Making diet and fitness fun and easy

After reading the post on Tim’s Blog about the slow carb diet almost 4 years ago I had always tried to keep it in mind when eating, and thought it was an ideal way to eat.  After reading the book I took it seriously and jumped right in.  I did pretty good on it (plus PAGG for 4 weeks) and lost 10lbs.  I then ended up in the hospital due to appendicitis and lost 10 more lbs.  I was at my goal weight but still around 24-25% body fat (based on my bio metric impedance scale).  My goal is to get down to 10% body fat and I was far from it.  I kept eating the slow carb way as best I could, and working out 3 days a week but could not seem to get my BF% down anymore (had to take a break from PAGG).

Unfortunately I was not following the slow carb diet as strictly as I wanted to or needed to to reach my goals.  I always ate within 30-60 minutes of waking and always had the Tim Ferriss breakfast, which I do like, but after that it was all down hill.  The issues I had are probably common issues that any busy person has trying to eat as healthy as possible to lose fat:

  1. I don’t do much of the grocery shopping, my wife did try to accomodate and did often buy thing I needed but beans are not high on her list
  2. I also don’t do much of the cooking, and my wife does not like to add beans to her cooking (although she does cook healthy and is a good cook)
  3. I am not a planner, my wife is but not me, that make things like meal plans a difficult thing for me to do.  Working the hours I do I just don’t have time to spend a few hours planning meals for the week.
  4. There are often evens and social outings that I go to that don’t have things that are slow carb allowed

After reading a recent post on the 4hourpeople.com forum that had a link to http://www.leangains.com, a blog by Martin Berkhan, I started doing my research into intermittent fasting.  The biggest selling point for this way of eating is the list of Martin’s clients results which made me realize that intermittent fasting won’t cause muscle loss.  Reading most of leangains.com is a bit technical, but Martin does have a post with example protocols to follow, which is pretty easy.

So I thought I would try it this last Monday, which was an off day for my workout schedule.  I ate a normal size diner Sunday night, then didn’t have anything other than coffee (actually mocha) and water until around 2pm I had a small amount of tuna salad, some nuts and a small piece of dark chocolate, followed by a normal dinner.  The next morning my weight and body fat were the lowest they have been after I had plateaued for a week.

I was hungry most of the day on Monday, and it was a bit odd, had some hunger pangs but they were easy to manage and I did not eat  until after 2pm.  The weird thing was I had a ton of energy, and never got the 2pm drag that I usually get when I eat a breakfast and decent size lunch at noon.

So I tried it again on Tuesday but modified it a bit.  I got up and had my normal Tim Ferriss breakfast with 2 eggs and salsa with a cup of spinach and lemon juice.  Then I did my stretching and workout.  Then drank just water until around noon when I had a few homemade cookies (homemade oatmeal rasin that my amazing wife put in my lunch, who could resist?), then some nuts around 6pm, but mostly just drank water until I got home and had a high protein diner of baked salmon with vegetables.  Again 5pm came way faster then it usually did, and I did not slow down at 2pm or get tired.

I remember having read an article about intermittent fasting on Tim’s blog a while ago, so I looked it up and re-read the old 2008 guest post that Dr. Eades did.  It was called Real Life Extension: Caloric Restriction or Intermittent Fasting? It is interesting in that he didn’t really come to a conclusion but animal studies did show some amazing things.  I think there have been many more studies done since and some real world examples like those at leangains.com to prove that this is good protocol and for most healthy people something that is beneficial for fat and weight loss.

Wednesday I picked up some Xtend BCAA (bodybuild.com link), which is recommend by Martin, at a local supplement shop, and used it before and after my Thursday morning workout.  I also altered my workout a bit after researching how to add mass with bodyweight exercises.  I again waited until 2pm for lunch, got home had more left over salmon and stew, and felt pretty good again.

