Pre comp reflections on body image

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Originally posted on Facebook


Hello beautiful women out there!

And all of you following my fitness journey - I just wanted to check in and be real with you guys before I step on the stage tomorrow and reveal the body I've been sculpting the past few months (I literally feel like a blank, still statue at the moment, so "sculpt" is most certainly an apt term).


Here's a photo of me on my birthday in August last year (the day I ate 2 brunches, 1kg worth of spinach pie and a whole cheesecake) and me FOUR weeks ago, but I'll get to why I've chosen to share these later.


This whole adventure has been a real eye opener for me on how society treats body image, nutrition and goal setting. Particularly how attached we can get to outcomes. I've never been competitive which has meant having to navigate all this talk of "placing" and winning - not letting it consume me. I know too well how easy it is to take on the belief systems of others.


Stepping out of our comfort zones is where the magic happens though. Pushing myself to my limits for the sheer purpose of growing my mind and life experience, plus building resilience, is always my number one driver.


I've gone to extreme measures to get to this now-very-fake-tanned body and today I'm feeling it the worst ☠️ I've been able to practice stellar discipline and commitment knowing this is short term. However, long term - this IS NOT healthy.


I won't get into the details of what I'm doing but essentially these last few days have been hardcore deprivation. I've decided to be honest with you all because I know through my own past experiences how much I struggled with body image and looked at this genre of women on stage thinking their bodies were "normal". A lot of them weren't being honest with their audience and, as a vulnerable teen, it sent me down a dangerous path.


I will note, however: vulnerability is powerful and a necessary human quality - without it, we would ever grow.


Emma Watson's commentary today truly resonated with me when she said that feminism isn't about hiding the female body. She felt that her mind (views, opinions, etc) was only truly being considered when treated in isolation. AKA covering up part of what makes her feminine (so that she, in essence, becomes more masculine) only then made her more worthy of being listened to - THAT's not equality.


How we want to expose our bodies is our CHOICE. That is feminism: having choice. Equal rights. It's pretty simple really. Quoting Naomi Wolf, women can be simultaneously "sexual AND serious".


Sports modelling competitions are not at all sexual (in fact we get marked down if our poses are too sexualised) - we are judged on the muscle we've built and how well we accentuate it through an art and choreography far more difficult than simply flexing a bicep.


The point is, this journey for me has been a massive challenge in mindset and a grand reminder of how grateful I am to have found my "fit" with the mind-body-lifestyle equation that I spoke about in my last blog post.


I'm incredibly grateful and excited to return tomorrow night to the lifestyle and the nutrition that kept me my buoyant, always alert, up-at-5:30am, never ever sick self. That is the Mim you see in these photos.


Quite frankly, I believe the body I had when I was HAPPIEST and not restricted of my morning smoothies, daily lattes, weekend brunches and generally just having any food whenever the fuck I wanted and not have it weighed to the gram - I think that's when I also LOOKED best. I had visible-enough abs, I cleansed weekly, had greater flexibility in my diet and had ENERGY.


A lot can happen in a few hours. Since Thursday my body has been responding to change rapidly. You may look at me tomorrow and mightn't like the body I've sculpted. But that's ok! That's what I stand for - everyone's perception of the ideal body (and associated ideal health) is different and we should all be true to that.


The body you will see tomorrow:

  • IS NOT realistic in terms of a maintainable day-to-day figure
  • in the last week alone HAS NOT been achieved by sustainable measures
  • does not represent a young woman who feels or functions at her best

My ideal - I love how it both looks and feels to have a strong body. That's why I do strength training and essentially zero cardio. That's why I was motivated to compete in a sport that gave me purpose in my training and at the end of the day rewarded me for how far I've come, mostly mentally. I don't need a medal to tell me that. So whatever happens tomorrow, it'll be perfect.

Mim Kempson