I was a bit hesitant I write this blog post because as a eating disorder survivor, I know how easily comparison can lead to a relapse or a downward spiral into restriction.
I hope you take this post with a grain of salt. I’ll be real with you – sharing my numbers, thoughts, struggles – no glamouring it up. So if this may trigger you, I caution you to stop reading.
My weight was the only thing standing in my way for Junior Nationals. In fact, it almost led me to not going.
After talking with my coach, he realized how much I wanted to compete. I wanted to go for the experience and to support my teammates and he agreed to support me through my weight cut.
Honestly, I was a bit nervous myself. As an ED survivor, I was nervous I would spiral down that dark tunnel of fearing food. With my coach and friends at my side, I felt safe. My coach made one point clear, he cares more about me than my weightlifting. If things started to spiral out of control I wasn’t going to be competing.
After my competition in Matoon my body needed a little bit of time to replenish itself. I was still on the fence as to if I would be competing at Junior Nationals so I didn’t go completely back to normal. My intake for the next two weeks stayed around 1700-1800 calories a day. I still ate whatever I wanted and whatever my body craved. If I was hungrier then I listened to my body and ate more.
My weight during this time varied, but I stayed roughly around 49kg – only 1kg away from competition weight. Now here is where you are probably thinking it’s only 1kg – that’s not a serious weight cut?! Let me put things into perspective for you. I am already a very lean athlete. I started weightlifting at a 46kg body weight last year and never had trouble making the 48kg weight class. But in my year of training, I have put on sufficient amounts of muscle. 1kg is a lot for me to lose since I don’t have much to lose to begin with.
Three weeks out is when things started to get serious with my cut. My coach gave me an general outline to follow:
-cut out the empty calories (aka protein bars)
-snack on almonds
-aim for 4 smaller meals
-prep meals before hand
-minimum 105 ounces water per day
-no caffeine at night
If you know me, most of the things on this list are not huge changes – except for the protein bar part and less snacking. I’m a bit ashamed to say, but some days I’ll eat close to 5 granola/protein bars throughout the course of a single day.
The days leading up to my competition didn’t have much variety. I found foods that satisfied me enough and worked so I stuck with it.
A typical day looked something like this:
Meal 1: english muffin with Greek yogurt and pumpkin seeds
Meal 2: pasta with bell peppers and edamame
Snack: cottage cheese and almonds
Preworkout: rice cakes
Meal 3: cauliflower rice with tofu/eggs, steamed veggies, string cheese
Meal 4: zoats with strawberries
Honestly, after the first few days it wasn’t too bad. I think it helped that I stayed very busy which helped keep my mind off food. Weekends were a bit tougher – especially night spent babysitting but I made do.
Eating this little definitely took a toll on my body however. I lacked energy at training and my muscles always felt heavy and fatigued. Luckily, the diet change lined up with my training transition out of volume. Goodbye sets of 8s and 12s and hello sets of 1s and 3s.
I had one barrier in my competition prep. Two weeks out from competition, I had a scholarship weekend event in Nashville.
I remained cautious of what I ate, but I still enjoyed sweets and treats. I still had Mac and cheese and cookies and whatever other foods they served. Surprisingly, after that weekend my weight dropped a little bit too. Then, it spiked back up. After that though it stayed pretty steady as I went back to my diet plan.
A week out from competition my weight finally started to make progress. In the mornings I would weigh in at high 47s which I just where I wanted to be. Luckily I my weigh ins were in the morning so I didn’t have to worry about meal timing.
The day before competition was a bit nerve wrecking. My flight took off early Thursday morning which meant meals were a bit harder to work around since everything had to be prepped and okay sitting in a suitcase for a few hours.
I ended up making weight with room to spare which was one of the most relieving things in the world.
To hear more about how my competition went, you can read my Junior Nationals post here.
As for cutting, this is likely my last cut for a long while. I am moving up as weight class so right now the goal is to put on muscle and rejuvenate my metabolism.