T Nation

Coming down from the top of the mountain

Patsy (and of course others)
Since I respect you on this forum very highly and since you have always supported me, I need some advice (and this is related to a recent post).

Heres the situation. I have met the most wonderful girl in the world after being single for just over two years. During that time I found myself. I trained, researched and applied everything I could get my hands on to build the best physique I have ever had. It definitely helped me in attracting this girl. Now we are dating. I have a job. She comes from a family that owned a restaurant in New Mexico, and when they eat, they eat with all the toppings, the creams, the marinarias, the spices, the real cheeses, the real tortillias etc. etc. They eat real GOOD food the way it was intended. Now, we all know that GOOD food (i.e., real stuff) is not necessarily compatible with tip top physiques. I love this girl and I don’t want to disappoint her in any way. I know that foods i have avoided before I will have to eat once again, not becuase she is making me, but becuase I don’t want to be an idiot around her trying to calculate every last macro, saying i can’t have pizza on fridays or eat popcorn when we watch a movie. I know this will wreak at least some damage on my physique, but I know its also healthy. I rode on top of the mountain with training when i was single and in school. Now the tables are turned but in a good way. I would never give up training or proper nutrition, but the rules are going to bend, and bend strong. How do I rid myself of the dissonance, the fact that I will get soft a bit from tip top shape. Its all for the right reasons, I guess I just need some positive’s here ya know. Yeah she trains too, but not bb style…she is fit, but then again, she aint a bodybuilder…Its just hard to step off the mountain a bit.

Vain68

Ask yourself why you do what you do. I’ve been very lean before in the college days, but now I wory about being fit. Lowest bodyfat is about 12% to high of 155. Your probably built better than 99% of the guys you meet, so who gives a shit if your not at at 6% bf. It doesn’t make you more money, get you more girls(believe me), more friends etc. Being built well and fit is great, but you do have to live in the real world. Enjoy life and your lady friend, There is more to life than ketogenic dieting. Get some balance.

Just explain to her what you need to do with your diet,most girls understand,you gotta remember that not all top natural bodybuilders are single.

Just ease into things. Don’t refuse every meal, but don’t accept every meal either. I think what you need to avoid is seeming completely obsessed - and I think you know that. If you tell her fitness is important to you, she’ll understand. So eat popcorn with her, but only have a little, don’t eat half the bowl. Have one slice of pizza insted of 3. You seem to have your priorities in order, i.e. your life is more important than obsessive diet and training. Congradulations!

You know, Vain, I’m really happy for you! And to let you know something here about me: I’m not the type of person who explains to everyeone around me “why” I do this, “why” I eat the foods I eat, etc. My belief is, if you’re comfortable with yourself and with your interests - then the people around will be comfortable about it as well.

I get this feeling that you're one of them people that when you find a interest you go "all out" - maybe to a point of obsessiveness? There's no middle ground. If that is indeed the case, then you might have this underlying fear that if you were to "allow" yourself to enjoy that popcorn, that pizza or damn tasty burrito with all the toppings - that you may just "throw out the door" all of your training, etc.

Probably won't happen. It's just time you do "step off the mountain" and find that middle ground. You've got this great gal and it's time to enjoy the moments with her - and with her family. Enjoy the movie together. With or without the pizza. As Michelle suggested, have one or two handfuls of popcorn. Ko makes our popcorn with no butter, but he sprinkles cajun spices on it. Yummy - and low fat! But I have to say that enjoying life with someone you like is more than food - do stuff that takes you out of the gym. Go to a museum, go mountainbiking, horseback riding.

It's nice to be "on top of a mountain" in terms of condition, diet. You get a great view from that mountain - but wouldn't it be nice (and better) to step down and experience all that you see from that peak?

Just my 2 cents, If they are truly using quality ingredient, and making things from scratch, I think that you will find that the damage will be small. REAL food is not only good for the body, but good for the soul. Treat yourself. Its worth it. Just make sure you pick up the intensity in the gym.

One thing that I have found to be extremely helpful is by changing my attitude towards food. I’m as scientific as most and realize that calories add up and eating “cheat” meals in theory should take their toll on your physique. But I don’t think this is necessarily the case.

Will you be able to get in the best shape of your life and compete in shows if you eat this so-called "cheat" food? Probably not. But you can still be significantly above average and look better than 99% of the people around.

Stress obviously can cause a myriad of problems. When I am so meticulous about every nutrient I eat and then have a "cheat" meal, it can really increase my stress levels. (How do I note this in my food log? Do I need to do extra cardio? Have I just ruined the day? Maybe I should skip my workout and start fresh tomorrow?) Maybe you've felt this way, maybe you haven't?

Anyway, I've really relaxed the way I approach my diet. I ENJOY FOOD! I keep a food log as best I can, but I no longer stress if I can't figure out the cals and macros of something I eat. I also don't try to be perfect all of the time or do extra cardio to make up for cheat meals. I monitor my body comp to make sure things stay in line and I've come to realize that I have a lot more freedom in my diet than I once thought as long as I'm still training hard and consistently.

I also think that the longer you've been in the iron game, the tougher it is to really screw yourself up. Consistency is the absolute key. Regular scheduled workouts are the most important thing in making consistent progress. Sure, diet is super important, but I think we have more freedom that we may realize.

Take care and I wish you luck with your new relationship. My relationship with my wife is 1000 times more rewarding than any amount of bodybuilding progress.

aaaw shit…here we go again…you found yourself but now you want to lose yourself in this relationship???what is this need to change once in a relationship?? be who you are…be the person you want to be…the person she was initially attracted to.