A few months ago I went through a reality check in regards to what’s most important in my life. I did a self assessment quiz that asked me to rank in order of importance these items:

Physical self
Mental-Emotional self
Career/work life

It came as no surprise but also a disappointment that I (honestly) ranked them in this order (as to where I focus most of my time):
1. Physical Self
2. Career/Work
3. Relationships
4. Mental/Emotional

HOW COMPLETELY PATHETIC IS THAT!? I let working on my physical self take priority of my relationships and my mental/emotional self!!?  It was at this moment that I decided I needed to take a break from tracking my macros, to spend less time focusing on prepping and packing and planning and try to “automate my physique” as Jill Coleman calls it.  My intention was to shift my focus to the areas that I had been neglecting.  

I gave myself 6 full weeks to intuitively eat, to not measure my food, eat only when I was hungry and what my body craved.  This also was going on while participating in the CrossFit Games Open; so I abstained from all alcohol as well.  This is not to say that I ate junk and anything that I wanted, because my body doesn’t crave those things and even if it did, I don’t prefer to eat foods that hinder my performance. 

Turns out, my friend Jessica Clark was doing the same thing while in Kuwait and shared her experience and results in her post “Stressing About Your Physique Does Little to Change It” here.  While I would like to say that during these 6 weeks of “food freedom” I came out leaner, lighter, trimmed, toned, flowers and rainbows – I can honestly say that it may have backfired a bit.  

Because unlike the meme above, it’s not that I forget to eat – I just find it bothersome.  If I could live off protein shakes, bars, and just a salad and protein for dinner every day, I would.  And my hunger signals are not like most peoples. I’ve never been the person that needs to take an appetite suppressant because I don’t get really hungry very often and I don’t have an enormous appetite.  And the times I do get hungry, I can turn the signal off and/or ignore it for quite some time.  I get busy, I’m focused, I  get in the “I cannot be bothered by eating right now” zone.  I’m not sure if this is from previous years of “disordered eating habits” or if I “must be a special kind of stupid” but it does not serve me well when I am trying to be a competitive athlete and “automate my physique” at the same time.

I Can Dish it Out, But Clearly I Can’t Take It…..
If you will remember, it wasn’t long ago that I posted about the Metabolic Effect‘s: Exercise More; Eat More/Exercise Less; Eat Less formula.  Well, with the CrossFit Open training and now that I will be increasing my training to prepare for Regionals with my team, this may not have been or will be the best time to attempt to “automate my physique”.  If I’m going to train like an athlete, I need to eat like one – not like a bird who can’t be bothered with tasks other than flying around all day.

Creating The “Perfect Storm”
I know some of you may be questioning what all of this means and its relevance and why am I sharing this with you?

1. I know I can’t be the only one who has the opposite problem to most – “forgetting to eat” – being bothered by eating – why can’t I just drink shakes and eat bars all day – kind of person vs. I want to “eat all the things, all the time” people.

2. Exercising More + Eating Less (not necessarily on purpose) + CrossFit (metcon/HIIT) training + my love for caffeine + going long periods without eating significant meals = “The Perfect Fat Storage Storm” aka: my poor cortisol levels don’t know what to do.

3. I am human; I am not perfect. I am not exempt from my own advice. If I am going to train like an athlete who also wishes to look and perform like an athlete; I must make sure that I also eat like one – or at least eat more. Because the “exercise less” option is not in my current equation.  

4.  The times that I have been able to “transform” my body the most, are the times that I was intentionally eating 6 balanced meals a day; no skipping-no skimming.  Clearly I do not progress on bars and shakes alone.  Operation: Force Feed Mel shall commence. 😉 Time for me to get back on that real Pump & Shred grind, baby.