When I first decided to begin a structured reverse diet that would be immediately followed by a cutting phase/diet, I had never once considered that my plans would be anything less than “successful”. I was focused. I was committed. I was dedicated every single day to both my training and my nutrition. There was no way anything was going to stop me… well, that’s how things started off anyways. As I mentioned in my last check in, I had been dealing with a knee injury that still hasn’t quite healed, even 2 months later. As much as I tried to push through the pain and pretend it wasn’t there, not only did it get worse, but more importantly I got to a place mentally and emotionally that was just not OK any way you slice it. As each day passed with barely any ability to train properly without pain, I became more and more worried about my impending “peak week” and finishing up my cut. I wanted to push myself. I didn’t want to feel like a quitter. The stress and pressure I was placing on myself began to not only take a toll on me, but on those around me.
I remember about a month ago I was picking my son up from school and normally we would laugh and joke with one another from the time he opened the car door until we walked in the house. He had sensed something was wrong though and before I could even ask how his day was, he asked me “Seriously, what’s wrong? You just seem so sad all of a sudden. You’re just not the same.”. It was one of those mommy moments where you cringe and can’t help but feel disappointed in your parenting. Sure, regular every day “life” can stress anyone out from time to time, but when your stress is coming strictly from YOUR own actions and the craziness going on in YOUR head, that’s when the mommy guilt sets in even more and then smacks you square in the face.
This was a pivotal point for me. I had been forced to take a step back from training already but at this point I had to take a step back from everything I was doing and thinking at that time. I realized that my thoughts and reasoning for finishing my cut & peak week out were completely ridiculous. I had been so caught up in attaining this goal I had set out for that I wasn’t paying attention to the damage I was doing to myself both physically (with my knee) and emotionally… and again, for what exactly? Just because I said I was going to do it? And/Or possibly seeing glimpses of a six pack? Really, in the end that’s what it would end up being about… possibly dropping a little more in body fat % and getting leaner.
It was at this point I had to ask myself…
Is it worth it?
Were abs, fat loss, and a “better” physique worth the stress I was putting on myself, my body, and at that point… my family?
After taking a couple of weeks for those thoughts to settle in and getting comfortable with the idea of stopping the cut and not doing my peak week, the answer became simple for me.
NO, finishing this cut is NOT worth it.
I knew I wasn’t happy training anymore because I couldn’t give it 100%. I knew that I didn’t want to sacrifice eating less to compensate for not being able to workout. And honestly, after dropping my body fat down to 16%, I really wasn’t happy with how I was looking anyways. Wait, let me repeat that again. I just said that getting my body fat down to it’s lowest point in my ENTIRE life was not all that it’s cracked up to be, nor did I like how it felt in my own skin. I felt weak when I trained. My clothes weren’t fitting properly (not in a good, positive way). I was no longer confident in my body because I felt like I looked frail and skinny. These are all feelings I had NEVER felt my entire life. I remember being very very clear here in my blog when I had finished my reverse diet how good and strong I felt about myself, even with the little bit extra body fat. I remember how good I felt in general and all that “good” just seemed to go away. When my knee gave out, all the “good” feelings I had every day were few and far between. I fell out of love with the lifestyle I was so passionate about. I still loved lifting, but with less motivation and energy, even that didn’t feel the same.
All of a sudden, everything began to feel like a chore for me. I hated having to weigh my food. I began to resent logging every bite I was taking. I was stressed out about the family trip we were getting ready for, making sure I would be able to workout and keep my macros in check. I didn’t have enough energy because I was so drained mentally and basically I was tired of feeling sorry for myself. It was time to call the cut over and find myself again, find my balance, and get back to doing everything I loved JUST because I wanted to and not necessarily because it was what I was “supposed” to do.
It’s one thing to have goals, be dedicated, and give 100% effort every day, but another thing entirely when those goals fog your mind and more importantly, your spirit. I was so consumed with hitting this ridiculous “15% body fat” goal I had and making sure I was doing everything “right”, that I lost sight of what MY main goals were when I first started MY journey a year ago… Simply to feel good about MYSELF and MY body. I was so wrapped up in all those beautiful women I follow on Instagram with their lean physiques, contest prepping, and six pack abs, that I was no longer being fair to myself about MY journey. My journey which had always been different from theirs in the first place.
I wanted to be absolutely sure about my decision before I updated here on my blog but it’s now officially been one full week OFF my “diet”/cut, no MyFitnessPal, no counting macros, no weighing my food, no weighing myself, and no body fat checks. I’m no longer consumed with making sure everything is exactly how it’s “supposed” to be. It’s been HEAVEN. With the pressure taken off, within a couple of days I began to find myself again. It was almost like the light switch turned back on in my head and heart. Even though I still wasn’t able to train heavy & hard, I enjoyed my lifts more than I have in weeks. I did a very very light steady state jog just because I felt like it one day (something I would have never done during my reverse or cut). Just doing me, for me.
I’m ready to get back to the good old basics and use everything I learned this past year. I want to live my life simply. I want to feel strong. I want to feel confident. I want to challenge myself. I want to try new things without living in fear that it will effect my “progress”. I want to be able to make mistakes without feeling bad or guilty. I want to live my life without a deadline. I want new goals. I want better goals. I want to focus on how I feel VS. how I look. I want to be about more than my planning, prepping, and logging. And more than anything, I want to love every moment of my life, every single day of my life. I simply just want to enjoy myself while on this journey and the second my heart isn’t happy, I want to have the courage to change my course and see what does.
I spent so much of my time preaching about moderation and balance, now it’s time to fully & truly live it.
And so begins another leg of my journey…