Let’s take a minute to reminisce about the last time you slashed calories and went on a diet. Or even better yet, if you are on a diet right now think about how your life is day to day. Do you love it? Or is it about as fun as smashing your head into a wall, repetitively. I feel like most people will go with the latter, maybe not to that extreme of headbutting a wall, but face it, it’s not love. I mean really think about it. What you are doing when you go on a diet? Your calories are cut below a maintenance level, your exercising more to burn extra calories, more cardio, and worst of all, limited food choices. So I think we can agree that starving yourself to force your body to eat it’s own fat is not a fun task, right?
So why would a person voluntarily put themselves through such self inflicting torture? Well, to look good right? Or to be healthy, also a good answer and accepted. Now I was thinking about this the other day with my sad little diet brain and I noticed a trend starting to form. There was actually another positive to dieting and honestly more important then just looking good. There is always something I can take away each and every time I diet. Something that I can apply next time I diet and decide “I want to be hungry for the next few weeks.” Knowledge is a powerful thing, with enough of it you can really do anything you want in this world. So learning as much as you can about the skin you’re in would need to be a good thing, right?
It seems like every time I go on a diet, I learn more about my body and what things work for me and what doesn’t. It gives me an opportunity to try different foods and see which ones are beneficial for my diet. One example of this I really noticed for myself, which worked well, is eating potatoes over rice. So every prep after, instead of loading up on rice like your average bodybuilder I switched to potatoes and got way less bloat. (Held onto less water) But knowing this makes dieting a heck of a lot easier because I would get stripped of less food, and looking more lean means less food needs to be taken away. You can really see the side effects of sodium and how eating foods with a higher sodium content makes you bloat for a couple days after. Learn what foods your body likes and how each food can change your diet experience, for better or worse.
Besides learning what foods your body likes best, you also learn more about your body when it comes to macro nutrients. Some people seem to thrive and really flourish on high fat or keto diets, or others including myself need to have a higher carbohydrate intake. By trying different foods and different ratios of these foods, you can really learn a lot while you are dieting. Just recently I did this myself. I was eating a pretty high fat diet before, because peanut butter, but dropped that number in half and increased my carbs. To my surprise I lost 4lbs in 2 days! That is a pretty substantial weight loss considering I didn’t change my calorie intake for the day at all. You can also really notice a difference in energy levels while eating different foods, with fats I noticed a longer burning, but less intense energy. While eating a higher carbohydrate diet I found that I got more energy, but in a shorter burst. Now learning things like this can really help your training and meal timing. For example: eating a bunch of carbs before the gym would be ideal to get that quick burst of energy and power. Eating more fats at night time would help keep your body fueled for longer as you sleep and rebuild all night.
Yes you could do this at anytime and it doesn’t need to be while dieting, but I find it’s easier. While dieting, it is a lot more common to track your daily calorie intake. Keeping that a constant while trying different food and macro-nutrient options you know what works and doesn’t. I also tend to watch my weight that much closer while dieting, so the changes are more relevant. No one loves to diet and if you do, you may be crazy. I love the results of cutting calories, but the process of dieting can be a world of suck. That being said, all the things I have learned about my body while dieting has got me where I am today. So instead of concentrating on how much you hate dieting, try to make it into a learning experience. Take the opportunity to get to know your body, and what works best for you.