Whole Food, Plant-based Bikini Model Training
It was just about 2 weeks ago now that I decided to sign up for bikini model training. I had seen these bikini model girls online for a number of years and never actually thought I could — or would even want — to participate. My initial assumption, of course, was that they were all really starving themselves and using some sort of unhealthy processes to get where they were. I even contacted a trainer about 3 years ago, but when I told him I didn’t eat meat or dairy he abandoned ship really fast. I let it go after that because his reaction made me assume that I couldn’t participate on a plant-based diet and I wasn’t about to abandon that. How naive it seems to me now that I thought that!
The years passed and I discovered several amazing plant-based athletes online like torre, badass vegan, conscious muscle, etc. Each one of these people slowly changed my beliefs and understanding about being a vegan athlete. I started to really grasp that there was nothing, literally nothing, standing in my way — except, of course, my own negative thoughts and limitations.
It wasn’t until only a few weeks ago that I came across Criss Carvalho from veganfitnessmodel.com. I was instantly captivated. Here was a woman who had spent her life in conventional training (and winning!) for many bikini shows, but was now training and competing on a whole foods, plant-based diet. Wait, there was an option out there to train using real food? Yes! Real food bikini model training!? Oh my gosh.
It was a dream come true. In every way. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. I became obsessed and I knew that if I didn’t sign up, I would regret it forever. So, I signed up! I chose the 12-week intensive program with 1-on-1 training from Crissi. This package also includes training for a real bikini competition at the end. While I have not signed up for that quite yet, I am heading in that direction.
In all honesty, the reason I have not signed up is that I truly do not know if I can do this. I am terrified of failure. Actually, that’s not true. I welcome failure! Just the kind that comes from not trying. I can’t stand the kind where I actually tried and I gave my all but I failed anyway. I will avoid it like the plague if I think I will fail. And so, here I am. Avoiding because I am terrified that I will fail. I know, many will say, “it’s not failure, it’s all a lesson”. Yeah, I get that, but that’s not what it feels like until much, much later! At least not for me. I like being and feeling successful – ALL the time.
There was something else that happened when I came across Crissi online, I realized what a positive influence she had and how impactful her life was on me and many other people. She was an excellent example of what a Whole Foods, Plant-based diet can give to someone’s life. This thrilled me because if more people could see the immensely positive effects of this lifestyle, then more people would convert to it and therefore hundreds maybe millions of animals could be saved – and that is what I truly want. How can I make an impact on this outrageously inhumane and violent process of animal agriculture? How can I help? How can I really help?
I feel helpless with this question so often because I have done and tried so many things but it just never feels like enough. I have left animal-products out of my diet for nearly 10 years, I sign as many petitions as I can, I donate money to sanctuaries and outreach organizations, I support my local vegan restaurants and stores, I talk light-heartedly and positively about avoiding animal products so I don’t offend anyone and therefore leave the door open for future questions or interest, I share recipes online and yummy plant-based pictures on social media.
But it’s just not enough because this monster called animal agriculture is a huge behemoth of money and rules so much of the economy.
How can I really make an impact? How can I really change people’s mind? Then it occurred to me — by being happy, satisfied and healthy living a plant-based diet. And then I realized that’s exactly what all my idols were already doing – torre, badass vegan, crissi, conscious muscle, pumpkim, thislittlevegan. That’s exactly what they were doing! They were showing, really showing through example how amazing and free and kind and compassionate and honest this way of life is. While I have often wanted to yell at people and condemn them for not realizing the devastation of their actions on animals, it has never truly been my style. I find that it just isn’t effective. I have also tried to create these insanely delicious recipes so that people would be tantalized by their tastebuds and therefore make the transition. But, the competition there is outrageous. The existing plant-based recipe designers in this space are so incredibly talented, I felt I could never keep up – from Happy Herbivore to Minimalist Baker to Oh She Glows, to Alicia Silverstone, The Full Helping, Plant Based Jane and the list goes on and on.
