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.