Friday, August 2, 2013

About This Blog

About This Blog

This is nothing more than an amateur blog recounting my experiences with Eat Stop Eat (the 24-hour, 2x per week fasting protocol), which was created by Brad Pilon.

5'9" tall
190 pounds (start)
Experienced lifter
Using Eat Stop Eat and ~1500 calorie restriction (lower-than-usual carb) with one refeed day (yay, carbs!).

The only guarantee I can give you is that I won't be miserable doing this, if that's what you're thinking. Trust me. I have seen misery in dieting. It ain't pretty.

Brief Background

I have lifted weights since I was 15-years old, although fitness and nutrition have always interested me (growing up overweight will do that to you). In my time, I have tried a lot of different workouts and a lot of different diets/nutrition plans. A simple rundown would look like this (no particular order):

Workout Plans
Turbulence Training (~two years) by Craig Ballantyne
1000-calorie workout (~two months) by I've Forgotten
Renegade Fitness plans (~6 months) by Jason Ferrugia
5x5 and Starting Strength (~6 months) by Not Sure
LeanGains-inspired workouts (~1 year) by Martin Berkhan
5-3-1 (~1 year) by Jim Wendler

I've also followed my own workout plans that included high volume, low rep, reverse pyramid, 20-rep squats, bodybuilder-style, and Arnold Schwarzenegger-inspired plans (the two muscle groups per day, twice per week from his encyclopedia).

Low fat
Low carb
South Beach
Anything Goes
Carb Cycling
Eat Stop Eat
Rapid Fat Loss

Some of these I tried for about a month, with varying degrees of adherence and success. The one thing I learned was that complexity and rules are a definite sign that I won't be able to follow the diet. If you have a family or if you're planning on eating out a lot, you just cannot follow most plans because, eventually, you'll get bored or you'll come to a place that doesn't accommodate your little snowflake nutrition plan, and you'll take your first step off the diet and into a spiral backward.

Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Me and What I'm Doing Now

Eat Stop Eat was the first program that I was able to stick to (with 100% adherence, actually) and that didn't make me miserable. It actually changed my entire perspective on food, health, etc. I won a Get-in-Shape contest with ESE and Turbulence Training (TT) a few years ago, going from 215 to 170. I have followed some form of IF since then, and have even managed to sway a few people into trying it. I have given up talking to anyone about it though... too many people believe in "starvation mode", don't understand how the body works, and (this is the kicker) they truly believe eating more food causes your metabolism to "rev up" to a point at which they burn more calories. Sigh.

I swapped out TT for Renegade because I was lean but small. I did well with Renegade, but it was a pay-site and I was tired of paying. Also, Renegade is geared more for small guys who are naturally lean. The opposite of me. I went to 5-3-1 and that really worked well, but I have old injuries from my cheerleading days- right wrist and left knee- and I eventually reached a weight that my muscles could support, but my joints could not. I switched over  to LeanGains, which is when I dropped Eat Stop Eat, and used the Reverse Pyramid Training protocol. It was a little kinder to me in terms of volume, and I made more progress.

Then I got sloppy. Maybe it was the 16 hours of fasting and not really thinking I could be overdoing it on the eating. Maybe it was the Warcraft playing. Maybe it was the "extra calories" that I forgot to log. It got complex, though, whatever it was... charts, graphs, lots of thinking and planning. I swapped to the Rapid Fat Loss right before the beach and it works if you follow it perfectly (which isn't that hard if you're already used to controlling what you eat). I came back from the beach in July of 2013 and I didn't feel right.  And everything else I'd ever read. I also had to stop working out to get over some injuries and I just stopped caring for a month or so about being in shape. Brad Pilon sent out the latest edition of Eat Stop Eat. I read it. A quote at the end (his reworking of a Zen phrase) struck me and reset my perspective:

“Before you study Nutrition, food is food and drink is drink; while you
are studying Nutrition, food is no longer food and drink is no longer
drink; but once you have had enlightenment, food is once again food
and drink is again drink.” (pg.175, 2013 Expanded Edition)

(How can you not like Brad, right? I'm all up in Zen, so I'm down with his perspective.) Anyway, I realized that I was there. I knew everything I could possibly know (without being an expert, without going back and learning physiology and nutrition and... UGH... SCIENCE STUFF) about weight loss and weight gain and lean muscle mass. I could tell you that most of your fears about "losing muscle" are silly. I could even show you the studies that supported it. So why was I so messed up?

I remembered this line from the Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell, trans.):

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

I was caught in desire (that's really my only point... nothing mystical or insane), so much so that I had lost sight of my original goal from years before. I didn't want to compete in any powerlifting contests. I didn't even care if I could lift more than someone else or as much as someone thought I should be able to lift. All I wanted was to be healthy, be able to eat what I wanted, not complicate everything, and look good when I took my shirt off. Once I was free from those desires that I cared nothing for, I saw the answer: the thing that had gotten me there in the first place, before I broke in with complexity and strategy and a messed-up perspective, Eat Stop Eat.

My Plan Now
I started August 1, 2013. I'll log (in general) what I eat every day. I'm not about to get specific, for several reasons. I'm a private person, for one, and for another, why does anyone care? I'll list calorie totals, lift totals, etc. I may add a few notes about my day. Here's how it will look:

1) Lift Heavy Stuff (8-10 reps) in Compound Movements (3x week)
2) 24-hour fasting (2x week)
3) 1500/day calorie total (low carb, but more as a result of personal preference... I luvz the meat)
4) One refeed day
5) I'll post my weight again in a few weeks.

I have a picture from the beach that I thought about using. I look okay. You can still see the ol' abs, but they're... soft. I decided to not post it because I'm a teacher and that could get tricky. So, no pictures. 

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