My daughter, Desiree and I open her bedroom window to greet “Dada”. Home early from work, my husband is in the garage unloading groceries from the trunk of his car. He looks around to see where the voices are coming from and finally sees us waving frantically from the upstairs window.
What are you two up to?” he smiles up at us and shakes his head.
We’re going to have a picnic!” Desiree exclaims gleefully looking at the blankets we’ve laid out on her bedroom floor.
Babe, can you start dinner?” I chime in.
Um…Stell, you realize it’s only 4pm, right?”
I know, but… I’m hungry…” my voice trails off realizing the absurdity.
Yes, Dada, it’s food time!”
My three year old partner-in-crime makes me look less foolish. I smile and think, thank heaven for little girls. It also hits me…all is well. When I want dinner at 4pm, it’s a telltale sign the process is working. There has been no change to my calories-in or work-outs, and yet, there’s a noticeable change to my hunger, leading me to this week’s first Secret to Stage:
#1 Transformation done well means you are hungriest and most irritable on your days of rest.
When you are exceptionally consistent with your diet and workouts over a period of weeks and months, a rest day confuses your body. Accustomed to all sorts of activity, your body speeds up with nothing to do except digest food and repair muscles. So, even though your day’s caloric expenditure is less, the speed up in your metabolism leaves you a tad “hangry”…the key here is to hang tight and not cave in to the temptation to eat the contents of your fridge…or your fifth meal at 4pm!
The reason why many people fail to lean out is they feed this uptick in hunger. By keeping the top line (diet) steady while you increase muscle tissue and metabolism, the bottom line (body fat) moves favorably.
But, in practical terms, what do you do? With over a month to stage, I must survive when hunger strikes!
#2 Anticipate feelings of sluggishness about your normal daily activities.
On days like this, the staircase looks daunting, my legs feel heavy, and, left to my own devices, I don’t feel like doing much of anything…but, I must accept my new reality and push through. So similar to being pregnant! It helps to realize and acknowledge this sluggishness is a sign of leaning out and a successful outcome. Choosing a victorious mindset over a defeated one, you become more patient and compassionate with yourself — all good qualities to carry you through stage and… life.
#3 Schedule brain work, creative work, or acts requiring more willpower during or right after meal time.
My best writing and highest levels of productivity happen here! Meals give you an energetic boost that help clear the mind and get the creative juices flowing again. Also, be strategic with the activity right before meal time to get your mind off hunger and to kill the remaining minutes. At home, I’m up doing dishes, prepping food, folding laundry, or calling Mom. At work, I’m moving about, responding to emails, or returning phone calls.
#4 Ask for forgiveness from friends and family.
When you’re feeling rundown, sluggish, or irritable from dieting, it’s important to take responsibility for it. Remember this is your journey and chosen path, not your loved ones’. So, let them know… preferably in advance… it’s you, not them. And, actively seek to shift your mood and energetic funk as best you can. See next!
#5 Savor your meals.
During any type of endurance training, there are opportunities to infuse our practices with reverence and mindfulness. While dieting, the happiest are those who choose to thoroughly enjoy and feel gratitude for every morsel of their meal! Always, focus on what you get to eat, not what you have to eat, and certainly not what you can’t eat. As a bonus, this practice will positively impact your relationship with food in the off-season and for years to come.
#6 Feet up, Buttercup!
Getting stage-ready can and should be treated as an intense act of self-care. There are many parallels with pregnancy, which makes sense when you consider both to be “intense times of body-building”! So, do take the time to rest and relax more with your legs elevated…for example, getting your lashes done…recline and snooze! Legs-up elevation not only brings more rest into your being, it helps bring the water out of your legs and mid-section, which will make you look better on stage…or, wherever you’re strutting those stilettos!
#7 And, finally, rejoice as the coveted cuts start to emerge.
Cuts are lingo for muscle definition. Without all of the muscle-building work in the preceding weeks, the cuts wouldn’t appear…and without this phase of leaning out, they’d stay hidden under a layer of fat. Ultimately, cuts are a superior sign of transformation compared to the scale. Check out my latest body composition analysis where you can see my body weight has barely budged over eleven weeks despite considerable body fat loss and “transformation” progress:
Leaning out is the not-so-fun “hunger” part of show prep, but, on the other hand, it’s the most exciting and rewarding to witness. After weeks and weeks…or, months and months…of dieting and training, you start to see what lies underneath. Like unwrapping a present, your stage physique emerges with each week closer to stage.
A Warrior of the Light shares with others what he knows of the path.” ~Paulo Coelho
If you’d like to learn more about our Star Transformation packages, contact me here.