Cooking, Renovations and Fun Stuff

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stop Me Before I Eat More!

An article about appetite. It's a long one, but helps to explain a lot of what happens to your body chemically after a show. If you're short on time, I've highlighted some of the more relevant points in blue.

Stop me before I eat more! Who's in charge--you or your appetite? Eating right would be a piece of cake if it weren't for that overpowering urge called hunger. But where do those "feeeeed me!" signals really come from? Your genes? Our culture? The mysterious hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin? Michelle Stacey helps you get a handle on the Big Pang.

LIKE THE INSATIABLE HOUSEPLANT IN LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, our bodies send a message to our brains: "Feeeeed me!" The monster within us makes its relentless demand, we comply, and soon enough it rears its ugly head yet again and roars for more.

We're supposed to feel hungry when we need fuel, but hunger has become so fraught, so linked to our collectively ballooning girth, that it often seems less like a finely tuned bodily function and more like a beast in need of taming. Who's in charge--our appetites or our brains? And is there really such a thing as willpower?

The answer to the second question is yes, of course, but if we try to live by will-power alone--to eat less than nature intended us to eat, to be thinner than our genes meant for us to be--we're in for a struggle. The sad truth is that for some people, staying thin means going hungry. The much happier truth is that scientists are beginning to understand much more about how we know when, and how much, to eat. Millions of people, from the clinically obese to those struggling with an extra five pounds, stand to gain (and lose) from the researchers' insights.

A major advance in Big Pang theory came in 1995, with the discovery of leptin, the first recognized hormone that regulates body weight. "Since then, the pace of change in understanding appetite control has been exponential," says David E. Cummings, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. Two years ago, Cummings himself reported that surges of another hormone, ghrelin, prompt hunger before meals. Both breakthroughs have brought us much closer to figuring out how, when, and why the creature must be fed.

In a perfect world, two to three and a half hours after eating breakfast, your empty stomach secretes ghrelin, which travels to the brain and triggers your appetite. You begin to feel physically hungry, you think about lunch, and pretty soon you're eating. The food then signals your ghrelin levels to drop off, decreasing your appetite.

As you eat, other molecules and hormones--including PYY, which was recently found to have a role in hunger--tell your brain to stop eating: Your stomach expands, and nerve impulses from the stretch receptors there, as well as hormones stimulated by food in the intestine, alert the brain that you're full. Together, ghrelin and PYY are part of a tag team of hunger, turning appetite on, then off.

Leptin also turns your appetite off, but in a longer-term way than PYY: It lets your brain know how much fat you've stored in your body. Leptin is made by the fat cells, and as fat stores rise, more leptin is secreted, traveling to the brain with the message You're fat enough--stop eating so much. If fat levels fall, so do leptin levels, and appetite increases. Mice that are genetically unable to produce leptin grow enormously obese because they never get the word to stop eating.

This elaborate chemical dance is a brilliant system, capable of balancing food intake with what Jeffrey Friedman, MD, PhD, who led the team that discovered leptin, calls "an extraordinary level of precision." Unless, that is, there's a glitch in your particular system. One glitch, says Friedman, a medical researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Rockefeller University, is that "for some reason, obese people appear to be resistant to leptin, which is probably part of the reason they're fat": The leptin message--to eat less--isn't getting through. Another problem isn't really a glitch as much as a very clever (too clever) refinement of the system. Lots of evidence now suggests that your genes determine your personal ballpark body weight, or set point, and that hunger is one of your body's tools to keep you right there. When you try to diverge from your set point by becoming thinner or fatter than nature decrees, your entire chemical system kicks into gear to pull you back.

When you diet, your metabolism slows down to conserve calories. At the same time, your hunger increases dramatically, regardless of your need to lose weight. "The 300-pounder who goes to 285 will feel very hungry," Cummings says. "The 100-pounder who goes to 95 will also feel very hungry."

One reason, he explains, is that when you lose weight, ghrelin levels not only spike before mealtimes but also rise overall. "You'll still have three spikes a day, plus the whole level shifts upward," Cummings says. "The troughs and peaks are all higher than before losing weight. And these changes appear durable--they don't seem to go away even if you stay below your natural point for more than six months. Over time, they erode willpower." As fat stores go down, so does leptin, and your brain gets an unrestrained hormonal signal to eat more. "The evidence suggests," Friedman says, "that people who have lost weight below their personal set point are hungry a lot of the time."