Friday morning I was down to 158.6lbs and 22.1% body fat.  That is 25lbs that I have lost since January, I have not been under 160lbs for 10 years (since I met my wife).  You may wonder why I keep losing weight if I am already past my goal weight.  As I mention my goal body fat % is much more important, and once I am at that % then I will re-evaluate what my weight should be.

In summary benefits to intermittent fasting over the slow carb diet:

  • Don’t need to plan much
  • Don’t have to be as selective with food (but you still need to eat smart)
  • Still get a cheat day (I know this is the same not a benefit)
  • Rapid fat loss
  • No problem with stubborn fat
  • Does not cause muscle loss (See Myth #6)
  • Really, really easy
  • A bit cheaper
  • Less time worrying about food, more time to do other things
  • Don’t spend so much time sitting on the toilet (but lots of time spent having to pee)
  • Water consumption is forced to be increased

Wether you try intemittent fasting or not I still would suggest that reading Martin’s article on leangains.com about the myths of intermittent fasting.  He does a very good job explaining things and citing recent studies that debunk these myths.

Results

I have not felt that I was ready to post before and after pictures yet, but after this weeks loss of weight of 5lbs and BF% loss of ~2% I feel the results were worth sharing.  Before starting intermittent fasting I did not look this trim.  These 2 pictures are 65 days apart (2 moths and 4 days) total weight loss 24lbs total body fat% loss 7.9%.  I took one relaxed as well as one flexing my abs, why because I have abs again!

 

Before Taken December 29th 2010

After Taken March 4th 2011

 

After - FLEXING!

 

Before Back

After Picture - Not Flexing

 

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Comments on: "Is there a diet better than the slow carb diet?" (27)

  1. […] Is there a diet improved than a delayed carb diet? | My Four Hour Body […]

  2. When are your “before” pics from? It’s interesting you bring up intermittent fasting – that’s something I’ve wanted to try too, being as I just don’t like eating frequently if I don’t have to.

    • Hi,

      Sorry I forgot to put the dates on the pictures. I just checked the exif data and I took the first one on December 29th. I took the second one on March 4th. That is 65 days or 2 months and 2 days. Slow carb helped but I only lost 10lbs on it in about 30 days the rest was due to fasting, either because I was in the hospital and couldn’t eat or because I learned about intermittent fasting and choose not to eat.
      If you do try it remember that workouts are only semi-fasted and supplements are used to make sure that you get protein to your muscles. Did you read the leangains.com guide and myths? Another good article on it here http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/fasting-diet-protocols.htm which is written by a client of Martin’s.

  3. Wow! Love your after pictures, no matter what route you took to get there. Those are impressive results for those of whom are resigned to keeping those dreaded ten pounds, claiming them for one reason or another. I am starting the 4HB program on Mon. I am expecting great results because I am a carb-whore, especially in the winter. I have those “ten pounds” to lose and I am hoping to replace it all with muscle. Defined leg and bum muscles would be nice!

    Great job, keep up the results!

  4. Hey,
    Is there any update about how this is going for you? I started it yesterday so am interested to know how you got on?

    • Its been a couple weeks now and is still going pretty good. My weight has leveled off around 157-159lbs which is good for me, and I have gained a significant amount of muscle mass without setting foot into a gym. I started taking measurements and have lost about 1.5 inches on my stomach and gained 3 inches on my chest.

      I find if I don’t drink enough water I start to think about food a lot more at night, even though I don’t feel hungry I really want to eat.