I already love to work out. So, again, the bikini training started to really seem like the perfect choice for living out loud with my passion for veganism and animal welfare. So, I signed up with Crissi and had my first call with her. She sent along my meal plan and my workout plan and I got to work right away. the meal plan was nothing I didn’t already normally eat so I was thrilled. It is packed full of whole foods that were already in my daily diet and in my cupboards and fridge. Foods like: brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, lentils, beans, kale, spinach, apples, oranges, strawberries, blueberries and on and on. All delicious plant foods! The items that were not on her list were oils and fats and sweets. Sweets are extremely easy to find these days without animal products. This does not make them healthy, however, which is why they were not on Crissi’s meal plan. So, I easily gave up all the sweets I normally eat everyday, which I started to realize is a lot more than I ever really noticed! I usually eat about 3-4 small pieces of dark chocolate, maybe some coconut ice cream at night. I had recently started drinking chocolate soy milk so I could get a reliable source of B12 every day and I have always cooked with oil and I generally don’t restrict myself from eating anything else I might want (as long as it’s vegan). So, all those things had to go. No oil, no chocolate, no sweets. It really wasn’t that hard. I’m surprised how easy it was actually. I just didn’t buy anymore chocolate and I started cooking with water and more herbs and I haven’t missed the oil. It was so much easier than I thought!
Until today. I had noticed the last three days or so that my mind was not feeding me very pleasant thoughts. I was starting to feel very sad and really depressed. I felt irritated and uncomfortable. Annoyed really. It lasted for a few days before I really realized it enough and so I decided to take a look at it. When I really looked within myself, I struggled for a minute to figure out why I was feeling this way. The calorie intake is not that far off from what I normally eat so I wasn’t deprived, besides, eating entirely plants is incredibly filling! so, I was actually having a harder time eating enough calories! Then it dawned on me — I was detoxing! I was detoxing from oils and sugars and my body was really struggling. I mean really struggling! Well, actually, my body was probably on the mend! It was my brain that was struggling. I felt so empty. So, so empty.
I had felt this before. Several times actually. In my life, I have had to go through many different sorts of “detoxes” to rid my body, my mind and my life of unwanted things, behaviors and people. The first detox I went through was removing alcohol from my life. That happened in 2000 and I never looked back. I quit drinking before I was even 21 years old and began a new life of sobriety. The second detox I went through was from cigarettes. That happened about a year or so later. That was a hard one as I used to love, love, love to smoke! The next major detox of my life came when I was around 27 years old and I realized that I was so attached to what other people thought of me that I had completely lost myself. Mostly, this referred to men, but the opinions and actions of friends and family were also a huge influence on what I believed about myself and how I treated myself. Finally, it was time to let all that go and reel myself back in. I had to really let go of everything and everyone and dig deep inside myself to redefine who I was and to learn to love myself. It took me several years after that to really find out who I was.
Now, 11 years later, thinking that I have so much figured out, I am cornered again. And this time by food. I live this vegan life, but am I healthy? My body is telling me now that I have some things to work on. I may eat mostly good food most of the time, but the amounts of sugar and sweets and oils I eat is causing me to heavily detox after not having them for a week. That is a sign of something that seriously need to be looked at.
Today, I failed. I really failed. I ended up eating so much crap. I know, call it a learning experience or whatever you want. To me, it was downright failure. But, maybe it’s good because now I see. This shit is real. There are so many levels to getting healthy – truly healthy. So many things to learn! Which is why I never belittle any positive change that anyone ever makes because I know from experience that even the smallest changes can be so insanely hard! The first thing I ever did to take care of myself was quit drinking and that was 18 years ago! Talk about starting from the bottom! I think it’s perfectly acceptable to start by eliminating a few things rather than jumping into eating whole foods only with no oil and sugar ever! But, this is where I am now. I have let go of so much! And now this. And I am grateful. I can’t say I will always be oil free in my cooking, but damn, I am learning a lot!
So, I am going to let today go. It was a huge failure. But yes, it was a huge lesson. I may not be cut out for this bikini challenge stuff. But what I am cut out for is living a healthy, balanced, whole foods plant based life and letting the world see that I am not perfect at it! But I do try. I won’t let one bad day dictate my future for me. I will refocus for the rest of the day, move forward and start again tomorrow, because that is what tomorrow’s are for.
As far as the next 10 weeks? We’ll just have to see how it goes. I had no idea when I started this deal two weeks ago that it would lead to this deep self-reflection. But isn’t that the way? We get so deeply motivated to do something but then what really ends up happening is that we get challenged and pushed to grow far beyond what we ever wanted or thought possible for ourselves! But, when we continue on and persevere, we are always glad, and then we know that the initial drive and initial desire was truly divine. We yearned to be better and stronger and more powerful and make more of an impact but we just didn’t know how to do it. So, we were instilled with a deep desire that led us down a path where we would be forced to grow! And growth usually hurts, at least it does for me!
I am not giving up. But am just going to pay attention, continue detoxing and do what’s right for me, for the animals and for the planet.
Peace, love, plants… but mostly animals.