I’m new around here and I hate to post a million questions right away, but this time I really need somebody’s help; I screwed something up pretty badly.
About a week ago I read Christian Thibaudeau’s “The Truth About Bulking” article (http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1268956) which contained this little gem:
“It’s most likely due to what I call the ‘lean threshold.’ You see, there’s a point (a certain body fat percentage) where you start to look lean (around 10% for most men). There’s also a point where you start to look fat (around 18-20% for most men). Then in between you have a certain zone where you basically look the same; you aren’t lean enough to look defined so you don’t really have any muscle separation.”
And basically right around the time I read this, I hit that magic percentage. I finally looked very fat, and realized that I went totally overboard with the massive eating program. Like he said, I somehow didn’t notice it before, even though I was consistently taking measurements.
And man was it depressing. So I instantly dropped (as of one week ago) from 5,500 kcal to 4,500 kcal (on workout days). Yeah that a sudden drop is not a good idea, I know. But at 17% bf I finally got “the gut” and I didn’t want it to get even worse. Basically I wanted to find exactly my maintenance level, just so I could know what that is for my body, at this lean mass weight (170 lb). Then I would up it a little. And its a compromise: this is actually a little more than CT’s article recommended.
Anyway, I feel like I’m starving (although I felt fine the first 2 days). What I really want to know is, why? Unless this turns out to be one of those urban myths, one of the things that makes you hungry when you eat less is that your body expects you to eat an amount similar to what you’ve been eating. Therefore being “hungry” doesn’t necessarily mean you actually need the food, or will do anything with it, just that it’s used to the food and needs to adjust.
On the other hand, I am worried about possibly being hungry because I am eating too little and losing muscle. It’s only been a week and I weigh about 3-3.5 lbs less. To be honest, I look about the same amount of “fat” but I look a little smaller, muscularly. Of course, I always think I look smaller muscularly. The pessemism runs in my veins. But it can’t be muscle mass, because there’s no way anyone could lose 3 lbs of muscle on a 4400-3800 (workout-postwork) per day diet in just one week, right?
In summary, I just have no idea what to do. This hit me pretty hard because for the last 9 months, I really thought I knew what I was doing. I was gaining fat, but “hey, that’s bulking” I said. After reading CTs article, I guess I can’t use that excuse anymore. Eat more? Eat less? Fat gain or lean mass loss seem to lurk behind every decision, and my confidence in my ability to make informed nutritional decisions is gone. I don’t mind a little fat gain. At this point, I wouldn’t even mind a little muscle loss. Just so long as I knew what I was doing. What bothers me is that I have no idea what my hunger actually means; am I just adjusting, or under-eating?
By the way, if this a clue at all, I’ve consistantly had less water weight this week upon waking up. I have a scale that measures that semi-reliably (the actual numbers are probably wrong, but the consistancy is good).