So it’s officially been over two weeks since I started my cut for my first ever figure competition (the Leigh Brandt Muscle Classic on March 18th, 2017), and so far I’m feeling pretty great!
Well, that’s not entirely true. Cutting food sucks during the holidays. Everyone is drinking, eating and being merry, and I have eaten enough zucchini to feed a small army. I suppose I do have to be thankful for the fact that at least all my pants will still fit after December, if not they’ll fit better than they did at the beginning. I admittedly did rip two pairs of pants during my bulking season (in the quads/glutes), so if anything it’s probably a blessing in disguise.
I’m sure everyone is asking the same question - “Alicia, how on earth did you avoid all those holiday treats and temptations?!” Well, I’m kind of a freak of nature when it comes to willpower. I have extraordinary willpower, almost to a fault. If I put my foot down and say I’m not going to do something, I typically won’t. So please do not feel bad if you can’t resist the calling of Bailey’s & hot chocolate or an extra helping of potatoes at Christmas - that is the norm, I am just a bit crazy.
So what am I eating?
One of the questions I get asked a lot is “if you’re not eating all of this food, what exactly are you eating?” The short answer is that I’m eating a ton of vegetables, protein, and not a whole heck of a lot of carbohydrates (carbs). The reason for doing this is that I’m trying to teach my body to rely on its stored fat as a primary source of fuel rather than on my intake of carbs
I’ve done a number of deficit nutrition programs in the past, but it never ceases to amaze me how the initial carb-withdrawal phase still continues to suck. Our bodies have a major dependency on carbohydrates as an energy source, so when we reduce our intake of them the body tends to freak out because it goes through withdrawal. You feel tired, bloated, light headed, headachey and generally just not great. The reaction that our body has is literally that of an addict - you don’t get it, you want it, you go get it, and you overdo it. Fortunately that phase only lasts a few days, at most a week, and then your body carries on with (wait for it) even more energy than before. All in all, quite fascinating!
Cut carbs & lose weight - that sounds great! But is it?
I actually want to talk for a second about carb cutting, because due to a lot of media attention & articles circling around the internet, often people think this is the best way of losing weight quickly. However, this is not necessarily the case. Carb cutting is tricky, largely because most people don’t understand what carbs are. People tend to think “I’m going to cut out all carbs, so I won’t eat bread/pasta/potatoes, but I’ll just eat tons of fruit and it’ll be great!” Well, what is fruit? Natural sugar. What is sugar? Carbs. Instead of cutting the carbs that contribute to weight gain (sugar) they cut out the essential carbs that our bodies need to function. My “carb cut” doesn’t involve eating zero carbs. In fact, it’s impossible to eat zero carbs. What I am doing is strategically eating carbs at certain times of the day in order to allow my body to function, but again, to function more efficiently.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone should go out and cut fruit and only eat sweet potatoes and brown rice to lose weight, because that’s not healthy either. Personally, I only believe in carb cutting if you’re doing it with a specific goal in mind under the supervision of a nutritionist or trainer. You really don’t want to mess up your body by starving it of nutrients, particularly if you don’t know what you’re doing. That being said, If you are interested in getting set up on a nutrition plan or are looking for a place to start with a low carb diet. we can definitely set you up on one at Drench - just message us for more details!
A big shout-out to all my supporters
I do have to say that I’ve been very fortunate so far that everyone has been very supportive of my choice to do a competition. It’s one of those things that I had said for a long time I wasn’t going to do, so I was expecting a bit of backlash, but so far it’s been nothing but positive. There hasn’t been pressure to drink at anything or partake in all of the goodies lying around the office. I also haven’t been craving anything too badly - with the exception of a wild craving I had earlier specifically for sugar free mocha sauce from Starbucks and a Quest bar (which isn’t in my prep plan). Two weeks in and I’m already planning my first cheat meal… the next few months should be interesting!
I think that’s all from me for now. If there is anything that you guys want me to write about or are specifically curious about for this prep/competition process, don’t hesitate to reach out! Comment here or shoot me an Instagram message at @aligarside!