Saturday, 26 March 2016

Digging deep: Putting my faith in the process

I’ve never been one to get fixated on the scales. Throughout my adult life my weight hasn’t fluctuated that much; it’s more been my body shape that changes depending on the lifestyle I’m living. If anything, in the last couple of years of beginning to weight train I was actually quite pleased when I saw the kgs start to creep up as I knew I wasn’t getting fat; quite the opposite really, so I knew my muscles were growing. I was more bothered about my body fat percentage which was looking good so I had assurance in the process.
 
The last 6 months have been a bit of a different story for me though as I came home from Australia 5kg (11 pounds) heavier than I went and I knew that wasn’t through muscle growth as my training hadn’t been consistent. I also knew I’d overindulged at times (a lot of times in fact but come on I was having a year off right? That’s permitted) so it was purely just fat.
 
As I started to train and eat cleaner when I came home the weight started to drop off albeit slowly as I was also starting to build my muscles back up. Again, this didn’t bother me massively that it was slow progress as I knew I was on the right track.
 
Over the last few weeks however the scales have become a daily demon in my life. Now I’m in the shredding stage I know the kgs have to come down whilst still maintaining my muscle mass. So every day first thing on a morning I get weighed and track this throughout the week to work out an average. It’s important to work out an average I’ve learned as your body can fluctuate daily depending on a number of things such as water retention, water intake, for women when it’s that time of the month, hormones and a range of other things.
 
At first it was just quite interesting to watch and track this but then the obsession kicked in. I started doing what I rolled my eyes at other girls for doing; worrying about every last gram of fat that showed on the scales. And feeling despondent if I didn’t see a good drop even if my body was looking leaner and I was feeling great in myself.
 
2 weeks ago my average drop for the week was 1.4kg (3 pounds) which for someone like me who isn’t carrying much weight (I average around 48kg-50kg normally) is a good drop. Now common sense prevails and says if I dropped this every week there would be nothing left of me but when you enter the world of bodybuilding; common sense goes out of the window.
 
So last week I watched some fluctuations in my weight and on Sunday I did my final weigh in and calculated a 0.2kg (1/2 pound) drop. Apparently I should be aiming for a 0.5%-1% drop each week according to my PT so this was on track but I couldn’t get my head around that and I was just disheartened at feeling I’d made so much sacrifice during the week and for very little output. This is one part of bodybuilding I hate; I hate what it does to me mentally for me to feel this way and to be obsessed with the scales.
 
I was feeling pretty down about things on Sunday night but my friend called me before I went to bed and gave me the pep talk that I needed ahead of another week. I’m very thankful for people like him in my life who keep me motivated and support me especially on my low days. My PT also gave me a similar talking to on Monday morning while I was at the gym (in thermal skins and a hoody fuelled on black coffee in a desperate attempt to sweat more and burn the calories during fasted cardio – what is life?) and this set me up well for the week.
 
My mentality this week has very much been to put my faith in the process. I know that if I train when I should and I eat what I should the results WILL come. It might take a bit of time and it might take a few tweaks here and there along the way but I have faith in my trainer that he will get me to where I need to be. I knew I had to move my mentality to this approach rather than concentrating just on the scales as otherwise it would really get to me.
 
I’ve found this mentality so important as the week’s progressed as the scales didn’t behave at the start of the week and Monday to Thursday I still wasn’t seeing what I wanted to when I stood on ‘the sad step’ as Joe Wicks (The Body Coach – Lean in 15) calls it; I’m in full agreement with him now!
 
And as the week progressed I felt an enormous sense of pride in myself at my attitude this week. Not seeing the results on the scales it could have easily thrown me off track and made me upset with the process. And looking back a couple of months when I first started dieting if this had happened then I’d have got the ultimate strop on and probably thrown my diet plan out of the window and sat with the face on whilst stuffing my face with Krispy Kreme haha.
 
This week I remained calm and in control and dug deep to find that mental strength to push through. It hasn’t been easy some days. When you wake up at 05:15 and see you’ve either stayed the same or even put a bit of weight on it takes a lot of self-motivation to pull on your gym gear, head to the gym and do 40 minutes fasted cardio when you’ve got a busy day at work ahead and you know you’ll be back in the gym at 6pm that night. It also takes a lot of willpower in these situations when your body starts to get hungry about 8pm and you know you’ve had your calorie allowance for the day so you drag yourself off to bed in a bid to suppress your appetite until the next day.
 
I know that I’ve been having a weekly re-feed; tomorrow is my last proper one for Easter Sunday before my competition so I know this will make a difference in the coming weeks not having that on a weekend. I also know I’ve got a few options to work with after chatting to my PT such as additional cardio, amendments to my macros and cycling my calories. Purely looking at weight alone I haven’t got far to go. 48kg is the lowest I can remember being over the last 4-5 years and my PT reckons I can perhaps get down to 46kg but that will be it. So I’ve got another 2kg (4.4 pounds) to lose in 8 weeks. It is do-able. It’s harder as you get smaller as the fat is more stubborn to shift as anyone will know who has lost weight; it’s those last few pounds that are the hardest to go.
 
I’m probably not likely to have dropped this week; I have my final weigh in tomorrow which I’ll then use to calculate my average for the week and unless I have a miraculous overnight drop it’s not going to take me under 48.2kg which was last week’s average. But yesterday I weighed in at 48.0kg and today I weighed in at 47.6kg which is the lowest I’ve been so far throughout this process so I know I’m heading in the right direction.
 
I’d just like to add that I am only 5’0” so I know this is a very low weight and not one that’s attainable or should even be considered as a goal for many of you reading this who were blessed with a little bit more height than I was. So I just want to put that out there before people either judge me for being so light or start to panic that you’re a lot heavier than me.
 
As with many things in life, as I’ve come to learn over recent years, it’s all about the mental toughness. Whether that be with training, with your career or generally just in life at situations that are thrown at you over the years. Building my mental strength to deal with things over the last 3 years has been an invaluable trait to me and I know that this whole experience will only add to that. Bodybuilding takes dedication, sacrifice, responsibility, 100% commitment, willpower, desire, motivation on days you feel the least like it and I know I’ll be a better person for all of this in 8 weeks time.

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