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GETTING LEAN ON ICE CREAM

Mike Lipowski

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When Corrie-Beth posted the above picture of me making a huge bowl of frozen yogurt on FB and IG it created quite a stir. In light of this I thought I should address a few things.


First, it’s true. I’ve been having a sizeable bowl of frozen yogurt every night for the past 3 weeks AND I’ve consistently lost body-fat. Hence, every comment on Corrie-Beth’s post that wasn’t “He’s human!” was “How do I get on THAT diet?”
I’ll tell you how but we need back this train up because in this instance a picture is NOT worth a thousand words.


As humans we naturally look at a situation—especially an envious one like someone eating your favorite desert and being in good shape—and we automatically think how “lucky” that person is. Or, how “unfair” it is that you can’t do the same.


Here’s the backdrop on this situation.


Back in mid-March I made a decision that I was going to get into near competition shape for my 40th at the end of June. I was starting relatively lean—only 10 lbs. from the weight I competed at 4 years ago—and would start my “serious” diet exactly 3 months from the day.


IMPORTANT POINT #1 – I was giving myself ample time to reach my goal based on my current condition and not attempting to crash diet a few weeks before.


On Monday March 20th I began logging all my meals in the MyFitnessPal app. I had my calorie and macro targets set and through the first week I did my best to figure out what foods and in what amounts helped me hit those targets. It wasn’t perfect but after a week of weighing and measuring my foods I had a good idea of what some of daily meals would look like.


IMPORTANT POINT #2 – Though “inconvenient” I took the extra 30 seconds to weigh my foods and the extra 60-90 seconds to enter everything into MyFitnessPal.


From the start I was diligent about hitting my macro target—which were approximately 240g. CHO, 130g. PRO, 30g FAT—even on the weekends. I didn’t waiver from the numbers. I would maybe change the foods, even allow myself some pizza, dinners out, or indulgences but I made sure that by the end of the day the numbers added up or were at least within reason.


I feel this is a good time to make mention that even though I titled this article “Getting Lean on Ice Cream” I haven’t actually had any ice cream during this period of dieting. I intentionally stick with frozen yogurt since it’s lower in fat, which makes it easier for me to hit my FAT numbers at the end of the day while still enjoying myself.


This concept of still enjoying (not overindulging on) foods you like while working to get lean is what we call “Flexible dieting” or we’ll say “If it fits your macros” (IIFYM). But the only way to know if that Friday night pizza will “do no harm” is if you’ve been tracking your food intake and know whether or not it will keep you at least within your caloric target for the day.


IMPORTANT POINT #3 – I didn’t allow the weekend to abolish all the work I did throughout the week. This is where people often falter and the reason why they can’t make headway after weeks of “trying”.


IMPORTANT POINT #4 – I didn’t restrict myself. Instead I PLANNED for my indulgences by cutting back on other meals.


After the initial two-and-a-half weeks I came down with the flu. Bedridden for nearly a week, not eating and only drinking fluids gave me a little extra fat-loss kick but I wouldn’t recommend this as a strategy nor do I plan on implementing it in the future.


The following week I was back on track and it’s was not until midway through week four that the nightly frozen yogurt indulgence became a thing. At this point I had momentum and was seeing positive results in the mirror and on the scale. But most importantly I went into each evening with enough carbs left to have my frozen yogurt AND I WEIGHED OUT HOW MUCH I HAD ACCORDING TO THE AMOUNT OF CARBS I HAD LEFT FOR THE DAY. So if it was a small cup it was a small cup. If it was a large bowl it was a large bowl...with sprinkles.


IMPORTANT POINT #5 – I didn’t’ get liberal with my fro-yo consumption until AFTER I had momentum and was getting the weekly result I wanted. So, don’t jump the gun!


The last and maybe most important point I can make is best related by a story about Picasso that you may or may not have heard before.


The story goes that Picasso was sitting in a Paris café when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking $25,000 for it. The admirer was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” “No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years”


When we see pictures like the one Corrie-Beth posted of me, or The Rock sitting behind a stack of pancakes, or a figure competitor wolfing down a juicy bacon cheeseburger we fail to see all that led up to that point.

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Between working as a personal trainer and competing as a natural bodybuilder I have 18 years of diet and nutrition experience. At this stage I know PRECISELY how much to eat and not eat, as well as how long I need to eat this way for in order to achieve a certain look.


There were many long periods (months to years) in which I gave up the dinners out, pizza, ice cream, cookies, alcohol, and more alcohol. This was where the lessons in self-control and discipline came in. This is why I can "go off the reservation" for a night, a day or a few days and not let it snowball into weeks or months of poor choices and the squandering of previous results.


IMPORTANT POINT #6 – YOU CAN’T HAVE THE REWARD AND NOT THE STRUGGLE OR THE RESULT WITHOUT THE PROCESS


Like I said at the start, a picture is not always worth a thousand words. In this case it was worth one seventy nine. Count em!

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