2013 Post Comp Part 4: Reverse Dieting…part b

I’ll be the first to admit that when I wrote about reverse dieting and how I was going, I didn’t plan on ‘part b’ being quite so soon. Part ‘a’ was only 3-4 weeks after my last competition and in some respects it may have been a little too soon to talk about the whole reverse dieting experience, as I suppose I was only just at the beginning of the process and honestly, I hadn’t quite got into the swing of things. But, by the same token it was also the perfect time to talk about reverse dieting, precisely because it was so early in the process, because I hadn’t, couldn’t get into the swing of things. I knew what I was supposed to be doing but I was completely incapable of doing it – emotional irrationality rather than steady logic was winning out in almost every situation I was finding myself in. The theory sucked, the process sucked, I was pathetic and weak (ha – you thought I was going to say sucked! But I know where your minds would have gone…), my body was feeling fucked up….in short everything sucked.

Not. Happy.

It’s still ONLY 7 weeks from my last competition! I can’t believe that – it seems like EONS ago. Maybe it’s because it’s been such a rollercoaster physically, mentally and emotionally.

rollercoaster

So how am I going now?

Well…

You know that nice plan I laid out that all looked totally sensible and do-able, that I had all the best intentions in the world of doing…

Sensibly…

Er…

Nope. Not Happening.

BUT

Here’s the biggest difference now

I’M TOTALLY OK WITH IT.

Yep, I am eating more than I planned – I’m averaging about 2000 calories/day with probably 2 even 3 days a week when 2500 calories (+!) happens (as if by (evil) magic!). Evening appears to be the bogey time especially after dinner – prunes with honey, rice cakes with butter and honey, berries and cream with honey, 85% cocoa chocolate with honey, gelati with honey (euwgh – not really that would just be weird! :-p). In fact, how I haven’t turned into pooh bear I don’t know.

WINNIE THE POOH

Weekends are also not exactly on point all the time… seconds of Ben & Jerrys Triple Caramel Chunk and Triple New York Fudge anyone? ( I can hear Aiden cringing!)

And 2 Fridays ago I stopped counting at 3500 calories, NOT including the 4 pints+4 bottles of cider, 3 scoops of gelati, 2 glasses of red wine and a cocktail.

Saturday was a bit of a write off.

Yes I’ve put on more weight than I perhaps wanted to by this stage – 4kg to date.

The IBS is still lurking, I’ve had gastro all last week and that energy crash issue I’ve been trying to sort out for the last 18 months (except for comp prep time!) is back- I crash out every night by about 9pm, wake up wired about 2am, wrestle myself back to some sort of light doze by 5am when I have to get up (exhausted) for training, I have about 2 hours from about 8-10 when I am capable of thinking but by 10:30 – 2:30 I NEED to sleep Its again. Its exhausting!

2 weeks ago I totally lost all motivation for my training and my lifts were definitely down, and in some cases I’m still about 30% off my PB’s.

With all this being said, I’m clearly still not in what I would consider to be an ideal space, but why do I now feel much calmer, more in control, more relaxed and less stressed about the whole situation, when evidence is definitely pointing to the contrary?

Why am I ok with the weight gain?

Why do I not consider myself a bit of a car crash?

Why am I not beating myself up over binge type behaviour?

What has changed in the last 2 (ish) weeks?

Well, I know a big part of this anxiety, stress, guilt and feelings of lack of control is emotionally driven. Post comp in and of itself is a strange time, your body is in a place it doesn’t want to be in and it wants to get out of it ASAP by any means. There could be hormonal impacts of competing which add to and exacerbate the already difficult physical situation. The sudden lack of direction, focus, goals can lead to feelings of loss, lack, worthlessness. In my case all of this has been compounded by the stress of knowing that my contract was due to finish at the end of November with no possibility of extension – the insecurity and fear of wondering how I was going to pay the many bills resulting from competing, or pay my mortgage, or survive over Christmas, or pay the vet bills when my cat suddenly ended up in hospital has been playing on my mind constantly and its possible the outlet of my anxiety has been via food. Classic emotional eating.

The weight gain is necessary; I know this, you know this, we all know this, but prior to 2 weeks ago I haven’t FELT it. I do FEEL better about it now, its intangible and I’m not sure when this transition occurred, but it has and I am now able to see it from a positive perspective – my thought process now runs along the lines of:

The weight gain will allow me to grow. Growing is my goal, therefore the weight gain is good.

I still have prominent veins in my shoulders, chest and arms. My shoulders are looking fantastic and my legs still have some level of shreddedness (I can still get into my size 4 jeans…!). I haven’t blown out massively, and the weight has come back on at a rate of about 0.5kg per week…by interesting coincidence that is EXACTLY THE SAME rate that I lost it at for 12 weeks… funny that.

Compared to last time when I put on 9kg in 2 months, 4kg is way better.

All this helps reassure me that it’s actually ok.

There are still some things going on as the rather irrational behaviour (in general and) around food continues, and I’ll get to that in my next blog. The key thing though is that I have stopped fighting myself and have accepted that it is a phase that I need to go through; I’m finally giving myself a break and with it has come the illusion of control, a change of perspective, the ability to take a step back and take (most of) the emotion out of foodie situations.

One thing I think I have done completely correctly all the way through is that the foundations of my diet are still comp diet.

