Anyone who has been following my blog over the past 12 years, has seen my various battles with weight loss. Usually, I’d write a post about my latest attempt to lose some pounds. Often, I’d soon fall off the wagon and remain silent about it, but sometimes the attempt would actually work and I drop a significant number of pounds. Recently I looked back on those attempts (I’ve kept a detailed spreadsheet since 2000) and realized that despite any weight loss, I’d usually manage to gain back most of the weight by January 1 of the following year.
So earlier this year, I met up with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in months. When I walked in the door, I barely recognized him. He had lost 60lbs over a few months and had become a much healthy version of himself getting down to his high school weight. He had followed the Ideal Protein diet and I realized that he had described the diet last year and extolled how great it was. I remembered being weary of it since it required you to buy their proprietary foods and meet them on a weekly basis. But seeing the results and talking further with him, I felt it was definitely worth a try. Besides, my plan has been to run the Pikes Peak Marathon in August which is a 7800ft climb and descent in addition to the marathon length. So any weight loss would mean that much less that I would need to carry up that height and back down. Plus I still wanted to get down to a healthy weight regardless.
So a couple days later, my wife and I scheduled our first appointment and bought a collection of proprietary foods (shakes, soups, snack bars, vitamins). The diet is a ketogenic diet similar to the Atkins diet. In previous attempts, I had lost over 20lbs on two occasions following the Atkins diet, so I was quite familiar with it. The diet plan that we followed included one of their protein shakes for breakfast, two cups of vegetables for lunch with one of their protein soups, one of their protein snacks mid-afternoon, and 8oz of meat with two cups of vegetables for supper.
I followed their plan to a ‘T’ with absolutely no cheating and I was losing 5-6lbs per week at the start. No heavy exercise is allowed during the diet, but walking and relaxed bicycle riding are fine. You see people boast about diets melting away fat and this diet could easily fit that description. And despite the very limited calorie intake, it was very easy to follow. It was rare to feel hungry and my energy level was always good. Also, I slept very well and my wife says that my snoring got quieter and didn’t wake her.
That said, it did start getting difficult around the six week mark. I think that partly had to do with seeing the end in sight since my plan was to take a break at the ten week mark. Plus I was getting closer to my leanest in 16 years. There were also a number of social events involving alcohol and some favorite foods that challenged my will power. Still didn’t had a drink, but there were some very very minimal cheats. My weight loss slowed down to 2-3lbs per week the last few weeks, but by any diet measure that’s still quite amazing.
So how much did I lose? Over the nine weeks on the diet, I lost a total of 38lbs. Yes, over a half pound per day lost. I also went from 34% body fat to 22% body fat. This is the leanest I’ve been in 25 years. Here, see for yourself:
January 22nd (above), March 21st (below) (and no, I did not suck in my gut on the bottom pics. That’s natural posture, maybe too natural)
I stopped the diet last Saturday and I’ve felt great ever since with the exception of binging too much the first day and paying for it during the next two. My pant size dropped 4 inches and my hands (and body) are back to being warm. My hands had gotten incredibly cold while I was on the diet. It does feel good to eat real food after two months on the diet.
As I mentioned at the top, the challenge now is to keep it off. I’ve restarted my training and I suspect that it is unlikely that I’ll gain while training. So if I don’t reach my goal of 15% body fat while training, I’ll have to work hard in the fall to achieve it. The plan while training is to eat well on a daily basis and limit (not eliminate) bad foods and binges. Actually, that’s my plan in life going forward. Hopefully that works.