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.

Diet, the wrap-up

So the big ‘xtreme’ diet is over, and the first thing that will be asked is: Did the damn thing work? Did all the fasting, pills, protein powders and working out help?

Well, overall, I feel better, and some of my ‘dimensions’ have improved: my waist has gone down by almost 1.5 inches (bringing my Waist-to-Height Ratio down quite a bit, from 60.5 to 58.7, very close to the merely ‘overweight’ range) and my bicep measurement has gone up almost one and a half inches. My weight has stayed about the same, but I’ve put on more muscle (evidenced by my arm measurement), which weighs more than fat, so overall I’m fitter. I sit up straighter in my chair at work, like I usually do when I’m exercising regularly, and of course I’m more conscious of things such as the starchy carb content in my meals, calories in my drinks, etc. I’m not nutty about it (I think – but if I mention this to anyone they’re like ‘HURF HURF you’re all mentalist crazy dieter now!’) but I’m aware of these things.

So – did I get the results promised in the ‘Xtreme Fat Loss Diet‘? Well, the diet promises that you can lose up to 20-25 pounds – like I said above I didn’t lose any, but I wasn’t expecting to drop below 200 lbs doing this diet. I was hoping to lose 10-15 pounds, which I didn’t, but I have added muscle while losing a little weight, which means I have lost fat, which is good.

I suppose the next question would be what went ‘wrong’, why didn’t I lose loads of weight? There’s actually a few things here and there. The first thing is that the diet wasn’t a failure – I’m well on the road to regular, consistent exercise and eating healthily, kind of like a 4-week health bootcamp. But there were hiccups, for sure. On at least a couple of the Moderate Carb days, I had a fast food meal (leaving out the fries) and for one of those meals I had a full-fat Coke due to an ordering mix-up (not mine). I also went on a weekend holiday, so had to improvise on food due to eating out and camping, plus I missed a couple of workouts that weekend. Then the following weekend I went on a heaving drinking night, (for a friend’s bachelor party) and didn’t do anything the following day.

To top it off, I was using a cheap, crappy body fat measuring thing to figure out my body fat percentage (I was getting regular readings of just over 30% every time) and I forgot my digital scale at my girlfriend’s a couple of weeks ago, so I haven’t been able to get scale readings when I should. I am able to hop on the shipping scale at work, but if I do that it’s not at a consistent time (I like to weigh myself after waking, after the toilet and before the shower, consistently) and I’m wearing clothes so I have to fudge off some imagined weight for my clothes. I just today received a good body monitor scale (Tanita brand, recommended by pro trainers) and the body fat measurement came to 22.4% – and there’s no way I could have lost 8% body fat from yesterday (when I measured with the cheap handheld thing) to today. No way in hell. So – forgetfulness and equipment failures prevent me from providing a full and accurate way to track my progress, and for now I have to rely on guesstimates from the measurements I can get.

Will I try the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet again? Not sure yet, but I might. I believe in the science of it, with the carb-loading on cheat days, the fasting and shake days, plus the targeted workouts depending on what day of the cycle you’re on. If you try to explain it to anyone you sound like a raving crazy person, but people expect that of me anyway 🙂

Now for the money question, literally: Will I ask for a refund of my $67? To be honest, I’m not sure yet. I could, the program allows a 60-day no-questions-asked returns policy, but I don’t know yet. I didn’t see the weight drop off like I thought I would could, but then again I wasn’t able to follow the program to a ‘T’. I’ll have to think about it.

Diet, day 26

Well, I’m nearing the end of the diet, I’m on the last 5-day cycle (there are five 5-day cycles to go through).

