Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Comeback Is Always Stronger Than The Setback

Hi again! 👋👋

As most of you know, I decided to take some time away from blogging and sharing my journey (read here). As you can see just from that post and things that were shared leading up to that post that it was much needed and I am sure some people saw it coming.

"Lord knows you can’t trust your head when you're standing on the edge. 
I’m breaking down.
Lord knows you can’t trust your head when you're hanging by a thread. 
I was breaking down." -Sia (Footprints)

I'm baaaack! Did you miss me?! I took a much needed hiatus for my recovery from comp preps and I've been away since June. A lot of interesting things happened while I was away and I've been working on some fun and exciting projects during my absence. I can't wait to reveal it all! I just got back last night from a small vaca, but I'll have a blog post posted later today about why I withdrew from everything and everyone for awhile, and dealing with the horrible aftermath from the preps. Also... what I've been up to, how my recovery went, and what I plan to do moving forward. I didn't expect my body to make as much progress as it did with the recovery so quickly. And I didn't expect to return so soon after a few months and I'm still feeling some type of way about it. I'm just going with the flow and doing what I want as I always have. Thank you to those of you that reached out to me with concern and heartwarming messages. Your prayers, thoughts, and positive vibes helped me tremendously. I've lost lots of followers and I've gained lots of new followers while I was away. Some accepted my decision to be absent from Huff 'n Puff to Buff 'n Tough during my recovery and others were not very accepting at all. Their decision to not accept and support it did not bother me one bit. I have a life off of social media too and I don't live and post to please people on social media. So thank you to those of you who get that and stuck around. I'm grateful for the loyalty, friendship, and continuous support that a lot of you give to me. . . I'm back...somewhat... and ready to continue being the badass that never quits! 👊🤘💋 #thejourneyneverends #mentalhealth #recovery #reset
A post shared by Katie Bolden (@huffnpuff2buffntough) on

I was dealing with a terrible streak of bad luck and things kept going downward from there on. It was bad news, on top of bad news, on top of more bad news along with a ton of struggles over a period of 4 months. I don't wish to get into all of it, but just know that it was really tough for me to handle. In a way... I kinda felt betrayed by many and for many reasons. Not only that, but I was dealing with the horrible aftermath of my first prep.

Many people don't know that there is a dark side to competing that many competitors deal with, but don't talk about and some coaches won't tell you about. Those are the coaches you typically want to steer away from because they won't be any good for you and your health. The aftermath won't be pretty if you are prepped improperly and irresponsibly.

I was prepped improperly and irresponsibly with no fucks given about my mental and physical health. While there are thousands of ways to prep for a competition, the ultimate goal SHOULD be getting to the stage in a healthy way. In a way that won't ruin your mental and physical health. Unfortunately, that is not the ultimate goal for some competitors, coaches, and their clients. I didn't know that at the time. In fact... I didn't know a lot. I made a lot of beginner and rookie mistakes, which some could have been avoided and risks lowered with a coach that gave a crap about the clients she works with.

We step on stage being in the best shape and condition that we have ever been in, but getting to that point may not be done in the healthiest of ways. A lot of us go through a lot of extremes to build and create a great stage physique for whatever category we will be competing in. Overall, what myself and many competitors do and have done to step on that stage looking our best is by no means healthy or sustainable. You can't maintain that stage look and what you did to get there. There are healthier ways to get a good AND winning stage look as a natural competitor and I am learning just that!

I am slowly learning the ins and outs of healthy prepping versus unhealthy and extreme prepping. What I was put through was an extremely unhealthy prep. I was overworked and given insanely unhealthy amounts of exercise in my plan with no rest days along with an extremely strict cookie cutter meal plan. Low carb, no variety, no refeeds, or cheats. When I speak with other competitor's and tell them what my prep plan consisted of and tell my story they gasp and they give these crazy expressions of concern telling me that the prep plan I was given was crazy unhealthy and they could also tell right off the bat that the coach didn't give two shits about my health and how to get me to the stage in a responsible and non-reckless manner.

