Lately I have been getting the question “When are you competing again?” especially when I attended the L.A. Fit Expo. With some I have avoided answering them or have given a generic answer. The answer to that question is NO. It took a lot for me to write this blog, especially because it is very personal. The reason why I decided to be open about this is because I know there are many girls out there like me that have gone through the same things. They are just too scared and embarrassed to talk about it. I know they feel alone because I did and felt so lost. I wanted to speak out about it because I know I am a role model to others and I don’t want to say that everything I did in my competitive career was easy. I am at a better place now so I feel open to talk about it.
When I got into my fitness lifestyle I just wanted to be healthy and get into the best shape of my life. I really didn’t even know anything about the fitness industry . I just remember seeing the fitness models in the magazines and thought ” Man I would love to look like that”. Having a pageant background I figured hey this is perfect for me I love working out , getting dolled up and getting on stage.I didn’t really know about health issues that may occur. Even if someone brought it to my attention I kind of blew it off and figured they were just jealous because I was actually doing it instead of talking about it. I trained for 13 weeks for my first show and carb depleted 6 weeks out so I was one hungry girl. Rawrrrr . lol… After my competition I remember I pigged out like crazy but hey who didn’t right? I was in absolute carb coma! I remember for about 4-6 weeks I couldn’t stop eating and eventually I put the weight I lost back on. Luckily I wasn’t too heavy before because I was already eating clean and working out so I just looked “normal”. I didn’t think anything about that at all. I just figured since I ate so strict it was ok and normal to go crazy and go to every restaurant. This is a habit I picked up after every show! (like many do) After I would eat bad, I always felt like crap and I thought gosh this is not healthy. The reason why I wanted to get into fitness was to be healthy and here I am wanting bad food like crazy and eating like I have never eaten in my life. At that time I never thought anything of this and I didn’t think it was an issue. I thought I just needed to get it together and get back on track.
I loved the feeling of being on stage and for my first show I did pretty well that I was hooked. I figured I can keep on doing this. If I continue to compete, I will always be in shape. I will just always eat super healthy and strict. I decided to continue to compete and at my 3rd show I had become an IFBB Bikini Pro. I was on cloud 9! It felt amazing to say I was a pro.
In the two years that I competed as a pro the longest “off season” I had was one month. Out of 9 shows, that is not good for you at all especially doing so much cardio and being in a caloric deficit! The first year as a pro I didn’t care and didn’t think anything could happen to me. I just wanted to get that Olympia qualification and Arnold invite. I would have done even more shows if I had to to get it.
Before I went on to my second year of competing as a pro, I experienced my first rebound experience oh and the binging was happening again. This is also when I started having insecurity issues with my image. I felt so embarassed because I had gained weight. I started having a bigger following and women that looked up to me so I felt a little more pressure to be super lean. When your in an industry where you get judged on your physical appearance including body fat, you feel a little more pressure to look a certain way. I put on more weight this time and went into a 12 week prep heavier. If I would have known better I would have taken a break. But the truth is I didn’t. I received my invite to the inaugural Bikini International and who wouldn’t want to do that? Well this was the first prep that I felt so physically tired from the beginning to the end. It was harder for me to lose the weight and to stay motivated. My heart was not in it like it was for the other shows. The rest of the year was up and down for me. I had so much going on that year that I was physically and mentally stressed. I moved twice, restarted my business, traveled almost every week, on top of that, strictly dieting and overloading on cardio. I didn’t realize stress could affect me so much.
After my last show, which was the Bikini Olympia 2011, I had my wedding, honeymoon and just needed a break. In other words not dieting or working out more than two hours a day. I rebounded even worse than the last time. I was such an emotional mess because of the way I looked. It was a drastic change. I didn’t even want to leave the house. I thought people would talk about my weight gain(which in the industry THEY DO!). I felt so heavy and so tired. I switched gyms because I didn’t want people to talk about the super fit bikini girl that turned fat. I didn’t even have motivation to go to work. None of my clothes fit except my black stretchy pants. I refused to buy new clothes because I didn’t want to accept that I had gained the weight. I told myself ” No! I will get back on track and start doing more cardio”. That didn’t work either! By this point I started wishing I had never competed. I deleted my Facebook because I didn’t want to hear about who was training and dieting for whatever show because majority of my friends on it compete.
I had to figure out what was wrong with me. After talking to a few friends that had experienced the same things as me, I finally went to see a homeopathic doctor. Well just like many other figure and bikini competitors I had metabolic damage and my hormones were all out of wack. I thought ” how did I get myself into this mess and what am I going to do to fix it?”.
So what did I do? I got a lot of support from a lot of people. I slept more. I took time off from the gym. I stopped doing cardio and strength training for a little while to let my body rest and reset. For my sanity I did yoga. I ate healthy but I didn’t deprive myself. If I wanted a treat meal, I had a treat meal. I took a break from stimulants. I was drinking too much coffee and too many fat burners. I also gave myself a lot of time. I am still giving myself time. I have lost majority of the weight but I am not so worried about it anymore. I know that it will come and I am no longer in a hurry. When you decide to not stress about it your body will respond better. I have accepted myself any size shape or form. For simply being, we are all beautiful. I finally got to a point where I enjoy working out and love eating healthy again. I don’t get unhealthy cravings all the time and when I do I allow myself to have treats in moderation.
I didn’t write this blog to bash anybody that competes because I respect many women that do. If It wasn’t for competing I wouldn’t be where I am today. It has allowed me to have a platform to continue to motivate others. You don’t have to compete to inspire others though. This doesn’t happen to everyone but it does happen to many. If your going through the same thing please for the sake of your health take a break! Your body will love you for it. Also If your body can’t get lean enough in a certain prep time to where you have to do hours of cardio or crash diet, give yourself more time. Competitions will always be there.
Here are some great people to follow as well if your going through the same things:
Scott Abel- I recommend reading his Ebook on metabolic damage.
Danny J- She inspired me to write my blog. She has posted helpful YouTube videos and blogs about this subject.
Tana Gabrielle- she always posts great info on her Facebook page about these issues.
Tagged: bodybuilding, bodydismorphia, eatingdisorders, extremedieting, metabolicdamage, postcompetitionrebound
Wow…that was a great story! Just Great…it made me feel normal. Healthy mentaly and physically is best.
Thank you so much! It truly means so much to me!
All I can say is wow! Thank you for being so open and honest, I know it isn’t an easy thing to do. You’re a true inspiration for Women all over the world, and I have a lot of respect for you for keeping it real while most would shy away from this. Wishing you all the best. xxx
It definitely was not easy. It took me two weeks to finally finish and post this blog lol!