You can probably guess why all these systems kick into gear when you lose weight: To your genetic code, this restraint looks like starvation. "People have an illusion that they can consciously control their food intake," Friedman says. "That's true over the short term, but over the longer term the biological drive to eat enough to get your weight back to your individual level almost always overcomes your conscious control."

OUTSIDE INFLUENCES

WAIT A MINUTE--WE'RE MORE THAN just animals, right? We've got highly evolved brains full of thoughts and emotions and plans for a bikini summer, and surely we can tell our bodies what to do. It also seems clear to our logical brains that there are other things besides hormones that prompt us to eat. The biggest factor, even die-hard biologists like Cummings and Friedman say, is the environment--everything from food smells and portion sizes to emotional connections to food dating back to childhood.

It's well documented, for instance, that an environment of many flavors prods us to eat more and keeps us hungry. Megan McCrory, PhD, a nutritional scientist at Tufts University, puts hunger and appetite into separate categories. "Hunger is a physiological feeling, while appetite is the desire to eat a certain food or foods," she explains, and that desire--that craving--gets turned on by our having lots of choices. "We want to try all of the great variety of flavors available," McCrory says. "And when we eat a little bit of everything, we tend not to keep the calories the same as when we're eating only one or two foods." She says that studies have shown that we eat 25 percent more, on average, in a single meal when more variety is available.

This so-called buffet binge may help explain why some restrictive diets, like Atkins, work--at first. How many meals of steak and eggs can you eat before you lose interest in eating them, and are driven to eat carbs?

An environment that constantly offers lots of carbs can also spur hunger. High-glycemic-index (GI) foods like potatoes and white bread break down quickly into glucose, which causes a spike in blood sugar levels, followed by insulin release, which pushes blood sugar down. Your body wants to bring blood sugar back up to normal--and what quicker way than with another cinnamon bun or bagel? "Of all the studies that have shown the effects of GI on appetite," says David Ludwig, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and director of the obesity program at Children's Hospital Boston, "virtually all showed that high-glycemic-index meals make you hungrier sooner after eating. In our own study of obese teenagers, after a high-GI meal they wound up eating many more calories than if the previous meal was low-glycemic-index."

MIND OVER STOMACH?

WHILE OUR CULTURE OFFERS INFIN-itely more temptations than the prehistoric world of our ancestors (they didn't watch commercials for hamburgers at 9 P.M.), what about the environment in our minds? Any number of forces conspire to lure us to the fridge: stress, boredom, celebration, misery, and that old standby "It's time to eat." Whether it's our psychological state or our hardwired nature that predominates is the question that most divides biologists and behaviorists, with the former saying that most of our eating habits are preordained and the latter believing that much about hunger can be taught, controlled, or unlearned.

Susan Head, PhD, a clinical and health psychologist in private practice in Durham, North Carolina, helps patients with the emotional side of obesity and dieting, as she previously did at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center. Head identifies two misuses of hunger, both of which lead to overeating. One has to do with that enticing exterior environment, where portions have expanded and food is everywhere. "A lot of people are eating unconsciously these days," Head says. "They don't wait till they're hungry. They're eating like robots. The doughnuts are there--say, at a meeting--and people eat them." For them, eating is about availability, appetite (desiring food), and scheduling ("Lunchtime!"). Hunger has nothing to do with it.

The other kind of overeater has absorbed the ambient cultural anxiety about weight and enjoys the feeling of being hungry (or at least of being "not full") because, Head says, "being not full means I'm losing weight--hunger is good." So she puts off eating through the early stages of hunger--which include having thoughts about food and a vague empty feeling--until she reaches the growling-or aching-stomach stage, at which point she could eat a horse, and often does (or the equivalent in pizza).

Taken to the extreme, such hunger denial is expressed as anorexia, which is an example of the power of the mind, or will, over the demands of the body. Anorexics, Head says, don't even admit they're hungry; they define that starving feeling as "success." Their eating experience is so dominated by rules, and has so little to do with what their bodies are telling them, that they have redefined all the terms to express it. "Anorexics are way too insensitive to hunger and way too sensitive to fullness," Head explains. "Any absence of hunger is 'full'"--and while full feels comforting and soothing to most people, it feels terrifying to the anorexic.