Throughout my first prep I ignored the red flags even after I started noticing myself developing certain habits. Not only did I catch myself developing negative body image issues (my husband pointed that out before I even said anything to anyone including him) that I worked hard to overcome during weight loss and especially knowing I would have excess skin after major weight loss. But I also caught myself developing disordered eating ㅡ binge eating. I tried to ignore all of the warning signs and red flags during my prep. Even though I turned to mostly healthier foods to binge on during my first prep... when things became too much for me and I did give in... I allowed myself a cheat that was not part of my plan. I binged then as well and ate until I couldn't eat anymore. It was a scary experience. I felt like I had no control during the binges and that I was not in my right mind. In fact, during the entire prep... I wasn't in my right mind... at all! I binged multiple times with fast food and countless times with healthier foods like protein bars, peanut butter, dark chocolate, etc. during the first prep. With the fast food... I ate till I was sick because I couldn't stop. The bloating usually went away within a week and I was fine physically. The healthier foods, I ate until I was satisfied and could walk away with no issues. I still ended up looking good for the competition and won my category, but I can't say that I came into my show mentally prepared and in the best place mentally. When I look back on my first prep experience, it makes me very sad and disappointed about the whole experience.

After the first prep, I felt like the amazing healthy relationship I had with food that I worked so damn hard for FOR YEARS was destroyed. I had my work cut out for me to restore it when all was said and done.

I had to work hard to restore myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It wasn't easy and it wasn't pretty.





Please keep in mind that a competition prep and weight loss are two entirely different things. But this is exactly why "diets" don't work for the long haul.

Speaking of weight loss.... I once said that a prep was similar to weight loss. I once thought because I was successful with losing a ton of weight and had mastered the mental part of weight loss that I had this prep in the bag with no issues and problems. Boy oh boy was I freaking wrong. That prep was NOT like weight loss. Actually, an extreme prep is what many people still think weight loss is all about. DIETING! TEMPORARY STRICT DIETING with diets that DON'T WORK to lose weight AND keep it off.

The mind is such a powerful thing. And when you do a comp prep or some fad weight loss diet where things are super restrictive with no variety... It's not only more challenging, but you will end up screwing with your mind and your body. I thought I had it made because I can beat the mental game with weight loss with a sustainable way of living and eating for my goals and long lasting results, but a prep is a whole other thing I've recently learned and it's harder than weight loss and your mind will screw with you like CRAZY. So, when I said that weight loss and comp prep were one in the same and similar.... I take it back. I take it all back.

The storm that tried to take me out ー mentally

After my first competition prep, I rebounded HARD!! For those that don't know what post competition rebound is... you can find a perfect description HERE.

I knew about the cravings that I would get and the food obsessions, etc. as I was experiencing these things throughout my prep, but I didn’t know how life would be for me after competition. My mind and body went haywire. It was exhausted. I gained 15+ lbs in water weight and I suffered from severe edema that affected my entire body. I swelled up like a water balloon. It was painful, depressing, and a dangerous situation.

My body had a reaction to the binging I did after the show. The rule of thumb is you are not suppose to cheat any longer than 24 hours after a show and then you are suppose to get back on your comp diet to slowly up your calorie intake again as well as slowly introducing carbs, fat, sodium, etc. And foods that you couldn't have during prep. Your body needs time to adjust. It's called reverse dieting. If you don't reverse diet, or you wait too long to reverse diet, you can do some serious damage to your metabolism and your hormones. You are also suppose to carefully up your water intake again as well if cutting water for the show was part of your prep plan. It was part of mine and I wasn't properly informed by my former coach on how to do that and didn't even know anything about that and the fact that I was suppose to slowly reintroduce water again.

So after the show, I wasn't drinking much to begin with that night. I drank a soda that came with my dinner and some gatorade because I was dealing with massive muscle cramps that night before I went to sleep. The following day I had an iced coffee and was back to drinking mostly water again. I don't think I was back to drinking my gallon of water just yet. In fact, if I remember correctly, I wasn't drinking too much of anything for a few days after my show throughout the rest of my trip. I wasn't back to drinking my full gallon of water until I came home a few days later. When I started my gallon again I blew up! The uncontrollable binging throughout the rest of the week when I came home didn't help matters much and only made things worse. After that first week of being home and binging while struggling to get back on my comp diet, I was dealing with dangerous conditions dealing with my mind and body. I spent the following week afterwards trying to fully get back to my comp diet to start my next and last prep for the year for Chicago and Worlds, which I was successful with and the binging had subsided by the 3rd week of being home, but by that time it was too late and I had officially rebounded and hard. It took about 2 weeks to noticeably see changes that my body was flushing out the water it was holding on to. I still had binging urges, but I guess I had enough control to not act on them right away anyways. My body was still hanging on to 8 lbs of extra water, but I could see and feel my body slowly getting back to normal again until I gave in on an uncontrollable binge and I swelled again. Not as much this time, but still noticeably dangerous amounts of water that the body was hanging onto. Again, I was back on track after a few weeks and my body was getting better and flushing out the water. I got my mind back in the game and I was doing really well.

