The first real diet I ever did was in college. My diet was terrible and lasted over the course of a month. It mostly consisted of protein bars and one or two small meals a day. Overall the diet worked, but I had a lot of unwanted muscle loss and it was very mentally and physically taxing.
I had wrestled in high school and had to lose weight to qualify for weight classes, but I didn’t shoot for anything long term. When I first tried cutting my sophomore year of college, my initial thoughts were to just get it over with as quickly as possible and be done with it. At this point in time, I wasn’t tracking calories either; I had no way of knowing how many calories I was actually consuming. All I knew was that I should have a lot of protein to help prevent muscle loss. If I would have tracked calories it would have helped me diversify my diet, and I would probably have found that I was eating too much protein. Having a tracker would have made things easier on me and I would have spent a lot less money on protein bars. My diet was terrible and lasted over the course of a month. It mostly consisted of protein bars and one or two small meals a day. I felt terrible at the end of it and didn’t have much energy. I continued to work out through my diet, but I was still losing muscle since my calorie consumption was so low.
This is clearly not ideal for someone who is trying to gain muscle. I went from 195 to 185 through the course of the diet, losing both muscle mass and fat. Overall the diet worked, but I had a lot of unwanted muscle loss and it was very mentally and physically taxing.
The major mistake I made in this diet was that I was trying to diet too fast. If I would have dieted slower I could have preserved a lot of muscle mass, and it would have been a much less exhausting experience. A good diet should be maintainable year-round with relative ease (after you are adjusted to it). Otherwise, you end up suffering from unnecessary mental and physical challenges. Why make things harder on yourself than they have to be?
That being said, discipline is the linchpin that holds a good diet together. You should develop more discipline and self-control over the course of your diet. Discipline is key to a maintaining a long term diet with ease. Of course, discipline isn’t learned overnight, so don’t be discouraged by any slip-ups along the way. There were many times that I slipped up and lost weeks, maybe months, of progress in a few short days. If you stay consistent, you will reach your goals though.
Stay consistent out there,