Head believes that all of these habits--unconscious eating, hunger denial followed by overeating, and eating disorders like anorexia--can be broken. Both overeaters and undereaters are trying to ignore what's actually an essential internal meter for good eating. Head works with tried-and-true tools to get the hunger apparatus working again. (See "Hunger Management," below.) Patients use hunger scales to rate their hunger and fullness from 1 to 10, relearning what hunger feels like and when to respond to it. They also learn to redefine fullness or satisfaction so that it doesn't mean "stuffed."

PILL POWER

SOME PEOPLE CAN GO A GOOD PART of the day without food; others become ravenous without regular feeding. Some are full after half a cheeseburger; others finish one and want a few more. Are such differences all in our heads?

Our minds and bodies are so linked that sometimes what seems psychological is almost completely biological or chemical in nature. This became clear long ago in regard to hunger, when an American researcher during World War II put a group of volunteers on a semistarvation diet to study how to help victims of wartime famine. As the men lost an average of 25 percent of their body weight, they became not only sluggish and cold (signs of a slowed metabolism) but also obsessed: They were constantly hungry, they talked and thought and daydreamed about food, they read cookbooks and fantasized about meals, they carefully guarded their rations from others, they became increasingly irritable with one another.

Eating-disorder experts have come to recognize, in light of this study and others, that some psychological symptoms of anorexia nervosa--obsessing about food, hoarding it--occur as a biological response to deprivation. Rather than stemming from some neurotic fixation, these symptoms appear because the body is screaming "Eat!"--as it does whenever a person's weight has dropped below the set point.

This could all sound depressing to anyone who has been battling her own hunger cues for years, but researchers like Cummings have a different view. "If you're born with obese genes," he says, "now you know it's not your fault. A lot of overweight people realize that their bodies have fought their efforts to lose weight, but those around them have always faulted their willpower."

For people to really curb hunger, Friedman anticipates drug therapies that manipulate (and outsmart) chemical signals--therapies that are already in the animal-testing stage. "We're looking at it the way you'd look at any other medical problem, like cancer," Friedman says. "You figure out how the system normally works, then figure out what's different when you have the disorder, then develop therapies." For hunger and overeating, Cummings says, one very promising research direction is a ghrelin blocker, now in preclinical studies, that would stop ghrelin from acting on the parts of the brain that trigger hunger. Researchers are also pursuing the use of PYY as a possible long-term treatment for obesity.

Once we have "the equivalent of Prozac for obesity," Friedman says, people may finally begin to believe that big appetites and big bodies are the result of more than "simply a set of bad lifestyle choices." But if, in the view of biologists like Cummings and Friedman, hunger is primarily an unbending fact of nature, how do they explain the enormous rise in obesity over the past two decades? It's not that our genes have altered in 20 years to make so many more of us fat, Friedman says. Rather, across the population there has been an average weight gain of seven to ten pounds in the past decade that's still within the approximately ten-pound range of variation that many people's set points allow them. This overall weight gain, attributable mainly to environment, he says, has pushed a certain percentage of the population over the border into the range of obese. Those whose genes gave them a blueprint for slenderness, meanwhile, have remained at much the same weight.

So how might a Prozac for hunger change this situation? Those who have a major wiring problem will benefit from drug treatment, and the rest will have to cope on their own--the same way people with the ordinary blues rather than clinical depression come to terms with their problems and learn behavioral strategies to feel better. Mentally, that could mean shooting for a reasonable, livable weight toward the low end of your set point. Practically, it means avoiding buffets or big loads of refined carbs, becoming sensitive to your personal hunger-rating scale, and simply stopping to think before over-eating. "If you're craving a half-gallon of ice cream every night," Head says, "I wouldn't trust that craving." She suggests asking yourself, What else is going on in my life? Am I feeling lonely and depressed? If so, a half-gallon of ice cream isn't going to solve that--although a dish of ice cream, eaten slowly enough so that all those little satiation nerve signals get activated, might make a tasty compromise.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO EAT A TREAT

A piece of chocolate, a scoop of ice cream, potato chips--to eat anything like this without giving it total concentration is foolish. It's wasting the joy. The richer the food, the more heightened attention it merits. Turn off the TV, close the book, and just take a few minutes for you and your treat. Feel the texture in your mouth, how the flavor bursts and fades. Focus. Make the most of it. Wallow in it. You might be surprised at how it really tastes. We often eat in a trance, unaware of what we're putting into our mouths, and for reasons that food ultimately can't satisfy. The most exquisite chocolate can leave you wanting more because you missed the experience by not paying attention. Eating mindfully breaks the trance. It lets you know when you've had enough to make you happy and when having more will make you unhappy. Wake up and eat!--Amy Gross

RELATED ARTICLE: HUNGER MANAGEMENT

Hormones, hardwiring, and set points aside, hunger isn't completely beyond our ability to control. Clinical and health psychologist Susan Head, PhD, suggests several ways to stave it off when we know we've already eaten enough:

* Have a drink--water, coffee, tea, club soda with lime. Often what initially feels like hunger is thirst, and the liquid can temporarily fill your stomach.

