The Spartan Diet: Results & Reflections
by Callum B. Downes
Success! If these photos are anything to go by then my month long diet and exercise regime really worked wonders!
But here’s the catch…
Dieting makes life boring. It makes life difficult. It makes life less appealing than death. And quite frankly, I’m totally against the entire concept unless an individual is on a crash coarse with heart disease or an eating disorder, or to contradict my previous statement, death.
Sure, dieting has its perks. Such as having even energy levels throughout the day, feeling a sense of positivity through goal setting and self improvement, and experiencing the overwhelming sense of achievement when you surpass those said goals.
Most of the time, however, it’s just painful. Most of the time you feel like throwing in the towel and throwing in a block of lard in with your salad. Here’s a short list of the reasons why I feel this way after my month long Spartan challenge.
- Say goodbye to sugar highs
A shocking reality became apparent after the first 24 hours of the challenge. I am a sugar addict. From the daily coffee to the Bolognese sauce, almost every meal I ate packed a truckload of the addictive little crystals. Not those kind of crystals… Going cold turkey on sugar placed extreme stress on my system as it grasped for the normally abundant source of energy, meaning I couldn’t experience the joys of infantile hyperactivity. Such an experience can be easily compared to heroin withdrawal.
- Shattered friendships
Health is holistic. In order to be considered healthy, one must not focus solely on the physical, but also acknowledge the importance of their emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. The Spartan diet may have improved my physical condition, but my social health was strained. Having to constantly turn down delicious party food, sipping water instead of beer on a night out and having to explain it was all because I wanted a six pack not only made me sound like a narcissistic jerk, but made Napoleon Dynamite seem like a more desirable drinking buddy. Although saddling up on the back of Tina would be a great way to cap off a big night on the town.
- Guilt tripping
Tripping balls on guilt every time I treated myself to an Easter egg or a delicious hot cross bun really gave me a bad case of the hebie jebies. Nobody should feel like they just ran over their neighbour’s pet puppy with a lawn mower whilst eating a double choc sundae. I should have feel the opposite… Dieting robs you of the only sure source of happiness in this sick, sad world.
How to Stay on Track
I have developed three key strategies in order to overcome these potential obstacles.
- Don’t go cold turkey on sugar
Try to decrease the amount of sugar you consume in gradual steps starting with the obvious like replacing the sugar on your cereal with fruit, or cutting down on the amount of beers you slam at the Friday night barbeque with the boys.
- Plan “Cheat Days”
Set aside one day of the week when you’ll eat, drink and be merry. Go gangbusters on all the sugary and fatty foods you want, as your body will flip out and shift into calorie burning overdrive for the next few days. Try to line this day up with your social agenda so you can share in all the fun with your mates.
- Constantly remind yourself of your goals
Can’t resist that heart attack in a burger? Revisit the goals you set in the first place. For me, this meant re-watching the film “300” in its entirety to remind myself that I look like a slightly slimmer version of a matchstick in comparison to the mighty Leonidas.