Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
May 4, 2017
So before I start my blog, I am just gonna start with one thing…I hate calorie restriction!! I am now in that dreaded third week of the maneuver, you know the thing that is gonna help me with my weight loss and get me the body that I always wanted? Well, that time of pain has started for me, and man it is starting to get into my head. The temptation was bearable for the most part, mainly because I managed to stay ahead of the game so easily. But now is the time where I start regretting the decision, knowing this is gonna be a straight up bar fight when it come to battling the urges that controlled me for such a long time and turned me into a 400-pound celestial body. I knew this would happen, and I knew this would come in some form or the other, but it is hitting me in a way I never thought possible. I’m craving all of the foods that I am denying myself, and even though I am spreading out the cheat meals during the week instead of Sunday, like I did last week, there is still a lot of temptation. Now you might ask me why would I do this to myself? Why would I suffer so greatly to make myself look better and be healthier? Well…because I am stubborn as hell. I made an oath to myself to win this battle and I am winning for the most part. But in order to keep winning, I cannot be content. I have to be like the Golden State Warriors. who could have just stayed the course after winning 73 games despite losing in the NBA Finals. Instead, they said “screw it” and got Kevin Durant just to piss off the rest of the league…and it turns out they will need him because the Texas combo of San Antonio and Houston will make formidable opponents. So yeah, instead of living with what I got, I have to make things better. So that is why I am going to have to buckle down and stick with this eating regimen. I want the weight loss. I want the control over my olfactory senses that compel me to eat profusely. I just want to be better.
It’s not easy doing this, for every couple months I try to scale back and then every couple months I fail. Adjustment is key in the situation, because then I start doing stupid things and start reasoning that Gardein is a great alternative to eating boring old food and then I see myself buying 10 bags of stuff. Right now I have two bags of meat balls, a bag of chicken and some beef tips. All vegan, all tasty…all perfect for whatever dish I decide to make. These will strictly be on a day where I designate a meal. Anyway, during the blog last week, I weighed some of the pros and cons as to why you should try going through this regimen. It is difficult to say the least, and can make you nutty with desires in the middle of the night. But let me tell you, this is worth the struggle. I have some good reasoning on how to survive this sort of eating, because let’s face it, media and the internet has us desiring the most calorie filled, belt busting nonsense you can believe. I mean, bacon wrapped burritos? https://youtu.be/ECeN9hCqshk What about the culinary students that created sugar and chocolate based geodes? https://youtu.be/qwM1Nh7rerU How is anyone supposed to eat this stuff? So here we go…here is some tips to making sure you stay on your calorie restriction…which I really need some help with.
CELEBRATE THE CHEAT MEAL!!
Well, I have been doing a lot of this lately. It’s almost like that moment when you are finally released from being grounded and you can start riding your bike again and watch TV again. That freedom you took for granted is back and you can gain some lessons out of it. I mean, how do parents ground their kid these days? You can suspend their phones but they can still get on wifi. You can tell them they can’t watch TV but they can stream? I mean, you physically have to take their phone or device away. It’s difficult! I’m sure my sister and my brother in law are not looking forward to the days where they have to do this with their young children. I mean, we might have virtual reality cell phones by then! Anyway, the psychological benefits of the cheat meal have been explored several times on this blog, but here is some good evidence to help anyway. http://www.medicaldaily.com/9010-rule-cheat-meals-actually-boost-your-metabolism-and-help-you-lose-weight-327212 There is a whole world of information of how to approach your cheat meals, and the key is to not go nuts on the meal. Make it simple and make it something that is not similar to what you are eating. This Sunday, I’m debating on whether I will be making some good pasta with Gardein meatballs or possibly another one-bowl dish that I can steal from Bosh! or something. There is the possibility that I could just say to hell with it and go to Veg Box or Fresco Pizza (which has an amazing vegan pizza!), but let’s keep the calories to a minimum. Truth be told, this is what drives me during the week, allowing me to battle these urges when they hit me. Right now, by adjusting my plan to spreading out the meals during the week, it helps make the urges a little easier to deal with going forward. And don’t feel bad if you have to do this…if your body is not getting the proper nutrition you will get some gnarly cravings, and that will lead you to overeat and lose control. And if you are an emotional eater like me, this could compel you to eat even more and continue the cycle once again.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS AND RUN WITH IT!
