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Fat Loss Diary: Bye-Bye Oatmeal, Welcome Back Low-Carb

April 7, 2014

Wow – two months have passed since my last post, and I had announced weekly updates. I won’t make that mistake again, but in fact I have been on the announced strategy ever since, no sweets, lots of fiber from oatmeal. Unfortunately I haven’t lost any body fat … so last weekend I was going through the literature again, thinking about what to try next. Then I realized that back in January I wasn’t doing too bad – I was basically doing low-carb, which I know has worked for me many times. I also know that it has been difficult for me to stay on it for too long – and this time I’m really looking for a long-term solution rather than a temporary fix.

So without any further ado, this is my new strategy, for which I picked the best elements from what I did at earlier this year:

1. Intermittent Fasting

I always liked the idea of skipping breakfast and compressing my eating window to 6-8 hours per day. I really want to optimize my body’s fat burning processes, and fasting is in my experience a sure-fire way to do it. On top of that fasting puts the body into a different mode – when you eat something, your body focuses on processing the incoming food. During fasting the body can focus instead on tissue repair.

My ideal start of the day: coffee with butter and coconut oil. Not much, just one teaspoon of each – fortunately eating fat doesn’t break the fast (as carbs or protein would), or just a cup of plain black coffee. By the way: If you’ve heard of a product called bulletproof coffee – don’t bother, in my humble opinion the claims Dave Asprey makes for his products are largely unsupported by the current research, and if you disagree I’d like to remind you that he also supports earthing mats …

2. Moderate carbs, and only in the evening

In other words: I want to do low-carb for most of the time, but I also want to replenish my glycogen stores without forcing my body to convert protein into glucose. Even though I wouldn’t recommend Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint in general, I think that his carbohydrate curve hits the nail on the head in practical terms. Eating 100 grams of carbs pre day sounds about right for me, and I would adjust it depending on the level of physical exertion – though not to the point of matching caloric intake to caloric expenditure.

3. No calorie counting

When I think about what annoyed me the most in January, it was the meticulous counting of calories. I won’t have that anymore, and I’ll delete the apps I used for that. I’ll still use activity trackers, but I won’t bother about calculating caloric balances.

4. No snacking

This might sound like a difficult rule to adhere to for many people, but I think it’s really easy to learn, and its main advantage from a psychological standpoint is that it relieves you of the constant internal battle of deciding whether to eat some treat that’s available. Unfortunately the human mind is very vulnerable to rationalizing wrong decisions … so nipping that process in the bud can be a huge relief for many people. Of course aside from that there are the metabolic advantages – you’re eating fewer calories, and your body doesn’t have to digest food all the time, so for your proper meals the stomach is actually empty at the start.

5. No sugar except after workouts

I still think that fructose intake should be minimized – at the same time there’s no need to eliminate it from the diet. I’m going with a tit-for-tat approach here – I can have my cake, but only after a really demanding workout. Here I’ll make an exception from rule #3 and try to match the calories of the sugary treats to the caloric expenditure of the workouts.

6. Eat clean food on weekdays

This essentially means meat, fish, eggs and veggies/salad, no grains, no dairy, no starch and fat combos like french fries. Maybe also a bit of oatmeal – but I won’t go out of my way to increase fiber intake.

7. Implement one fasting day per week

This is it – no excuses this time. You can skip this rule if you don’t have a ton of fat to lose, which sadly is not the case for me.

Summary

That’s it – I’ll try to follow these rules during the next couple of weeks, but I’ll also tweak them as I go. Stay tuned for updates, most likely not on a weekly basis … see you around! Feel free to comment on the rules in the meantime if you have questions or suggestions.

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From → Fat Loss

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