So here I am, exactly half way through my 28 day cutting phase. At the start of the phase I weighed in at 59.9kg, and today the scales read 58.8kg. A drop of just over a kilo so far, and almost exactly on target to achieve my goal of 2kgs weight loss by the end of the cycle. This however, does not tell the whole story.
I have spent a lot of time writing about and talking about the fact that weight loss is often non-linear. I have also spent a lot of time talking about how sometimes no matter how on point you are with your inputs (diet, exercise, fluid intake, sleep etc.) the outputs are not what you would have expected. All of this knowledge and experience, however, didn’t really prepare me for what has happened in my body over the past few weeks. Let me tell you how it’s really been going.
The 28 day cut officially started 2 weeks ago. I spent the week before it started getting myself organised. I tested out meals and menus to make sure they fit my calorie and macro targets. I worked on getting my mindset sorted. I cleared out any foods from my home, which I felt threatened to derail me. (I generally don’t keep junk food in the house, so this wasn’t hugely difficult.) I used this week to plan and prepare so that when the cut kicked in, I would be as ready as I could be.
I have to say I found this first week (week minus 1) a bit of a challenge. I experienced hunger, low energy and brain fog for the first 3 days in particular. Some of this hunger was undoubtedly real, as I was in a caloric deficit, but some of it was definitely in my head. When we start any diet or cut, we spend a lot of time thinking about food for the initial few days. This can make us feel hungrier than we really are. By about day 4, this had passed, my energy levels were recovering and I was settling in to things.
The next week (week 1) presented a different challenge for me. I was on a very rare week off from work. I was determined to eat as well as possible, which I did. However, as we were on holidays, I had a drink or two most evenings. This would have put me at my maintenance calories, or perhaps a little over. I track my weight each morning, so I could see it was holding fairly steady, apart from the small daily fluctuations that you would expect to see. I was not expecting to achieve weight loss during this week, so when I weighed in that Sunday at 59.6kg, I was totally fine with it. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
On Monday morning I got up early as it was my first say back in work, stood on the scales and it read 61.4kg! I couldn’t believe it. I had literally put on 2kg overnight. Now rationally I know that this CANNOT be possible. In order to put on that amount of weight in one day, I would have needed to over eat by about 15,000 calories. I certainly did not do that. I tried not to freak out. I tried to tell myself it was a weird blip and that all would be fine by the next day. Imagine my horror then when on Tuesday the scale said 61.5kg. This is when I started to sort of lose it. What the hell was going on? I haven’t weighed over 61kg in months and now suddenly, when I am actually trying to lose weight, tracking my food and doing everything as close to right as I can, I PUT ON 2 KILOS!!!!!
“Breathe Arwen, just relax, trust the process and you will get the prize. Resist the urge to say F This and reach for the nearest chocolate bar. Give it time, you have 3 more weeks to do. See what happens at the end and make a decision about what to do then.” This was my mantra and believe me when I tell you, I repeated it to myself numerous times over those couple of days. Wednesday came and the scales happily reported 60.5kg. Phew! It looked like maybe things were starting to normalise, thank God! For the rest of last week, my weight continued to drop each day until by Friday, I had reached 59.8kg. Almost my exact starting weight, after nearly 3 weeks of hard work.
Why did this happen? I don’t know for sure, but I do have a theory. While I was on my week off, I made the decision to change my birth control. I had been using a Mirena coil for about 8 years, and I decided to have that removed and start using oral contraception instead. Both of these birth control methods contain hormones, but very different ones. I think that making this change may have resulted in some fluid retention, but honestly, who knows!
So, why am I telling you all of this? I could have posted a 2 line update saying “everything is great, 1.1kg down and on track for my target weight loss!” This would have been the truth, but it would not have been the whole truth. There are far too many voices out there trying to convince us that changing our lifestyles and our bodies should be easy. I am here to tell you that it’s not. There will be times when you will feel frustrated and deflated. You may feel, like I have during this phase, that your body is working against you. The difference between success and failure during these times is in keeping your head. Patience, persistence and consistency are what is going to get you to your goal, not lotions, potions skinny teas.
I have to say that being part of the group, has really helped me to stay the course during this up and down week. I didn’t want to let the other guys down by throwing in the towel. Whether they knew it or not, they were holding me accountable and keeping me focused. My advice for anyone trying to make a change, whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned veteran is this: Trust your process. Leverage your network and as the wise man says “All will be well.”