"Too Strict" - Is That A Thing?

peaceout_aly
peaceout_aly Posts: 2,018 Member
I count my macros. I aim to hit 150-200 g protein x day, stay around 1,300-1,400 calories and eat basically the same couple foods or mixtures of them throughout the week. I eat very healthy - egg whites, spinach, ground turkey, Siggi's (skyr), protein bars, oats, etc. I weigh everything and have my diet down to a T. I've been doing this for 2+ years, very strictly for a year. My issue is, when I want to come off of this and have a "normal" day, I end up getting sick. I don't binge, or even go crazy with the foods that I consume, but it never fails that my stomach ends up throwing me into a funk for a day or two. This first happened when I took a 16-day getaway to Italy. For the first week, I was fine. The second week, I ended up throwing up multiple times a day until we got home and I was able to get back to my routine diet and work out routine. It happened again when I enjoyed a "splurge" weekend after my competition and most recently (this weekend), I had a couple celebrations to attend and didn't track...here I am a day after my three non-tracked days laying in bed and hesitant to go to the gym at 6PM (usually I've already been there and finished my whole routine) because my stomach is still so upset. Do I just stick to tracking every macro and weighing out the same plain foods for the rest of my life since eating normal food messes with my stomach so bad now? How do I normalize my diet?

Replies

  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,967 Member
    My first thought was that your stomach is objecting to overeating, but you said you didn't binge.

    Maybe your "normal" days include something to which you are allergic or intolerant? Maybe after you recover try a "food challenge"?
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,391 Member
    I wonder if your food choices are too restrictive, too protein heavy, and too low.

    I realize that competition prep limits your food, but that doesn't mean you can't have more variety when you are not in prep mode, same with calorie intake.

    (My daytime cals are all about yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, fruit, veg, and protein bars. My main meal is all about variety).

    I know you are quite petite, so am I, but 1300-1400 for the training you do sounds low, it would be for me.

    Can you drop your protein for more dietary variation?

    Personally I would look at upping the variety and quantity of food I ate in the off season, and dropping my protein levels too.

    If you have had a limited variation in your diet for 2 years your digestive tract is probably having a hard time with short term introduced foods.

    Cheers, h.

    Not a dietician or anything close, just know my tummy can get the colly-wobbles if I have something I haven't eaten in a long time.
  • peaceout_aly
    peaceout_aly Posts: 2,018 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    My first thought was that your stomach is objecting to overeating, but you said you didn't binge.

    Maybe your "normal" days include something to which you are allergic or intolerant? Maybe after you recover try a "food challenge"?

    I can't even finish the meals that I eat - no matter how small. Which is not normal for me at all. I'm known for "eating like a marine" - quick and finishing everything on my plate. But now, I'll feel sick half way through a meal. I know I'm allergic to peanuts & tree nuts, so I'm cautious about eating cross-contaminated food so that I don't go anaphylactic, but maybe I'm developing a lactose issue or something. Good point!
  • margbarco
    margbarco Posts: 128 Member
    edited July 2018
    Could it be that your normal days are too rich/heavy (I’m thinking sauces or oils you’re not used to) compared to your relatively plain/clean food days? And your GI tract is taxed even though you’re not overeating?

    I’ve only been tracking and eating “healthy” for 2 weeks but when I had just a few French fries today, I had pain and bloating for hours! This never used to happen before...
  • livingleanlivingclean
    livingleanlivingclean Posts: 11,755 Member
    As a clean eater I developed terrible digestion. When I got in to IIFYM and a better mental place with food and allowed myself to eat a more balanced diet incorporating a bigger variety of foods it improved significantly and I didn't/don't have issues with much (overdoing the raw broc/cauli/cabbage still isn't great though)
  • AnvilHead
    AnvilHead Posts: 18,345 Member
    I'm going to suggest that your "basically the same couple foods or mixtures of them throughout the week" cause your gut biome to evolve to an optimum community for exploiting that food. Then when you go off your regular food for some reason and have foods different from your regular, your biome protests. Did this ever happen to you before you got into the habit of having a limited selection of foods in your diet?

    My suggestion is that you introduce a wider variety of foods into your regular diet.

    I don't have any scientific evidence to back it up, but I was thinking along the same lines. It just makes sense. I know when I did low-carb (strict Atkins, waaayyy back in the day), my digestive system would go absolutely sideways if I went off the rails on vacation or something....it wasn't pretty at all.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    I'm going to suggest that your "basically the same couple foods or mixtures of them throughout the week" cause your gut biome to evolve to an optimum community for exploiting that food. Then when you go off your regular food for some reason and have foods different from your regular, your biome protests. Did this ever happen to you before you got into the habit of having a limited selection of foods in your diet?

    My suggestion is that you introduce a wider variety of foods into your regular diet.

    I don't have any scientific evidence to back it up, but I was thinking along the same lines. It just makes sense. I know when I did low-carb (strict Atkins, waaayyy back in the day), my digestive system would go absolutely sideways if I went off the rails on vacation or something....it wasn't pretty at all.

    yep, i second or 3rd this.
  • swimmchick87
    swimmchick87 Posts: 458 Member
    At one point I was trying a system where I had 1200 calories 6 days per week and 2,000 calories one day per week. I wasn't even eating particularly "healthy" on the 1200 calorie days...just smaller portions/less food. Obviously on the 2,000 calorie days it wasn't a binge, because I had to stay under 2,000 calories, but I did treat them as complete junk food days. For example, one of my favorite combos was Qdoba nachos for lunch and Coldstone ice cream for dinner. I'd often get heartburn, and the day after those days, I'd spend half the morning in the bathroom, even though both of those foods in much higher quantities/mixed in with other junk foods were a regular part of my "before" diet and didn't effect me like that at all. I just figured my body had adjusted to eating less.

