So I found this video recently I got inspired. One of the reasons I started this blog was to run experiments, track the results, and see the effects of different diet paths.
Specifically I wanted to test out various diets high in leafy greens and veggies both for cutting and for adding muscle.
Plus they had to be sustainable.
So without further delay I’d say it’s time for the blog’s first experiment.
Everyone’s favorite – the High Carb diet!
Here’s the video that inspired the experiment. Most of the method below will generally come from this video.
That video is part of a fat loss series you can see if you click the video link here. When I mention “videos” below. These are the videos I’m using to compile the methods.
Here’s the breakdown.
The goal is to go low fat without tracking carbs or protein and focus on plant proteins for 30 days. Since we won’t be tracking the proteins specifically and most plant foods are a mix of carbs with protein, most calories will likely come from carbs, hence the high carb name.
Let’s get down to the method.
- Fat will be kept to less than 20% of total calorie intake. That’s actually still pretty high-fat since the real benefits seem to come to those who can keep fat at 10% but we’re trying 20% in this experiment to see what results we get. If we can achieve our goals at 20% there’s no use going more strict.
- Current Weight is 165 lbs
- Goal weight is 157 lbs. This is a cutting diet, not a bulking diet so the focus will be on monitoring calories and keeping fat low to lose some body fat that’s built up since Christmas.
- Weekly workouts will continue using the Occam protocol from the 4 Hour Body. The details can be found in that book and aren’t a big focus here. Again, this is a cutting diet not a bulking diet. The main idea is I’ll keep lifting to minimize muscle loss. The fact that I’m using this protocol though might cause some muscle gain and this factored in during monitoring.
- Monitoring will consist of daily weigh-ins and waist measurements plus informal commentary on how clothes are fitting. Some of my pants have shrunk in the dryer so the clothes commentary will be the least reliable. Daily measurements are a bit extreme and fluctuations are expected; however, we want all the data points. I’m expecting the average to show declines across the board and I’m interesting to see how cheat meals will affect the numbers and for how long.
- Baseline calories assume sedentary activity with some light walking and just two workouts a week. Using the approach from the videos we’ll multiply the current weight of 165 by 14 to get 2310 calories as a baseline calorie use per day.
- Next we calculate baseline calories to reach 157. Again, using the approach from the videos, the goal weight of 157 is multiplied by 14 to get 2198 calories. That then is multiplied by a weight loss factor of 0.75 weight loss factor to get 1649 calories. The weight loss factor assumes we’ll be reducing daily calories by 25%. In the past I’ve done much lower reductions and lost 30 pounds but it takes longer and you have to be way more accurate with your calories counting. The goal here is to find something easier to follow. We’ll use Myfitnesspal to do the counts and the macros for us.
- Again, the goal is <20% fat calories per day. Since we’ll be using Myfitnesspal we’ll be getting things in grams of fat per meal so we’ll need to figure out our limit. At 20% fat for a 1649 daily diet that comes to 330 fat calories per day. Divide that by 9 (9 calories per gram of fat) gives us 36 grams of fat. That’s our daily fat budget.
- Carbs and protein won’t be counted. Again, since protein will come from plant sources carbs will always be involved and will always end up being more than protein. We’ll see what Myfitnesspal says for each meal. The focus will be counting calories and fat grams.
- Carbs and leafy greens or vegetables will form the base of each meal. Not for any special reason, just because I prefer mixed salad greens over frozen veggies. Plus the goal here ins’t tons of carbs. Carbs are low on nutrition. Their main function is to make me feel full. The real nutrition and food value comes from the vegetables and leafy greens pack more punch and are easier to eat than normal vegetables. Carbs for fullness, leafy greens for health.
- Addiction reset. This is another key part of the videos. I fall off the wagon fairly quickly when I try and add in cheat days and cheat meals. To get off to a good start I’ll do an addiction reset. For the first 3 days I’ll have no addictive foods – nothing processed and no eating out. All meals will be home cooked or will be made of single ingredient items (i.e. rice and beans with salad).
- After the first 3 days cheat meals are allowed back in using the following conditions:
- I can eat cheat meals with friends at social events.
- I can eat cheat meals or snacks by myself but they must come after 2 things:
- I have to eat a normal core meal that I made first
- I have to drink two glasses of water.
- If I still want the cheat foods or meals after the above then I can have them. The idea is to both notice the difference between addictive hunger and true hunger as well as reduce the overall amount of cheat food by eating it on a fuller stomach.
- No changes to alcohol use will be part of the experiment. Again, the hypothesis is that the core meals will do most of the cutting work. This will be evaluated through the study but will not be part of the initial setup.
- Fasting – Currently I stop eating most days around 4 PM and start eating at 9 AM the next day. This will be continued; however, it is not a rule that has to be followed for the study.
- Lastly, I’ll rely on the core meals to get me through. These meals follow the methods above plus I’ve already tested them and know I enjoy them. I’ll try to take pictures as I make my way through the 30 days. Part of what I hope to attain through the experiment is a series of simple meals I can count on that are easy to prep and are great for cutting. I’ve done enough calorie counting in my day and I’m looking for a way out. Meals and recipes will be analyzed but once we have meals that fit the bill that same meal won’t be counted in future days.
- Baked hashbrowns with mixed greens
- Stir fried vegetables and polenta with mixed greens
- Whole ingredient cereals, fruit, and rice milks. Examples of single ingredient cereals include puffed rice, puffed wheat, Shredded wheat, etc.
- Protein shakes with blended fruit
- Beans and greens soup – non-fat refried beans, water, hashbrowns (from frozen, not fried), and frozen spinach with veggie broth and spices
- Chickpea omelettes with stir fried vegetables and a side of mixed greens
- Tofu migas over Ezekiel bread with a side of mixed greens
As you can see my main core meals involve stir fried carbs with vegetables and a side of mixed salad greens). Things like migas and the chickpea omelette mixture as well as the stir fried veggies will be made in bulk enough for a few meals. I tend to get sick of each item quickly and don’t mind the cooking so I’ll make small batches enough for 2-3 servings.
For go to meals in a pinch I’ll do the following:
- Ezekiel bread toasted and cut into croutons over mixed greens with tomatoes
- Cereal with fruit and rice milk
- Protein shakes
- Beans and greens soup
All of the go-to meals above can be made in less than 2 minutes with ingredients that are either frozen or require no cooking. The beans and greens soup is microwaved and can be made while working so no difficulty there.
Let’s summarize the methods to recap since the above was pretty long:
- Cook meals that are less than 20% fat calories and are plant-based.
- No cheat meals or addictive foods for the first 3 days
- Cheat meals must be with friends or follow a core meal and 2 glasses of water
That’s it. No other rules apply. Let the experiment begin.
To see the post where I outline the results of the experiment click here.