Recently I went on a crash diet for two weeks to better understand and relate to my audience and clients that come from a history of unsustainable eating.
I ate 1,500 calories a day with a heavy emphasis on protein to retain as much muscle as possible while in this extreme calorie deficit.
While this wasn’t a fun experience it was well worth it, and I gained a lot of insight and experience from my crash diet experiment.
Last week was Part 1(READ HERE) in this series of 15 Things I Learned While On A Crash Diet, and this week is Part 2 in the series.
Beyond the first week of this experiment I started to experience cravings for sweets and fatty foods. As time went on the cravings for sweets and fatty foods got significantly stronger.
I definitely had much stronger cravings for the fatty foods than I did the sweets, but the sweet cravings were really strong at times.
What was interesting to me is that this is the first time I’ve ever been on what I would consider a low fat diet, and I wonder how much of that played a role in my craving for high fat foods.
I know that with the lack of fat in my diet it also played a role in how long I stayed full for after meals.. Which was never very long.
7.) Maximizing Food Volume Per Calorie Matters For Staying Full
I learned very quickly that maximizing food volume was extremely important if I was going to stay remotely full during this experiment.
As an example I could have a 60 gram protein bar for 190 calories or I could have an egg white scramble with veggies that was six times as big as the protein bar for 180 calories.
By eating tons of low calorie vegetables at every meal and snack, I could always increase food volume.
I had to get creative with the ways that I increased volume at meals but veggies and egg whites were always a solid option.
Figuring out how to make meals bigger while keeping the calories low was definitely something I hadn’t given much thought to in the past, but quickly became important so I wasn’t constantly hungry and focused on food…. Even more focused that is!
8.) You’re going to be hungry sometimes
There were times when I’d eaten all my food for the day and had was at the 1,500 calorie mark, but was still actually hungry.
I’m talking real stomach grumbling hunger, not a food craving. Most of the time I drank a ton of water and tried to take my mind off the hunger and dealt with it.
There were a few late night slip ups where hunger got the better of me, but for the most part I won that battle... In reality there was no winner in this battle!
If I went to bed hungry I noticed that the next day I got a lot hungrier earlier in the day and would need to stop and eat before I had initially planned.
9.) I Got Overly Food Focused
To have all the right foods prepared and make sure that I stayed full and within the 1,500 calories limit I had to spend way more time thinking about food than I ever have before, and it got really really old!
Not only did I have to grocery shop way more than normal to have the right foods in my fridge, but I also had to weigh, measure, cook and pack food for the next day.
I had to spend so much time in the kitchen cooking and weighing food that it became a household joke with my roommates that I was renting the kitchen, not a bedroom.
Especially after a long day of work and going to the gym, cooking and weighing my dinner and lunch for the next day was the last thing on earth that I wanted to do.
On top of spending all that time time cooking and preparing food I was also experiencing strong food cravings and found myself thinking about food and calories way more than in the past.
10.) I Was Never Really Getting Full
I was joking with a friend of mine today that a 500 calorie meal is a lot more depressing than it is filling which is somewhat true.
Sometimes throughout the day I would eat a large meal only to find myself physically hungry two hours later.
If I had to guess I think a large part of why I’d get so hungry was due to how low my fat intake was during the crash diet.
Not to mention that 1,500 calories is well below my basal metabolic rate which is the calories you need for basic physiological functions like blood pumping, breathing or internal organ function.
The meal that was a life saver for me most nights was my high volume oats recipe. It’s a lot of food and there are small changes that can dramatically alter the calories based on how many I had left for dinner.
Another added benefit is that oatmeal works really well for me as a denser source of carbs and makes my digestion feel awesome.
As you can see there is a lot that learned while on this crash diet, but stay tuned as next week in Part 3 I’ll be discussing what happened with my digestion, body temperature, social situations and NEAT movements.