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My Diet Experience

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The Diet Journey

Like so many others, my diet started on a Monday. August 31, 2015. 12 days after my chiropractor, and future weightlifting coach, told me not to squat. Or clean, or snatch, or deadlift. I had had a nagging injury for years that was getting worse, and he convinced me that he knew what the problem was and he can fix it, but I had to do what he said. Boy am I glad I listened. But I digress, this is a story about my diet journey: weight loss, weight gain, and what I learned over 365 days.

 

With “normal” training off the table I knew I would have to do something to maintain my weight. I had already purchased both massing and cutting Auto Templates from Renaissance Periodizaton, and loosely followed the base for several months, but this was it. This was my chance! I decided at 12 week diet cut was just what I needed to keep my mind preoccupied while I was on a strict no lifting program. (Sidenote- I did a fair amount of upper body work‚Ķ Arms and chest all day! It was just lower body and back movements that we avoided.) I started the Auto Template diet cut at 148.4 pounds with the goal of going 12 weeks, or to 135. Whichever came first. Well, the 135 came first, after 10 1/2 weeks. I had a very picturesque cut! Four weeks on cut one, four weeks on cut two, 2 1/2 weeks on cut three. It couldn’t have been easier! And I loved having a program that I could be accountable to.

 

Like most, at the end of my diet cut I was like a fish out of water. I knew I had to increase my calories which I did right away. I moved back to cut two for a few weeks, and then back ALMOST to cut one. But I got stuck. My training was starting to increase in volume and I knew I wasn’t eating enough but I wasn’t sure how much to eat. I had been thinking about it for sometime and decided now was the time to jump on board- I bought One on One Coaching and was lucky enough to get assigned to CEO Nick Shaw himself.

 

In mid December, four weeks after my first cut ended, Nick started me on a new maintenance program. Once we got through the holidays, and I knew I was leaving for vacation in February, we started my first cut (as a One on One client) in mid January at 137.4 pounds. Like a charm, those macros took me all the way to mid March, with a 10 day “Final Cut” that brought me down to 130 pounds on March 21. We increased macros, where I successfully DROPPED down to 129.2 pounds, before increasing macros again on April 6 so I could officially mass back up to about 135 pounds.
2 1/2 months later, at 136.6 pounds, we started my third Renaissance lead diet cut on June 22. The goal again was to get to sub 130 pounds again, and see how much in muscle mass I was able to put on during the mass phase. Weight dropped off for five weeks and then slowed, prompting a second phase on August 1. Three weeks later, precisely one week before my one year anniversary, we gave it one last update to shed off those last 2 pounds. On August 31st I weighted in at 129.6 pounds. In one year, 365 days apart, I became 18.8 pounds a different person. It made me ALMOST want to go another few days to hit a full 20! But I’m not that crazy ūüôā

Lessons Learned

So the weight change¬†journey is all well and good, but what have I learned? I’ll sum it up on four sentences. With consistency, you can be a new person in a few weeks. Learn as much as you can ahead of time, but you don’t know everything so get a coach. Have a goal, but know when to quit. And the most important metaphor of all, cheat meals are the key to success.¬†

 

If you notice above, I give you a lot of dates during my year long process. Not a single phase of my diet lasted longer than 10 weeks. I reinvented my body four times, with two maintenance phases, over 52 weeks. How? I was given a plan, and I followed it. Day in and day out during each phase of the diet. Was I want to hundred percent? Heck no! Over the last year there were holidays, parties, vacations, and all-inclusive resort, and plenty of fancy dinners with my husband. But they were still far and few between the day to day. I just didn’t let one party sabotage the next day, or week, or month.

 

For me, having a base of knowledge about basic nutrition and dialing in good food choices for several years before attempting this type of diet (macro count and meal timing) was essential to my success. It made it easy to not question why I was doing what I was doing. It also made smart food choices very obvious. I’ve long held the belief that food is fuel, and not every meal has to be an experience. That all being said, I did not totally go about my diet alone. After my initial experience with the templates and having support from an online community, I knew I wanted to continue the journey. But I was smart enough to recognize the benefits of having someone to look at what I was doing objectively. Push me a little bit harder when I was ready to stop, or call me back in line when I went to far. Plus, how awesome does it feel when somebody tells you how great you’re doing?! Having Nick as a coach to check in daily 100% lead my in the right direction.

 

When I first started my main goal was to follow a 12 week diet cut, as strictly as possible, and drop a weight class. My secondary goal was to not drop below 135 pounds because without assistance, I was nervous about losing too much weight in one shot. I had done that several years prior while calorie counting on my own and it turned into a messy situation. So, 135 was basically my safety net; my “it’s time to quit” alarm. Once I reached that goal it was time for a new one: work one on one with a coach who could walk me through a proper maintenance and help me increase muscle mass while staying around 135 pounds. This also required me to shift my safety net and give up control, but that didn’t mean my safety net went away. It’s precisely the reason I didn’t continue my cut to 128.4 pounds to be a full 20 pounds lighter from my first cut. I no longer had a weight goal, I had a lifestyle goal, which meant I knew it was time to quit when my quality of life shifted for the worse. Sleep, recovery, and productivity all became too compromised to justify the last 1.2 pounds, and that was an extremely important realization.

The best lesson that I learned, however, was how absolutely important cheat meals were to my success over the past year. In both a legitimate and a figurative sense. As a legitimate sense, cheat meals helped my body from getting too used to eating the same exact way day in and day out. Having an influx of calories once a week or so, when your body isn’t expecting it, does wonders on a strict diet plan. It also helps satisfy cravings that could otherwise become too strong and turn into a binge rather than a single meal. Plus, as a social human being who happens to love food, the last thing I want is to not enjoy holiday parties, birthdays, and once in a lifetime¬†restaurant¬†experiences. Figuratively speaking, cheat meals were mentally relieving. Staying on course all week long truly enhanced the cheat meals. Because I planned them I was able to look forward to them, keep them fun, and totally guilt free. Sometimes they were spontaneous, and even those helped remind me to not take everything so seriously. Cheat meals became mini vacations, something we ALL need a bit more of in our life.

 

In closing, I am extremely proud of myself for the progress I have made over the last year. The weight change was simply a byproduct of a decision to stay consistent, make smart choices, trust a process, and trust myself. I believe this is something that everyone can do, and I hope this story helps you realize that you are truly never doing it alone. That being said, write your own story. And be proud of it!

 

RP