In a philosophical moment during this morning’s dog walk, I took to musing on the different challenges of dieting and training (the two-pronged attack of bodybuilding prep). I don’t know about you, but I find training easy. Well, not easy (if it was easy I’d step things up a gear!) Training’s hard, but it’s not difficult. I love it. I never have to be persuaded to go and train, even when I’m tired, hungry, or feeling depleted towards the end of a prep contest diet.
The dieting side of the deal is another matter, though (and I’m sure I’m not alone in this).
Why, then, when it’s so easy to do the hard task of tough training sessions day after day, does it often feel so very difficult to diet for fat loss?
It can’t be the physical challenge. At least, I don’t think so. Yes, dieting can hurt, but so can training! I don’t know about you, but my training causes me far more physical pain than the uncomfortable feeling of body fat giving up its grip and saying sayonara.
It could be that it’s so relentless, of course. There’s no off-switch when you’re dieting for body recomposition. It’s 24/7 (apart from the bit when you’re asleep). It’s a constant string of good decisions and correct choices, morning, noon and night, Monday to Sunday. No days off. BIt tiring, to be honest! Back when I was an endurance athlete, I’d eat well before training but quite honestly the rest of the time was either a free-for-all (when I consciously needed to put on bodyfat for Channel swimming) or a case of not really thinking about it much.
Bodybuilding nutrition is a whole different kettle of…er…tilapia.
But I don’t think that’s the reason behind the diet being the challenge. After all, those of us who are drawn to, and succeed at, physique sports and competitive bodybuilding, tend to be pretty good at routine, monotony, and schedules. Once we’re in the groove, we’re off and running.
I think the problem with successful dieting for fat loss is that it’s the art of not-doing.
It’s always easier to actually do something, isn’t it? Take this supplement! Add this exercise to your routine! Try this new form of cardio! Drink more water!
But dieting is precisely… nothing. You can’t do more to do less. You just have to… do less. And sit with it. You have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and knowing there’s nothing you can actually do to change it. And that’s a challenge, isn’t it? When things get tough, we naturally want to do something. Do more. Be proactive. Try something.
To diet down successfully, you need to get your head around the fact that there’s nothing to do. And that’s the point.
What do you think? Have I got to the bottom of it – is dieting really the art of not-doing?
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.