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An interesting observation...

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  • An interesting observation...



    Hi all.


    For the last two weeks I've been conducting a little experiment on myself. I've always held the belief that 'calories in vs. calories out' is the deciding point in fat loss. Anyway, lately I've been reading about the idea of insulin being the main cause of fat gain, and the belief that if you maintain low insulin levels, you will not gain weight despite a large caloric intake.


    Two weeks ago I weighed 135lbs. I am 5'4". I have just had a tattoo so my only exercise has been walking (around 5 miles a day). My usual caloric intake is around 1500-2000 calories, with around 80g carbs, 100g protein and the rest from fat. For these two weeks, I have not exceeded 15g of carbs on any day (and have often been under 10g). I have consumed around 100g of protein.


    So that's around 460 calories from carbs and protein. The interesting point is this: my average caloric intake over these past two weeks has been around 4000 calories a day. That's around 400g of fat, every day. It sounds pretty insane, I know. I've been consuming copious amounts of cream and cheese, coconut oil and butter. Yesterday for example, I drank two pots of cream for breakfast (2,670 calories, 282g fat). That probably sounds gross to a lot of you! Anyway, so two weeks of eating like this and the result is that I've gained...nothing. No weight. I am still 135lbs. Actually, I think I may have lost a bit of fat as my jeans are a little loose.


    This is a pretty extreme example, and I wouldn't really recommend eating like this (the thought of another slice of butter makes me want to hurl right now...all I want is a nice big salad...) but it's interesting that, as somebody who has struggled with carb addiction and terrible insuling sensitivity, I have been able to maintain my weight despite eating a huge number of calories. Take from it what you will!


    Jason.


  • #2
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    I believe it. The body desires homeostasis. It has mechanisms in place to keep you the same. An unhealthy standard American diet can foil those mechanisms, but I believe that a healthy, low-carb diet based on whole foods will allow those mechanisms to function.


    When I start my weightlifting program soon, I'm planning to drink a pint of heavy cream every day for extra calories, to encourage my muscles to grow. It will be interesting to see if I experience much fat gain.

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    • #3
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      Thanks for sharing your experiment/experience. These stories are always interresting, especially when sharing them with "non believers" (as I always do).


      And btw, two pots of cream, impressive

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      • #4
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        Thanks for sharing that dfast. I have been doing an experiment on myself but in the opposite direction. On Jan 8 I started low carb, and keeping my calories levels at 2100 per day on average (my maintenance). I have lost 12lbs in 8 weeks. I keep my carbs to around 40-50g and protein 100g. I even cut my cardio in half and do 20 mins 3x a week instead of 40. So more calories + less exercise = weight loss. Taubes et al are right, you don't need to cut calories to lose weight.


        The body's amazing ability to achieve homeostasis also means that if you cut calories your metabolism will drop. You might still lose weight if you carbs are low enough, but this has nothing to do with having cut calories. Why cut calories if you don't need to. I'm a bit disappointed that Mark seems to support calorie restriction for weight loss, which makes me wonder if his version of PB is right for me.

        My website: http://www.shoppinganywhere.net/

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        • #5
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          @Prowler: I totally agree, and I don't think you'll gain much fat.


          @deepthought: I was a non-believer for ages. My metabolism was pretty wrecked from years of carb binges and extreme calorie restriction. That, to me, is what really makes this impressive; that someone like me can pull this off. And yes, two pots of cream = insane. Good job I adore the stuff ;-).


          @jo: Yes, I was worried that my lack of exercise would hinder me but in reality I have not suffered. Will be interesting to see how my strength is when I get back to lifting. BTW, good job on the loss :-).

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          • #6
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            My metabolism was pretty wrecked from years of carb binges and extreme calorie restriction. That, to me, is what really makes this impressive; that someone like me can pull this off.

            I also believe that the human body is capable of healing itself with amazing speed, if given the chance.


            And two pots of cream - cheers to you indeed!

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            • #7
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              Thanks! I am going to continue eating this way for a month or two longer, with perhaps slightly reduced calories, to see if things continue to go well. My skin has never looked so good and I have a lot more energy, especially in the mornings.

