Growing up, my life was traumatic. There was a lot of experiences and death that happened in my life that I was not ready for at such a young age and I sought control. It started out reading the labels on everything I had and not eating anything if it was “bad” in my eyes. It was eating a huge breakfast, throwing out my lunch, barely eating dinner, and binging on dessert. Then it became number driven. I remember in health class learning the average weight for my height 5ft 5 117 to 130. So I decided 117.
I’d reach it so I dedicated 115. I met a friend who shared the same demons and together we made each other worse. I’d bounce back and think I had everything together again. I would turn my focus towards controlling my school work and grades. Then, when summer came I’d fall deeper than before in the number game. My doctors would ask the reason between my 128 weight then 6 months later 112. I’d lie. They’d believe me. I needed to control something. When events got to the point where control was nowhere to be found, my body internalized this stress and I developed debilitating stomach ulcers. In to college, I would count cheerios and take them to work with me. 1 calo
ries per cheerio. In college, I would myself at a cardiologist and by college ended, my running career quickly ending.
I’d drink a monster only from 9am to 4pm. When my coworker would come, they’d realize I was ridiculously spacey and send me to go eat. I’d only eat vegetables because by this point I wouldn’t eat anything with sodium either. I’d start my second job at 5pm and eat my cheerios, some form of junk food (bag of cheese curls, candy bar, or pretzel) then 9:30pm I’d go home and maybe eat dinner.
It got to the point where I’d cry when I worked both my jobs in one day knowing I wasn’t going to eat.
Injury and injury amongst caring loving individuals shifted me slowly from this process at 23. Cancer would challenge me to seek control and I would choose lifting.
6 months in I decided to do a bodybuilding competition. Did I have enough muscle? Not really. Was it a good idea? Probably not. But, I had something to prove to myself. I had something to prove to everyone. I was okay. My anthem became “Fight Song.” It seriously brought me to tears as I got closer and closer to the competition.
I wasn’t counting macros at this point. I only read online how people prepped for the competition. So I ate green beans and ground turkey for every meal with a protein bar for breakfast, bread and peanut butter for a snack. English muffin if I was hungry. Then, I took advice from some other individuals who told me to lose the peanut. I followed advice and come peak week, I thought I looked good…I placed in True Novice, but now, I can see how much muscle I had loss. When I input my macros for peak week, I was barely reaching 900 calories. This also messed up my hormones as my fat was too low for too long.
And so, I began the reverse. I had no idea what it was and I read about it as I did it, but I did it. I binged Sunday and Monday after my show no doubt. Monday I went to the gym. Tuesday, I felt awful and I automatically set my macros to 1400 calories. Low still, but it was good to me. I weighed myself each week at the same time and day. If my weight was about the same, maybe .5-1lb higher, I would increase by 200 calories. Some weeks my weight wouldn’t change and I would still increase. If my weight went up more dramatically or if I felt I wasn’t consistent, I’d keep the weight the same. I repeated this process from September to February going from 112lbs to 130 at the height of my bulk. I went from 900 calories to 2500 calories. I stopped weighing myself after a few months and went only by the mirror.
Then I got the itch to compete again. This time I would do the process differently. Healthily. I followed IIFYM the entire way eating Arctic Zero the day before my show and chocolate chips. I would cut slower in an effort to keep as much muscle mass as possible and the least amount of strain on my body.
This prep, my husband actually enjoyed being around me. I wasn’t cranky. I wasn’t obsessed with food and I was happy. I competed in May and June earning a national qualification. The lowest calorie count I hit was 1450 during my peak week.
I started my bulking process again as soon as it ended and as of today March 13, 8 months later, I am at 3000 calories a day at 137lbs. This is the heaviest I have been in my entire life, but not the heaviest I have ever LOOKED in my entire life. Again, I only weighed myself the first 2ish months. Once I get to about 2000 calories, I stop weighing myself.
If you want to increase the amount you eat, figure out how much you are eating now. Track everything for a week and take the average. Weigh yourself. Increase your amount by 200.
Eat .8-1lb of protein per your body weight. Eat .4-.45 of fat. Eat the rest carbs. You can put some of these carbs into protein if you aren’t a big carb eater.
Keep a steady workout plan of lifting and cardio if that’s what your heart desires.
You will gain weight…unless your workout plan increases because then you are burning more. I don’t change my work out. I accept I am going to gain weight. I know it will help me increase my muscle mass and most importantly for me when I cut, I can cut at a higher calorie count!
It is a lot of trial and error and figuring out your body, but it is so so worth it.
Hope this was helpful! Ask me questions if you have any !!