I certainly have. If I don’t get food when I need it, it can be a rough time for the people around me! Food and nutrition are so interesting to me — the idea that we have to constantly consume in order to function; the fact that our bodies are made of what we put into them; the fact that this necessary ‘chore’ is an enjoyable, often social event — it’s all just so wonderful, strange, and fascinating to me.
Anywho, I love food.
But… I’m writing this on a Wednesday, and today (and tomorrow, and Friday morning) I can’t have any food!
Let me first say that I am not dieting. I’m participating in a 6-week protein requirement study for endurance athletes. Leading up to the study, we took measurements of my weight, height, body composition, VO2 max, and resting metabolic rate. Then the study itself began!
The study only affects me 3 days of the week: Wednesday and Thursday (‘Adaptation Days’) as well as Friday (‘Test Day’). My diet on the adaptation days is based on my individual needs and is 100% controlled.
Like I said, I can’t eat… so what am I consuming?
Well, my diet on Wednesdays and Thursdays is 100% liquid.
I’m given a number of milkshake-type meal replacements based on my caloric needs (which factor in the amount of training I typically do on those days), as well as additional fibre, glucose, protein, and a multivitamin. I can drink as much water as I want, and I can have black coffee and/or tea. MMMMM!
(Note: when I say diet, I’m simply referring to what I’m putting into my body — this is not a “diet“ to lose/gain weight. The adaptation days simply prepare my body for the test day.)
I was excited to start the study! As much as I love food, I like experimenting with nutrition to see how different foods/diets affect my body.
I will admit, I was also a little nervous going in. I’ve tried liquid diets before. One summer, my dad and I did a 10 day juicing challenge to see how we’d feel. I remember how I felt.
I. Felt. Hangry.
I specifically remember returning home from work on the 5th day, beyond grumpy, and promptly making myself a sandwich.
So you can imagine my hint of hesitation going into this study. Will I be hungry? Will I be hangry? Certainly I’ll have cravings. What if I can’t do it? It’s only 2.5 days a week for 6 weeks. I can do that… right?
As it turns out, I didn’t have to worry! Although I’m only taking in liquids, my body’s caloric and nutritional needs are being met. I don’t have cravings, and I’m genuinely not hungry. It feels a little strange not having meals (I just sip consistently throughout the day) and not taking in solid food, but I actually feel incredible.
While I eat quite healthy on normal days, I found out that I’m actually not eating enough of what my body needs. I can feel the difference in my energy during the adaptation days — I feel light, happy, and healthy. I’ve noticed a few other things too. Situations that would normally frustrate or annoy me don’t seem to bother me as much. My mind is sharper and I listen more intently. I spent last Thursday night at a friend’s house making adorable Valentine’s cookies, and (although I would have liked to have tried one), I had no problem just cutting out the hearts. (You have to know… this isn’t normal for me! When I make cookies, I’m typically one to eat half the batter and then some of the finished product. But I was completely content with my shake!)
I’m not suggesting we all switch to liquid diets. Definitely, definitely not! Food is fun, and it can do so much for our bodies! This study is really helping to remind me of the difference it makes when I make the choice to give my body what it needs.
Challenge: Think about your diet this week! Are you getting what you need? Do you know what you need? It can be so confusing! Maybe you’ll decide to do some research, try a new cookbook, experiment with lentils, introduce more water into your diet, or put some time into prepping balanced meals. Try making small changes and pay attention to how they make you feel!