You could be my twin!!!! I’m not one to usually write to strangers who I’ve never formally met, but this confession compelled me. I too feel the same way. I was looking into competing in may, but after seeing the drastic measures that competitors take to look good for one weekend is not worth it – at all. I’m a personal trainer, blogger, I have a fitness page with a huge following and I live by being healthy. In high school I struggled with eating disorders – restrictive, binging, emotional eating, mindless eating, taking diuretics and fat burners. I was a mess! As of today I’m kind of in the same boat as you were. I backed out of my competition, and the day I decided to I began eating junk. I have the mentality “it doesn’t matter anymore, know ones going to see me on stage.” Thank you for sharing!!!!!
I don’ t even know you…but I can tell you I have enormous respect for what I just read!
Well said Shel! I hope many people take in the advice your giving. Your body comes first, and ya gotta listen to it. But I must say gaining weight and learning to buy bigger clothes was really hard for me, especially when I was in really good shape from all the sports i was in. Continue to inspire! You are a great role model, and YOU are a natural beauty! Love you!
Ray thank you so much! I love you so much! Yeah I only bought 1 pair of jeans though lol! Because I knew I wouldn’t be like that forever. You are my little broheem xoxoxo love you
Thank you so much for opening up and sharing this.
I am also a bikini competitor and I have been going through the same thing, but I have been too scared to tell any body. People keep asking me when I am going to compete, and I don’t know how to answer.
I used to like competing because it would give me a temporary ego boost. Then I would gain so much weight from metabolic damage, and was so embarassed (especially since so many people looked up to me).
Now, personally, I don’t see the point of competing any more. I don’t need other people’s approval to feel validated. I am now happy with myself, and I can eat normal 🙂
I am so glad happy for you! 😉
Thank you so much for your sweet words!
YOur wonderful. Thanks. Always be true to yourself.
I love that you expressed everything in words that most, like me, can’t even begin to describe to themselves- inside their heads even. This blog entry has really opened my eyes and I thank you for that. We all have time, and”Competitions will always be there.” This is more true than most can imagine! =] Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!
Yeah definitely hard! But honesty is the best policy;)
Thank you for sharing this, you’re a strong honest lady!!
Thank you for writing and posting this ❤
I wrote a very similar blog about 10 months ago. Unfortunately I went through this same exact thing. Thanks for sharing your story.
I respect you even so much more know! You are a true inspiration to be so honest and open like this.. Thank you!
What is most important, is that YOU are healthy and happy. The bikini bodies, they come and go. An honest, true professional gains and maintains fans forever. Good luck to you and I will follow you. You’re the kind of roll model that all women, young and not-so-young, need. You’re the real deal.
Thank you so much for posting this. I have many of the same issues and have been searching for the right answers.
Fantastic blog! I’m grateful for the “warning signs” from current and former competitors so I know not to follow the same path. I plan on doing 1 competition and done. And even if I get hooked to do more, I wouldn’t plan on doing more than 1 a year. I almost equate it to training for a marathon. There are people out there that will do many races in one year but I know for myself I could never do that nor would I want to. I see it as something you take your time prepping for. I’m in no hurry. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and educating others!!
I had a similar experience but only competed once before my thyroid gave out… I was VERY lucky to find Scott Abel. What a wonderful coach he has helped/guided me to love myself no matter what size I am and happy to say I have not seen a scale in over a year. Please anyone out there going through this you should really check him out. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂
What a great read…. Went through same stuff as a bikini competitor and with help of others eventually got through it. Danny j was such a big help to me. In fact I found my nutritionist through her ( Ruben Sandoval of Fit To Be In Your Kitchen. ) I’m 90% where I want to be= balanced and healthy and at peace with my body – and gravity lol. i got there eating food! imagine that! im sooooo happy you found peace chica and give u ” props” for paying it forward. I know you will continue to inspire others! Xoxo
Have you used him for contest prep yet? He’s good for general weight loss, but would never use him again for contest prep (& I’m not the only one of his ex-clients who compete that agree). I did for a couple shows and had rebound hell/met damage. Double days, sometimes triple. No thanks. Took a long time to dig myself out of that depressing time after my last show! Erik with Lean Bodies Consulting is a pro at healing damaged metabolisms and doing contest prep without crazy amounts of cardio (minimal, some barely any!). He’s not the happy rainbows and roses Ruben is, but a straight shooter who will throw at you what you need to hear; like it or not. Good luck, maybe his ways have changed.
I second the endorsement of Erik at LBC. His programming is intelligent. Rare in the industry that’s for sure.
Thank you for sharing your story. I think more and more of us who have competed have experienced metabolic damage and are to embarrased to admit that we hurt our bodies -I know I was! Competing is an ‘adicition’, and unfortuantely can be unhealthy. Good for you for turning your physical and emotional body around! Again, thank you for being so honest 🙂
I absolutely love it this post!
I love your honesty and I can relate to it 100 percent.
Best of luck on your new healthy life
Wow! This is really incredibly honest and refreshing to hear. I am so grateful that my coach and trainer are proponents of doing much less extreme contest prep! (I am less than 3 weeks out, have done cardio, and am still on 175 g of carbs a day.) I did my first show all on my own, and followed the standard low carb, cardio intense procedure that seems to be de rigeur… it was horrendous. I started passing out a few days in.
You should definitely spread your message about having a healthy and balanced lifestyle! It seems that so few women in fitness actually do!
Thank you so much for sharing this! I used to want to compete, but I know now that I love my body too much to deplete that much. Plus, I have struggled with binge eating as it is, and knowing me, it is such a good thing I never decided to compete. Thank you so much for your honesty 🙂
Oh my goodness I am bawling my eyes out hanging on every word you said I’m so glad that it’s not just me that feels this way and I hope that I will be able to be comfortable being a normal girl at a normal bodyweight
I’ve gone through this as well. You are definitely not alone, and I’m glad you shared your story bc so many people have no clue what we as competitors go through or the toll it takes on our bodies.
thanks for sharing I enjoyed seeing you compeat your smile could melt an iceberg.
Thank you, sincerely, for such an honest and personal blog. So many need to hear this message.
You are so beautiful- I follow your facebook page, and you have inspired me so much. I did one competition, and felt exactly the same way you described and always felt like I needed more control. Thank you for being real, and showing your Shelsea swagga! Your new business is far more inspiring (if my penny counts) and I give you huge kuddos (and hugs if I could!) for putting your heart out there. You are the definition of true beauty. As I said, anyone can starve themselves and spend 3-hours doing cardio a day…but who the hell wants to leave their mark on this world doing that? You have so much more to give!!!!
G-d bless you . There are no words. I am a Group X instructor and Personal Trainer, I am going to see a homeopath next week for this VERY reason. I need help and I am in pain. I’m going to get it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. xo. Also, you are gorgeous. And I BET, you will be MORE appealing to most folks at a normal weight, because your inner beauty will shine.. not your inner ” I gotta be leaner, better.. ahhhhhh”. Thank you , thank you, thank you.
