EXPERIMENTS WITH WEIGHT LOSS: WEEK 2
THE HIGHER QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE – THE BETTER FORM AND HEALTH YOU CAN OBTAIN.
It will be harder to lose weight for people who constantly stress about money. The more financially and socially stable you are – the fitter you can get. There are exceptions.
What I learned after Week 2 of weight loss?
Energy consumption during the first week was ridiculously low, so I made a conscious effort to eat more the next week. I ate approximately 2,800 calories more, which equals to more than one full day worth of food.
The day after “refeed” day, I felt really hungry upon awakening. It even hurt a bit in my stomach. That’s good! I believe it’s due to improved metabolism caused by high carb intake the day before. I endured the cravings and went back on to the low carb track.
Blood sugar levels typically spike one day after refeed. That’s odd. I would expect to see elevated blood sugars immediately, on the next day, but it doesn’t work that way. The spike happens on the second day, after refeed and then gradually declines at the speed of about 0.2 mmol/l a day.
I see direct correlation between carbohydrate cravings and blood sugar levels. The lower it gets – the more I begin to think of bread and simple sugars. Sometimes I even have food dreams in my sleep. I assume that we can use glucometer to schedule refeeds. Depending on a lot of factors, particularly the activity level – some people will be able to deplete their glycogen stores faster than the others. Once the muscle and liver glycogen is low – we begin to see a drop in blood sugar levels. Theoretically, we can schedule carbohydrate refeeds every time the person drops 0.6-0.8 mmol/l. Once the number reached – refeed.
Three days of minimum/no carbs were easy. In fact, my carbohydrate cravings were much more manageable than the week before. I almost didn’t have any. Anyways, I had a day of refeed on Wednesday, as planned.
My approach was simple – eat a lot of carbohydrates, as much as you want. Create a caloric spike with carbs only. No limitations, whatsoever. The only rule was to choose carbs with minimal fat content. If I were to buy a loaf of bread, I would pick one with the lowest fat content. Same for cookies, rice cakes and all sorts of simple carbs I ate that day. Fat – was the only macronutrient that I was searching for on the back of the packaging. This did not workout very well…
After the second workout of the day, which was strength training, I felt particularly hungry. Started with about 150g of oatmeal (dry weight), then it went on and on. Five flatbreads plus a bag of marshmallows. Simple carbs, pure sugar, but no fat – should be fine, right? Wrong. Once you begin eating sweet junk food, there is no stopping. I ate way more than I should’ve and felt sick that evening. This taught me a lesson:
Refeed Days also should be controlled and have boundaries.
What this means is that even on refeed days, I got to stick to a specific number of carbs I consume. Something like 400-500g of carbs, the rest is protein. For each person this number will be different. Also, not to mention that if you don’t feel that you crave carbohydrates that much – there is no reason to stuff yourself with oatmeal. Postpone the refeed day to tomorrow or day after tomorrow.
Carbohydrate Alternating Diet – THE THEORY
There are many names for this method of getting rid of subcutaneous fat. But the meaning is always the same – “floating” calorie intake. For several days in a row, you get the minimum calorie content practically by minimising/eliminating carbohydrates in your diet (eat mainly proteins).
All this time, your fat is actively burning as a source of energy, however at the same time your body slows down metabolism due to lack of energy. After a few days, you arrange a “belly party” by adding a lot of carbohydrates to your diet in order to speed up the metabolism and improve your well-being. After saturation, you go into negative territory again. This alternation of “starvation” and “global gluttony” allows you to burn subcutaneous fat more efficiently than the traditional low-carb diet.
This is a modified version of the regular low-carb diet. It’s very simple: constant manipulation with the amount of carbohydrates consumed. First, you consume low carbs -> fat burns + metabolism slows down. Then you consume a LOT of carbohydrates = no fat burns + metabolism accelerates. Why does this work so well? Because you get all the pros and you minimize the cons. PROS – the lack of carbohydrates is necessary for weight loss. CONS is a slowdown of metabolism (slowing down fat burning).
