I'm 7.5 weeks out, and I'm pretty damn hungry ALL THE TIME. I'm also starting to feel the effects of slightly lower cals on my workouts and on my strength. But this is contest prep; it is what it is. If this process was easy, everyone and their mother would be a figure competitor and would have a rockin' body 24/7. There's a reason that America is tubby: we cannot stand to be hungry, especially when food is so abundant.
Hunger plays weird tricks on the mind. Food starts to invade everyday thoughts, you start to count down the minutes until your next meal, and you can get a little crazy if you obsess over it too much. Some competitors go WAY off the deep end - they watch Food Network constantly (now, I do this, but I do this year-round since I'm, well, a foodie!), they start to hoard food (I'm guilty of this, as I hoarded massive amounts of sugary foods before my 1st show), and meal time can even become ritualistic. Their moods and personalities can change - they get bitchy, irritable, and obnoxious. Eventually, they go crazy - literally. Most competitors I've met need to be locked the eff up before they compete. Strait-jacket city. One thing I have learned over the past couple of years is that hunger is part of the game. And this goes beyond contest prep: this pertains to dieting, in general.
When the body is used to being fed a certain amount of calories every day, say 1700, it will react when you start to feed it less, even by only a few hundred calories. Every body has a set point - a weight at which the body feels it needs to stay in order to sustain your life. So when weight starts to dip below the set point, the body responds with hunger cues that tell you to eat. "FEED ME!!!" it says, in hopes of maintaining its "optimal" weight. If you're trying to lose weight, people, this is what you must understand: you're going to be hungry. Period. Stop bitching, stop whining and moaning and complaining. Do you want the dimples to disappear from your ass so that you don't look like a giant potato in your bikini? Do you want your arm fat to stop jiggling when you wave goodbye to your grandma? You do? Then suck it up, buttercup. I am really tired of the "woe is me" attitude that most dieters have. EXPECT to be hungry if you're trying to lose weight. Remember, in order to lose weight and fat, the body must be in a caloric deficit. Ergo, you will be hungry.
There are no tricks - water doesn't really help (trust me, I drink 5 liters a day and I could still eat the ass end out of a rhino at all times). Appetite suppressants are dumb: you can become dependent upon them AND you can end up rebounding/binging once you go off them (and that's cheating - I despise cheating). Remember my post about "if it's too good to be true, it probably is?" That's what I'm talking about here. Stop looking for shortcuts. Stop expecting to lose weight while still eating brownies. Stop thinking that your body is telling you that it wants a cupcake (it's not). And stop complaining. No one is holding a gun to your head making you lose weight. This is something you want, right? If you'd rather eat garbage than fit into your skinny jeans, then it's pretty clear that you're not ready to take your life into your own hands.
Dieting is about mindset. You have to flip your thinking to empowerment as opposed to deprivation. If you feel deprived, you're going to cheat and then you're going to tell me that you've "tried so many diets, but nothing works." Whenever I hear that, I immediately call bullshit. It means you didn't stick with it long enough, and it means you weren't 100% compliant. If you feel empowered, you're going to stick to your diet. And, really, I hate the word "diet." Diet is actually how you eat. It is not something restrictive. It is healthy, balanced, and should be a permanent lifestyle change. Instead of saying, "I can't have that because it's not on my diet," say "I choose not to eat that today, because it's not healthy." Sure, it's a matter of semantics, but the phrasing will make a HUGE impact on how you view your new healthy lifestyle.
So, turn that frown upside down, and realize that hunger is a sign that your body is eating your own ass. Now THAT'S something to celebrate, my friends, because my ass has to fit into 3 inches of material in 7.5 weeks. No one wants to see that shit if it ain't tight. Trust me. So, for now, I am hungry - starving, in fact. But I embrace it, I cherish it, I understand that it is part of the process, and I understand that I am mentally one of the toughest bitches you will ever meet. That's all the empowerment I need to get through the next 7-8 weeks. Booya!