Ok, let’s finish this off … I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record with some of this stuff …
Hard. Back to that for a minute.
As I said above (more than once now), it’s the same as saying it’s not supposed to be easy. By saying it’s supposed to be hard, I simply mean, don’t be surprised if it does carry a measure of difficulty with it. Again, “hard” is a word of degree; it’s all relative. It’s HARDER to be very lean or exceptional compared to the population norms than it is to be average or overweight. Can anyone deny this?
Let’s also remember that higher bodyfat (here’s our population context again) – is protective to the regulatory hormones. Meaning, you can do a lot more without any deleterious consequences when your bodyfat is higher than when it’s lower. Less hunger, less regulatory hormone adjustments, less metabolic decline, less leptin decline, etc. Anyone who challenges this, I firmly believe has never been very, very lean – from top to bottom.
It’s also known that women’s bodies tend to be more resistant than men’s – that is, to going from lean to very lean. There is a great adaptive component in women. There’s also no arguing this point either.
Why do most diets fail? Hunger. Again, expect to be hungrier when you eat less than you normally do. It’s not rocket science. By saying it’s supposed to be hard, I’m saying being hungry isn’t abnormal. Fun? Heck no. Things are not going wrong just because you’re hungry. If you expect to get very lean, and never be hungry (or never have to adopt hunger-fighting strategies), well, you’re going to have a hard time getting ‘there’.
Or how about this? Don’t expect to be full, always satisfied, etc.
AND there is a difference between true physical hunger and a simply desire to eat – whether simply a want, or out of boredom on a Friday night, etc. Tell me every time you cheated on your diet it was because your body was truly famished. Tell me that it’s never simply because you just want more, want something, are bored, whatever. With all the emotional issues people face with food these days, I think it’s pretty obvious that it’s not just about physical hunger. Remember that comment? The psychology of fat loss is not easy.
Saying you didn’t work nearly as hard as you used to – isn’t saying it’s no longer hard. And no one said it’s supposed to be so hard it’s impossible. It’s simply NOT easy. Find all the satiety you want – good strategy – but if you expect to never be hungry, unless you want to progress at a snail’s pace, well, not likely.
You have to restrict your food intake – that’s not exactly easy is it? Semantics on ‘easy’ aside, it’s harder (again degrees) than not restricting food. That’s the price you pay to get in shape. Period. I’ve read Lyle McDonald put it this way – “either suck it up, or stay fat. Those are your choices”. And that’s a direct quote.
My point in saying to welcome it – is to say, expect it. It isn’t to say hey, celebrate hunger because hunger is awesome. Being hungry isn’t fun. We all know that. But again, welcome it means get ready to deal with it, because if you’re not hungry now, you will be at some point if you’re attempting to get your bodyfat low. If you’re not, then hey, you can probably avoid most of the issues, again, since bodyfat is protective.
So, whether that means welcoming it, finding ways to minimize it (you won’t be able to do this 100%), or something else, the end point is the same. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.
Not welcoming hunger also certainly doesn’t mean you’ll never meet your goals. There is no ‘if-then’ statement there. It’s a bit easier if you learn to accept that some degree of hunger, sacrifice, etc. is necessary. Again, to think you’re never going to be hungry when getting lean is foolish. And if by chance, you can actually never experience any hunger while getting lean, then you’re in the gross minority, or you’re lying. If you’re not lying, then don’t assume that n=1 gives your experience any validity beyond that. If you’re adopting strategies to alleviate it, you’re already accepting it’s a part of the process and you’re trying to ward it off. What’s the difference?
And I’ll close by saying that I’m undoubtedly one of the non-retarded in my approach. Contrast any of my competitors with those of the standard, old-school contest prep circles and you’ll see a vastly different philosophy – I don’t overdo cardio, I don’t drastically cut calories, I don’t restrict food groups, etc. Talk to anyone who’s competed under someone else and then under me and you’ll see that they do NOT suffer nearly as much. Why? Because I look for ways to minimize the difficulty as much as I can.