* Eat breakfast. Many people who skip it eat much more later.

* Delay. If you're hungry even though you think you've eaten enough, give yourself 20 minutes to consider whether you're feeling real hunger or boredom, stress, or unhappiness.

* If a mealtime is coming up in an hour or so, remind yourself of that. Just knowing there's only a short wait can give you incentive to hold off a little longer.

* Chew gum. It can quiet hunger aches for a while.

* Avoid processed foods, which are usually stripped of filling elements like fiber and water.

Making progress



July 2005...............August 2006..............October 2007

It's a slow process for me to put on muscle, and I sometimes wonder if I've made any progress at all. So today I pulled out some of my pics to compare. It's nice seeing that I have changed a bit and hopefully I'll see even more changes over the next 12 months.

Make it Happen

I will step up to the plate every day. EVERY day.
I will squeeze every ounce of potential out of every cell of my body.
I will not make excuses.

link

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Welcome Ursula!




I competed with Ursula in the INBA Victorian Figure Novice Class on October 6. She won our class and has some great plans for 2008. She is stuck in Tassie, so please give her lots of support!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Consistency

Remember that CONSISTENCY IS KEY. Start making daily habits out of doing the things you know you need to do. Successful days turn into successful weeks, which turn into successful months. It is this CONSISTENCY that will allow you to build your ultimate physique! (Russ Yeager)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Advice from Experts: How to Control a Rebound

Lee Labrada, President of Labrada Bodybuilding Nutrition:

When done correctly, a methodical reduction in the amount of carbohydrates can help you achieve your ideal shape. To maintain your physique after a competition, you have to follow the natural laws of metabolism: base your diet on small, frequent feedings, consume adequate protein to maintain muscle mass (the foundation of metabolism) and manipulate carbohydrate and fat calories to meet your energy needs.

Keith Klein, founder of the Institute of Eating Management:

Even if your intentions are to stay lean after a contest, when you start eating more normally, your brain is going to turn up your appetite. The body doesn’t know the difference between true starvation and the purposeful withholding of food. Have an exit strategy with a formula that will work for you. For example, when the competition is over, celebrate and eat whatever you want that night and for brunch the next day. But on Monday, resume your clean eating, except for a “cheat day” once per week.

Hal Louis, founder of Better Reflections:

If it took you 12 weeks to get into contest shape, allow at least 8 weeks to return to an eating program that you can maintain for life, slowly adding back small portions of “normal” food. Continue with your cardio and weight training, and strive to stay within 10-15 lbs. of your competition weight. Remember that you have achieved what millions fail to do every day!

See here for the full article.

Eat Clean, Train Hard, Rest

Some more Craig Harper:

Do what most people won't
The tough things.
The uncomfortable things.
The thing which produces results.
Create different standards for yourself... expect more of you.
If you want to be exceptional (different to most), then you need to do exceptional things.
Every day.
If you do what 'they' do... you'll get what they get.
If you want 'average'... then do average.

Exercise
At the very least, be active.
Move your body; it needs love too.
I can hear your heart, lungs and muscles applauding already.
And when your body is happy... your mind will follow.
If you already exercise, do something different.
If you haven't stretched since 1993... limber up.
If you haven't done a push up since high school.... gimme ten.
If you haven't had your heart rate up since 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'... then move your limbs and raise a sweat.

Meditate
Be still... even for ten minutes.
Every day.
Clear your mind of the clutter.
No phone, computer, people, noise, music... complete silence.
Stop hurrying and worrying for a moment.
Step away from the busy-ness of your reality and listen to that still small voice; the one you ignore too much.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't Let Yourself Go

Why do you let yourself get so far from your best that you have to torture yourself so hard to get back? (Bunklers' Journal)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Artificial Sweetener

Since I try and get most of my foods from natural sources and avoid anything processed, it seems silly that I rely so heavily on artificial sweetener. So I'm going to try and stop adding it to things. I will just have to learn to appreciate my food without it.

