Updated: Jan 16
My relationship with food has been a big factor in my life.
At one point in my life I was obese. At one point in my life I was anorexic. At one point, I ate strictly paleo. I use food to medicate (yes, actively still). I’ve thrown up from eating too much (not that it was my goal to be bulimic). I’ve done Whole30. I tried being vegetarian (that lasted about 35 hours). Overall self-control when it comes to food is tough for me.
Now that I am a Strength and Conditioning professional, people look to me as an authority for diet advice. They see what I look like and think I must eat super clean, super lean, and follow a diet -- and if they eat that way, they’ll look like me too.
To be honest, I’ve never really followed a diet other than eating proportionate Whole30 meals for 30-90 days at a time. The style of Whole30 definitely works to understand different food’s effects on your body, but it doesn’t necessarily line up specifically with what your body needs when it needs it.
Other “diets” I’ve tried have been to eat as much food as possible to keep up with my training. When I was doing Conjungate Crossfit training a few years back, I was probably eating 4,000+ calories a day. Tons of protein. Tons of fats. Moderate carbs. Supplements such as BCAA’s and protein powders. No tracking. I got strong AF and got up to about 215 pounds of (mostly) jacked muscle.
I am not a trained nutritionist, but I want my clients to get the best possible nutrition advice. So I decided it’s high time for me to get on an actual diet myself. If I don’t have personal experience of dieting, then how can I therefore most effectively coach my clients on how to reach their goals? If I don’t know the struggle, how can I coach people through the struggle?
That’s why I’ve decided to download the Renaissance Periodization (RP) Diet App. My goal and why I'm doing this, as you'll read below in greater detail, is to lose 8 pounds of fat. I may gain muscle weight in this time. I imagine at the end of this, I'll look more lean.
Of all the diet advice I’ve seen on Instagram, I’ve found RP Diet to come from the most reputable and most effective change of helping people get to their goals. Plus, it involves counting Macros, which is something I've never done and thought would be a great experience for me to have as a budding Strength and Conditioning Coach.
It took me a while to get to that point, though. I started coaching at a gym, had personal training clients, and was working at a restaurant to help pay off some bills. I was eating meals that were quick and easy and eating at all hours of the day and night. I didn’t think I was eating terribly, but for a while there I was crushing a lot of my ultimate comfort food -- rice chex cereal w/ peanut butter all mashed up in it w/ whole milk, chips and dip, canned chili w/ cheese and lots of sour cream. I really love dairy.
When I started working at Bodymass in early June, I did a DEXA Scan -- which is basically the most accurate way to measure your lean tissue, fat tissue, and bone weight. The results were pretty surprising. My body fat percentage was 18.4 percent.
As I coached, hustled, and ate, I felt like I was starting to gain weight. I could feel the weight coming on first on my chin and my lower back love handles. (Everyone’s got their indicators, those are mine.)
I took another DEXA Scan on October 3rd, and indeed I had gained fat. My total body fat went from 18.4% to 19.5%. My overall body weight actually went down from 207.3 pounds to 206.9. My fat free tissue decreased from 170.6 pounds to 168.1. My fat tissue increased from 36.7 pounds to 38.8. My bone weight (density) increased slightly from 8.2 pounds to 8.3 pounds.
I downloaded the RP Diet App that day (and officially started the RP Diet that Monday October 7) with the goal of getting my body weight to 199 in 8 weeks. I also started working out more intently -- for October I’m doing Sorinex’s Squatober. And for November, I’m going to follow Bodymass’ Build program (four days a week).
I’m officially two weeks in and over the next 6 weeks I will be posting weekly updates. The updates will be lessons learned from the app, from my eating, from my lifts. I’ll let you all know the struggles, the accomplishments.
I’m excited for the challenge. I like working toward the goal. I like feeling what it’s like to have to cut weight. I like knowing this experience will be helpful to others in the future.