This - intentionally gaining weight after a show - is much harder than I thought it would be.
I figured it would be difficult. I mean, I did this before, when I recovered from anorexia. Gaining weight during recovery was intensely, unbelievably difficult - but it was such a short phase (before I just threw all caution to the wind and full-on binged, doubling my weight in a matter of months) that I sort of forgot.
I could lie and gloss this over and talk about how much fun it is to eat carbs again.
But I think the value of blogging is its honesty.
So here it is, the truth: I'm really, really struggling with body dysmorphic disorder right now.
It's hard to see yourself stage lean, and then see yourself 'real-life' lean.
When I took this picture I immediately wanted to delete it.
I made a disgusted noise.
I am not proud of these things. In fact, I am deeply disappointed with myself for having that reaction. I (rather naively) thought I was beyond this.
But I am, at least, aware that this is crazy.
I want to gain muscle. I do not want osteoporosis. I do not want to slip back into the grip of an eating disorder - I can't, I won't. I want to eat. And, more than anything, I want to get rid of that crazy voice in my head that's whispering, "Why not stay stage lean?"
The immediate post-contest period presents a perfect storm for anyone predisposed towards disordered tendencies: everyone is commenting on your contest photos, texting you, talking about how good you look. Meanwhile, you have gained water, so you know you don't look like you did on stage - and you shouldn't! Nonetheless, this weight gain can easily fuel your desire to restrict.
I go back and forth in my head all day. One minute I want to stay super lean, I'm terrified of gaining fat, of being 140lb again.... and the next, I'm eager to gain muscle, to build my shoulders, my arms, my abs, my back. To prove - to myself, to Max, to everyone - that my ED is safely in my past, not my present or future.
I can step back and see what's happening and where this is coming from, and I have been adding food back in, so I don't think I'm in imminent danger.
But I do want to illustrate how much of a mind-game contest prep (and its aftermath) can be, depending on your history. I certainly don't think this is a problem for everyone, but it is a danger to those of us with EDs and body dysmorphia in our past.