The past 4 weeks have really flown by – it was already time to reassess yesterday! After taking progress pictures in the morning, I wasn’t really sure what to expect in terms of objective progress. My competition prep last time was so much different from this time. I’ve been at this for 11 weeks already. If I were 11 weeks into my prep last time, I would probably be eating 1300 calories or less per day while doing an hour of cardio 5-6 days per week (I would also have only 3 weeks left until show day at this point). This time around, I’m eating 1500-1600 calories per day and only doing steady state cardio 3 times per week for 40 minutes with 2 days of sprints (which only take 15-20 mins) thrown in. I don’t feel overtrained or deprived. I am still hitting PR’s on an almost weekly basis.
In the past 4 weeks, I’ve lost 2.5 lbs, another inch from my waist, and a little less than 1% body fat. My body fat measured at 12.88%. I confess to being a little bit disappointed because my progress is slowing down. However, I reminded myself that this is to be expected. My body doesn’t actually want to be this lean – so the leaner I become, the harder I’m going to have to work to achieve smaller and smaller increments of progress. It’s the law of diminishing returns.
I’m pretty happy with the way my shoulders, back, and arms look, and I’ve always been happy with my lower body. Everyone has something they are self-conscious about, and for me, it is my stomach, so I feel that I still have some work to do there. I started tanning last week (which I have mixed feelings about, but have determined is a necessary evil so I don’t look like an Oompa Loompa on stage), and wore shorts to the gym yesterday for the first time in months. As I caught glimpses of myself in the mirror during the workout, I was happy with what I saw. I always admired really fit/lean girls at the gym and wished I could be like one of them, and it hit me yesterday that I AM one of those girls!
All of that being said, things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. I’ve had a lot on my mind for the past couple of weeks, including some things that don’t necessarily have anything to do with competition prep. I just finished reading a book called The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown. Perfectionism is something that I’ve written about in many previous posts as it is something that I struggle with constantly. There were a few passages in this book that I connected with and shook me up a little bit. Here are a few excerpts from the book:
When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving…when we struggle to believe in our worthiness, we hustle for it.
Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It’s a shield. Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.
She also included examples of healthy self-talk and perfectionist self-talk, which I found really enlightening:
Perfectionism self-talk: “Ugh. Nothing fits. I’m fat and ugly. I’m ashamed of how I look. I need to be different than I am right now to be worthy of love and belonging.”
Healthy-striving self-talk: “I want this for me. I want to feel better and be healthier. The scale doesn’t dictate if I’m loved and accepted. If I believe that I’m worthy of love and respect now, I will invite courage, compassion, and connection into my life. I want to figure this out for me. I can do this.”
For me, the results of this shift were life changing. Perfectionism didn’t lead to results. It led to peanut butter.
Reading this book gave me a lot to think about, and it made me realize that I have been hustling for worthiness. I’ve been trying to be a perfect person to win the respect and affection of others based on what I think they value. I’ve been dragging the twenty-ton perfectionist shield around for weeks, and I’m exhausted. I haven’t been practicing consistent authenticity. My hustling for worthiness has also tainted my attitude and feelings toward others’ success. My knee jerk reaction lately to the success of others is often to find a way to minimize it to take away its value because it threatens my own fragile feelings of worthiness. I don’t want to be that kind of person. I want to be genuinely happy and supportive of others and be inspired by their success and achievements, not threatened by it.
So, this week my goal is to stop performing for others and make every effort to just be myself (which is easy to lose sight of when you are constantly changing who you are to suit what you think others want). I am imperfect and I am enough. I don’t want to continue to hustle for worthiness, I just want to embrace it.