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My journey so far

August 20, 2011

As of today I have been on some form of low carb living for 67 days. I started at a weight of 269.2, wearing size 40-42 pants, and on 2 medications for high blood pressure. After just 3 weeks of a low carb lifestyle I had to get off the blood pressure medication. Now 67 days later I am 242.4lbs, I wear a size 36-38 pants, and my blood pressure has been holding steady without medication! So in 67 days I have lost 26.8lbs which is an average of 0.4lbs a day!

I have been tracking my weight and blood pressure since the start of my low carb lifestyle and I have tried a few different things since starting low carb. I started doing the diet Gary Taubes included in the Appendix of Why We Get Fat, then shortly after moved on to Atkins, then 4 Hour Body, and then a general low carb lifestyle. My new general low carb lifestyle has no set rules to it other than the basic concepts of low carb. I have been experimenting with different things and incorporating what I find to work for me and things that fit into all aspects of my life. I include the cheat day from 4 hour body and I include the limitation on cheese that Atkins recommend. Not because they say to do that, but because I tried it and I like the results and found them to work best for me.

I am going to go over my data I have collected and share some thoughts about what I was doing and what I have found from various changes. If you want the short version here it is: As long as I live low carb it doesn’t matter what I do I lose an average of 1.04% of my body weight each week. Cheat day or not. cheese or no cheese. legumes or no legumes. It doesn’t seem to matter. Well, at least not in how I lose weight. As we all know there is a difference between losing weight and losing weight and feeling great!

Because cheat day is Saturdays I have my weekly stats running from Sunday to Saturday.

Ok down to the data!

6-15-11 thru 6-18-11

Date Weight Δ lbs % Δ lbs Δ lbs/week % Δ lbs/week
6/15/11 269.2
6/16/11 267.6 1.6 0.59%
6/17/11 267.6 0 0.00%
6/18/11 263.4 4.2 1.57% 5.8 2.15%

This first week was not a complete week, but since I go from Sunday-Saturday I had no choice. This drop looks impressive at first glance, but when you look into the science behind this way of eating you understand that, at least from what I have learned, this initial large drop is your body burning up it’s glycogen stores and releasing water it thought it needed but now knows it doesn’t.

6-19-11 thru 6-25-11

6/19/11 265.2 -1.8 -0.68%
6/20/11 267 -1.8 -0.68%
6/21/11 267 0 0.00%
6/22/11 264 3 1.12%
6/23/11 264.6 -0.6 -0.23%
6/24/11 264.2 0.4 0.15%
6/25/11 262 2.2 0.83% 1.4 0.53%

This week’s data is not accurate due to my scale battery getting low and giving me inaccurate readings. This was the last week of me not tracking anything and just following the guidelines found in the appendix of Why We Get Fat.

6-26-11 thru 7-2-11

6/26/11 261.6 0.4 0.15%
6/27/11 261.2 0.4 0.15%
6/28/11 260.8 0.4 0.15%
6/29/11 261.4 -0.6 -0.23%
6/30/11 260.4 1 0.38%
7/1/11 259 1.4 0.54%
7/2/11 258.8 0.2 0.08% 3.2 1.22%

This was my first week on Atkins. On the 29th I had a gain, but I don’t remember what I determined was the cause of that.

7-3-11 thru 7-9-11

7/3/11 259.2 -0.4 -0.15%
7/4/11 258 1.2 0.46%
7/5/11 257.4 0.6 0.23%
7/6/11 257.2 0.2 0.08%
7/7/11 258.2 -1 -0.39%
7/8/11 257.4 0.8 0.31%
7/9/11 255.6 1.8 0.70% 3.2 1.24%

This week I believe I started adding in Atkins products here and there. I had some days of gain, but my weekly results were still good.