Drinks are another matter. It will probably mean that I will be off coffee. It doesn't taste so great without the sweetener. But since I'm also aiming to have 4L water a day, hopefully I won't miss it too much.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Positive Changes for the Off Season

I've been looking at some of Craig Harper's articles today and decided to use A Better Life in Seven Easy Steps to help me make some positive changes for this off season:

Step 1: My stumbling blocks - food and motivation
I competed in November 2006 and decided my next show would be October 2007. At Christmas I stuffed my face, eating way past the point of fullness on several occasions. By mid-April 2007 I had lost motivation, stopped going to the gym and started making and eating a lot of muffins. From mid-May onwards I was cleaning up my diet and increasing my cardio to get rid of the extra weight instead of using that time to focus on putting on muscle.

Step 2: Dealing with my stumbling blocks
1. Stop dieting for shows and start thinking about my body on a long-term basis.
2. Understand that motivation is temporary. If I only exercise when I 'feel' like it, I'll never be consistent and I'll never create life-long change.
3. Break up the off season into one-month blocks, so I have new goals each month.

Step 3: Specific goals
1. Limit myself to one cheal meal per week. Too much 'free' food will make it harder for me to track whether I need to increase the amount of clean food I'm eating to gain muscle.
2. Do my prescribed weekly exercise sessions even when I'm not feeling motivated. Once a session's done, I'll be glad I did it.
3. For each monthly weights program, aim to be stronger by week four.
4. Drink 4L water per day.
5. Include one yoga session per week as part of my training.

Step 4: Plan
1. Journal my eating - it will keep me on track longer and make me feel more successful.
2. Exercise first thing in the morning. Just get up and go. Then there are no execuses.
3. Record the details of each workout so I can constantly improve. The last two reps of every set must be extremely difficult to complete. If they're not, keep going - don't just stop at the prescribed number of reps!
4. Buy water bottles to measure my water intake for the day. Finish it all by the end of the day. Refill and refrigerate for the next day.
5. Buy a block of yoga classes so I'm 'booked in' to attend, or buy a yoga DVD so I have no excuses if I don't feel like going out.

Step 5: Take action
Each month I will:
1. Get bodyfat tested to see how much muscle/fat I've gained
2. Take girth measurements to see which areas have increased in size
3. Have photos taken so I can see any changes
4. Do a strength test to see how effective I've been in the gym

Step 6: Improvise & adapt
From the results of my assessments I will see if anything needs to be changed for the following month.

Step 7: Finish what you start
'Even when the motivation wears off (and it will) do it anyway.
Even when it ain't fun (and it won't be sometimes) do it anyway.
When most throw in the towel, stay committed.

If you want to be like everybody else, then do what they do.

If you want to be exceptional, then do exceptional things.'

Friday, October 19, 2007

Two Weeks Post Comp

Thanks for all your lovely comments about my pics. A few of you mentioned my smile. While I don't feel confident on stage, I (strangely) don't feel nervous either. I just go out there and enjoy myself after all the hard work I've put in. I also think the audience's encouragement really makes a difference. So if you go along to prejuding, and you've got something positive to say about the person on the stage, don't be afraid to yell it out.

I'm handling post comp much better than last year. I've learnt which foods are triggers for me (white rice, white pasta, bread, cereal containing dried fruit), so I decided I would avoid having them after this show and in future. I don't keep muesli in the house as I can go through it by the boxful. Instead I have it if I go out for breakfast. That way, when I'm finished what's in my bowl, that's it - it's not calling my name for the rest of the day, tempting me to finish what's in the packet and then start on something else. Yes it's better for me than junk food, but eating huge quantities of carbs isn't great for my waistline or my mental health. I'd rather gradually increase the quantities of carbs that I don't go bananas on (brown rice, wholemeal pasta, rice cakes, oats, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pulses) so I can feel OK about having a treat when I need one.

While I'm back at the gym, I'm probably not eating enough yet to start putting on any muscle. I should be back to 'regular' eating by the end of the month, and am looking forward to mapping out a building schedule to start on from November.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pics!!!



Nothing tastes as good as being in shape feels

I read this article a while ago on Craig Harper's site and thought about it today as I was trying to decide whether to demolish the rest of the protein balls in the fridge. Yes I've just done a show, and yes I can afford to put on some weight, but I want to save my treats to have when and where I've planned them, rather than being lured by something just because it's there. Food for thought, LOL.

