Eat more, exercise less.
It's been one week since I competed in my first ever sports modelling competition and somehow I've LOST 2kg.
Leading up to 5 March I went to extreme measures in order to rapidly and drastically drop fat and get lean. So why, having spent WEEKS "cutting" and training SO HARD, did I lose weight AFTER stopping exercising and restrictive dieting?
First, it's important to note that when it comes to weight, multiple factors come into play:
- Water retention
- Hormones (and stress levels)
- Body toxicity
- Time of day
Second, I wonder - what actually is an ideal weight? 47.9kg may seem light for a 23-year-old female, but take into consideration I'm 4"11. Reflecting on my history with weight, I would actually say that it's probably a healthy weight to maintain. Here's why.
2014: The "clean eating" phase (43kg)
This was when I hit my lowest of lows with health. In striving so obsessively to be perfect, I ended up becoming unhealthy. I lost too much weight too soon that my hands used to turn fluroscent green in temperatures less than 10 degrees (poor circulation) and my immunity was so depleted I went to hospital for minor illnesses my body couldn't handle.
I exercised excessively, focusing on cardio, light weights and plyometric/HIIT-based classes. I was basically "skinny fat".
2015: Holiday eating (53kg)
Then I moved to Montreal for a year, eating bagels and cheese and never paying attention to portion control. I still exercised but half-heartedly, using the same cardio-centric regime.
2016: Finding my "fit" (50kg)
Early 2016 was when I found the perfect balance of being indulgent but healthy. I started to lift heavy, and closer to comps I really improved my strength tenfold. This is roughly where I am now. From here it can only get better - I've passed the hard part of building the foundation of good muscle, which I can now continue to develop.
Does what we weigh matter?
It's almost laughable how controversial and spoken about the topic of weight is - how important is the number on the scales? "Muscle weighs more than fat", "BMI is irrelevant now", "kilos aren't a reliable reflection on improved fitness", etc.
When it comes to my own weight loss, a valid question to ask is, what KIND of weight was lost? Fat, muscle, water? Personally, I DON'T CARE.
The fact that I've had an indulgent week (carbs, sugars, fats, alcohol, zero portion control, no nutrient timing, etc) but haven't put on weight is a good indicator to me that this weight loss ISN'T a bad thing.
That's the overrated thing about weight and measuring muscle mass - does a NUMBER really reflect how satisfied someone is with their figure (or LIFE)?
Fitness goes way beyond body, what matters most is how we FEEL mentally about the results achieved.
So why the weight loss? My guess: less stress.
Not just emotional stress, but physical.
Leading up to comp day I was:
- Emotionally stressed due to being time poor and feeling frustrated that I couldn't accomplish as many tasks in a day despite being active 5:30am-11pm.
- Physically fatigued from training twice a day for several hours
- Foggy headed and lacking concentration and competency due to being on a calorie deficit
- Getting little sleep (due to having to "catch up on life" late in the evenings)
- Feeling sick from the high volumes of meat proteins (whereas I was originally having plant-based nutritionally balanced smoothies) and in the last two weeks I wasn't able to rid my body of these toxins because I'd stopped my weekly cleanse days.
- Struggling to find sufficient recovery time (in terms of stretching, napping, meditating, etc) working a 9-5 job
So, what did I do differently between comp day and losing kg's? I did three things:
- Diversified my nutrition
- Laughed more
I returned to my weekly cleanse day and nutritionally diverse smoothies that are packed with the necessary vitamins and minerals, both of which detoxify multiple body systems including the digestive system. I went to Brisbane and partied it up with my mates, having the most fun and laughter I'd had in months.
I'm just gonna put it out there - bowl movements really do count for something. To get all naturopathic-y on you, irregularity can result in bloating, poor digestion, lethargy, irritability, etc. Perhaps this is why I weighed less post comps - my pre-comp diet was NOT balanced whatsoever in the final few weeks. At one stage I was eating only kangaroo meat, no vegetables, hardly any water. It only makes sense that the lack of fibre, vitamins and minerals would have hindered my ability to process the little food I was ingesting.
Ask yourself, what do YOU want to get out of life in the body you've got?
I could not be HAPPIER with the Mim that stood on stage at the beginning of March. To get all schmultzy on you, I am genuinely so proud of myself for what I accomplished. HOWEVER, the body on stage serves a different purpose to a body that needs to function in day-to-day life.
I don't feel that I look significantly fatter or less fit than I did two weeks ago. The difference is - I'm HAPPIER. My energy and concentration has returned. I'm no longer on a calorie deficit and feel stronger, lighter and more sturdy. My skin has cleared up (when I'd experienced break outs in the week before comps) and I still have abs.
If there's something I've learnt through comparing my stage body to post-comp life, it's:
When crafting up a health and fitness goal, REALLY weigh up what matters most to YOU and ask yourself WHY you're chasing it. Is it to...
- Maintain an uber lean fitness-magazine-cover worthy body
- Balance your energy and moods
- Eat flexibly and socialise without worrying about dieting
- FEEL amazing
Weight loss and looking fit is often associated with sacrifice and restraint, but I personally believe it's possible to have the best of both worlds if you have the right foundations in place.
If there's something you like about the way I approach health and fitness that you could apply to help achieve your own goals, I would love to hear from you. Tell me more about yourself here.