Bikini Competition Binges

Posted on May 9, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

One thing I wanted to talk more about on this blog was my food and how I felt throughout the entire process of preparing for my bikini competition.

As you can imagine the meal plan was strict. I mean, let’s say for example I was told to eat a starch, a fruit, a veggie, a fat and a protein, I would be able to pick from a handful of items so it wasn’t like I was forced to eat one particular food item every single day. But as the competition got closer and closer certain foods were taken from me. I remember when bananas were taken from me. It was not a very happy time for me. haha.

Before I began this training, I had always eaten relatively healthy. I love Tosca Reno and I love the Clean Eating diet. There’s so many health benefits, it made me feel so good to eat clean and my body reacted well to it and I managed to stay thin and full eating like that. However, when I felt like having some cinnamon toast crunch after a grueling workout, I would do just that.

But looking back, I think because my meal plan was so strict I would freak out by making absolutely sure I wasn’t going over by a tenth of an ounce on my food portions and I would get so frustrated by foods I wasn’t allowed to have.

I focused so much on all of the foods I wanted like peanut butter, more oatmeal, bananas, protein bars, dark chocolate, more sweet potato, coconut walnut chicken, etc that it drove me absolutely crazy. I was miserable.

So what would happen is that I would come home from a really tough workout at CATZ or Prana and I would be as hungry as a wild animal. I would blow through my veggies and meat and not feel satisfied. So I’d sit here and try to chug water and get work done, but still feel empty. So I’d head to the kitchen and have a spoonful of pb. Then I’d get a couple of pieces of dark chocolate. Then I’d sit down. Then I’d head back and get a protein bar. Then I’d get more chocolate or more pb. This would continue the rest of the afternoon until I’d finally feel so disgusted by myself and get upset.

But one night, OMG.. I had at least a half of a jar of pb. It made me sick to my stomach, literally. I got so upset with myself (I was already tired/ stressed/ frustrated), refused to eat dinner and went to bed at 8pm and cried myself to sleep.

After that I swore I wouldn’t take it that far again. I still had a few episodes like the first one I mentioned, but I wouldn’t let myself feel as bad about it. I recognized how unhealthy it was, mentally and physically.

I still haven’t solved it. And as I am pretty sure I want to compete again in June, I’m unsure of how I’m going to handle it this go ’round.

I think for the next time I need to be more honest with my coach and myself. I was never honest with her (or anyone really) about it. I would hide food so no one would know I had eaten peanuts or chocolate. I would only eat in my car so many times.

There was actually one day I went to the grocery store and got almond butter. Now trust me, I know better than to go to the store hungry, so I had eaten. And at this point I had decided to NOT keep nut butters in the house, period. But I got it anyway. So when I was putting my groceries in the trunk, I was looking for that jar of almond butter and freaked out because I couldn’t find it. I mean, I was trembling. Finally I found it and I sat in my car eating it, but completely freaked out someone would see me!

Another way I plan to combat this is that I’ll go ahead and plan to eat more on the days when I have a super intense workout. I found that on the days when I was eating 180g + of protein I wasn’t hungry so I think I’d be less likely to binge eat!

If you guys have any ideas on how to make this stop, any advice at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I’m not incredibly well-versed on eating disorders but I really want to continue to be healthy and happy, but I also don’t want to throw in the towel just yet on competing.

The Get In Shape Girl

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43 Responses to “Bikini Competition Binges”

