Quick Update

I’m 14…er…13 days…well, actually, make that 12 days out if you don’t count today since it’s almost over…Yikes!!!

Things that are done:

  • Registered for the show
  • Posing seminar/dress rehearsal
  • Suit ordered and fits perfectly
  • Tanning booked
  • Photo shoot booked
  • Make up person booked
  • Tickets for family purchased

Things still to do:

  • Get the hair done/scheduled for the morning of the show
  • Get some cheap bling (I think I see a trip to Claire’s in my future)
  • Schedule mani/pedi

As for the diet, Coach Ben says I’m in the best position possible considering he’s adding food to my plan.  YAY for more carbs!

Here are some pics I took last night; I still have to work on the posing and I’m sure it will not be 100% by the time I hit the stage but I’m okay with that.

14 days out!
14 days out!

Now I must go to bed because I got up way early this morning and if I stay up any longer I will be tempted to raid the cupboards.  And I can only eat so much Jell-O (gelatin) in one sitting…I think my new record is 4 cups in one day.  Yeah I don’t think any human being should eat that much.  It’s just plain wrong. 🙂

Good night!  Next update from me will be just 6 days out.  Unbelievable!

Missing Mother

“How are you doing?”

When I get asked that question lately the subject always goes to the competition.  Always.  And I’m not tired of talking about it….yet.

Everyone wants to know what I’m doing, what I’m eating, how I’m working out, how do I stay on track, who’s your coach, how many weeks left, where is it, how much are tickets, what time will you be on stage???  The questions keep coming and I keep answering them with a smile on face, eager to share all the exciting news and information.

But when I’m alone, and no one is asking how I’m doing, I think about Mom.  I think it’s normal to think of her, especially when it’s quiet, when there’s not much going on.  OR when you’re counting down the hours until your next meal. 😉

But, unfortunately, the more I think about her, the more I miss her.  The more I miss her, the more upset I get.   And I get upset when I realize how much she’s missing out on.

She’s not here to watch me practice in my heels traipsing around the house in my bikini practicing my posing.

She’s not here to see me cook and prep my food and perhaps ask for a taste of something for herself.

She’s not here to take my progress photo’s and tell me my bikini is crooked or my hair is a little bit off.

She’s not here to tell me what she thinks about my ideas for the website or the book I want to write someday or the team I want to build after this is over.

She’s not here to tell me what kind of jewelry I should wear for the competition or how I should do my hair or what color my suit I would look best in.

She’s not here now and she won’t be there in October and she won’t be around to celebrate when it’s done.

And it sucks.

It’ll be the first of many “She’s not here” moments and there are going to plenty afterwards.  There have been many already.

But I do pray that on that day I feel her around me, cheering me on, whispering in my ear to keep going, to not be nervous, to do my best.

I hope and pray she’ll be there.  In the audience, smiling and beaming, proud and happy for her daughter.

 

 

Build-a-Butt

Get it?? Like Build-a-Bear….but it’s Build-a-Butt.

That’s funny isn’t it?!  Or maybe I just find silly titles like that humorous.   Moving along…

I survived my first posing seminar this past weekend!  Woohoo! And by surviving I mean I didn’t fall down in my stripper shoes.  That’s a victory in itself.

If you consider my competition the SHOW, you can consider this the dress rehearsal…kind of.  Only with a lot less people…and no spray tans…and no make up or big hair….and no judges. ..okay so it’s not a dress rehearsal at all.

It’s a scrimmage. Yes, a scrimmage would be a much more appropriate description.

I met some amazing looking women like Beth (@SansPantsGirl) and Callista (@StillaLandShark) with matching amazing personalities.  You couldn’t help but size up the competition but what was great is that we were all in the same boat – feeling like we perhaps didn’t belong.  All of us (as I found out later) are first time competitors.  I was shaking in my stripper shoes from the get go, not quite sure how to maneuver in these ginormous heels.