Great blog Shels! I have definitely felt this way too. Keep up the great work with the R&R, feels great huh? Thanks for sharing! 🙂 xoxo
I am so happy more women that were competing are coming out about this, I have never competed but I trained like I was going for one, I lost so much weight carb depleted for a VERY long time, and lost my period for almost 2 years, I ended up having to see a nutritionist, therapist because the anxiety of eating food even healthy food was so stressful and overwhelming, all I wanted was to feel good in everything I wore and people were constantly telling me how great I looked, while my mental state was at such a dangerous point. I knew I couldn’t have this anymore, but I started lifting heavier and doing more weight training I gained ALOT of weight, but when I wanted to loose again, I couldn’t. NO MATTER what I did nothing worked. Ive learned so much about myself and what really counts, being healthy in mind and body. ive seen so many girls on instagram lately that see others competing and want to look like that, and its not realistic for everyday girls. theres so much that goes into that, that so many people don’t see. and more and more girls are getting into the competition world, because it all starts off as wanting to be healthy and then you want to do more. I am a trainer and body image coach and I cant express that being stronger and functional is way different than sculpting your body. treat your body so you can live LONGER AND DO MORE WHEN YOUR OLDER. thanks again for sharing your story, more girls need to know this.
Wow, you did it! Girl, you are such a true beauty in every way. Though you and I have been chatting about this privately for some time, even I haven’t come completely “out” with everything. Interestingly, i just had it out in prayer last night with God. LOL He has spoken quite clearly to me to about allowing him to transform my misery to become my misery….and I know I have been dragging my feet a bit. This just confirmed everything with me in what I need to SHARE with others. After 4 years of immersing myself in the experience of healing, I know I have knowledge that must be shared. Your story is almost identical to mine….right down to the “switching gyms” and the dieting mentality that had my life in a death grip or so long. You and i–same pageant background, everything. What people need to understand is it’s not just the actual competing that creates this devastation. Its our emotions and life stories years BEFORE that contribute to how our bodies handle this “stressor” of contest prepping. I will say even dieting or photoshoots, weddings, special events, etc can lead to the same physical dysfunction. There is not always actual metabolic damage that occurs for every girl….but almost ALWAYS long term emotional and body image shifts that simply skew our ability to connect with our bodies in a healthy way–emotionally, physically and spiritually. Once my blog/site is up I will be very REAL with what i have learned, what works, what does not and the real deal on the fitness industry. Being a part of that scene since the early 2000’s, I have been witness to it ALL. I see so many young girls clammoring to get on stage and it breaks my heart because I know that bright eyed “so excited to be here!” feeling that the industry preys upon. More on that on my blog! lol Just wanted to tell you I am so proud to call you my sweet friend! Thank you for your support on my page 🙂
Girl seriously get that blog out! You will help so many girls like you did for me. I know were all so busy so it was really amazing that you took the time to write me back at that time. I was a hot mess!
I know…it’s way overdue! I have so much info I can hardly contain myself! LOL My biggest issue is the fear of creating a blog. lol I am not too tech savvy and trying to find someone to help me with design and then coding and all that. I am talking to a few people as I want to add a store and a few other features. Lord help me! lol Marketing and web tech stuff is my biggest downfall being online ;-(
Just start off with wordpress it’s free and it literally helps you step by step with improving your site. I just haven’t improved mine. Don’t wait until it’s the perfect site… work with what you can and it will be perfect:)
Thank you so much for this blog post. I hope you don’t mind, but I also posted this blog to my fitness athletic page on facebook. I too have strugged with this same thing and after almost a whole year of trying to figure out “True Balance” I am getting closer. Temptation is always there to go back to “what you know”. But reading this reminded me again why I need to find a new path to the road of healthy living..
I also love the links you left for more information.. If you would, could you “Like” my FB Page. I am continuing to try and put more information about this topic out there. Few women and men really know about what MD is and how to prevent it before it happens to them..
Well I’ll be darned! I meant to type “allow him to transform my misery to become my MINISTRY. Derp! lol
Thank you for sharing, I too competed in bikini but not pro.But I am in similar situation, I gained body fat and not feeling good about myself.
I have been trying to lose and gain more muscle but nothing seems to work.
Thank you for speaking out! You should look into Erik Ledin of Lean Bodies Consulting for metabolic damage/repair! He does things way different than the norm & led me out of met damage hell!
Thank you for sharing. It’s interesting how so many women AND men that compete go through rough mental patches. Competitors allow themselves to feel alone when in reality most competitors have indeed gone through this & can relate, offering support. Congrats on getting back to your roots of healthy living! Wishing you much success in all aspects of your life. I look forward to following your blog.
On a side note, here’s my experience w/ the after math & rebound…
Thank you for sharing something personal as this. I admire your honesty and openness. Happy to know you are in a better place now. 🙂
Those were possibly the bravest words. Thank you so much for having the courage to speak for people like me…You are a true inspiration. Beautiful inside/out! Thank you!
Totally blown away with your honesty.. I look at fitness models & would love to be one, a long way off.. But can relate to you with the crash dieting working out endlessly,,not sleeping then bingeing ect. Only to not be happy.always up & down.. I just really needed to hear this today as was debating wether to cut calories\carbs more just to get thinner.. But whith what you have said its made me realise to just take it one day at a time 🙂 thanks x
Wow! I am going through this now! I weigh more than I have in years after doing my first bikini competition…..it is depressing but I am taking it easy now. So glad you wrote this blog post, plus you are one of my fav fitness girls competing or not!
This is so great. I thank you so much for being open and honest. I went through the same thing, and it’s so nice to have a professional validate the hard times this industry can produce. Thank you!
Wow… I am so glad I came upon this today. I have only done one show however I experienced a lot of what you are talking about here. I have a worse body image now than I ever did before. it gets in your head somehow that if you don’t look like an Oxygen cover girl than you are fat. which is ridiculous, cause those girls don’t walk around like that every day.
I as well started working out and eating healthy to be healthy.. and the show turned it into something else for me. (something negative.)
My best friend pulled me aside recently to tell me that my workouts no longer seemed fun and that I wasn’t allowing myself ANY type of cheats… she said I seemed miserable and she was worried.
That woke me up.
I was going to do a show this May, but have decided not to.
I’m still working out and eating healthy ( I always will!) But today for example, I had a banana with pnut butter and a protein shake after my run. A BANANA!!! lol.. if you can believe it!
and no one knocked down my door to carry me away! 😀
I instead am going to book a photo shoot in May with a photographer friend of mine. So, I still have a goal, but I’m having fun with it and not stressing.
the thing about more sleep is HUGE… in fact, it helps keep fat off!
Thanks again for this post. It helps to talk about it and know we aren’t nuts! this is very very common.
This is eye-opening, thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences.
Thank you for sharing your story. I have been asked multiple times to compete from peers and always knew that my body wouldnt like me so much. I found out recently after doing major nutritional changes in my life my body is imbalanced, just from yo-yo dieting from the pressures of being a trainer. Thank you for sharing your story. It really inspired me to stay on my health path and not letting the influences of media distort my perception of health.
Oh, I know your pain. The same thing happen to me a few years ago. I miss competing and do wish to do it again. I am in fear and everyday I mentally suffer. Thank you for your beautiful story!
