“Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.” —Isaac Watts
I like new things. They bring mixed emotions – excitement, fear, shock, joy.
Changing up my routine isn’t new, but I guess the way I’m going about it is a bit different and that’s going to make it interesting for the next few months.
The past few weeks as I was tracking my food less and focusing on my lifting – focusing on being capable of lifting heavier, I started to think about the next step.
Every goal has and needs a different approach and while it’s not hard to talk about that with others, it can be difficult to fully take that advice.
The past 13 weeks I focused on growing strength and for some lifts it wasn’t about necessarily growing my strength to surpass old maximums, but getting back into a routine and working in the direction to at least meet old maximums.
I was in a caloric deficit the last time I hit some of these maximums, but I had to remember that I need to look at each goal in its own box. My stressors are different, my schedule is different, my goals are different (not competing). Mindset really is everything. I had started with being in a slight deficit at the beginning of this program, but I ended up dabbling on maintenance, which overall I feel okay about mentally. It’s okay for goals to change and to change during the process don’t ever let anyone tell you any different. Physically, I’m pretty okay with my size.
Transitioning to new programming is always exciting. There’s also a routine I go through in my first week – locate equipment, determine how much I want to be utilizing for specific ranges I’ve set for myself, make notes if that’s reasonable (before and after), calculate how long it takes to complete the workout. I like this routine. It helps me set the tone.
I enjoy the gym and if there wasn’t anything else to do in the day I wouldn’t have an issue spending time there, but since there are other things to do – my goal is to have fun and work hard, but be strategic. If I’m spending an hour and a half to two hours at the gym then I know I need to reevaluate what I’m doing and why it’s taking me so long.
My lift on Saturday took about 45 minutes, which I think is a completely reasonable amount of time and honestly, with how much total volume I lifted, I could’ve taken a little bit longer rests – that’s noted for this coming week.
This next block or section of time or months, or whatever – isn’t just getting a change up in programming.
Last Thursday was the last day that I tracked my food using MyFitnessPal. This tool has been tremendously helpful the past four years – as I competed, as I tracked macros. It’s a tool I recommend to anyone who is getting started.
Before any clients start a new nutritional or eating style with me, I ask them to track their food for a week. We need to know what we’re facing. Do they lean towards one macronutrient over another? Do they easily overconsume calories in general? Maybe they’re not eating enough at all. How much sugar and salt are they consuming? What about fiber?
Knowing these factors allows us to determine more strategically a better first step than diving in – not everyone can go balls to the wall on the first day and that’s okay.
This tool will always be something I recommend so don’t take this post as a diss to tracking #that90slife. But for my goals right now, it’s not necessary.
Also, taking this step with my nutrition isn’t me saying that I don’t believe in counting macros. I fully believe that this style of eating helped me focus on creating flexibility and allowed me to participate in social settings, which is something that traditional diet culture discourages or can discourage. I believe that it allowed me to not only create a healthy balance of diverse foods, but during competition season I was able to lean down for the stage without depriving myself. In between seasons, I felt that I was able to grow my strength because I was able to increase my nutrition to match my movement and goals. I didn’t feel the guilt that I had when I was focusing on clean eating.
My purpose for this break is that 1. I want a break from numbers 2. We shouldn’t want to count for the rest of our lives 3. It’s important to learn to trust ourselves. 4. Health is more than just size, it’s also about feeling.
This is truly the first time in four years that I won’t be tracking my macronutrients. I won’t be tracking calories either. However, what I will be tracking is my portion size and the specific foods. However, I would argue that after a few years of extensive tracking and understanding labels, I have a pretty good idea of where I can and should be with the food consumption in a day.
The notebook that I’m using for my workouts will also double as my notebook to journal my food intake.
I think this is the compromise to work towards tracking less and living a more normal life after weightloss. I don’t believe you can go cold turkey. Mentally it’s a hard transition from one behavior to another, just like going into weightloss to begin with, so this is an intermediary.
I’m looking forward to changing up my workouts and to focus on feeling good. Whether it was for my health or it was for competing, I was body focused – and there’s nothing wrong with that either, we should like how we look and be proud of that. However, I’ve been liking my body more at this size… even though this size is technically not a big change – recomposition is a weird thing.
What’s been eye-opening for me is the emotional connection to numbers. I’ve noticed I’ve felt less guilt for having foods like avocado or eggs – both are foods that I have always enjoyed, however, I’m not stressing out about having them in larger quantities. I always say that I’m terrible about hitting protein, but I’ve noticed that I’m more willing to consume even more fats than before. I was consuming ~60g a day, while I don’t think I was going much over that if at all, I wasn’t paranoid or too picky about my food selection this week.
Looking at the foods as whole items and working to create diversity in my day so I’m still getting the vitamins I need is definitely a bit tricky, but at the same time, I do feel like I’m getting enough calories and micronutrients overall.
I’m enjoying the foods I’m eating because they’re not really any different than before with the exception of salmon in the freezer and a few more avocados for a recipe later this week.
One “strategy” I have for tracking in this way is making sure that I’m eating an assortment of fruits and vegetables – not all dense (sweet potato/squashes) and not all volume (asparagus/broccoli). I’m making sure that I don’t consume too many grains in a day like if I have waffles for breakfast, I’m mindful of crackers, pitas, pretzels, oats throughout the rest of the day. Like before, I want my carbohydrate sources to be varying. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I’m changing up my fats and protein sources a bit, but still aiming for about 4-5 servings of protein in a day (eggs/red meat/poultry/fish/shake).
Tuesday was probably one of my favorite days. Here’s what I ate that day:
- cinnamon raisin English muffin toasted with 10g of reduced fat cream cheese + 1 ounce of smoked salmon and 1/2 cup of egg whites
- hazelnut coffee with whipped cream
- 4 ounces of 93/7 ground turkey + 70g of avocado (half an avocado) +100g of diced fresh tomato + 30g of Bolthouse Farm ranch dressing
- 100g of blueberries + Oikos Zero mixed berry yogurt
- 1″ brownie with walnuts
- Pita with 40g of roasted pepper spread with a whole egg
- slice of paleo-ish zucchini bread
My fats were a bit higher, protein a bit lower and carbohydrates were probably pretty moderate. I felt like I ate enough and woke up on Wednesday ready to go, but not starving.
As far as measurements, I think a good plan would be to check in with myself every few weeks until I adjust. It’s one thing to not look at the scale or take measurements when you’re tracking all or a portion of your food, it’s another to completely eliminate specific food tracking patterns.
I’m sure some of you think this is crazy and others are waiting to see what happens next, but really as some who gained the quickly and then lost it steadily and hasn’t lived in this body for long – I think it’s reasonable to want to find normalcy and have a better relationship with myself and with food.
A step was to explore healthier options and lose the weight. Another step was creating the competitor and adding in the exercise. Another aspect is how to trust myself to not regain the over 100 pounds I lost. While I truly don’t believe I would ever regain that weight, I also know that I’ve never allowed myself to trust myself fully in the decision-making process.
In the future, macro counting will be utilized for other goals, but right now, I want to focus on trusting myself and where I can go in the gym riding on that.