So what happened when I decided to try a diet?
The answer is simple, I got very angry.
I debated writing this article because I know it may upset some people but it was somewhat cathartic for me to write it.
A little bit more about me before I dive in: I’d never tried a diet before, I eat mostly healthy apart from my love for desserts and I love to exercise.
I’d been doing intermittent fasting for over 8 months before I committed to this RP diet and it was working pretty well for me. It was a good way to limit my night snacking and be in control of what I ate throughout the day. If you aren’t familiar with intermittent fasting, it’s pretty simple: you can eat during a certain window of time and you fast the rest of the day (it includes sleeping time). Generally, people will do 8 hours of eating, 16 hours of fasting. I was down to 6 hours of eating and 18h of fasting when I started the RP diet although I had taken a month off when I did my trip to Indonesia & Australia. Doing the intermittent fasting made me realize that I thought about food a lot (read all the time) and I got some type of relief from not having to think about it when I was outside my eating window. I was seeing good results and felt alert, light and fit. I’m not going to lie, it was sometimes hard to stick with it because of later dinners with friends, early brunch and even because of the different time zones I was in but it worked mostly well for me.
When I found out I’d be home, in Los Angeles, for almost a month with only trips within the country, I decided to try the RP diet (Renaissance periodization). My friend had been raving about it for months and she finally convinced me to give it a try. It would be a good way for me to see if I could change the physical aspects of my body that I’d been trying to improve. If you’d like to know more about this diet, Men’s Journal wrote a good article explaining what it is (click here to read it). Since I was in town for a while, I’d also be able to get familiar with the limitations, weighing food, planning, etc. This was one of the main reasons I hadn’t tried it sooner: I was worried that being on the road so much would stop me from being able to commit to it fully because of the hotel hopping and meal prepping necessary. I soon found out I was right, but it was even harder for me to stick to it when I was home. As you probably know by now, I work as a corporate flight attendant and the last 3 years have been very busy since I’m on the road a lot. So when I get home, I want to catch up with friends, which often entails a good meal and a glass of wine or going out for a drink… and with the RP diet, it made this very hard. I had to become the annoying person who asked for my protein or veggies boiled or grilled, without oil, salads with vinaigrette on the side and wasn’t supposed to drink anything. It’s also hard when you are single and going on dates, to try to socialize without seeming like you are the most difficult person in the world! Truth be told, I am not a picky eater: I like to eat clean and hate cilantro.
I unconsciously and consciously seemed constantly annoyed. Irritated that I was in good restaurants and couldn’t pick the meal I wanted even if I’d been working out and that the meal I would have ordered was pretty healthy anyway. I’d never not allowed myself to eat something- and that was killing me.
I’d also see the pictures of people’s progress on RP’s Instagram or the official Facebook page and start comparing myself with them. It was frustrating because I wasn’t seeing much results, other than I actually gained weight the first 2 weeks and then 5 weeks later lost 1 lbs from where I started… that didn’t really seem like progress to me. Almost 2 months in, and becoming more and more lenient (read too lenient) with what I ate, I still wasn’t getting noticeable results aside from slightly more defined arms. Another thing I noticed is that I am already a hard critic of myself, and to be constantly jumping on the scale and beating myself up about not seeing significant progress wasn’t rewarding and it was unnecessary.
It all comes down to this: I am a perfectionist and when I commit to something, I follow the guidelines and am very strict about it. This is the first time in my life that I’ve started something and given up. It just wasn’t for me. Weighing my food, counting my macros, making sure I was eating my meals within a certain window of time, all the cooking involved, the meal prep, the constant washing of dishes… it just wasn’t worth it for me. It also didn’t seem like a diet that would be possible to sustain in the long run. In the end, all I need to do is eat well, be cautious of bad carbs, sugars and oil.
If you’re still wondering what happened when I decided to try a diet at 30 years old?
The answer: I can finally say I failed at something and didn’t go through with something till the end. I know I probably shouldn’t be proud of it but whatever. The sense of relief I get from letting go of this diet says it all.
I insist on ending this post on a positive note because this diet wasn’t all bad. I learned about protein and carb portions and I confirmed something new about myself that I already suspected. I don’t like being restricted in life, in general, but also with my food. I work out too hard and too consistently to have to worry about putting honey on my yogurt. Life’s too short, why complicate it?