"Women who want to be perfect only end up feeling bad about themselves. I think that that's one of the things I learned from [my mother] was, like, go out. Make a mistake. Have the guts to fail and talk about it. There's nothing wrong with that." ~Maria Shriver, first lady of California
This quote ended up in my email inbox this morning and I know the timing was not coincidental. I've "come clean" to a couple of close friends in the last week. One lives far enough away that I can't see the look on her face, but I know that regardless, she doesn't love me any less. The other, I knew would be disappointed in me and I knew it would be written all over his face and I'd feel about an inch tall...it was and I did. I couldn't hide it. He's seen me through enough competitions that he knows "normal" from "not normal" and he also happens to know enough about the human body to know that something was "off". When he asked..."what's up with your stomach", I couldn't lie.
Back track to a week before the Emerald Cup, 2 weeks into the Palumbo Diet (a diet my body did not like!). I was not ready. I knew I was not ready. I told my coach I was not ready. I was at least 4 weeks off my mark in terms of leanness, maybe even 6. My heart wasn't in it because my mind was distracted. For the first time since I've been competing, I was ready to focus on other things in my life. My diet wasn't locked in and because my schedule was not consistent, neither was my cardio.
I considered backing out the Friday before the show, but I felt like I really didn't have that option. A pressure only I gave myself. I decided that if I could drop enough water I could at least look decent enough to get on stage. I've always prided myself on being a VERY natural competitor. As much as I hate it, I love the fact that I feel like a P.O.W. doing cardio with no water and full fleece sweats and then sitting in the sauna afterwards. It's knowing that you worked your ass off and it gave you the desired results.
I cheated. There you go. I know one person is reading this and has been waiting for those words, so there you have it...I'm a cheater! Cheater pants! Prescription diuretics...to some people not a big deal, but to me, cheating. I had some doctor clients offer me diuretics several weeks out and turned them down and then the weekend before the show a fellow bodybuilder offered them to me and, in desperation, I took them.
When you drop 19lbs in one week, rest assured you will gain it back. ALL of it. And then some!! And...my own fault for not doing my due diligence...there is a "post competition plan" when you use these. You can't just go back to drinking water to your heart's content and you can't just stop cold turkey. Would have been nice to know, but my own fault for not asking. After contest, I had the usual post-contest stuff going on, nothing out of the ordinary. But about 10 days-2 weeks after the show, I had a delayed rebound from the diuretics...distended abdomen, fluid retention EVERYWHERE (arms, legs, butt...you could have popped my butt like a water balloon!). I couldn't eat carbs without puffing up. It sucked. Plain and simple, it sucked.
I'm on day 5 of feeling like myself again. My body has finally stopped holding extra water and my stomach is back to normal...although, I'm still trying to convince my abs that it's safe to come out now. Do I have regrets? No, actually. Would I do it again? HELL NO and I would not recommend it to anyone else. In every experience there's something to be gained and this was a huge learning experience for me. As I was driving home from the gym this morning after my 50 minutes on the step mill, I realized how totally amazing my body is...it does everything I ask it to do. Carry some babies. Done! Carry two babies at once and carry them to term. Done! Get lean. Done! Gain muscle. Done! Every single time I give my body a task, it delivers...I ought treat it with a little more respect and talk a little nicer to it.
In the last week my body has changed markedly. My friend Michael came up to me last night and commented on how different I look since last week and how much I've dropped. Michael, who also made the "you went from skinny to fat" comment is trying to redeem himself, although I'm pretty sure he was being genuine. :) I know that my amazing, cooperative body is only going to keep doing what I'm asking!
After I came clean with Butch he told me..."I've never liked what you do to your body for these competitions, but the one thing that's always given me peace of mind was that you did it naturally." Not only did it give me peace of mind, but I also derived immense personal satisfaction from the hard work it takes to do it naturally. Maybe I need a "do over".......................