After being reached out to in regards to advice on what to eat while preparing for Miss Wisconsin, I figured I would share my thoughts on that subject matter with all of you. Also, thank you to the incredible young woman (who I will keep anonymous) for saying I “slay” swimsuit, I hardly find that to be the honest truth, but I appreciate your encouragement. A lot of the attitude I project during the swimsuit competition radiates from within as a result of self-confidence and loving the skin I’m in…but I’ll get to that point in a little bit. For starters, when you’re preparing for a competition…I don’t care if it’s a local pageant or state, try to refrain from the term “diet.” Over the past 5 years (throughout my involvement in the Miss America Organization) I’ve heard countless jabs that irk me (please add emphasis to terms in bold for life-like dramatic effect) like the standard, “Oh you’re on a pageant diet,” and there’s the classic, “What can pageant girls even eat? Do you eat?” What’s even better is when people think they can call me out for being (seemingly in their mind) skinny, “Eat a cheeseburger.” … “Why do you need to work out? You’re SO SKINNY.” First of all, if you’re someone who says comments like these, I challenge you to think twice about what you’re saying and research more about the Miss America Organization’s values and benefits. Keep in mind you’re not exactly dieting, you’re attempting to maintain a healthy lifestyle because you are a role model for countless young girls, boys, and adults in the community.
My entire life I’ve been active in sports: dance, soccer, basketball, track. Now, I stay busy running on a regular basis and of course practice my dance for Miss Wisconsin. In addition, I have an extremely fast metabolism and genetically have a small frame with an extreme lack of curves. It wasn’t really until the last year that I started to put weight on in my hips and lower stomach. Most people will say, “stop, you’re skinny…why workout?” First of all, no one knows your body like you do, so don’t feel as though you have any right to make comments about others. Second, staying physically active is a personal choice people make to keep themselves happy and healthy (don’t judge others if their actions don’t align with yours).
As for pageant preparations…to my fellow ladies out there getting fit for the competition, here are some of my main pointers:
- Keep in mind, 80% of what your body looks like is a direct result of what you eat. Exercise is fantastic and it’s definitely part of the equation, but you aren’t going to get fit with exercise alone. You need to ensure you are eating foods that are going to fuel your body for optimal muscle tone and energy.
- Craving chocolate? Try some dark chocolate, rather than milk. Dark chocolate is proven to help increase your blood flow, lower blood pressure, and provide your body with numerous antioxidants.
- Stay away from the term “diet.” Mindful eating is sensible enough and crushes some of those harsh comments critics may have about the program. I try to use the term “mindful eating” as much as possible because in my opinion, I don’t cut anything out of my regiment (which is what I would consider a diet). Instead, I ask myself, “How will this effect my body and mind?” I also take into account if I’ve consumed enough proteins, fruits, and vegetables and attempt to find a balance.
- Even healthy food can be bad in large doses. Make sure you are incorporating a variety of foods into your meals and covering the main food groups necessary to nourish your body for excess activity.
- Find an workout you ENJOY and switch it up! Mentally and emotionally you need to keep yourself fresh.
- Give yourself rest days. You can’t go pedal to the metal every single day and push yourself through workouts. If you do that, you’re just asking for an injury and you certainly don’t want that before a competition.
- Most importantly, do not deprive yourself of anything. If you want the McDonalds, get the Big Mac and large fry. Just don’t fall into those habits for every single meal and make sure you’re still exercising regularly. The last thing you want to do is work so hard, cut foods out of your life, and then get to state and be absolutely miserable. Yes, you’re preparing for a big competition, but it’s key to be comfortably yourself and enjoy your life too.
Some healthy foods I enjoy eating include:
- Lots of water (and lemon water)
- Chia Seeds
- Grilled chicken with salsa
- Sweet potatoes
- Hot sauce (helps speed up your metabolism)
- Hot water with raw honey, apple cider vinegar, and a fresh lemon in the morning
- Black coffee (more antioxidants, no sugar or added calories like a latte)
- KIND bars
- Frozen fruit (great bedtime snack)
- Apple slices and peanut butter
One thing that helps me a lot during my work week (since I have a big girl, adult job) is meal planning. Before I start the week I typically cook up a handful of chicken breasts or tenders, or fish and place them into separate Tupperware containers. I usually divide up veggies into them as well (sometimes with some hot sauce poured on top). That way all I have to do in the morning is grab a container out of the fridge and put it in my lunch box with an ice pack.
The most important thing to remember as you prepare for the sometimes dreaded Lifestyle and Fitness portion of competiton is to be yourself. Like I stated before, no one knows your body better than you do. Push yourself only as far as you know you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally able to go-don’t over exert yourself. There’s no need to over work your body and possibly cause an injury before competiton.
Keep in mind that when you eat well, do physical activities that you enjoy, and ultimately learn to love the skin you’re in, that’s the point you will absolutely radiate on stage. When your strutting your stuff on stage (which takes an immense amount of courage) you’re showing the judges that you are content and confident with who you are, what you stand for, and what you want. So take a deep breath, take a rest day, take time to hang out with those you love most, and take a moment to watch Netflix and eat some ice cream. You may be preparing for a hefty job position, one many doesn’t get the opportunity to ‘apply’ for, but you’re also living your life; live it to the fullest and love the skin you’re in.
The girl who had McDonalds for lunch the other day and consumes Starbucks cake pops on a regular basis.