3 Days in the Life – Food Edition

I’ve received quite a few inquiries about what my eating looks like now that I’ve essentially gotten down to my new weight class. The short answer is: it looks pretty much like it did before, there is just more food.  Immediately after competing, I had a week or so of just eating whatever I wanted which was much needed. I basically just ate when I was hungry and slowly brought up my calories to maintenance levels. I wasn’t concerned about gaining back a bunch of weight because heeeey bodies don’t work that way.

 

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I don’t compete again until the end of April so my focus, nutrition wise, is just to maintain my current weight and hopefully lose a little fat and gain some muscle in the process. I lost about 1% bodyfat and added 1.5lbs of lean mass since Christmas so the plan is just to keep eating at a maintenance level and doing what I’m doing.  I did go back to a more carb cycling type of protocol but other than that, everything is pretty much the same.

Since I get so many questions about carb cycling AND what my food intake looks like, I thought I would steal an idea from Abbie over at Absolutely Strong and document my food intake over the course of 3 days (high carb day, low carb day, and medium carb day).  So with that said, here you go:

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MON:

5am: Eat 2 sweet potato baby food  packets, a small spoonful of peanut butter and ½ scoop of protein powder. Drink some pre workout.

6-7:30am: drink 1 20z orange gatorade mixed with 1 scoop protein powder while training (why gatorade? because I’m not getting up any earlier to try and eat nearly 50g of carbs before I train. Also, at this point, my training volume is quite high so I need/want some sustenance while I train in the form of fast digesting protein and simple carbs).

8am: COFFEEEEE

9am:  HUGE bowl of gluten free oats

1pm: Big bowl of white rice, white potatoes, some spinach, some peppers, and chicken breast

3pm: Drink some BCAAs

4pm: 2 shots of espresso with frothed almond milk and a small spoonful of coconut butter

5pm: 2 small turkey/beef meatballs, an egg, some carrots, and some sauerkraut.

9pm: handful of kettlecooked popcorn, egg whites with peanut butter (that sounds weird and looks even weirder. we were low on groceries. P.S. I use egg whites not because of some weird 1990s fat fearing thing, but because I’m slightly sensitive to yolks and they’re a very cheap and convenient source of protein)

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TUES:

8am: 1 chicken sausage, 1 egg, and some mushrooms + peppers + spinach sauteed in olive oil with an americano

11pm: Snack on some carrots and deli turkey

1pm: Go to lunch with a friend, have a bunless beef burger and so many parmesan fries (aka the best fries ever)

4pm: Shake with spinach, 1 scoop protein powder, spoonful of peanut butter.

5pm: Go to the gym to deadlift. Drink some BCAAs + creatine.

8pm: braised chicken breast with mushrooms and broccoli sauteed in garlic chili olive oil

9pm: spoonful of peanut butter

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WED:

5am: 1 packet sweet potato baby food and spoonful of peanut butter

 6-7:30am: 6 ounces of orange gatorade with 1 scoop protein powder

8am: Coffee

9am: ½ cup gluten free oatmeal with ½ scoop protein powder

1pm: fried rice made with 1 egg, chicken, white rice, and miscellaneous veggies over some shredded cabbage

4pm: americano with some half and half plus an apple with coconut butter

5:30pm: chicken sausage with some cabbage

8:30pm: spinach salad with veggies, salmon, olive oil + lemon dressing, and pine nuts

 Besides feeding people’s curiosity (see what I did there?), my other purpose in sharing my food intake is to sort of dispel the myth that people who follow a macros-based approach to dieting just eat like shit all the time. Some people do, sure, but I’d venture to say that the majority of people who train and follow a more scientific approach to dieting eat pretty well 95% of the time.

Dieting & Nutrition: Don’t Go Hard or Go Home

Picture this: it’s January 1. Everyone has vowed to eat better, get fit, lose weight, eat better, and has taken steps to make those goals happen. Everything is shiny and new and everyone is excited over their new meal plans and exercise goals. It’s all glitter and rainbows and sunshine and stuff. And then the end of January nears. What was once all glittery and ah-mazing is now dreadful. Most people are left feeling burnt out and reverting to old habits and then beating themselves up about their “failure” and it becomes a never ending cycle. It’s another 30 day challenge here and 30 day challenge there with no real consistency in between. It’s either all green juice and salads or french fries and doughnuts (mmm doughnuts). Basically, you go hard or go home. And you end up burnt out.

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[a life without gluten-free tres leches cake is not life]

The “go hard or go home” model is based on adhering to something strictly for a given period of time (whether this is formalized or not) and then the expectation is that you go off the rails when it ends. You go from one extreme to the other and miss all of the important stuff in the middle. And this isn’t necessarily the fault of the individual. Most diet challenges or “new year, new you” (which I hate and this explains why) plans fail to actually teach anyone about anything…other than what it’s like to live without wine and cheese and ice cream (I’ll save you the trouble and tell you that it sucks). But but but strict rules and guidelines make it easy, you say. Well, I’d challenge you to forget easy and take the road less traveled and actually learn a thing or twelve about how to make changes in a sustainable, non-neurotic, cake inclusive fashion. (P.S. I’m not just talking trash on 30 day or whatever challenges. I’ve done them. They have value. But there are better ways.)