I Love food.
Baked cheese-cake in particular.
And lasagne.
And dark chocolate.
Specifically, Lindt.

And I love a hamburger with egg, cheese and onion.
A massive hamburger, dripping with egg and sauce (ketchup for my American friends), covered in a pound of cheese and two inches of fried onions.

If I was hungry and someone got between me and that hamburger, there's a fair chance I'd hurt them.

Badly.

I have food issues.

I'm a work in progress.

People think that because I do what I do for a living (trainer, exercise scientist, educator, etc.) that I have an aversion to anything with sugar, fat, salt or flavour.

Are you kidding?

Let's get one thing clear:
If I could eat five pieces of thick white toast with crunchy peanut butter for breakfast every day, and stay lean and healthy, I'd do it.

No brainer.

Cheesecake every night and stay in shape?
Okay, I'm in.

Yes I love food (healthy food too), and yes I enjoy the odd, infrequent, splurge (oh, the frailty of the human condition)... but what I love more is:

.....being in shape.

I've been fat... and I've been lean.
It ain't a big decision.

And for some people (like me) we need to make a decision.
And we don't need to get all precious and melodramatic about it...

We just need to make the decision.
Soon.
Now even.

Do I want to eat junk (regularly), or do I want to be in shape.

I can't do both.
So I Choose to be in shape.

I'm always talking to people who tell me how deprived they feel when they don't eat their favourite junk foods.

Q. You know why they feel deprived?
A. 'Cause they focus on what they're missing (junk food), not what they're gaining (a leaner, lighter, healthier body).

It's an attitude and perspective thing, not a food thing.

So next time you're feeling a little 'deprived', don't focus on the cake (biscuit, ice-cream, chocolate) that gives you five minutes of pleasure... focus on the body that you live in twenty four hours a day.

By the way, I'm yet to talk to somoene who feels good (emotionally, psychologically or physically) after they have made a bad food decision or over-eaten.

Some practical suggestions:

Option 1.
No junk, get you're head where it needs to be, don't be a sook, enjoy your new body. Have the rare splurge (once a month).

Option 2.
Eat your five small meals per day (35 small meals per week) and allow yourself one meal per week where you eat a favourite junk food (not a wheelbarrow full).

Option 3.
Eat a very small amount of your favourite food daily. The problem is not that we eat a chocolate; it's that we eat forty chocolates. I worked with a choc-o-holic who ate chocolate every day and lost twenty three kilos (50lbs)... because she reduced her intake from plenty ... to two chocolates a day (every day).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Show Trolley

I've rejigged my checklist now that I'm done for the year. I found Lia's list really helpful so am sharing mine in case it helps anyone else. I like to keep my items as easy to get to as possible, hence the box with the tanning stuff in it, and the box for my make-up. Digging into toiletry bags trying to find stuff just stresses me out. If I do use bags I tend to go for the snaplock ones as they're clear and things are easy to see. The show entry form has a running sheet with approx show times on it so I just pencil in times to eat, and roughly when I should start pumping up. I've decided to keep it in two places as I referred to it a lot and kept moving it from one place to the other - show day nerves, lol.

Outside, top pocket
• Gum
• Lip balm
• Routine CD
• Sheet with show times and plan for the day

Outside, bottom pocket
• Glasses case and cleaner
• Sewing kit

Mesh Compartment
• Mini snaplock bag with jewellery
• Mini snaplock bag with lollies x 2
• Mini snaplock bag with salted almonds
• Medium snaplock bag with cotton buds, nail file, panadol, sml pack tissues

Main Compartment
• Bikini
• Black towels x 2
• Box with tanning equipment
• Box with make-up
• Heels
• Resistance band
• Sheet with show times and plan for the day

Cooler Bag
• Chicken cut into cubes for snacking on
• Veges
• Diuretics
• Bottle of water (frozen)

Hubby
• Backstage helper tickets
• Camera
• Umbrella

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My DVD has arrived!