In the body, everything is CONNECTED and LOGICAL. There is a basic energy source that is very cheap and therefore best suited for conversion to energy. It’s called CARBOHYDRATES stored as GLYCOGEN in the muscles and liver cells. And there are emergency sources of energy, which are very expensive and therefore consumed last (when there are no carbohydrates anymore). IT IS PROTEINS and FATS. Including those that are stored under the skin. Alternation depletes glycogen stores and thus forces you to use fat (you lose weight). A few days without carbohydrates maximally deplete glycogen stores (the body begins to burn fat). In response to low energy consumption your body turns on the emergency response – slow down of metabolism and fat burning. This is when we start “carb loading” or “refeed”. Having filled the muscles and liver with glycogen for a day or two, we block the “dangerous ricochet” of our metabolism. After stabilization, we again go low carb for several days, after which we introduce the refeed back again. Two steps forward, one step back. We move up and down, in a rhythm, alternating between lack and excess.
On the first day of restriction of carbohydrates, the body loses its glycogen reserves, on the second (third) day with restriction of carbohydrates, the body begins to burn fat, on the following days, while maintaining a low level of carbohydrate consumption, anti-stress adaptation to hunger is turned on, which is aimed at maintaining weight (slow down of thyroid gland hormones, increased secretion of catabolic hormones, decreased insulin secretion, slowing down the conversion of fat into energy, etc.) In general, if you do not add carbohydrates at this time, you can greatly slow down or even completely stop the process of fat burning.
- 1-5 DAYS = LOW CARB (2-4 grams of protein + 0-1 grams of carbohydrates per 1 kg of weight)
- 1-2 DAYS = CARB LOAD (1-2 grams of protein + 3-5 grams of carbohydrates per 1 kg)
The cycle is repeated many times. The result in theory should be as follows: weight is reduced due to body fat loss, while the percentage of muscle tissue remains the same. For the first couple of low/no carb days, the body switches to self-sufficiency and begins to use the most convenient fuel – its own glycogen. Having quickly depleted its reserves in the liver and muscles, it starts the breakdown of fat and by the end of the second day it accelerates fat burn to its maximum. However, you cannot continue in this way forever, otherwise metabolism will slow down greatly in a couple of days as well as the process of losing fat. This happens because the body perceives the situation of carbohydrate deficiency as life-threatening and tries to preserve the “necessary” fat reserves by burning the less valuable – muscle tissue. Therefore, when you are on a “starvation” diet, the weight first drops sharply, and then suddenly freezes for a long time. But if you spur the metabolism on the 5th or 6th day with an additional infusion of carbohydrates, the body continues to consume the existing fat, and the carbohydrates eaten go to replenish glycogen stores.
A four or five day cycle of a carbohydrate alternating diet can and should be modified to fit your unique lifestyle and body. Many people successfully modify this pattern, for example: low carb for five days in a row, from Monday to Friday, and then load with carbohydrates on the weekends. You must experiment to find the most optimal schedule for you.
This diet can be very effective. Actually, as it is not surprising, but the driest I was from using this diet. BUT it requires a VERY INDIVIDUAL SETUP! It is very easy to be wrong. THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT DIET BECAUSE YOU NEED TO CHOOSE TWO THINGS INDIVIDUALLY:
- NUMBER of LOW CARB DAYS (by day)
- SIZE of “CARB LOAD” (by days and by quantity)
First, the number of days may be too many or too few. For some people 3-4 days of low carb may actively slow down metabolism, so they will need to start eating carbohydrates. Other people can sit on a “starvation diet” for a week, continuing to actively burn fat. If you give those folks a lot of carbohydrates in this case, then the process of fat burning will completely stop.
Second, the “carbohydrate load” may be too large or too small. It is generally enough for one person to just eat a large portion of rice for breakfast and his/hers metabolism will go back up to the same rate as before the diet. However, others need to stuff themselves with a lot of food for two days to accomplish the same result. It also matters which carbs you eat: “fast or slow”, complex or simple. Because of so many different factors – it is very difficult to find your perfect ratio of days and amounts. You got to be in tune with your body. In an experimental way you need:
- Choose number of days without carbohydrates
- Select the size of the “carb load”
I can’t tell you the exact numbers. You need to experiment and watch the result. I can only give rough guidelines with which I would start these experiments. For beginners, I would try 2 days without carbs + 1 day refeed. I assess how I feel and look in the mirror. If you feel good (there is no muscle weakness), then I would increase the duration of low/no carb to 3 days + 1 day of carb load. I would work in this mode for 1-2 weeks, observing my feelings and reflection in the mirror.
