Friday, September 25, 2009

THE ANSWER IS NOT CLEAR

Tonight I've spent the last hour or so agonising over whether to post this or not. Sometimes I think I put too much out there and other times I think "well its my blog and I'll say what I want". Still I wonder if some things are better left unsaid.

But tonight I've decided to not take the latter position and I'm speaking from my heart again because its in a confused mess and words sometimes help me clear things up and see things logically and rationally (if thats a good thing). I'm a great believer in listening to your heart because it'll give you the right answer. The head will always have an opinion (and sometimes a good one) but in my world my heart rules. Its just that right now I'm not getting a loud and clear message about where to go.

Here is my dilemma.

Ever since I first started prepping to compete in 2007 I fell in love with the sport. I loved the routine, the rigour, the dreadful lows followed by the highest of highs. I remember in May of that year (comps were in October) telling my husband that I was hooked and that my long term goal was to place in Figure Masters at the National level. Comp time came and words could not describe how much I loved the experiences of being on stage. I had just achieved the hardest thing I had ever set out to do and I was on a HIGH.

But if you've been following my blog you'll know that I have spent two years in a black hole. There have been times when I've come out briefly and made some reasonable progress with getting my weight back under control but those periods have been short-lived and like always that comfortable black hole is there to take me in yet again. Even now after seeing a Sports Psyche and feeling like my life had changed once and for all, I'm feeling out of control, miserable and hopeless again. (Hmm a big confession there but thats my reality right now).

So there I have declared this secret dream / goal that I have but one thats very much on the back burner as I'm so far off being able to consider competing again that it feels like a distant dream.

So I look at my life and how I feel and I wonder whether this dieting stuff (and comp involves dieting no matter which way you look at it) is a whole lot of bullshit and maybe true happiness can only come from a life free from diets. Check out: http://www.lifeafterdiets.com.au/page.cfm?pageCode=about
I havent looked closely into this program but I can say that eating without a plan, guideline, rules etc FREAKS ME OUT and I am convinced that it'll mean fat city here I come (again). The "no diet" approach scares me big time.

So my dilemma is:

1. Is it black and white that the choice is between doing whatever it takes to achieve my comp goal (including dieting) or giving away the diets once and for all and settling for a "normal life"?

2. If my comp goal is so important to me then why cant I commit to it once and for all? Achieving great things is never easy and thats what makes them so worthwhile.

3. Or am I better off waking up, smelling the coffee and just working towards a happy balanced life sans figure comps and all the potential problems they cause. Maybe competing is not for me ...... (just thinking out loud now).

I think. I listen. I feel. But the answer is not clear.

Magda

8 comments:

KatieP said...

This is a huge question that only you can answer but here is what I have discovered.

It doesn't need to be either/or ... either I am on a strict rule based diet or I will go off the rails and never have the body of my dreams.

I can walk the middle ground ... I can relax the strict rules and constant vigilance and still eat healthy food, be active, be happy and achieve the body of my dreams.

I can do a bit of both - I can eat lightly (make low calorie choices) when I am in fat loss mode but I can also take time out to relax and treat myself without the guilt and feelings of failure that spiral into a full on binge.

If I can survive a four day headache, PMT and chronic sleep deprivation without failing face first into food without a prescribed plan, without counting calories and without worrying then anyone can do it.

You end up adopting the best bits of both systems -- eating healthy food most of the time because you want to, not because you have to, and eating the things you love in smaller quantities without worrying about their magic 'trigger' power.

Basically, I just take great care of myself and set my focus on feeling good in my head, my heart and in my body because I only fall into a hole when I'm feeling bad or guilty or in pain or like a failure.

What if you could experience the HIGH of standing on stage every single day from here on in? Living this way has transformed my whole life - my job, my relationship, my confidence, and my self expression. It makes competing seem like a flickering candle compared to the hot summer sun.

I won't tell you it's not scary, but I will tell you that your bravery will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

Take courage my sweet -- you aren't alone and we're here to help.

PS: It is no coincidence that you have been on my mind today and I came back to your blog after not reading it for awhile ♥ [I un-subscribed to nearly every figure competitors blog in my reader when I was in a dark and gloomy place post comp]

LizN said...

