Yesterday (thank you all SO MUCH for all the support, by the way!), I mentioned not wanting to post exact meal plans, daily macros, or calorie counts for fear of providing thinspo.
A few folks stated that they want me to remain transparent about the contest prep process.
So here goes.
I am three and a half weeks out and my diet is pretty extreme.
That is the nature of the beast. Some people - those with speedy metabolisms, or bodies that respond well / are naturally lean - may be able to consume large amounts of calories this close to a show. I am not one of them.
That is certainly not to say that I'm eating 800 calories a day and doing 2 hours of cardio - that's not the case, although I have heard of it (and witnessed the devastating effects). I wouldn't jeopardize my health. But I'm certainly not eating enough to sustain my activity level, which is kind of the point.
Everything from steak to egg whites to vegetables gets measured.
Between cooking my food (tilapia, chicken breast, lean steak, sweet potatoes, veggies) and Max's food (chicken breast tenderloin, oatmeal - he sucks at making his own, eggs, ground bison), I'm in the kitchen for at least an hour and a half a day.
I get crap for being "too skinny," "bony," and even "gross" at work. (You try explaining what a bikini competition is to your 73-year-old Yugoslavian bosses. Just try.)
My weight loss process for this show has not consisted of intuitive eating, eyeballing, or guessing. Being very precise has allowed me to lose fifteen pounds in the past thirteen weeks. (Weight control can definitely be achieved via intuitive eating, but I don't know of any physique competitors who utilize that type of approach.) That type of precision is why you don't see bikini, fitness, figure, physique, or women's bodybuilding competitors looking stage-ready year-round.
Getting stage-ready requires extreme measures (for most, but certainly not all, competitors) -- measures that no one can keep up 365 days a year unless they do so at the expense of their health.
And that's why, if you are on the precipice of an eating disorder or have just recovered or fear relapse, you should stay far, far, far away from contest prep. Prepping could easily morph into an eating disorder.