Saturday, 28 May 2016

Post 6: 3.6 lbs in 5 Days!? (plus Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting)


Hi all,


This week, I’ve decided to throw off the trappings of being a human, and instead become a guinea pig for you all. Okay, a human guinea pig….


I’ve been utilising bulletproof intermittent fasting from Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet and recording the surprising results. Just as precursor, I was not entirely following the diet, just experimenting with his IF protocol.


BIF involves starting the day with some freshly brewed coffee blended with grass fed butter, and possibly MCT oil, then eating your next meal around 2pm. Asprey states that this concoction will keep you satisfied for hours while kicking ass at work at the same time. It is also designed to aid you in entering ketosis - fat burning mode- quickly upon waking up. This differs from regular ol' IF because you are consuming calories before your eating window begins.


To isolate the results for you I controlled for some more variables:
  • I recorded how many grams of butter I was using each day
  • I recorded what time I drank the coffee and what time I started to feel truly hungry
  • I recorded how many calories I was eating each day


As a note, I was also eating less than 25g of starchy carbs a day, and my only fructose was a teaspoon of raw honey before going to sleep each night (remember that fruit makes you fat!). The exception was Wednesday, when I went on a protein sparing fast, eating less than 25g of protein and 150g of starchy carbs, mostly through sweet potatoes and white rice. As Dave explains in his book, this puts your body into a state called autophagy, where your body recycles damaged cells for energy, which contributes to looking younger and excreting toxins.


My hero!...*swoons*...


My results were very interesting:


“I lost 3.6 lbs while eating more calories, and starting each day with a huge chunk of grass fed butter and coffee.”


A great success, if I say so myself! This was not only a powerful tool for aiding in fat loss, but was also quick and easy to set-up, and breakfast for the whole week cost only £5.25. I would highly recommend the protocol myself, but read on to see if it would fit your lifestyle.


Today we’re going to be taking a look at: how I lost weight while eating more calories; my experience with a day of protein fasting; and how my hunger levels changed over the week.




Eating more calories and losing weight

Calories per day vs weight in lbs. I’ve put the calories I ate the day before with the weight on that day so it was easy to compare the effect of how much I ate.




As you can see, even though my calories were consistently increasing, I was losing weight at the same time! Let this be a lesson to the mathematicians from last week. In terms of fat burning, BIF gets a huge tick! For that alone, I would recommend trying BIF. Honestly, what have you got to lose (not much), and what have you got to gain (loads!).


I also want to draw attention to the fact that my weight was going up and down each day: that’s expected, it’s part and parcel of water retention. The key is in the trend.


I played football on Monday (day 1), sweating a lot and losing a lot of water weight. I then lifted weights on Tuesday (day 2), and promptly gained weight even though my calories were roughly equivalent to day 1. Lastly, I lifted weights again on Thursday (day 4), and woke up a little heavier on day 5. Friday was the day when I ate the most calories of the week, and I woke up on Saturday having experienced the largest weight loss of the week! It is so important that I’ll say it again:


The key to fat loss is in the trend


A day of protein fasting


A day without meat...*sobs*...


As I described earlier, on Wednesday (day 3) I swapped my diet around to being very low protein and moderate carbs.


My muscles immediately fell off, my testosterone regressed to the level of a prepubescent girl, and my testes shrivelled up to the size of raisins.


I’m kidding of course. I didn’t feel too different, but I am guessing that it’s the long term effects of this practice which make a difference. The only noticeable change I experienced was a shift in hunger. Usually after eating lunch I don’t feel hungry until dinner (five to six hours later), but by upping my carbs I was feeling hungry only three hours later. A pro for the high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet is satiety.


How hungry did I get?
Butter (g) vs number of hours between drinking the coffee and feeling truly hungry.


As you can see, not much of a correlation between the amount of butter I was putting into my coffee in the morning and the amount of hours between drinking it and feeling hungry. I’m an experienced faster, so I was used to the sensation, but I would expect that for someone new to the game it would have a bigger effect. I was actually finding that when I got bored or there was a lull at work, that was when I started to feel hungry. I’m sure you’ve heard someone before say “I eat when I’m bored”, well here’s some evidence to support that. The answer: keep yourself busy.
Just as importantly, stay hydrated. The human body will often confuse hunger with thirst, so make sure you’re drinking enough water spread throughout the day. The ability to differentiate these sensations actually diminishes with age.


While my natural hunger levels wasn’t affected much, I did feel a constant reserve of energy in the pre-lunch period and never felt tired, a resounding win for BIF.




The takeaways


There are three key takeaways this week:
  • The relationship between calories and weight is not linear, and BIF can aid in breaking this relationship further
  • Protein fasting is an interesting tool, why not give it a try and see how you feel?
  • Hunger, at least in my case, has more to do with boredom so stay busy


There is something to take into account, however: the cost. Buying the authentic bulletproof coffee and MCT oil (if you choose to add it) will set you back a pretty penny. That’s why I chose to substitute with cheaper products: Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter and Taylor’s Organic and Fair Trade Ground Coffee (links at the end). Price wise, you’ll need to make your own decision but do take into account the fact that the coffee will replace the cost of buying a breakfast. Substitution worked well for me because I went for a high quality product, but you won’t see much success otherwise. Remember that garbage in is garbage out! Also, if you are one of four people who are highly sensitive to mold toxins, then you cannot look beyond the Bulletproof line.


