Clean Eating Experiment, Part one

Today is the end of my latest experiment basically I wanted to test a few ideas and I felt it was a good time to do so.  Let me start with the parameters of the experiment so we can get to the results (sadly this went long so the I had to make two posts, I think both are valuable but feel free to check out the other one first).  First though let me talk about why I would take on an a challenge like this, after all most people would probably think I do not need to lose any weight.  On December 15th I will be doing a BodPod assessment which measures your Body Fat%, my last one was on September 29th and I had 13.4% body fat, which was a great result and I was very happy with that result but it put me in a weird spot because my goal was to get 12% by December 17th, clearly that would not be too hard to do so maybe it was time for a new goal.  I am not going to get into my expectations going into this assessment because there are a lot of factors that come into play, needless to say I wanted to get aggressive towards the end of one full year of body fat assessments.

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Let’s be clear about this, I was dieting

You can call it cutting, you can call it leangains (leangains is a fasting protocol, it is not dieting in the way most people think of it I will talk more about this later) or whatever you want but in the end I was taking in less energy (food) than I was expending (naturally and with exercise).  So let’s not make this into hocus pocus.  What I wanted to establish was a good baseline for calorie reduction while still doing Crossfit.  In the past I have felt a need to almost apologize for doing crossfit amongst my leangains friends because most of them hold to a very strict reverse pyramid training regimen as recommended by the protocol.  So I started saying I did lifts on certain days and crossfit for conditioning (never mind that it is all crossfit but I digress) just to shut up the people (including Martin Berkhan) that were constantly joking about crossfitters fucking around, they call it fuckarounditis.  The baseline I set was about 1800 calories, I had one clean refeed day where I consumed glorious amounts of gingered yams and sweet potatoes but in general I stuck with the plan that if I did not excessively go low on my daily carb intake I would not need huge carb refeeds.  I also have a theory that as you eat cleaner your body processes your foods much better, in this instance that would mean that my daily carbs would refill the glycogen levels in my muscles and liver, at least enough to allow me to do crossfit well.  I did miss two days going to the gym during this time, one was because of a lack of sleep the previous night and the other because of back stiffness related to heavy lifting the previous day, I did try to do a program I designed on that last day but when it felt like my back was getting even tighter I decided to abort the mission for that day.

Let’s be clear about something though, for dieting 1800 calories is a lot of calories and even though my refeed day was not logged it basically looked like the other days with the notable exception of lunch, the picture of what I ate for my refeed is the picture for this post.

Where and why I started

It was a Sunday and my wife and kids had things to do, I was hanging out watching football after a nice pumpkin pancake breakfast with maple syrup sausages.  As I began to watch football the snacking began, I mostly have healthy food in my house but that does not mean that those foods can not be overeaten, when the carnage was done you have to imagine me lying there around the time 60 minutes comes on with Larabar wrappers, Ben and Jerry’s froyo containers and kombucha surrounding a virtually catatonic person.  When I woke up I weighed myself to get what I knew would be bad news.  Normally I stay around 155-157, on Monday I was 161.  Oopsie! Let me stop here for a second because I think this is important, I have days of excess, they are not all that common but I certainly do not feel guilty when I do.  This is because I have overall goals and a health and fitness life that keeps me on track, without that it would be very easy to stay derailed.

My goal weight for my BodPod assessment is 150 pounds.  I am 5’7″, that may sound light but I do not think you can make a strong case for more body fat.  The idea behind getting to such a low weight is not related to weight at all, it’s related to fat.  If you can get to a super lean state and then do a clean bulk the process is in theory easier, I can not say if that is true or not because I have never had uber low body fat percentage but hopefully I will soon be able to write that blog.  I can definitely say that I don’t look smaller with my shirt off, I look more muscular.

Anyway, back to the main point, I was 161 on November 13th and I wanted to get to 150 by December 15th, at 157 or 155 that might be doable just eating clean for a couple days but at 161 I was putting my goals in jeopardy.  Of course it should be said that at 157 or 161 those weights are not what I truly weigh because much of that weight would be water retention and inflammation related to anything from salty foods or in the case of Sunday excessive intake of both carbs and fats.

On Monday I decided to go to work but I had one problem, Monday’s are Ice Cream day for my family.  It has become a tradition and I certainly was not going to let my daughters down because I decided to diet.  So I ate clean and then had the ice cream.  The scale the following day was something like 160.2.

In the next post I will get more into what I did and why and some of the basic ideas behind that.  Here is a hint, I lost 10 pounds in 8 days, I will tell you how I did it, why it was not that hard and maybe most importantly why it was not unhealthy to do so.

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