Need advice--Lyle McDonald?
I've been reading up on Lyle McDonald and am considering buying his "The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook." At first I was looking at "The Stubborn Body Fat Solution" because it seemed like the protocol would be less drastic, but the blurb on Amazon said that is for very lean people (15-17% BF for females) looking to get super, super lean--and that's not me.
Has anyone who's read (or read about) either of these books comment on them? Before I buy TRFLH, I want to know how intense the protocol is to see if it's something I would be able to do while keeping my sanity. Basically, I don't want to waste money because I don't know what I'm getting myself into. I have pretty good willpower, but I'm not super-human. Thanks in advance!
Its basically a Protein sparing modified fast (PSMF). You will eat very low fat protein sources and not much else. Its hell and only used short term to rapidly lose weight.
I've tried it once, and gave up after 4 days. The book advises to have cheat meals / refeeds every couple of days, to keep you sane. It didnt work for me though. I think its possible to go a week or two, when you've got good willpower (I dont), but be aware that its going to be hard.
I think you can have pretty much the same results by just fasting 2-3 times a week and eating normally the other days. Thats what I do now. Its much easier and works pretty well.
When you say you fast 2-3 times a week, is that 24+ hours or just part of the day? I've tried intermittent fasting for 14-16 hours regularly in the past and haven't noticed an effect. I've been training myself more this past month trying to get used to longer fasts (~20 hours). If I don't go with Lyle McDonald, I am planning to alternate a 20-22 hour fast (basically one meal) day with a 16 hour IF day for a week or two to see where that gets me. I just don't have a whole lot of confidence in this because IF hasn't been for me the miracle it seems to have been for others.
I'd also like to comment on the fasting. Think of it just as another tool in the box. It can't magically make you lose fat. But what it does is make it a lot easier to plan and manage your meals and it makes it a lot easier to eat less.
So thinking about it that way, just don't expect anything to happen overnight. That's one idea I had to push on myself earlier last year when I wanted to drop 10 lbs. I knew that I couldn't expect the numbers on the scale to drop right away. But every day I reminded myself that if I stuck to it for that day, that would be one more step closer to my goal. And that's what allowed me to push myself to do it for several weeks.
You can do it. But just realize it can take a few months to lose anything respectable such as 10 lbs. If you have more to lose, then it will take longer. That's just life. Stick to it, have patience, and you'll get what you want.
I don't think you need to buy an entire book just to tell you that you've got to cut calories down way low if you want to lose weight. It's the same thing as everything else. If you want to lose weight, cut calories. If you want to lose weight faster, cut calories even more.
Anyways, it's been my experience that you simply can't cut a lot of fat within a short period of time such as a few weeks. It doesn't end up working too well, and if you did the math you'd understand why. First of all, realize that when you cut calories drastically you're metabolism will drop into the dirt after a few days.
So let's assume the scenario where you're metabolic rate was 1500 calories per day. That means if you didn't eat at all for 10 days you would have burned up 15000 calories of both glycogen and fat combined. If you can store 2000 calories worth of glycogen, then that leaves you with only 13000 calories worth of fat, which leaves us with about 3.7 lbs lost in 10 days. Now in reality, that actually is A LOT!!! Now considering the fact that such would do quite a number on your metabolism, there are definitely much better ways to do it.
With that being said, it's been my experience that if you cut calories too hard, you only end up getting too hungry and wanting to binge, and your metabolism will slow down as well. A better approach is just to cut calories as low as possible without making it uncomfortable. An example that I did once was 2 meals per day, each consisting of a lean source of protein and non starchy vegetables. Don't cheat or snack, and if you have to, let it only be once per week and don't go overboard. If you can handle this for roughly 6 weeks, you'll easily drop 10 lbs.
And again, the approach that I just explained is definitely much less drastic than a PSMF. It's much more practical. It won't crash your metabolism. And it shouldn't be too hard as long as you don't overdo it in the gym. Make sure you fill up on plenty of vegetables. For example, my first meal of the day used to start with a full plate of bell peppers, cucumbers, and carrots, then I'd finish off with the proteins.
Also, take note that a lot of people on this site seem to be big believers in consuming plenty of fat. I don't necessarily agree. But either way, you do get plenty of fat when you eat your proteins, even when consuming lean sources. Additionally, reducing calories is necessary for fat loss. Considering that, you could think of it this way. If you gained weight, it's because you ate too much. And in such a case, even if plenty of fat was good for you, you sometimes still have to reduce it temporarily in order to get your calories low enough to get the fat to come off.
