After gaining a lot of weight from medication and excessive eating, it was time to lose it. Dieting sucks so I was committed to getting it over with as quickly as possible, so I did a lot of research. Frankly, people think it's significantly more complicated than it is; it's just a matter of calories in vs calories out, and most of your burned calories are just from keeping your body functioning even in a resting state (i.e. they're not burned from exercise), called your base metabolic rate (BMR).read more
A lot seminal (well, frankly, only because it was later deemed unethical) scientific work on weight loss was done during WWII by the same scientist who invented up the K ration. It's a fascinating story of self-starvation and the cognitive and physiological side effects.
People often say that the "last 5 pounds are the hardest", and I always thought that was bullshit and because people couldn't maintain their diet, but I believe it's actually just because one's BMR reduces when in a state of semi-starvation, down to even 60% of normal after a number of months. That means that if you were burning 2000 calories a day at the start of your diet, your body might only be burning 1200 calories a day even though you're doing the exact same things.
I tried to combat this with refeeding periods to get my BMR back up, and it appeared to work, but this is all very anecdotal and rigorous study would be needed to make any conclusions. All that said: I was able to lose 30 pounds in the first 3 months, and then I lost another 20 pounds over the next 9 months. All told, I went from 187 pounds (at 5' 10") to 137 pounds in a year. I lost that first 30 pounds as fast as I possibly could have, but I took my time with the remaining 20.
Notes: • 56 grams of basically any high quality pasta, DeCecco or Afeltra, is 200 calories. Hell, even Barilla and shitty Target brand pasta are that many calories for 56 grams. • 3500 calories burned means 1 pound of fat lost. Weight Gain regiment: • 300 calories in mini wheats (big bowl, about 35 mini wheats) with appropriate milk 84 calories = 384 calories. • 600 (min) lunch (fried chicken, sometimes with fries+ketchup; lasted for 6-8 months) = 600 calories. • 350 calories after work boba (this was for about 1.5 months) = 350 calories. • 650 (min) - 803 (little less than half pound, 225 grams) in pasta + 166 calories for sauce (1.6 servings of Raos) + 200 (bare min) - 306 (consumed 2 pounds per 1.5 months, that's 306 calories per day) = 1016 - 1275 calories • 400 (min) - 560 (half bag) in mini oreos = 400 - 560 calories. • 2,400 per day post-boba phase - 3,119 (during boba phase, 2,769 post boba phase) Food Routine: • Breakfast is: ⁃ ~25 mini wheats (1 serving, 210 calories) with ~1 cup of 2% milk (100 calories) ⁃ Round up to 350 calories. • Lunch is: ⁃ Up to (maximum) 2 double stuffed oreos to hold over to dinner if needed. This is one serving. 2 cookies is 140 calories. ⁃ Round up to 140 calories. • Dinner is: ⁃ Up to (maximum) 125grams of pasta (446 calories), sauce for that much pasta (~160 calories with Rao's). ⁃ Up to 1 small serving of salad with onions (~50 calories). ⁃ Unlimited Parmesan, assuming same proportion as during weight gain (168 calories) ⁃ Round up to 823 calories. • Dessert is: ⁃ Up to (maximum) 3 double stuffed oreos (210 calories), or caloric equivalent or less like Dippin Dots (144 calories) or 14 peanut M&Ms + 1 single stuffed Oreo (210 calories). ⁃ Round up to 210 calories. • Total: ⁃ 1523 calories per day. Note: began strict eating routine on 5/24/20. Exercise Routine • 1 mile walk with hills (circle around development) per day immediately after dinner. Basal Metabolic Rate at various weights (Based on 5' 10", male). Note: as discussed below, these really are caps for how much you can eat post-diet and maintain. Your body will adjust via a parabolic curve to a reduced BMR during a semi-starvation state (diet). This