The hard mental game

For so many years, I’ve been focused on the scale. I lose weight easily when I manage my calories. Sure sure, it’s more about insulin – but calories matter. Ultimately, how much ya eat matters.

For me, it mattered that I eat less. In a calorie deficit. If I did that, I lost weight.

But while my first round 12 years ago included CrossFit, this last round starting in 2020 included no structured exercise. Walking the dogs, yes. 1-6 miles/day of walking! I kind of dismiss that as exercise but it’s absolutely the “right” type of cardio for me. But it was mostly diet – and primarily eating 1200 calories/day, which is no longer even a 500 calorie deficit for me.

But now, at 152lbs and 32% body fat, I’m shifting my focus. I still have a bunch of body fat to lose (minimum 7%, goal: 25% BODY FAT), but! I really want to gain muscle. And I’m doing this in a calorie deficit which is hard. Muscles need food to grow. Fat needs less food to go away. It’s hard to do both at once. So I’m lifting heavy things in a big calorie deficit.

Anyway, babble. I blog to babble, really. To think out loud.

Yesterday, I had a really good food day. High protein. Way fewer carbs than a someone who focuses only on building muscle. Definitely fewer calories (someone bulking eats more, not less). And I had a really good fitness day. I posted my fitness routine yesterday, added 2 miles of walking in the evening. This was my nutrition:

A day of eating

And I expected to do what I always do – wake up to my weight being lower on the scale. Instead, I was up a pound.

In the last 2 years of doing this, I haven’t gained weight on such good days – specifically when calories are low and very few highly refined foods and barely any added sugar (the cold cuts are the iffy thing here). On these days I normally lose .2-.4lbs on the scale. Now that’s not all fat, but it’s a consistent pattern of lower numbers.

Today, I was up. Not a small amount: a pound. I’m so close to being in the 140s – I took this one harder. Normally I roll my eyes at the scale each morning. This one hit differently.

But here’s the thing. I also did an hour of weight lifting yesterday morning. In the evening I did an unplanned, random mobility and light strength session that I didn’t even log. Going by my Renpho, which uses impedance, my muscle mass also jumped yesterday – so did my fat. But… so did my muscle mass.

Now, it’s a bit tedious to consider daily movements. I took my first measurements in 2 years yesterday because I know this challenge. Because I know that seeing my weight go up – even after really good food days – is hard on my brain. Even though I know I’m trying to recomp, and that means that the scale is not my best measure – the shift in perspective from “scale victories” is hard.

And today should be a rest day. But the scale did the “wrong” thing. And it’s not the measurements that matter, it’s the work – the good food, the activity -and my body that matters. It’s how I feel, and how this impacts my life in the longer term.

But it’s a hard shift to make after all this time focusing in the stupid scale.

Brains are weird and challenging things sometimes.

Be kind to yourself!

Engage!

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