New Normal, Same Booty

There are a lot of really great posts out there about what it's like to love your post-stage body. I've even written about this weird image of my own body before.

But given that I am back on that road, and just as a whole new class starts to move into the notion of being "retired" I wanted to add my two-cents onto the ever-growing sound board of what the new normal means. (I hope I'm not breaking my own rules here on posting about this post-Miss journey.)

So the reality is really simple: you train for months, years, sometimes decades to make it to that end game - stage of all stages - and when that is over, and you're not training...well, you need to figure out what normal means for you.

That's not to say that your life, your diet, and your workouts while training were abnormal. But, post-stage means you get to go more than 24 hours without being in the gym. It usually means alcohol and Oreo's move back into the "acceptable" foods. Actually, if I'm being really honest, I stopped having a notion of what I "can" and "shouldn't" eat.

Let's pause for a second and recognize how quickly training and prep becomes disordered. At some point this is something I'll talk about at length. But I want to stop and say this - if you're prepping for a state pageant, or national pageant, or anything that requires some sort of plan - and you are unhappy with the process of how you are getting there you need to stop.

There is a healthy way to cut down on carbs and sweets. There is a healthy way to embrace cardio, weight training, and finding those abs you've been fighting for. But if you feel guilty about eating certain things. If you beat yourself up for not going to the gym. If this process is making you mentally unhealthy you need to stop. Get a nutritionist and/or a personal trainer and start over.

So, normal. Well, that takes almost just as much work, in my experience as setting up that training and dieting regimen. Breaking down those notions of training, into just plain ol' healthy living is hard.

It is a lot of acceptance.

It is a lot of looking in the mirror and seeing someone you don't quite recognize. She's still you. She's still healthy. But she's less toned than the you of four months ago. She's a little...softer.

I'm still pretty sure there are no "cheat meals" in normal.

It is a lot of understanding that "normal" is variable. Normal might mean training for another half marathon. It might mean going three days without hitting the gym. It might mean you eat pizza every Saturday.

There is still plenty of cardio, weight training, salads, steel-cut oats, and gallons of water. But in different ratios. I think that's the best way I have come to describe this to other people. My new normal is a lot like my prep life, but in different ratios.

In part, that is what's hard to stomach. You're relearning your body and what it takes to make it happy, and healthy, and yeah, that usually means you won't be at stage weight. And I've said it before, and I'll say it again, but stage weight is not a livable weight.

I honestly don't care how into asparagus and chicken you are, or how much you love two-a-days and fasting cardio. If you do not have an end date, a goal, a driving factor - that life is unsustainable.

And with good reason.

So that is why I hope that as we all slowly come down from this season of life there is a recognition that some of our training behaviors have to end. Just as we won't be heat-styling our hair every day and gluing eyelashes to our faces, we won't need to eat 1/2 cup of brown rice at 2:30 in the afternoon just to hit our macros.

And, yeah, some things will be easier to let go of than others.

I'll be the first to tell you, as easy as it is to eat the pizza, it's the reflection in the mirror that's the hardest part to reckon with. It's true, it will make you want to keep training, keep counting macros, and to keep saying no to the tastiest food in America.

It will make you want that body back. Without a doubt.

*it is super weird that my friends come in GIFs but, let's roll with it. 

Look, you worked for that body, and you worked hard. And, not for nothing, you should want to stay in fighting shape. But it's understanding that inevitably you won't, and what comes after you hit that point.

After you hit that point, you've got to be ready to hit that new normal, and accept the body in the mirror.

I'm still running. I'm back to working with my personal trainer. I'm still not buying peanut butter M&Ms (very often.) But I eat Moe's with reckless abandon, and get the good stuff at Starbucks without guilt. If I don't hit my Activity Goal for the day, it's no big deal. That's normal now.

I'm still feeling squishy though. I'm still feeling like I'm too out of shape to have been a Miss.

And that's seriously ridiculous. I know that.

But also I know I'm not always going to walk around at 120 pounds. Sure, it's nice, but it's not livable.

I mean, pizza gave me my boobs and my booty back. 

And frankly, I don't want them to go away again. So, Leonardo's is one of the most used apps on my phone, and I'm signing up for races left and right. It's called balance, y'all. It's a struggle every day. It's a new shade of normal every day. And balancing the ratios of this journey is just weird sometimes.

But when I think about what season of life I just left, this is a piece of cake. Sometimes literally.

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