Fat loss is a war. There are no little steps. Oh sure, I support a group here on campus that does “baby steps” towards their goals. I appreciate the idea. I appreciate the small life changes they are making. But, if you want fat loss you must take the scorched earth philosophy. When you take the baby step from Twinkies to Low Carb Bagels, your body still acts “fat.” Give fat loss its 28 Days. Then move on to the rest of your goals.
While I may not be in the market for something as rigid as giving fat loss 28 days… I’m willing to see where 7 very strict days gets me before reassessing where I’d like to go from there.
Let me explain.
Once upon a time, Erin was a normal eater like everyone else – breakfast was cereal or oatmeal, lunch was sandwiches, chips, and anything-I-could-find-or-pay-for (AICFOPF) and dinner was whatever Mom made… or AICFOPF. Since this time, Erin has gradually made a number of steps towards being leaner, feeling better, getting stronger, getting faster.
Contrary to popular opinion, not every step she took immediately made her all of those things! When she first started thinking about Nutrition she simply tried to do Paleo + NBOC (nightly bowl of cereal). This did have some interesting effects – most of which were that she discovered that the addiction to certain foods we’ve eaten all our lives is actually just that, an addiction – but being MORE strict, even if for just a little while, told her the most about what food ACTUALLY did to her body.
To be even more clear, Lyle Macdonald’s RAPID FAT LOSS diet was the quickest she ever leaned out in 9 days – but also some of the sleepiest and weirdest eating she’s ever done. What is the RAPID FAT LOSS diet? It was essentially a version of what is sometimes more commonly known as a ketogenic diet – where, in the very minimal presence of ingested carbohydrates (under 30g per day) the body enters a state where it uses fat for fuel instead of glucose. Sounds shady, right?
It’s not actually as shady as you’d think, especially because it’s not anywhere near the same kind of diet patients being treated for epilepsy would actually use. In fact, the biggest difference in version I did then was that the fat intake was extremely low. Because I am so much more active then the typical individual (I’ve been running to prep for the Half Marathon, doing Olympic Lifting most days of the week at varying intensities depending on the day, and I also hit up the occasional CrossFit or Gymnastics WOD) I’m keeping the fat content a little higher than last time.
So what am I really trying to eat for at least 7 days?
Protein (as an athlete looking to preserve strength this is my priority), 140-160g a day – preferably from lean sources but the occasional pork chop day or steak at dinner is fair game. Some more processed lean meats are ok – like ground bison, turkey sausage, etc. Previously my amounts were 200-225g of protein per day. Have you ever eaten 8 chicken breasts in one day? It’s telling.
Fat = ? ~ I’m not being mindful of amounts but the rules are generally, I can’t add any fat to my meals that’s not already in there – except greens, which can be cooked with fat. Previously, I could have things like dairy maybe once a day but only the fat free kind. In my mind, that’s just not worth eating so this time around, I’m not. I also couldn’t cook with fat – so the chicken went in a dry pan and the only greens I could eat were anything that didn’t include cooking with any kind of oil at all (hence the irregular amount of protein to balance things out calorically).
Carbs, negligible. I can eat as many greens as I want (this is as last time) and I can use things like mustard, ketchup, and hot sauce. It makes for some very interesting meals. The greens are basically nothing that isn’t easy to digest – so no broccoli or anything else pretty cruciferous. All that said, I still keep cabbage in there because I love it and because it means I can eat sauerkraut which is good for your stomach anyway.
My memory of the last time I did this is that the first day or so you don’t feel all that different, the second or third day you start to want anything sweet you can find, and then the fourth day or so you actually begin to feel a little hungry but maybe also a little leaner. The intensity of this kind of eating is definitely not for everyone, but for those who feel they have the time and commitment to a program. The hardest part is learning to take the leanness you gain from eating very differently for a little while, and only gradually begin to introduce more energy dense carbohydrates again.
I think, based on how we normally eat, this is entirely possible:
All that said, I think most people would gawk at the idea of having to eat that much meat, nay PREPARE that much meat every day. Actually, if you’re smart, you don’t have to pay much at all. Between the two of us we spent roughly $200.00 for a week’s worth of food – and that’s counting buying fancy sauerkraut from FairFoods in Reading Termal Market and my favorite ketchup ever.
So far the menu since day one has looked like this:
Breakfast: sometimes earlier, sometimes later, 3 eggs with 2 small pieces of turkey sausage – sometimes with pesto – sometimes with grassfed butter + coffee.
Lunch: there’s usually two lunches, one before noon or around noon, and one maybe 2 hours after that. We’ve done a LOT of chicken thighs and a LOT of pork chops.
Dinner: has been lamb chops and a filet last night.
