Friday, March 14, 2014

Know your body, trust yourself

Yesterday, I felt exhausted. My workouts were weak. My energy was almost non-existent. I felt grouchy and frustrated. After standing up too quickly and feeling really weak and faint, I decided to take it easy for the night. And I decided to eat carbs!

At this point, there isn't much wiggle room in my diet. I am now 4 weeks out from my first show (yeah, I was wrong last week, that was 5 weeks out!) and in general, my meals are super consistent, low carb and high protein. Most days, I have a caloric deficit between 800 and 1200. That's a lot and not remotely a level I would recommend for any real length of time.

So yesterday, I had a re-feed. If you haven't heard about re-feeds, here is the quick and dirty on them. After being on a caloric restricted diet for a long time, your hormones can be a bit of whack, your energy levels can be low and your body can be rundown. By eating at least a maintenance level of calories for a day, you give your body the chance to rest, recover and kick start your metabolism again. For some people, a weekly cheat meal or cheat day takes care of this. That's too risky for me at this point in my contest prep but what I did do was eat the same healthy foods I would be eating anyway but ate more of them, especially the carb heavy ones. I ate a maintenance level of calories. And I rested.

And you know what, I feel great today. I feel energized and ready to kill it in the gym. I am glad I know myself well enough to know what I needed. I also know myself well enough to know the difference between craving carbs and truly needing them for energy. This wasn't about a huge indulgence, it was about fueling my body for the work I am doing right now. And it's a great feeling knowing that I can trust myself to know when I need to eat versus when I am just craving crap!

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