Trying to hold on to the leanest version of myself in the past was part of the problem, not the solution.
I went years clinging to the scale. Punishing myself after a party weekend. Eventually going totally off plan for extended periods of time… because F this, it’s not sustainable.
The pattern is so clear to me now that I’ve experienced the correct way. I use to diet down to 145-148lbs. Then I would try to hold that forever. Which was doable for a few weeks. Then I’d have a weekend of fun, mind you- it wasn’t over the top but it was more than my body was adapted to, and the scale would pop up 3-5lbs. Panic followed and so did under eating. Weight maybe came down about half of that and I’d hold the line again. Until the next date night turned date weekend. Or until the next vacation. Same thing, weight would go up. Maybe only 2lbs that time but then it wouldn’t come down.
Into the gym I would go, pushing hiit- I did lift weights but it was all fast paced. Measuring the quality of workout by how sweaty I got. Wondering why the scale wouldn’t go back down. I was eating 1500 calories and killing these workouts. Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat. Then 6 months had gone by and I would be up a total of 7-10lbs and frustrated. That’s about the time I’d go MIA from any planned eating. Workouts always remained, but still a lot of cardio… you know, to melt the fat and all.
Here’s the thing. Holding on to the scale and not allowing myself to really eat the right amount of fuel for MUSCLE growth is why I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted all those years. My body was under fueled and my workouts were not geared towards my goals.
There was magic in giving myself permission to gain weight on purpose. To eat normalized calories most of the time and to focus on muscle. Sculpting muscle with those macro building blocks. Wearing stretchy pants in the fall to allow for that growth. Putting my tighter fitting workout clothes in the back of the closet until another time. Seeking strength vs skinny and laying the ground work for a successful cut in the future.
The first round was difficult. Weight climbed and my eyes were
every time I stepped on the scale. But I knew what I had done In the past didn’t give me lasting results, so I went in with 100% and lifted my heart out.
The strength gains were beyond impressive. The sense of achievement in the gym is really what helped me push through the scale roadblock. Knowing I would have a chance to shed some of it later and that it wasn’t forever helped too. But still, there is that fear that it won’t ever come off and I caught myself frequently having to fight old thoughts.
I’ve now done this full cycle of PR for a year or more and FL cycle to clean things up twice. I thought I had achieved my leanest self last year but went off and added 15lbs to my frame this past cycle which included good muscle growth in my targeted area- glutes. I ran a cut this spring and shed all of the fat added, exposing the muscles I created. Technically I am leaner today with less bf% but a higher scale number than last cut. I am so proud of myself for the work that I put in, day in and day out, both with nutrition and with training. I’m way more proud of that than any scale number.
I want you to know that you are not alone. Pushing past the mental stuff is hard but you’ll only ever know it was worth it when you do it yourself and come out on the other side. My hope is that my words help to give you strength to keep going.
Gaining and losing “the same 10lbs” changes when you aren’t doing it because of under eating/binge weekend cycles but instead, doing it on purpose. Doing it with the proper macros and the proper training. The basic idea : to tone up requires adding muscle and that means adding weight. You can clean up that added weight occasionally. The longer you wait between cycles, the more productive they will be. If you panic and press the breaks at 1800 calories, or 5lbs gain, you likely won’t see the results you seek.
(For reference: I use to diet down to maybe 145 and have to eat 1300-1500 calories for that. Now I sit at 140 and eat avg 2400 calories with Bf% difference about 9%. This composition change never would happen without the right amount of calories)
Even the programs that reverse don’t do a good job because they cave to the fear of their clients or they let AI (artificial intelligence) do the work.