It’s been a couple of months now since I last wrote about my current dieting/cutting phase, figured since I’m now at the tail end of things, a nice detailed post was in order!
Let’s do it….
I would absolutely be lying if I said this entire 13-14 week process has been easy. Actually, weeks 1-10 were were pretty much cake but I hit a wall (and HARD) at week 11. Up until that point, I was still able to lift hard & heavy, I was still eating plenty, I never really felt like I was dieting since I rarely found myself hungry, I found a great system/meal timing that worked well for me, I definitely never felt deprived (thanks to flexible dieting), and although progress may have been slow… it was always consistent. Around week 10, I took a little bit of a prescribed “diet break” where my macros were increased for a week to help restore hormones and give my body a break and after that, things started to go downhill for me both mentally and physically. The idea behind the break is technically supposed to help recharge you and your body, but I seemed to have the opposite effect. My energy levels dropped, I began to feel a little more lazy, less motivated, and all around my heart started to lose interest in continuing on with my cut. I still stayed compliant to training and to my macros, but felt like my body and mind were on auto pilot… I was there going through the motions every day but not truly present and enjoying every second like I had been.
I knew I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel at that point so I powered through weeks 11 & 12, more or less in a haze but I made it through! Macros stayed the same but I did decide I would take an extra rest day each week from that point on (lifting 5 days VS 6) which meant my entire Saturday & Sundays were now full rest days. No cardio, no lifting. Having those 2 entire days to be with my family and not worry about the gym or training or my cut seems to have reignited something in me and I was back on track, so I thought anyways. Call it shark week, that time of the month, aunt flo, hormones, or whatever it was… last Thursday I was honestly about to check in with my coach and say that was it, I’m throwing in the towel!!!!
Although I knew I was still progressing physically, I had made a promise to myself when I first started this cut/diet that at any point if I found myself unhappy or resenting what I was doing, I would stop. I learned the last time I dieted that the second you start to hate everything you are doing, its just not worth it. My mental well being is far more important than any leanness I could possibly achieve. I love myself far too much to put that much emphasis on how I look on the outside. Anyways, luckily I decided I would wait until Monday to call things quits. Not sure what happened over those two days (other than celebrating my husbands birthday with pizza and our favorite cupcakes), but I woke up yesterday feeling 180 degrees different than Thursday/Friday. My energy was up again, I was feeling good, feeling strong, and ready to tackle my Monday. Thank God for rest days and last weekend was exactly what I needed in my life.
One of the first things I did yesterday was take my progress shots for my check in. At this point when I looked at my pics I was FLOORED. Again, I hadn’t felt down about my progress even though I felt it was slow, but seeing these side by side shots over the past 3 weeks shocked me. If this didn’t give me that final push to keep going, I don’t know what would. There is literally ONE WEEK in between each of these shots, ALL taken after 24 ounces of water, 1 cup of coffee, and my first meal.
Honestly, I’m still in shock every time I look at how far I’ve come in just the past 3 weeks. It’s like my body finally said “Oh shit! You were serious about this dieting thing. OK then, I got you girl. Let’s do this then!!!”
EDITED TO ADD:
I also wanted to show a progress picture on my abs/core for a few reasons:
#1 I have said MANY MANY times that my stomach is the only real trouble spot I have ever had. Remember, I was a skinny fat girl my whole life so a defined mid section was never my reality. I still may not have a six pack BUT I’m proud of how far my mid section has come! In the 36 years I have been on this Earth, it has NEVER had any type of definition! I have worked hard for this progress and am happy with my ongoing efforts. Proof that abs a definitely a result of nutrition and how lean you are… unfortunately, genetics also play a role and those are NOT on my side. A lot of women struggle with their stomachs and feel like no matter what they do, it never goes away. I’m proof that eventually you CAN change it. It may not happen overnight, but being patience & consistency are key.
