The Cost Of Getting Lean
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Everyone wants abs but have you considered the trade offs involved? Do you have a plan for "the diet after the diet?"
These photos were taken 3 weeks apart, after I finished Mark Carroll's challenge. My abs are less defined & I'm up 3 pounds on the scale. On purpose!
I increased my calorie goal back to maintenance (+ a few days in a surplus because I'm human too) and this means I'm eating more carbs.
Did you know - for every gram of carb you eat, your body holds onto 3g of water?!
My weight has now stayed the same for almost 5 months and I'm a happier person maintaining this "after-after" physique. I had no interest in staying that lean, it's hard work and not easily sustainable!
Fitness should be about feeling good and performing your best.
Nobody talks about the cost of getting lean, the trade offs involved, or that the period after the diet can be more difficult than the actual diet. So allow me to shine some light on this for you...
The human body loves homeostasis. It does not want to lose weight! During and after a fat loss phase, hormones fight against you. Hunger cravings increase and energy levels decrease. Our bodies begin preserving our energy by naturally moving less throughout the day. Both of these combined make maintaining a lean physique extremely difficult!
To be very honest, the trade offs of being lean are not worth it for me; less socializing with friends, decreased energy, poor sleep mood swings (sorry roomies), lowered libido, not recovering properly and brain fog just to name a few. It's important to understand the trade offs involved so you can be prepared.
Now, let's talk "diet after the diet".
Yay! You have reached your goal! Now you can stop working out and eat all the treats, right?!
Wrong! You're not done yet.
After you have lost weight, you're in a place to gain body fat much quicker than before the diet. Fat cells in the body act as a sponge, ready to soak up every calorie and return to its old set point. The diet after the diet is tough; mentally and physically. You can't give in to those cravings as often as you would like or all that weight plus a little extra will come right back and much faster than before.
Sound familiar? This is the beginning of the vicious Yo-Yo Diet cycle.
To summarize - It's awesome if you want to diet down, challenge yourself and spend some time at a leaner body composition. Just know you won't be able to live that way forever without making sacrifices. You will have to make some trade offs to get there and have a plan once your diet ends. I do think it's valuable to learn to be comfortable in a body that requires little headspace to maintain. It shouldn't be hard all the time. In fact, once a client has finished a fat loss phase with me - it doesn't stop there. We continue working together to mitigate the fat regain as much as possible and maintain their new physique comfortably with as little willpower and effort as possible.