While I generally don’t buy into concepts such as “starvation mode” and the like, it has become undeniably apparent to me that my diet is no longer working. From the endless Googling and forum lurking I have been doing, I am fairly confident that I have this problem narrowed down to the fact that I have just been dieting too low for too long and my metabolism decided it isn’t having any more of this nonsense. Which explains why, as a 5’10″ active female, I have steadily eaten an average of 1500 calories for the last YEAR and I still weigh 185 pounds.
Now, a small portion of that may be muscle gain and a tiny bit of fat loss, but for all intensive purposes, it’s NOT ENOUGH. I still have blubber-belly and even lowering to 1300 calories and trying out the trendy low carb thing isn’t doing the trick. Most calorie needs estimators put me at about 2000 calories per day to lose weight, based on my activity level. Hence my frustration.
So, I’ve decided to do your standard, quick and dirty metabolism reset. I spent the last week taking a total break from training and ramping up my calories from 1300 to about 2000. Today was my first 2500 calorie day (supposedly what should be maintenance for me) and I am going to finish out the rest of this two-week period eating a MINIMUM of 2500.
It’s amazing to me how much psychological issue I am taking with this. Several times a day, I catch myself thinking “but, I actually feel full! Oh no, that means I’m going to get fat! Quick, stop eating and go for a run!” and I have to take a deep breath, calm the panic, and remind myself that I’m doing this on purpose. I really am surprised how scary it is.
The day before I started all this craziness, I weighed 186.6. I took measurements and a rough body fat percentage estimate as well for tracking purposes. This morning before my first 2500 day, I weighed 185 – despite the extra food. I imagine this is because of water loss from cutting out weight training and most exercise in general for the past week.
Of course, since I’m doing this the quick and dirty way (meaning without gently increasing my calories over a longer time), I am expecting a jump in scale weight, mostly from water / glycogen replenishment but probably a little from *gasp* fat. But hopefully this also means I will be able to eat a little bit more in the dieting phase that follows and still be able to lose fat. Key word: hopefully.
I’ve also been obsessing about calorie cycling plans to use once this reset is over so I don’t get myself back in the same boat by undereating and overtraining. I’ve become excited about, committed to, and subsequently discarded an alarming number of plans so far. The remaining candidates are shaping up to look something like this:
First choice- 1 month cycle: 1 week maintenance calories, 3 weeks deficit calories, rinse and repeat. Heavy weights during the maintenance period, increase cardio during the deficit period and lift to maintain strength.
Second choice- 10 day cycle: 5 days at maintenance calories, 5 days at calorie deficit, same training concept.
Now that I’ve written these down and gotten all excited about them I will be sure to change my mind again later. But at least I have a preliminary plan.
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