Big news, here at Lazy Girl. It’s official- I entered a fitness competition. Not quite sure what I’m talking about? Google “bikini fitness competition” and tell me those women are not seriously disciplined athletes with impressive physiques.
And in a few months, I’ll be competing against them.
Let that sink in for a moment. It hasn’t for me yet, which may or may not be a good thing.
Your favorite couch loving, pajama wearing, milkshake guzzling, pizza devouring, unabashed lazy girl is following a strict diet and working out almost daily in preparation for wearing a glitter bikini the size of an eye patch while covered in fake tanner on stage in front of lord knows how many people. “Intimidated” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
So why the hell are you doing this?
Every year I make a list of resolutions: take better care of myself, get in shape (round is a shape!), stop stressing, be happy, blah blah blah. It’s generic and I think I speak for most of us when I say that list gets tossed aside mid-to-late January as we slip back into our old habits. This year, I wanted things to be different. Instead of making my usual disposable resolutions list, I made a list of all the things I’m afraid of and think are “impossible.” That became my To-Do List for this year. It’s lofty. It’s the kind of list that makes you want to pee your pants or hide under the covers. Having the body of a fitness competitor is something that I’ve always wanted but something that has always been more aspirational than realistic. Just look at my Pinterest board. I’ll be honest, the thought of being judged solely on my body scares of the ever loving crap out of me which is precisely why this competition made the list. But everything seems scary and impossible until it’s done so rather than shit the bed with fear, I decided to set a goal and work towards it. What’s the point in having aspirations if you don’t pony up the effort to make them a reality?
For the last three weeks I’ve been working towards that goal and my logic (let’s call it “logic”) is that if I can survive the last three weeks following an unforgiving diet and hard core training regimen then I can survive the next three months leading up to the show. Fingers crossed.
But I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It hasn’t been easy…
My diet consists of four meals and two snacks every day. I prep all my meals on Sunday which takes anywhere from three to four hours and that includes grocery shopping. I weigh and measure everything and each meal goes in a cute little Ziploc baggie.
Have you ever tried eating out of a Ziploc bag? It’s extremely awkward both logistically and socially. I generally end up inadvertently stabbing myself through the bag with my fork and hiding in a corner to avoid questions like “why are you eating out of a plastic bag, weirdo?” People think I’m weird because it is weird. Who the hell eats out of a Ziploc bag? But Ziploc has made it possible to fit an entire day’s worth of meals into a discrete insulated lunch bag as opposed to schlepping around a giant Coleman cooler or being tied to my refrigerator. This way, no matter where I go or what I do (I still have a life outside of competition preparation), I always have healthy food with me and thus NO EXCUSES.
I’m just hoping the stab wounds and inquiries about why I’m shoveling a meager portion of steamed chicken and green beans into my face as I cower in a corner will be worth it come April. Only one way to find out!
Once I have all my meals prepped, sticking with the diet is pretty straight forward. I just eat what I prepped. I don’t have to think about what I’m going to make for dinner or worry about getting to the grocery store before they close or debate which restaurant has the healthiest take-out menu. I eliminated all the guesswork and stress when it comes to food. The only time I run into trouble is at social events because I have shitty willpower and I LOVE food. Saying no to a plate of chicken wings is physically painful for me. And quite honestly, if I had to say no to all the foods I loved for months on end, I might lose my mind so I have a cheat meal each week. One meal where I eat whatever I want and I don’t count every last “macro.” (Macro is short for “macronutrient” which include proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and I have to keep track of them because there are limits to how much of each I can eat on a daily basis) Every week, I look forward to that cheat meal. You have no idea.
Then there are the workouts. The workouts are a little more intense than what I’ve done in the past. I’m using heavier weights and doing more reps. It’s not easy getting to the gym every day. EVERY. DAY. I really don’t want to go. The trick is, I stopped asking myself what I want to do and started asking myself what needs to get done. If I think about what I want to do, I’d quit my job and sit on my couch draped in flannel eating bonbons all day because that’s what I want to do. But I have bills to pay so I have to go to work and I have to feel comfortable parading around on stage in an unforgiving bikini in a few months. So I eat whatever is in the Ziploc bag and nothing else. I go to the gym and do whatever workout my trainer told me to do. I’m on autopilot and in some ways it’s kind of nice.
My professional trainers figure everything out for me. They have been competing for years and they’re amazing. They came up with the meal plans and the workouts. They tell me when I need to submit forms, buy my lucite heels, order my glitter bikini, and schedule hair/makeup/tanning appointments so that come show time, I’m ready. They keep me motivated and focused. Basically I just do as I’m told and follow the program. As someone who has been a total control freak my entire life, I find this new approach freeing and relaxing in a bizarre way.
The only thing I need to figure out is how to fit it all in and that requires planning. Lots of planning. Life has become very scheduled. After prepping my meals on Sunday, I plan my week. If I have something going on after work, either I go to the gym on my lunch hour or I resign myself to working out at 10pm. This has happened and it’s not as bad as it sounds. If I’m meeting a friend for lunch on the weekend, I check out the restaurant menu ahead of time so when I get there, I know exactly what to order and adjust the rest of my meals for the day accordingly. The planning is tedious and tough and there are plenty of times when I want to say, “fuck it, I’m going to Dunkin Donuts and I’m not leaving until I’m in a Boston Creme coma” but when I get on the scale everyday and the pounds keep coming off and I walk around my apartment naked because I look amazing without clothes on, it’s totally worth it.
And the best part is, you can all join me on this journey. I’ll be documenting this process in future Lazy Girl columns, posting photos, and keeping you all up to date on my struggles, progress, and triumphs along the way. I truly believe if I can do this, anyone can. Now I just need to prove it.
“The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Health and Fitness” is written by the irrepressible Kate Richlin-Zack and runs every other Tues at 10:30AM on Kate-book.com. She is a former plus-sized model turned fitness enthusiast who lost about 50lbs in the process. She loves food and views exercise as a necessary evil in her quest for looking good and feeling confident in hot pants. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.