• Courtney Ustrzycki

I was Rigid and Clean Before I Became Flexible

I started tracking my macros in August 2013. I don’t quite remember what sparked it or why I started, but I distinctly remember laying in my bedroom at my mom’s house, copying my homemade meal plan spreadsheet into my food log.


When I scroll through my food log from that time, I am in disbelief. 700 calories a day... 2 celery stalks as a pre-workout snack... following the typical “use the 1,200 calories that MFP tells you, and then take off 500 calories because that’s what a deficit means” routine... (spoiler alert: nope, doesn’t work that way... please don’t ever do that!)


Side note: probably from around that point until May 2015, I had been through the wringer with diets: vegan, intermittent fasting, high protein, high carbs, no carbs, (what I thought was) keto (but was actually just ridiculously under eating), long term fasting, paleo, clean eating, only organic...


Looking past the severe under eating and my lack of actual nutrition awareness (we’ll save that for another day), I was rigid. I ate the same things day in and day out. It was all (what we would consider) ‘clean’ food: lean meats, nuts, vegetables, healthy protein powders and eggs; nothing packaged or processed. It didn’t bother me. It was easy for me to meal prep, I enjoyed the flavours, and it was simple. And to be honest, almost my entire ‘flexible dieting life’ (since 2013) has been rigid. I know many people can vouch for me when I say that I never went out for food prior to December 2015 (that’s when my love for The Works burgers came about and I could track my food with their nutrition menu!) But even then, even from December 2015 until December 2017, I was rigid... as... fck. And hey, even my days now are almost a copy-paste process from day to day. I love what I eat, I enjoy it all, and it’s simple for me.


This discipline helped me in my ‘big transformation,’ my journey of 30lbs fat loss from May 2015 to now (May 2019.) I thrive so well on routine, on structure, on guidelines – and I still do. That’s why I am successful. In the first year of my ‘transformation’ I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I ate meals that weren’t prepared by myself (if not all of those being The Works, and maybe once a month.) And even when I did eat the burgers, they were lean, clean and you bet your butt they were all tracked down every piece of bell pepper. That first year was the biggest change in my transformation, where most of the fat came off, and I can literally go through my entire food log (which transitioned to the highly recommended My Macros+ app now) and see every single thing tracked. And guess what, they are all still considered to be clean foods. Because that’s what I know my body does well with. No baked goods, no gooey desserts, no pastries, no ice cream or gelato, no alcohol, definitely no donuts; nothing that wasn’t absolutely 100% aligned with my goals.


So when you look at me now, when you see this lean, 120lb powerlifter, eating donuts, tacos and gelato on a very regular basis, remember that this wasn’t always the case. I needed to go through all of that; the rigidity, the cleanliness, the habits. I needed to be so damn strict in order to learn how to find balance in my life, which is where I am now. Even though I am so much more flexible now, I have built incredible habits. I still track when I am out. I’ve done the research to find out how much a scoop of gelato at the specific store I go to weighs. The same for the tacos. I literally took my food scale there one day to find out! Think ‘obsessive’ or ‘ridiculous’ all you want, I really don’t care; I love how I am, I love my balance, my discipline, my perseverance, my knowledge and really my awesome strength, that has all come along with these ridiculous habits.

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© 2019 by Courtney Ustrzycki. Photos credit of Georges Schemagin (video) & Workout Magazine Mexico. All rights reserved.