15 Things I Learned While On A Crash Diet (Part 1)

Two weeks ago I embarked on a purposeful crash diet to be able to better relate and understand my clients and audience who have a history of chronic dieting.

Someone’s history of dieting has strong influences on the future decisions they will make, and I want to know where these folks are coming from and share similar experiences.

It’s a little crazy but my goal in doing this was to be able to relate to them from a place of understanding how they felt first hand, and be able to communicate with them more effectively about how to get out of the vicious cycle of crash dieting.

The rules for this crash diet were that I’d eat 1,500 calories per day with a heavy emphasis on protein.

The protein emphasis was to ensure that I retained as much muscle mass as possible. I also strength trained consistently for muscle retention as well. 

I would have more carbs on the days when I strength trained or did jiu jitsu and thai boxing.

When you’re eating 1,500 calories a day though “more carbs” is a relative term....

I generally kept fat a lower to be able to stay within the 1,500 calorie range and allow for more food.

This crash diet experiment was my first time ever truly doing a low fat diet as well.

Yesterday was the very last day of my crash diet experiment, and I’m glad it’ over for a number of reasons, many of which I’m discussing below.

On the other hand though there are a lot of insights, and things that I learned while on this crash diet experiment that will allow me to better understand the mindset of the chronic dieter.

Overall I’m happy I decided to do this little experiment and while it was a pain in the ass, required a ton of cooking and I spent more time on my fitness pal than I’d like to admit.

Today I’m going to share my experiences,takeaways and lesson from my two week crash diet experiment.  

1.) Random Mood Swings:

I didn’t anticipate my mood being negatively impacted to the degree that it was during these last two weeks.

I’m not someone who has ever dealt with mood swings, but these past two weeks my mood has been through ups and downs, but far more downs than I’m used to.

I’m usually a really happy person with a positive attitude and there’s not a lot that bothers me.

During this crash diet I had to check myself a few times before speaking because I knew the frame of ind I was in.

Towards the later parts of the crash diet I could feel myself getting more agitated over small things that I knew shouldn’t be bugging me.

My roommate told me she thought I seemed less like my happy go lucky self who makes wise cracks and I seemed less present during conversations.

This was one of the more difficult things for me to deal with on a day to basis as I’m not someone who gets in a down mood for no reason but I dealt with this a lot during the past two weeks.  

2.) More Difficult To Focus:

It could be a combination of the holiday season combined with a diet of mild starvation, or that I'm heading to Chicago to spend Christmas with my brothers and their families but my ability to focus and get work done in the past two weeks has been horrible.

My motivation and ability to tackle tasks or to begin projects has been in the dumps. I found myself wasting a lot more time and doing busy work to avoid certain projects. I just didn’t have the motivation to start and stay focused on projects and tasks. 

I’m usually very good about starting projects, setting a work schedule then following through on deadlines. Work for the past two weeks felt especially difficult overall.

3.) Much Lower Energy:

The very first week of the crash diet was when my mid day energy dips were the worst, but I would still experience them from time to time throughout the past two weeks.

This also had some transfer over into my energy and motivation to exercise whether that be lifting weights or going to thai boxing and jiu jitsu class.

While strength training I felt much weaker and my workouts definitely felt like a grind to get through at times when I a few weeks before they were just fine.

In both thai boxing and jiu jitsu my performance suffered, I would plain run out of steam and feel completely exhausted after class.

4.) Waking Up Got Tougher:

I anticipated there maybe being some problems with my sleep, but that never seemed to happen I slept like a baby for the whole two weeks.

I was surprised a few days into the crash diet experiment when waking up in the morning got much more difficult. I’ve been getting roughly the same amount of sleep as before the crash diet, but waking up and getting out of bed was really rough.

Since going on the crash diet I found myself doing things that aren't normal for me like hitting the snooze button, going back to sleep or laying in bed for long periods of time with my alarm going off. 

5.) Increased Reliance on Caffeine:

Because my energy was so low on certain days I found myself starting to use to rely on coffee too heavily.

I used coffee a way to help provide energy, and make sure I didn’t experience those mid day energy crashes that left me feeling totally wiped out and worthless.

I also found myself drinking coffee much later in the day than I normally would especially if I was hungry and needed something to help suppress my appetite.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Part 2 next week where I'll be discussing more lessons I learned during my crash dieting experience.