So many of us have experienced it: the rebound post diet.
It occurs after a strict period or phase of focused and highly disciplined training and nutrition when extremely focused on a goal. The date finally comes and the sense of not only having made an awesome achievement — but also the sense of relief — is intense! You have achieved a physical and mental goal and at last it’s over. It’s over.
OMG, what now?
This is the daunting bit. Returning to life without that tight regimented structure of preparing for the goal suddenly feels terrifying. You can feel a bit lost and out of control. Without the routine of maintaining a limited and tightly monitored diet and having that goal of making every session of training count…it’s an absurd feeling. I’ve felt it myself! And so it’s something that I like to make sure my clients are aware of. This is normal and to be expected.
The slump can mean:
- Feeling nervous and lost when faced with having options at meal times instead of the usual strict (same old, same old) food preparation. You don’t feel happy eating and don’t enjoy the freedom of choice as much as you imagined you would whilst dieting.
- Feeling goalless when returning to training or unmotivated to train at all.
- Feeling depressed.
- Feeling out of control when eating. Unable to stop but then feeling hideously guilty afterwards.
- Facing immediate weight gain. Losing the tightness in your physique that you had worked so hard to achieve and then feeling disappointed in yourself and like you’ve become a failure.
- Once some weight has gone back on (and some!) The depression sets in. In some extreme cases I have seen this last for months and even years!
It leaves you in a funk that you can’t snap out of. So how do we prevent it? Below are the systems that I like to put in place for my clients to prevent the post goal slump!
1. Have a nutrition plan ready to go post-goal.
Prepare a nutrition plan that you will commence with the day after your goal date. Make sure you know exactly what you’re going to be eating and when. Keep the structure similar to your previous goal nutrition, but change it up so that it’s different and motivating. Always make it something you are going to want to do. Whether you've planned it yourself or you've gone back to your nutritionist or mentor, make sure you have it planned out. This will help prevent any potential emotional eating or sudden weight gain. This in turn keeps you feeling in control, the most important aspect of this period.
2. Have a new training goal.
Whether you set yourself another event to train for that is within the same parameter of what you did before or whether you choose a new training style or discipline, this step will assist with your positive outlook and keep your head on track. It gives you something to train for again, as well as a sense of purpose.
3. Plan days off and cheat meals.
Off days and cheat eals give you something to look forward to, and they'll feel like much-deserved breaks. This keeps you enjoying your training, prevents your body from reaching a state of over-training, and reduces the likelihood of plateauing.
4. Keep track of your achievements.
This may be via keeping a graph or spreadsheet of body weight, body fat and muscle mass or noting physical benchmarks like reaching a certain PB, running a particular distance, or achieving sport-related goals.
By applying these guidelines you are certain to prevent the depressive slump that follows a hard goal and the weight gain that can creep on all too quickly. You're more likely to remain positive, happy and in control. Enjoy that feeling!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Johanna Mountfort is a WFF Pro figure athlete and holds top international WFF titles including 2014 Miss World, 2013 Miss Universe, 4 x Miss New Zealand (2011-2014) and most recently she became the 2016 WFF Womens Pro Division Miss Asia Pacific Champion. Johanna has been unbeaten since 2011.
Johanna is a women’s bodybuilding coach since 2009 and has clients who are champions themselves. Coupled with this her background and previous career in classical ballet has seen her become a specialist in Bodybuilding posing and she is NZ’s most sought after posing specialist for all bodybuilding divisions as well as being a Bodybuilding judge for NABBA WFF NZ.