The second prep wasn't as bad as the first. First thing I did was ditch my coach, which was the best thing I could have done for myself. If I didn't care about spending the amount of money that I did on her, I would have fired her in the middle of my prep instead of sticking it out with her till the end based on the treatment she was giving me (refer to my FA post). I feel like the risks of rebounding and binging would of been considerably lower if she hadn't prepped me the way that she did and was informative with things that I as a competitor NEEDED to know. It is part of a good knowledgeable coaches job to walk, guide, and help their competitor clients through this journey SUCCESSFULLY. She failed. She didn't take into consideration my PCOS, or mental disorders, which were fully disclosed from the very beginning of our journey together. She treated me like absolute s***!

I put together a plan and gave myself variety with flexible dieting. I learned that many competitors were doing flexible dieting for comp prep and it not only helps them mentally, but it helps them get prepared for the stage in a healthy way. It is also successful in eliminating crazy cravings and urges to binge. I also learned that some competitors and coaches make the careful decisions together of not playing with carbs, sodium and water all in one prep. Once I learned that you can get stage ready without relying on any or all of the extremes that some do to get themselves and their clients ready.... I learned that there are so many ways to stage prep and the options were endless. You have to find what works for you just like with weight loss. I definitely enjoyed the second prep a lot more. And I wasn't confined to a treadmill for cardio. I wasn't allowed to do anything else for cardio the first time around.

I continued to do well until a terrible streak of bad luck hit me. I kept telling myself that I didn't want to be in a prep all summer for nothing and things were getting down to the wire to plan for this trip to London for the Worlds competition I qualified for... with the first steps of applying for passports. I couldn't even afford that. The longer I was being strung along thinking that I would gain enough financial support, the stronger the feeling that my heart was no longer in the game. And when it was made pretty clear to me that I would not be getting enough support and raising enough money to go, I put my plan in place to pull out of my second prep. I crawled into a hole and pretty much withdrew from everything and everyone for awhile after that to heal my mind and body behind closed doors. I no longer had the motivation to connect and share my journey. I no longer wanted to continue sharing my journey and story with everyone even if it did help others. I felt let down by a lot of people, by everything, by life in general. I was disappointed by empty promises and words. My social media was constantly plagued with competition photos and competitor physiques and people pretending they look like that everyday when in all reality THEY DON'T! I felt like I had to escape the world of bodybuilding to get my mind right.

After everything was said and done.....

I was left struggling with disordered eating, back in a depressive state of mind, and anxiety was at an all time high. I wanted nothing to do with anyone or anything other than my daughter. And it was hard to take care of her needs while my physical and mental state was deteriorated and empty, but I'm a mom and I can't neglect my beautiful baby's needs even if I wasn't in the best state of mind. She comes first and will always come first. That's what being a mom is all about. That's what being a parent is all about. I had to take care of her needs while trying to fix myself again.

I had to take care of my relationship with my husband and work on my marriage while trying to fix myself again. I don't pretend to have the perfect marriage. There's no such thing. We've been high school sweethearts since sophmore year, been together for 14 years, married for almost 5 years.... sometimes I want to choke him, sometimes I neglect his wants and needs and vice versa. This past year has been the toughest year of our marriage as I was pushing him away while feeling completely disconnected from him and our marriage for the past year and a half physically, mentally, and emotionally. What makes us so special and blessed though is the fact that we continue to remain committed to each other despite the issues we face.... Not by force, but by choice. I feel like we have made tremendous progress throughout these past few months that I've been away from here and things are looking up and I am seriously blessed and sometimes I do forget that. We've been spending time reconnecting again and I feel completely present in our marriage again for the most part despite my mental illnesses trying to get the best of me, but it feels good to be present again!

I've used some amazingly legit tools such as herbs and other supplements that have pretty much aided in resetting me mentally ー my moods, attitude, as well as hormones since I've been recovering mentally and working on my mental state while I was away. I'll say that it has definitely helped with certain aspects of my marriage on my end! 😉😜

