Fat loss check-in

I’ve been at just under 90kg (~197 lbs) for a few days now. Even though my SIX PACK ABS aren’t popping through yet (ha!) I don’t *feel* any lighter, but I guess I’ve been doing something right, because even though I have one or two (or three) cheat meals nearly every weekend I’m maintaining my weight, which is fantastic. A couple of years ago I thought I’d never break through the 210 lb mark, and after I started Atkins I was quickly down to 205, then eventually 200.

My goal for this year was to lose 30 lbs and I’m halfway there. At the rate I’m going I probably won’t lose all 30 lbs, realistically, but if I can lose another 5 or 10 lbs in the next few months I’ll be very, very happy. I’ve taken up mountain biking again this summer and hopefully I can keep up cycling in the evenings when I get home, or if I can’t be bothered do indoor exercises with the kettlebells and stuff I have already.

I can do it, I know I can, it’ll just take a bit more work and time.

Figured out my plateau

So the last couple of weeks I’ve basically stalled on my fat loss plateau. I’d hit 199 lbs once or twice but wasn’t able to stay there for more than a couple of days. The last week or so I’ve been stuck at 91 or 92kg, about 101-103 lbs.

What I tend to do when this happens is track my calories using one site or another, and I realized I was basically eating too much. When I cooked up two 1/2 lb burgers, I’d eat both instead of saving one. When I had 4 pork chops marinading, I’d eat all 4. For lunch, I’d cook up two chicken breasts and eat both.

Plus, not enough salad veg. So for a couple of days last week I tracked my calories and figured out I was eating more calories than I thought I was – I tend to do this every couple of months because I hit a stall.

So for the next couple of weeks I’ll continue with my usually weekday breakfast (bacon or chorizo with 3 eggs) but I’ll have one chicken breast for lunch instead of the two I’ve been having. Dinner will be whatever I have on hand, usually a tuna or salmon steak, a large burger, a grilled chicken breast, or whatever, plus steamed veg from the freezer.

Drew Carey loses 80 lbs and his Type II diabetes on low-carb diet & exercise

Normally I would never link to the People website, but this is a pretty good vindication of the power of low-carb diets:

Drew Carey this past January:

Drew Carey now, after a low-carb diet with a high intensity cardio training program:

A little more here on People

Is that enough proof that a low-carb diet is the way to go to lose weight?

Last week I was dipping into the 200 lb range for the first time since I was 25 or so.

This week, I’ve been under 200 lbs for the whole week so far. The only ‘rules’ I’m following are the Atkins Induction rules – I’m supposed to not have anything with sugar and no alcohol whatsoever, but I have to admit I’ve slipped a couple of times, but nothing really major. Well, except for the entire small bag of popcorn at the movies last week. My weight the next day was still the same as the day before, but I basically restarted the Induction phase, which is supposed to last 2 weeks.

If I continue losing a pound a week, I’ll reach 190 by my birthday, and hit my goal of 180 pounds or so by the end of the year.  Not too shabby.

First – actually second! – weight target hit

First full day of Atkins and I’m below 200 lbs for the first time since the late 90’s or early 2000’s. 90.6kg = 199.3 lbs

So this is my second, maybe my third weight goal achieved on my way to 180 lbs. When I started the year I was about 210 or so, then I wavered a bit and went up to 215, so in May my first goal was to get past 210 because that seemed to be a ‘wall’ that I couldn’t get past for very long before. With 210 out of the way I set my sights on 205, then 200.

I was headed there anyway at some point (see the chart below) so I can’t put all the praise on the new diet – plus I did some mountain biking yesterday – but it’s helping me get past this no-exercise plateau.

Now that I’m biking again I’ll get back into weightlifting, which will just accelerate the weight loss.

If anyone is curious about the New Atkins, New You diet plan, it’s all on their website at www.atkins.com, and the book itself is only £4 on Amazon. Here’s the new plan in a nutshell (this is all on their website, the book has a lot of background but if you want to jump right in the full program is on the site):

Overview, Tips and Quick Start Guide, 53-page Carb Counter, Meal Planner

Induction
Acceptable Foods List (with Net Carbs count)
Reduce your carbohydrate intake to 20g Net Carbs per day. Salad greens and non-starchy vegetables should make up around 12 grams of Net Carbs per day. Stay on for 2 weeks, but you can stay on for longer.