Technically I should have finished yesterday, but I took a few days off here and there because of a weekend holiday trip and a lad’s night out for a friend who’s getting married soon. I ate sensibly on the holiday trip and even worked out on one of the days I was out of town, and the stag night turned out to be on the final cheat day, so that was alright – except for the copious amount of drinking I did, which was mostly low-calorie drinks except for bottle of cider, a bottle of wine and a white Russian. The day after the night out was meant to be a fast day but I was far too tired to care, but I didn’t gorge myself and ate a mostly-protein breakfast and ate a bit during the day.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get on a proper scale for a week or so, but I was able to get on the big postal box scale at work and at the start of cycle 4 I was about the same weight as at the start of cycle 3. I’m hoping I will have lost another kilo or so by the end of cycle 5, but I think I’m a ways off losing the 4-7kg I was hoping to drop at the start of the diet. The thing is, I don’t really know, but basically I’ll have to see where I am at the finish. I didn’t think I’d get the ‘up to 20-25 pounds’ promised in the diet literature, so I was hoping to be realistic with 10-15 pounds! 🙂

Another thing to consider, though, is that I’m probably putting on a nice amount of muscle, which weighs more than fat. I can almost certainly feel more muscle in my biceps, although my chest looks about the same. My legs have always been fairly muscular, if I can admit/brag about that, so no big changes there, but my arms definitely feel stronger. I haven’t measured my waist in a while either, but I’m hoping to be down another 1 to 1.5 inches for a total of 3 inches dropped in my waist by the end.

Is it a bit too early to be thinking and talking about what I’m expecting by Thursday? I don’t know, it’s just a couple of days to go and I’m looking forward to shifting to a different diet and a new workout routine. More on that later…

Diet, day 20 (I think)

I’ve lost track a bit of what day I’m on, but regardless the diet is still going good.

The last time I weighed myself, last Friday, I’d dropped an inch and a half in my waist and lost a little bit more weight. The number on the scale doesn’t mean too much (although it is nice to see it go down), what’s more important is fitting better/looser in my clothes! I might also be gaining some muscle through the workouts and protein I’m taking in, which is great because having muscles mean I burn more calories while I’m doing literally nothing.

Over the weekend I went away for a few days – more on that in another post – so I didn’t work out Friday (which was going to be a rest day anyway, Saturday (oops, meant to work out that day) or yesterday/Monday (ack, I really did mean to work out but was knackered after driving back!). So, although I brought my 16kg kettlebell with me, I didn’t bring it up to the yurt – a good 250 yards away…up a hill, I was too tired after dragging all the bags and food with me from the car to get the damned thing. I did, however use nearly-full 20-liter jerry cans of water to do some rows with on Sunday as part of the protein-only day workout. I figured those things were at least 16-18kg each, quite a decent workout just with them, definitely went to exhaustion on the rows.

Today is pill day (fasting all day, no calories whatsoever, just BCAA protein pills) which means yesterday was CHEAT DAY – so I had a huge breakfast pastry and soon after a big English breakfast (4 bacon rashers, 2 sausages, 2 poached eggs, mushrooms, tomatos, fried bread…I skipped the black pudding) and later on nearly a full large pizza with garlic bread and chicken breast strips. And full-fat Coke here and there as well 🙂

I’ve got a stag do this weekend, a friend is getting married soon but rather than a full on British ‘stag weekend’ some younger guys might do, we’ve got a day full of activities planned and a big drunken night out. No getting around it in regards to the diet, and I’ve already massaged the eating plan once for the weekend just gone, but at least the day we’re all going out is an actual Cheat Day according to the plan, so I can have a fast food lunch and later on pig out on the Mexican dinner. The hard part will be recovering the next day, which is a Fast Day – but I’m not *really* planning to get *that* wasted…we’ll have to see though 😉 At least I’ll be exercising every day for the next week, to ‘make up’ for not exercising for a couple of days just recently.

Diet, day 12

Fast Day again, uggghh. Not fun.

Have felt pretty weak and even light-headed, so much so that for lunch I had to have a flapjack (baked oat/sugar cake popular with backpackers and trekkers in the UK) in addition to the 8 massive tablets of BCAA protein for the 1 PM meal.

To give an idea of the pills, here’s a picture of an entire day’s ‘meals’ of protein tablets:

I did okay last Wednesday with the fast day, and at the end of the day I had a table full of chips/crisps (excuse the American/British terminology duplication), plus wine gums, Maltesers and assorted other candies in front of me, but a friend of mine was giving me moral support and not imbibing either. I suppose today the flapjacks were just conveniently right next to me and I’m freaking STARVING.

