20-year-old Kiana Elliot is an elite weightlifter and four-time Senior National Champion. She followed the THR1VE Protocol to help fuel her training and lose weight before the qualifiers for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Here, Kiana shares how changing up her diet changed so much more than just her body.Before the Protocol, I was in a bit of a rut. I was confined in a ‘dieting mindset’ where certain foods were off limits. Psychologically I was drained and had been so for an extended amount of time. I was far from in the best place mentally and physically.
I decided to follow the THR1VE Protocol as part of a weight cut for a competition. It had a huge impact on my performance. Bodyweight change was my main goal, and I made weight in the 63kg class easily on competition day. But, my body composition also improved and I felt better along with that. There were even a few close personal best attempts throughout the eight weeks!
Following the Protocol facilitated an unexpected change in my mental approach to food, too. Particularly, I found that the low carb, high fat phase put me back in touch with my satiety levels. Previously I had been minimising my fat intake to prioritise my carb and protein intake. I now recognise that a higher fat meal will indeed keep me full for much longer and I know not to second guess myself when I feel hungry relatively shortly after a higher carb meal.
This has actually felt like a breath of fresh air. I’d previously found myself mentally beating myself up for being hungry, especially because it felt like I was always hungry! But I needed to realise that being hungry is so absolutely normal! It is now apparent to me that I had flirted with some really unhelpful and unhealthy eating habits and approach to food.
The biggest challenge was resisting the social situations that involved food during the eight weeks of the Protocol. I believe avoiding eating out, or bringing your own food to all social events isn’t appropriate all the time. You should be able to happily enjoy any type of food at your discretion. However, I stuck as close to my plan as possible, particularly in the final weeks leading up to my competition because I had a definitive goal with a deadline! Staying on track with my home delivered THR1VE meals gave me peace of mind. Having that goal really helped to keep me focused.
The Protocol has enabled me to realise the rut I’d been in, climb out of it and make some real progress. The Protocol required me to stick to a clear plan, with all the right foods – which provided delicious variety! Most importantly I was able to manipulate my energy balance to lose the weight smoothly.
As I had to make weight for the competition, I checked my weight in the morning on a daily basis and re-evaluated my progress on a weekly basis, setting new guidelines and goals for the next week. It really helped keep me accountable. And now, even though my goal is bodyweight maintenance, I will still keep this up as the accountability aspect of keeping consistent quantitative track of my progress is so helpful.
In saying all this, tracking bodyweight on a daily basis is not for everyone, some prefer progress photos, measurements or other methods. This way works for me, particularly in a weight class sport where it is imperative that I make weight on the day! But whatever way you choose, I am an advocate for measuring and keeping data so you can look back and see your progress. Post-Protocol, I feel like I have the tools to maintain energy balance as I need to and to adjust my nutrition accordingly to align with my goals.
All the qualifying competitions have occurred, so it’s a waiting game until the Commonwealth Games team is announced. Nonetheless, it’s also a new year. With a new competition season and calendar, I’ve been dreaming and planning for my goals and bucket list for 2018! This will be my first year as a fully-fledged Senior athlete, as 2018 has seen the conclusion of my Junior (20 and under career). This is super exciting for me to really put heads together with my coach and my support team to set goals to see what I can accomplish amongst the big girls on the international stage!