Apologies if this is posted in the wrong subforum, this is kind of a general advice thread.
Background on me: I'm 21. I grew up skinny and was that way in my early teens, but around 16 I started getting chubby and by 20 I was on the low-end of obese, it was the culmination of the ****tiest habits imaginable (including being a vegetarian in an overeating, high-carb way), around 19 I abandoned vegetarianism but continued to gain weight.
At 5'11, I was 225 lbs. last June. Decided to do something about my life. Joined a gym and began working out for 2 months, my body fat went down by a percentage and I was still the same weight. I realized the problem was with my diet and I discovered intermittent fasting. Generally tried high-protein and went from Leangains to Fast Five, and spent September through now on Fast Five.
At the start of November, after three months of calorie restriction, IF, and frequent workouts involving mainly cardio, I was 165 lbs. Spent December and January fluctuating give or take a few pounds. Not being content with myself, I decided to drop my weight a little more, and now I'm ~161. I've lost arm flab (something I've noticed when using pectoral flys), my face went from round and a double chin to having well defined features and no visible neck flab even if I press my chin down against my collarbone. My belly got nearly flat, I see little lines of abs, and I could describe my chest as having gone from manboobs to unimpressive but fat-free pecs.
I'll also note that compared to many guys I know, I have huge legs, because even when I was obese I was walking, skating, and cycling all the time. My calves are very well defined and my thighs are muscular too, with some fat still hanging on them but not a whole lot.
Anyway, I want to bodybuild. Now a lot of advice I already know, like immediately ingesting a lot of protein after a workout, cycling through the different parts of body rather than working the same ones every day, and so on.
Problem is, and I know to a lot of you this is going to sound pathetic, I'm scared to death of putting on weight. It's not that I wouldn't be happy to be 175 - 185 and a lot stronger and muscular than I am now, it's just that I'm freaked out about the process. I've read about "bulking and cutting" and I am mainly scared of the bulking part. I probably have had 10, maybe 15 days since August where I've eaten more than 2000 calories and I always feel absolutely disgusted with myself when I do.
I'm scared that regaining a big belly while building arms, or something like that, will destroy my confidence. Time, I have, and I can maintain my lifestyle because I basically switched from losing to maintaining from the start of November and I've been fine since, including the holiday season. I just can't stand the thought of my face getting round again, my belly growing out again, even if it's just a temporary thing that I can fix later.
Do I need to just get over these issues if I want to start building, or would it be possible to build at a slow and steady pace that doesn't involve fat-gain? Do you think my intermittent fasting diet and typical daily calories (1200 on an excellent day, 1800 on a ****ty day, usually 14 - 16 most days) could help me bodybuild if I broke my fast after workouts and increased my protein radically? Should I try creatine, cause I've heard people on it say it makes you retain a lot of water weight and sorry, that freaks me out? Do I have to cut out cardio altogether? (I do a 1.5 mile sprint on the treadmill 5 times a week)
Thread: Building without "bulking"?