How My Bikini Competition Helped Me, Not Hurt Me

More often than not, I hear stories about how girls come out of a bikini competition and start dealing with mental health issues ranging from bingeing, depression, body image issues, disordered eating, and more. I feel for all of those girls, because although I haven’t dealt with all of those things, I certainly have had my share of body image issues and what not.

This is one of the reasons why I waited to compete for so long. I knew that if I didn’t love my body the way it was, at ANY stage, then competing next to a bunch of ripped, beautiful women would make it worse. Sure, I doubted myself PLENTY of times during my prep. At times I didn’t think I was progressing fast enough, not getting lean enough, or that I wouldn’t be lean enough by the time my show came. And even the day before my bikini competition, I continued to doubt myself and question whether or not I could do this.

While I did doubt myself, let me put it out there that yes, I loved my body at every stage during my prep. I loved it before I started, and I do believe that is necessary before you think about competing – remember, you are being judged on your body. Not really the best scenario for someone who judges themselves and doesn’t love their body.

Anyway, going into show day I wasn’t sure what to expect in regards to the other girls. Sure, I’ve seen pictures of plenty of competitors on social media, but that just isn’t the same as seeing people in person. Regardless, I was super happy with what I was bringing to the stage, I was happy how my entire prep went and didn’t even really feel like a prep (because I wasn’t restricted), I felt amazing, I felt confident, and I felt READY.

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Once all the girls were packed into the tiny room and bathroom that was provided to us backstage, we were all doing hair, make-up, taking selfies and pictures, and all walking around in our bikinis and even changing butt ass naked – no shame. I thought that I would start to doubt myself at this point, because I would really get to see the behind-the-scenes’ raw and realness of all the bikini competitors. I thought that I would start to feel self-conscious about myself and my body. I thought that I would think to myself that the fact that I’m dong this was ridiculous. Oddly enough, it was all the opposite for me. Was I the leanest? Probably not, but I didn’t care at all. I was proud of myself and loved my body.

Every single girl looked freaking AMAZING. Seriously, everyone was beautiful – from their hair, to their suit, to their make-up, and obviously down to their bodies. But, everyone perfectly imperfect. 

You see these women on magazines and even on social media at times and think “wow, they are perfect”, but guess what? Everyone has their imperfections. Even bikini competitor’s that are strutting their stuff in a tiny bikini on a stage in front of a ton of people being judged on their body. Not one person at that competition had zero imperfections. And I thought that was incredible.

I started to think back at all the times I was so hard on myself. We truly are our own worst critic. I was hoping that none of the girls backstage felt self-conscious, because it can be intimidating. At first I was, because I saw so many girls with such amazing bodies. But then I realized how different we all are. Everyone truly is beautiful in their own way. I wanted to walk around and tell everyone how amazing they looked, but I’m sure they all probably would’ve thought I was weird hah.

Fast forward a bit to when I went on stage for the first time for Novice. I got probably 3rd or 4th call-outs. When this happened I felt ridiculous, I questioned everything, I was saying “WTF am I doing” a million times in my head, I think I blacked out during my individual LOL, and I was a little upset when I got off stage. But then right before I went on for my height class, I thought how stupid that was for me to think that way! I told myself to go out there, have fun, be PROUD, and show off what I had worked my ass off for these past few months. So that’s what I did, and I ended up exceeding my expectations and getting first freaking place.

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It just validated what I was thinking before – the way we see ourselves can be a lot different than the way others see us. 

We all should really start viewing ourselves the way we truly are. We are all beautiful in our own, unique ways. We all have imperfections, but that is what makes us who we are.

Not only did competing help me in this aspect, but it also reminded me of a few other things that I might have struggled with before:

  • STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF
    • Not only does this have to do with body image, but it also has to do with food choices. While on prep I did eat whatever I wanted, thank you flexible dieting. But I thought back to the times I was so, so strict with what I was eating. Seriously? I wasn’t about to walk half-naked on a stage, it was completely unnecessary. TREAT YO’ SELF PEOPLE. I don’t want to look back and think “damn, I could’ve eaten that”, ya know…
    • As for body image, don’t obsess over your flaws. For example, I used to never wear shorts to the gym, EVER. I was so ashamed because I hated my legs. But guess what? I look back at pictures of when I thought this way and now I’m like seriously?!?!?! I must have been on drugs. Now I wear shorts to the gym all the time. I love it.
  • Abs/leanness does not equal health.
    • Now, I knew this before, but even more so after competing. Some girls were so, so lean, and not all of them were healthy. I heard a ton of girls talking about how they couldn’t drink water, took diuretics, did tons and tons of cardio, etc. to get to their body conditioning for the stage. Is that sustainable year-round? NO. So abs probably aren’t either. Plus, they’re highly genetic. I didn’t have block abs at all, just obliques really.
  • Everyone is SO DIFFERENT.
    • Really though, I question how they can even judge these competitions. Like I said before, everyone looked so incredible. The thing is, everyone’s body composition is just soooo different from one another’s. Some girls had a ton of muscle, some didn’t have that much, big boobs, small boobs, thick legs and a big butt, small legs and a small butt, abs, obliques, WHATEVER. No girl had the same body composition. Which is why we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. It’s good to have idols and inspirations, but not good to want to BE someone else.
  • One meal will not derail your progress.
    • Similar to not being so hard on yourself, but really. The people backstage were talking about what we were going to eat after the show. One girl said if it fit her macros.. I just thought WTF you just competed eat whatever you want! I had what I wanted – a cheeseburger, fries, wine, chocolate, and I woke up leaner the next day. And hell no I didn’t track it. And guess what? If you aren’t on prep at all, ENJOY YOUR LIFE. Go out to eat. Drink wine. Have a good time. It.will.not.kill.you.

