Thursday, January 9, 2014

Decided to push back my show so I can get fat.

Well... sort of.

I want to focus on gaining TONS of mass...and really let my body get used to eating food that I LOVE again. I'm going to help my boyfriend (Kyle / @sir_elsea) with his show in San Jose in four weeks, and then compete in a powerlifting meet in late March. My next show will be in May or June. (That's a full years worth of muscle growth!!)

I've discussed this a bit on Reddit, and those who know me in real life know, that I've strugggggggled with food pretty much my entire life. When I was a child, I ate whatever I want--like most kids do--and I played every sport under the sun, so I was exceptionally skinny. My mom would always tell me "the fact that you eat so poorly is going to catch up to you one day!" When my parents were going through their divorce, I never ate. I got down to about 98lbs at 5'7". By the end of high school I was 5'9" (I'm currently 5'10"). I've always been tall for my age, so once the poor eating (ice cream, candy, and snacks all day long) finally did catch up to me, I wore the weight well. I suppose it started around Senior year in high school, but I ballooned by more than 25 lbs by the end of my first year in college.

Fast forward several years to September 29th, 2012 when I started this fitness journey. I started counting calories (a measly 1460 a day--what a joke!) but I didn't really look at macronutrients at this point. I lost quite a bit of weight (you can see this in my earliest posts). Then, when training for my bikini competition, I started calculating macronutrient grams. For a while, it was fun trying to fit everything in. But I still only ate "clean" foods--what I perceived to be "clean" foods. Carbs NEEDED to be oats, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes. Protein NEEDED to always be lean chicken or turkey. Fats NEEDED to be as minimal as possible--from meats--and MAYBE a bit of avocado. I refused to even have a tiny nibble of a cookie. Quest Bars and maybe a protein cheesecake were my "saving grace" when I had a sweet craving. But, I thought, this is what bikini competitors need to do! NO EXCUSES. DON'T BACK DOWN! DON'T GIVE IN! I got SO lean. I had abs! Combine that with an insane tan (I tanned for around 5 straight months), and I looked so so so tiny. 5'10", 128 lbs on stage. Currently, I'm around 136lbs, and I look and feel SO much healthier. But I didn't get to this point without going through terrible hardship.

After my show (where I placed 6th), I binged. I ate so much food and hated myself for the next couple of days. Then I would retract and start eating at my calorie limit... until I got into a situation (like July 4th) where there was tons of delicious food around. I would binge binge binge. Then I would retract and start eating at my calorie limit and do CARDIO every single day because I was self-loathing and punishing myself. Then a wedding came (October 5th) and I binged so badly that I almost vomited. Then I went back for more food. I was bawling my eyes out and my poor boyfriend looks at me and says "Ilyssa, there is something wrong. This is not okay." I flashed back to all the nights I would sit up in bed meticulously planning every freaking macronutrient PERFECTLY TO THE GRAM for the next days meals in My Fitness Pal. I flashed back to the all the times I WISHED I could just have a tiny bite of that cake, but NO NO NO ITS BAD ITS BAD WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GIVING UP? I flashed back to all the self-loathing I did when I was overweight and all the times I justified my 170+ lb frame with "Oh, it takes a lot of calories to maintain these curves!"

I realized that my self-loathing had just transformed itself into "clean eating" self-punishment.

It was then that I made a change. I decided I couldn't go on with such a strict diet any longer. I couldn't go through these phases of binging and restricting and binging and restricting. This was ORTHOREXIA--aka, only consuming foods you PERCEIVE to be healthy. I needed to find a healthy medium. So I started to follow "iifym" also known as if it fits your macros. Now, I eat whatever the hell I want--as long as it fits within my 1900-1950 cal a day, ~43 Fat, ~214 Carb, ~165 Protein limit. (On non-training days it's more like ~65 Fat, ~150 Carb, ~180 Protein). Last night I had the most massive bowl of Protein Frozen Yogurt. Now, I can fit in Chicken Tikka Masala. Now I can eat waffles. Now, I eat cookies. Now, I eat peanut brittle. Now, I go to YOGURTLAND. Now, I have jelly beans and mike n' ikes and M & Ms. But I do these things in MODERATION and they are generally my "dessert" at the end of the day after I've had a "clean" omelette, a chicken stir-fry, turkey taquitos, Greek Yogurt and a Quest Bar or something. I still get in my "healthy" vegetables and fruits--bananas, apples, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spaghetti squash... but I get to "TREAT" myself at the end of the night with a big bowl of Oats and Snickerdoodle cookies. Because, if I have the leftover macros, I'm going to eat it. Now I have curves again...but they're MUSCULAR.

I can talk all day about how this has dramatically improved my life (I wrote my e-book all about delicious desserts!:, and I'm not saying the food obsession is not still there...but I'm learning to deal with it... and I'm learning to listen to my body. And I eat when I'm hungry--which yesterday didn't start until 4 PM. It's 10:40 and I'm going to go make a waffle now. 1 TBSP Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour. 2 TBSP coconut flour. 1 egg whites. 1/3 cup Almond Milk. 1/8 cup Greek Yogurt. Baking Powder. Stevia. Salt. 50g (25 inside, 25 on top) Blueberries. Topped with Greek Yogurt and Sugar-Free Syrup.

Thanks for listening / reading my rant.


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  4. Hello. I know this is going to sound weird, but I'm so, so proud of you for getting healthy. I am also prepping for my first bikini comp and I feel perilously close to descending into the very eating disorder you describe. I'm trying to stay grounded, but it's hard to be realistic when most of what you see in the fitness industry is girls lean year-round, who LOVE eating clean, who claim IIFYM isn't for them, and cardio twice a day is normal. So, thank you for posting this honesty about your experience after the show. I wish you the best of luck in your fitness journey. You inspire me to stay real, to stay healthy, and to stay happy.

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  6. I went through the exact same situation. Thank you for being so open about it! I hope you post more about fitness. I found you via instagram but didn't know you had a blog! I blog too over at