Thank you so much for sharing! I prepped for my first comp last summer but it was cancelled two weeks out. I had a sever binge eating disorder after and in turn gained weight back and also brought my old eating disorder back. This January I thought I would try again. After prepping for 6 weeks I decided I wasn’t going to step on stage. I don’t want to get that eating disorder back. And I have a feeling I won’t like my body in any way other than the day I am on stage. I am happy with it now so the plan is to continue to live healthy. I love seeing other women share this story. Not that I wish it on anyone but it is nice not to be alone! Thanks! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your figure journey with us. I am currently working towards my pro card but have realized with proper coaching that rest is good! There is always a show and we should always pick one that gives your body time and the best training experience.
I loved your comment about motivating others even when not competing. I have a Facebook page for first timers (your first figure competition) and even when I am not in prep, I like to share the good and bad of on/off season 🙂
It has to be about more than the trophy…
Kimberly Linton, NASM CPT and figure competitor
That’s not the only way it has to be though, tracking macros lets you not have to stick to only ‘clean’ foods for competition dieting and if you make effort to raise your metabolism in the offseason you will have a higher maintenance caloric intake, that gives you more to work with when you start dieting.
It comes down to knowledge. If girls continue to diet the way you describe they will continue to get metabolic damage. If they diet intelligently in the way I mentioned they can compete and still be healthy.
Wow what an awesome story! I am expecting ; (feel large) and cant wait untill my baby is born so i an look good again. Your story has totally made me relax and enjoy every moment of my pregnancy! thank you !
Great post and so true to the mental struggles we put ourselves through with body image, opinions of others, etc., I am confident this will help so many competitors out there!
OMG! This is exactly what I have been through! I have felt so alone and ashamed throughout my experience of cycling between competitions and unhealthy weight gain! I have only participated in a few competitions but the tremendous dieting/weight loss/fatigue/bingeing was awful. It has left me shaken and struggling to find my footing. I’m proud to say that I’m finally surpassing it and you don’t know how much it means to me up hear someone I look up to share the same struggles. You are a gift. Thank you.
thanks for sharing this! I am just starting in the competition industry and I am glad that you are reminding us that it is very possible to compete and stay sane! My coach does not encourage any fat burners and Im 10 weeks out and still do not feel carb deprived at all. I do not have a lot of cravings neither but when I do I allow myself. We have to respect our body and listen to it, after all isnt it the reason why we compete? To feel comfortable in our bodies?
Thanks again for the great read 😀
Felt like this before my last competition. I love Danny J’s blogs and I saw your blog on another fit friends facebook post. Its soooo true and I love that you wrote about it. I was reading this and thought omg its me! lol.
You are awesome for writing this. This will be my sister and I first competition and we have had a numerous amounts of up ‘s & downs getting prepped for it. We moved from Texas and transferred with our jobs. Our hours were cut EXTREMELY and we began not being able to afford to live let alone pursue our dream of fitness . We have always been athletic thru school and once got to the point of being accepted for training for the Olympics for track . But because we were young at the time our father decided against it and our dreams were crushed. After several years of just a plain bitter attitude for being denied the chance by our father and gaining several pounds of weight nearing 200 pounds from 108 pounds and our brother being murdered in 2008 we decided in 2011 to pursue our dreams again. Our brother was trying to pursue his as a fitness Chef and was in school when he was gunned down as he was leaving a convenient store on his way to the gym. We got going and got a membership with a gym in Texas and started losing the weight on our own. Arriving here in California after we had lost a combined total of 53 pounds with no help. We started reaching a plateau and the rest of the weight was just not coming off. We started looking for help. No one would help without paying an astronomical price upfront. I work at a gym and could not even get help there. We got invited to a show by bikini pro Jamie DeBenard and went. It was there we meet a competitor an Coach that was willing to work with us. She helped us to lose the weight , but we are getting close to show time and my sister has begun to start putting on weight instead of losing. Now we are thinking she is experiencing metabolic damage. We will read into it and seek help. Your blog is so inspiring and helpful, 🙂
Great post, I competed in one show but after having handfuls of hair fall out, feeling tired and always obsessed with dropping 1 more pound, i decided to call myself a “one stage wonder”.
LOL I had to respond to your “one stage wonder” comment! Too funny but in reality, consider yourself warned and SAVED! For many women, ONE show is all it takes to start the damage. Our bodies are all so different and we are set up to handle only a certain amount of stress in a lifetime. For some of us, just one or two shows is all it takes to put the icing on the cake of destruction!
Great post Shelsea – I’ve only competed once so far, didn’t binge afterwards, but as I prep for my next competition I find it stressing me out more than I’d care to admit. You’re an inspiration, even moreso after sharing this personal journey!
Thank your for being so transparent and for sharing your experiences Shelsea!!! You continue to be a GREAT inspiration! ❤
WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..extra wait .. …
I heard about your post from marisol Lara on Instagram. I knew when I read her description I had to read it. Thank you so, so much for being open, and honest. This is so refreshing. I have never studied nutrition, or anything related to it. In fact I am a business major. I have learned the majority of my fitness regiment from bodybuilding blogs, competitors, google scholar, some academics, and friends studying medicine. From all that I have gathered I try to make the best informed decisions towards my goals. Recently I got curious, and started taking a fat burner (less than a week) just to see how it works. I have always been afraid to take any type of pill, but I took the risk–shamefully maybe–or just curiosity. In any case, your article has given me clarity. I’m not going to take them anymore. I’m a tall, thin girl. Always have been. I have just wanted to lean out from “the skinny fat” and gain more muscle with hopes of achieving that bikini physique. I have accomplished a lot with basic supplementation such as whey, and casein. I looked into other things because I have seen the results it has given others. As you have stated, that competition look is not sustainable. I applaud you for being courageous and letting your audience in to a very personal experience. Just in the short 5 minutes it took to read your entry, it will change things for me going forward. I may compete–just to say I did it. But I will take your advice, and take more time. No crazy crash dieting or cardio sessions (which at this moment I hardly do any cardio because I drop weight fast). I have just poured this out to you but I have been waiting for something like this. I would have never found the truth in a fitness magazine-they sell the image. You just sold me the story.
Thanks so much honey:)
Thank you so much for your boldness in sharing, and taking a stand with the brave few who are doing the same. I pray that more ladies follow your example and speak out about the damage being done “behind the scenes.”
Thank you so much for writing your story….which is also my story…..which is many girls stories. I thought I was weak for being unable tomgetnthings into control. The more we talk about it the more it will become less shameful. Thank you.
Love you girl. No matter what you thought of yourself everyone you inspired, including me, never thought anything negative. Although I don’t have the exact story or outcome I definitely had the same feelings. Would love to see you again soon. Muah
xoxo Thanks honey
Just stumbled on this blog. Competed in my first and last Bikini comp for all the reasons you talk about. I walked away feeling blessed and cursed at the same time.
