I watched my family eat delicious food on our first night at the beach two weeks ago, also my first day off-diet. Fried everything, cornbread, hush puppies: the foods we permanent restrictors see in visions of heaven, awaiting our arrival on La-Z-Boy couches with live goat-pillows while Dumb and Dumber plays on repeat. I grew an immediate ache in my gut as I wondered if my lifelong decision to restrict was wastefully, abnormally, sufferingly incorrect.
Adult males and females are not meant to maintain mid-single- and mid-teen-digit body fat percentages, respectively. I have accomplished the feat several times, only to see my leanness slip away.
I slimmed down in preparation for my First Descents rock-climbing trip next week in Estes Park, Colorado, as my fundraising challenge. My goal was to reach about 7% body fat. Here are some observations from my nine-week challenge:
- I’m getting too old for this shit.
- I have an addictive personality.
- I love food.
- I must rededicate myself to exercise, as evident by a drop in my average beats-per-minute. Maybe I’ll just blame watching Homeland and Breaking Bad, which are too engrossing and cause me to stop cycling on my spin bike.
- Ain’t nobody got time to work out for two hours a day.
- I now need almond butter before bed so I can sleep (see #1 above).
- I now require weekly mini-cheats (see #1 above), which may be beneficial by spiking glucose and metabolism, but once I flip that food switch, I struggle keeping the cheats mini (see #2 above).
My dieting cycle seems to be six months off, two months on. Maintenance requires a severe and permanent lifestyle change which I have generally implemented during all my off-diet cycles, but each time I developed different loopholes, and each time I regained at least one pound per month.
I am hopeful I have turned a corner and can extend my off-diet to eight or 10 months. I now accept a consistent and small caloric deficit, while only occasionally eliminating the chains of restriction. Over the past two weeks I have felt more at peace with watching others eat heaven while I just barely participate.
Crafting a physique is a science: to gain muscle mass you need to eat more than you burn, but in order to maintain minimal body fat that extra amount must be precise. The protein/fat/carbohydrate ratio must also be precise. Ain’t nobody got time for that precision, so (at the moment) I accept the following order of priorities:
- Coke Zero
- La-Z-Boy couches
- Muscle bulk
My priorities are reinforced each time a gay man hits on me. Seriously ladies, do you not see where I live?
Lower abdominal veins, the hardest to visibly achieve = fitness challenge accomplished