may be around a 40% reduction, which is significant. • 185 pounds: 1924 calories, 2694 with light exercise ⁃ 4.7 - 10.8 pounds per month. • 180 pounds: 1894 calories, 2652 with light exercise ⁃ 4.2 - 10.5 pounds per month. • 175 pounds: 1863 calories, 2608 with light exercise ⁃ 4.2 - 10.1 pounds per month. • 170 pounds: 1833 calories, 2566 with light exercise ⁃ 4.0 - 9.8 pounds per month. • 165 pounds: 1802 calories, 2523 with light exercise ⁃ 3.7 - 9.5 pounds per month. • 160 pounds: 1772 calories, 2481 with light exercise ⁃ 3.5 - 9.2 pounds per month. • 155 pounds: 1742 calories, 2439 with light exercise ⁃ 3.2 - 8.3 pounds per month. Note: been stuck at 162-ish, probably been losing about 0.5 pound / week on 8/19/20. Changing for at least 1 week as of Thursday August 20th: Exercise Routine: • 1 mile walk with hills (circle around development) per day immediately after dinner. Salad recipe (140 calories): • 1/4 Spring Mix from harris teeter (18 calories). • 1/2 red onion (42 calories). • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (40 calories) • 1 tbsp de nigris, balsamic vinegar (40 calories) • 4 twists of black pepper (2 calories) • 1 pinch of sea salt (0 calories) Food routine (629 calories / day): • Breakfast is: ⁃ Salad (163 calories). • Lunch is: ⁃ 14 peanut M&Ms (163 calories). • Dinner is: ⁃ Salad (140 calories) • Dessert is: ⁃ 14 peanut M&Ms (163 calories). After 4 days, makes sense to have something a bit better for dinner. New food routine (630 calories / day): • Breakfast is: ⁃ 1 packet of Apples & Cinnamon oatmeal, or basically any of them except dinosaur eggs (160 calories) ⁃ Water • Lunch is: ⁃ 11 peanut M&Ms (129 calories). • Dinner is: ⁃ Omlette (178 calories) ⁃ 2 large eggs (144 calories) ⁃ 36 grams of raw broccoli (13 calories) ⁃ 20 grams of raw onion (8 calories) ⁃ 54 grams of raw tomatoes (10 calories) ⁃ 2 basil leaves (0 calories) ⁃ Pam (0 calories) ⁃ 2 twists of black pepper (1 calories) ⁃ 1 sereno pepper (2 calories) ⁃ 1 pinch of sea salt (0 calories) • Dessert is: ⁃ 14 peanut M&Ms (163 calories). Changing back to 1500 diet (approximately) as of August 29th, 2020. Abandoned 1500 diet on September 10th, 2020. Back on NEW 1471 diet on November 18th, 2020. Abandoned 1500 diet on December 12th, 2020. Food Routine: • Breakfast is: ⁃ 1 packet of Quaker Oats Oatmeal (160 calories) with two small spoons of loose brown sugar, 16 grams (60.8 calories) ⁃ Round up to 220 calories. • Lunch is: ⁃ 14 peanut M&Ms (163 calories). • Dinner is: ⁃ 28 grams of Bel Gioioso Mozzarella (1 snack size, 70 calories) ⁃ Up to (maximum) 125grams of pasta (446 calories), sauce for that much pasta (~160 calories with Rao's). ⁃ Up to 1 small serving of salad with onions (~50 calories), optional. ⁃ Unlimited Parmesan, assuming same proportion as during weight gain (168 calories) ⁃ Round up to 844-894 calories (salad depending). • Dessert is: ⁃ Up to (maximum) 3 double stuffed oreos (210 calories), or caloric equivalent or less like Dippin Dots (144 calories) or 14 peanut M&Ms + 1 single stuffed Oreo (210 calories) or 21 peanut M&Ms (244 calories). ⁃ OR 7 Oreo Thins (245 calories) ⁃ OR 49 grams of Kettle Corn (245 calories) ⁃ Round up to 245 calories. • Total: ⁃ 1,472 calories per day. A very key point about this new diet: carbohydrates have been slashed massively, which means glycogen levels are likely to plummet, even though they can and will be very quickly repleted once carbohydrates return to my diet. Glycogen itself may only be responsible for a pound or two, stored in various muscles around the body as well as the liver, but its stored along with water, often 3-4 times as much water per gram of glycogen. That means that any rapid weight loss after the start of this new diet isn't likely to a) hold after glycogen is depleted and b) will be regained as soon as carbohydrates are reintroduced to the diet en-mass. This is what's commonly knows as "water