Feeding The Muse

So, I made a major miscalculation. It appears if you don’t feed yourself enough, you starve the muse as well.

I didn’t intend to do that. I just wasn’t keeping careful enough track. See, I’m fat. I’m not “a little padded” or “big boned.” No, I’m just fat. Which annoys me. Earlier this year, I focused on bulking muscle for weightlifting, and I got fatter. That was inevitable, because once you’re past the rawest newb stage, it’s physiologically next to impossible to gain muscle without also gaining fat at the same time.

However, I’d decided it was time for a cut, because that would be less of a pain in the posterior than buying another size of clothes up. Again.

Now, some people are highly disciplined and track macros and calories. For the rest of us, it works to start with “cut carbs, add veg, cut portion sizes, and once the habits are in place, clean it up with all the fussy macro tracking as able.”

It mostly worked, except for the intended goal. Over the last 3 months, I wasn’t losing fat, and I was too tired and busy to deal with the fussy bits of calorie and macro tracking. I just focused on eating less, and cutting carbs, until I reached a point I could not make myself eat any less – trying to cut from there made hunger overcome my fading willpower.

So I finally sat down last week and tracked my macros. The ratios were off, but more importantly…

During the workweek, I was eating 650-870 calories… a day.

This would explain why I’ve been exhausted, and cold, and hurting, and not able to come up with words much less do all the other ever-present chores outside of Day Job. And why my weightlifting has sucked.

It also proves that the “You just have to eat less and move more” crowd of weight loss is more full of dung than a constipated elephant, because my body was cannibalizing muscle, leaving me still fat.

I confessed to my coach, who read me the riot act. I’m apparently supposed to be eating a lot closer to 3000 calories a day for the weightlifting I do. (It’s actually physically difficult for me to hit that target, much less on target for macros. Ah, well, iterate better.)

After a week of drastically increasing intake, I’m sleeping a lot better. I am feeling no less run down at the end of the day, but things get done a lot faster with energy left over at the end, so I get a whole lot more done during each day.

And the words have started to come back. The fight scene that I spent a month not able to figure out is now finished, and it only took a day to write.

Unfortunately, I got it written instead of being at FenCon because my love woke up with a fever, so maybe there’s more than one reason I’m still feeling pretty flat. But we get better by and by, fix by fix.

Take care of yourself, you hear?

11 thoughts on “Feeding The Muse

  1. I was quite literally in a very similar situation about a week ago. Forgot to eat for… a few days or so. I think they call it intermittent fasting. Got my words stopped too. Not good. Felt incredibly dumb when I figured out what was wrong.

    Making rice for breakfast today. There’s a mystery to write after. And then, some fighting. Probably.

    I second the call to practice good self care. Take care of you like the body you’re in is someone you’re responsible for.

  2. Yep, I hear you, and your coach was right to roast you for it.

    Weight/shape of your body is your phenotype, which is just the physical expression of your genotype. Somewhere in your genetic history there was a need to put on fat for the hard times.

    Diet won’t fix that. Life style choices changes are needed. Sorry. So weightlifting is good for muscle, but my guess is what you need is more cardio: exercise that develops stamina to get the muscles to burn more calories.

    Also, one tip, which may or may not be relevant, are you aware of the ongoing discussion over lithium in the water table that may be a contributing factor for obesity?


    1. Some of us can do huge amounts of cardio, and it just makes us tired. The only thing that makes me lose weight is not eating past a certain hour. Not eating at all makes me throw up, fun stuff like that.

    1. The breakdown of food intake by protein / carbs / fat. For strengthlifting, I’m looking for 40/30/30 at maintenance, 40/40/20 for cutting fat after a bulk.

      Given I need minimum 200 grams of protein a day to properly maintain the muscle I have, the rest of the macros shake out from there.

      When strengthlifters are preparing for a competition and having to precisely hit weight targets while maintaining every bit of hard-won muscle, meal planning gets as strict as writing a good haiku. Every time.

      Me, I wish to spend neither the time nor the patience to do that every day… but we’ve just seen what happens if I pick a target and iterate toward it without doing a evaluation along the way. So I may end up doing it anyway!

  3. Weight loss, as I have learned over the years, is a complex thing. Given the obesity explosion in North America since the 1980s, and the -difficulty- of losing weight even in the most dedicated, one suspects there is something, or several somethings, in our food.

    What that is seems to be a very difficult target to hit. I see new candidates all the time, everything from gut bacteria to plastics. New one every week almost. Never seems to be the right one though.

    One of the problems with finding the answer is the number of professional liars out there blaming obesity on their pet hate. The plastics haterz are particularly virulent, I’d need to see some very serious proof from them before giving them a minute of my time.

    However, I am sure of one thing. Beating yourself up is not going to increase your productivity or decrease your weight. It doesn’t do anything beyond make you miserable and shorten your life span. We all need to stop doing it.

    We are none of us kids anymore, and we’re not going to live forever. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow dawns bright and early and all that crap you didn’t do because you were partying will still be there, waiting. ~:D

    1. Me: I feel better today! I can Do All The Things!
      Also Me, 40 minutes later: Apparently, self, just grocery shopping at Sams was all the things I had energy for.

      …This entire learning experience has activated a hithero mostly-hidden personality feature in my love: “Food Is Love! I must feed you! More food! You should eat! Don’t you like my cooking? Do you want to go out to eat? You need to eat more!”

  4. What works seems to be very individual. At this point I’m concentrating on getting my blood glucose under control. And that differs from person to person. Intermittent fasting–nothing but water after dinner until the following noon works nicely for that. Haven’t dropped a pound, though. Going to have to add lo-carb and see what happens.

    Hope Peter’s feeling better.

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