7-10-11 thru 7-16-11

7/10/11 255.6 0 0.00%
7/11/11 256.4 -0.8 -0.31%
7/12/11 256.6 -0.2 -0.08%
7/13/11 257 -0.4 -0.16%
7/14/11 256.4 0.6 0.23%
7/15/11 259 -2.6 -1.01%
7/16/11 259 0 0.00% -3.4 -1.33%

This week I discovered the 4 Hour body approach and decided to give it a try and start Project Guinea Pig. I also started testing my blood sugar in the previous week. I was curious what my old way of eating would do to my blood sugar and I wanted to start Project Guinea Pig more from a normal non low carb lifestyle. So this week I ate a mixed low carb and “traditional” diet. The results were that my weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure all started to rise after just one day!

7-17-11 thru 7-23-11

7/17/11 262.8 -3.8 -1.47%
7/18/11 261.4 1.4 0.53%
7/19/11 258 3.4 1.30%
7/20/11 256.2 1.8 0.70%
7/21/11 255.4 0.8 0.31%
7/22/11 254.4 1 0.39%
7/23/11 252.8 1.6 0.63% 6.2 2.39%

This was my first week on 4HB. Again the results look very impressive, but when you think about what I said about my first week above it seems the same holds true here. After eating junk for a week my glycogen stores and extra water came back.

7-24-11 thru 7-30-11

7/24/11 258.8 -6 -2.37%
7/25/11 256.4 2.4 0.93%
7/26/11 253.2 3.2 1.25%
7/27/11 252.2 1 0.39%
7/28/11 251.6 0.6 0.24%
7/29/11 251.4 0.2 0.08%
7/30/11 250.2 1.2 0.48% 2.6 1.03%

After my first cheat day I gained 6lbs but still managed to lose 2.6lbs overall for the week. Again it seems that just one day of junk eating can cause your glycogen stores to replenish and your body to hold on to extra water. If I am wrong in this idea please share what you know about the subject!

7-31-11 thru 8-6-11

7/31/11 255.4 -5.2 -2.08%
8/1/11 253.8 1.6 0.63%
8/2/11 252.8 1 0.39%
8/3/11 250.2 2.6 1.03%
8/4/11 250 0.2 0.08%
8/5/11 247.4 2.6 1.04%
8/6/11 247.2 0.2 0.08% 3 1.20%

Again post cheat day I shot up on my weight, but managed a 3lb loss for the week. On the 4th I decided I did not want to follow all of the 4HB plan anymore, but decided to, for now, keep in the cheat day.

Changes to my plan from the 4th on:

  1. I planned to stopped eating unless I was hungry. This resulted in me still eating breakfast (wasn’t usually hungry), pushing lunch till late in the day (still not hungry but ate anyway), and then eating dinner when I got off work (9pm)
  2. I dropped the legumes. I did not like the way I felt eating legumes. I am not talking about gas either. I don’t know how to describe it, but when I eat low carb I can sense differences in my body. When eating legumes I just felt… off. I didn’t feel how I wanted to feel. I know that doesn’t really explain it well, but I think it is a thing you would just have to experience.
  3. I added cheese back to my diet. I am trying to limit it’s consumption. I am not weighing out or tracking my cheese, but I try not to eat a lot.
  4. I stopped eating things I didn’t feel like eating. I feel that when you feed your body proper food it will let you know when/what to eat. So I eat meat every meal, because I love it, and usually have some cheese in each meal. Sometimes I eat veggies and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I crave veggies like crazy, and sometimes I just don’t want them. So I am listening to my body and I am not eating anything I don’t feel like eating just because I am told I have to eat it.
8-7-11 thru 8-13-11

8/7/11 251.2 -4 -1.62%
8/8/11 251.8 -0.6 -0.24%
8/9/11 251 0.8 0.32%
8/10/11 250.8 0.2 0.08%
8/11/11 247 3.8 1.52%
8/12/11 244.8 2.2 0.89%
8/13/11 243.8 1 0.41% 3.4 1.38%
On 8-8-11 I extended cheat day by having dinner with family. I did eat low carb all day, but that one meal caused a gain. Still managed a 3.4lb loss for the week though!
8-14-11 thru 8-20-11