The seminar itself was great – I learned a lot from Chuck and Melissa who are both trainers and have competed several times.  Just watching them give cues I was in awe.  They are both BIG little people.  Big physiques, shorter in stature.  Like you just wanted one of them to bench press you just because you knew they probably could, ha!  (See picture – I’m sure you can tell who they are just by this description).  1071422_496548897099482_1186154786_o

As for the poses themselves – here are some visuals to help you understand just what I was doing on Saturday afternoon and the advice I was given:

frontpose

FRONT POSE:  I feel like I’m trying to be the Hulk in this pose.  You have to give the impression of size, specifically, that you have some.  And not just with this pose, with all of them.  But this is your first one that the judges see.   I’m still “under construction” so I’m not as large as I would like to be.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t exaggerate and fake it in the meantime.  You’re not supposed to suck in the gut either – it’s more of an elevation of your ribcage.  You also want the judges to see your lats on this pose.  See how you can see that muscle underneath/behind this woman’s armpits?  Yeah, you want to be able to SEE those.  NOT EASY.

backpose

BACK POSE:  This is the most painful pose, in my opinion.  I had a very hard time with this one.  I kept putting my arms out too far and not flexing my back correctly.  I was told by one competitor a couple weeks ago that when you get it right you have to remember how it FEELS, especially since you can’t see yourself.  So, I’ll be recording this one for sure.

sidepose

SIDE POSE:  I wasn’t too bad with this one although I have to remember to stick the butt out and create a curve with the back/tailbone.  Oh and my hands..hand placement is very important with all of these.  Hands have to be relaxed and again, it’s al ot easier said than done.

relaxedsidepose

SIDE RELAXED POSE:  There is nothing RELAXING about this pose.  Of course I had to post a pic of my girl Nicole Wilkins for this one.   See how the front foot is so close to the other foot and it’s pointed?  You have no idea how much that HURTS when you are not accustomed to wearing heels. I was dying in this pose.  Plus I kept forgetting to twist myself so the judges would be able to see me.  This is also the pose you hold while everyone else is on the stage doing their poses.  So it’s imperative you master it (keep smiling keep smiling keep smiling) so you can stay in it for a long period of time. 

Some other bits of advice given to me throughout the seminar:

“Get your butt up…you have no butt so you have to create the illusion that you have one.”

“Relax your back..don’t let your blades jut out.”

“Point your toes as you walk…don’t let your knees bend so much.”

“Stick that butt out.”

Can you tell I need to work on sticking my butt out? 🙂

All in all it made for one very uncomfortable afternoon – but that was the point.  These poses aren’t necessarily comfortable or relaxed in any way.  You are literally shaking (at least I was) as you stand there trying to recall all the pointers that were given to you.  I can only imagine on Competition day what will be going through my head as I pose in front of the judges…”Make eye contact. …Smile…Relax the shoulders…Keep smiling…Hands in front…Butt out  But out…Butt out!!!”

In the meantime it’s practice practice practice.  I actually wear the heels while I do housework as often as I can.  And since I rarely do housework, this is not a common occurrence.  But hey, if it gets me to load the dishwasher and do laundry more often, it’s a win-win situation right?

In the meantime, we got 10 weeks!  The countdown continues.

-Michelle

Tweet of the Week:  Courtesy of MeNote to Gen Pop: “Glad you’re doing well but you’re wasting away to nothing!” is what is defined as a Backhanded Compliment. #StopIt

Sometimes I can’t believe the nerve people have to tell you to your face what they think you look like.  And even after it’s explained that I’m happy and this is for a purpose (i.e. a show) I was told “That’s great! Good for you!  But you’re still wasting to nothing.”   Hey thanks random person!  You’re just fueling my fire to keep this going!

Mid-Week Mentality

 

I'm not a fan of the Keep Calm campaign but it was the only free image I found on Google.
I’m not a fan of the Keep Calm campaign but it was the only free image I found on Google.

I’ve been venting discussing with a few people how it’s been a mental game lately, this past week in particular with regards to staying on track with the diet.

