Wow. Really grateful for this heartfelt and detailed response. It actually brought tears to my eyes, that someone actually gets it and can be so encouraging, I am not exaggerating. This is exactly what I needed. You gave some very specific yet adaptable and useful suggestions. Unreal. So the following is just going to be me unloading some thoughts based on your response in no particular order:
What I used to do:
Exercise was ALWAYS some sort of cardio. Eating was ALWAYS some sort of restriction - fasting, OMAD, etc. with zero focus on protein. I could manipulate either exercise or restriction and lose weight. If I was not losing weight I would just restrict more. Every single workout I ever did was fasted. In fact, I would go most days until 1 or 2pm with no food and black coffee. I think fasting can be a good thing for reasons beyond this discussion (self discipline, not feeling like you need to eat all the time and I know many people can benefit from both the discipline and the idea that if you don’t eat, you won’t wither away). For me, it is now exactly the opposite, I NOW need to learn how to eat like a normal person - through the day - sounds crazy but it is true.
Two years ago I discovered the weight room. My only regret is not starting sooner but I am beyond grateful for my path that lead me there. The last year has been extremely difficult for me personally and the gym was my salvation.
I could talk about lifting, weights, programming, PRs, etc all day but most people around you don’t want to hear about it, lol, and I understand. I only recently started tracking my workouts with reps, weights etc and in a few short weeks tracking my workouts has already been a game changer.
To give you at least some idea of how far I have come, when I first started weight training, I was hanging on to cardio so hard since that was all I knew: I would run/jog 5 miles before every weight session, including legs. Now, I walk when I feel like it, on most training days after training or later in the day. I did my first, albeit a little sloppy, unassisted neutral grip pull up about two months ago and I almost started crying.
Re: food/fuel: weight lifting has started to teach me that food is fuel and it can support my training. I weighed 160 at the end of June 2021 and was shocked at how much I was able to eat and actually dropped to 157 by the end of October 2021, then toward the end of November, my new found realization of eating so much finally got the best of me and I started to gain more and more weight (and to be fair some muscle). I was 170 before I new it, then 180 and now 185.
The coolest thing about weight lifting has been seeing myself weigh more but my clothes fit the same or my body fat % staying the same at a higher weight, it is like some kind of sorcery. However, now, I feel puffy and fat and my clothes don’t fit anymore. I keep reading and reading and researching - trying to figure out some of the techniques guys who have been training since high school use. Every time I try to get into a deficit, my hard wired technique of more food restriction takes over and within a week or two I am restricting so much that I rebound.
I love all your recommendations and will repeatedly refer to this response.
When you say “create a log here” - is there another forum to do that on?
Thank you again.