One thing stepping on stage has made me want to do is reflect on my journey.
I just looked back through all my old tracking spreadsheets.
The first day I tracked macros was on November 9th 2016.
I was training for my 5th 50k of the year and doing CrossFit and working 40+ hours/ week at one of my Physical Therapy clinical rotations.
I was in Prescott Valley, AZ at the time. I remember getting up to run with my headlamp knocking out a few miles before hitting CrossFit, then running home and going into work. It was also not uncommon for me to put in more miles after work.
I also remember countless binges during this time.
I’d go to the grocery store and get boxes of cereal and pints of ice cream and shovel food in my face on the short drive back to the house- and often feel sick before getting out of the car.
I called out of work multiple times because I had eaten so much food that I couldn’t get out of bed or I convinced myself that I needed to take the day to try to exercise off all the food I ate.
I don’t think I was honest about my binge eating when I started tracking- in fact I think it took me a few months to even tell my coach what was going on.
Fast forward 5 years later and I feel like my relationship with food is the best it has ever been- even after stepping on stage and competing in a figure competition.
It took me 5 years of tracking macros to feel good about stepping into an intentional fat loss phase.
I started this fat loss phase on May 3rd at 156.6 pounds. My maintenance calories were 2800.
My plan was as follows:
4 weeks at 15% deficit- 2400 cals
1 week refeed (+10%)- 2600 cals
4 weeks at 20% deficit- 2200 cals
1 week refeed (+10%)- 2400 cals
4 weeks at 25% deficit- 2050 cals
Then REVERSE DIET!!
Things took a bit of a turn when I hired @samokunola to help me cut a bit of water for a photoshoot I was invited to participate in during the last scheduled week of my cut.
I consulted with Sam on Monday 2nd. The photoshoot was Wednesday 4th and Sam convinced me to commit to stepping on stage by the end of that week- Friday 6th.
At that point the show was in just 21 days.
From that point forward, the nutrition felt like the easy part- as I quickly realized how many things were involved with getting on stage!
The next 3 weeks felt like a whirlwind- physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially?!?! Lols
And even now sitting on the other side of the show- I still feel like I need more space and time to process everything that has transpired over the course of the last month.
What I do feel really freaking good about is how I structured this fat loss phase and how I documented it for you guys.
I have heard LOTS of stories about how women prep for shows and what types of eating behavior they deal with afterwards.
I think the reason my experience has been different so far is that my calories were never super super low- and I only had 2 days during my entire prep where my carbs were at 50 grams. Every other day- they were over 200 grams/ day! And I ate an entire box of lucky charms on each of the 3 days prior to the show. I maintained my menstrual cycle throughout the cut. My thyroid labs were normal (the argument could be made that they were slightly hypo). And I was able to get down to 11.7% body fat according to the DEXA scan.
So why did this fat loss phase go so well?? BECAUSE I HAVE NOT BEEN CHRONICALLY DIETING. Because I took the time I needed to prepare my mind and body for a fat loss phase. I don’t think everyone needs 5 years- but I do think most people need more time not dieting before they jump into a fat loss phase.
Remember you guys, muscle is the keyyyy to metabolic health- so whether you want to look “more athletic” or “more toned” or “more like you actually workout”- the foundation with all of these aesthetic goals is more muscle tissue- then of course you will probably need to do a few fat loss phases to actually get to the muscle you’re building- but if we’re just focused on fat loss all the time- we are missing out on a big piece of the puzzle- which is maintaining and building muscle tissue!!
Which then brings us to the next phase in the periodized nutrition cycle- the reverse diet! Which means we will slowly increase calories over the next month or so to get back to my maintenance calories- with my body weight hovering around 147, my maintenance calories are probably around 2500ish based on the Katch-McArdle formula- but that is really just a ballpark number- we will see how my body responds as we slowly take calories back up!
“But Tiana, will you gain weight?” Yepppppp. And I’m going to continue to post my daily weigh ins so you guys can be a part of that adventure with me! I don’t think that hanging out sub 12% body fat is best for my long term health- so I’ll definitely be putting back on some body fat over the next few months. And like maybe we’ll even take another trip up to Miami for another DEXA later this year to see what things are looking like! Yayyy data :))
I’m sure you guys have tons of questions! I’m going to put up a question box in my IG story today so I can get to work on answering them for you!!
Love you all! Thank you for being here!