It was my birthday on Tuesday and someone at work bought me a 4,000 calorie army ration pack as a challenge, seeing if I could eat it in a day.
See I have a reputation at work for eating quite a lot, and having been in the army and had these ration packs they were intrigued if I could eat one.
I have to say when they first said it I thought 4,000 calories would be easy- I eat around 2,500 calories most days anyway on average and can eat more on days when there’s cake in the office.
But when I looked at the amount of food in the box I realised that whilst I eat a lot of calories through the day I tend to eat a lot of high calorie, lower density foods whereas this menu was going to make me feel full and make eating it harder – in particular I was aware of how much liquid there was in the box which I assumed would make me feel full quicker and make eating everything harder.
So my days food looked like this:
8.30 am Breakfast – Potatoe and beans, Grapefruit flavoured energy drink, black coffee with sugar
10.00 am – Sweets, Coffee with creamer and sugar
11.00 am – Fruit biscuits, coffee with creamer and sugar
12.00 pm – Nuts (75g) and what I can only describe as flavoured sugar water
1.00 pm – Spicy sausage and wedges, cola flavoured energy drink
2.00 pm – Trained (weights)
3.00 pm – Brownie and hot chocolate
4.00 pm – Seaseme biscuits, tea with sugar
4.30 pm – Tuna mayo and rank tatsing lemon energy drink
5.00 pm – Cola flavoured energy drink and extra custard tart because why not
7.15 pm – Taught Spin
8.00 pm – Drank wine (not in box lol)
11.00 pm – Thai soup with rice and chicken
Now I wouldn’t recommend this as an average days eating – I was basically forcing myself to eat when I was full and felt completely overloaded on sugar.
BUT HERE IS WHAT I LEARNT.
Firstly, eating enough gives you more energy .
I’m not suggesting I should eat 4,000 calories a day- that would see me in a pretty big surplus pretty quickly, but eating lots made me feel good in the gym. Obviously in everyday life I would suggest stopping eating when you feel full not powering through endless meals but feeling energetic in the gym is a good thing. In particular drinking carbs for energy is extremely helpful- on this it went to an extreme that I just felt overloaded but with a more balanced approach it’s a winner.
Secondly, eating foods with a higher density fills you up.
My worry at the start had been that the amount of volume, liquid especially and whether I’d physically be able to eat it. It was a challenge! So the lesson here is when you are struggling to stick to a calorie deficit because you’re hungry have a look at the density of the foods your eating and see if you can turn some of those calories into foods that are more filling for their calorie value (a plate of chicken and veg will keep you fuller for longer than a chocolate bar of the same calorie value).