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              • #8
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                Could easily have been the loss of muscle glycogen from eating low carb. Everyone going from mod-high carb to low carb will lose up to 10 pounds just from that alone. The real answer will come when you add carbs back in and check your weight after a couple days. Or you could start at the weight you are now and keep eating VLC @ 4000 calories for a week. I'm positive you would gain. The idea that you cannot gain weight on VLC is just not true. I've done it, many others have as well.

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                • #9
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                  Great experiment, Dfast! However, just because I had excellent results (lost 6 kg) for the first 2 weeks of PB and then stalled for over 3 weeks, I for one would be interested in a longer experiment, lets say one month... But of course, I can't ask you to do that! Especially as you seem to be sick of butter...


                  Jo, where did you get the impression that PB is about counting calories? The only place I noticed Mark mentioning calories is in the "why have I stopped losing weight?" section, and even there he's talking about not eating thousands of calories over your maintenance level. But I've still not read all there is on this fantastic website!

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                  • #10
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                    @BlazeKING: Thanks for your comments. You are right, it could be muscle glycogen, however the bulk of my carbs came from green veg - I don't really eat fruit any more. Nonetheless, I will continue eating this way for a few weeks and report back. I do believe it is possible to gain 'weight' eating VLC - muscle, for example, except that at the moment I am not giving my body any reason to build muscle. But anyway, we shall see.


                    @Sherissima: I am going to continue VLC eating, so will report back in a couple of weeks :-).

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                    • #11
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                      I love hearing things like this. I'm so fascinating by the benefits of reducing carbs, and it's always nice to hear that people are able to eat a rich satisfying diet of nutritious foods without having to obsess about the calories.

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                      • #12
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                        Thats great dfast, really impressive. Could you post a few things like age, gender and an example of a days eating plan?


                        When I have a larger budget(student) I really plan on upping my calories a lot and really cutting the carbs down. I'm going to have to get over my fear of cream it seems!


                        -Kane

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                        • #13
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                          Dfast, what are you eating for carbs? Only 15g per day or less is keeping you in ketosis. Your body is having to use anything it can for energy it sounds to me.


                          By the way, cream right out of the carton is so good!

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                          • #14
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                            @Legerity: My diet is certainly rich and satisfying!


                            @Kane: I am 21 years old and male. My previous diet history goes like this:


                            Overweight from 10-15, due to excessive sugar consumption. Vegan from 16-18 (I'd go for days just eating new potatoes covered in salt - don't ask why, I don't know!) coupled with chronic coffee consumption, no exercise and twenty cigarettes a day. I was verging on anorexic.


                            At 18 I started eating meat again, and experimented with various high-carb low-fat diets. I just ended up in a binge cycle - eating three or four boxes of cereal and then starving myself for three days and performing chronic cardio to 'offset the damage'. I got ill a lot.


                            Now, I walk 4-7 miles a day (to and from work) and lift weights 2-3 times a week. I also occasionally go for a 20 minute run when I'm staying at my flat in Brighton (as it's by the sea - love running along the seafront as the sun is coming up).


                            My diet for the past two weeks has been like this:


                            Breakfast - 1 pot (300ml) double / heavy cream, whipped if I'm feeling adventurous. 1 cup of coffee with another two tablespoons of cream. 10oz of fatty meat - I've had pork, beef, duck, chicken. 3-4 slices of cheese - I like strong cheeses. Cream cheese is also a regular addition - I can eat a whole tub quite easily.


                            I usually skip lunch, as we don't have a fridge at work and I usually don't feel like it. I sometimes go and get another coffee with some cream in it.


                            Dinner: Last night was a pork shoulder (~1000 calories) with home-made sage butter and some fried sliced of halloumi cheese. I had another pot of cream for dessert, and also snacked on Roquefort cheese (had around 100g).


                            So that's roughly 5,200 calories. And I did it every day. Most of my carbs come from the cream and soft cheeses - have been averaging 10-15g a day. On at least four days I was under 5g - eating just fatty meat (bought a massive pork belly the other day and ate nothing else). It's not been that expensive, as the meat has mostly been on special offer (there's a Sainsbury's on my walking route) so I buy it and eat it on the day.


                            Hope that helps.

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                            • #15
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                              @john_e_turner_ii: The carbs came from either the cream or the soft cheeses I have been eating. I ate no other source of carbohydrates - no fruits or veg. Just meat and cream and cheese. No nuts or anything like that.


                              Yes, cream is amazing. I would like to bathe in it for sure.

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