For sides collard greens (SOOOOO many collard greens) cooked with smoked turkey legs (you may not THINK this is amazing – you are WRONG!), kale (my favorite vegetable really), and mustard greens (an experience – they are very bitter when cooked, but too horseradishey for my taste when raw).
I’ve also been drinking a TON of water (sometimes with lemon) when coaching and when sitting around at home doing computer-ish work. I’ve been drinking more hot tea than usual too – I got this amazing mountain tea from Greece that I’ll have to show off at some point.
Lastly, in and around workouts, Arrus and I have both been doing about 10-20g of BCAAs. I mix mine with TruLime so there’s a tiny bit of a sugar hit to give me a little energy before training. Typically though, I find if I start in to training with low energy… about 10 minutes in, I am always amazed by how awake I feel.
We have a wedding to get to on Saturday but we’ll probably assess where we want to go with things by tomorrow night. I think sticking to a solid 7-9 days of mostly this would be sufficient. We’ll see.
You can follow the series of videos to get a better view of some of the places where our journey took us, but my favorite day by far would be the day we actually DROVE to Monemvasia.
We spent the night in Tony’s family’s hometown of Niata and woke up to ripe figs, soap made out of lard, and chickens (the size of turkeys) clucking. The first thing we did was something I’d like to do every morning if I can – we drove up into the mountains and started the day off with a feast of wild boar. During the meal the owner of the restaurant collected empty beer bottles (???) and 6 or so cucumbers from a dude in a van and then gave us some of the cucumbers topped with olive oil (liquid of the gods?). That’s just the way it is.
After that we had a delectable treat called galaktoburiko (butchering the spelling, I’m sure) and filter coffee next to some trees that were older than the United States of America. The cafe was kind of sequestered in a grove these trees and full of all kinds of people who were entirely worth watching – though most of the time I think we were the ones being watched. Greeks are stellar watchers.
On our way down from the mountain we picked up a few liters of water from a natural spring (like you do) and trekked out to a hole in the middle of no where that had incredibly chilled air coming out of it. Down the hole is a cave, a cave which would make the perfect foundation for your very own Grecian home with absolutely natural air conditioning. Genius.
We then drove out to Monemvasia (which translates to something like “Single Entrance”). Rounding the bend, as you can see in the video, you’re privy to the encroaching shadow of an island nothing like you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s as if someone decided that while cliffs were very nice to have on the sides of large floating pieces of the earth they were also quite nice to place just right off the shore as well – the coolest sore thumb I’ve ever seen in an aquatic prospect.
We settled into our hotel rooms which were much less than you think they should be and built into the mold of an old monastery on the island. If you can imagine it, the showers were directly across from the sink and pretty much directly into the sink, and the toilet was about two inches away from all that. I don’t mind. Little idiosyncrasies in places are a lot like those in people: as long as you’re not dealing with them for a long time – they’re incredibly entertaining.
We went out and scuba-dived – kind of. I have an innate fear of doing anything in the ocean that could possibly get me eaten by a shark if they were say, 15 ft. away. As you might imagine, this is not an ideal state of being whilst in pristine waters where there are no sharks and instead, miles of awfully convincing clear blue waters. It took me some adjusting but after a while we were parked out on rocks in the middle of the water trying to teach me how not to breathe through my nose when panicked at the site of
60 sea urchins a sea urchin under my feet.
Still, I adjusted, with Arrus’s life-raftness and Tony’s tolerance of my incessant heel grabbing – “If I follow him, and he’s not afraid of sharks, then I don’t have to be either” – brought to you by my skewed logic – the source of which also kept this song in my head for the rest of the entirety of the trip.
We spent the rest of the afternoon playing backgammon on the beach. That’s right. My first backgammon game ever in my life. It felt like a great achievement. I learned that Greeks make pretty good mojitos and practically invented the waffle (yeah, those Belgians don’t even know what they’re talking about).
Closer to the evening, we hiked up the top of the cliff face and did stuff to ruins that you probably shouldn’t do. Then again, if you were the first person in the world to ever find them – you’d have to pick them up, climb them, and throw them around a little bit to understand what was really going on.
The sun set. A little bit of effort before a great dinner always makes for a commanding meal and that night, though I was surrounded by cats that would give the Roma a run for their euros, we ate well. I believe we ate something like 6 animals in one meal. Also, I ate a fish eyeball.
I love the kind of sleep you have on vacation – you’re exhausted from essentially playing all day (much like you probably were when you were a kid) and you have no worries about waking up too late or not early enough. It’s a beautiful thing.
Speaking of which, it’s not impossible to find that kind of sleep at home… if you plan on it anyway.