  5. What are the health benefits and disadvantages of fasting every day for 20 hours?…

    There are a lot of benifits to intermittent fasting, although most protocols are either 24 hours every few days or 16-18 hours a day The best articles that I have read about fasting are on leangains.com here http://www.leangains.com/2010/10/top-ten-fas

  6. What are the health benefits of fasting?…

    There are a lot of benifits to intermittent fasting, although most protocols are either 24 hours every few days or 16-18 hours a day The best articles that I have read about fasting are on leangains.com here http://www.leangains.com/2010/10/top-ten-fas

  7. What are the advantages of fasting every other day?…

    There are a lot of benifits to intermittent fasting, most protocols are either 24 hours every few days or 16-18 hours a day The best articles that I have read about fasting are on leangains.com here http://www.leangains.com/2010/10/top-ten-fasting-myth

  8. bodyrecomp said:

    Hi
    I have been following a similar path, I started 4HB in December and adjusted diet a bit in January – March (adding more fat to the diet and reducing the carbs on non-cheat days) my experiment resulted in a weight reduction to 185# from 210# in about 3 months

    Coincidentally I just this week switched to Intermittent Fasting (IF). I had also read Leangains.com and Martin’s information

    I found this article to be very persuasive

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110403090259.htm

    and this review is good

    http://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/eat-stop-eat-routine-periodic-fasting/

    I’ll email you my before-after pics from 4HB / low carb type diet.

    I am excited by the potential of leangains.com and IF training.

  9. bodyrecomp said:

    For got to mention your results are STELLAR!!
    Keep up the great work, I think IF and leangains will get you to your 10% BF goal

  10. Jason @ FindingMyFitness said:

    I just read your guest post on Pareto. Good stuff! I’ve always wondered something about IF, so I came here to ask you. What’s the difference between IF and skipping breakfast (that’s a question, not a rhetorical criticism)?

    -j

    • Anonymous said:

      @ee1bdee443d900d3dffedc06173a9ff9:disqus You just wanted to use my awesome commenting system 🙂

      There are different ways to do IF, the 16 hour daily fast is the one I do. It does involve skipping breakfast but it also involves timing of your workouts, supplementation and proper eating in an 8 hour window. This is from 2pm-10pm for me but you can adjust it to your schedule.

  11. You seem to have more hair at the back of your head in the after picture. Did you get a hair transplant too?

    • Anonymous said:

      No hair transplant, I still have a bald spot.  I have noticed after cutting out grains that my scalp issues are gone an my hair has started to grow back.  After cutting out dairy and legumes as well my hair has grown back even more.  I have seen similar people say this on the paleo forums as well.

  12. So how much average weight ( fat ) did u loose when you did the your custom fast ?

     

  13. OK just a quickie, would you say PAGG + IF would be better? Any evidence?

    • Hi,

      I did take PAGG most of the time while doing my IF routine.  I am did not do any tests to see if it worked better with or without PAGG.

  14. Justin this post is 6 months old but i want to ask you a question about IF.

    currently i am following SCD. here is my typical day:

    wakeup
    at 9:00 AM and i eat at before 10 AM. 2 egg white 1 whole egg and 1 and
    half scoop of ultimate prostar protein. some times bowl of dal (depend
    on availability).

    i go to gym at 11 there i do weights on Mon,
    Wen, Fri and cardio on Tue, Thu and sat. usually i skip the gym once or
    twice in a week mostly on cardio days.

    i eat my lunch at 2 PM –
    2:30 PM when i go to office. usually chicken and bowl of dal/lentil 
    (split yellow peagion pea cooked in water its very common food in India)
    or 2 egg omlate.

    then i eat diner around 8 PM 2-3 egg and dal (split yellow peagion pea cooked in water with spices)

    i drink 4-5 lts of water throughout day.

    I know this is not strict SCD but i am single and this is best i can do.

    does this pattern fall under IF?

    in
    1st 4 weeks i gained 2 kg of muscle mass and lost 5.4 kg of fat went
    from 30.1% BF to 22.8% BF. weight went from 63.5 kg to 60 kg  (on 23
    March). BMR is 1370.  my goal is 15%-12% body fat.

    right now my
    weight is around 59 kg (just 1 kg – .8 kg in 10 days – may be i am
    plateaued ) .may be i am losing fat due to less calories i eat and SCD
    but i am afraid of spending muscle for fuel.

    what changes do you suggest to make it optimal for fat loss and muscle gain?

    my final goal is to be in 62-65 kg body weight with 12-15% BF.

