Top 5 Reasons to Quit a Low-Calorie Diet

That’s it.  I quit!  After 6 weeks of low calorie eating, I’ve had enough.  A lot of people asked why I was on a low calorie diet to begin with.  I think it’s important to cycle calories, as well as macronutrient (carb, protein, fat) sources periodically.  In other words, if you usually eat a low calorie diet, cycle in periods of higher caloric intake.  If you usually eat a high calorie diet (me), cycle in periods of low caloric intake.  There are also additional health benefits to dropping body fat, notably that toxins are stored in fat tissue, so shedding some fat periodically will help release some of these toxins and clear them from your body.  

Those are the reasons I usually gave people, but to be honest, that had nothing to do with why I went on a the diet.  The real reason: It sucked.  It was hard.  With my hockey career officially over, opportunities to really challenge myself physically and mentally are somewhat limited.  Going on a very strict, severely limiting diet was one way to see if I still had it, to test my mettle.  Overall, I’m happy with how I was able to stick through it.  

                Before (180.5 lbs)                                                                                     After (166.0 lbs)
           1/6/09: Front-Close                    2/14/09: Front









So why give up after 6 weeks?  My original thought was to try this out for 6-10 weeks, so I’m not really bailing out early.  Having said that, I have 5 great reasons to start eating a more “normal” diet (more calories and slightly more carbs):

5) No matter how lean I get, my skin will still be impressively pale, verging on translucent, and dangerous for other people to look at.  

4) I miss smoothies and ketchup.  I put ketchup on everything.  So should you.  But when you’re only afforded 50 g of carbs per day, you can’t use them haphazardly.  No ketchup for the last 6 weeks.  It’s been rough.  On the same note, I usually throw back two smoothies a day.  I showed my friend Mike how I make them.  After his mockery (apparently smoothies aren’t a manly meal choice), he agreed they were delicious and began making his own…with a modified recipe.  The “recipe” looks something like:

  • 16 oz 1% Milk
  • 6 Tablespoons Teddy’s All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 Cups Frozen Mixed Berries
  • 3 Scoops Chocolate Muscle Milk
  • 10 g SAN BCAAs
  • 5 g SAN Creatine
  • A rack of lamb

What does this have to do with my diet?  Mike managed to take my entire day’s worth of calories, and blend them into one delicious smoothie.  Diet out.  Smoothies in.    

3) I’m too performance-oriented to several restrict my calories.  Despite an intelligent supplement menu throughout my low calorie eating, my training has still taken a pretty big hit.  I haven’t lost too much strength, considering the amount of weight I lost, but I haven’t gained any either.  A little more carbohydrates (more than the 50g/day I’ve been eating) and a few hundred more calories/day will go a long way in helping me get back on track in improving my strength and speed, while maintaing my body weight.  I also want to add more conditioning into my training.  More conditioning equates to more fat burning and more calorie burning.  In a nutshell, I can eat a lot more calories and not gain any fat if I offset it when an intelligent conditioning program. My new motto: Smaller, stronger, faster.

2) Undersupplying your mind and body with energy isn’t really conducive to training hard, running a business, coaching a hockey team, training clients, reading and analyzing research, writing articles, taking graduate classes, and teaching undergraduate classes.

And finally….

1) My lovely girlfriend saw me at 166 lbs and told me I look like a “scrawny little bitch”.  Ha!  I have to admit, as much as I don’t typically care about what other people think about how I look (I’d be more offended if someone called me weak than if someone called me fat), I found it hilariously ironic that I lost body fat and she, of all people, made fun of me.  For some reason I thought leaner was better in the female eye.  6 weeks of low calorie dieting taught me two important lessons: (1) I love food too much to do something like this consistently (although I did gain a whole new respect for bodybuilders that do this sort of thing on a fairly regular basis to prepare for competitions); and (2) I still know nothing about women.

Back to hockey content tomorrow…


Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!