weight", but really should be referred to as "glycogen weight" to avoid confusion with the variations of weight due to the mere drinking of water. Anticipated weight loss from this new schedule, based on presumed reduced BMR (1,773 calories / day) given losing 0.5 pounds / week eating 1523 calories / day: 2.588 pounds per week, or 0.37 pounds per day. It is possible I was losing closer to 1 pound per week with more drastic fluctuations, which would mean maximum I could see (2,023 BMR) with 2.788 pounds per week, or 0.4 pounds per day. Which would last until BMR chases new caloric intake on a parabolic path. That said, it's highly improbable it would be able to reduce beyond 1,219 calories, since that's a 50% reduction of my BMR at 155 pounds, and there's absolutely no chance it'd reduce beyond 871 calories, since that's the BMR at full rest all day. So most likely, we'd be seeing at absolute minimum 1.18 pounds lost per week, or 0.16 per day. It's pretty clear from the research (especially the Minnesota Starvation Experiment) that metabolic rate decreases parabolically in response to semi-starvation, which is why your weight curve follows a parabola. This is also discussed here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/hunger-artist/201603/how-does-metabolic-rate-really-change-after-anorexia-part-1, this psychology today article is actually phenomenal. It seems like it can decrease enormously, 40% in this study, and for anorexic people up to 50% decrease. For me, that's going from 2400 / day BMR to 1440 / day BMR (assuming 40% decrease). That explains this massive decrease in weight loss since the start. It's parabolic. The only solution: decrease calories even more once you hit the vertex (plateau) or exercise more. "when weight loss occurs, resting metabolism declines by an amount significantly in excess of that expected from the loss in metabolically active tissue". This is critical. It means that the quoted metabolisms for a give BMI just won't apply when in the starvation rate. Therefore, those are caps, and the adapted starvation BMR could be up to 50% lower, but probably more like 60%. The final important part is the refeeding stage: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hunger-artist/201603/how-does-metabolic-rate-really-change-after-anorexia-part-1 and part 2. In one study, with 87 participants (Van Wymelbeke et al., 2004), 31% of the total REE increase over 2.5 months of refeeding (initially through tube feeding) happened during the first week, meaning that the metabolic rate of fat-free mass cells can increase within a few days. Within two weeks, fasting REE increased from 72% to 83.2% of predicted levels, increasing further to 90.1% and then 94.1% in weeks 4 and 6 respectively. However, participants’ body weight at this point is not reported, beyond saying that ‘rate of weight gain varied among patients’ (p. 114), Metabolic rate seems not just to return relatively quickly to normal during refeeding, but to overshoot normal levels in a ‘hypermetabolic’ phase in which patients ‘easily lose weight, and need to eat an even larger amount of food to gain weight’ So, in conclusion: with unrestricted eating, both bodyweight (and bodyfat) and metabolism will return to normal, overshoot slightly, and then drop back to normal, at around the same time. As it was for these men, starting with a regulated diet and only later relaxing that tight control into a proportionate response to continuing hunger is probably the safest thing, physically and psychologically. Basically, this is the plan: go back up to 1500 calories for 1-2 weeks. Ensure body weight is relatively stable, but expect a decent bit of weight gain due to glycogen replenishing. Gaining a bit is fine. Then just reintroduce a real lunch of 300-400 calories in place of the 163 calories and see how that goes. Once stable at that point, can probably go to unrestricted feeding.