Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Welcome to the mind f**k stage...

I’m just over 5 weeks into dieting now so I thought I’d write a bit of an update on where I’m at physically and mentally.
Week 1 I hit the ground running and felt on top of the world. My body reacted very well to the change in diet and I saw an immediate improvement in my performance in the gym. I think it’s fair to say though if any part of me thought that this whole process was fairly easy after that first week I was about to be brought back down to earth with a bang in weeks 2 and 3. The cravings kicked in, I got a bit run-down so picked up a virus which knocked me off my training plan for a couple of days and the euphoria from week 1 had well and truly worn off.
Those weeks were difficult, not helped by the child-like attitude I seemed to develop during that time also which I talked about in another post but sure enough going into week 4 I’d picked myself back up and got my game face back on. And in all honesty the last 2 weeks I’ve found much easier. My cravings dropped off and the initial hunger I’d felt from reducing my calories soon started to taper too. My body was certainly getting used to the new nutritional plan I was subjecting it to and all was well with the world again.
Getting that greens goodness into my body!
Then crash! Yesterday arrived and along with it my first mini-meltdown. As with most meltdowns you get them when you least expect it and in the most unlikely of places so at 07:15 leaving the gym after fasted cardio there I was questioning anything and everything, having a total panic. I’d done my 20 minutes cardio but my body felt depleted, I felt weak, I felt tired and most importantly I did not feel lean. I knew I was 7 weeks out from my photo shoot and I felt I was a long way off where I wanted to be, with the weeks ticking down and D-day looming closer. I didn’t feel in total control of the situation anymore.
Some of this I think was psychological after my routine was thrown out the few days previous. I weight trained the previous Thursday, Friday was just my fasted cardio morning and then Saturday I did Winter Warrior when I’d normally have a heavy weights session, Sunday was a light active recovery session and Monday I had to rest for the day as I had a 14 hour working day in London. Normally Monday would involve fasted cardio and a PT session to set my week up but I obviously had to miss both of those. So mentally I felt off my plan and I’d had my cheat night on the Friday night too where I’d over-indulged (albeit deservedly). Everything combined and I just did not feel good in myself nor did I feel I was where I want to be given the sacrifices I’d made so far.
I’ve been finding such fluctuations in my body which I think is what I’ve been struggling to deal with. One day I look in the mirror and feel like I’m getting shredded and the next day I feel like I’ve taken 1 step forward and 2 steps back despite sticking to the diet and training. And it’s been the same with my weight. I’ve never been too concerned with what the scales say as I know when you start building muscle that weighs more than the same volume of fat. But this time round I’ve been cutting calories to drop the weight a bit in order to get lean so it’s slightly demotivating when you step on the scales one day to see a loss and the next day you step on and you’ve gone back up.
On one of my 'good' days after fasted cardio...there's some abs in there somewhere
So I left the gym a bit upset with myself and life, questioning whether I’ve got what it takes to hit the goals I want. Questioning whether I can cope with everything I’m trying to juggle. The first 4 weeks I’d seen good progress and then over the last week I just hit a brick wall.
Luckily I had a PT session last night so I decided to wait until then to speak to Michael about everything to avoid me sending some crazy, emotional text at 8am probably making very little sense and simply just freaking out about everything.
So I arrived at the gym last night for my PT session feeling a little more calm than the morning and this is where I’m so glad I’ve got such an experienced and supportive trainer. Michael immediately put me at ease and clearly what I was experiencing many others do while going through this process and he put it simply; “Welcome to the mind f**k stage” You can certainly say that again.
He immediately recognised what was happening physically and mentally and throughout our session over the next hour we developed a plan. It’s totally normal to hit plateau stages during such intense diets and that’s just where we need to change things around a little. And as I’ve come to learn with Michael’s guidance it’s all about learning what works for my body and what doesn’t and some of that is trial and error. It was reassuring to hear that I’d come a long way in the 4 weeks so far and that with 7 weeks still left until the photo shoot we had plenty of time to mix things up a bit to get me back on track.
Taken during last week's back and chest workout.
I have to admit I had totally underestimated the mental impact that such intense dieting has on you. And for anyone who’s reading this who hasn’t done such an intense diet you probably think it sounds a bit dramatic but it’s honestly so true. It pushes you to your limits mentally and it’s a time where you find out who you really are and what you’re made of. Hormonally as well, especially for women, diet has a massive impact on you. Again something I didn’t think that much about beforehand but I’d experienced huge hormonal fluctuations over the last 4 weeks.
It’s hard as well when you’re balancing all this with everyday life. For those full-time athletes it’s easier for them when this can be their only focus in life. They have the luxury of time to be able to spend doing what they need to do whether that be training, meal preparation, sleeping or resting. It’s hard going when you’ve got a career too. Tonight I am physically and mentally exhausted. After a 14 hour working day on Monday including travel to and from London, I was up at 05:30 yesterday and again today to get my fasted cardio in before work and then I go to work and do everything I need to do which is stressful in itself especially at the moment and then last night I weight trained as well. Thankfully tonight I can just rest and get an early night. My sleep has also not been as good the last few nights and I can tell it’s from the stress of everything, waking up at midnight paranoid I’ve slept through my 05:30 alarm and having to physically calm myself down to get back to sleep and relax my body. I’m certainly looking forward to a quiet, chilled out weekend that’s for sure.
Michael has been awesome about it all and has spent time today drawing me up a new diet plan to follow from this week to see how my body reacts to that. It involves another calorie drop which I’ll no doubt find challenging for the first week or so but I’m confident I’ll manage it with the good support network around me. We’re also starting to build some amino acids into my diet too as because I’m on reduced calories we don’t want to risk my muscle mass dropping.
My mind is focused and I feel much more in control of my thoughts and emotions in regard to my diet than I did 2 weeks ago despite yesterday’s episode, which is progress in itself. I’m embracing each and every step of the journey even if some of them are extremely challenging. I’m learning so much about myself both physically and mentally and whilst it’s one of the hardest things I’ve done in life I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Let the mind f**k continue. Onwards and upwards.
In the zone...I got this!!

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