So while competing can certainly be a mind f**k at times during prep (mostly with doubting yourself), overall it was such an incredible, rewarding experience. I’m so glad stepped outside of my comfort zone and went for it.

Remember, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

 

No questions, just comment anything that comes to mind 🙂

 

 

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Comments

  1. Golden priceless knowledge!

  2. Congrats! I think it’s amazing how you’re in such a good place mentally. No matter if competing or not those same thoughts and behaviors are so prevalent in so many people’s minds.

  3. Love this! YES!!!! You must already love yourself 🙂 Congrats on First Place… that must feel amazing.

  4. Again, congratulations on your placing, but most importantly congrats on your mental health and the mental transformation. I wrote a similar post a few weeks back about “What this marathon means to me”–in short, running and especially training has helped me to let go of the fear of losing control (due to my illness and the fact that my husband and I will likely start trying to have a family this time next year. I might not be ready mentally to have a child, but I am no long as scared to try. I”m glad that you have gained so much from your tranformative experience as well!

  5. lovelovelove this as you have done the entire thing in a way which works for YOU.

  6. So inspiring! It is all our imperfections that make us perfect! Congrats again! You deserve it! Xx

  7. Congrats on your win! You deserve it. Love your atttitude! So positive and inspirational. 🙂

  8. AWESOME MAMA! I agree – this is a COMPETITION just like running a race, you’re not in that shape without conditioning properly and it’s not year round! And I don’t have block abs either, I’m glad we can have that in common LOL

  9. THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU 🙂 im not competing (never have) and your ENJOY YOUR LIFE statement is so grounding and true 🙂

  10. way to go woman, and i mean that mentally too!

  11. You’re so amazing Brittany! I’m so glad that you didn’t have anything negative come from doing your competition! It’s so common to hear people experience the opposite, so it’s nice to hear some positive things instead!

  12. Hi Brittany! I follow you on IG and am glad to have found your blog as well… Sounds like such an awesome experience, and I love the inspiring message of this post! You look great and obviously rocked it! 🙂

  13. You earned this and then some. I just adore you, and this post is PERFECT!! Congratulations again…on EVERYTHING!! Gorgeousssss girl.

  14. As if I didn’t already think you were an inspiration you proved it further with these statements. You deserved to win not only for your obviously amazing look on stage but your mentality, too. Physical and mental health combined.

  15. I JUST stumbled onto your blog and have to say… Thank you SO SO much for your advice!! I went through bikini comp prep last year but couldn’t get up on stage. I want to try again but I feel like my life as a student is always getting in the way (I recently received by B.Sc and am now working on a M.Sc). How did you stay sane/ afford to prep while being full time student???

    • brittanylesserfitness@gmail.com says:

      You are so welcome! Good question, I’m certainly not always sane LOL! I have like 3 jobs as well as being a full-time student, so it’s always tough! I just take it day by day though, and I pay for competing with the money I make from working 3 jobs.

  16. I am glad I found this. I have just started my journey to a bikini competition. It’s nice to know you did so well and weren’t hard on yourself during prep.

  17. This was amazing. I am 5 weeks into prep and haven’t felt good during any of it. I think everyday of quitting and if I can do this and its exhausting. When you say your diet was so flexible, what do you mean? I feel like I am spinning my wheels. Thank you for your inspiring words, please give me some insight on your diet. Can I have a glass of wine? lol

  18. I know you wrote this in 2014, but I just wanted to thank you so much. I am 8.5 weeks out from my show and I have been reading and researching nothing but negative blogs about competing, and this article has definitely brought my spirits up! I haven’t had a negative thought about prep yet, and I have actually enjoyed the process, but all the negative articles have had me questioning weather i should continue in fear of feeling depressed afterwards. I am just going to keep enjoying the process and love my body no matter what. Thank you for the inspiration!!

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