8/14/11 248 -4.2 -1.72%
8/15/11 250.2 -2.2 -0.89%
8/16/11 249.6 0.6 0.24%
8/17/11 247.6 2 0.80%
8/18/11 245.2 2.4 0.97%
8/19/11 243 2.2 0.90%
8/20/11 242.4 0.6 0.25% 1.4 0.57%
On 8-15-11 my brother gave me a large amount of Iberico cheese. This cheese is amazing. That day I had about 3 times the amount of cheese I normally consume in a day… the result was an additional 2.2lb gain and a major stunt in my weight loss for the week. On 8-17-11 I started the concept of Intermittent fasting 6 out of 7 days a week, but cheat day would remain the same. The first three days have gone very well and I really enjoy it. You can check out my past 3 blog posts for details on that. It helped me get a loss for the week even though I had cheat day gains and an additional day of gains. I am excited about seeing how the IF goes next week and how it helps or hurts my weight loss.


So if you look at the overall picture of my low carb journey you will see that I have had pretty consistent results with weight loss and any variance has a pretty good explanation. So does this mean that it doesn’t matter what plan you follow? To me I would say it just depends on your goal. If all you want to do is lose weight then I think any low carb plan would help you. However, if you want to feel the best you ever have and enjoy your way of life then the plan you follow is vital. I have found that no plan is the best plan for me. There is not one plan out there that is fitting exactly to me, my life, and my desires.

So my advise is do research. Try things out. Find out how YOU feel doing certain things.

I found that if I eat too much cheese I will gain weight. So I try to limit cheese to under around 4oz a day, but don’t weigh things out. Thanks Atkins for that tip.

I found that if I eat legumes I don’t feel as well as I could. Also I found that cheat days don’t make me feel worse over the entire week and don’t mess up my weight loss much. I have 4HB to thank for that!

I found that not eating for at least 18 hours a day makes me feel amazing. I have a clearer mind and my body feels like it’s “firing on all cylinders.” That is thanks to many of the great resources out there for you to find when you spend even just a little bit of time researching.

So in conclusion I will have to echo what many before me have said already. Find what works for you and stick to it. Experiment, experiment, and experiment some more!

Trust me I know how painful it is to think of “wasting” a week by trying something new that doesn’t work out and may cause a gain in weight. However, if you are just looking to lose weight and don’t find what truly works for you you will regain the weight eventually. People say any diet works as long as you stick to it. This is absolutely true. HOWEVER, I have found that the low carb LIFESTYLE is the only thing that you can stop looking at as a diet and realize that it is a great way of life and one that you will enjoy!
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2 Comments
  1. August 20, 2011 11:39

    Great post Aaron and great advice. Thanks for all the detail. I’ll second you on the low carb lifestyle, after reading your results and following my own, I believe it is tough to counter that this is the way humans are meant to eat. Makes you really question the motives behind the govt’s recommendations for all those grain requirements…especially with the obesity and diabetes “epidemics.”

    Good luck in continued success,
    David

    • August 20, 2011 13:06

      In my opinion I think there are two reasons why the government is really pushing grains. I may be completely wrong and just being a conspiracy theorist, but they makes sense to me.

      1. There is a lot of money to be had from us eating grains. Both from farming, processed foods, and the medications we have to take because we eat all this stuff.

      2. It wasn’t until farming came about and even more so since the cheap availability of carbohydrates that we were able to sustain the population levels we live at, and yes medical advancements did help too but you have to have food to live. Think if everyone ate a low carb lifestyle… Could we really sustain that many people? I think we would end up either hunting the planet clear of animals or having to use crazy drugs and hormones to keep industrial meat production high enough to sustain us. I mean look how bad the meat industry already is with that stuff… We are artificially propping up our population with cheap carbs and we are paying the price.

      and let’s throw in a 3rd as a bonus. Sick fat people are less likely to revolt against the government. They would just position all essential people on top of a gentle slope 😉 ok, that is a bit of a joke, but still sick fat people don’t make a good revolution.

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