Fat Loss is not the same as “weight loss”.
I will continue this story a few more times for those just catching up to the series. I had lost 175 pounds prior to COVID. All was going well, and the last 28 pounds I really did a BAD, BAD thing. At 225 pounds, I could bench 225 3 times. At 197, I could not bench 95 one time. I’m going to talk more about why that is, and why someone can be successful losing “weight”, but have a failure with “fat loss” – and those after effects.
With “weight loss”, you are looking at the scale every day. Another half pound! 8 pounds this month! Everyone looks at the scale, and I have to tell you that the scale is a decent barometer, but it’s not telling you what’s going on under the hood. For example, when I was 225, I was desperate to make a weight goal. At the time, I had interviewed for US Cybercom for a direct commission officer position. I needed to get my waist to a certain level, as I felt my fitness could pass any test, but the weight limits they had then were offset by waist measurements. This goal helped me seriously focus and dig deep on fitness – but as time was going on, I needed to cut quicker. That……was the mistake.
As a tool of my “weight loss”, I was doing “Fasting Fridays” 2-3 times a month. With low carb/keto/atkins – if you are strict with the diet, a few weeks in your appetite goes away. I was then doing OMAD, or One Meal A Day, and LOVED it. GIANT salads with chicken. Taco salads. big steaks. A lot of this had to do with what I learned about autophagy – the science that won a Nobel Prize in 2016 – which deals with certain fasting protocols. I was able to do a 3-day fast a few times. I think autophagy makes more sense than 99% of the food science you see out there, and to me, is the number one means of preventing cancer and serious disease.
But what happened was towards the end, my runs were getting longer. My bikes were getting longer. My swim sessions were an hour. I stopped weight training almost completely, and my calories probably went from 2200 a day to 1200-1400 a day with my giant salad only. My calorie deficits were growing, and with this, your body starts to break down muscle for glucose – using gluconeogenesis. I remember coming off of my 3 hour bike rides smelling ammonia. That is the breakdown of muscle. And it became a familiar smell in the shower after extensive cardio training.
Eventually, I hit 197, and I did a triathlon about 1 month before I hit 197. I was 204 for the triathlon, and felt somewhat powerful. At 197, I felt extremely weak. My wife could push me around lol.
So it is important with this series that I focus on the words “fat loss” where I will work to preserve muscle the best I can. I’ve been lifting consistently now for a few months, and I have a gym now in my basement to do this. The plan is to lose 2 pounds a week, which is actually kind of aggressive. 1.5 might be better, but using a lot of the lessons I have learned, this is….
About 7000 calorie deficit in a week, or about 1000 deficit in a day. I believe my BMR right now to “maintain” is about 2700 calories. Using a good deal of walking, hiking, biking, and two full-body relatively hard lifting sessions per week, I plan on creating that deficit while also maintaining the muscle. My nutrition, at the moment, is approximately 10% carbs, 60% fat, and 30% protein. People may see this and balk at the fat, but I’d like you all to read these books below, then come back to me in 6 months with a reformed opinion.
The fats/proteins are great for satiety, and you learn the difference between saturated fat from a grass fed/finished beef product and a corn/grain fed beef product. It has a lot to do with inflammation and my tinfoil hat has me convinced the food sciences on saturated fat are really, really bad studies. I “believe” that low inflammation foods are the secret to longevity – along with autophagy – along with fitness. Those three ingredients are my personal religion with fitness, and nothing I see will convince me otherwise after THREE INTENSE years of study. Neither of my graduate degrees are in food science or nutrition, so you need to do your own research and consult with your doctor.
The start of my journey had a lot of help with Jonathan Bailor in The Calorie Myth. It’s the must read start of it all. I then graduated to Gary Taubes, who has a physics and journalism degree and discovered that in the 1990s, the food science of everything is garbage science. Like – it’s a shitty science. As in, pretend shit. As in, everything that is going wrong with our country today and health is a result of 50 years of people telling us to eat the wrong things. ONLY when I understood that was I free to then deeply explore keto/low carb. Given my background with athletics – this then led me to Phinney and Volek to learn to train with low carb. I then graduated to triathlon training while doing low carb: hint – you can have targeted carbs around intense training and races, but it’s silly for anyone, today, to have 200-300g of carbs in a day, sit in a chair in the offce for 8 hours, sit in your car for 2 hours driving, and then sit on your ass to watch TV for 4 hours.
At the PEAK of my fitness, I was biking 45 miles and running 8 miles at a time, and at most I’d have is 125g of carbs in a day, and those were only on days where I had intervals, sprints, or zone 4-5 work. Zone 2 training never required any more than my base of about 60-75g of carbs per day. The most I had I believe was 150g the day of my sprint triathlon, where I was using gatorade during the bike. Intense hills – I even hit 38mph going down a hill once.
The biggest thing I was careful of with distance was electrolytes. This is why any of you who do low carb really need to study it and talk to a physician. When you hear of someone exercising going into cardiac arrest (prior to the test jab), you would perhaps start to think of an electrolyte imbalance. Often, people don’t have a ton of potassium in their diets, which is the opposite of sodium with the bloodstream. Likewise, when you do keto/low carb, you don’t carry a ton of water around – and with this water on your body, it stored a lot of extra nutrients.
