Friday, May 4, 2012

The 11 Day Diet

Last Monday, April 23rd, some friends/co-workers and I decided to undergo a very extreme, rigorous and difficult body re-composition phase. Basically, we did a crash diet.

Man, that shit SUCKED. What a stupid fucking idea that was. (Pardon my language). It was truly a poor decision. "Why the hell did YOU do a diet?" many of you are saying as you read this. Why not? Did I need to do a diet in the traditional sense? Nope. I wasn't overweight or anything, it's just something that needed to be done. Honestly, I learned a lot from the past 11 days. About myself, about the way food affects me, and it reaffirmed stuff that I tell clients all the time.

What did I hope to get for results? Well, I hoped to drop a few percent bodyfat. The number on the scale at the beginning and end was arbitrary (Sound familiar, clients?), but the actual change in body composition is what I was looking for. I was/am also looking for an increased insulin sensitivity post-diet. This will allow me to really reap the anabolic effects of the hormone Insulin.

 The diet itself was pretty simple. We got to eat 1.5-2 times our calculated lean body mass in lean protein per day. We got to eat as many non-starchy veggies as we wanted (had to stay away from carrots, potatoes, beets, peas, etc) so I was eating my weight in broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and cucumbers. Protein source was chicken breast, turkey breast, tuna fish, and chicken/turkey deli meats. We used a LOT of hot sauce and mustard too. Any spices and marinades that were zero calorie were fair game. No fats, no carbs of any kind other than a bunch of fish oil, which was a necessity. Diet (zero calorie) soda was allowed sometimes, as were tea and black coffee.

My results? A total loss of 12 pounds (207 to 195) and about 4% body fat. According to our pinches, I went from 13% to 9%. The results were almost identical for the other two guys who did this diet along with me. Are the numbers exact? Nope; calipers are a great way to measure but are by no means perfect. Is it a consistent measurement that can track progress? Without a doubt.


I learned a lot about food from the past 11 days. Actually, it's not even stuff I learned;  but stuff that was reaffirmed and reinforced. Such as the importance of having good fats in your diet on a regular basis in order to keep you full and satisfied. I had meals where I would eat a pound of ground turkey and 12 ounces of broccoli, and be hungry immediately upon finishing. I mean, famished. The one "cheat" meal we had was when we went to UFood (a local healthy fast food place) and got some grass-fed steak tips and broccoli. Afterwards we were completely famished. So hungry, in fact, that we went to Chipotle and got a burrito bowl that consisted of: double chicken, onions, peppers and salsa(s). Afterwards? Still hungry. It was unbelievable how much food I could put into my stomach without being full. We are talking hungry-all-the-time kind of miserable. Food was no longer enjoyable; I knew that I wasn't going to be satisfied by any of it, and that it wasn't going to give me energy. Eating was a chore. My energy was low, my cognitive function was low and my mood was miserable.

My biggest craving was for fats. I was dying for whole eggs, milk, bacon and guacamole. That craving set in very early. Carbs weren't that big a deal for me; pasta, rice and potatoes never really crossed my mind. I did, however, really miss bananas, apples, blueberries and donuts. Yup, donuts have been on my mind constantly.

I also learned that my will-power can be as good as I need it to be. I felt stupid, honestly. I knew that I could sit down and have an apple with some peanut butter and a glass of milk and feel better in 20 minutes. It was very mentally taxing to avoid foods that I know are good for me, like eggs, salmon and berries; it was very counter-intuitive. I knew my body wanted them and that I should listen to my body, but I didn't do it. I couldn't, I wouldn't allow myself. The group that I did this with was extremely supportive; I don't believe that any of us could have done it on our own. There's something to be said knowing that you're not the only one doing something stupid.

One of the other difficult things to deal with was peoples reaction to the diet itself. "Oh my God, that's so bad for you!" Or "You of all people should know better!" Yes, I am very well aware that what I'm doing, yet I'm doing it anyway. There's a lot of reasons behind it. Thankfully, I'm the one who has to eat this way, not you.

So, how did I break this diet? On the 11th day (Thursday, yesterday) we re-introduced fats into our diets. It was like frigging Christmas Day to an 8 year old. I started off the day with 6 hard boiled eggs, 3 chicken sausages about about one-third of a kielbasa. Lunch with 4 eggs and 4 strips of bacon, and dinner was a pound of tri-tip steaks wrapped in bacon with 4 over-easy eggs. What a day. I also hit a personal record on my Clean at 242 pounds. It was certainly not a pretty lift, but please feel free to ask me how I feel about that.

Closing thoughts? Don't you even fucking think about doing this diet. It's dumb. It's not worth the results. The VAST majority of people really need to just clean up their diet and eat better on a consistent basis. The easiest thing to do with a diet like this is underfeed and starve yourself. If you're not using fish oil and BCAA's, you'll have a totally different experience. Crash dieting is NOT really an effective way to lose weight, and I can assure you that I won't be doing it again. What's good for me isn't always good for you. Please heed my advice! Crash diets SUCK.

Now, please go eat some bacon and then go lift something heavy!

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