FEEL GOOD = you can extend the low carb (add days)
FEEL BAD = reduce low-carb days or increase the load (amount and/or days)
THE MIRROR SHOWS PROGRESS = don’t change anything
THE MIRROR DOES NOT SHOW PROGRESS = you need to change the unloading and/or loading
Ideally, you should choose such a balance of low-carb days and refeeds, so that you lose weight in the mirror, and you feel good (metabolism does not slow down). Somewhere for 50% of people it will be about 4 days of low-carb + 1 day refeed. Moreover, on the day of carb loading, it may make sense to only eat in the first half of the day and fast for the rest of the day.
It also makes sense to experiment with the GI of the carbohydrates you use during loading. You can try eating simple carbohydrates (sweeter) or complex carbohydrates (oats, rice, buckwheat etc.) depending on the duration of the load. In theory, complex carbohydrates are better on the diet, in practice I have noticed that if you have a short “window” for intake (for example, only the first half of one day), then simple carbohydrates work better. Experiment.
EXAMPLE OF CARBOHYDRATE ALTERNATING DIET
STAGE 1: LOW/NO CARBS (2-5 days)
Protein + fiber, minimum carbohydrates:
- Chicken breast cooked (500g)
- Eggs (10 whites + 3 yolks)
- Low fat cottage cheese (300g)
- Vegetables (300-500g)
*If hungry, you can add breast or fish (animal protein source)
STAGE 2: CARB LOADING – REFEED (1 day)
- Oatmeal (200g)
- Buckwheat or Rice (300g)
- Unlimited protein and fiber
On this day, we get an excess of carbohydrates. I gave an example with oatmeal and rice. This is not a dogma, but just an option. Perhaps you like pasta or bread more. Or maybe even honey. On this day, you can experiment with carbohydrates. BUT remember that this is not a day to indulge in binge eating. Carbohydrates are not for pleasure. It is primarily a tool to prevent a slowdown in metabolism. Therefore, you choose products not in terms of taste, but in terms of effectiveness for further fat burning.
By now you understand that the goal is to deplete your glycogen stores, to initiate the fat burn. Experimentally, I found a few ways to speed up glycogen depletion:
- HIT. Any sorts of sprints: running, on bike, swimming. Short bursts of energy at all out efforts.
- Weight training. Heavy weights + supersets
- Swimming. At least 30 minutes
- Cold water immersion
ON AVERAGE, THE HUMAN BODY BURNS ABOUT 30 CALORIES PER KILOGRAM OF BODY WEIGHT.
Let’s say, you weigh 75 kilograms. To maintain your body weight, you eat approximately 2,250 calories/day (30 cal x 1 kg). One day you decide to lose weight.
You set your caloric intake to 1,100 calories per day, creating about 1,150 cal/day energy deficit. In a short period of time you lost 10 kilograms. Wooo Hoooo! Right? Let’s see what happened to your metabolism.
Now your body weight is 65 kg. 65kg x 30 cal = 1,950 calories / day to maintain. Your body now requires less energy to maintain essential functions. As your body’s weight decreases – the energy consumption decreases as well. This is the law of physics.
What happens if you decide to maintain caloric intake of 1,100 cal / day? Your body regulates hormones in a way, so you start expanding less energy. Protein synthesis decreases or stops completely. You don’t build new muscle tissue, and at the high risk of destroying the muscles that you’ve already got. Resynthesis of glycogen also decreases because carbohydrate sources are minimal. Certain bodily processes either stop and slow down, so your body becomes more efficient and uses energy. This is called – Adaptation. Your body adapts to femen in order to survive. You lose any motivation for physical activity. If you used to go to the gym 4-5 times a week, now you train lighter or even skip one-two training sessions. You might also notice that you feel less emotional. Jokes are not so funny anymore. You become careless. Your libido drops. You don’t want to have sex, you just don’t care.
What I will do differently:
- Refeed days are planned and controlled
- Complex carbs are preferred on refeed days
- No fat on refeed days
- Supplement with protein to feel more full and lower insulin response