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I am not sure what to do for you, but I know at times I workout like crazy and can’t stop eating either. This happens usually when I am ovulating (mid cycle) or right before my period! I try to eat healthy when I need to eat more and I do have a suggestion of a peanut butter that someone told me to get. It’s a powder and it is called PB2. I made it today with my apple and I was satisfied (for a while) I am sort of hungry and I drank so much I will probably be up peeing all night long! I train with my trainer and I weigh 135-she says people would kill to have my body – I am 45-but I am obsessed with the number on the scale. Been stuck at 135! I try to lower the calories but I usually end up wanting more when I workout alot. Try to stick to 1600 to lose weight. I am really hungry so I usually go to bed or eat diet jello-I eat clean except for that. I need it! It helps my sweet tooth. Well, I wish there was a chat room for us. That would help. You look amazing and when you eat like the way you did-your body needed something (vitamins and protein) that was probably why you kept eating. Sometimes you have to give into the urge and get over it. I try, I eat all these good things and then breakdown-after about 500 calories of stuff that I should have skipped and ate the darn cookie or chocolate! Have a great night. Thanks for letting us know about you and remember-YOU AREN’T ALONE 🙂

Hey girl,

Number 1, I commend you for recognizing that restricting your diet as much as you need to for competing may lead to an eating disorder.

Number 2, I urge you to get help as soon as possible if you’re going to continue competing. You have done an incredible job of recognizing disordered eating in yourself, and now is the time to go see a professional. Not a competition coach, but I would suggest an eating disorders therapist. You may balk at the idea of therapy (some people do), but this is the most direct way I know to tackle disordered eating before it becomes an ED.

I know we haven’t talked too much, but I can tell you these things from experience. I was diagnosed with anorexia in early 2008, and spent the next year and a half binging uncontrollably. Scariest thing in the world for someone who was used to having total control over her food.

I no longer binge regularly (maybe once every two months), but I can tell you that if I had been honest with someone about my binging behavior, things would have been a lot easier.

Let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to visit my blog. I hope to talk to you soon!

Nina Marie

Nina – Thank you so much for sharing that with me and my readers. I think awareness & seeking help is so important. I’m very interested to continue learning about the subject. Especially amongst competitors. I hope to someday do my part in helping others get past this too. I’m really looking forward to this attempt at competition dieting to prove to myself that I can do it right. Thank you so much again.

I am having the same problem! I find I start to binge on almonds or even shredded wheat! I just have now made it a point to not keep it in the house. But the other day I bought dark chocolate. And I actually threw three quarters of it in the trash out of the grocery store so I wouldn’t eat it all.
I’m happy to hear its not only me…sorry I don’t have any tips but good to know its not just me.

Best of luck to you!! You know where to find me if you ever need to chat! We’ll will get past this!

girl, I’ve experienced that sooo many times(although I’ve NEVER been in great enough shape to enter a bikini contest). Sometimes you wonder why you even work out, because you can control your appetite better sans workout…it’s hard to not beat ourselves up, but just remember your not the only one!!!

thanks sandi. i hope we all get to the other side of this!!

Hi! I’ve been following your blog now for a few months and I enjoy your posts. I can definitely relate to you re: binge eating and snacking. The guilt associated with it only makes it worse. Here is what has helped me: next time you’re feeling like you want to go back in the kitchen and have a spoonful of PB, think about why. Are you avoiding a stressful activity or job? Are you restless and/or bored? Are you upset? Usually those are the reasons I snack. Make a list of things you can do instead of snack–throw laundry in the washer, go for a short walk, go to a coffee shop instead to do your work, etc. I don’t know if this will help but I am proud that you shared your experience with us because taking ownership of the action is really where you can begin to change it. Maybe for PB, I know this sounds crazy, but separate it into serving sizes into little baggies/tupperwares, so you can just grab one, and not accidentally double dip.
Thanks again for sharing, it means a lot. The best thing is that you’re not being so hard on yourself about it anymore. Following a strict diet is so hard!! You rock.

Thanks Erica for sharing. I think for myself it had a lot to do with being hungry & frustration of not being able to make my own decisions. Kind of like an “Ill show them” kind of attitude. and i’m with you.. i like the single servings packets of almond butter.

