This day last year I was anxious and excited as I was preparing to step on the stage for my very first fitness competition.
Since I have already wrote a full blog on that experience I will not talk much about it, but long story short, I did quite well and did actually enjoy myself.
As soon as I was done my competition I was all psyched for my “off-season” and to come back next year and aim for my pro card.
However, a lot has changed in my life since this time last year.
As an outsider looking in you may not really notice these changes, but as someone who tries to be very in tune with their thoughts and personal growth, I have noticed a huge difference. My outlook on life, the way I talk to myself, and my goals have all drastically changed.
Of course, there is the physical transformation with a difference of more than 20 pounds since I stepped on stage. But I am more focused on how far I have come mentally in the last year.
One of my goals for 2017 was/is to eat and exercise for the sake of my health.
To eat vegetables and a variety of whole foods, not to cut weight, but because I know my body will appreciate them.
To do cardio a couple times a week, not to increase my calories burned, but because I know my heart will be stronger for it.
However, one of my bigger goals for 2017 was to enjoy my life more, and make more memories
To be able to go on a spontaneous trip and not worry about getting all my workouts in for that week.
To be able to go to family dinners, BBQ’s or wherever and to just enjoy the food and fun, stress free.
To be more than just my body.
To some people this may seem ridiculous that I actually had to make this a goal, but for someone who is very driven and always feels the need to be doing something productive with their life (who last year had very strict goals and a strict lifestyle for the first half of the year), I knew I had to put it in writing.
Over the last 12 months I have learned to truly love the skin I am in, not in a conceited way, but in a ‘I know my self worth is not based on my body fat percentage’ kind of way. In a way that allows me to be happy and enjoy my social life, without feeling guilty or like it is going to ruin all my progress.
Over the last 12 months I have been focused on being more selfless, giving more to those around me and really paying attention to how I make others feel. Not to say that all fitness competitors are selfish, but you do have to be totally focused on you and your goals in order to do well, so it forces you to think about yourself more than others.
Over the last 12 months I have made more memories, improved many relationships, and learned to see the wonderful qualities that I have on the inside, and I continue to keep this up.
Clearly, my physique is not the most “award winning” that it ever has been.
But I don’t care.
After you do a fitness competition, every single person who I have talked to, has said that they feel “fat” even when you are at a normal, healthy weight for a while… And I would be lying if I said didn’t feel like that, especially when I compare myself to pictures of my show.
However, I can honestly say that it no longer bothers me.
I can lift a heck of a lot more than I could this time last year.
I have more shape to my body.
I have a fun social life, and people actually enjoy spending time with me.
I am happy living the life a 22 year old should be living.
I am still relatively health conscious, but food and exercise are not all I think about.
** This is not to say that if you are young you are wasting your youth prepping for shows, like I said I am still super glad I did it and I learned a lot! Just make sure that you are ready for what comes after, prep is no way to live for the rest of your life and remember you are beautiful even when you are not stage ready. Furthermore, what good is a stage ready body or a bunch of trophies if you are miserable and lonely because no body wants to be with you when you are dieting? (No, I was not miserable and lonely – I actually had a lovely support system, bless their souls, but I know that I was not the most fun to be around.)
In the end I do believe that it is important to have goals, especially if it is necessary for your health and well being.
Just make sure that you do not let those goals totally take over your life, even if you have to lose over 30 pounds because your doctor said so, you can do that by making small, manageable changes.
Overall, what I’m trying to say is that the best accomplishments in life come from the inside, as cliche as that sounds, it’s true.
Trophies are awesome, but all they are going to do is collect dust, memories and relationships will last a life time.
The key to life is balance, and although I am still learning, I know that I have made huge leaps in my personal growth over the last year and that is an accomplishment in itself.
Is what you are doing now making you happy?
Are you living your life to the fullest?
If you are having trouble reaching your goals and/or finding balance in your life, talk to somebody about it!
PS – people don’t love you for your body (if they do, they’re not worth your time and deserve to be throat punched), no one else notices that extra 5 (or 20 in my case) pounds except for you, you will never be happy if your only source of happiness is reaching a certain goal weight, so go out and make memories, enjoy your life, now!