10 Weeks to Go – Twilight Zone Revisited

10 weeks to go. The Pointy end is looming! So far I’m going along very smoothly, the tweaks we’ve made to bring my diet down in the last 4-5 weeks have worked a treat and I’m leaning up very noticeably. I had another good measurement day on Friday and even better, I can now get into clothes that haven’t seen daylight for about a year!

Welcome back size 6 tailored Italian suit! I finally feel ‘me’ sized again…and I suddenly want to go shopping… uh oh! I’ve got a photoshoot in 4 weeks so I do at least have an excuse for a couple of nice new fitness outfits J

My training is going extremely well, I have plenty of energy and my strength is consistent – I’m only officially supposed to be doing 1 HIIT session a week, but I am also doing 2, 4 minute tabatas just in case – that’s me being my usual type A self and not being able to trust the process! Aiden told me off the other day for doing it, he doesn’t want me overtraining and ruining all the hard work we’ve put in. I’m trying to ‘not’ train, but most days I’m bouncing off the walls and can’t wait to get to the gym!

Almost every week we make some tiny change to my diet and watch what the effect is, make another tiny change and watch. No drastic shifts, just gentle nudges here and there to ‘encourage’ my body to let go of the fat. It makes me laugh the ‘strategy’ conversations we have about what to do, they generally go something like this:

Aiden: I want you to stop taking Creatine

Me: ok

Aiden: I want you to stop having the nut butter  (2 tsp) at night

Me: Can I switch it for a boiled egg?

Aiden: Ok

Aiden: I want you to ditch the boiled egg at night

Me: Ok, wasn’t getting on with it anyway

Aiden: I want you to cut 10g off your afternoon carbs

Me: Ok

Aiden: I want you to cut 5 – 10g off your protein each meal

Me: Ok

Aiden: I want you to cut your calories by 10%

Me: If I only have 12 almonds instead of 15, change my afternoon protein to 2 boiled eggs that gets rid of 120 calories, is that ok?

Aiden: take 25g off your afternoon carbs as well

Me: Ok

Aiden: I want you to have steak, chips and a glass of wine for cheat meal this week

Me: Alright!!!

So I’m still eating a good amount of food and its showing in the fact that I’m sleeping well, training very well and often want to do more!

On the flip side, though there is another thing that all of a sudden raised its ugly head.

After my steak, chips and glass of wine cheat meal on Friday, the next day I had plenty of energy, but I was definitely looking puffy and it hadn’t gone down by Sunday which is unusual so I started to get into a bit of a negative spin, getting anxious and second guessing myself. I started questioning what we are doing – should I have a really low calorie day to offset the massive spike and puffiness? Should I cut my meal sizes down? Should I skip a meal? Should I do more training? I didn’t do any of that, but I was having a ‘fat moment’ and getting more than a bit stressed that it’s not happening fast enough despite the progress that I‘ve very clearly made.

On Monday at the gym, I caught myself in a complete quandary – instead of seeing the nice definition that I have been seeing, all I was noticing was softness and my ‘fat’ stomach and arms…at the same time I was also thinking that my arms are too skinny. When Aiden asked how my session went I told him I was feeling fat. By lunch time I was starting to get really anxious that I hadn’t trained hard enough in the morning despite doing a big back session + tabata – I was absolutely itching to hit the gym again and pound out a sprint session on the treadmill.

This led me to wonder what is causing this? I’ve had my pizza cheat meals quite happily and been puffy the next day, and this anxiety hasn’t appeared. What is it about the after effects of last weeks cheat meal that’s triggered this sudden harsh criticism of myself? Is it just my lack of trust in the process? Is it me being a control freak and needing to know that I have done everything in my power to get it all right even if that means killing myself in the gym for 3 hours a day? (That’s not going to be allowed to happen!)