#2 I have gotten a handful of comments here and on my Instagram regarding the previous series of progress pics above saying I have taken my diet/cut too far, that I am now too skinny, I’ve lost too much, gross, etc. And this is a good one left for me here on my blog:
Clearly from this picture of my flexed stomach, you can see that although I have definitely dropped body fat and am leaner, I STILL have a healthy and appropriate amount on me. I don’t know for sure, but I would say roughly 15%-16%? TOTALLY on the healthy side. There is some definition but not crazy sub 12% body fat type of definition. Angles, lighting, and morphing your body into weird positions can cause things to look a bit more skewed. The side views above were more to show my oblique progress more than anything which is why I’m turned awkwardly.
#3 Regardless of what YOUR goal is, always keep in mind that it’s not everyone else’s goal. Some people like a little meat on them, some people like to be totally shredded, some people like big butts, some people rather have big boobs, some people strive for boulder shoulders, and so on. It’s ALL about preference and what YOU like. Having an opinion is one thing… taking the time to comment on a women’s body in such negative way is NEVER ok. It would not be acceptable to call someone too fat or say their nose is too big for their face right? If you wouldn’t tell a stranger these things to their face directly, don’t hide behind a computer or phone to say it either. Remember the age old rule, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.
Sometimes it is actually OK to keep your opinion to yourself, especially when its at the expense of a stranger who clearly doesn’t have the same goals as you.
Anyways… a fire was reignited and I’m ready to finish this thing out STRONG!!!!
And to be clear here, VERY little changed as far as my routine, macros, cardio, etc. during these last 3 weeks. Here is an overview of things…
(Please note these numbers & info are VERY individualized for ME. They are based on my height, weight, age, previous dieting/nutrition history, etc. I’m a small girl to begin with standing at only 5′ tall #funsized!)
Now averaging 125 grams carbs, 130 grams protein, 48 grams fat per day for the week
Flexible dieting of course!
No food restrictions. No cutting foods, food groups, or entire macronutrients out (um, like carbs). No 100% exact meal or nutrition timing.
I eat ice cream every single day. I eat pizza & hamburgers at least twice a week. I eat gluten. I eat store bought processed foods. I eat things that aren’t always organic or non GMO.
** I also eat a TON of vegetables and fruits and raw nuts and whole grains and other foods that are considered “healthy” EVERY single day, with just about every meal. **
I’m not afraid of eating any types of food… if I can get a donut to fit into my daily macro’s, I will eat it. I’d even eat two if I could.
Balance. Moderation. Mixing nutrient dense with more “fun” foods”.
Because the BEST diet in the world is the one you can adhere to for the long term!
I can’t stress this enough… drinking that H20 is SO important. I feel a HUGE difference on days that my water intake is lower than normal.
weeks 1-10= minimum 1 gallon per day
weeks 11-present= minimum 1 1/2 to 2 gallons per day
weeks 1-6 or so= NO CARDIO
weeks 7-10-= ONE moderate cardio session per week
weeks 11-present= TWO moderate cardio sessions per week
ALL of my cardio has been done outdoors near my house. I am walking and doing LIGHT hill sprints (barely jogging on the uphills). Because I live in the mountains, I am fortunate to have LOTS of great hills and trails around me. Most of the ones I am using are a minimum of 25% grade. I have NOT stepped on a machine or done ANY steady state cardio this entire cut. To tell you the truth, I *think* I may even enjoy it now!
weeks 1-9= 6 days a week (back, legs-quad focused, biceps/triceps, shoulders, legs-hamstring & glute focused, final day was used to fill in any muscle groups I felt needed some more work)
week 10= deload/break week
week 11-current= 5 days per week (back/biceps, legs, shoulders/triceps, legs, fill in any muscle groups I felt needed some more work)
I have said MANY MANY times here on my blog and on my Instagram account that I am NOT a huge advocate of buying/using supplements. I feel like most are a waste of money and I personally would much rather just buy food and eat. There are NO magic pills. No big secrets to fat/weight loss. I said it before, I will say it now, I will say it many many more times to come…
NUTRITION IS KEY!
