How I lost 7kg in a couple of months- The Shark’s Diet — Introduction
If you have read my last post, you probably know that last year did not end well for me. I gained weight, I was not too happy, and I felt that I’m getting older.
I took some time to reflect on all of that and I knew it was time for change. Time to step up the game and become the best version of myself. I made a decision to start a daily practice to become better, in all aspects of my life; Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually.
I will not get into the Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual aspect of things in this post, however I will focus on what I have done to improve physically.
I have not reached my goal yet but I’m getting a step closer every day.
In December I started experimenting with Dave Asprey’s BulletProof diet . I have experimented with many other diets in the past (more on this in another post) so I kind of knew what worked for me and I felt Dave’s ideas were compelling so I read the book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Dave seems to be a very smart guy who really knows his stuff, is a total geek, and great biohacker, it also shows that he has done a ton of research. PS: You should checkout his Podcast too
In a way Dave’s Diet is a stricter version of Paleo, that aims to eliminate toxins and trouble foods, with focus on higher fat intake, lower carbs (mostly green Vegies and one serving of fruit per day) and no calorie counting. You eat when you are hungry, and as much as your body needs. I liked the idea and since I was eating Paleo already, a cleaner diet with focus on quality food wouldn’t have hurt.
I followed BulletProof diet for a month and to be honest it felt great. Great focus, great energy, never hungry, however I did not lose any weight. I decided to start troubleshooting to see what I was doing wrong, so I went back to using MyFitnessPal to track what I ate. When I did that it turns out i was eating around 2000 to 2500 calories a day which is way above my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
It was a great experiment ( I ate a ton of food I loved, and did not gain weight) but I thought it was time either change the diet. Dave has a Rapid Fat Loss Protocol but it was too aggressive for me (and my stomach issues) so I decided to build my own updated protocol.
Shark’s diet v0.1
When constructing my new diet protocol I decided to borrow what I have learned from the 50+ books I read over the years, and great folks including Dave Asprey, John Kiefer (@DH Kiefer), Mark Sisson, Martin Berkhan (LeanGains), and John Walker (Hacker’s diet), who is the father of all diets and tracking tools (at least to me).
I took what worked best in these diet and workout protocols and combined the elements that worked best to create a simple, clean, and healthy diet, that suits my needs, lifestyle, preferences, and eating habits.
Warning : Please consult your doctor or health practitioner before going on any diet including this diet.
The principles :
- Breakfast is the LEAST IMPORTANT and WORST meal of the day. Our bodies are primed to burn fat in the morning, testosterone is highest by around 7–8am, and so if we don’t ruin it by eating carbs in the morning, messing up our insulin levels and hence fat storage, then we can remain in fat burning mode in the morning until the next meal. In case you are thinking, why not skip carbs and eat proteins, then notice that certain proteins can also trigger an insulin response including Eggs (checkout Eggs Glycemic Index).
- If you are worried about feeling hungry, you can start your day with a Bulletproof coffee (which includes Coffee, Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil, and Grass Fed Ghee or Grass Fed Butter). I actually noticed that if i drop the Butter or Ghee, and simply mix my cup of coffee with one tablespoon of MCT Oil ( you can also use Coconut oil) then I feel wonderful, and full, until 12pm. Somehow adding more than one tablespoon of MCT and adding Butter or Ghee made me hungry. Note : If you want to do this don’t just put the oil in the coffee and stir it (that’s going to look disgusting and have terrible texture), make sure you use a blender and mix it well, it will look, smell, and taste delicious. If you want a sweatner in your coffee use Stevia.
- Intermittent Fasting Element: Intermittent fasting is a great concept and limiting your feeding window to 8 hours is actually great for health reasons. Since I am skipping breakfast (Bulletproof coffee is ok and does not break the fast), I started my feedings at noon and finished at 8pm.
