I never thought I’d see the day that I’d be racing home to scan the front steps for a big brown box stamped “Bodybuilding.com”. If you’d been waiting here too, you would’ve gotten front row seats to the tug of war that ensued between my boyfriend and I. Who doesn’t like to open packages [especially when they smell just like the coffee grinding aisle at the grocery store]?!
I would’ve never guessed that I’d ever willingly relinquish half of my kitchen cupboard to make room for a hulking family of protein powders…or that I’d spend my downtime lazily thinking of ways to makeover plain-Jane oats and skinny sweet potatoes.
I would’ve never said that I’d have a handful of bodybuilding terms to insert into my day-to-day vocabulary…but here we are. The words “periodization” and “progressive overload” still throw me for a loop, but “carb load” and “re-feed” roll right off my tongue.
I wouldn’t get much beyond the thesis statement in a dissertation on the benefits of periodic re-feeds during a dieting phase, but I do know that I love mine. Once a week, I get to add anywhere from 200 to 400 extra calories to my daily intake.
Now I can’t exactly justify a box of chocolates before bed [unfortunately those surplus calories need to take on the form of healthy carbohydrates and not coconut-coated truffles], but I can feel pretty A-OK about picking up a crusty baguette from the bakery beside the gym.
The morning after is still sometimes a little shaky. Doubt and Despair flit in and out, and my boyfriend frequently has to put in a full day’s work reassuring me that in 48 hours or so, I’ll look and feel considerably leaner than I did before I carbed up. He has to patiently reiterate that without these weekly re-feeds our individual weight losses would flatline and eventually grind to a complete halt.
When I’m being clearheaded, I think of re-feeds as a fun way to kick-start my metabolism and to keep slowly losing fat over the long term. They’re undoubtedly a good rest for me mentally [it does get exhausting to be so strict with the calorie counting], and there have been nothing but positive results so far.
Since I am emphatically NOT a bodybuilder, I don’t have a specific season to bulk and a subsequent season to cut. I have a whole life to find a way to be happy, and part of that means taking the liberty of using my “re-feed” days a little more leniently.
After all, I’m just an average girl with an above-average affinity for sweets. And for as long I can pair my prescribed extra carbs with a few tablespoons of something fun while I’m dieting, weekly re-feeds sound like a great way to maintain happiness. And that definition suits me just fine.