As a vegan, everyone is going to ask me whether I get enough protein or not. Trust me, I really do. That is not the problem for me. The main problem for me these days is my iron levels, and when that starts hitting me, the sluggishness and headaches come into full force. Ever since I started this eating regimen of mine, one thing is for certain in regards to the changes in my diet…I have fully sought to make sure my iron needs are being met. Now this is something I have suffered through with trial and error, and while getting more protein into the diet is necessary for my heavy workout recovery…gaining large muscle is a secondary endeavor. What I have been doing lately is eating tons of iron rich food (which also have good amounts of protein) to help with the progression. Deep leafy greens, raw nuts and pumpkin seeds are a regular fixture for me during lunch time at work. Like I said, it has drawn the stares from some people that constantly rely on the work vending machines that are filled with “food” that has god-knows-what inside them. During my dinner sessions, I might add some more seeds to my meal of lentils, rice, quinoa and beans, and ultimately I will start adding some potatoes to the mix. Right now, this has been working for me even though I have had to refuel after some big workouts, taking advantage of the PHOD bars that Christa sells at the gym. Tuesday was such a day, where I put in a total of 96 minutes of heavy lifting, gassing out when Jon Shaver suggested I skip the rest of the Olympic training session due to the fact I had already done a lot of arm work that day. It was a good thing to refuel and stop…my elbows were definitely tired and doing more Olympic style training would have been a tough move for me. Fortunately, I know I am doing it right by the fact that I have yet to wake up with a searing headache, which used to be an indicator of me not doing my eating regimen right.
WORK OUT ACCORDINGLY
This leads back to the previous point I was trying to mention…you have to remember that your working out is going to take some hits in some instances. I used to work out rather profusely, putting in 70-80 minutes in the gym and making myself feel awesome because I was getting a lot of work done. Well, I was doing all of that work and then would go home and eat a shit ton of food…because I just put in 70 to 80 minutes of work! Now I suppose if I had not been gorging on Taco Bell bean burritos and Pik Nik sticks as often as I was, the results would have been better for me in the long run. But I wasn’t, and it was clear that I wasn’t making the strides necessary to lose the weight and get healthy again. If anything, I was poisoning my body by eating poor foods, making my blood more acidic and causing me to feel more pain after doing these workouts. And the residual effect was also problematic. I was sluggish and tired out the next day from the fatigue of the workout and from the lack of good nutrients I had from the previous night. So needless to say, those days of the heavy workout are pretty much long gone now. I have been trying to split up my days accordingly, maybe getting in one or two heavy lifting movements into the workout as opposed to trying to squeeze in three or even four. While this has affected my gains to some degree, it has helped bring the total time in my workout down to where it needs to be, somewhere in the 60-65 minutes range where it seems to benefit me. Now of course, I can try to work out harder and longer, but this will ultimately lead to a major crash on my part, meaning I will be tempted to gorge due to the fact my body desperately needs some sustenance. This is pretty much counterintuitive to the goal at hand, and this is why I believe eating a little more on Tuesday and Thursday will help with the process. While I will look to eat low cal for the rest of the week, it would be more beneficial for me to eat more on those days, especially since I am doubling up on workouts much of those days. Eventually I may have to add more calories on Saturday nights, provided I can ever get my butt up on Sunday mornings to try and do a long run…provided I can ever do a long run again. Sigh, so many running issues right now.
UNDERSTAND IT IS NOT PERMANENT
Since I posted that blog piece about calorie restriction last week, the medical world has lost it’s collective mind. There are already doctors writing rebuttals http://www.pantagraph.com/blogs/ask-the-doctors-benefits-from-calorie-restrictions-not-proven-long/article_f24c0f2b-255c-5653-928c-7528a98b7234.html disputing the validity of long term calorie restriction, as well as articles claiming restriction is just as pointless as intermediate fasting (something I am not really into, because I seriously need to eat!) https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/why-the-alternate-day-fasting-diet-might-not-be-right-for-you-050217.html. Now do not get me wrong…I really have no idea how long I will be able to keep this up. Already I am making adjustments, even if they are good adjustments in the food department. Ultimately, I know I will need to bring the calories up. For the time being, my body is using fat stores to help out with the intermittent energy lulls, which means at one point in time, I will need to quit the calorie restriction and eat more food. First and foremost, one should look at the idea of doing this a temporary method, not something permanent. As your body needs grow and you seek out better results in the gym, you will have to get out of this method of eating. Now this will segue perfectly into the next blog post that is coming out later this week when I discuss the idea of bulking. Eventually I will increase my food intake, but it will not be for the sake of getting bigger muscle but for the sake of compensating for my body’s needs. So you first have to ask yourself the question…just how long do you really want to do this? For someone like me—who has massive eating problem—this could be a very long term situation for me in the future. Most people are not food addicts like myself, and most people will not find themselves eating a whole bag of chips in ten minutes and wonder where the time went or what the hell happened. So in respect to yourself, you have to set the term goal that you are seeking. Right now, I am struggling but as I make adjustments I know one thing is for sure….establishing the schedule will be just as important as figuring out how much to eat. It’s just a matter of time for me when I look back at meal prepping as just another run of the mill chore for me every week, like doing laundry. It’s just gonna take some time.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.