- Caloric Restriction and Cycling: Based on my genetics (I have done genetic testing with 23andme) and the research that I looked at, eating high fat diets, and diets without caloric restriction will not work for me (I observed this through my testing as well) so I decided to restrict my calories. I made sure my caloric restriction is not severe (avg 500 kcal daily deficit ) so as not to cause me any health issues and not to lose muscle. Also since I workout 3 days a week , I eat slightly higher calories on workout days (helping with muscle gain and recovery), and lower on rest days, effectively cycling my calories.
- Macronutrient ratios and timing: Our bodies need certain macros at certain times of the day and consumes them best at that time, so using this to our advantage makes our job easier. Consuming Carbohydrates at night ( Yes you read this right) and after a workout is the best time to consume them (no they won’t be stored as fat if we do it right). It is best to split proteins between the two meals one has (Lunch and Dinner) , and aim for more protein post workout with Carbs. It is also best to try and consume leaner proteins when consuming carbs to avoid any weight gain. On workout day I try to consume fat before the workout and not with the carb meals. On non-workout days it doesn’t matter, and I consume fat anytime.
- Food Quality: I learned recently that quality matters. The nutritional profile of Wild, and Organic foods tend to be much better than farm raised and non-organic foods. Not to mention all the chemicals and pesticides that go with the non-organic products. Based on this I built for myself the following commandments:
- If it comes in a package it is probably not good for me. Do this exercise with me: pick up any packaged food item that you have at home and look at the ingredients. You will see an endless list of crap that you should not be eating including MSG (which by the way has more than 100 other alternative names so impossible to know if you are really consuming MSG or not), High Fructose corn syrup (which is terrible for your health, besides it coming from GMO sources most of the time) . There is also a whole bunch of chemicals and preservatives that they add to these packaged foods. They even add Beaver’s anus to our food!!! Anything that is packaged and has a long shelf life needs preservatives added to it so as to protect it from degrading and oxidizing)
- If it needs preparation and starts in a raw state, if it is green or once had a face , then it is good for me. Green veggies are typically less starchy and more fibrous. Coloured vegetables and fruits typically have higher sugar content.
- Eating out is not good for me: besides not being able to control the quality of food I consume at a restaurant (or god forbid a food court) a typical restaurant meal is stuffed with calories, butter (non grass fed of course), oil, and a whole bunch of additives that I have no idea what they are. Additionally a typical restaurant meal has a ton of carbs and stuff. so When I order at a restaurant I drive the waiter nuts with all my requests.
- Here is the list of foods I generally eat (Dave has an excellent PDF infographic that kind of summarizes these foods)
- Proteins : Grass Fed Beef and Lamb, Wild Fish, Free Range Organic Chicken. Avoid factory raised meats, farmed fish, and non-organic chicken.
- Fats : Grass Fed Butter, Grass Fed Ghee, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil (Sparingly). You can also use animal fat from grass fed animals. All other vegetable oils are evil.
- Carbohydrates : Green veggies every day (From Dave’s PDF), one serving of fruits per day (from a list of fruits). I eat starches at night and post workout. For fruits I look for fruits with higher glucose to fructose ratio. Berries (Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry) are good, I also eat Mandarins and Bananas sparingly.
- If you are trying to save money, and cannot afford to eat Organic or grass fed beef then at least stick to Organic Chicken, eat farm raised beef, and eat non-organic fruits and vegetables.
Calorie and macro calculations :
To simplify things for myself I ended up building the spreadsheet embedded below (Here is a link to the original google spreadsheet). You can access this sheet, copy it, and adjust it for yourself. I’m not going to get into the details of how I constructed this spreadsheet but if anyone is interested I may publish a second post please leave a comment)
In order to keep this blog post short , I will post another follow up post putting all the principles together, explain the basic science, and show the food I ate, and my weekly progress.
Another comment is I know it is possible to lose as much as 1kg a week on this diet however I opted for a slower rate of loss to minimize muscle loss and because I don’t want to feel hungry, I want to have the energy, and let’s face it ..I Love food.
With the current macros I am feeling full, have great energy, and still losing weight at a decent rate.