On the recently discussed subject of Post Competition Blues, I have spoken to a few girls who are really struggling with coming back to normality – especially in regards to controlling food and the urge to eat everything in sight.
Firstly, I feel that flexible dieting really minimises the risk of post competition blow outs. Even if your macros are getting on the low side in the final weeks, you can usually still fit in a few of your favourite treats here and there. Mine were Paddle Pops, Cobbs sweet/salty popcorn and Skinny Cow Ice-creams. I only dropped the ice-cream in the last two days before comp to miminise any risk of tummy bloating.
So there was no need for me to feel deprived. Hungry at times? Absolutely! Anyone in a caloric deficit will feel hunger of varying degrees. Whilst I choose to eat healthy, nutrient filled foods 90% of the time, I couldn’t imagine doing a ‘clean eating’ prep with no treats and a vaste array of foods off limit, for a full 12 weeks.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and here are a few little extra tips I’ve come up with to help you get through these first few weeks without a major blow out.
– Don’t be tempted to hang on to your pre-comp macros/calories. You can’t keep staying in a deficit. It will only lead to bigger cravings and a bigger risk of losing your marbles and having a huge blow out. I would suggest starting with a 20% increase to your carbs and a few extra grams of fat. And taking it up slowly from there onwards.
– Start a new training program. A new split, some different cardio. Nothing is like to feel like a drag more than doing the same program you’ve done for the past 6 to 12 weeks or longer, especially when you don’t have your competition to push you through.
– Find and make some new recipes. There are some great low carb high protein recipes around. Even with flexible dieting, it’s all too easy to just eat the same old boring foods. Two of my favourite recipe sites are http://chocolatechillimango.com/ and http://www.sugarfreemom.com/
– Go food shopping on your own or with a fitness friend. Take your time. Find some new low calorie goodies to add into your diet. I found some really yummy air popped Vege Chips this week and a few other little goodies that help make reverse dieting easier.
– Okay I wouldn’t normally recommend doing this because protein is very satisfying and your body uses a lot of energy to break it down. BUT…. just take a look at your protein count and consider dropping it back a little. If you are eating excess protein, you can drop it back to more reasonable/minimal levels for a couple of weeks. So if it’s carbs you’re craving, replace it with the equivalent amount of carbs, just to get your through your cravings and give your energy a bit of a boost. If you are on minimum protein, I wouldn’t really recommend doing this option for very long though.
– Re-consider your meal numbers. I find 6 meals per day very underwhelming. It doesn’t come close to filling me up. I usually do 4 to 5 a day . A larger meal will leave you feeling much more satiated and less likely to binge.
– If eating 5 meals per day, the last two being dinner and just prior to bed, consider putting meal 4 and 5 macros together for one super satisfying dinner. At the end of the day, your totals are the same. And since most people binge in the evenings, this is a controlled way to filling your tummy up.
– If you use a BCAA product such as Xtend, mix it up in a big 1 litre bottle and guzzle that thing down whenever a binge urge begins. You can do the same with water of course. If I’m feeling water logged, the last thing i want to do is put food into my tummy! Two glasses of water after every meal can help too.
– If you don’t mind the odd Pepsi Max or Diet Coke, a tummy full of bubbles can help hold off some mindless snacking or a binge. (Obviously artificial sweeteners are a personal choice and in some people can make you crave sweet stuff even more). Even better, there are some great new flavour infused soda waters around, that have no additives or sweeteners.
– Lastly, if you’re not carb cycling, you could trial doing lower carb days and a higher on every 3rd or 4th day. So this way you know you are only ever a few days away from a nice filling day of fueling up.
It also helps to take your focus off your physique for a few weeks, and instead focus on how you feel in the gym. After a week or two, your strength in the gym will be going up and it’s such a fantastic feeling! I had one of those days today, in fact I hit an all time personal best for leg curls and it felt amazing to finally be able to go up a plate.
Remember, we are a lucky country. We are not in famine. The food isn’t going anywhere. We don’t need to eat it all now. It will be there waiting for us when our bodies are ready for it. And be kind to yourself. Don’t expect perfection for it doesn’t exist.
Stay happy, healthy and hopefully a little more in control…