Thursday, December 2, 2010
Arclein Diet Works!
I posted four months ago on a diet that I had implemented that took full advantage of the understanding that we are designed to be satiated at around 125% of our daily needs. I began fasting every second day or more precisely on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
It is noteworthy that for the first two or three months the body resisted the loss and lost only slowly. This was not unexpected.
However, once the body adjusted its expectations it began to lose weight at the rate of 2 ½ pounds per month for four months with no discomfort at all. I suspect that I have dropped fifteen pounds in all to date. An equal amount would place me at my historic trim weight and an additional fifteen pounds would place me at my historic lean weight only achieved in extremis.
This protocol has been no effort at all. On the days off I break fast lightly no sooner than late evening which is twenty four hours after last meal at least. On my eating days, I consume sufficient to be satiated and also well nutrified.
For the record, sound eating means a high protein diet with plenty of vegetables and scant carbohydrates. Eggs and tofu are great for those who dislike a lot of meat. I like everything. Nibbling on a sweet is not going to disturb much either. After all, you must feel guilty about something! My point is that it is hard to over indulge when you actually fast the very next day.
In the past I have used the Atkins diet and have nothing but respect for his work. Since his death, the industry has generally shifted to some form or the other of his protocol for true healthy eating. It still failed to truly overcome the body’s bias to consume 125% of its daily needs.
By fasting every second day, we eliminate the extreme discipline of portion control as a methodology. It was way too costly in time and planning. Instead by fasting on off days, one can simply enjoy a good well chosen restaurant meal and not care. Of course, eating a lousy meal consisting of pure carbs will still make you feel sick but that still does not ruin the diet. My favorite is a Chinese hot pot with tofu and assorted seafood and meats and a side of rice. It is hard to fault.
My objective is to provide the body with a surplus of nutrients every two days so that it can replenish properly.
The revelation for everyone is that we are engineered to utilize what we are able to eat. At 125% and the general failure to burn an extra thousand calories every day (run six miles in 48 minutes as I used to do when much younger) in our sedentary lives, we weigh generally 125% more than is wise. I was dead on for much of my adult life and it has needed until now a major personal effort to reduce this load.
To give you an example: My optimum weight was always 185 pounds, rarely achieved. At 125% the natural maintenance weight is actually 231 pounds. Guess what? That is what it always trended toward and settled around over the years unless strenuous effort was applied.
With the new protocol I am actually achieving a two day shortfall over what is needed to maintain the 185, versus a 1.75 day surplus. Obviously as I approach the 185 point, I will need to drop the Sunday fast day which will theoretically leave me short about one day. Since at the same time I will also be ramping up proteins to begin promoting muscle growth it should be in good balance.
Anyone trying this should make the same calculations in order to properly understand their correct target weight. I was never engineered to be a great sprinter because I had superbly muscled legs that added a big chunk of mass. Thus lean and mean is a high 185 in my case. For a sprinter even taller than me the optimum weight is 140 pounds. It is not a simple calculation and the guides are pretty useless for unusual builds. For most that have a stable overweight configuration, then a good objective weight is likely to be around 70% of present weight.
If you have gone way beyond that and have become obese, then you likely also know pretty well around were it should be. That is the real objective and it hardly needs to be precisely defined. You may find your body simply responding faster by shrinking the capacity of the gut.
For those who are stable and truly overweight which is just about everyone, setting the target weight at 70% of present is a pretty good plan or at least a good start. However, as ever have a doctor confirm the numbers if you are in doubt.
More to the point, you are going to lose weight as I am at a reasonable clip and at some point you will notice your belly fat is clearly gone. That is when you drop one day of fasting and increase exercise and protein intake to build muscle mass if you have not been already.
For those burning a lot of calories and who find the fast a problem (why are you overweight?) an alternative is to use a protein shake ala Herbalife and skip the meals. That should get you through the day.
Arclein Diet August 2010
I am presently running a diet regime that I put together for myself. I will share the approach with you in the event it turns out to be successful enough to recommend. As usual, I toss a lot of things on its head.
First, though, like many I have experimented with several other protocols and am fully cognizant with the inherent difficulties. All rely on calorie reduction, but then demand mental stamina to sustain the effort. If added to an exercise regime, one merely doubles the mental loading. I discovered in the process, that the only way that I could hope to sustain such a regimen would be to join a monastery.
I did learn that I could initiate a fast with no difficulty and pass through the first day with no discomfort. The trick was simple. One wakes up in the morning and takes no food. The system is dormant and you simply do not wake it up except to take water and teas. With a modest bit of repetition, the body gets into the habit of cooperating with all this and it soon is as easy as having a meal. The fight only begins once the body has voided the previous day’s food and is now empty. That actually will take the whole day.
More recently, I learned that the digestive system is rigged to hold 125% of your daily needs. This gave pause. If one ate daily to satisfaction, and what greater pleasure is there save one allowed humanity, one always carried a 25% overage in food. Just getting rid of the 25% would leave one insatiated and always been harassed by body and mind to make it up.
What this meant of course, is that in a given week we normally want to eat enough for almost nine days.
Now the actual numbers surely vary between individuals, but I think this gives us all the idea.
This led immediately to the following conclusion. It is enough to simply eliminate two days and possibly a third day to help the body eliminate unwanted fat. The other days it is necessary to eat to satisfaction. The important thing though is to stagger the days and choose your three fast days carefully. In my case I chose Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
In this way I can eat well on my eating days while fast days are just that. Four eating days will provide me with five full days of normal sustenance while forcing the body to squeeze little extra energy from the food the other two to three days.
The results have been satisfactory. The fast days suit my schedule and needs. Others accept such a regime quite easily. Actual weight loss is quite slow but has been persistent over the past three months. I find that I never feel hungry at all. I actually feel that I am losing weight stealthily in the same way that I gain weight.
I anticipate that it will take a good year to come down to a satisfactory weight and perhaps another two years for the body to bring is all down to trim. I expect that the effect will taper off and need exercise to push much lower. However, I should be at least ten percent lighter and dealing with the last five percent and well ready to handle physical stress
A corollary from this is that when one has reached an optimum weight, it is likely that the food intake and utilization by the body will be in proper balance and one will be unable to gain excess unnecessary weight.
I do not think that this can be applied to someone who must support quite a bit of physical effort, but then he is rarely suffering from overweight. It is also difficult to see how it may be applied to someone who is diabetic. There it would be necessary to first use a calorie restricted diet to get in a good working range. Of course, we may also be surprised.
This does work for the modern lifestyle in which most are sedentary at least.
I have observed no ill effects and am comfortable that this protocol is not been opposed subconsciously. In fact it is taking no more effort than that needed to carefully recall whether it is a fast day or not. I am losing over a pound per month so it turns out that even when eating only for four days a week, the loss rate is unstrained.
I have also noted that one can fit in some over indulgence as rewards with no harm which takes the sting out and besides, the best thing one can do after a serious overindulgence is to fast the next day. Let the body handle it all. By the by, beer and alcohol is not a fasting beverage.
As an after thought, right now I am conducting an experiment of one. Readers may want to take on this approach and it would be worthwhile to collect data and experiences from all this. So I would like anyone who wishes to try this approach to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and notify me of your intent. I will try to track progress every three month and collect comments. That way we may have some useful data and conclusions to report.
I expect that the main problem for most will be to master the daily fast. It will be initially awkward for newbies but you quickly get into it and become comfortable. Those who have fasted in the past will find this very easy to do. The problems with conventional fasting begin with the second day. Please note that a fast day includes two sleep periods and it ends up been around thirty hours.