I cannot enjoy normal food the same way with out breaking it down into carbs, proteins, fats and what it’s doing to me.
I enjoyed the body while I had it…5 mo later I feel like I have body image issues I never had before. Competing was just something I did to get fit for 30 and crush a goal.
The way I gained weight after comp eating healthy with occasional treats and normal workouts ( 1 hour weights and some cardio…not 3 hour stints …daily) I had a hunch that my body was jacked up or confused. But I didn’t think that was even possible…but I guess my hunch was right.
Thanks for posting this…I also think competitors of all kind are tough both physically and mentally. I admire all who make this a way of life and am not downing it in anyway. But I do think it perpetuates a unhealthy idea of what I should look like. Most of the time on comp diet I was so carb deprived…I was unhappy, snappy, grouchy, on the verge of tears and not my usuall happy self.
I decided that a lil thickness is worth my sanity and my families happiness.
Again thanks for posting…I know this might be a lil “taboo” but within my training circle we all shared the same post comp issues.
Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration, I appreciate you so much.
Shelsea if I may ask… how much do you workout now and do you still eat several meals a day and stay on some sort of “nutrition plan.” I completely relate to your blog. I feel like I don’t know how to eat like a normal person anymore. I binge on sweets and I used to be much more into eating healthy before I started competeing. It seems like now its all back and fourth. Im either eating an insanely strict diet or binging on anything I can get my hands on. I dont even want to go to the gym like I used to and I cannot cut myself off from the bad diet and Im supposed to be competing in May. The gym keeps me sane yet I end up doing too much training for competitions and I feel like its making me dislike going to gym. I havent completed nearly as much as you, but I feel like the craziness has already started and I forgot how to be the normal healthy person that I was. Do you have any recommendations? I’m so confused on whether I want to continue competing or not. I am incredibly hard on myself and i wonder if I am magnfying my insecuritys by constantly pushing myself to be better and look better for competitions… Needless to say I am incredibly grateful you had the courage to speak up. We arent alone.
Wow, I can relate almost 100%… Only difference is I’m not competing again..
I competed in my first Bikini model competition November of last year and I’ve been struggling ever since with my body image. I started eating way too much unhealthy food, I had trouble getting up in the morning and didn’t really want to deal with anything.
Recently, after getting blood test results from my doctor too see if my preperation for the competition had anything to do with it (to see if i had damaged my body in any way hormonally, chemically, etc.), he kindly told me my body was OK but I was most likely depressed. I am depressed, even though I knew and told myself every day before I competed that the “stage look” is unnatural and unhealthy in the long run.
Only recently I decided enough is enough, I’m not going to have my daughter (4) see me this way anymore and I don’t want her to have body image issues when she grows up. I want to be happy with myself again. I have to take one day at a time and tell myself that it is OK to eat unhealthy food once in a while and it is OK if I missed training this time or that…
Thank you for sharing your story so I could share mine now.. I thougt I was the only one!..
Thank you. This is my story also. I only competed for one year, but in that time did damage to my system and my body image is compeletly out of whack. Great to hear that others go thru the same thing. This is the “dirty secret” of the industry.
Nothing like putting yourself truly out there. I am willing to bet that this post was the hardest thing you have ever done, harder than any other competition. Congrats!
You’re amazing for sharing this. Wow. Thanks for your honesty about something so personal… it is inspiring.
Thanks for sharing your amazing story. Your honesty is appreciated. 🙂
Reblogged this on The Orange Mask and commented:
I love this blog post so much that I am using it as the official “Win”spiration Wednesday post. Thank you for your honesty on the topic Shelsea!
Thank you so much! And thank you for the reblog!
Thank you so much for this article!! I recently ran into this problem myself prepping for my first figure competition. It’s good to know I’m not alone in what I’ve been feeling and experiencing lately.
Forgot to mention the 1000lb gorilla in the room. Not a mention of all the male hormonal drugs being used by these women for their competitions!…while drastically reducing their chances if they ever wanted to get pregnant in the future (just one side effect). I thought it was going to a honest write up…with the rest of the commenters playing along like they don’t exist and it’s not running rampant.
Thank you so so much for writing this. It could have been me in so many ways.
I am still recovering from my last show (16 months ago almost) and it certainly will be my last. Not only for the physical health and food obsession issues but also from the perspective of a mom to a young girl.
I absolutely love this article! I am a proponent of healthy eating and exercise and there’s no better way to do it than the right way. When you exercise and eat a healthy diet, you’re healthy in mind body and spirit.
Thank! I pray for your continued strength.
Thank you so much for sharing.All of this so true.I finally have hung up my comp shoes and I am focusing on being good to myself.Not punishing myself for indulgences here and there.I’m still a work in progress as far as the head thing you spoke of ,but baby steps.Thank you for your honesty.
Thank you for posting this! I’m going through the exact same thing. I’ve felt a lot of pressure to compete again after my first show because I did really well, but I rebounded so bad, and I was craving foods I had NEVER craved before & binge eating. Ive wanted to look how I looked at my competition so bad, & have been put on a crazy diet in hopes of doing my 2nd show but I quickly realized my body was BEGGING for a break from all the crazy supplements, fat burners, and no carbs. Ive felt disappointed & felt like Ive given up because I’m not doing the competition anymore but I know its what my body needs right now. I have worse eating habits now than I ever did before I discovered competing & I know I need to have a healthy diet but without completely depriving myself. Thanks for posting, it was always depressing because I was the “only girl” who rebounded… which is what my trainer told me that 😦 😦 😦 and it’s put me in an emotional state where Im so depressed, but its nice to know I’m not the only one who has gone through something like this.
Well it happens to a lot of competitors so your coach can put a cork in it lol;) You are beautiful for simply being! Just take a break completely for a little bit. Especially stimulants and cardio. Your body will love you!
Thank you so much! I have not done nearly as many competitions as you. I went through this and still am! It has been so hard! Every single word you wrote I felt! It is so refreshing!!! I appreciate this tremendously! I look up to you and have so much more respect for you then I did before! I’m a pretty big fan too! So that means a lot! No one admits to what this lifestyle does to you. It can become very unhealthy and addictive in a bad way! I’m on my journey to getting my hormone levels and body back to normal! I’m still going to look my best but not competition best:) thank you!
Great article and true account. My name is Gil and i was a world champ fighter and the two time #1 contender in the UFC (ultimate fighting championship) and i will tell you first hand this not only happens to guys also but to the best fighters in the world and all competitors of different sports in different ways. I just got done training with my team mate Nick Diaz who is fighting the champion George St.pierre next week and with us was 4 other world champions from my team and we all have had similar stories so not only do i applaude you for recognizing your mental state and analyzing it (as all dedicated competitors must sooner or later) but dealing with it in the way you did. More athletes go through it than you know as it is a mental play (mind screw) that we do to ourselves. Fighters are thought to be the toughest and mentally toughest freaks around but i’ll tell you that it happens to us all hun so dont beat yourself up too much. As i read your experiences i smiled and thought…yep….yep….yep. You hit it on the head more than once. The moment you stop enjoying it and loving yourself then you need to step back and re-balance just as you did. Bravo! The time it takes for you to re-balance and center yourself and the way you do it is your own business in your own time frame.
