Most people who are involved with body building and prepping for a show agree that the most difficult part to handle is the diet. In order to “lean out” so that the muscles appear more visible, very little body fat can be left on the surface. In order to achieve this, not only must you worry about a low fat diet, but one where you control all the macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats) and ‘juggle’ them the right way so to be in synch with how the body works. I’m not going to lie when I say that I am overwhelmed by all the new information I’m learning and must sit down each time and assess whether or not a particular method will work for me, but also if I can live with it. I don’t want to adopt a diet I cannot maintain for a longer period of time without being miserable – but at the same time I realize that the body of a bodybuilder does not come for free. Sacrifices must be made, and some days are definitely tougher than others.
I have just completed my first week of absolutely NO cheating on the Fighter Diet, by the amazing Pauline Nordin. I went on her diet a couple of months ago and did quite well, even though I snuck in a couple of handfuls of almonds here and there, a cracker or a piece of fruit, etc. Well, this week I followed it to a tee and I can feel a big difference! My body is tightening up already and I’ve dropped 2 lbs, even though I’m not half as active cardio wise as I used to be! Pretty amazing. As a tall girl, it normally assists me in looking leaner than shorter girls, but I also have a harder time looking “big” and muscular, because obviously I have a lot more surface to cover! 🙂 Measuring body fat next week at the gym, I’ll be curious to see if that has gone down too. Tomorrow I am doing my “carb loading” day, where I will consume anything from oatmeal to cereral (I even get to have a banana with it!), a fruit yogurt (sugar), some more fruit (apple), sushi, a chocolate (non fat) jello dessert and for dinner: a pork chop with a whole sweet potato and green peas. Loading up on carbs is to shock the body and preventing it from thinking it will have very little calories and carbs, and ‘confuse’ it’ so as to not create a plateau. I can’t wait to try it, although I’ve found that this week has gone by pretty quickly and easily and I’m more motivated than ever to stay focused and good. I normally eat grains with dinner for instance (quinoa, barley, etc.) even if it’s just a 1/2 cup, but now I’ve cut that out and surprisingly I don’t miss it! Eating clean is not just about healthy food for me anymore, it’s about following the principles of the Fighter Diet so I can stay super lean while building muscles at the same time. Not for the average person, I can tell you – but definitely the healthiest way to get to a ripped body, that I’ve seen out there. The Fighter Diet lets you eat a LOT of food – filling up on volume rich, but less calorie dense foods such as cruciferous vegetables/greens and supplementing with lots of fiber in the morning (wheat bran and flax seed) to fill you up and also help with digestion. For girls with big appetites – just like me!
It feels wonderful to have “conquered” my mind to not give in to my cravings, for once. I spent a lot of time this week reflecting on why I always seem to resort to food or drink (read: wine) when I am home. Sometimes it’s definitely a version of boredom, although I never have problems finding ways to occupy myself. The other part of the reason might be because of the way I grew up. I lived in a small town with few opportunities (I was involved with sports and music though and managed to keep busy), and most people were, and still are, busy taking care of their families, and sitting in their pretty houses that they’ve spent a gazillion dollars building, day in and day out. What do you do at home to entertain yourself? Watch TV and… make a delicious meal, of course! Coupled with wine, you can really dream and pretend you are on some paradise island or in another exotic location – makes sense, right? 🙂 Nothing wrong with this of course, but when it becomes a daily routine, and there is no longer just a ‘special occasion’, obviously your waist line will begin to suffer, and one can become “lazy” in the creative department. After all, it’s much more tempting to make a nice risotto and pop open that bottle of Barolo (if you’re lucky), rather than put on your gym shoes and go out running or stop in at the gym! Especially on a cold, dark night, of which there are plenty in Norway. I learned from my mother, who comforted everyone around her with her delicious home cooking. I started doing the same for my husband, who is a chef, and naturally, were quite preoccupied with food as well. Four years into our marriage I was 20 lbs overweight and not happy. So I keep thinking of that Sunny when people tell me “Oh but why don’t you allow yourself a piece of cheese cake? You look so great, it won’t hurt!”. One of my other favorites is: “Oh if you get a craving, you must just give in to it, otherwise you end up eating around it.” Says who?? Another popular excuse to get lazy and just eat whatever your mind tells you to do. The mind can play tremendous tricks on us, it’s incredible in fact the power it can have over our actions if we allow it. The solution here is to not allow that voice to win, but to practice strength and stay focused, because that is how you get closer to your goal! (and have you ever felt great by the way, after having given in to one of your silly cravings? not me!)