Oh and one more thing: “disaster pants”. This didn’t happen to me (thank goodness!), but if you’re not very well fat adapted then the coffee and butter will raise your stomach acid leading to an exceedingly embarrassing incident. The key, then, is to ease into the butter and slowly build your tolerance - but it is worth it. 

To find out more about all things BIF, follow the link at the end.


There you go, that’s my experience with bulletproof intermittent fasting. Try it yourself, leave a comment, and if you think that someone would benefit from reading this, please share.


Cowlean










Links:





https://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-fasting/

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Post 5: From Sluggish to Six Pack (plus: should you count calories?)

Hello reader, long time no see… again! I've taken another characteristic year off from the blog and I'm back with some more takeaways (having had less takeaways…).



But first here’s a catchup: in the past year I have: lost over 60 pounds, revealed my six pack, improved my overall health, improved my energy, feel smarter, improved the quality of my hair, skin and nails, became more ambitious, feel more charismatic, and (dum dum dum!) started in full time work.


I did all of this while enjoying a diet of grass fed steak, organic nuts, extra virgin coconut oil, grass fed butter and other delicious, natural, and healthy high-fat foods.


For more information, keep your eyes peeled: more information coming very soon.  


But it wasn’t the mention of the word “six pack” that drew you here surely!? We’re here to address the question of whether you should be counting your calories. I’ve set out the below to make finding the answer a heck of alot easier, which requires a minimal amount of thought on your part. Here goes!

Get your thinking caps on for a sec...

Should you count calories?


This can be a tricky one. One, I'm afraid, that can't be answered by just myself, you'll need to put in a tiny amount of thought too.


Firstly, the act of calorie counting is actually a very quick process - wait for it - once you've done it for a week. You get to know the caloric density of your major foodstuffs so it only takes entering the data into an app, calculator or note. For those whose excuse might be “I haven't got the time”: my friend, unfortunately, the gig is up.


The next choice you'll need to make is whether you fit into either of two broad categories:


  • The Mathematician
  • The Free Spirit


Now of course, there's so much cross over here it would be silly to say a person isn't any combination of both or neither, but the generalisation provides a useful starting point without which we would be lost.



The Mathematician


No one can stop me now!... woof!
To the Mathematician, eating and burning calories is simply a part of a formula. Calories in, calories out - weight gain, and weight loss. Get your caloric deficit and enjoy the party! This person would live in a state of eternal bliss if they could everyday eat the same macronutrient balanced sludge with a side of micronutrient mush.


I've used calorie counting as a method before for tremendous results. In fact, I was using it as a tool for the whole of H2 2015, in which I lost over 35 pounds. It gives you great freedom to vary your diet (have a look at “If It Fits Your Macros”, or IIFYM, to learn more), and you always stay accountable. Each gain and loss can be attributed to a certain surplus or deficit. Also, once you hit a plateau, expand your caloric deficit or add in more cardio. Simples!


It's also the simplest concept to grasp and explain. Who can honestly argue with your detailed addition and subtraction!?


The Free Spirit


The free spirit sees food, health, and fitness, as one holistic entity. They see how a type of food affects their well-being and adjusts accordingly. They notice how a fasted sprint session can rev up their metabolism. They are more concerned with their overall happiness over long periods. They are the modern day foodie equivalent of the hippie. Peace and love brother!


Being in the free spirit camp is in itself a state of happiness, and allows you to fully realise the best version of yourself. It's also incredibly freeing (hawhaw…), means that the person can go with the flow, and actually “let go”.


It's also so easy to explain to others: you eat when you’re hungry, you reward your body with good food, and you exercise in fun and effective ways. The free spirit knows how and when to let loose, choosing to swap Friday night bicep curls, chicken breast, and broccoli, for social nourishment and good relationships with the outside world.
The Free Spirit is able to let go focus on their health holistically


The Ugly



Yes that's right I introduced a secret third category: someone who picks a camp then poo-poos the opposing side. Don’t allow yourself to be here. The trick is to reconcile the two within yourself and in doing so you are capable of so much more!


If you don't pay attention to your body and mind you're going to have to start amending the calorie counting formula as hormonal imbalances take effect.


If you don't pay attention to the amount of calories you eat you're going to start to put on weight which can lead to a whole host of issues. Or you might even start undereating, and helping yourself to a plateful of new problems.



Takeaway



Should you count calories: the answer is yes, at some point you should. It doesn't need to be right away, but it's an important part of the journey to becoming an expert fat burner.


Treat it as a learning experience: a time where you get to know exactly how much your body can take before tipping the scales. Get an appreciation for the caloric density of food. Then once you learn the right amount you can stop counting and instead take the odd day out here and there to calculate how much you ate. Try and make this decision at the end of an average day rather than the beginning so you're not doctoring your results to hit a certain number - but stay accurate and honest in your calculation (you’re only lying to yourself anyway).


To conclude, here’s the 21st century easily digestible takeaway:
  • Are you more of The Mathematician? Yes: then count calories
  • Are you more of like The Free Spirit? Yes: then don’t count calories


There is no one set strategy to lose fat, you need to decide for yourself what type of person you are and personalise your approach.



Cowlean