Overcoming My Fear of Bulking

I've been lifting heavy weights for the past 4 years. In the first year, I saw crazy amounts of muscle development (beginner gains).

Since then, it's been really difficult for me to put on any additional muscle. I was on a fervent quest for six pack abs like my friend Katie's or like my girl crush Christmas Abbott, but I was trying to get there by simply cutting calories. 

Here's the deal - abs are made in the gym and REVEALED in the kitchen. If you don't have big enough muscles to reveal, they won't poke through no matter how low your body fat percentage gets.

I got down to 11% body fat and still didn't have the abs I wanted. Not only that, some of my hard-earned biceps had disappeared! Since then, I've been doing a lot of research on muscle hypertrophy (gains) and how nutrition fits in with that. To sum it all up, here's what I've found:

I need to eat more food to be able to pack on more muscle. Quite a bit more food, especially protein, and I need to time my meals well. 

I've put myself on a bulking cycle -- eating 2100 calories on rest days and 2400 calories on workout days. That is SO much in comparison to what I was eating a year ago, and it's a big jump even from more recently. Inevitably, I'm going to gain some body fat as I add muscle. 

I know the science behind it. I know this is the way to go, but that doesn't stop the basic girl fear of getting fat that prattles in my ear. I have to choose daily to tell that girl to stop being a weenie and start being a bada**. 

The goal is to increase my tough girl status -- both physically and mentally. This is one of the most challenging things I've ever done. I know I'll do a cut and lose the extra fat after my bulk, but that doesn't stop my present moment vanity. 

I'm also pushing myself harder than ever on my lifts. I really want to put those extra calories to use!

Have you ever gone through a bulk cycle? What did your mental game look like?