I absolutely LOVE your honesty. I can say I totally hear where you’re coming from. I feel like I was the same in a way, not as extreme though. I ate too much peanut/almond butter pretty much daily. I had little bites here and there. I craved things and wanted to eat things I normally wouldn’t eat (animal crackers from my kids, stuff like that). Now, after comp, do I eat those things? eh, at times but I don’t crave them. I’m okay with my tbsp of pb or almond butter I day, but I don’t gorge on it. I think we deprive ourselves of this normal food for so long, it doesn’t matter what it is, you want to eat it. If you find the answer please let me in on it because I do want to do a figure comp this fall but I’m afraid I won’t be able to put in 100% again and I don’t want to do it if I can’t give it my all.

Thanks for sharing Lisa. I hope to do some self discovery while I’m preparing to compete this time and I look forward to sharing with you guys.

I am preparing to compete right now also. I started to have some urges to bings, not to this extreme. I always eat healthy because I enjoy eating that way, but I found myself craving candy, something I never have a problem avoiding. I decided it is all mental. If you deny yourself something, you are just going to want it more. You want a banana? EAT IT!! It is much better than eating a jar of PB or chocolate. Eat healthy for yourself, not for your competition and a few extra “cheats” wont hurt, especially when they are healthy foods anyway. It keeps you from totally bingeing later. I had to change my mindset and remember I’m doing this for me. Hope this helps!

Thanks for sharing. This is the kind of mindset I am attempting to take on as I prepare for my upcoming show. I hope to be successful and lead the way for others to have this kind of success as well.

Totally agree, so much of it is mental. 🙂

Thank you for sharing. I competed in 2009 because I wanted to push myself a little further. Before competing I was healthy, had a great relationship with food, and was at my all time perfect weight. I schooled the competition prep, ate perfect, trained hard, and had the body to prove it. Now here I am in 2011 still struggling to get a healthy balance and get things back to the way they were pre-comp. How I wish I would have read a story like this prior to competing and heard advise from the experienced. All we can do is keep trying to conquer the beast inside of us and we will prevail!

Natalia – that’s a little scary to think about too. I am so sure this happens to so many men & women in the industry. i feel like I’m uncovering something huge right now. my heart goes out to you and i hope you get it figured out. i hope we all do.

I totally get what ur saying… My first bikini show is in 17 days… I feel like the women i work with are sabotaging me… i have 3 more days working here and they keep putting out jelly beans and coffee cake after I asked them just for this last week could they not put it out… then they say how i have such great will power yet i do eat like 10 jelly beans a day I really get depressed and I actually hate these women now cause they are so rude and mean about it… Today I honestly want to hit my receptionist for the way she treated me infront of a client when i offered him some jelly beans… So rude like come on i threwout the last 4 yesterday infront of u and pretty much begged u not to put more in.. sure enough 9 am their fully.. ur diabetic of all ppl shouldn’t be eating them… So f’ing pissed… It just sets me off and then i go home looking for food… i have put all bad stuff on the top of all my shelves and chocolate in the freezer in the garage. I still find it difficult to go to bed with out a mini snack like a 1/4 rice cake with a dippy of pb. It’s pretty bad that when i give my dog her pills in the am i put them in pb on a spoon i lick the back of the spoon if i little spills over
So Sad… this weekend i hide a chocolate alomd bar in my trunk and ate a few bites while i packed up the car for the gym so my bf wouldn’t see How rediculous is that!!!

That’s the same kind of stuff I did Ashleigh. First of all, the frustration comes a lot from mood swings we get when we’re deprived. That will go away. But if you continue to feel like this, then you may should look further into it. Best of luck to you! Let me know how it goes for you.

Natalia, you are telling my story girl! I first tried competing in 2006, and developed some very disordered eating patterns..I had no clue, how typical this was of competitors until I talked to close friends who were fellow competitors. I was ready to start attending over eaters anonymous. It all balanced out after several months. It has been many years since that happened and I find myself here again, I just recently dieted down and lost 18 pounds. I began with small binges about 7 weeks into the diet, it got progressively worse. I never made the show and have put on 14 of the pounds I have lost…I am struggle to find normalcy in eating again. Denise

OMG! I had the same thing happen to me when I was prepping for a show last summer. I actually got so obsessed with food that I had to stop training for the show. I was miserable and hungry all the time and I couldn’t keep up with the intense workouts that my coach sent me on the little cards I was allowed. I want to compete this fall, but I this time I plan to work with a different coach to help me prep.