I was not at 100% adherence (sidenote – that sounds so OFFICIAL doesn’t it?)  this past week unfortunately and although I don’t feel like I failed, I realize it’s a mental game now.  At first it was fun and it still is….but all of a sudden I would say it’s getting serious.  The diet is not so much restrictive as much as it’s challenging to stick to. 

The most difficult times for me occur when I’m off work in the middle of the week.   My mid-week SUCKS.   Weekends are pretty easy.   Which is odd because I feel like everyone talks about how weekends cause them to get off track.  For me it’s the opposite.  Weekends are super easy probably because I’m not awake for as long on those days.  The more sleep I get, the less time I have to cheat.  Unless I master sleep-walk-eating.  Which would be kinda awesome .

As for Monday and Tuesday, I would classify them as a medium level of difficulty.

Wednesday hits and look out!  It’s like a light switch goes off and all of a sudden I’m STARVING and everything looks good and I  stare into the cupboards and the fridge fighting with myself saying (sometimes out loud because no one is home)  “Okay so just one of THOSE or a tablespoon of THAT or just an ounce of THIS couldn’t possibly be so bad.”

Didn’t I make a big post about this a few months ago?  BLT’s! Bites Licks and Tastes = Add up = Leads to Binge = Hard Work Out the Window.

So here’s the game plan for Wednesdays:   Check-in with my coach.  Simple? Yes.  Effective?  Highly.  It’s probably just going to be a quick shout to tell him I was at 100%.  If I know someone is on the other end waiting for that email, I think I might do better. 

By the way, feel free to comment/email/text me on Wednesdays to find out how I’m doing.  It helps to have people, even complete strangers, check-in with me.  I did it the other day on someone’s Facebook Page.  They hadn’t posted in over a week so I posted a question to them on their “wall” and lo and behold it helped him.   Even though the dude doesn’t have a clue who I am, just the fact that I asked him how he was doing made a small difference.

Yeah it might be short-lived but it’s something to get through the day. 

I also got some good advice from my co-worker today.  She said:  Don’t think of it as 11 weeks to go or even 6 months in…think of it as Starting from Day 1.  Today you’re starting from the beginning.

Starting anew.  Maybe it sounds too much like “I’ll start Monday” mentality but it’s not.  Even though I’ve been on Ben’s plan for 10 weeks, and training for 9 months, I shouldn’t think of all the time that I’ve spent working and focus more on this point moving forward.  That way it’s like a fresh start every week.

I like that mentality a lot more than thinking “Oh my gosh I can’t believe I have to do this for 11 more weeks.”

It should be “Oh YES, I have 11 more weeks to work on this!” 

And even my coach phrased it well to me yesterday:  “You can make the most out of these next 11 weeks or you can just get through it.” 

I think I’m going to try to make the most of it.  Just getting through it sounds like Just Getting By and that sounds like no fun.  

FREE STUFF!!!!!

On a somewhat unrelated note, I will be providing some free t-shirts for my “Fans” to wear to the show on October 5th.  Family gets first dibs and then if there are extra and you are coming, you’ll get a shirt that you MUST wear that day.

It will look cool, trust me.  The goal is to get a big picture of myself with all my supporters that day.  For all those who have supported me, a t-shirt is the least I can do to repay you. 🙂

Also – I reserve the right to change my mind and charge a small fee for the shirts because…ummm….just because. 🙂

Okay 11 weeks:  Here. We. Go.

 -Michelle

Random Tweet of the Week courtesy of @jadeteta 

“What’s the deal with these ridiculous selfies? How bout take a picture of yourself helping someone? #helpies #dosomethinguseful”

I couldn’t agree more!

 

More than Before

May 26th 2012
May 26th 2012

I’ve posted a “Before”  picture on here previously but this picture above is really one that needs to be discussed.

It’s been a little over a year since this picture was taken.  In case it’s not obvious, I was a bridesmaid in my best friends wedding.  (I cropped her out for her privacy, but trust me when I say she was the most gorgeous bride….like, ever).