I like Katie's thoughts! I'm going to blog about this tonight when I get home from work. :)

Kek said...

Magda, I think the questions you're asking are a common theme amongst figure competitors. Eveybody wrestles with those concepts at some point - at least all the sane ones do, anyway.

I think that having a solid and sensible approach to preparation is half the battle - I honestly believe that most competitors are way too extreme, and that it doesn't have to be that way. The other half is more difficult, and as Katie says, involves letting go of guilt and feelings of failure, among other things.

I don't have an exact answer for you, but it's there inside you somewhere...

Strong Bitch said...

Magda - firstly - great post! and you are obviously not alone.

Competing is NOT a normal sport. Hence when i'm NOT preparing for a comp - i'm NORMAL.

Although even when I was competing i think i was normal - but then again - i wasn't..... I started to question what normal is, and found that FOR ME it's being happy and free from eliminating the good shit from the diet like fruit. For fuck sake - it's FRUIT! and for that matter vege's that are not green, I can remember FREAKING out about eating carrots, corn, anything that wasnt green, give me strength!!!

It's very much about educating yourself with how our body works. We are scientific beings. Nutrition is key to every single human breathing, not just people in the world of bodybuilding. Our bodies NEED certain things every day to function and keep us alive. So i found that re-educating myself helped me with my normal status!

It's also about self love....and finding that within you

So in a nutshell, i'm very much like you - i LOVE the sport, but i'm much more passionate about living a life that is balanced.

Who knows - I might or might not compete again one day, but for now finding the balance and being normal is the key for me.

PS: I think you are great!!

ss2306 said...

I've pondered over my comment all morning but can't really find the words to express my thoughts.

Maybe, one question to ask yourself is this:

Imagine you are 80 years old sitting your your favourite arm chair with your glass of port (I'm imagining you will have moved on from wine then - lol), you have your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all around you wanting to know about your life. Will you tell them how happy your life was and what you achieved or will you tell them it was full of heartache, pain and regrets?

I've likened competing to having a baby. You know that feeling deep down when your family is complete and there will be no more babies and you send hubby for the snip. I knew whilst "on stage" last time that I would never do it again. Of course the thought does cross my mind every now and then but when it does I ask myself "why" and usually there's a reason behind it to do with a belief, fear, risk or challenge and once I've overcome that I go back to "never ever again!" My life is more than stepping on stage for 5 minutes.

karim said...

Very thoughtfull post on fitness. It should be very much helpfull

Thanks,
Karim - Mind Power

Pip said...

Very interesting post!

I like Shelley's approach of when older, imagining how you would like to describe your life!

You have been very successful, - you already have the story to figure competing and the photos to prove it which is a major accomplishment only a minority have the stickability to accomplish.

I can see it's a tough decision whether you want to do it again, improve on that or do something else.

All the best!
Pip

Magda said...

Dear Katie, thank you for dropping by my blog again and leaving such an insightful comment. I have followed your blog and have often felt your pain and understood the struggles you were having. Its an inspiration to read about your recent progress. I guess deep down its what I want too but have been somewhat nervous about it all.

Liz, I'm looking forward to reading your post. I always respect your opinion and perspective on things.

Thanks Kek. I know the answer is within me and I feel I'm getting closer to working it out. You're very right about letting the negative thoughts and beliefs go.

Hey Fernie, great comment. The whole concept of normal takes on a completely different meaning for competitors doesnt it? And I remember the times when I just wanted to be normal and couldnt. No cappuccinos. No wine. No just about everything. God it was tough but when you finally make it on stage, it was the BEST feeling. (A bit like an addictive drug really). But away from the comps I too want a happy balanced life and just lately its tilted back to the not so good. Time to tilt it back me thinks.

Shelley, this is so good that I'm going to ponder that one at bedtime tonight. It needs undivided and uninterrupted attention. I might even blog about it depending on what comes to the fore.

Hi Karim. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for your kind words Pip. I guess deep down I'm an achiever and as I get older I realise its now or never. I dont have another 20 or so years to think about it. Its do or not do coz fence sitting gets you nowhere.

Cheers all

Magda