This is going to be the very last installment in the series on 15 Things I Learned While on a crash diet. If you haven’t already check out Part 1 and Part 2 HERE and HERE.
This series is a wrap up of all the different things I noticed and experienced while putting myself through a mild state of starvation for a few weeks.
Ok maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but it was not fun and there were some very noticeable drawbacks to this experiment that I’m openly discussing in this series.
The basic rules of my crash diet were I could only consume a maximum of 1,500 calories per day and doing this proved more difficult than I anticipated.
I did this experiment with the purpose of better understanding the mindset and physiological changes that happen when someone goes on a crash diet.
Needless to say I got an insight into that, and while I was happy when the experiment was over I was really happy I decided to go through with it.
In today’s blog I’m going to be talking about my digestion, body temperature, social situations and how it impacted the amount of movement I got throughout the day.
My Digestion Slowed Down:
Since birth my my digestion has been sluggish, and it’s been a key area of focus for me when it comes to my own nutrition.
Most things that I’ve done with nutrition and supplements seem to work for a short period of time but stop working after a few weeks to a month.
By increasing my intake of both fruit and denser carbohydrates in the past year my digestion is the best it’s ever been, until doing the crash diet experiment.
A little over a week into my crash diet with far less food and denser carbohydrates than I’m used to my digestion slowed down again.
I noticed that I was having less regular bowel movements, and sometimes felt like I needed to use the bathroom but when taking a trip to the bathroom nothing would happen.
Now that I’m back to eating a lot more food including a few servings of fruit and denser carbohydrates everything has gotten back to normal.
I Felt Much Colder:
About a week into this crash diet around the same time my digestion slowed down I began to feel much colder.
Even when I was indoors I was cold and started wearing a lot more layers on a daily basis to make sure I stayed warm.
A few of my clients took notice of how much warmer my office was than it typically is, and I found myself cold in situations where people around me were wearing less and felt like the temperature was fine.
This is mostly anecdotal but I felt colder more frequently as the diet went on longer. The diet wasn’t long enough or extreme enough to have any impact on thyroid function, none the less I wore more layers to stay warmer.
Social Situations Were More Difficult:
Crash dieting made going to social events centered around food, and staying within the 1,500 calorie range a lot more difficult.
There were a few family events where I was much more meticulous about what I ate, or would track in my head what I was putting on my plate.
I passed on some delicious looking desserts and pretty much abstained from booze during this time with the exception of a few beers.
Social events were doable but I did things like fast for the day so I had all my calories in one meal which actually worked against me the first time I did it.
While fasting isn’t that big of a deal for me because I’ve done it in the past I recognize it’s not sustainable if you want to enjoy your social life and go on fun dates.
When You Eat Less You Move Less. It’s NEAT!
NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and its the unconscious low grade activity that we do on a daily basis without thinking about like fidgeting, leg bouncing or going from standing to sitting and vice versa.
BUT there is another part of the metabolism that goes hand in hand with NEAT and that’s NEPA which is Non Exercise Physical Activity.
NEPA accounts for the low grade day to day movements like walking to work, cooking and doing the dishes, yard work or working at standing desk.
I track my steps on a fitbit and average 10-15,000 steps a day, rarely do I ever get less that 8,00 steps.
However during this experiment I noticed that I had a reduced drive to get up and move. My daily steps dropped to around 2-3,00 steps if I wasn’t scheduling walks.
I also noticed that I was much more likely to work sitting at my desk instead of standing, which is unusual for me.
I generally work better while standing at my standing desk, but not during these two weeks. I found myself being a lot lazier about my daily movement.
So not only did my conscious movement drop, but my subconscious movement also dramatically decreased as well. I definitely felt more sluggish overall.
People Seemed Interested In Why I’d Do This:
The coolest part about this experiment was multiple family members, friends and acquaintances approached me to ask questions about this experiment, and how it was going.
Everyone I spoke with thought it was an interesting idea, and were really curious about how I was feeling and what I noticed so far.
At family events I even had people ask me about my food choices asking if that fit in my 1,500 calorie diet. I ended up explaining to a few people that I actually hadn’t eaten that day so I could relax and enjoy myself. Needless to say they gave me that “you’re crazy, man” look.
I spent many years in my past as that annoying nutrition guy in the family who wouldn’t shut up about how he ate ( thanks to all of you who put up with me in that phase) It was cool to see them interested and asking questions about this experiment.
You know you’re legitimately onto something when your family is interested and asking you questions.
I’m happy this experiment is over because to be honest the last week was not enjoyable.
The food cravings were much stronger, it was increasingly difficult to get work done and the energy dips had gotten to be a pain in the ass.
However it wasn’t all bad either as I got what I was looking for in terms of gaining insight into the psychology of your average crash dieter.
If anything learn from my mistakes and experience crash dieting, I only did it for two weeks and even I began to experience physical and psychological drawbacks.
Crash dieting is not the answer and will only leave in a worse place in the long run psychologically, and physically as well.
Be patient and make the right changes over a longer period of time and give yourself plenty of time to lose body fat.
Trying to go too fast in the beginning is usually only going to make future fat loss in the future more difficult and your body is going to fight the process to a greater degree.
If you’re interested in developing a plan that’s right for you personally to reach your health or fat loss goals in sustainable fashion fill out the form below and let’s book a free phone strategy session.
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