Comments and suggestions to try to persuade me to stray from my course no longer bother me, as I realize it is other people’s insecurities if they must point out my eating habits and correct them to their liking. What matter the most to me, is that I am the master of my own mind! I, and only I, decide whether or not to have that snack, or what goes in to my body. It feels good to be in control and to be able to steer myself in the direction I want to go. I have a choice, and I make a conscious choice every time I pop something in my mouth. For the most part, I no longer crave super unhealthy foods, although ice cream is my favorite still – but that’s ok! I save those for my re-feed days (tomorrow, yay!) and I am allowed one every 6-7 days and that is just the right amount to keep me happy. Balance is key, coupled with elements of extreme methods 🙂
I pray I will stay mentally strong in the next coming months and look forward to getting to know my body better and how it reacts to various nutrients. Nothing tastes better than having a hard, fit body – at least not to me! 🙂
13 thoughts on “Cravings”
You should write a book girl:)
Good for you Sunny! I had a tough week myself, Monday was great with the marathon but by Tuesday I was tired and craving sugar like no tomorrow and this lasted the whole week. Turns out I was PMSing, so no wonder with the crave for sugar. Also, the weather has turned into winter, cold and rainy which makes me hungry and tired too. But I prevailed, which is pretty good considering I work in a grocery store and was handling goodies all week long. So I am joining you in the refeed day although I can already tell you I am going to be naughtier than you,bought my chocolate and candy and am indulging as I write.
Hiya Sunny! After working an insane amount of days/hours it’s been great to catch up with what’s been happening in your bodybuilding world. I have realized how much you’ve influenced me because I was like a crazy wanderer this week looking for the shredded cabbage that Trader Joes usually carries, but was out of… at BOTH locations. I’m eating more- but the good stuff. Working on carrying enough food for the day (especially when I work doubles) is an ongoing challenge but I’m trying. That being said, I’m making a lot of physical and mental changes which rock my world and I love it! So, thanks!
A post you wrote many weeks ago spoke of goals and I reached my first small one which was to complete two bootcamps. I met that goal last week! I’m going to keep going of course, and keep going until that point where the trainer deems me worthy to begin incorporating gym workouts. My new goal is to run my first 10k in a few weeks, and running freaks me out…I’d rather burn out on sit-ups! The other goal I thought would be super important was my weight- trying to achieve that magic number. I was really bummed that I wasn’t hitting it but realized that I’m not doing Weight Watchers/Jenny Craig and no exercise, I’m losing weight and gaining muscle at the same time so I have to readjust this goal accordingly.
I have to laugh at myself though because I was finally able to get into this pair of skinny jeans, yada yada yada it’s becoming hard to get them on again because my leg muscles are growing…
SO I was surprised about your grain comment and why they no longer have a place in your life (especially quinoa). I think it’s time to just order The Fighter Diet to understand more, but for now I guess I’m not completely clear on what a clean diet is then? Also, are you measuring/weighing your food to hit a number, i.e. number of carbs, protein, fat, calories?
I agree with Kristin you should write a book!
Again, thank you for posting your journey Sunny.
I look forward to reading more about your success!
~ Sally 🙂
By the way, Mikaela; I also had a rough week (especially the last two days of eating everything in sight) of PMS cravings; the older I get the more this take on a world of it’s own. Very frustrating & scary!
Sally, thanks for that. Nice to know I am not the only one whos PMS has changed and yes is very strong. I go from severely depressed to wanting sugar like my life depend on it.