It’s true. My base diet Mon – Fri is still comp diet:

Meal 1: Meat

PWO: Protein shake (no carbs)

Meal 2: Meat + Green Salad + Broccoli (new additions: carrot sticks + hummus + piece of fruit)

Meal 3: Meat + Greek Salad + Broccoli (new additions: carrot sticks + hummus + piece of fruit or maybe lo carb protein bar)

Meal 4: 2 boiled eggs or tin of tuna

Meal 5: Meat + Cruciferous/green veg soup (+ Anything stupidly sweet and carby + honey)

Weekends:

Meal 1: Meat

Rest of Day: it’s a mystery until it happens, but there’s 2 rules I always apply: Must have protein. Must have veg/salad.

I still haven’t got back on the sweet potato…not brave enough to trust myself with that yet, this new found sense of relief is still a bit fresh! ( I know, and totally illogical!)

By being able to maintain some sort of structure, my body is adjusting and starting to function more smoothly (gastro episode aside) – the shock that it was going through is starting to wear off, the volume of food I’m eating is no longer causing my system to shut down, I’m not getting the horrible bloated football belly anymore (now it’s just proper fat :-)), and with that comes a greater sense of wellbeing. I know that a new equilibrium will be established, probably sooner rather than later. Last week I stopped eating the hummus, no particular reason, I just didn’t feel like it anymore – it has obviously served whatever purpose it was meant to serve and now it’s no longer required. Last week I specifically went to Evelyn Faye to get a protein bar of some kind for afternoon snack and after picking up and putting down every bar in the shop (or so it seemed!) I decided that my 2 boiled eggs were much more appetizing after all and walked out. This week I’ve even managed 3 days with no sweet stuff after dinner! YAY!

Celebrate the small victories!

So things are starting to come back into line, I believe the rest will follow in its own time.

I was wondering, do guys go through this post comp? I’d love to hear from any of you!

All in all things are looking much more positive, in fact I’m in such a good space regarding diet now that I’ve even started planning next years crazy diet experiments on myself! 🙂

I know…

I promised in my retro that I wasn’t going to do any more ‘biohacking’ as Aiden hates the concept and has told me not to get as fat as I was last year, but, well…its kinda what I do best, and they’re all of the high protein lo carb ilk that suits my body…sooo it really shouldn’t cause any problems…

And you never know; I might hit on something unexpected that will allow me to get more shredded, more easily next prep…

Watch this space!

Ok, since it’s Sunday, and it’s a lovely day, I think a café and lunch is required.

🙂

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2 comments

  1. I just wanted to say thankyou so so much for all your reverse dieting posts! they are really helping me at the moment 🙂 It’s extremely comforting knowing that there are others out there with the same worries as me (as much as I don’t want anyone to worry) 🙂 I recently competed a week and a half ago (i know, not as far along as you) and the whole idea of reverse dieting is so so daunting. I know what I need to do, but I just feel so lost… I was in prep for 6 months so i knew what i was eating 24/7 and now… theres no sense of direction anymore. I feel like i have no purpose 😛 plus, the idea of increasing my food and potentially gaining weight scares me. I know I need to gain a kilo or so because I’m quite lean and really want to get back into the heavy lifting (like i used to) but its just so hard with the diet and having to increase it slowly and ahhhh my brain is just a mess atm! Iv’e been sick for the past 3-4 days with gastro-like symptoms (I consumed literally a few things I wasn’t meant to and my stomach cracked the shits and rejected EVERYTHING…plus I overworked myself pretty badly and became severely dehydrated etc) so my intake has been a bit low (actually pretty low due to having no appetite). That also means no gym for a few more days so I feel like I’m going crazy over here. So because I have to rest + my intake atm is very low, I’m worried that’ll cause further metabolic damage. I’m not sure why I’m writing this or why I’m rambling so much but I just feel like you may understand me a little better than those around me at the moment 😛 Once again, thankyou so much for all your posts! You’ve helped me so so much over the past few weeks! Please keep up the amazing work 🙂

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    1. Hi
      firstly, congratulations on getting to stage and competing, I hope you enjoyed the experience overall – it’s a difficult thing to do and the vast majority of people don’t have the willpower or discipline to do it, so right there you should be very proud of yourself. The trouble with competing and getting so lean, is that you have to get back to a sensible level of body fat for the sake of your longer term health – and that is probably even harder than dieting into a competition in the first place!
      Nobody tells you that when you start out!
      How you reverse diet is also very important – you do need a plan, and you do need to try and take it slowly to give your body time to adjust to increased levels of food, but theory and practice in my experience are very different… and when your hormones are potentially out of whack as well you can be quite literally fighting yourself for control!
      and rambling is perfectly ok 🙂
      hell, most of my blog posts are rambling…post comp or not! :-p
      If I was you, I would take a small break from the gym – maybe a week, to rest and clear your head. Rest is just as critical as training, and if you’re feeling like you’ve overtrained, then you probably have. Do something different – swim, walk along a beach or in the countryside, cycle, do some yoga, get a massage – something gentle and different – you need to be nice to yourself right now.
      As far as food goes, why don’t you get your comp diet plan and add 100-150 calories to it and try sticking to that for a week, then if you can manage that, add another 50-100 calories to it. repeat this slow increase. I don’t know how many calories you’re eating now or how big you are, but probably do this until you are 400-500calories above the level you chose to start at.
      Having supportive people around you is also important. Who is your coach? can they help you? do you have other friends who have competed and understand what you’re going through? if not, I’m happy to chat to you further – pm me on my FB page: Sarah Taylor – Figure Champion, Photographer, blogger.
      🙂

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