You dont need to compete nor need to do anything unless you feel like it but whatever your choice you’ll be a different woman because of this. At a different level. More complete, more mature, more experienced and a bigger smile because of it.
Keep writing hun, its a breathe of fresh air for you and all others that read it.
Great Blog! I did one Figure Competition after losing almost 40 lbs and running my first marathon. It was a bucket list type of goal. It did mess with my head that I had this “perfect body” for a few weeks but then 6 months later, yikes! I felt like Shamoo. I’ve gone to marathon running and know I can’t keep the low body fat, etc. but I love running the races so much more so I’m happy with me. I eat pretty healthy but like you said, I don’t deprive myself. I too have such great respect for those who compete, I think it’s awesome and I’m glad I did it! Thanks so much for sharing.
Shelsea Sanchez first off, Your gorgeous inside and out! I’m so glad someone of your rank has come out about this. I myself experienced this every time I competed and had to go to a homeopathic doctor as well. Unfortunately, you need to experience it to believe it…
I think this post speaks as much universally to balance and harmony in self-care as it does to your competition experience. Congratulations of being Freshly Pressed.
I really like your blog and would love you to guest post on my, http://www.5thingstodotoday.com site. All you have to do is write five suggestions along with a link back to your site. Please check out the blog and see the sort of things people have written about.
Wow that would be cool:) Where shall I send it to?
If you e-mail your suggestions to 5thingstodotoday@gmail,com when you are ready. Great. Thanks. David
I hope your story inspires those that have the same feelings but are afraid to quit. This had to be a hard story to write about. Thanks!
Not only bikini comp women, but most men and women generally can relate to this. We all could do with a reminder to do what we wish, but maintain a safe and healthy diet while doing so. Thanks for providing just that.
I am in a different sport (adult figure skating) but I really appreciated your honesty about doing what is right for you, rather than pushing yourself to meet unrealistic expectations. “The competitions will always be there” is so true in any sport! Thank you for telling your story.
Wow – this sound grueling. i hope you can find a healthy balance for your weight and fitness that doesn’t sound so stressful. I am not familiar with these kind of competitions, but from your description it sounds like an unbalanced and dangerous situation. Congratulations for sharing your story and being Freshly Pressed.
Thank you so much:) Yeah it’s a pretty crazy lifestyle ironically it’s the “health and fitness industry”
How wonderful that you tell this important story.
Years ago, I built a company that mfg’d and sold protein bars. We hit all the shows, sold $ millions, and I was surrounded by body-building men and women.
Although I worked out daily, I wasn’t into it to the degree you were, but the men and women who were marketing/selling/distributing the bars for us were all contest winners.
I learned a lot about the terribly unhealthy lifestyle they were living, and was surprised that there was so little written about it, until I realized that their bad health was bad for magazine sales.
Again, very cool of you to tell your story.
Thanks for being so brutally honest. Women on the cover of fitness mags look amazing but many people who are not in the industry do not know what happens behind the scenes: the physical and mental toll it takes on someone.
Nice work from the title up to the last word! Bravo!
Love your heart and your transparency! I hope you found a new and great way to be healthy and love life. You can be such a positive example to so many. Good job!
Nice post!! Check out:
Leave a comment!
Wonderful Inspiration.Your very courageous. As you can see ! 😉 Have a great one!
I am glad you are able to be open and honest about your experience in the fit world. You are so much more a woman and role model for expressing yourself to others. As a woman in sports I understand how hard it is to express how you feel with the constant pressure of competition breathing down your neck. Glad you posted this ! 🙂
Wow, so brutally honest….We’re always exposed just to the glamour part of it all. Thank you for sharing this…..Always remain true to yourself
Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any recommendations for rookie blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.
I am not the best blogger but I hear it’s good to be consistent with your writing. To usually post it the same days. Write from the heart and if you want other bloggers to like or follow your blog follow them and like and comment their pages as well:)
Wow! Amazes me often times the instances we can be a influence on folks; is from experiencing/living through horrific incidents. I can relate..the good news? Is when you find a way to express it and share; and in the process help others. Honestly , I think, that is what we’re supposed to do in this life journey..To not do so would mean our experiences would only impact our lives. So much more meaningful to help others in a positive way…well done. Glad you’re working on healing and wish you the best of luck in all your ventures. Stay UPlifted & blessed!
This is a great post and great advice
You are very strong. I remember when I was five; I was in a beauty competition and had just become a Macy’s kid when I started showing signs of problems. I didn’t know that I had eating issues, until later on in my life. My mother told me, years later, that I wouldn’t eat anything but salad. A seventeen, even though I had stopped modeling many years before, I was only 95lbs and 5′ 3″.
I still struggle with my self-image, but I found some kind of solace in writing. I also am doing well under treatment.
Thank you for this post. I know it wasn’t easy to write. I wish you all the best.
I think it takes a lot of courage to be transparent and your story was very interesting. I hung up my competitive heels in the financial services world, in a manner of speaking, and opted for a lesser stressful career. I feel healthier and normal, and in so many similar ways, it is a trade-in process for a lesser stressful, healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Just a basic statement. Best wishes to you! Good job!
whoah this weblog is great i love reading your articles.
Keep up the great work! You know, many people are looking around for this info,
you can aid them greatly.
I am glad to run into this post . It has a lot of information. Good to know
GOOD FOR YOU for perservering!!! Congratulations. And you are a role model. A great one.
I had my own bout with obesity and then anorexia and I write about it a lot, which helps me cope and understand what happened. Eating disorders are seriously GRIPPING. They are mental illnesses and I don’t understand why we don’t hear about them more.
I am proud of you for writing about this and so happy for you to have been Freshly Pressed. Hopefully it will bring more awareness to this grave (yet underestimated) topic.
Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.
Great blog. It takes a lot to write the truth about yourself and even more to share with strangers. XXX
Great entry…shared it with my friend on FB who is also in the fitness competitive modeling industry. Well said!
I battle with things like this every day. Thank you for your openness and honesty. You are not alone.
I grew up in this industry, Scott was my mothers trainer for years, I remember going to his house as a little girl and I spent my weekends in the gym nursery which was just us playing and running around the gym unattended. My mom won first place for heavy weight division over and over and her trophies scattered our house. Later in life and now still she majorly struggles with her weight and I watch her starve herself only to barely lose any weight. Only now has she successfully lost some weight and maintained it doing crossfit. But it’s like the mentality seems to stay with you forever, eat rice cakes and tuna, do cardio . Repeat the weight will come off. But what about if it doesnt?…..I’m glad you shared your journey you are beautiful and ooze confidence. 🙂
Wow…I had no idea that this was possible and am sooo glad you are sharing your story as I am about to compete in my first show! I’ve been around all you fitness girls and never thought I’d be able to do it and after a near death experience realized I had nothing to loose. I have looked up to you for your dedication and am so thankful that you shared your story and saved me from doingwhat I thought was normal too. I’ve always gone to dinner after shows and pigged out with friends after they compete and had no idea that this was a bad thing! I’m glad your resting and listening to your body and no matter your weight you are a beautiful woman inside and out and bless you for helping the rookies like me!!
