Sustainable fat loss

I have tried fast and furious when it comes to losing fat. It works for sure. The real question to ask is — is it sustainable? The answer may depend on your personality. But I’m inclined to believe that instant gratification is not the right way for anyone unless it’s an absolute necessity due an illness/urgent reason to just shed the pounds.

Once upon a time, I decided I wanted to get “really fit”. So, I decided to transform my diet completely. I went from a happy calorie counter to a precise protein counter. I wanted to hit 1.2 g of protein/lb of body weight. It came up to almost 180g of protein. I still had to keep my calorie intake within certain limits. Let me remind you – I am a vegetarian. It is not just tricky, but also crazy to get this amount of protein every single day. Most of the vegetarian protein sources has carbs and sometimes a considerable amount of fat (1 cup of fat free milk is roughly 13g of carb, and 10g of protein; 1 cup of fat-free Greek yogurt is better. But for 90 calories, it’s about 5g of carbs).

So I did what I had to do to get to these numbers. I started my day with egg whites. It followed with a protein shake. Lunch was a tiny amount of vegetable and additional protein of some kind. I was tossing out so many delicious egg yolks every day. My snack was a protein bar. Dinner repeated with a similar structure as lunch. My day ended with one more serving of protein (casein).

The outcome, you ask? I lost several lbs of body fat and looked great. On the other hand though, egg whites every single day. No hate here for folks that can stomach this or even enjoy it. But 3 months of this made me gag. It was so awful, I would gag at the thought of eggs. I would have a protein bar before I went anywhere. I’d always keep a bar in my bag if I stepped out of my home. Coz what if I had to eat out?

This didn’t last very long. And my body composition changed for the worse over time.

Fast forward to mid-2019. I was reeling from low sleep, uninspired workouts, and yada yada yada. Oh, did I mention being overweight from post-pregnancy slowdown? I can’t blame my pregnancy for an increase in my weight and body fat. What did happen was that my metabolism dropped considerably. I can say I worked hard, but perhaps it was not enough and nutrition was not up to the mark. It is science after all, not some magic. I got serious and decided enough was enough. 1 yr of post-partum unhealthiness had to change. I started working with a personal trainer twice a week and enrolled in group classes as they motivate me, and offer a variety that I enjoy.

I took a full-body DXA scan mid-July. (It’s a fun test. Check it out at https://www.bodyspec.com/what-is-dxa. It is also considered to be most accurate https://www.bodyspec.com/blog/post/the_big_fat_experiment) The numbers didn’t surprise me at all. Not one bit. I was at 39.5% body fat which put me at obese. So, I had my base numbers and just had to keep at it for the next few months to see changes. I worked out, tried to go in 5 days a week. I tried to keep my nutrition consistent.

I returned for my DXA scan this morning. So, it turns out I did something right! I lost 18 lbs of pure fat and lost no lean mass at all. I am now at 32.5% body fat which means more than 1 pct fat loss pct per month on average. I’m happy with these changes. My diet has “normal” foods now. My personal trainer reminded me of the need to include vegetables. In a bid to keep carb intake low, I was often skipping veggies.

How did the loss work? I love counting my calories and do it fairly consistently. I was able to push to have 2 or more cups of vegetables every day. I was using MyFitnessPal, and that recommended 20% protein and 1640 calories a day. This was easy for me as it meant only 80g of protein. I did mess up a few days during the holiday season. But I don’t regret that. I enjoy food and will continue to eat. I did avoid binging on goodies for several days.

So that’s the story so far. I wanted to try out something else this year. I moved my subscription money to Macrostax. Check it out at https://www.macrostax.com/. I like it so far. I have lost 3 lbs since I started using it. It gives a different breakdown of macros and doesn’t push you to cut carbs beyond what’s necessary for your goals. My goals are for fat loss right now. It’s been very reasonable for a vegetarian so far. I’ll be back in a few months and a new body scan to share my update.

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