Restrictive diets, when done with a specific goal in mind, can be very empowering.
At least that was my experience last autumn when I gave Dr. John Berardi’s Get Shredded diet* a whirl. I dropped from 254 (16.8% body fat) to 232 (9.9% – an all-time personal low!) in just 8 weeks.
Not only did I shed a significant amount of fat, I actually maintained my strength during my ‘experiment’ (as a powerlifter in a previous life, there is always going to be that part of my ego that needs to feel strong like bull).
Even though my goal was to get my body fat into the single-digit range, the end result wasn’t nearly as empowering as the day-to-day feelings of superiority that came with succeeding.
I knew there would be challenges along the way, but because I was prepared for damn near anything, every single ‘Get Shredded’ meal gave me a sense of winning. I conquered a program that most people would ‘modify’ (read: render useless) before they even get started.
And the more I succeeded, the easier the program became. What started out as a feeling of restriction or deprivation quickly became an ego-boost (not that I need it!) each time I made the decision to stick to the plan. As they say…
Success begets success
Unfortunately, failure usually works the same way. Think about that next time you’re waiting in line to order at a fast food drive thru. Or when you’re reaching for that after-dinner ‘treat’. Habits are hard to change – unless you’re willing to work at it one day – or even one meal – at a time.
So you’re probably wondering…
After I reached my target body composition, I did permit myself to go back to my normal eating habits – my weight eventually made it back to the low 250s. BUT – and here’s the interesting thing: unlike typical fad diets where you lose weight (mostly healthy lean mass) and regain it (mostly in the form of fat), I can now comfortably maintain my body fat at a leaner 13%-14% (over 2% lower than my previous starting point at the same weight).
Ultimately, I’d like to maintain my body fat levels under 10% year round. If I can just get my head past the idea that going under 230lbs is just “too skinny” for me while dieting down, I’ll look forward to taking on the Get Shredded diet again sometime in 2008.
*Get Shredded is an extreme variation of the original Precision Nutrition program and is not recommended until you have plenty of experience applying all 10 rules of nutrition. Even then, it’s suggested to use ‘Get Shredded’ for only 6-12 weeks every 2 years. Full details of the diet are available (via the PN online forum) to those who have purchased the Precision Nutrition plan.