Phase 2 is Ongoing Weight Loss or OWL
Acceptable Foods List (with Net Carbs count)
Start with 25 grams of Net Carbs per day. Each week, increase daily Net Carbs by 5 grams. Stay on OWL until you are within 10 lbs of your goal, then move to Pre-Maintenance.

Phase 3 is Pre-Maintenance
Acceptable Foods List (with Net Carbs count)
Net Carbs during this phase: Each week, increase daily Net Carbs by 10 grams
If you stall, drop back 10 grams of Net Carbs to find the number of carbs your body is best tuned for. You’ll end up around 60-100g of carbs per day. Once you’ve been at your goal weight for a month, move on to Lifetime Maintenance.

phase 4 is Lifetime Maintenance
Stick to the number of carbs you found in phase 3 (about 120g per day), they call this ACE or Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium – this should allow you to eat the foods you like and stay within 3-5 lbs of your target weight.

Starting Atkins properly this week

I’ve been in a bit of a stall, weight-wise, probably because I’m on ‘pause’ with my workouts for a while, and I’ve had a couple extra cheat meals than I really should have in the past couple of weeks.

Still – I’ve lost about 15 pounds and 1.5 inches off my waist, so it’s not all bad.

Recently I got the latest Atkins diet book, just published about a month ago, so I’m going to start the first phase of that, ominously called ‘Induction’. whoooooooOOOoooo…

Anyway, it’ll involve me eating a bit less than I eat now, but not in volume (there’s no calorie counting, thankfully) – still lots of meat and the newer Atkins plans include vegetables for your healthy 5 a day – it’s just a lot stricter than I have been for myself, but it only lasts for 2 weeks, or longer if you want the weight to drop off faster. I was going to start with the second phase of Ongoing Weight Loss (comically called ‘OWL’ for short), but I figure I’ve come this far, I may as well see what the full plan will do for me.

My lowest weight in many many years

Down to 91.8kg (202.4 lbs) this morning, I’m really surprised.

I haven’t worked out in a week (no lifting, no bike riding) because I hurt my back a couple of Fridays ago and had to have near-total bed rest for a few days, and even now walking for more than 30 minutes or so can give me some pains. So with the reduced exercise capacity I’ve reduced my calorie intake (when exercising 5-6 days a week I require 3000 calories a day), and I’ve been losing weight steadily for several days now.

I’m aiming for 200 lbs (about 90kg) and I’m well on course for that, but I’m on holiday from Wednesday so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to stick to mostly low-carb stuff. It shouldn’t be too bad really, it’s a weekend festival/camping thing down south so we’ll be able to buy food from a grocery store each day.

Weight plateau broken?

Every dieter hits a ‘plateau’ – a time when they seem to stop losing weight. I’ve been on about 95kg for a couple of weeks now and tried not to worry about it, just eating the same stuff I’ve been eating and going on with my life.

I think my plateau may have broken, though. I did a fruit fast all day yesterday (apples & bananas only), mainly because I woke up late and didn’t have time to make breakfast, then I figured what the hell, I’ll just have fruit today. This morning I’m at 93.3kg (~205 lbs). I’ll have to see if that sticks for the next couple of days, but it was nice to get back to bacon and eggs this morning.

Definitely on a plateau

I’m nearing the end of my third week on low-carb. Most days I’m under 30-40g of carbs, except for cheat days when I might be about 150-200g. I’ve lost a few pounds, gone from about 213 to a steady 208, but I haven’t moved in weight or body fat % in a week and a half.

Until I hurt my back last Friday I was alternating lifting/intervals 5 to 6 days a week, so I’m not sure I can increase the intensity of my workouts. And hopefully it won’t be too long before I can start up again!

But to break this plateau I think I’ll have to drop the amount of calories I try to take in. On the days I do try to count calories (not with a book, but with the Daily Plate website on Livestrong.com) I’m trying to get to 2300 calories, which was figured out from an active calorie requirement of 3000 calories minus a 20-25% deficit to encourage weight loss. So maybe I should try to get to 2000-2100 calories instead, and continue my working out. I’m just not sure, because the working out will require calories to encourage muscle growth.