It’s so strange to look at this picture, NOW.

I don’t recognize myself.

But I don’t get sad as I look at this picture.  There’s no shame.  There’s no embarrassment.  Life was actually pretty good.

It’s just strange because I don’t want to forget how I felt when this picture was taken.  I want to remember that I did not look BAD.  This might be my BEFORE, but it could easily become my AFTER when this competition is over.

I’ll be honest, I hope it’s not.  I love the way I look now, but I was content looking the way I look in that picture.  I was satisfied.  I ate what I wanted when I wanted.  There was freedom to do that back then.

I celebrated birthdays with cake and ice cream and maybe some drinks.  I ate burgers and fries once in awhile.  I had pizza, I loved string cheese like it was going out of style.

I ate Peanut butter and Jelly for weeks at a time when I was feeling lazy.  I had salads with dressing that wasn’t measured out.  I went to baseball games and had hot dogs.

I went to the movies and had popcorn with butter and Buncha Crunch, my most favorite theater snack.

Yeah, I had veggies but only occasionally.

Yeah, I drank water, but only when I worked out.

Yeah I worked out, but only cardio and just SOME weight training for fear of breaking my foot again.

I was coasting….maintaining….perfectly content to just keep living my life that way.

But there was an obvious downside to this freedom:

I had zero self control.  There was no need to analyze every single piece of food that entered my mouth.  Who was keeping track?  Certainly not I.

I didn’t have the willpower to NOT eat everything that was put in front of me.  Any why shouldn’t I? There were no pics to send to any coach.

I hardly cooked my own food.  There was no reason to fuel myself properly for the workouts I wasn’t doing.

I never got enough sleep.  There were no early morning lifting sessions to be rested for.

I wasn’t doing any heavy weight training.  There was no motivation to get in shape.

Was it damaging me?  Maybe not.  Was it healthy?  Eh, not really.  Am I better off now than I was BEFORE?  Absolutely.

Although this experience is far from over, the physical changes are already obvious and that’s all great.

It’s the mental and behavioral changes that should matter most.

Here’s to 11 and a half weeks until my AFTER.

-Michelle

Stranger in the Mirror

gty_woman_mirror_jt_110916_wg

Such a dramatic title for the blog post today but it’s something I’ve been meaning to write about for awhile.

A quick update before I get into the nitty gritty: I had my photo shoot this past weekend and the photos are here: Photo shoot pics

Just scroll to the bottom.

My photographer was Jason of J.Dell Photography so be sure to show him some love as well.  He was wonderful to work with and seeing as though this was my first time in front of the camera for something like this, I gotta say I felt completely at ease.

I’m also quite surprised by the number of compliments on my page and in person that I’ve been getting from the shoot.  People I don’t even know are giving such great positive feedback and that really does make this all seem worth it!

Which brings me to the subject at hand: Getting used to the new ME.

Let me preface this by saying I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m like this completely different person when I look in the mirror these days.  And I have 16 more weeks left before the competition so my “transformation” is not complete.

But even still, I’m down to 115lbs from 142lbs just 8 months ago.  That’s quite a bit of weight for someone, especially someone like me that never really worried about my weight too much most of my life.

So now there are some things I need to get used to.

It’s kind of alarming.  It’s almost disturbing in a way, to view your body day in and day out and each time you glance in the mirror you see something new.

The first time I noticed a significant change was back in January.  I was doing abs and  I remember putting my hands on my hips to rest them in between sets and I felt my actual hip bones.

Having never felt these before it was really strange to me.  Almost frightening.  Not “Wow I’m so skinny my bones are protruding” type of frightening, because that wasn’t (and is still NOT) the case.   No, it was just the position I was in and the unexpected feeling of “Wow, I had a layer of fat over that area before, I guess this is working!” type of feeling.

Almost disbelief.  Like I couldn’t believe it was ME.

It happened again as I was just reaching behind my back to scratch an itch and felt muscle where there was no muscle before.

And again when I went to put make-up on and felt my cheekbones.  I kept touching my face and staring in the mirror as if to say “Is this real life?”