Just sat down and watched my part of the show. I was initially nervous about watching it but am actually really happy with it. Even though I placed fourth out of five, I was in the first call out with the girl who placed first, and the next call out was the other three girls. The two judges I spoke to afterwards for feedback both said they had me placed higher than fourth, so I think it must have been close. I know I needed to come in a little bit leaner but it's hard for me to lean out anymore than I did and not take muscle. So the aim is to gain a bit more muscle in the off season to back up the dieting. I've been back in the gym since Monday, just doing light workouts or cardio, and am really enjoying it. I'm excited about what the next 12 months will bring.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Photographers

Has anyone ordered competition photos through Creative Fox or Brendan Breen? I'm not sure who to get my photos from. If anyone has any thoughts I'd be happy to hear them.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Notes for the Next Show

Thanks to everyone who posted their congratulations. It was lovely to read all your comments today.

I was pretty happy with my posing and stage presentation yesterday. The judges said the colour of my bikini really suited me, so that was nice to hear. My routine was OK - I mistimed slightly so ended up not being quite in sync with the music, but that's my own fault for not practising as much as I should have.

I had lemon tart and a glass of champagne last night after the show, then went out for breakfast this morning and had pizza tonight. I'm back into my gym workouts tomorrow morning, and am going to reverse out of my contest diet over the next few weeks, adding in more variety. Will still do a couple of high intensity cardio sessions in the gym a week but am looking forward to doing most of my cardio in the form of evening walks with my husband and our dog.

Goals for the off season
1 Keep within 5kg of contest weight (maximum of 56kgs), while aiming to put on more size.
2 Get bodyfat tested regularly to measure my success.
3 Include yoga in my weekly routine.
4 Keep water intake up to 4L a day.
5 Keep waxing up.

Notes for the next show
1 Get routine organised earlier so it's one less thing to worry about as the pressures mount closer to the show.
2 Get entry form in early to get closer to the middle position on stage.
3 Work on my transitions so I can move into my poses easily and fluidly.
4 Practice holding poses for longer periods, especially facing front and relaxed poses - we were on stage a long time while the judges were making up their minds!
5 Think about poses from feet upwards - get the feet and leg positions right then work my way up. I often squeeze my leg muscles as an afterthought.
6 Turn my upper body around more to the front when doing side chest and relaxed poses.
7 Have the day off work on Friday so there's plenty of time to do nails and tan and let them dry. Cover hands and feet with plenty of moisturiser so they don't end up too dark.
8 Put make-up on before I get to the venue so I don't feel under pressure when I'm there. Foundation needs to be lighter, eye make-up stronger.
9 Get a make-up case to put all my bits and pieces in so I don't have to worry about small things going astray when I need them.
10 Take bikini off after prejudging, freshen up and redo tan for night show. Consider getting a second bikini to wear for the night show.
11 Take care when applying bikini bite. Stay inside the lines!
12 Keep up vitamin C supplementation after the show.
13 Take supplements the week after the show to help prevent cramps.
14 Have a break from the weights for a week or two after the show. Calories will still be low so no gains will be made by doing hard workouts in the gym. Still do some exercise every morning, but do something light and fun, like swimming or yoga. That way I will be refreshed when I go back to the gym. Gradually increase number and intensity of workouts as calories increase.

Results!

Came fourth out of five. Judges were happy with my shape, and said I would have placed higher if I was a bit leaner. I also need to work on gaining more size. So that's my goal for the next 12 months. Will post pics as soon as I get them.

Friday, October 5, 2007

One More Sleep!

Things left to do today
1 Practice routine
2 Sew bikini straps
3 Have nails done
4 Shave and exfoliate
5 Have tan applied
6 Relax!

Best wishes to Magda and Tara for tomorrow. Have fun! Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wanna See Something Funny?



This is the fourth time I've tried applying my stage make-up and I'm finally OK with how it's looking.

I get carbs tomorrow. Woohoo! It's gonna be like Christmas!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hump day

It's day two of depletion, it's 8pm and I'm off to bed.

One more workout and one more cardio session to go. Yay!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Hell week begins...

Thanks to those who posted comments in reply to my message yesterday. Work helped to keep my mind off things last night and I'm feeling better today. I'm doing a stricter depletion this year so hopefully I will look sharp at the end of the week. I'm not having too much trouble with the water so far. Think the salt is helping with that.

Tomorrow morning I'm off to have my waxing done. Not really looking forward to that. Haven't kept up with it so I've only got myself to blame. Am leaving my nails until Friday as knowing my luck I'll probably break something if I have them done any earlier.

Things left to do:
1 Practice posing and routine
2 Practice applying make-up
3 Start packing bag
4 Sew bikini strings to length