    This time around, instead of doing what I used to I'm trying to aim for 1400-1500 calories every day, but earn the extra calories (above 1200) with exercise and extra walking. I'm hoping this will help me more with moderation and sustainability...fitting something like the Coldstone ice cream alone into my calorie day rather than having one "treat day" per week where I only eat junk. I haven't had any issues this time around.

    OP, I would suggest you try adding in foods you like in very small amounts at first...like just one serving or even one half serving of something that's not your "typical" food each day.
  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    43% or higher protein, limiting calories and food choices, and competing too? I'm sorry, but your diet/lifestyle does not really sound like it's healthy, but the throwing up like a natural consequence. So yes, "too strict" is definitely a thing.
  • VUA21
    VUA21 Posts: 2,073 Member
    The 2 culprits that would most likely be why you have an upset stomach are:
    1. You ate something that you are intolerant too, or simply have a hard time digesting. Beer will cause me to have an upset stomach the following day, but sparkling wine doesn't...don't know why, but it does.
    2. You may be mildly sick or just run down. TOM, stomach bug, mild food poisoning, a cold.


    If it's something you ate, list foods that you ate that were different to your normal diet and go through them one at a time to see which one's the culprit. If it's your body or your body vs illness, hope you recover quickly.
  • 43501
    43501 Posts: 85 Member
    I don't have anything super different to mention than the above posters, but I know an ultra-fit personal trainer lady who is super into the "clean eating" *kitten* and I have known her to be like "hey I haven't had McDonalds in like 6 months, to hell with it, why not" and then ended up violently ill. She's made the same mistake a few times in the 8 years I've known her, lol.

    My father is a body builder and it happens to him after a period of extremely strict dieting (endless grilled chicken + steamed broccoli for every goddamn meal) as well.

    So, yeah. It's not actually that unusual. Your stomach reacting badly to food you haven't had in an extremely long time is a thing that happens, although you would have to be dieting very strictly and for a very long period of time.

    Slowly re-introduce foods you've been staying away from and your body will adjust, presuming it's not an actual food intolerance of some kind.
  • peaceout_aly
    peaceout_aly Posts: 2,018 Member
    I wonder if your food choices are too restrictive, too protein heavy, and too low.

    I realize that competition prep limits your food, but that doesn't mean you can't have more variety when you are not in prep mode, same with calorie intake.

    (My daytime cals are all about yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, fruit, veg, and protein bars. My main meal is all about variety).

    I know you are quite petite, so am I, but 1300-1400 for the training you do sounds low, it would be for me.

    Can you drop your protein for more dietary variation?

    Personally I would look at upping the variety and quantity of food I ate in the off season, and dropping my protein levels too.

    If you have had a limited variation in your diet for 2 years your digestive tract is probably having a hard time with short term introduced foods.

    Cheers, h.

    Not a dietician or anything close, just know my tummy can get the colly-wobbles if I have something I haven't eaten in a long time.

    I really like the way that you manage your day-to-day meals - something simple and wholesome during the day that is mildly repetitive, but with a main meal where you can have whatever. That way you still have variety in your diet. I think I may transition to something along those lines.

    1,300-1,400 is pretty low, but I will start eating back exercise calories once I'm out of competition mode which puts me closer to 1,700x day and much less restrictive.

    I actually ended up going to a doc yesterday and was told I'm dehydrated which is leading to low BP, high heart rate and can also have a side effect of nausea. I doubt that's been the root cause though, I think me getting sick is what caused the dehydration most likely.

    Definitely looking into dropping my protein and increasing the variety in my diet (along with cals). Talking to a nutritionist next week when I return from a visit with family, looking forward to seeing what they have to say and if nutrition changes could change my training results!
  • peaceout_aly
    peaceout_aly Posts: 2,018 Member
    43% or higher protein, limiting calories and food choices, and competing too? I'm sorry, but your diet/lifestyle does not really sound like it's healthy, but the throwing up like a natural consequence. So yes, "too strict" is definitely a thing.


    Competing in powerlifting, not bikini. Limiting calories and food choices is common - meaning that I'm not eating ice cream every night like I would much rather be doing and instead eating yogurt, oats, etc. It's not like I'm eating too little...I'm 4'11" and started at 95 lbs., now I hold at 118 lbs. and drop to 112 to 115 lbs. to be in my weight class for PL competitions. I don't constantly eat 1,300-1,400 calories...in Fall & Winter I eat close to 2,000 after eating back exercise calories. But thank you! <3
  • peaceout_aly
    peaceout_aly Posts: 2,018 Member
    VUA21 wrote: »
    The 2 culprits that would most likely be why you have an upset stomach are:
    1. You ate something that you are intolerant too, or simply have a hard time digesting. Beer will cause me to have an upset stomach the following day, but sparkling wine doesn't...don't know why, but it does.
    2. You may be mildly sick or just run down. TOM, stomach bug, mild food poisoning, a cold.


    If it's something you ate, list foods that you ate that were different to your normal diet and go through them one at a time to see which one's the culprit. If it's your body or your body vs illness, hope you recover quickly.


    I ended up going to the doc and was told I am dehydrated which can cause nausea, but was also causing a low BP and high heart rate for me personally. I question whether I was actually dehydrated as the root cause, or if me getting sick was the cause of the dehydration, but clearly there was *something* going on. Probably something I was mildly intolerant to as well - especially when I was out of the country! Makes a lot of sense.