It wasn’t always frightening or disturbing.  It was fun one day when I saw ABS.  I literally ran downstairs to show my Mom and my brother, “Look!! It’s an ab!  I have ab muscles!!”  Granted at the time it was just two little muscles popping out, but still.  I had NEVER seen abs before on me in my life.

Yes there are still parts of me that I wish were a little bigger or a little more defined or a little more this or that…But I think that’s why they call this a transformation:  It’s a process that takes time and little by little, it’s great to see the small yet amazing changes your body takes when you lose a large amount of body fat/weight.

And now that I’m putting on some muscle, it’s even better!  Still scary though.

A girl that I post to on a message board for Figure competitors had something interesting to say about one of my posts that I think is appropriate for this topic:

I had said “I just wish my Mom could see me now.  I like to think she’d be proud of me and really happy for me.”

The girl responding also lost her Mom and replied: I’m honestly not sure what my Mom would think of my lifting.  She’d probably be totally weirded out, ha!” 

As simple as that comment was, it made me think:  Are there people “weirded” out by how I look now?  Not that I care of course, but I find it interesting.  I mean, I was weirded out by how I looked.  Legit freaked out.  I’m getting USED to it now, but even looking at those pictures, I can’t believe that’s ME.  

It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s motivating, but it’s still a little scary and alarming.  I’m sure I will get used to it but something to remember if you’re going for a certain look as I am for this competition: 

Be prepared for how your body responds.  Be prepared to ACCEPT your new body when it DOES respond.  And try not to freak out when you see your TRAPS in the mirror.

Yeah that’s right..I have traps now. 🙂

Thanks for reading tonight!  As always, feel free to comment!

Random Tweet of the Week from @MILLERNATION6  in response to one of my Photoshoot pics:I am a born again christian since jan of this yr and those pics show Gods beauty:)”

I don’t even know this person and it MADE MY NIGHT!

Why are you doing this?

Consider this your pep talk.  Even if you don’t need one right about now, this is a great read for anyone to stay committed to their goal of getting in shape this year.  You know I hate the word “resolution” and I prefer the word “commitment” instead.  Just reading this should get you back in the saddle….back on the wagon (or off the wagon, however that saying goes)…whatever analogy you prefer. 

Just read it and go workout, go cook something healthy, go COOK period.  Do some sort of activity.  Inspire someone else along the way.  If you need a reminder of WHY you’re at the gym on a Saturday morning or a Friday night, remember this note from BodyBuilding.com’s CEO:

I’m angry.

 

I’m angry because fat doctors exist.

 

Every day they go into work and deal with patients that are in pain and dying from complications related to being obese. They see in gory detail what diabetics have to go through after their first amputation. They listen to crying fathers that had a heart attack while simply playing with their kids. They comfort family members after their mother died from heart disease, the nation’s number one killer.

 

And when they leave the hospital, tired from helping so many sick and overweight people, they eat junk food. They skip the gym. They take the elevator. They go home and sit on the couch. They are a terrible example for the people they are trying to help.

 

I’m angry because it’s considered kind if you bake cookies and cakes for your family.

 

If you help your family to die a little earlier, to be a little more depressed, to have to deal with low energy levels, to have to get on medication for high cholesterol, to be stuck in bad eating habits for life, then you are thanked and considered a good person.

 

I’m angry because you are considered a mean parent if you don’t give your kids candy and sweets on a regular basis.

 

Children went hundreds of thousands of years without candy, but in today’s society, it’s borderline considered child abuse to withhold it from them. You would go to jail if you gave them a single cigarette (which won’t do any immediate harm), but if you kill them slowly with sugar, you are a good, loving parent.

 

I’m angry at gyms.

 

They know you aren’t going to keep showing up. They count on it in their business plans. If you don’t show up for a few weeks, do you get a call? Do they even notice? They exist to help you get into shape, and they are purposely failing and it’s our fault. We demand the lowest monthly cost, so we get the bare minimum in exchange.

