There are the foods we enjoy eating: cake, donuts, ice cream, Dominos (late night only because when else does it ever taste that good?), anything on a food truck, covered in cheese, all of the food we see here on Spoon. Then there are foods we need to eat to nourish our bodies, typically not shown on all of those #foodporn Instagram accounts. Maintaining a balance between the two can often be challenging and frustrating.
Before I started to train for my first bikini competition (which is in June), I had a love hate relationship with food. I thought eating “clean” would help me achieve the body I wanted, which I associated with happiness. I turned down many meals with friends and family; I sat there wishing I could eat ice cream or order that fun, fruity, calorie filled drink while all my friends did. I genuinely cannot remember the last time I went out to dinner and got what I actually wanted to eat instead of what I thought I should have gotten to eat. I constantly thought of food as the enemy, and my life was controlled by food. I was never satisfied because I was always saying no the things I really wanted, and in the rare moments that I did eat it, I would feel that I would have to work out until I burned it off.
In reality, I was moody and frustrated because I was not nourishing my body with the right amount, portions, or meals of food daily. Therefore, all of the hard work I would put in at the gym did not matter because I was not treating my body right, whether I thought I was eating “healthy” or not. I was not seeing the results I wanted, and I correlated that with the food I was eating. Don’t get me wrong, I ate as healthy as I thought I needed to, but what I didn’t understand is that to look the way I wanted to was a whole different ball game than just eating healthy and working out.
Throughout my experience training, I have learned that it is literally about manipulating your meals, cardio, and workouts to see an end result for one day… ONE DAY. I thought that competing in a bikini competition would make me happy, and it has, even if all of my hard work is for such a short amount of time. But it has made me happy for reasons I never thought it would. Here I am thinking all along food was the enemy, but I was looking at it all wrong. As the weeks go by on my 16 week prep (yes that is 117 days on a diet and roughly one third of a year) I have found a deep appreciation for those foods I would have considered “bad” before.
Food is more than just nourishing your body. Food is happiness. Sugary, fried, unhealthy food feeds your soul. Food is going to dinner with friends and getting the burger with fried pickles and some crazy sauce on it (and yes, you should get the hot fudge sundae after). Food is a date, a work function, catching up with an old friend, and going to a party. Food is a girls night with wine and snacks for dinner because why not? It genuinely makes me sad when I walk by a dessert I cannot have right now because I have spent so long saying no to it before I started on my diet. So, why spend life saying no all of the time? If you want that cake, eat it. Why shouldn’t you? It’s what you want in that moment.
I say no to it now because I have a goal of going on stage in June at my first bikini competition and attempting to slay. But all of those other times when I was not on prep, why did I say no? I like to think that now I have found a balance in my life; I know the extreme of being unhappy with my body, and I know the extreme diet that comes with reaching the “best” version of myself. The best version of myself, however, is not the body I am working for. It is finding peace with myself. It is saying yes to the amazing food that should be enjoyed. It is saying yes to the experiences that come along with it.
I could not have done any of it on my own; my coaches Austin Heckman and WBFF Pro Alyson Webster are owners of Finale Fitness, which I joined in December. Without their guidance I could not have achieved the body I have now or will have for that one day in June.
I am happy that I have found love and peace within myself and my body, and I am happy that I have found a passion through nutrition and fitness. But I am also happy that I have learned to let loose and enjoy myself when needed because honestly, we all need it. I’ve finally found the perfect balance, and I cannot wait to compete this June and dive into my own large prosciutto, basil, tomato, and mozzarella pizza immediately after with my two favorite guys, Ben & Jerry.