding fans. They either know what it’s like to do it, wish they could do it, are family and friends of competitors, etc. I get more stressed thinking about the travel, the makeup, the tanning – all of that stuff. Stage is fun.
9) Blog more. It takes time, but writing helps me process my thoughts and emotions. I’ve been using it that way for the last five years. This prep is different than the last two. It’s been fun, for the most part. Life has been nuts for the last year, so the structure of this prep and working with this coach have helped me stay sane. However, these last 7 weeks could be…interesting.