 

I’m angry with large health associations that don’t address the actual issues.

 

How is it okay to sell Jumbo Cookies Platters, which include a cookie recipe with brown sugar, on your site to raise money? You don’t get it. Most health associations are focused on treating the symptoms with drugs, rather than doing the hard work of prevention. They are afraid to tell their members to change their lifestyle.

 

I’m angry that food companies make their food look healthy.

 

High fat and high sugar products promote “whole grain” or “high in vitamin C” on their packaging, creating a false sense that these products are healthy. 100 Calorie Packs (which are just junk food in small packages) make you feel like you are doing the right thing for your body. Subway restaurant appears good for you, but most people pack on mayo, bacon, cheese and white bread and a side of chips to their “healthy” lunch. If you show up at the office in the morning with an Oreo milkshake, you are unhealthy, but show up with a Starbucks Frappuccino, which is basically the same thing, and you are just having your morning coffee.

 

I’m angry that the media is constantly bashing vitamins, protein powders, and nutritional supplements.

 

The studies that show they work are multiplying, but you wouldn’t know it by reading the news. Out of shape journalists mostly promote the ones that show supplements in a negative light. Consumers deserve the truth.

 

I’m angry with all of the hucksters selling their latest fad diet book or miracle fitness program.

 

Not a day goes by that I don’t have somebody ask me about some new diet program that was just released. They are looking for the easy way to the body they want, and they don’t want to hear that it takes actual hard work and lifestyle change. It’s not rocket science; bodybuilders have been transforming and preparing for contests for decades. We know what works. The infomercials try to sell us the quick fix, and once we get it into our heads that we shouldn’t have to work for the life we dream of, we keep searching for the next miracle.

 

I’m more than just angry. I’m sad.

 

I’m sad when I hear about somebody’s family member that died too young. I’m sad when I see the number of prescription medications that people are taking on a daily basis due to their lifestyle. I’m sad when I hear that obesity is continuing to rise. I’m sad that our children will be the first generation to live shorter lives than the previous one. I’m sad when I see somebody start a fitness program and give up within weeks. I’m sad when I see people I love struggling.

 

I’m sad that the couch is winning.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. That’s why today I’m asking for your help.

 

Help me change it. Help me turn it around.

 

It’s possible if you understand that willpower doesn’t really exist. It’s not just about discipline and sacrifice. It’s about habit change. It’s about resetting norms. It’s about education. It’s about setting up your environment to make fitness easy. It’s about social accountability and helping your friends. It’s taking one simple step at a time, not setting yourself up to fail with drastic change all at once. It’s about setting goals and tracking your progress. It’s about long-term behavior change, not outcomes.

 

Don’t accept the things that make you angry in society. Don’t sit back and watch. Do something. Say something. Help someone.

 

Can you personally commit to health and fitness in 2013? Can you do it publicly to let others know that you are going to be part of the revolution? Sign our Facebook Commitment Wall Tab with me. Ask a friend to sign it. One person at a time, we can make a change.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ryan Deluca, CEO Bodybuilding.com

Although you don’t need to sign the Commitment Wall on Facebook, you can make a public commitment by using social media to declare that you are BACK AT IT.  Or even if you never stopped, just reinforcing your commitment to your loved ones and friends that you are STILL IN THIS is a great way to be held accountable.

never-give-up

A quote to inspire…

“Appreciate the incredible opportunity you have to become fit. You have to prepare your meals, but many have no meals to prepare. It’s hard to train before or after work, but many are out of work. Lifting weights takes effort, but some can’t even lift their body from a wheelchair or bed. This is a privilege, so make the absolute most you can out of it. From that perspective, there are no failures—only opportunities.”

Love Love Love this quote.  Sorry, don’t know the source.  It was from an article on Bodybuilding.com.

I consider just being alive a privilege.  I try to appreciate the fact that I have legs and arms and a body that moves and a brain that functions and a roof over my head and money to buy my food a huge blessing.  Everyday.  Blessed.