Know what your macros should be and adhere to them EVERY single day as best as you can. You cannot out train, out cardio, out supplement a bad diet.
That being said though, there are certain things I take religiously and am also never opposed to trying other supplements out. During my last reverse diet, I was kicking myself for not taking creatine sooner!!! I felt a HUGE difference in my lifts and growth during that last phase. So don’t rely on supplements, but also don’t be opposed to trying things out to see if they work for YOU… not in a magic kind of way though!
weeks 13-current (last week & this week)= I added these items initially just because I wanted to try them but then fell in love… seems like I needed just a tad bit more energy during the last phase of this cut to get me through and this stack is working PERFECTLY for me. I’m absolutely LOVING the boost I feel in the morning to start my day and then again during my lifts. Anytime you are in a caloric deficit, especially over an extended period of time, your energy levels will drop. Having these two new items in my day are just helping me power through and I swear on my life with all my heart that they have helped in making serious changes in the short time I have been using them (literally one week).
ONE Norcodrene from PESCIENCE in the AM before breakfast
ONE scoop Alphamine from PESCIENCE in the afternoon (kinda like my pre workout drink)
ONE scoop Amino IV from PESCIENCE (sipped on throughout training and on my rest days)
As you can see from all this, the ONLY things that changed for me during the course of this series of pics was changing my training split slightly (adding another rest day) and then last week I started taking those extra supplements from PESCIENCE… so what does this mean to me?
#1 Don’t make any quick decisions during PMS or that “time of the month” (LOL). Your hormones are completely out of whack anyways (being in a caloric deficit surely doesn’t help either). When you are at a breaking point and ready to throw in the towel, WAIT at least 24-48 hours and then reassess things and how you feel. Give your body and mind a rest because you may just need a little break. My progress kicked into high gear right where I thought my body and mind had it.
#2 There will be easy days AND there will be not so easy days. While dieting, the body (and mind) are under more stress so treat it as gently and kind as possible. Get plenty of sleep and take the good days and enjoy every minute of it. Take the bad days and try your hardest to push through it and punch them in the face. The bad will ALWAYS pass and a new day is on approach.
#3 BE CONSISTENT!!! Even when “life” happens, progress stalls, etc. the more you stay compliant to your nutrition and training, the better you can assess your progress to make any necessary changes. My progress was slow, but ongoing simply because I was ALWAYS consistent. Sometimes it takes the body a little time to catch up with what you are trying to do. Give things 2-4 weeks before making drastic changes.
#4 Remember that SLOW progress is STILL progress! Don’t be discouraged by the numbers on the scale or any other “numbers” for that matter. This is NOT a race. Personally, I feel like the slower you go with dieting the more maintainable your results will be, the more muscle you will be able to preserve, AND the easier the entire process is on your body. NEVER go for the quick fix. Think long term VS short term for your health.
#5 Take those progress pictures!!! Even on days when you feel like a big cow, get to the gym, get a good pump going, find some good lighting, throw some lip gloss on, and snap a few shots of your best features or muscle groups that you are working hard. Not only will you be able to assess your progress better than what the scale might say BUT seeing comparison shots lined up might just shock the crap out you. It may just give you that little boost you need to KEEP GOING! That last image I took here in these pics was honestly taken right in the middle of my monthly cycle. I felt super gross. Luckily, I forced myself to take the shot for my check in. Had I not taken it and compared it to my previous 2 weeks, I promise you with all my heart, I probably would have been writing a different blog post here about finishing my cut!
#6 That I may now be addicted to my PESCIENCE supplements haha… stay tuned for more on that though!
If you are interested in receiving 30% OFF on any & all PEScience products, use my code CORINA at checkout on www.pescience.com
Ok, that’s all I got for today 🙂
I have kicked your ass already and I’m not quite done!!!!
Here’s to the home stretch folks… I GOT this!!!!