Will have to ask around on this one, methinks!

Low-carb update

OK, a little update.

If you recall, I did the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet, which I started on the 5th of May. I ended it at the end of May, with a couple of days of slippage here and there. But I did 95% of the workouts I was supposed to do, plus fast days, shake days and more, on and on.

After that ended, I ate sensibly for a few days, then last week I started a low-carb diet combined with regular exercise 5-6 days a week (weightlifting and HIIT) and 2 days of fasting per week.

Here’s the weight chart, starting from the 5th of May all the way to today:

The solid circles are actual weight checks, the empty circles are estimated weights for that day. The blue line is my weighted average weight, and when I weighed less than my average weight that shows up as green, above-average weights are red. So the more I’m in the green, the better. It looks more complicated than it is!

As you can see, at the beginning of the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet (XFLD from now on) I was about 98.7, and at the end of the month I was about 97.3. I lost about two and a half pounds or just over a kilogram.

Since the end of the XFLD and starting a low-carb diet, I’ve gone from 97.5 down to 94.5 or so…I don’t know about you, but that’s more weight lost in a week than I lost in the previous month.

This is the longest I’ve been under 210 lbs for years, probably since I was actually gaining weight from 200 to 220. When I moved to the UK I was 225 lbs, or 102.3kg, so I’ve lost over 15 lbs in 6.5 years. Not too shabby, but I want to lose more.

One thing I’ll have to change is fasting on days I’m set to go mountain biking, or maybe taking in a protein/carb shake before setting off – yesterday I was really really tired for the second half of the ride, but part of that was my ride partners not stopping to rest very often. That’s OK since I have to be pushed a bit, but I was getting pretty damn tired in places I hadn’t been tired before! I’ll have to try biking with something in my stomach first, if that doesn’t work I’ll move my fasting day.

Continuing…

I’m kind of on my second or third day of it, and it’s going alright.

Sunday was Cheat Day, which coincided nicely with a christening I attended and some nice dessert.

At about 7 or 8 PM I stopped eating and didn’t eat or drink anything with calories until about 8 PM Monday, making the first 24-hour Fast Day of the week. In case anyone thinks this fasting thing is dangerous, my own personal example was that I basically drank plain or slightly flavored water all day long, then went mountain biking for a couple of hours in the evening. I didn’t feel any better or worse than when I would ride on a normal (eating) day, but with all the extra body water I was sweating puddles the entire time.

After the bike ride I stopped in with my ride partner at Burger King and wolfed down a Triple Whopper Meal (with Diet Coke). I was going to get just the burger and leave out the fries, but the full meal was a little over £1 more, so I decided to have it.

Today I had a breakfast of scrambled eggs with salsa and cheese, and for lunch I had a big lettuce salad and half a roast chicken – I should have prepared the chicken at home but I didn’t have salad anyway.

I’m going to try to stay with a full-on low-carb diet, meaning less than 50 grams of carbs on most days (which is surprisingly easy if you stay away from breads and cereals) and about 145g of protein per day (based on 1.5g per kilo of body weight) because I’m exercising – this protein suggestion comes from the latest Atkins diet book.

I’ll have to avoid having potatoes and bread and all that  stuff, for the most part, which shouldn’t be too hard, but I can have a small amount for lunch or for an early dinner (up to about 6 or 7 PM)…and of course on cheat day!

I think the key for me to remember is that if I can’t follow THE DIET 100% that’s OK, as long as I follow it most of the time – this is what many people (trainers, health practitioners and even life coaches call the 80/20 rule: follow the plan 80% of the time…the rest, well, whatever. Some trainers suggest a stricter 90/10 split, but the idea is to stick to your plan most of the time. The ‘cheat’ time helps psychologically and if you have actual food cravings.

Anyway, like I mentioned before in previous posts with this ‘Xtreme’ diet out of the way, I am now used to doing regular exercise, sticking to meal plans, tracking my food, etc. This makes this next sort of ‘phase’ of dieting easier for me to follow, because I’ve done the crazy hard bit and hopefully I can lose weight steadily – and if I don’t lose actual body mass I’ll be losing fat and gaining muscle, which is fine by me.