I wasn't fat, but I wasn't healthy, and I certainly didn't look my best.
From my senior year of high school, to the end of my sophomore year of college, I lost about 30 pounds. Since that time, I have gone down about another 20. (To be honest, I don't own a scale. But I use the one at the gym, and go the doctor's enough that I've gotten pretty good at guesstimating.)
So, loosely, that's 50 pounds in five years.
A lot of that progress was motivated by a swimsuit competition. I have competed in swimsuit four times in the last three years (five, if you count walking the Miss NH stage in my swimsuit twice, which I like to, because dude, that is still not easy.)
Frankly, not much else could have motivated me to run, and to eat exponentially more vegetables and less bagels.
However, as much as I do truly enjoy running, and strength training, and eating more than Cheetos and pizza, it's become very clear to me (particularly in the last two months) that the weight that I was the week of Miss New Hampshire, is simply unsustainable.
For one, knowing that you are at your lowest weight - that you are at a weight that you would compete in - is very daunting. It's a focus that I don't want for myself. I don't like the idea of constantly thinking about not eating certain foods, or for that matter, how long I have to run to negate the calories I consume. That's not enjoyable. And it's far too time-consuming.
That takes some getting used to, and it takes a lot of understanding. Reassuring myself of what I know to be true - that I am healthy, that being skinnier won't make you happy, that enjoying food is important - even if pizza makes you bloated.
It's unrealistic to live like you are always two days away from competing in swimsuit. It's unrealistic for me, personally, to not enjoy food, and to spend five nights a week on the treadmill.
It feels really good to be at your lowest weight, to confidently strut across a stage in less than two feet of fabric, to know that you are at your most fit. I'd be lying if I said all of that doesn't feel amazing.
In the end though, it's not real life. Being constantly concerned with your body, your weight, how you might look to...anyone, it's not normal. And it's not healthy.
It takes a lot of patience to be okay with returning to pre-pageant weight. Do I plan on gaining back 50 pounds? Hell no. But, sliding back to my "non-pageant normal" is definitely taking some getting used to.
And you know what? That's really okay. Because as okay as it is to be thrilled with your unrealistically sustainable competition body, it's just as okay to be less than thrilled that you are losing it. After all, I worked damn hard for it.
What's nice about "normal" is that I can reach for the Oreos now and not feel bad about it. I can skip one workout and not feel like I have to also skip dessert, or carbs at dinner. It's not always easy, but honestly, it's so much better than living unrealistically.