Dieting is the best and science-backed way to change how you look or perform. Usually, people tend to diet to lose weight, but can be difficult at times. What exactly could be ruining your diet? Mike Isratel might have the answer for it.
Dr Mike Israetel, PhD in Sport Physiology and co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, is a well-respected professor in the bodybuilding community. And in today’s discussion, Mike Israetel is exploring the rather pertinent question of why diet cravings tend to be so intense.
A diet craving is a strong desire or urge to consume specific foods, often ones that are rich in taste, texture, or particular attributes. These cravings can be triggered by various factors, including hunger, emotional states, or environmental cues. During a diet, individuals may experience cravings for foods that are restricted or limited by their dietary plan.
These cravings can pose challenges to sticking to a diet, as they may lead to overeating or consuming foods that are not aligned with the intended nutritional goals. Managing diet cravings often involves developing strategies to address the underlying causes and finding healthier alternatives to satisfy those cravings.
See more below.
This Is What Is Actually Ruining Your Diet
Taking a deep dive into biology class, he places a strong emphasis on the evolutionary history of the body and brain components. Mike underscores that the urge to eat when hungry is one of the oldest neural drives in the Animal Kingdom.
In a thorough analysis of ancestral drives, Mike elucidates that the newer, more rational components of the brain don’t wield as much influence on behaviours. He underscores the significant role of hunger and cravings in shaping behaviours, stressing that these aren’t mere nuisances but rather the baseline system guiding most individuals.
Mike draws parallels with the instinctual responses of animals, highlighting that humans possess a unique ability for forward-thinking and planning due to the prefrontal cortex. However, he notes that this ability is relatively recent in evolutionary terms and can be overpowered by the primal drives related to hunger and cravings.
Addressing the clash between primal drives and rational thinking, Mike urges individuals to respect and prepare for the battle with hunger and cravings when embarking on a diet. He tells you should expect hunger and cravings as a predictable feature of dieting and develop strategies to minimise their impact rather than seeking diets that eliminate them entirely.
Understand that diets must stop short of a failure point and goals should be achievable to avoid succumbing to the overwhelming power of hunger and cravings.
In the context of coaching, Mike advises coaches to communicate the challenges of hunger and cravings to their clients, preparing them for the difficulties they might face during fat loss and maintenance phases. He emphasizes the need for clients to expect that it will be tough and coaches to provide guidance on anti-hunger strategies.
Mike concludes by highlighting the respect that should be given to hunger and cravings, recognising their deep ancestral evolutionary place and the critical role they play in sustaining life. He cautions against falling for claims of diets that completely eliminate hunger and cravings, advocating for a realistic understanding and preparation for the challenges ahead.
For a more detailed conversation of what is ruining your diet and Israetel’s take on how to deal with hunger cravings, watch the video below.
Nutrition is the Way
There is a saying that you can’t outrun a bad diet. This means that adopting a diet is considered the optimal approach for achieving weight loss or muscle building. Here are a few key reasons why:
- Caloric Control: A well-structured diet provides a means of controlling caloric intake, which is fundamental for both weight loss and muscle building. To lose weight, one must create a caloric deficit, consuming fewer calories than the body expends. Conversely, muscle building often requires a caloric surplus to provide the necessary energy for muscle growth.
- Nutrient Composition: Diets allow for precise control over nutrient composition. Weight loss diets typically emphasize a balance of macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) to ensure adequate energy while promoting fat loss. Muscle-building diets, on the other hand, may prioritize higher protein intake to support muscle protein synthesis.
- Protein Intake: Protein is a critical component for both weight loss and muscle building. In the context of weight loss, it helps preserve lean muscle mass, ensuring that the majority of weight lost comes from fat. For muscle building, protein is essential for repairing and building new muscle tissue.
- Micronutrient Support: Diets enable the incorporation of a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, ensuring an adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals. These micronutrients play crucial roles in metabolism, energy production, and overall health, supporting the body’s functions during weight loss or muscle building.
- Metabolic Effects: Certain diets, such as those emphasizing whole, unprocessed foods, can have positive effects on metabolism. This includes stabilizing blood sugar levels, enhancing insulin sensitivity, and promoting efficient energy utilization. These factors can contribute to effective weight management and muscle building.
- Adherence and Consistency: Adopting a structured diet plan promotes adherence and consistency. Whether aiming for weight loss or muscle gain, having a clear dietary strategy helps individuals stay on track with their goals. Consistency is key in achieving sustainable and long-term results.
- Customization and Individualization: Diets can be tailored to individual needs, considering factors such as age, gender, activity level, and specific health conditions. This customization ensures that the dietary approach aligns with an individual’s unique requirements for weight management or muscle building.
- Behavioural Change: A diet is not merely a temporary measure but an opportunity for sustainable behavioural change. It encourages individuals to develop healthier eating habits, making conscious choices that support their fitness goals in the long run.
In conclusion, adopting a well-considered diet provides a comprehensive and structured approach to achieving weight loss or building muscle. It allows for precise control over key factors such as caloric intake, nutrient composition, and behavioural change, contributing to successful and sustainable outcomes. Cheers to a balanced approach to fitness!