Dieting Tradeoffs

A couple of weeks ago I re-listened to an older episode of Sigma Nutrition Radio podcast where Danny Lennon interviewed John Berardi, founder and CEO of Precision Nutrition. If you haven’t heard of them, DO check them out at :).

You can listen the episode here: SNR #93: John Berardi, PhD – Dieting Trade-offs, Applying Science to Practice & the Future of Nutrition

I’ve been a big fan of Precision Nutrition since about 2008 when I first learned about them. I admire the scientific, but personalized approach they have about nutrition, and that general wellbeing and psychology are taken into account regarding nutrition and diet. I’ve previously participated in PN’s Lean Eating Coaching Program and am actually in the midst of doing their Nutrition Coaching Level 1 Certification. Though I’ve really been short of time in advancing with it as I’ve had so much work and other commitments to do – but I’ll get back to it one day :).

What I wanted to write about was the idea of trade-offs. Nothing in life worth pursuing comes without a price tag. Want to be a doctor? You have to be willing to skip parties and other fun events in order to study for hours almost every day during prep and in med school. And – surprise – even after graduating you have to give up some of your free time to keep up to date on latest science and treatment advancements. If you’re more interested in making easy money and having lots of time for hobbies and family, you probably won’t become a professor of neurosurgery.

Want to learn a new skill? Even though the 10,000 hour rule has at least partly been debunked, truly mastering something will take years and thousands of hours of commitment. It’s time away from something else. I know I’ll never be a great, or even good, krav maga practitioner, as I so rarely have time to train it anymore, but I’ll settle for mediocre (at best). Powerlifting and weightlifting are more important to me right now. Though I still wouldn’t miss the annual Utti summer camp for any price :).

What’s important to me might not mean so much to you. This is just the same with nutrition. We all don’t need to eat like a bodybuilding pro or a figure competitor during his/her last weeks of contest prep. My Renaissance Periodization’s diet plan has proved it.

Most people can achieve a toned “beach body” look without eating only tuna, rice and broccoli, weighing every morsel of food and losing their sanity. But don’t think you can look great – or be healthy – if your diet resembles a heart attack on plate…

Image source (and recipe for anyone interested in obtaining coronary heart disease)

But, if you’re fantasizing about totally ripped muscles with bulging veins, washboard abs, absolute quad definition or maybe even striated glutes, you’re gonna have suffer for it. It usually means dealing with hunger, abstaining from party food and eating out – even following IIFYM. You have to be ready to trade feeling good to looking good. In order to make informed decisions you have to be able to jot down the positives and negatives that follow that decision. Precision Nutrition has made a clear infographic to detail some of the things that are needed to achieve a certain level of “leanness”. Of course there are always some outliers, but for the majority of people out there I think this is a very good example :).

Here’s the infographic from PN’s article “The Cost Of Getting Lean”:

You can read the full article here.

I started my cutting diet partly because my boyfriend decided he should go on a diet and I wanted to support him. I also felt I was finally ready to do it. This spring was extremely fatiguing both mentally and physically. Before summer I wasn’t in a place to give attention and energy to a follow a strict nutrition plan. I feel I did exactly the right thing when I concentrated only on two nutrition goals: eating enough veggies and fruit and getting enough quality protein to prevent my health and muscles from deteriorating when my illnesses flared up and I couldn’t work out regularly. But now I am ready, and have been following my diet program 100%, and with great results to share soon :). 

I don’t – yet – have definition in my abs, but my clothes fit better day by day and I feel more comfortable in my body – more like an athlete. My performance is constantly improving. Right now I’m more than willing to trade eating ice cream and not having to count my macros to that great feeling and improved esthetics.

What are your goals, and what are you willing to trade to reach them?




2 thoughts on “Dieting Tradeoffs

  1. I love the graphic your included, I have never seen one like it. I think it explains very well what changes people to make in order to meet their fitness goals 🙂 Gives you an idea of the hard work you are going to have to put in!


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