Braving the stage: 2 years on

Braving the stage

It’s that time of the week again, Throwback Thursday, so it seemed rather fitting when my Facebook memories reminded me of where I was just two years ago. I know many of you have heard this story, and perhaps even bored of me bringing it up, but braving the stage at The IFC really did have a lasting impact…


Braving the stage

Here I am, halfway through competing in the IFC. Something I had trained for months for. Got out of bed at 4:30am for. Eaten cold, dry chicken breast and broccoli (for 3 of my 5 meals a day) for. I was in the best shape of my life and PB-ing all over the place. But that’s not what this is about.

Earlier this week, fellow #ProjectBodyPositivity ambassador Sara posted her Instagram story about her journey to attaining the ‘perfect’ physique.

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T R A N S F O R M A T I O N “When your self worth and perception is wrapped around your weight!” Some will blindly like this and some will actually read…… just a moment of honesty that I’m sure others can relate to? . This years training for me has literally been one of my most structured and goal orientated to date and I’ve loved it however it’s had a constant undertone that’s hard to shake. In our social media driven society it’s hard not to let physical appearance rule how you feel about yourself as a person, how confident you are and what you believe you deserve out of life. Whether it’s a weight category or a dress size there’s a pressure to conform. I know personally my self image is broken, lean and with abs is an amazing feeling however for me unsustainable when I become overly self critical, obsessive and can only see continuous fault. In reverse zero abs, healthier, thicker and hugely stronger which I love ……inevitably soon leads to despising what I see and I long for lighter and leaner again. . Balance is key but am I ever really satisfied? How do I let my self worth and my silhouette become so intertwined? . It should be all about doing good, inspiring others and living your dreams, not constantly comparing yourself to false images, your clothing size or the number on the scale!!!! . Deep, maybe this post is really just me reminding myself more than anything ✌🏾🙋🏼💛

A post shared by S A R A (@sara_sm1th___) on

Oh, that P word, perfect. What does that even mean anyway!? 

It got me thinking about my own journey and those of all the other amazing women I come into contact with everyday.

Yes, at one point in my life, the be all and end all of my happiness balanced on how I felt I looked. If I felt fat, the world was shit, and if I felt ok, or dare I say happy, with how I looked, it was great! Such a warped perception.  I can totally mirror Sara’s words in her post above, which I’m sure will resonate with some of you.

So what happens when you no longer compete or your photoshoot has been and gone and you don’t look like you did for that day?

Well, quite a bit actually, both physically and mentally. You finally have the freedom to eat what you like and take a week off of training. But as soon as you do that your image starts to change. You may even hear the cruel jibes about your ‘rebound’ look (yes, I had that!) which makes me the most sad.

If I’m totally honest (which let’s face it guys is all the time, I rarely hide anything on here!) that’s where I am right now. I’m back to being just shy of my pre journey weight which in my head SUCKS!!!! But when I look at my body, it’s not TOO much different from where I have been before, just a fair bit softer. Again, that warped perception on how you should feel given what the scales tell you.

Braving the stage and me now

I may have gained a stone since braving the IFC stage, but I have also gained some perspective. Massively. I’m in a much better place today mentally than I was 2 years ago. I used to think putting myself under intense pressure to look good for other people was a good thing, but I can now see that that wasn’t fair on me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these stage competitions are a bad thing, and I certainly support others on their journey. I would just forewarn people on how in your head it becomes. You’ll never be perfect as you’ll never be perfect in your own eyes.

The one thing that resonates with both Sara and I? Attainability. Yes, restricted, calorie controlled, macro led nutrition plans work, that’s how we got to where we did!

But when you’ve got a full time job, a child, hobbies, a social life to factor in, sometimes, somethings have to give. And that’s OK. We need to start remembering that. And stop being so damn hard on ourselves when we ‘slip up’ and have a cake or three…

So, what’s next?

For now I am just focussing on getting back into training properly; my back injury has meant that the last year of training has been pretty hit and miss with little to no focus. But recent health issues have been the fire I needed to sort myself out.

I decided to put myself through another Day Cure after swearing BLIND I’d never do another..and it was a brilliant day; no back, knee or endo pain to be seen. What a result!

Braving the stage: Day Cure

Day Cure Crew!

And with the help of my #SneakyStrong Rach, I managed 4 sets of 5 squats at 70kg last week, which for me, was a massive achievement given my back! 

So here’s to gaining perspective, being perfectly imperfect and being the best version of ourselves we can! 


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