Making sound dietary decisions when faced with an emotionally taxing hobby can be really tough.
After surgery I let myself "get fat" on Milano cookies and lethargy. At the time, coming from a place where I was so mentally burned out from competitive training, it was a hugely therapeutic thing for me.
In trying to get down to my 75kg weight class (165lbs) I've made a few mistakes that is going to make the weight cut particularly close. All the while I have to remember that if I'm going to stay strong I have to get enough calories, and just make sure I don't slip into one of a few mentalities.
Too Far Temptations
One is the "I'm looking lean and good, how far can I take this and maybe eating less will get me there faster" headspace. It can be really hard, particularly as a lady, to dissociate what I'm trying to do with my weight loss from aesthetics. My job has me in front of people every day, and of course I want to look the part of a fitness coach. But everyday I'm reminding myself I'm a athlete, and my weight loss has to not affect my strength, and that means getting calories. Lots of calories.
Earning Your Food
Another headspace is the "I haven't done enough today to earn this protein shake/ bag of nuts/ piece of cheese/ sausage/ etc." This is the mantra that often gets unintentionally solicited through the adherence to calories in versus calories out. While this cal-in/cal-out might work for your average office worker, when you're training for a sport, your body is in a constant state of recovery. You're burning calories while you sleep. You're burning calories as soon as you're out of bed. A lot of calories. You don't need to continuously "earn" the next food thing.
Bad Dog! Eat Less!
Occasionally I screw up. Or I don't account for a corner I feel backed into. For instance, I went out to lunch with the boyfriend and his parents. They only care to eat Chinese food. So I pick something I assume to be the least sugary on the menu, a spicy meat and veggies dish. The next day, my weight is up 2-3 lbs. It's really tempting when faced with a set back like this is backslide into the calories in vs calories out mentality that is pushed. Really, I'm looking at water weight, and my brain gets that. But there is a knee jerk reaction I have to be prepared for.
Bad Dog! Do More Work!
The other side of the frustrated misstep coin is needlessly making yourself do more to account for the screw up. Like mentioned before, your body is already constantly recovering. If you put more work on it, that's even more recovery that you'll need. It's better to take a deep breath and stick to your original program.
Tuning Out the Kind but Misguided Compliments
I'm no longer the kind of girl that looks for aesthetic acceptance. I left that behind when I moved from ballet to judo as my main hobby/ sport. When I look at my body, I critique it like any normal human does, but I do it through the lens of visible musculature and what I'm able to accomplish with it. If I'm feeling strong, and maybe I see a little softness, it doesn't bother me. If I feel weak, and see more definition or a smaller waist, I chide myself for letting my nutrition get whack.
As such, when I'm cutting weight for a meet, I'll often feel weaker than I did before I started cutting. And sadly, that's when I hear compliments like "you're looking so lean!" and "you're getting skinny!" I know they mean to compliment me and genuinely think they are being nice. But in my head I think "you're just speaking from a societal influencesd perspective that says women are meant to be thin, and strength plays no role in beauty." On the outside, I smile. They ARE trying to be nice.
I'm starting my hyper-hydration protocol this week, and I stop the water intake at 2pm today. I'm about 7 lbs above my weight class at this point, and that's okay. I'll end up where I end up, learn from these experiences, and do it all again for the next meet. Then I'll avoid these mistakes and make all new ones.