At the end, I read the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. This, to me, made a lot of sense and where I got my 125g of carb limit I’d usually stay at. His diet also was semi-keto, semi-paleo. It used all good ingredients which also was congruent with my philosophy of low inflammation diets. Overall, it’s how you can maintain low carb for a very long time. I was on keto/low carb for about 4 years, switched off of it last February to a 40-30-30, and am back on low carb for the near future.
One way I’d survive low carb was once every 3-4 weeks I’d have a day or a weekend off. However, over time, you kind of forget about that and never really WANT to have the cheat days.
Quick terminology thing – keto is “in ketosis” and often this might require 20-30g per day to keep you in ketosis. If you are semi active, a “low carb” diet of about 10% of your calories from carbs is fine – after you have done ketosis for 3-4 weeks.
For example – fat is 9 calories per gram, protein is 4, carbs are 4. Assume your calorie intake is 2200 calories and your BMR is 2700 calories (me). That is a deficit on the plate of 500 per day. You make up the other 500 with activity. This is a one hour hike from yesterday……I think total I might have had 1800-1900 calories yesterday. So with calorie math, it might have been a 1200-1400 deficit yesterday, and most days I might be at a 600-800 deficit.
10% of your calories for carbs would be 220. Divide this by 4, and you get 55g. As I would get more active as it gets warmer out, I’ll probably hit 75-125g of carbs, but that “spike” in carbs you see may be a smoothie with a banana, a cup of milk, a cup of strawberries, a scoop of protein – which might be 50g of carbs. However, I may use that to bike intensely for an hour 2 hours after having it. If I plan on biking for 800 calories, the 200 calories of carbs I just took in are burned off within the first 15-20 minutes and the rest of the time it is lipolysis breaking down my fat for a slow burn energy. It might be steady state for most of the bike, with a TOTAL of 15 minutes of hills and intensity – which is where that substrate is used. Otherwise, if I don’t have that, I might struggle a little on the hills. This is the difference between zone 2 and zone 4-5 at times.
325 for 3.5 hours, start with some melted butter at top. Easy peasy. Free turkey! I let it rest for nearly 50 minutes as I made the gravy, mashed cauliflower, and watched the 2 year old. That long after it was still hot as shit inside..lol. No juices run anywhere. Moist as all hell.
I wanted to add this because my local supermarket would give out points – you can take the free turkey or ham around holidays – “always take the free turkey”. Last night, I made up the turkey, with a side of cauliflower mash. 4 years ago, I never had cauliflower in my life. Now, I crave this mash with a few things. Turkey is one.
However, before I dug into the turkey that was resting, I had a lighter salad my wife had shown me a little while ago. Iceberg, walnuts, goat cheese, cranberry raisins (limit these) with some raspberry vinaigrette dressing.
I then dug into some turkey breast, added some gravy, and added the cauliflower mash with a half pat of grass fed (beef) butter.
Fantastic! Without the salad and a quart of water before dinner, I may have tried to “stuff” myself with turkey. No, it was a 6 oz portion size and one of the Green Giant cauliflower mashes.
After I got done eating, it was then a 45 minute process to cut apart the damn bird and put it into servings. This routinely gets me about 16 total 6 oz servings.
With the turkey, and everything else, I’m shooting for about 30% of my calories to be protein. At times, maybe 40%, but I worry about the studies I had seen with protein diets that were too high and put strains on the kidneys. Your body can only process so much protein and synthesize into muscle, the rest is – either converted to glucose with gluconeogenesis or converted to fats if that glucose is not used. So if you are not lifting an hour a day, every day, there’s no real need for anything more than perhaps 30% to be protein.
Carbs DO help a bit with an insulin reaction, which can then help with the whole protein into muscle thing. So perhaps I lift fasted to be sensitive to any carbs, and then afterwards have my milk/protein shake which might be 17g of carbs and 32g of protein (milk+protein scoop).
So 30% of calories with protein at 2200 calories is roughly 660 calories in protein or 165g of protein. For a lot of the poultry nutrition info, you might see 3 oz is about 25g of protein, give or take. So 6 oz of turkey breast is 50g.
One other thing I like doing with turkey…at a college I went to, there was a sandwich shop there that had a sandwich 25 years ago called “the tom cruise”. Drunks would line up around the block at 2AM on weekends to get it. It was a hot turkey sandwich, on provolone, with mayo and lettuce with bacon on a sub roll. I can still taste it!
Well, bread is out for us, so you can use low carb wraps for this, but another thing I just found is this.
These I have tried with some ham, lettuce, and mayo (made with avocado) or spicy brown mustard with a sandwich pickle. Pretty damn tasty! I think I’m going to try two of these, with 6 oz turkey, a slice of bacon, iceburg lettuce, and mayo. For those not counting, that’s a lunch/dinner with 50g of protein with the turkey and 26 from the wraps. 76g of protein in those two wraps!! Bacon too, but that’s relatively low.
March 6, 2023 at 4:12 pm
Great article. I have been on a journey like yours. The extreme fasting and cardio (to the exclusion of weight training) sheds weight but makes us weak.
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