Last year I did a powerlifting competition. It was awesome. I felt fantastic. In the weeks leading up to it I felt like it was the opportune time to begin a cutting phase. Something I had never done and after over 18 months of a seriously productive surplus smashing something like 300g of carbs a day I was under the impression that dropping weight was going to be fine.
So off I went. Under the guidance of my very fantastic partner, I stuck to weight loss macros religiously. After about eight weeks I had dropped a reasonable amount of weight and physically, I looked quite different. The weight loss certainly wasn’t linear up until that point and what I would soon find is that over the next 10 weeks, despite dropping my macros further, my progress really stagnated.
At a certain point, I felt that my intake wasn’t sustainable. Between full time work and various other commitments the food I needed to stick to in order to continue seeing results wasn’t fun. So I increased my macros up to “maintenance” or thereabouts.
For the next few months I managed to maintain a fairly lean physique but I also experienced extreme exhaustion and hunger quite regularly.
Unfortunately, what I also began to experience were thoughts and fears that I thought I had left in my past. Feeling “heavy” for no reason, experiencing extremely poor body image days, having strong food cravings and feelings of inadequacy if for some reason I was holding water or not looking my best some days. On top of that, I really felt as though I was restricted, unable to enjoy things as I usually would due to reduced flexibility. “Eat more” seemed like the logical decision but I had convinced myself that eating more would mean undoing all my hard work and not looking as impressive, as fit, as strong, as desirable.
I’ve worked for years to not feel this way. Really, I mean years. So I felt really disappointed in myself that mentally and ultimately rather than feeling like the empowered babe I once had, I felt as though I had regressed in terms of my self-perception.
And that’s the thing about dieting. Try as you may to make it “balanced” and “sustainable” unfortunately, this mentality is centred on being less, on being better the smaller we are, on rewarding our ability to restrict ourselves in some way with praise. It’s a hard thing to deal with.
I’m not into fitness for self-deprecating reasons. I once was. I don’t want to be now.
I want to grow and improve and in years from now I want to feel like I can look back and see vast development in the way I perceive myself.
I don’t feel like a cut supports these goals, which is why I don’t think I will ever do one again.