Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Pro, the Pop Tarts and the Pact

I wish I never discovered Pop Tarts. 

Barring that, I wish I'd left them in Grade 7 where they belong. 

Barring THAT, I wish that I never tried to fit one into my macros back in November 2012.


 I regret Pop Tarts.

I regret you.

For those of you who don't know, I am currently preparing for a bodybuilding show using the "If It Fits Your Macros" method; I'm assigned a specific number of carbs, fat, and protein every day, and I'm allowed to choose whichever foods I like, as long as at the end of the day, I'm at (or below!) those numbers. I started my diet off conservatively, using up my carbs with lots of broccoli, brown rice, sweet potatoes and oatmeal. Slowly, I added in sugar cereal and bagels post workout. Then, Pop Tarts. 

It all went downhill from there.

On June 27, I made a public declaration (read: announced on Facebook), that I was giving up my beloved sugary chemical awesomeness, because every day that I had one, I felt like I was setting myself up for failure. I'd start to crave the sugar, the frosting, the filling - It wasn't normal. I'm not kidding. I started YEARING (no exaggeration) for sugar daily; a craving I hadn't experienced since my last contest prep in 2012, when my calories were low, and I would've eaten a Kleenex covered in Splenda just to satisfy my need for sweetness. I figured I was better off cutting them out cold turkey, then weaning myself off. Not to mention, it's embarassing to admit that you have to wean yourself off Pop Tarts. So cold turkey it was.

 Yes, this was my post. Yes, I refer to Pop Tarts as "dangerous."

I got the most amazing, indescribably thoughtful outpouring of support from my friends, fellow competitors, the promoter of the bodybuilding competition herself, and anyone who understood what this sugar addiction was about.

One message that came through, however, was from an IFBB Bikini Pro whom I'd never spoken with (That's a lie: I was covering a show she competed in, and when she asked for feedback, I told her that her hamstrings were holding water. THAT was the only time we'd spoken; and I didn't think I'd left a great impression). Anyway, she told me she empathized with my situation, and asked if I "wanted a non poptart buddy for support, I'll happily do it with you. seriously." After I picked my jaw up on the floor, I politely declined, letting her know it was a generous offer, but I'd never ask that of someone... Especially someone who'd done so well on a diet that was obviously working! She had her pro card. She was eating pop tarts. She didn't need to give up one of the 4 food groups for me. I was flattered, but "No, thank you." She insisted. I caved. *click "That was Easy" button*

We agreed to email each other literally every single day with either pictures of our food, or a breakdown of the menu items. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. For 28 days. We were allowed to cheat/go over our macros, but ideally, it wouldn't be with refined sugar, and it DEFINITELY wouldn't be with a Pop Tart. Starting on June 29, it was Game-on. We missed MAYBE 1 or 2 days out of the 28, but all in all, we both stuck to the promise religiously, and were on top of the situation. Speaking from my point of view, the last 4 weeks were some of the smoothest I've encountered in any of my last 10 contest preps. Not just feeling accountable to a coach in terms of getting your spreadsheets and progress shots in on time, but having to be accountable to a contemporary via pictures and words and TRUST (most importantly), makes a world of a difference. There's no room for error. No room for "fixing it later" or "doing better tomorrow." I had someone on the other end of the computer waiting for me, reviewing my actions DAILY, judging me, and most importantly, making sure I was the best me that I could be. And I was that person for them.

Fast forward to today, July 29... 32 days after making the original pact. We shared our first bite of victory. Not only symbolizing victory over the sugar addiction (which was more my shtick than hers), but victory over that little voice that says, "You can't", "You won't", "You're not good enough". 

We won.

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