The Third Step Toward Losing Weight Quickly
If there is a third thing that you can do today to start on the road to losing weight quickly it is to control not just your sugar intake and avoiding the wrong carbs while focusing on the right carbs, but to make sure that you are not starving yourself toward dieting failure. Here’s the latest on my dieting experiment and which diet method I adopted that led to 20 pounds lost in 44 days.
[With a new focus on how to lose weight during 2021, future Emaxhealth articles will follow the exploits of the intrepid Dr. Boyer as he reviews and re-evaluates past weight loss health articles and puts what he has learned into actual practice in a personal weight loss experiment to help others discover what works and does not work while trying to lose weight.]
The First 20 Pounds in 44 Days
After 44 days that included dieting while on a prolonged road trip the last half of that time period, I followed my own advice and went to my closet and pulled out a pair of dress slacks that I could barely squeeze into just before the dieting experiment began. What surprised me was that the slacks now fitted like they should when what I was expecting was some lingering uncomfortable snugness. Turning to the scales, I confirmed that I had lost a total of 20 pounds over the past 44 days. So far, my dieting experiment appears to be working.
Dieting Details—a little more detail on what it took to drop those 20 pounds
As discussed earlier, my first month of dieting was to cut out as much sugar and bread as I possibly could that included the biggest offenders of all: sodas, commercially sweetened fruit juices, Starbucks Coffee as well as non-beverage food products such as pies, cookies and “Sugar Powered” breakfast cereals.
My practice the past 44 days has to been to alternate low-carb and no-carb days, with the low-carb days keeping it roughly to less than 25 grams of carb per day. This approximates to one slice of white bread; however, I did not eat any white bread during this experiment. Instead, I limited my carb intake to ¼ cup of low-carb cereals, rigorously scrutinized “keto” bars, bean-sprouted bread, carefully selected whole grain crackers, and a variety of recipes using keto flour, and quinoa/barley flour.
I made a few discoveries on my low-carb choices:
1. Some so-called “keto bars” are ketogenic only in name. While going through a large selection of keto bar labels, I found most to contain waaaaaaay too much carb listed in the fine print. However, one stand-out that I recommend—especially as a snack for the hardest moments of dieting—is the Munk Pack “Almond Butter Cocoa Chip Keto Granola Bar.” It contains 1 grams of sugar, 2 grams total of carb and has only 140 calories. It tastes good and curbed my appetite many times while on the road.
2. I tried one of those “Keto Flour for Pizza” packs and while it was a low-carb option, the taste and texture was sawdust-like. Bad enough that I will never do it again. In fact, so bad that I scraped the topping off to eat and tossed the crust. A better option that worked great for me was to make a pizza crust using cauliflower bits mixed with 2 eggs, some olive oil and just a small amount of whole wheat flour. The flavor is very much like regular pizza bread, but with far fewer carbs.
3. If you listen to your body, you will learn when you’ve had too little carb: Low energy and uncharacteristic bitchiness are the signs and symptoms your body needs some carb. Best remedy: eat a ¼ cup portion of your favorite cereal right away and you will be surprised how quickly you will feel better.
4. Protein really does reduce sugar and bread carb cravings, which brings me to the next third step of my dieting experiment.
The Third Step Toward Losing Weight Quickly
The third big change I made to my diet was to go the high-protein route of dieting.
In an earlier article, I had discussed how that adopting a high protein total diet is an attractive dieting method due to past studies having supported the notion of dieters eating more protein than normal, as a potential way to lose weight quickly and without loss of lean muscle mass. The reason for this is that adopting a very low calorie diet can lead to loss of not just fat, but also the loss of lean muscle mass that you want to keep.
The goal of a high protein diet approach is to ensure that your body’s metabolism not only stays active, but increases as well so that the body can continue to lose unwanted pounds. Often, when undergoing a restrictive diet, your body responds by lowering its metabolism and going into a starvation state of survival. Reputedly, by keeping your protein levels up, you can avoid this change in metabolism while at the same time help control sugar and carb cravings.
