As those of you who have been reading my social media posts and this site lately will know, I have been firmly on the diet and training wagon for a while now. No cheats, no rest periods spanning longer than a day – solid consistency alongside a solid plan.
I think I’m about 14 weeks of consistency in now, but to be honest I’ve stopped counting, because all that matters is that I will be riding this train until February, when I will reassess my goals.
I have talked about taking things nice and slow this time around (due to the lengthy time scale of this prep), not doing anything crazy that I wont be able to maintain for a long period of time.
I am currently at:
- 30 mins MISS (moderate intensity steady state cardio) every AM
- Weight lifting every PM followed by 20mins HIIT
- 1 full rest day weekly
- A 3 day low, 1 day high carb cycle
- 1600 calories
In 14 weeks, the only thing that has changed is my calorie count going from my TDEE (1800), gradually down into a deficit of 1600calories, where I will stay for the next few weeks.
I have also talked about my perspective changing recently…
I have previously always found myself on holiday at the end of a big push, rewarding myself with food morning noon and night, returning chubby and happy, but firmly back at square 1.
This became an increasingly hard train to ride with my work commitments, and although I don’t actually mind gaining a few lbs, I do mind the stress of having to get my ass back in gear within a 4 week deadline.
My pattern of discipline and achievement, swiftly followed by ‘freedom’ and reward, was definitely beginning to hinder my goals and enjoyment of my job.
I didn’t realise that the way I was viewing food – as a reward – was not accurate or helpful to either my goals or happiness in the long term.
As luck would have it, I stumbled across a podcast a few months ago that focused solely on ‘food preoccupation’. The professional athletes talked first about the fear of being hungry. Why are we so scared of feeling hungry? We felt hungry before we ever paid attention to what we ate, we will continue to feel hungry when we are paying attention to what we eat, and as long as we continue to be physically healthy, we will continue to experience hunger. It is quite simply a part of how we function as human beings. Don’t fear it, accept it, and move past it without obsessing over it.
They next thing they talked about was learning how to come out of a disciplined time period with food, and back into a healthy balance with food. Instead of doing what I did (and what a lot of us do) – rewarding ourselves with food – learn that you can stay on track AND implement the things you enjoy, without having them take over like an avalanche of obsession.
For example, I enjoy drinking wine and I enjoy drinking whisky. So, over the course of the last 14 weeks, I have had maybe 3 or 4 nights when I have implemented one or the other.
Another example, I recently went on holiday and didn’t come off my diet once, because I didn’t want to, so I just didn’t.
And lastly, this week was my anniversary, so while I did make sure to time my high carb day to coincide with it, I didn’t track my food intake at all that day. I didn’t track because it was a special occasion and food wasn’t the focus, either in the discipline or reward sense of things.
So, this is the shape my new perspective is taking, and I love it.
I am sitting at 129lbs, which is a lean weight for me. I am training 6 days a week. And I am implementing the things I love, not daily, not even weekly, but when I choose to. The flip side? I am not implementing the things I love when I choose not to. Simple.
Find your balance between discipline and life, and neither will overwhelm you again.