Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Week of Caloric Restriction - Days 6 & 7

Vodka has virtually no calories and is full of nutritie... no, wait. (Photo by ukaszSie)

Whew! The week is finally over. Now would be a good time to look back and see how my first attempt at caloric restriction went.

I survived Friday on a big salad and some fruit and spent the rest (900 kcal) on beers and a vodka coke. Very healthy, eh? It wasn't made any easier by the fact that I stayed up all night and went to bed late in the morning. Still, it wasn't as difficult as it may sound. Usually when I drink beer I get the urge to eat carbs, even when I've had more than enough calories already, but now I was getting by fairly well with a rather small meal.

I also drank less than I usually would, which was partly due to beer containing lots of calories and partly due to the alcohol having a stronger effect on me than usually. That's what not eating will do. Want to get drunk fast but running low on cash? Try caloric restriction!

After I woke up, I ate a banana (100 kcal) and a while later some minced lamb (280 kcal) with an egg yolk (50 kcal). That was the only meal I had that day - the rest was, once again, spent on drinks. I know it sounds pretty ridiculous, but once again everything went just fine. The smell of greasy food was a little difficult to ignore on Saturday, but not much more so than on a normal night out. I was rather surprised to see that I could keep the experiment going through the weekend.

The hardest part were the first two days, during which I felt very hungry most of the time. It seemed that all I could think about was food. The idea of going through that every single day doesn't feel very tempting, though it could probably be done. The trick to not feel hungry is to eat foods that make you feel satiated but don't contain a lot of calories. I still think that low-carb is the way to go - even during CR - but it can be a little tricky. For example, I think olive oil is very healthy, but it's so calorie-dense that when you're hungry and have the option of eating either a banana or a tablespoon of olive oil (both have about 100 kcal), the banana seems like the wiser choice.

I'm now going to end the experiment and see how much calories I actually tend to eat when not restricted. If it's more or less 2,000 kcal, then eating 1,750 kcal is only a 12.5 % CR diet, which wouldn't probably add much more years to one's life. Based on my experience, I think I could go on only 1,500 kcal per day, but it would take some getting used to.

Also, counting the calories of everything you eat can be quite a hassle. At home it's manageable, but try going to a restaurant and analyzing the calorie content of everything that's on your plate.

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