Post show treats, cheats, food-fests, deliciousness or, what they really are in a lot of cases or can easily turn into, post show binges.
Sometimes before we know it a whole week (or even a whole lot more) goes by and we’ve taste tested (or devoured) every craving that has come and gone over the past months of contest prep or more strict/structured meal plan (as well as some new ones that may have crept up).
We could have all the great intentions in the world to get right back on track right after the show or an alloted time of sinfully delicious indulgences, but sometimes even the most strong-willed people can have a hard time getting back on track after following a contest prep-type regimen for any length of time.
With the changes we are going through after working toward and achieving stage condition, it might feel more difficult to keep/get back on track as our bodies and minds return to “normal” but it is not impossible.
If you are having trouble keeping the eating under control, it does not mean there is something wrong with you and it does not mean you lack all self-control. And having issues with keeping the treats and/or portions under control is definitely not something you have to hide. Allow yourself to nip it in the bud by letting yourself know that these things can and do happen and it’s okay. Then you can deal with it before it turns into a bigger deal than it has to be by hiding or denying it (even to yourself) and allowing it to grow.
I believe there are more “quiet bingers” out there than there has to be and more than what most of us know about. I believe this because I know I have done it without thinking I ever would and know others who have as well.
Don’t worry about it, but do find ways to get it under control and to get yourself into a healthy/balanced off-season plan.
Being at an unnatually low body fat level is not a healthy state to be in or a realistic physique goal to have year round, and it is helpful to know that holding a healthy amount of bodyfat with a fit physique will always be more attractive and healthy-looking for “real life” than stage shape will ever be. But if we fluctuate from “stage shape” to gaining more weight than what is healthy, revert to poor eating habits and/or binge-type eating in the “off-season,” not only is it taking away from the valuable experience that contest prep can be, but it’s unhealthy in a lot of ways. And if we ever do want to compete again, it can make it a LOT more difficult to get back into that kind of shape.
There are many things we can do to keep things under control and slowly work back into a healthy/balanced lifestyle, which is what every off-season really should be.
Whether you are working with a coach or on your own, getting a plan in place (ideally before the show is done) can be very helpful. This way, even if you do happen to stray off course, you’ve got something/someone to turn to and to help you get back on track.
It’s hard to follow a structured regimen for months only to finish a show or similar prep and feel “lost” or like you are free to eat however you want. Yes we are technically “free” to eat however the heck we want to but chances are we won’t feel too great about ourselves, or feel very fantastic in other ways, doing so.
Hold yourself accountable, even if this is only necessary for the first month or two after a show. Whether this means filling your coach in on your cravings, etc. or if you are not working with a coach, keeping a journal. Try tracking sleep/wake times and sleep quality, cravings, moods, meal times, and all meals, compliant or not. No it doesn’t feel fantastic to write down poor food choices, but that’s the idea. If the habit is made of writing these things down, it’s more likely poor/unplanned food choices will be avoided and it becomes a lot easier to learn and recognize “triggers” for unplanned poor choices or food splurges (emotional reactions, cravings/hunger related to poor sleep, lack of nutrients, etc).
Recognize that there is nothing “wrong” with delicious/off-plan options (it can be fun and delicious to have these things as treats, occasionally. I know I enjoy them!) but there is something wrong with feeling like crap, frequent overeating and developing other unhealthy habits, which too much of these things can lead to and be a large part of.
Get those off-plan options out of your house, desk, office or anywhere you may stash the goodies. There is no reason to have them on hand. If they are out of sight, it’s true that they may not always be out of mind if/when cravings hit, but at least they are out of reach which is a heck of a lot better than having them lying around.
Remember your goals, why did you start eating/living healthier to begin with? Why did you make that choice? Keep those things in mind and remember how truly important these things are to you and your health.
And remember you are always able to get back on track even if you have happened to stray further than planned. One step and one meal at a time.
The best of luck with your Post-show Healthy/balanced lifestyle goals!
Another off-season post: Off Season Shape Comments