Studies Support High Protein Dieting
In at least one study published in the scientific publication Nutrition Journal, researchers designed a study to determine the effects of a high protein-enriched meal replacement with respect to weight loss and lean body mass retention in comparison to an equivalent calorie, carbohydrate-enriched standard protein meal replacement diet plan.
In a single blind, placebo-controlled study consisting of two groups for comparison, randomly selected participants from 100 obese men and women were placed on either a standard protein meal replacement diet or on an extra protein supplement diet. The participants’ body weight, body composition, and lipid profiles were measured at baseline and after 12 weeks.
What the researchers found was that the standard protein diet and the high protein diet were both well tolerated by the study participants, and that both groups experienced similar weight loss. However, the high protein group lost significantly more body fat than the standard protein group did (as determined by BMI measurements) and without any significant difference in lean body mass.
The study appeared to indicate that a higher protein diet may have led to increased metabolism and thereby increased the amount of fat the body burned in the high protein diet group.
In fact, a recent study by The American Society For Nutrition from November of last year, looked at the merit behind high protein dieting and concluded that, “…the results of this study suggest that high-protein total diet replacements may be a promising nutritional strategy to combat rising rates of obesity.”
My Approach to High-Protein Dieting
I have to admit, this was the most enjoyable part of the dieting experiment so far. I am carnivorous by nature and so allowing myself to eat even more animal-based foods than normal helped make up for the surrendered sodas, the junked junk food, the curtailed cocktails and the allocated ales that were my biggest dietary sins.
However, this did not mean life was all bacon and eggs for me. While I did increase my meat uptake by gifting myself with rather expensive Spanish meat, lamb, bison and fresh fish from an international market, I also sought out plant-based proteins as well that included a variety of nuts and even tofu.
I used to hate tofu, but recently discovered that the Koreans are onto something with a simple spicy kimchi soup called “Kimchi-jjigae” that contains tofu, green onions, pork, clams, and well-fermented kimchi. If you are a carnivore and have never had this dish before, you will be glad that you tried it. One of the “gifts” of kimchi (in any form) is that it greatly assists digestion—especially if you’ve ever gorged at a traditional Korean grill.
The Experiment Continues
After 6 weeks of dieting and losing 20 pounds, I decided to take a break from dieting for two weeks and have followed a more normal diet plan eating less meat, more veggies and more fruit, and slightly more carbs, but no sodas or junk food.
The idea is that weight loss plateaus do happen after some weight loss, and I began to feel that shortly after returning from a long road trip. In addition, I began to experience what I call “dieting pressure” where every day was becoming a little too food-obsessive.
Research shows that weight loss plateaus are a normal part of dieting and that it is your body’s way of recalibrating itself to match it’s new dietary environment. What is important to understand is that these plateaus are temporary, but unfortunately are one of the biggest reasons why so many diets are abandoned.
My weight loss research experience is that when a weight loss plateau occurs, it is best to give yourself a brief break from active dieting, but follow a more passive, sensible eating plan during that break so as not to regain any of your previously lost weight. And then, adopt a new dieting method to break free of the plateau and jumpstart the next phase of weight loss.
As an example, here is a recommended article titled “Small, Smart Steps Resulted in Loss of Half of This Dr. Oz Fan's Weight” about some good advice on how one person broke past her weight loss plateau and began to lose even more weight while dieting.
I recently checked my weight on a scale and noted that I have not gained or lost any weight over that two week period. Soon, I will be changing my dieting method and will discuss whether the change works or does not work toward my goal of 20 pounds more to lose.
Until then, next time I will discuss a final fourth step toward losing weight quickly that I believe is almost as important as cutting our sugar that I believe is responsible for how I managed an average of nearly ½ pounds per day over 44 days.
Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Today, with an eye on the latest news, Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on what you need to know for healthier living. For continual updates about health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.
Image Source: Courtesy of Natasha Spenser from Pixabay
“A controlled trial of protein enrichment of meal replacements for weight reduction with retention of lean body mass” Leo Treyzon et al, Nutrition Journal 27 August 2008.
“Are high-protein total diet replacements the key to maintaining healthy weight?” News from The American Society For Nutrition 18 Nov. 2020.