Coming out of 2 preps this year (still recovering physically and mentally) and really seeing that huge "temporary transformation" on stage is mind blowing, but to get there isn't easy and requires a lot of support from those around you. A lot of physical and mental strength as well. It's grueling, it's difficult, and it f**** with your mental state, especially if you have a history of mental illness. And I won't even get into PCOS and hormone changes. But it's also a lifestyle if that is your passion and chosen sport. You have to create that balance. A lot of people can't or just don't want to and that's totally ok... competing isn't for everyone. But if you're not willing to create that balance and you are not enjoying the journey, then maybe competing was never for you in the first place and a passion of yours to begin with. Competitor's sometimes forget that the stage photo you look at is "stage lean".... NOT SUSTAINABLE AND MAINTAINABLE. I quickly forgot this myself after my competition and the preps were over and done with. It took me a bit to come to terms with this. You have to love your body in all stages! The stage where you looking lean as f*** with crazy definition AND accept the fact that you won't look like that on a regular basis, the stage where some of that definition disappears, the stage where it disappears under even more fluff when you are building muscle and the stage where your body is when you are just maintaining any sustainable progress made.

Did my first prep experience turn me off to competing in the future?

Hell no... I love competing and I love the adrenaline I get doing a show. I enjoy being on stage strutting my stuff while shining like a diamond! Being on the stage felt so right! I know, that sounds so weird coming from a shy introvert who deals with social and generalized anxiety. I am willing to find that balance, so that I can enjoy life, not drive those around me completely crazy, and still kick ass on stage during the times in my life that I choose compete in physique sports. It will never be my main sport though. There is so many aspects to this sport mentally and physically that many people do not know about. Hat's off to those who do physique sports as their chosen main sport.

I have plans to compete again in the future after my skin surgeries are all said and done and I am fully recovered from them, but the next time around I will be WAY MORE CAREFUL AND CAUTIOUS with how I prep myself for a show and who I choose as a coach. I will learn their philosophy and approach to comp prepping and how they like to structure things for their clients and what they believe in (cheats and refeeds, flexible dieting - iifym, sodium, carb, and water manipulation, rest days, etc.) and how responsible, protective and careful they are of their clients when it comes to prepping them for a show.

I will be careful in my search in looking for a smart and responsible coach that will take my mental health, physical health, and my PCOS to mind when helping me and making sure we aren't doing EVERYTHING to the extreme to get me ready. You have to pick and choose your extremes if you choose any at all. When you do too many extremes, it is a recipe for disaster and you create a higher risk and have a higher chance of crashing and burning... AKA - post comp rebound... when your show is over.

What I've been up to during my recovery and time away

I did a lot of thinking, forgiving, eating, grieving, and more.

I would really like to say that writing was a part of that, but it wasn't. In fact, it was the last thing I was thinking about. No writing on the blog or my book. My mind wasn't in it, so I wasn't going to attempt it. When my mind isn't in it, then quality suffers. That's with anything and everything.

News broke of Chester Bennington's (Linkin Park's frontman) death by suicide last month and I was DEVASTATED to say the least!! I grew up and spent my teenage and young adult years listening to Linkin Park. I was always a huge fan wearing a band t-shirt or hoodie with their name and/or logo at least once a week for years in high school. LP's music got me through some of the toughest times in my life and I cried for days when the news came out. So, I've been grieving during my recovery while I've been away. I will continue using his music as a source of light, inspiration, and motivation in my life just as I always have and even more so now.

I spent a lot of quality time with my family getting out of the house and enjoying the summer as best as I could under the circumstances at the time. My summer was filled with fun festivals, warm summer nights in Chicago gallivanting on the lively south beaches, night swims while watching the fireworks off in the distance shooting off at Navy Pier, watching movies (Trolls, Moana, Sing..) with HJ that had a good message that I as an adult still needed to hear at the time. And a stressful, but still fun last minute Wisconsin weekend getaway in the dells. A summer that I didn't think would be filled with many pool and beach days or nights actually turned out to be the opposite. I couldn't deny HJ summer fun because I didn't feel like I should leave the house and I didn't feel worthy of fun. I had to put that BS a side to make sure I gave my daughter a great summer and in the end I ended up enjoying myself as well and I really feel that it was all a part of my healing and recovery. Especially the eating part! :)

