I had a weight loss drop of 11.2 pounds in 2 weeks by following a smart, but tough diet that focused on getting fat and carb consumption down to zero. To compensate and minimize muscle loss, I increased my protein intake dramatically. I was eating close to 1 gram of protein per bodyweight.
Generally, I have always approached weight loss much like how I approached muscle gain. I believed that a gain of 2 to 3 pounds of muscle in a month would be great. After all, at that rate you would have theoretically gained over 24 pounds of muscle in 1 year. That would be significant.
Likewise, stories of people dropping 100 to 200 pounds in 1 year notwithstanding, I believed that a weight loss of 1 pound a week was good. This steady loss could accumulate to over 50 pounds in a year. That would or could be life changing.
Although I still believe in the slow and steady approach, I felt that weighing 195 pounds at a height of 5 feet and 8 inches with high blood pressure and being a borderline diabetic was a terrible position to be in. And turning 60 in a few months only added to the urgency of getting my weight under control.
With that mind frame, I essentially went on a “starvation” diet that Rusty Moore likes to call “Crash Dieting with Precision.” The essence of this approach is to eliminate fats and carbohydrates. It is a low fat and low carb diet. But the key to surviving this diet is to dramatically increase the protein intake. It becomes a high protein, low fat, and low carb diet.
You eat the absolute bare minimum to hold onto muscle and discard everything else. If you are eating carbs and fats, then that is what your body is burning not stored fat cells. By reducing fats and carbs to the bare minimum, you are getting out of your body’s way as it depletes the stored fat to use as fuel.
I ate in the neighborhood of 180 to 200 grams of protein a day. Couple of days, that dropped to maybe 150 grams. Using the high of 200 grams, that would equate to 800 calories. The fats and carbs I ate never amounted to more than 200 calories a day. So, the most I ever ate in this period was 1,000 calories with most days well under that.
Most calorie calculators would put the calorie maintenance number for a 5 feet 8 inches man weighing195 pounds at around 2,400 calories. Using the 1,000 calorie intake number, I was theoretically 1,400 calories under. Over a 14 day period, my total under number was 19,600 calories.
19,600 calories equate to about 4.8 pounds of fat. 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories, therefore 1 kilogram of fat equals 9,000 calories. 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds and the math brings it all to 4,091 calories per pound.
Theoretically, I lost 5 pounds of fat. Add in water weight loss and the 11.2 pound drop is reasonable. This is what happens when you drive your daily caloric intake way under your maintenance levels. Taking in only 35% to 40% of your daily needs is extreme.
Eating this much less means no starchy, complex carbohydrates like grains, rice, or pasta. It also means no carbohydrate dense foods like potatoes, nuts and so forth. Fruits are also out. The 9 calories per gram of fat is clearly out.
For two weeks, I ate skinless, boneless chicken breast, tuna packed in water, and all kinds of fibrous vegetables like celery, spinach, cucumbers, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and lettuce. A cup of broccoli has 30 calories and 0.34 grams of fat. A stick of celery has 6 calories and 0.7 grams of fat. I would have 3 or 4 sticks a day.
Chicken bone broth has 45 calories and 0.4 grams of fat. I would look for either 0 grams of fat or at least under 1 gram for all the food that I ate. I also drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day. I liberally used protein powder to up my protein intake.
This is an enormously difficult approach. 14 days of baked chicken breast and tuna salad is not easy. Even with the plethora of fat free dressings and dipping sauces available, 14 days is long time. Still, there were and are other options that can help. For instances, fat-free Greek yogurt and other types of yogurt blends helped. Also 99% fat free ground turkey was a good option.
But really, the most helpful was my outlook. This diet, however difficult it was or may be, is only something a person in a developed nation can undertake. For many people living in real hunger, this diet would be a cornucopia of food. In that respect, I had nothing to complain about.
Perhaps the key to this approach being successful is the after diet – diet. How I eat now will determine whether those 11 pounds lost will find its way back to me. To keep those pounds lost, I am cycling through this phase where I am eating just below my maintenance caloric level while still minimizing fat. So essentially, I am now on a high carbohydrate, modest protein, and low-fat diet.
By low, I mean fat at under 10%. FDA recommends 30%. 30% of the daily caloric intake from fat equates to about 55 to 65 grams of fat. A cup of white rice contains about 0.5 grams of fat or less. Following the FDA guidelines would equate to me eating about 120 cups of white rice. That’s not happening.
While I am not a dietician nor a nutritionist, I believe eating fat makes one fat. Sure, at some point, excessive carbohydrates or proteins will be converted to fat, but I am guessing that the body prefers to use carbs as energy and protein to build muscle. And the body stores fat. I have enough fat storage.
So, for the next 2 weeks, I will spend time eating pasta, rice, nuts, cereal, sorbet, and other deliciously high carb foods that have little to no fat. After the 2 weeks, I will cycle back through this crash diet with precision. I will alternate until I reach my goal of 160 pounds. A 60-year-old man standing 5 feet 8 inches weighing 160 pounds with blood pressure in the 120/70 range with a manageable blood sugar level works for me.