I went around in a circle with my own physique tweaking. I was into heavy lifting and clean eating and wanted to be lean and muscular like a fitness competitor. Then I felt too big and dude-like and decided I still wanted to be lean, but smaller and daintier, like a ballerina. Then I realized that as I'm approaching age 50 (holy crap!) being veins and tendons lean really doesn't contribute to a youthful appearance. So, then I wanted to be less lean but still small, like an actress. But I got hungry and bored, so I started eating more, had lots more energy, and resumed challenging strength training. I fell in love with being strong and having muscles again, but I also fell in love with eating ice cream. The muscles and the ice cream together provide a good balance where I'm curvy strong and not stringy strong. Now I'm happy. Ha!
Let me say first of all that most of the changes in these various stages were mostly in my own mind. It's not like you can dramatically change your physique with just a couple of diet or workout tweaks. It's more like you change your perception of your body and the process. Physical changes do happen but they're fairly subtle and you would need to point them out to most people. 😄
For my actress stage, I quit the gym and quit heavy strength training for about a year. I joined a Pilates studio and followed a vegan(ish) diet.
My big take-away from all of this turned out to be to just eat and train in a way I love and let my body do what it's going to do. What does not work is eating and training in ways I truly don't enjoy (calorie counting, clean eating, cardio, obsession) hoping to make my body look a certain way. Because if the methods suck, it never looks that way for long.--
Now, here's the elaborating on what I've learned from my physique tweakings...
Your body is a reflection of what you consistently do. If you:
- Eat and train in a way you love and embrace the look that produces - peace and happiness and great joy will fill the land
That would be now. Muscles, curves, yoga, handstands, ice cream, kettlebells.
- Eat and train in a way you love but reject the look that produces - uh-oh, conflict, turmoil, insecurity, pain
That would be loving heavy lifting and feeling strong but being embarrassed about the size of your muscles and wanting to look like an actress or model instead. Oh, how I tormented myself with this one!
- Eat and train in a way you dislike hoping to achieve a certain look - uh-oh, conflict, turmoil, inconsistency, reactive eating
That would be every diet or fat loss program I've ever followed. Rules, calorie-counting, macro-tracking, fasting windows, off-limits foods, workout dread, ignoring pain and fatigue to stick to the schedule. OMG, no. Even if it "worked" the results were always temporary.
I think it's important to do what you love, but also to realize that what you love may change. Now, I'm much more inclined to roll with it and do whatever interests me and makes me happy THAT DAY. I had to quit doing the thing where I decide: now I'm a bodybuilder, now I'm a vegan, now I'm Pilates girl, now I'm paleo. I'd make some kind of dogma my new identity and reject or not allow myself to do anything that conflicted with it. It's possible to do that even with intuitive or happy eating. Don't make anything your "new thing."