Don't you hate it when you're on a roll and all of the sudden, life says, "GUT CHECK!"
Last summer I was powerlifting, eating like a champ, rolling twice a day and killing it. Last summer, I was also escaping some heavy inner turmoil and a lot of outside stress. So, it is no surprise one more ounce of load eventually broke the axle on my wagon and sent me careening off track.
I didn't eat enough to train optimally.
I stopped training optimally.
I started drinking more.
I binged on fast food because I fell behind.
Now, it's mid-November and I have two choices: Say fuck it, the Holidays are going to ruin me, so I'll start in January, or Get a fucking grip and make positive strides towards my goals. One choice leads me to a major undertaking at the beginning of the year, and the other keeps me in good shape to really kick it into high gear for 2017. I think you all know which one I'm going to pick.
Here I stand, at 129 pounds, an estimated 22-24% bodyfat (I'm just eyeballing, really,) a good layer of base muscle, but shit conditioning. I want to be closer to 18-20% bodyfat and better conditioned. (Note my goal does NOT include a specific weight.)
Oftentimes, you hear that everything needs to be on point. Diet, training, supplementation, all honed in for beastmode thunderpunch. But, in my experience, it is best to start with one thing at a time and build momentum, instead of flying out of the gate with a murder grip on a thousand things at once. Your grip will fail... Anyway, I chose nutrition.
This week, I got a hold of my meal prep. Some people can eat when they want, but I have found that I actually under-eat and then binge. I have too much going on during the day, so I don't eat enough, my energy tanks and my training suffers, and then I wolf down loads of garbage because I'm starving. For me, keeping a meal plan keeps me from those bad habits and it gives me the consistent fuel I need, without resorting to sucking down pixie sticks before sparring. I'm also quitting my nightly cocktail(s) for a bit.
I eat 5x a day. I'm not counting calories or macros at the moment, because I did that for a very long time and it has given me a good grip on portion size and ratios. What works for me will not translate to what works for you. Honestly, if you're looking specifically for what to eat, spend a year measuring your food, see how it affects you, find your zone, ...and then give up counting, so you don't become obsessed. (Not a quick fix, but also not a lie.)
My lifting routine is still a little sporadic. I'm not supplementing. I'm simply handling one thing at a time.
Am I hungry when I'm bored? Yes. So I try to do things like writing blog posts instead of running to the pantry and eating my kid's chips.
Am I missing my drink at the end of the night? Yes. I'm admittedly a little crabby, and a little on edge. So I employ will power and try to fall asleep earlier.
Is it hard to eat at specific times again? Yes. My head is all over the place right now. It's not always easy to remember to eat, but the schedule keeps me and my body on track.
Remember, even one change isn't easy at first. If you are plotting a comeback, a get started, a return from injury... any of it, start with one thing. Get a hold of it, then add another thing. Too many marks to hit at once will give you that classic transformation burnout that happens to 95% of the country between January and March. (Statistic pulled out of my ass.)
Pick one thing you can do and just do it.