Some diet pros might say ‘well you were listening to your body’, which makes you feel fine about cheating, but then again I was cheating all day yesterday and today’s plan is to fast…oh well. I’m not kicking myself about it too hard, but last week I was able to make it and this time I wasn’t. One flapjack won’t throw me off too much.

Diet, day 11

Was out of town over the weekend, so I’m not able to update every single day!

I weighed in this morning and I was 97.3kg, not as much of a weight drop as I was hoping for but I started at 98.8 so that’s still decent, 1.5kg, over 3 pounds. I’ll weigh again tomorrow morning since I originally started weighing myself on the fast day but I’m not expecting a big change.

I’d meant to skip today’s exercise because I’m mountain biking tomorrow, but I didn’t get round to exercising on Friday, so I had to do something today. Tomorrow is meant to be lots of bodyweight squats and pushups followed by HIIT (high-intensity interval training) but I’ll do the squats and pushups in the morning and mountain biking in the evening.

Diet, day 9

Moderate Carbs day today, so yay for real food!

Breakfast and lunch consists of what I call a ‘ranch omelet’ which is basically a cubed potato pan-fried with green pepper and onion, mixed with 4 scrambled eggs. Plus an apple and fruit juices, with some chicken or other stuff later today.

I’m considering buying another diet/exercise plan done by the same guy that’s doing the one I’m on – I’m doing ‘Xtreme Fat Loss Diet’, he also did ‘Cheat Your Way Thin’, which is a similar but obviously less extreme version of the diet, with 3 workouts per week instead of nearly every day. CYWT is what he recommends (obviously) as the follow-on diet step after the XFLD program, and in CYWT you’re meant to work out 3 times a week, cheat on Sunday (calorie spike) and follow 2 3-day cycles of that rotate between protein, low-GI and high-GI food days. Done properly you’re supposed to lose 1-2 lbs a week until you reach the weight you want, where you go on the maintenance plan, or after a few weeks of the diet cycling you can go back on the XFLD if you want to lose more fat.

Diet, day 8

Yesterday went OK in the end, but I was flagging towards the end of the day, I think because I didn’t eat enough carbs on Cheat Day to be honest. I was tempted once or twice to grab a wine gum or something to eat while gaming (D&D tabletop gaming) but I made it through.

Today is Shake Day, but also I can have veggies! Awesome – so I cut up a huge carrot and half a cucumber to take to work for snacks along with the protein shakes.

The workout later on is pumping iron (different workout each day, depending on what you’re taking in) but it shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes from changing into shorts to hitting the shower.

Diet, day 7

Lost 3.7 pounds in a week, but I’m taking that with a grain of salt because I’m not weighing myself on the ‘correct’ day…supposed to weigh on the mornings of cheat days, but didn’t when I started and I weighed myself on the morning of fasting day – and I weighed myself twice this morning so I’m taking the weight after I worked out on a zeroed-out scale. So there. Still, I lost at least 1.8 pounds, and possibly up to 3.7, so take the average and that’s 2.75, which is still really good.

I was able to finish the full workout program for today as well, but I know I’m going to be missing food for the rest of the day – it’s protein pills and water…all. day. long.

edit: I am so freaking hungry right now…but a carb will not cross my lips today.

Diet, day 6 (start of the second cycle)

Welp, it’s the start of the second ‘cycle’ of the diet, Cheat Day.

Had a bowl of muesli and an orange for breakfast, a couple of teas (with full fat milk) during the day, gorged a bit on lunch at McDonald’s with a big burger, a small chicken burger off the value menu, onion rings, a few fries (literally just a few) and a Diet Coke. I didn’t eat in the mid-afternoon because I was still full and for dinner I polished off the chicken skewers I got yesterday, and a small pot of yogurt that was going to go off soon.

One thing about this diet is that I don’t eat much real food, so it actually saves quite a bit of cash, but I have some fresh food that will go off if I don’t eat it as snacks during the days where I’m not fasting (you can snack on ‘free veg’ like carrots, broccoli, celery and other similar vegetables on Shake Day, Moderate Carbs Day and Protein Day).

Today’s workout wasn’t so bad but tomorrow I might struggle because of stuff I’m doing in the evening…so I need to get to bed early so I can wake up and work out in the morning. I hope I’m this motivated when I wake up!