My diet over the past four weeks has been pretty bad for an aspiring figure competitor. When we were preparing to leave Sydney, we had quite a few farewell dinners and drinks, and Rob and I also just had to visit our favourite restaurants in the neighbourhood one last time. During this time, we were having at least one unplanned meal/dessert/drink per day.
Since we’ve arrived in London, our diet has been all over the place. We’re not having as many desserts (although I literally just ate three chocolate truffles!), but we’ve been having a lot of non-bodybuilder meals, and our meal timing has been all over the place. For example, this is what I ate yesterday:
9am Breakfast at a cafe: 2 scrambled eggs on toast, with a croissant and raspberry jam on the side
2pm Lunch at my brother-in-law’s: Roast chicken, vegetables and a few slices of baguette, with a bowl of chocolate Haagen Dazs and strawberries for dessert
7pm Smoked salmon, pasta, salad and a cider
10pm My “oops, I’ve only eaten three times today” protein shake with peanut butter
In the past two weeks, I’ve only eaten a maximum of five times per day – not much considering I’m used to eating seven times per day. There have only been three days where I have eaten my ‘normal’ meals, without any treats.
Coupled with my deload week, have I blown up to the size of a house? No. In fact, I’m 99 per cent certain I have lost weight. I haven’t weighed myself in almost six months, but I hold all my fat in my stomach and I can usually tell within a couple of days whether I’ve lost or gained weight. My abs are continuing to come in, regardless of what I’m eating. Unlike previous attempts at leaning out, my muscles still look full – I’m just much more defined. And all this happened without any conscious effort.
So what’s my secret? Mentally not giving a care.
When you’re constantly thinking about food and losing fat, and wondering whether you’re eating too much, or not enough, and wondering whether you’re doing too much cardio, or not enough, it places a lot of stress on your body. When you’re stressing out, your body releases cortisol – which encourages the body to hold onto fat, which is slightly counterproductive.
I have been rather busy with moving country and all, so my diet hasn’t been at the top of my priority list and it hasn’t exactly been practical to carry around pre-made chicken and vegetables. I’ve just been enjoying the break and eating whatever I feel like, within reason.
At the same time, I’ve been reading of more and more bloggers having to throw away their jars of nut butter because they are addicted. Are you frickin’ kidding me?!
I know this is a North American thing. I didn’t grow up eating peanut butter, so I’m not accustomed to the taste. Even when I’m dieting and it’s the most flavoursome substance that hits my tongue all day, I’m always forcing the peanut butter down or mixing it with something else to dull the taste. The thought of devouring an entire jar in one sitting makes me feel physically ill.
I know a lot of competitors report disordered eating behaviour, but peanut butter?? When I read things like that it makes me think that these people need to come over to my house and dig into the Haagen Dazs.
Now, by no means am I condoning a free-for-all diet plan. There’s a difference between eating like I have been, and stuffing your face with crap at every meal. Although I have been eating a lot of treats, they have still been relatively healthy, homemade meals. I’m not eating fast food or a lot of sweets (apart from the ice cream and truffles, ha!).
On the days where I feel that I’m going to be eating less than normal because we’re out most of the day, I just know I have to eat larger portions to fuel myself for longer. I also know that this way of eating is only temporary, and I have no problem going back to a 100 per cent clean eating plan starting tomorrow. I could have prepared all my meals for the week in advance, sure, but sometimes there are more important things in life to worry about.
There is one caveat, however: if you stress about what you’re eating, you’re definitely not going to drop any body fat. It took me a long time to get here, where I can eat whatever and honestly not give it a second thought. Even six months ago, whenever I would eat some kind of cheat meal I would be paranoid that it would undo all my hard work and I would wake up the next morning with a sugar hangover and a fat gut.
Now I’m smart enough to know that my body has a strong foundation, and that eating a few extra carbohydrates isn’t going to kill me.
How often do you let yourself loose on your diet?