Monday, March 26, 2012

6.5% Body Fat, ± 2%: The Terror

Read these first:
6.5% Body Fat, ± 2%
6.5% Body Fat, ± 2%: The Sacrifice

Baltimore Orioles spring training in Sarasota, Florida
Orioles spring training game in Sarasota: awesome stadium and atmosphere
La Mole knows my fitness obsession is insane (or has made me insane, or that I’m insane—take your pick). She told me so when I visited her and PepperoniNip’s new home in beautiful sunny Fort Myers, Florida, last weekend. When I shared how I would take cold showers or lay on ice packs to accelerate fat burn, she wasn’t surprised.

Baltimore Orioles spring training facility in Sarasota, FloridaBaltimore Orioles spring training in Sarasota, Florida
I am as tormented about re-regaining fat as I was to lose it. This derives from experience. In 2009 I reached minimal body fat after an 18-month effort, and then proceeded to eat all the foods I had deprived myself of, one each day. I figured I could target 2,000 calories per day, with the occasional overload, and maintain my slimness. I didn’t account for acclimating to increased intake and decreased exercise, and needing fewer calories after having lost 18% of my body mass.

Before my Birthright trip last year I reached peak fitness again, and then set a rule to prevent fat recurrence: don’t buy high-calorie foods. But if crap foods were presented or made available to me then that was ok. The problem is I’m very sneaky, so I snagged pocketfuls from the office candy bowl, and snacked incessantly at events or others’ houses. I realized my potential error but was too scared to revisit the scale or body fat calipers, and as it turns out fat creeps up quickly and with little notice.

This time I am leaner and massed with more muscle than ever before. This is the new, permanent Cancerslayer. To prevent the punishment of having to re-attain Cancerslayer again, terror steers me in the form of new rules (rules appear to be a running theme for me despite living free to choose, to move, and to function; free of ports and IVs and restrictions; free of disease):

Continue eating healthy and semi-restricted, regardless of food procurement method
Hunger is ok, especially before bed
Measure body fat and weight regularly
Wait to eat until hungry and then maybe a bit longer
Reward with every or alternate week “cheat meal” in order to feel sated, preserve metabolism, hormone balance and sanity, and generally live life

Living off-diet, as well as with this new terror, is a difficult learning process. I can now eat based on hunger rather than a schedule (“brain fog” is far less likely now). Calorie-counting should be abolished, especially during my cheat meals in which the purpose is to eliminate all mental and belly constraints. And I must accept staying within a range of fat rather than absolutes.

Others continue scolding me for not living free and “normal.” Rather, consider this my sacrifice for a flat stomach, which costs willpower, more frequent taste-sensory enjoyment, and money (restaurants charge extra for substituting vegetables over processed white carbs). As frugal as I am, that last one is a tax I’m happy to pay. Well, at least until the upcharge reaches 6.5% of the total.

Keep reading:
6.5% Body Fat, ± 2%: And Beyond