Tera – please keep me posted on how this round goes for you. Best of luck!

I had this same thing happen to me. Almost exactly the same in fact. I would be interested in any info also because every time I start to diet down I get anxiety attacks now 😦

You might want to have your coach cycle your carbs so that you have variety as you dial in to your show and don’t slow down your metabolism or your ability to handles carbs without balooning up girl. And understanding why things like bananas are “expensive” from a carb density point of view will help you hold back on them for a few weeks before the show…good luck!

I’m working with Mel this time and I plan to be a lot more open and honest with her. I think that was part of my downfall on the last prep. I couldn’t be honest with myself enough to open up to my coach to tell her what was going on.

Girl, I feel you! I’ve competed quite a few times and am very familiar with the ups and downs. People who have never done a contest diet before don’t realize how hard it is emotionally! I had a friend compete with me for the first time this year and she admitted that she thought I was exaggerating about the mood swings, and soon realized that I was not.

For me its the mood swings that lead me to sitting on the couch mixing peanut butter and nutella together and eating them with a spoon. I added in an EFA supplement and that helped A LOT with the mood swings, and thus my cravings subsided a bit. They didn’t go away completely, but I definitely found the more control I had over my emotions, the more control I had over my cravings.

I’ve found that dealing with food AFTER the show is the hard part for me. I feel like I actually become afraid of food. Like anything that wasn’t allowed in my contest diet is just going to make suddenly fat.

Thank you for sharing. I’ve always liked tracking my food and eating portion controlled meals with a couple of cheats so that is nothing new to me. And now that I got back to a more “normal” diet, I can tell I was having mood swings too. I was in total denial of it while it was going on, but now I can see. I’m a lot less tired and I’m just happier. I want to overcome that for this show though!

After reading your post just now I’m almost brought to tears by what you said and by the number of posts written afterwards. It feels really good to know I wasn’t the only one having the exact same issues and concerns. Yesterday I went to the doc, had blood drawn to check my thyroid and hormones. I seem to get that way from ovulation up to my period. Doc wants to put me on a mild anti-depressent and seek therapy. I’m not arguing with him because I agree this isn’t something I can manage my way out alone. Best of luck to you.

Thank you for sharing. Best of luck to you too! Please stay in touch with me and let me know how it goes for you. My heart goes out to you girl.

i feel the same..after my nitetime cardio i do the exact same thing i feel like crap after and i’m so upset with myself…i need advice on this also….

I don’t have a lot to give as I’m trying to figure it out for myself too. But I think it’s something deeper than just food.

Kyra, I am so glad u are bringing this out into the light. Binging and other forms of disordered eating often follow study and/or competition dieting. I have attempted competition prep 3 times and each time mod to post dieting swanky with bingeing. It does come around but can be very frustrating going through the process.

Thank you for sharing Denise. I hope we can both get through this with great success! I need to respond to your text too!! Sorry.

Thank you so much for sharing. I’m a couple of months out, but this will be my third show. I know what you mean about eating your meal and still feeling hungry and then getting angry. Add two kids under the age of five to the mix and sometimes it’s all I can do to not go hide and eat a ton of icecream. 🙂 I think was has helped me not get so angry this time, so far anyway is to tell myself that I do have a choice. It’s like studying for a test, if you don’t do your homework and read you won’t pass. If you take some time, drink some hot fruity tea or chew some chocolate gume (I love that choclate mint) it calms me down and then I can say “do I want to take a couple of steps back or feel like I have to try and squeeze in another hour of cardio to compensate for this?” I’m not perfect by far and the way I look at it is that it’s your body don’t beat yourself up, just take it slow and when you do decide to have that piece of chocolate go to a quiet place and eat is slow, close your eyes and then you will be able to enjoy it. 🙂 Good luck with your journey, you aren’t alone.

