30 days of hypo-caloric dieting complete. If you didn’t read my last post, I’ve been engaged in an experiment of eating an average of 1,000 calories a day to test the effects of fat loss and overall body composition.
In short.. How fast can I lose fat and is losing two pounds a week (so often heard in the fitness world) really optimum?
This actually ended up being a 29-day diet because I weighed in on day 30 (which technically should have been my last eating day before weighing in the next morning) and found that I had lost exactly 16 pounds. That was to the ounce and I kind of felt like, hey – mission accomplished.
A total loss of 16 pounds was my secret ambition at the onset of this eating experiment. That’s exactly four pounds a week.
I was somewhat surprised that strength was affected just slightly more than my week-long fast of eating no calories at all. My bench went down from a max of 315 to 295. That’s probably the best indicator of my overall strength.
So did I actually lose muscle? Hard to say for certain, but I know I look way better in the mirror than the April version of myself. There’s no doubt that almost all of my weight loss was fat.
It’s probable that I lost a minimal amount of muscle but when I lost weight as slowly as possible last year, I was actually weaker at 170 than I am today. Advantage.. fast fat loss.
The most scientific indicator of fat loss for this last month comes from my AccuMeasure fat calipers. I’ve used these daily for years. I have a little mole on the fat near my belly button which ensures I’m always taking measurements at the same exact point. As I’ve used these calipers so long, I’m also really good at applying the same amount of pressure every time. Using the AccuMeasure chart for interpretation, here’s what my calipers revealed about this last month:
Starting weight on Day 1: 181 pounds, at the 14-15 range. For a 44-year old, that’s 19.6% body fat
Final weight on Day 30: 165 pounds, at 8-9 range – and it’s very close to 7, so I’ll go with 13% body fat
181 lbs x 19.6% = 35.5 lbs of fat
165 x 13% = 20.5 lbs of fat
35.5 – 20.5 = a total of 15 pounds of fat loss
I was surprised to see the results so comparable to what the scale says.. but not surprised by the reading.
Here’s every calorie I ate for the entire 30 days and every workout I had (click the image to see it better):
So there it. Losing four pounds of fat a week is not so impossible as many people will have you believe. The hard part was just eating so few calories for 30 days. I’m okay with about 1600 and above but anything less leaves me pretty hungry. I ate most calories in the evening so that I always had something to look forward to and never went to bed hungry. I also ditched all caffeine for this experiment and drank only water.
The Week After
I had no intention of posting about the week after this quick little 30-day diet, but the results have been pretty interesting, so I wanted to share.
I jumped back into 2,500-3,000 calories a day for the days following the diet. I also increased activity again, doing the occasional cardio session and getting outside more in general. I did a whole day of spring yard work that had to burn a lot of calories. In three days, the scale jumped to 173.4. My first instinct was thinking “oh crap” when I saw this number on day 3, but I headed off to use my calipers again and saw that nothing had changed. It occurred to me that it had to be mostly water weight. I also started drinking my Diet Dew’s and coffee again – not sure that had anything to do with anything.
I kept eating close to 3,000 calories and on day seven, the scale showed 169.6. That was the most shocking of all. I had suspected that there was some glycogen replacement from carbs being so low on the diet and that was probably the main reason for jumping back up to 173. I expected that I’d probably be staying there a while, but since hitting 169.6, my weight is always showing 169-170 – every morning. I’m getting nearly 3X the calories I was on the 30 day diet, eating ice-cream almost nightly and simply moving a lot more and I’m maintaining 170. My bench press has jumped back up to 315 as well.
This bodes well for getting really lean this summer. More importantly though, it’s another big plus for rapid weight loss. My body seemed to take little time in readjusting to a normal amount of calories for maintenance. Strangely, 3,000 is actually more than I’ve been able to eat in the past while trying to maintain 170. Is it possible that I’ve managed to improve my metabolism a slight bit? I’m not sure, but I’m pretty excited to be eating as much as I am right now while maintaining weight and gaining strength.
I’ll be headed to Las Vegas this next month so I’m going to do another week of 1,000 calories in about five days. I’m curious to see if I can lose another four pounds. Got to look lean for the pool!
The Next Chapter
As I spoke about in my last post, I intend to further my 30-day experiment. Since I tend to eat a lot more in the winter and will have no problem coming in around 180 next March again, I’ll be doing another 30 days.
For this next experiment, I plan to eat a little differently – and I’ve adjusted my plan from my last post, as well. I’m going to consume 3,000 calories every day for 30 days and burn 1,000 calories doing cardio.
I simply want to know if the results will be the same in terms of weight loss and if my body composition will look any different?
I’ll be doing the same workouts on the same days, where weights are concerned, but I’ll be adding all that cardio and getting a lot more fruits and veggies in the diet than this last 30 days.
This will all take place in March of 2015 but it’ll be here before we know it! Look for Part III and Part IV if you’re interested. Sign up below and I’ll keep you updated.
Hope you’re getting lean. Summer is almost here!