In my last post I talked about how often I cheat on my diet (more often than you might think!), and I mentioned that I have not been leaning out as I originally planned.
About two months ago, I decided to lean out in preparation for my week-long trip to Montenegro coming up this weekend. I didn’t have a lot of fat to lose, but there was definitely some extra padding on me. I designed an intense periodised diet and training plan for myself, which had weekly changes to my nutrition and cardio.
After about two weeks following the plan, I fainted and then started feeling dizzy during almost all of my workouts. I immediately stopped dieting, in case my dizziness was somehow linked to my decreased caloric intake.
A few weeks after that I realised my problems were linked to muscle tightness in my neck and had nothing to do with my diet. I resumed my lean out, but only followed it half-heartedly for a couple of weeks before eventually stopping and reverting to a maintenance level of calories.
I stopped my cut because, deep down, I knew it wasn’t necessary. I feel happy with the way I look. For the past six months or so I have really stopped focusing on the aesthetic aspect of training. Instead, I’ve been listening to my body by reducing my training volume to four sessions per week and eating treats when I feel like it.
I have become much more relaxed about meal timings and macronutrient counts since we moved, so I didn’t like how cutting made me obsessive about eating again.
I don’t like being strict with my food for no real reason. I tend to always tighten up my diet in the weeks before a holiday, and I’ve noticed that most other bloggers do too, so it just seemed automatic. But why on earth would I diet just so I can undo it all in a couple of days?
I don’t plan on training at all in Montenegro, but I do plan on drinking and eating whatever I feel like – I’ve been working hard and this is our longest vacation of the year! There’s no point in me showing up ripped, when I’m only going to get bloated from all the excess carbs within a day or two anyway. Besides, who am I trying to impress?!
Every time I restrict my food for a holiday or event (like my wedding), I submit to disordered eating patterns by bingeing on everything in sight once that moment arrives. I lost five kilograms for my wedding, but swear I gained it all back within three days because of the amount of food I ate afterwards!
I have never had any problems with bingeing in my normal life, but any time I try to restrict myself I feel like I’m doing my body a disservice and I have to make up for it. I’m always conscious of falling back into an eating disorder, even if it’s been a long time since I showed any such beahaviour. It’s a weird thing to explain, but I know that if I keep eating ‘normally’ and listen to my body now, I will make healthier choices during my holiday.
This is the main reason I stopped following a bulk/lean cycle and instead began a slow gain approach. I’d much rather be at a normal size, for me, and build muscle gradually. Not only do I struggle with restricting, but I tend to make excuses for eating things I shouldn’t when I’m ‘bulking’.
I know I would have no problem dieting for a real, specific goal like a competition, but when it’s something vague that I don’t really believe in like a holiday, I really struggle.
This week the weather has been absolutely amazing in London and Rob has evenings off for the first time, well, ever. We have been sitting on our balcony in the sun enjoying some drinks, chips and ice cream! We don’t do this every day, of course, but it’s the one week of the year London will be hot AND sunny, so we are making the most of it.
I have accepted the way my body looks now. I’m not as lean as I would ideally like to be, but in a creepy way all my little pockets of fat represent happy memories for me. That’s a much better way to start my vacation.
Do you struggle with leaning out? Do you try to purposely build muscle and then drop fat, or is your approach more gradual?