A post shared by Katie Bolden (@hokulau) on

A post shared by Katie Bolden (@hokulau) on

Speaking on the "eating" more... I started eating for maintenance and keeping my calories within my maintenance range (1900-2400 cals/day). I spent a lot of quality time enjoying foods that I like that would not be on my everyday menu with family. Once I properly reverse dieted out of my preps, I gave myself 1-2 cheat meals a week. I was still dealing with water bloat and swelling tissues here and there after those meals when I first started that, but I could definitely tell there were major improvements with my body because it wasn't as severe, or as painful and it wasn't lasting as long (2-3 days max). After a couple weeks of that, my body had made even more improvements and I could actually have cheat meals without water bloat and swelling tissues. As long as I kept them in moderation and stopped when I was full, I would not get the symptoms. That was the first time I had felt normal in months! I went on vacation and just got back last night and I ate whatever I wanted for 5 days straight, all 3 meals and I only dealt with water bloat towards the end of my trip on the 4th straight day of eating whatever. That was another major improvement... it took days of eating whatever I wanted to bring on symptoms of water bloat and swelling tissues. Things are looking up and I know I'm healing and recovering well. I made it a point to add in 1-2 cheat meals a week because I felt that was what I needed to help me heal and recover and to get back that healthy relationship I had with food before it was severely disrupted. I went from feeling like I needed that kind of food and binging with severe and dangerous consequences to just being able to enjoy again in moderation with family without any severe and dangerous consequences.

I won't lie... I haven't been enthusiastic about working out for the past few months and motivation is seriously lacking, but I never stopped pushing. I was still working out even if I was slacking and still taking plenty of workout and sweaty selfies. Pretty much just focusing on maintaining where I'm at right now before I start building more muscle. I would like to focus on getting a little more lean because I'm not as lean as I'd like to be and definitely not rocking a lot of the definition that I had BEFORE the preps, but I still have a decent amount of definition on my body. I can't focus on getting a little leaner right now because I'm focusing on maintaining and recovering. I probably won't focus on getting lean again until late winter. Some definition that I developed during my preps never left me. They softened up a bit, but it's still present and it's pretty awesome! I'm still rockin' ab definition with loose skin and it's pretty much the best it's going to get with the extra skin I have, but I am totally not obsessing over any of this.

A post shared by Katie Bolden (@hokulau) on

What's next....

I plan on bulking up a little bit to build more muscle and trying to fill in some more of my loose skin. At this point... Not sure when I'm actually going to go under the knife to get my extra skin removed, but regardless of when that may be, I am still debating on starting consultations in October to learn more about my surgery and financial options and the costs I'll be facing financially. At this point, there are other needs that need to come first like getting a house and changing our current situation, so I guess only time will tell on when I'll actually be able to get this done. It'll happen when it's suppose to. I don't really have a lot of solidified short term goals right now other than to just build more muscle, get out and continue staying active throughout the upcoming cold season. Maybe get a few more half marathons checked off and under my belt before I try to tackle my long term goal with a full with the Honolulu Marathon ー whenever that may be. Hell, maybe I'll start training to enter a local Olympic Weightlifting competition. Other long term goals include getting back to the stage. And I can't wait!!!!!

And like a phoenix, I rise from the ashes

Even though I feel like I have weathered the storm for the most part.... this month has been a mix of emotions. I am grateful and happy that my mind and body is finding balance again after only 3 months after competition with having PCOS AND experiencing a terribly painful and dangerous comp rebound. I was actually mentally preparing for recovery to take longer (1-2 years). I am grateful that my body continues to be very good to me for the most part after all I put it through with weight loss, irresponsible and extreme competition preps, and f*** up's. Things could have been way worse than they were. My metabolism is definitely a champ and continues to surprise me with how strong it is and how fast it can bounce back! Things are falling back into place and I've been working hard on damage control these past few months with my relationships, my body, and my mind. I pretty much had to reset my body. I am slowly, but surely getting back to a happy place again.

But on the other hand... I see all of my fit fam getting ready to hit that World's stage in London this week to compete for the World's Champion title in the transformation division. And while I am so happy for them and wish them all the best on this amazing dream come true journey, my heart continues to break because it isn't my time right now and I continue to wish that it was. It's not easy to accept the fact that I reached the World level of the sport within the organization I was competing with only to find out that I couldn't follow through on it and had to call it quits for the time being because it wasn't my time. It's something I'm still working on trying to accept. At least I have other things to look forward to.

Bottom line... Everything happens for a reason and the comeback is always stronger than the setback. And to those actually reading this... no matter what comes your way... Keep pressing forward because one of the worst things you can do in life is to give up and stay stuck in a rut for too long, especially after you've already proven to yourself that you can do anything you put your heart, mind, and soul into.... And in the end if its meant to be it will be whether it be sooner or later.

Thank you to everyone who left me messages of concern, hopes, and prayers while I was away, the continued sharing of my transformation photos and stories, and those who understand that I have a life off of social media and understand that and still stuck around. I appreciate it! Hugs!


1 comment:

  1. Great Read........... Thanks for your honesty. Was super excited to see your IG post yesterday.

    “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

    — Proverbs 31:25