Thanks for sharing your story! Good for making making your life decisions about you — such a tough thing to do when others are expecting different turns in your path.
This, this is beautiful. Good for you for finding peace in yourself and realizing you’re more than a beautiful face on a stage!
Very interesting topic , regards for putting up. “Integrate what you believe into every single area of your life.” by Meryl Streep.
Thank you so much for you being this open. I compeeted twice 12 and 15 years ago, and haven’t since because of a fear of what you share. Haven’t told a soul about my fear. My answer is just “The diet is to hard for me”, which is half the through. Thanks again. Love from Oslo, Norway!
Thanks for sharing this post! I am struggling with finding a balance with a “healthy” and “normal” life. My problem was running way too much and not eating nearly enough. I am still finding my way back to the right path… Your post has been very inspirational! I’m glad I happened upon your blog this morning.
Thank you! for sharing this! I got chills and some happy tears! 🙂 I’m glad you are past it and in a better place… We all go through it. It’s a war with ourselves, but we can manage and I’m happy you did!
thank you for the honesty and inspiration!!! lovely blog…it has pushed me to drive on and listen to your body…great read girl…congrats
Enjoyed looking through this, very good stuff, regards .
Thank you for writing this. The whole time reading it all I could say was ‘yep, that happened’, ‘yep, I did that’, ‘yep, I’ve felt that way’. My timeline is almost exactly the same as yours (minus the pro card). It’s a VERY hard thing to go through (I even saw a counselor for binge eating) and I’m still working to balance and work towards being a healthy fit me with balance in all other areas of my life. REMEMBER..COMPETITIONS ARE WHAT YOU DO, NOT WHO YOU ARE C:
I enjoyed this post and the comments.
Your Article has been republished by SouthWeb – Blogging Around – Congratulations. See your article here: http://southweb.co.za/blog/why-i-hung-up-my-competition-heels/
Thanx for posting your experience…
Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.
Awesome post. I just started blogging after going through some challenges with competing. Good to hear that people are starting to be more vocal about the ugly side of the industry and trying to promote real health. Best of luck to you!
Kudo’s to you for being honest and open about your experience. With all due respect to all the competitor’s out there, I know you push yourself and your body beyond what most of us could even imagine, and I think it’s great to have a goal to work towards. At the same time though you have to be honest and respectful in how you are treating yourself mentally, emotionally and physically and is it really worth the damage you may in fact do to yourself, and those closest to you.
I cheer for you Shelsea! It took courage to take the steps you did to leave competition, and even more courage to write publicly about how hard it was along the way. I teach Pilates and am aiming for healthy eating, sleeping, breathing, a healthy balance in my life. And for my clients, I always aim for a great movement session to enhance the health and resilience of their bodies! It’s all about being healthy and feeling better for the long term. Bravo Shelsea!
Thank you honey! I need to take more pilates!!!
Thank you so much for sharing Shelsea. I just did my 2nd NPC bikini competition and I can honestly relate to your story. It is tough because the lifestyle we chose and learned to love also means putting our bodies, personality and even spiritual beliefs out for judgement, whether it’s a panel of judges or a group of people who look up to you. Again thank you for sharing and I applaud you for your boldness.
Definitely appreciate what you’ve got here, glad you’re putting it online and what you have to say.
Your article was splendidly balanced between entertaining and educational.
I am delighted to trade ideas and information with you.
This is actually a tremendous blog.
Thanks for posting this! I found it by searching for “post competition rebound” and I’ve read a few others saying the same thing (more lately) and it comes at a good time for me. I have finished my 3rd show and just placed 1st so i can go to nationals but am wrestling with whether to even go there or not.
I have been dragging and not feeling healthy. My husband is supportive but I want energy to play with my toddler again…after reading this I know I’m not the only one who feels “wrecked”. I just don’t want to stop too soon…but I don’t want to get “sucked in” either…just don’t know what to do. All I really want to do is live a healthy, fit life. Is the search for the Pro Card worth it in the end? That’s my struggle and you kind of put it all in perspective. thanks 🙂
The pro card is not worth it in my opinion. And if you’re struggling for energy to play with your toddler why do another show and continue to not play with him? Family first:) If you want to live a healthy fit life, it definitely isn’t competing. Hope that helped
You have really touched with with your story! I can so relate to it. So so GREAT FULL to hear such honesty THANK YOU
Wow you are so inspiring!!! Thank you for sharing your story, I am going through the same thing and it helps to know your not alone. Congrats on turning your life back around!! Best luck always!!! Xoxo
Thank you and good luck to you! You will get there:) Just make sure and be patient!
I just read your blog and I did the exact same thing! I did my first competition in November I got down to 8% body fat 127lbs at 5’7. I did very well in the competition. However, the next day began my downward cycle. I binge ate got sick the first two days. And then I was put in a walking boot, due to severe peronal tendinitis, I had to take medical steroids, and ended up gaining 20lbs due to uncontrollable eating and not being able to run.. Fast forward 8 months I hate myself, my body, I feel disgusting I have never been this big in my life yet I have no desire to eat healthy or workout when I do get the motivation it then quickly diminishes. I was hoping maybe if you had time you could offer some advice. Thank you Sincerely
Take it one day at a time. First try to love yourself at a heavier weight. Beauty is skinny, fat, young, old, etc… Love yourself no matter what. Then work on you and take your time. Don’t rush things because that’s what makes you do the yo yo thing.
I’m glad you wrote this story. I used to compete in Figure competitions with the dream of earning my pro card. For my first show, my trainer brought me in as an emaciated mess. I was obsessed with food and very unhappy. After several shows, I decided I didn’t like what was happening to me mentally. Plus, I knew my body better than anyone else. I changed my whole approach — trained and prepped myself. And you know what? I felt better and enjoyed the process more. I decided to do shows just for the fun of it and not to try to win (although ironically, I did win one).
I want to compete again, but MY way. I understand I will never go pro, but now I just do it for the fun of it. If you stay with small shows in the smaller organizations, you don’t have to be as crazy-lean and can still look good up there and feel proud. It doesn’t always have to make you into a crazy mess. With anything else in life, moderation is best.