Why did I switch into this ‘gotta train harder and eat less’ mode? Why do I feel the need to push myself to the absolute physical limits? Intellectually I know that is sooo completely the wrong thing to do, yet on an emotional level its niggling away at me that I’m not approaching my physical limits yet – yes I give it everything at every training session and I’m done when I finish, but I’m bouncing back incredibly quickly and wanting to do more – does that mean I’m not pushing hard enough? Could I push harder? Should I be pushing myself harder? If I do, will I sabotage a process that is in reality going very well at the moment.

Why am I focussing on the negative instead of seeing the progress that I have made? Why now? I’ve been going along quite happily up til now. Where have these crazy thoughts suddenly appeared from!

Maybe I’ve just got to that point of leanness where I’m experiencing hormonal shifts that cause the weirdness and mind tricks to kick in…

On Tuesday I was in a much better space – really good shoulder session, but I didn’t even get a pump – which is very unusual, but it was like ‘meh, whatever’. On Monday, I would have got in a complete stress that I was too small and flat and it wasn’t working and would probably have spent an extra 30 minutes in the gym just to see if I could get a pump!

Today its changed again! You know when life throws unexpected things at you just to see if you’re awake? Well its doing that, and I don’t want to be dealing with additional stuff now. So today I was fretting about all this stuff and let it get in the way of my workout. I lasted 30 minutes before walking out – it was legs day and I didn’t know what to train as I’ve been banned from doing deadlifts by the physio and hammie stuff generally (hammies are screwed again) and I’m not allowed to do any HIIT, so I was a bit stumped and gave up. Then of course I was beating myself up because I didn’t train properly, was feeling fat and was wondering (again!) if I should skip a meal to compensate!

I haven’t (skipped a meal) because that really will ruin things, I must and will stick to the plan even though emotionally it’s the last thing I want to do right now.

I’ve also had my first ‘tan’ nightmare…

Its comp day and I arrived at the venue with Aiden and he got me all settled in backstage watching Game of Thrones to relax and prevent me going flat from too much cortisol. At some point he disappeared, but I was engrossed in the vid so it was all fine – until the vid finished and I got round to thinking that I would probably be on stage fairly soon so I needed to get my top coat on…except that I didn’t have any tan on at all…why not? I know I booked all my tans months ago – how did I not get any of them done??  And now I couldn’t find Aiden, so I’m getting in a bit of a panic and I’m running around backstage trying to find him (not good for my legs or cortisol levels!). I look at my phone and there’s about 8 video messages from him. That’s odd, he knows I can’t get vid messages, but it’s obviously important, so really I need to see what these vid messages are about. Somehow I managed to get a garbled picture off one of them and he’s in a pub getting drunk! Not only that, but the pub is in ENGLAND!

WTF! I’m on stage in an hour – he knows how stressed I get if it doesn’t all go according to plan and  he’s disappeared off on holiday!  AND he’s got all the tan stuff!!! AAAARRGGHHH!!!!!

Get me a couch! I obviously have some deep seated insecurity about tanning…and comp day in general!

I should write a book – How to do your own head in!

The big difference between this time and my novice prep is that I can see this for what it is – just part of the process, I know it will pass and something very minor might happen that will have me back on top of the world again. Last time round, unexpected stuff and things not going quite according to plan would have overwhelmed me and resulted in a teary meltdown half way through a training session, because I didn’t understand what was happening and was completely unprepared for these sort of emotional swings that can manifest when getting down to extreme levels of leanness.

Awareness of these sort of effects is very important to being able to manage them. Last time round each ‘funny 5 minutes’ (or day or 2…) generally coincided with hitting a new level of leanness, so that is something that I can kind of take comfort from, because it means I’m still making progress, despite what the noise in my head is telling me!

As you know, I love using myself as my own lab rat so I’m also fascinated observing and comparing the differences between my two preps.

For now though, I’m going to stock up on contest colour, top coat and confirm my spray tan dates. I’m training with Aiden tomorrow and last week we sort of agreed to watch the last diet tweak for a week before deciding if to change anything else, so its possible there’ll be a ‘strategy’ talk tomorrow.

And then I’m going shopping…seen a rather nice pair of booty shorts that I’ve got 4 weeks to be ready for.





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