Elizabeth, congrats on completing your first goal of finishing the two boot camps, way to go!! Sounds like you are doing so well yourself and improving and adding positive changes to your life, that’s wonderful!
In terms of your quinoa /grain question, yes of course this is a clean food – but my point I was trying to make in my post was that there is a difference between healthy/clean food and foods I can eat when the goal is to become shredded and lean. As you know, it takes extreme methods to get as low in body fat as body builders before a show, so unless you are planning on entering a contest (are you?) you can with good conscience include complex carbs and whole grains such as quinoa, bulgur, brown rice, barley etc. in moderation with your meals. Especially if you will be training for your 10K now going forward and running a lot, carbs is a good friend to have! And yes, I do still measure and weigh my food, except cruciferous vegetables/salad greens, which are considered “free foods”. I become pretty anal about my calories and although I by now know what a cup of this and that looks like and 5-6 oz of protein, I feel better just measuring to know what I am eating. Of course there are always marginal errors!
Thanks for checking back in – and good luck with preparing for your next goal of the 10K -I want to see you in those skinny jeans soon!! 🙂
MIkaela and Sally – thanks for your posts, I want to write more about how the mind plays tricks on us and why we give in to these “cravings”. One thing to help combat this is get enough rest /sleep and take time out to be kind to ourselves so we don’t feel stressed out. The more stress, the more likely we are to give in to the ‘voice in our heads’. At the end of the day, YOU and only you make a decision to eat this and that – not your mind or anybody else!!
Good point Sunny!
Can’t wait until your next posting!
On the subject of cravings, particularly sweet things, Sunny you’ve mentioned that you use erythritol as a sweetener. Why that versus a stevia product? I just recently tried PureVia, which I found to have a bitter aftertaste AND it’s owned by Pepsi (a major turnoff), Truvia is owned by Coke… it looks like I should just look for a plain stevia product or check out erythritol though I’ve read about a menthol like mouth sensation? And, are you buying it online or have you sourced it locally?
I use erythritol just because of what you just mentioned – I find Stevia and Purevia to have a bitter and artificial aftertaste, while erythritol looks and tastes just like regular sugar, although technically it’s only 70% as sweet as regular sugar, but with 0 calories you can just add a little more. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol but it is digested by the body so unlike other sugar alcohols doesn’t cause laxative effects or other gastric side effects. Another thing I like about erythritol is that it doesn’t raise blood sugar/ raise insulin levels, or cause tooth decay and of course- has no calories! 🙂 It’s quite difficult to find in stores, I usually buy it in health food stores (and even there I find it difficult to find sometimes, you are much more likely to find xylitol, which has calories), but check out nowfoods.com and zsweet.com as well as OrganicZero. The only negative about this product is that it is extremely expensive – anywhere from $10-15 per 12 oz bag..
Since we are on the subject of diet. What do you drink? Only water and your shakes? Somehow I am getting a feeling 100% fruit juice is a no no on the fighter diet. Do you drink any sports drinks when you workout to maintain your electrolytes?
On a completely different subject, how does your body handle alcohol now that you have hardly any body fat left? Once I am in training alcohol becomes a poison for my body, I doesn’t even get a buzz just a nasty hangover so that is one craving I don’t have a problem with. 🙂
Mikaela – I only drink water and sometimes sparkling water w/flavor and yes, my protein shakes although I more count those as food /nutrition rather than drinks. Fruit juice is a no no, yes – too much sugar. I don’t drink any sport drinks during my work out – I drink water with creatine (to give me strength) which comes in many flavors such as fruit punch, orange, citrus, etc. And I can’t drink any alcohol on my contest diet – it’s bad in every way unfortunately. I plan on having one or two glasses this next Monday (Memorial Day) as we are going out to the beach at a barbecue, but that will be the last time I drink before September. oy vey! That is definitely the toughest part for me, considering wine is my work and I do that for a living, but I miss it less than I had thought. I also don’t like the feeling of being hungover, although I can’t remember the last time now I drank that much to give me one. Every time I want a glass, I just remind myself that alcohol slows down my metabolism and prohibits my body from burning fat – not something I need right now!! 🙂