    • Hi Sachin,

      I am guessing that you don’t eat meat?  Only eggs?  That could slow down your progress quite a bit.  Eat dal that often is also a lot of carbs.

      Do you eat fish?  I recommend eating it if you can, or at least a fish oil supplement.  Also I would eat the whole egg in the AM.

      Your routine is not Intermittent Fasting.  IF is longer breaks from eating usually 16 hours or more.  See http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-intermittent-fasting/

      You could experiment with skipping breakfast and eat after your workout at 11am.

      I would also try to cut out the dal and other carbs at night and try to eat more fat.

      I don’t know if these options are viable for you if not let me know the constraints you are working with.

      • Justin thanks for reply.

        I don’t eat meat, just eggs and chicken. mostly egg for breakfast, chicken for lunch and egg for diner.

        last week i had done lipid profile test and my cholesterol is borderline high. i don’t remember exact number but both cholesterol and triglycerides are above normal and in borderline high range. if i eat more whole eggs then i am afraid that it will shoot up the cholesterol. i don’t see other way of increasing my fat % in food.

        from today only i have stared to take fish oil tablets from ultimate nutrition. its 1000mg per tablet it have 180 mg EPA and 120mg DHA. i planned to take 3 tablets in a day. also started 500mg calcium tablet which also have 200 IU vitamin D3. i planned to take these 2 per day.

        i guess i am still losing weight. even after yesterday’s cheat day(not a big one) today i am 58 kg. its a average rate of 1kg per week. but i am not adding any muscle so i am thinking of increasing  my protein intake. i am going to try BCAA 10 gm pre and post workout also 10-20 gms with water throughout  a day as i sip water at my desk. what do you think of this?

        as per dal intake for a day is concerned i don’t take more than 2-3 bowls per day. i need to try hard to include some vegetables. its kind of difficult as i eat 2 meals at work and breakfast at home and food facility at work don’t have much options, most of the high carb option.

        I have not yet tried IF but as per my past experience i get headaches and acidity whenever i skip breakfast. i even had endoscopy done but reports were normal and doctor was not able to find any justification for it.

        I was thinking of 1 pre workout meal protocol. having eggs and protein shake at breakfast at 9-10AM then lunch at 2 PM and diner at 7-8PM. i could have done diner earlier but restaurants or canteen  at office don’t server food before 7 PM. after i buy BCAA i will try IF bye skipping breakfast. do you have any workaround if i get headaches after skipping breakfast?

        on side note, today i tried egg protein in chocolate flavor which tested awful. i am going to go back to whey. its very difficult to get unflavored protein in India. but 1 gm of sugar/sucrose per scope will not impact fat loss. does it?  

        thanks one again for your input.

      • Your cholesterol is high because you are a vegetarian and don’t eat enough fat.  Fat does not make you fat, and fat does not raise your cholesterol, and cholesterol does not cause heart disease.  I suggest reading and watching everything you can that Chris Masterjohn has done, starting here http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/Foods-High-In-Cholesterol.html

        2-3 bowls of dal per day is a lot.  I would only eat that much carbs 1-2 times a day, specifically after a workout.

        You get headaches if you skip breakfast because you have poor blood sugar control.  You are dependant on carbs because your body does not know how to utilize fat as a fuel source.

      • currently i am following slow carb diet. i will cut down on dal. i have avoided eating full eggs as most people (including Tim) suggest limiting yolk.

        my blood sugar is 70 (tested after 12 hrs of fasting) and 77 after 2 hrs of high protein breakfast. can you please suggest anything so that i will not have headache if i skip the breakfast?

      • More protein would help, but as a vegetarian that will be difficult. Personally I advocate against vegetarianism because it is unhealthy.

        You can try a protein shake, or more eggs, or nuts like almonds or almond butter. Also green tea, coffee, or kombucha.

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