Tomorrow my beautiful family and I go to Hawaii! I am so excited about this trip (aside from the VERY lengthy travelling days!), especially because it will be the first time in such a long time that I have been on holiday whilst not having just finished a competition.
Having a holiday to look forward to has always been an added motivation when undergoing grueling competition preps. But it also has its own traumas and stress, as the relaxation and happiness is hard to balance with the unavoidable ‘smoothing over’ competitors experience and the loss of the sharpness and definition of that stage ready body. So many of my totally wonderful memories of holidays post comp are counteracted by the enormous guilt I felt when eating, the depression of not being that strong-willed competitor who could resist anything and the horror of gaining weight/fat. Post comp blues are becoming more and more well known. The more we talk about it, hopefully the less people will feel so alone when experiencing them. In my mind, it is vital to have a support network around you, people who love you for more than your appearance, who appreciate all the other factors of your personality and who can remind you over and over again (because your mind is constantly telling you differently) that you need to be healthy and happy more than you need six pack abs. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have such wonderful support, especially from the most important people in my life – my hubby and daughter.
I have read a great deal about this facet of our sport and hopefully I have been able to pass on as much assistance as possible to people who experience it. Always there is more to learn of course, and it can take many years to actually put everything into practice. Knowing things and actually being able to put them in place yourself are two different matters! I may need a whole other blog post to cover this in more detail! But for now, I am thinking about my upcoming holiday and how I don’t want this one to be like some of those previous ones. I want to be able to really relax and revel in adventures with my family, have the energy to do things with them, enjoy everything that this beautiful destination has to offer, and do it all without being overwhelmed with guilt and self-loathing, which in their turns also make me snappy, tired, stressed, frustrated and emotional.
There are many articles on how women who view themselves as overweight avoid activities (such as swimming or sports or even wearing certain clothes) where this may be noticed, and particularly avoid photographs of themselves undertaking such activities or any activity really! Then they look back and realize they (and their families) have so few photos of themselves, especially with their children. But don’t we ourselves look back at photos taken ages ago and laugh, enjoy the memories they invoke, remember the friendships and love that were at that stage in our lives, think fondly of those times and experiences? There will come a day when we won’t be here, when all people have to remember us by are their memories and their photos. I don’t think they will remember any cellulite, extra kilos, wrinkles, stretch marks or bad hair! I think (hope) they will remember the love we exuded, how we cared for them, shared things with them, tried our best always, the spirit we shone, how we got involved in things, played! They will remember laughing with us, experiences we shared, how we made them feel.
This holiday, I want to get back in the picture, and stay there. Even if not for me, then for my daughter. And I hope that you will also! The summer holidays are coming and let us not miss a single sunny day, social event, family get together or fun time through not wanting others to see us at less than 100% perfect, because nobody is! We are all special and unique, humans not robots, souls more than just the outer shell.
Aloha Hawaii! I can’t wait to see you. I think you will be my favourite holiday ever!