Thank you for sharing. Those thoughts entered my mind but they never once helped me. I think I literally needed more food.

Keep me posted on your progress.

One of the tricks I used to stop myself from grabbing sweet/salty junk food was to yell at myself internally… I know its a little extreme but it worked.

I would curse at the food for trying to trip me up in my training. As it sat on the counter that I passed regularly I would sometimes give it the “middle finger” because, I told myself, I want to WIN! Other girls are training hard and so should I if I want to be like them in this industry. Being as it was my first time I also balanced this with picturing myself on stage looking like my dream come true. I asked myself, “What do I want more?” a lot…

So maybe there is something from my own experience that you can try out. It’s not a “forever” thing during in-season. Just feels like it at the time. 🙂

Haha i Love your tactics!

I am so glad you posted this. I am training for my first fitness competition and am experiencing these same difficulties, only I took it a step further… At four weeks out, someone made a comment that they didn’t think I would be ready for the competition and I was so upset that all the dieting and working out wasn’t helping anyway that I binged for the rest of that day…and part of the next! Now I’m 2.5 weeks out and I can’t stand the way I look…I am extremely disappointed in myself, and I’m questioning whether I should compete. Thinking about it now, I know I shouldn’t have let a comment from someone who doesn’t know me well bother me so much and now I’ve thrown all my hard work down the drain.

One thing helped me stick to the diet before my breakdown though: whenver I felt like binging, I would leave the house without my wallet…that way I couldn’t eat what was in the house and I couldn’t buy anything. Hopefully this helps you! Thanks for sharing, it’s really good to know that I’m not the only one who experiences these cravings!

Thank you for sharing Ashley. I don’t know who you train with, but that wasn’t very encouraging of them and I would consider new coaching. I work with Cathy Savage and couldn’t be happier. They are very positive, encouraging and keep us healthy.

OMG I was just thinking earlier that I wanted to post something on ur page to ask for advice for myself…. I am less than 6 wks out from my first competition and I keep having really low energy days which in turn makes me want to binge. So I end up doing small cheats then I get so frustrates with myself for not being stronger. I only have two carb up days Wed and Fri so by every Tuesday I do not feel like myself. I am flat out an unhappy person. Today I keep getting into the pb2 ugh…. I’ve never done anything fitness wise in my life (there is a whole story there – like 115 pounds ago) like prepping for this show. I am ecstatic about the results so far but I just wonder where I’m going to get the strength to hold it together for the final tuning. This close I think I should be more motivated but some days I feel like I can’t hold it together. HELP!!!!

Stay strong girl. You are so close. Trust the process and just try really hard to get as much sleep as you can.

Honey, it took me ten years after my first round of competitions to get back to an (almost) healthier attitude towards food and I’m still not there yet. This time around (prepping for a comp in October) I’m making sure to have some natural fats (fish oil or olive oil) at each meal and this is really helping keep my cravings under control a lot more. I know it feels impossible sometimes, but please love yourself enough to realise that you are loved by your friends and family for far more reasons than just because you have an awesome body.

Thank you so much. I am competing again and I am determined to do what’s right for me this time!
I’d love for you to stay in touch and let me know how this round goes for you too. Best of luck!

Wow! You have described to the “T” what i keep going through week after week. Except I’m not training to compete quite yet, although I follow an eating plan and workout regime as if I were. Weekend comes, and I feel like I am completely loosing my mind, I start craving everything I cannot have, things I had never eaten or even thought about when I was “normal” and I literally consume like a starving person! I become almost ravenous! And I get so upset with myself, and while I feel the disappointment, it doesn’t stop me from searching the house for bad food! I will continue till I finish an entire pack of chips, or an entire chocolate bar, or all the pb i can find! I know exactly what you are going through – and I am soooo glad that I am not alone! But I do feel for you, and I hope both you and I, and everyone else who feels the same can find a good balance without the crazy cravings, and disappointment! xx

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