Several challenges, hardcore crash diets, etc. claim to “educate” their participants on things but fail to see that education through. Being chained to a list of forbidden foods is not fostering education, it’s fostering blind compliance. Navigating a nutrition program or plan that works for you is about making choices – your choices. Having someone tell you “eat this, not that” doesn’t facilitate the learning process that, in my opinion, is absolutely critical to being able to approach nutrition in a sane way the other 335 days a year when you’re not doing a 30 day challenge. I get it – extremes and rules are easy. But what happens when you start to hate those rules?

 

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[delicious things]

It’s easy to be super compliant and stoked on life when something is new. Novel stimuli tend to make us humans really excited. But what happens when 3 weeks down the road, you’re feeling less than excited? If you’re white knuckling your way through a plan that you loathe, you’re going to be miserable at that 3 week mark. If you’re armed with knowledge about how food works, the science behind nutrition (if it says “detox” or “cleanse”, run the eff away), and the knowledge of your own personal experience – you can adjust accordingly. Because making nutritional changes does not have to suck.

 

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[this has no relevance but hey, kegs are fun]

So that’s cool and all, but how does one actually reach that dreaded period when things start to lose their luster and navigate through it successfully?

1. Set yourself up for success: I’ve talked (written?) this topic into the ground but suffice it to say, setting yourself to be successful ensures that you are, well, successful. For all things meal planning and prepping and such, check this out.
2. Face the fact that nothing changes if nothing changes: If you go into a program with the thought of “yeah, that sounds so totally awesome, BUT here all the reasons why that doesn’t work for me…” you’re not going to win. Sorry, but you’re not. If you want results you’ve never had, be prepared to do stuff you haven’t done. AND BE OKAY WITH IT. Use common sense (like don’t eat 1200kcals of kale and call it a meal plan) and listen to your body, but accept the fact that in order to change, you have to change.
3. See the big picture: Minutia and details are cool and all but focusing on the big pictures makes things easier. Worrying and stressing and obsessing about the details of a diet when you don’t have the basics down is a bit like worrying about if your toes should be angled out 3 more degrees when you’re not even squatting to depth. Build the foundation, worry about the details when they’re relevant.

Random Updates

It’s been awhile since I just rambled on about nonsense so I think I will do just that:

1. Post competition, my appetite was totally out of whack – which is to be expected if you go from dieting hard to eating all the things post weight cut. I actually weighed in very light most of the week and was having a hard time eating much of anything. Last Friday, my appetite came back with a vengeance – gluten free pizza and wine will do that. (Also WINE I LOVE YOU. I missed wine.)

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2. The week after this last contest was spent doing mostly deload/light stuff in the gym but I did do some split jerks for heavy singles and managed to hit my old PR of 120# fairly easy. Let’s hope that means my press will move in the right direction.

 

3. Espresso + protein powder + steamed almond milk has become my go-to afternoon pick me up.

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4. I’ve had a little more time to write and talked about the importance of paying it forward over on Starting Strongman.

5. I set some goals for the year. Also read this immediately:

If you haven’t read @chadwesleysmith’s “Courage to Be Great” post over at @juggernauttraining , I suggest doing that right now. My big goals for the year are to take action, to run towards risks instead of away from them (preferably with heavy weights in my hands), and to get really, REALLY strong in the process. More specifically: – clean & press 150# (axle, log, whatever) – over 2x bodyweight deadlift (300# club or bust) – qualify for NAS nationals – get my CSCS – get a nutrition certification – have a back that eclipses the sun – learn something every.single.damn.day If your goals scare you, you’re probably doing it right. #couragetobegreat #strongwoman #strongman #fifluential #ladieslifthere #startingstrongman #srbarsathlete — photo by @sjlaux

A photo posted by Gabby (@gabbysgfree) on

 

6. Our new training cycle started on Monday and I’ve learned that volume accumulation in training means volume nap & food accumulation the rest of the time. I napped twice yesterday (granted, I did not sleep well/much the night before) and STILL slept about 10 hours.

7. I will be taking my CSCS soon so I’m dedicating a lot more time to studying. Most nights look something like this:

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8. I added a new page to the blog that includes affiliate links and discount codes!

9. Writing about/getting asked about weight loss is WEIRD. It just is. I don’t mind talking about or writing about – I mean, I am the person who gets excited to spend time reading about glycolysis after all – but it is a bit strange. I have so many posts drafted up that cover some more specific things so those will be up soonish. If you have anything you’d like to see, tell me!

10. True life:

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