I also went through a sort of “hell” getting to competition. While I know that some of what I went thru is just part of it all, I wish I had done it smarter. I also gained all the rebound weight and more. I quit my gym and the program I was in because I was literally going over the deep end with it all. I called my husband once telling him I was going to commit suicide (brought on by carb depletion, low calorie, too much cardio and too many supplements). I also felt embarrassed by the weight gain and I was tired of all the questions about how I did or people expecting me to talk about the “great experience”. I barely remember being on stage. My husband was heartbroken and scared for how horrible and emaciated I looked. I’m not saying either that it has to be this way. I know there are great trainers out there that would never allow their clients to look the way I did.
On the other hand-I learned a ton about my body and what I am capable of. I want to take what I learned and try to help other women avoid the pitfalls. It’s so easy to fall into a trap and become obsessed about it all. Do it smart ladies. Compete only once or twice a year! My hormones were out of whack also-my kidneys and liver too. And this is just from one competition. People think that you “achieve” this look but it’s impossible to maintain. You would end up in the hospital. It would be easy to develop an eating disorder if you’re not focused and balanced. I’m still wondering what to do to get my body balanced. Although now I am happier and more comfortable than ever even after the weight gain because I FEEL great. It matters so much more than veins popping out and 6% bodyfat. It’s a great thing to do-just do it right and don’t do anything that compromises your own best judgment. It’s worth it if done right.
Oh my gosh this is so true. I am now at my heaviest and am doing the same avoiding types of behaviors. No gym because of my size. Not going to public events because I might see someone who knew me thin. Ugh so depressing. Thank you for helping me see I’m not the only one. Still struggling.
Glad to see you living and leading a better life that makes you happy that’s all your friends ever wanted for you… hope all is well
Your Big Bro (ATX FB’s bodyguard)
From the bottom of my heart- THANK YOU for posting this! I just did my first show in July and am only now starting to feel like I have a handle on the binging. I can relate to your story- every word I was just nodding to myself like yup, that’s me too! Although I know ill compete again, I’m taking time to find the balance and what works for me- while remaining sane haha! In the meantime I have a pageant coming up and am focusing on being healthy & fit, vs lean and carb depleted haha! Thanks again for posting- very inspiring!
Thank you for sharing this…. I’m very grateful for this post. I’m currently preping for my next and LAST competition. This is by far the worst I have ever felt emotionally. It has taken a toll on my body. I think it is going to be time to look for other options to staying fit . Thank you for sharing your story… I really needed to see this today.
I guess never really experienced much jealousy as much as wanting acceptance from other women. I was always the one needing love and not wanting so much attention. To me female competiveness is considered negative and focused on positivity. I can’t stand jealous vain women whom hurtothers to benefit from her vanity. it’s sad but i take it day by day. be well
Thank you for writing this. Three years ago, I was a personal trainer and wanted to begin competing. My therapist talked me out of it, reminding me of my past “issues” with food, and warning me that women who compete have huge yo-yo problems with their weight and often damage their metabolism. Many of my colleagues compete, and I see the posts about food, both before and after competition. The obsession with both deprivation and binging. Yet NO ONE has ever talked about this.You are the first that I have read. Thank you. You’ve affirmed the decision I made, and also helped me accept the way I am now–no where near competition ready, and even a little “fat by gym standards, but the kind of figure guys go “ga ga” over, apparently! I’m learning to accept this. Thank you.
My wife is a competitive bodybuilder and she too has been looking at this. Physique sports promise this persona that is temporary and unhealthy. I encourage women and men to work toward being as balanced as possible in their lives including where fitness is involved.
Thank you for sharing your experience here. I did a search on google under “why I gave up bikini competitions” and yours was the only one that came up (along with tons of articles just related to bikini comps) and there is only 1 that I have seen on a Pinterest search. I was considering doing my first competition this December (7 months away and plenty of time to prepare right?) but after working hard to overcome an eating disorder (13 yrs long process), and the fact that I preach to the girls I teach in youth group about loving your body and accepting yourself and not trying to be like everyone else to fit in, it really seems counterproductive and well..hypocritical of me to seek a competition. After four kids I was thinking how nice it would be to have set a personal goal and to get that experience of showing how hard I worked. But really, isn’t it enough of a satisfaction to see the look of amazement on my husband’s face and to see the changes for myself without having some judges pick my hard work apart and tell me how I am still not good enough? I am concerned that I might fall back into my old mentality while struggling with the eating disorder. I needed to hear what you had to say. I’m still planning on being in the best shape of my life (35 by my next birthday in January) and I think that is enough of a success story for me. 😀 Blessings to you!
Aww thank you for reading and enjoy the balanced life 🙂
Your story sheds some light on what I saw at a couple of shows. I only competed once and my metabolic system went into complete disarray. I’ve had a hard time readjusting to life post show..ie: not going and working out 2 hours daily. Can’t listen to the same music I used to listen to etc. I’ve gained back about 10 pds since comp. I’m okay with that most days but somedays I just feel gross. Thanks for your blog. It made me see the other side a little better.
Love it, so honest and true …. Thank you, so many people have asked me why don’t you compete, you are so close? I nicely say “I found a sweet spot, same weight most my adult life, within 5lbs, I eat healthy most of time, first generation food, fruit, veggies, clean protein and as much chocolate as I want. 🙂 ” .I have been going to the gym the last 20 years 4 to 5 days a week. If it wasn’t for Zumba and my friends in total conditioning I would have quit 5 years ago. Going to the gym isn’t natural, which why so many fail at diets and exercise, find a activity you love, add some lifting and eat for nutrition most of time, enjoy the foods you want every now and then…. I’m turning 50 next year and love my body…
you look awesome!
I to am pondering competing again even after getting sick. I feel like I’m letting myself down by not trying figure as I’ve built a good deal of muscle. I eat a very clean diet, clean protein etc…but my body is telling me to take it easy and I know I need to start listening to it more. Thank you for your post.
Yes listen to your body. You’re not letting yourself down. You already proved to yourself you could build the muscle. Who do you have to prove by competing in a show? At the end of the day your health is your wealth!
Thanks for the post. I just competed for the first time and am suffering from post-comp depression and re-bound. Everyday is a struggle.. But reading things like this really helps inspire to aim for balance and health 🙂
You’re welcome 🙂
I just stumbled across your blog and loved it. I am a 40 year old fit women with 7 year old twins. I competited in fitness for years and at this point am healthy but nowhere near my lean years. I get nervous sometimes about people seeing me because they will think I should look better for how hard I train. I am so hard on myself and I needed this article today….so thanks.
Cheers and Sparkles!
Aww I’m so happy you came across my page. You are beautiful! Your body does not define your beauty 🙂 Always remember that.
Thank you for this amazing article! I feel so alone right now.. I just got done with a competition and I’ve been crazy wasting for 4 days and can’t seem to get myself back. 😦
Thank you for sharing your story. I am a competitor myself and have gone thru the process for the first time last year. What I notice about this year is that I crave for more carbs or should I say extra treat meals. I am not sure if it is that I am carb deprived. So I will be looking into seeing a homeopathic doctor just to see if there is something going on with my body.
I really needed to hear this. I feel lost and confused and don’t know where to start to get on a “normal healthy lifestyle”