Ripped, thanks very much for your thoughtful reply. I certainly agree generally with what you said, and I too have had the realization that the primal blueprint doesn't mean you can gorge on fat, even healthy sources of it. However, a more moderate approach to fat loss hasn't been working very well for me, probably because I'm already relatively slim and don't have much weight to lose; 10 lbs would probably be the max I should lose in the foreseeable future. I don't overeat, but I have a big appetite (for a 20 y.o. girl) and thought IF or a short-term, regimented diet might be worth a try.
I have a couple more questions for anyone who's read McDonald's book: how often do you have refeeds/ normal meals, and what is the minimum amount of time you'd have to do it to see some results?
This is exactly what I am talking about and what I have tried. I'm a big believer in losing weight as fast as possible when necessary and providing that you do know how to keep it off.
Originally Posted by BklynGirl
When I dieted down last year, I was aiming for 800 calories per day, which would allow me a little bit of leeway in case I slipped and threw a little something extra in there. It works because I'm not super strict. So for example, if I aim for 1500 calories per day and I slip, I end up being around 2000 calories per day, which isn't enough for me to drop the fat. But if I aim for 800 calories per day and slip, I might end up at around 1250 in the worst case scenario. That's still pretty low calories and if I add in plenty of walking or what ever, the fat melts off like crazy.
So when I talk about not being super strict, you have to understand the context. The calories are still very low, probably much lower than most typical diets, but we aren't obsessing over exact macros or calories and other insignificant details. And we aren't forcing an extreme 500-800 calorie per day diet either.
I have tried other extreme calorie deficits as well such as a 2 day fast and a 4 day fast. They surely help. But you aren't going to be able to drop 10 lbs during that period.
So my advice on that is you can try a PSMF, weekend fasts, or even just a 7-10 day fast (if you can do it), but be realistic with the numbers and realize that they are all just tools you can use in order to shed a few lbs here and there in order to speed up the process and eventually add up to 10 lbs over a handful of weeks.
Also realize that from fasting you get water loss, like 8 lbs in a few days, so you can always expect to gain that much back after.
Anyways, I personally don't mind doing stuff like that. But my experience has shown in the long run that doing something that you can stick to for roughly 4-6 weeks is what seems to work better, because you can lost more overall weight that way in such a time period, and its easier to stick to.
If you're into practicality, you'd realize that structuring refeeds isn't necessary. Such theories use science to unnecessarily overcomplicate a dieting strategy, when in reality the answer is plain and simple right under your nose. Consume less calories. And if you aren't losing weight, its because you didn't do that.
Originally Posted by BklynGirl
The ultimate goal with a weight loss plan is to reduce calories so that you can lose weight. Not eating enough is never a problem because if it was you wouldn't have extra fat on your body.
Also realize that if you like eating just like I do, such won't be a problem. I eat plenty all year long when I'm maintaining weight. But when its time to diet down its time to diet down, and I try as hard as I can to stick to it. But even in such a case, sometimes for enjoyment or social reasons, I might end up cutting myself some slack one day per week or what ever. But I don't purposely do it. Again, the goal is to keep those calories down as low as possible for as long as possible or until you've reached your goal.
To give an example, last year when I dieted down, I had access to my diet foods at work 6 days out of the week. Sunday was my day off, so it was just more convenient to eat out instead. I'd aim for 2000 calories on that day, but I'd always end up eating a bunch of candy at my girlfriends place on top of that. Because my calories were reduced low enough on all my other days, such didn't hinder my efforts, and I dropped the 10 lbs like I wanted to.
Wise words. I may buy Lyle McDonald's book because I'm curious and think it would be an interesting read, but for now I've set up a 4-week IF plan and I'm going to see how that works. Basically, for the first two weeks I'm alternating 16 hr fasts and 20-22 hr fasts with one day off a week, and the second two weeks I'll do a total of 4 20-22 hr fasts (~1 meal) and 3 non-fasting days. If I'm feeling confident after the first week I may jump into alternating the one-meal days right in the second week. I know it's not that intense, but I need to get used to not eating all day.
Originally Posted by BklynGirl
I've experimented quite a bit with long duration fasting. I've found that one 24 hour fast a week is about the perfect level for me. When I did two 24 hour fasts in a week I noticed I was sacrificing too much muscle tissue. I was lighter on the scale, but all my hard earned muscle that I built over the years was being eaten away like a cancer. Went back to just one fast a week and the muscle loss stabilized and all is well again.