Monday, February 12, 2007

Weight Loss vs. Inch Loss

On a low-carb diet, once we are past the initial first few months of rapid weight loss, the weight loss often slows to around five pounds a month. Daily weighing can be frustrating because you can fluctuate this much day-to-day depending on what you've eaten and how much water your body is retaining. I still try to write my weight down each day so that I can see the trends (up 2 pounds today but down 3 yesterday, etc.). This helps me to know how well my weekly weigh-in reflects my actual weight. But, if I'm up, I try not to let it bring me down. I just recognize this as my body's natural weight fluctuations. I think that this fluctuation may be more significant in women.

My wife was complaining yesterday that she'd not lost any weight in over a month. She's not been keeping her journal updated, so it is hard to tell for sure. On Dec. 22, 2006 (one and half months ago), I had calculated her percent body fat and written down her measurements. I hadn't jotted down her weight as it wasn't necessary for the calculation. From this, I was able to show her that she had lost 3 inches around her waist and 1 and half inches on her hips. So, even if it was true that she'd lost no weight, she'd lost quite a bit around the waist-line. If in deed her weight hadn't changed, she must have gained muscle. This illustrates why weight is not a good measurement of diet success! What's a bit more frustrating to her is that she has entered a "biggest loser" contest where she works. Without weight loss she'll lose the contest. Yet if they counted inches she'd definitely be the winner!

This week, I have stuck to my diet with no high-carb days. And, I have lost no inches and no pounds. I weigh and measure exactly what I did one week ago. Mid week, I measured 80 on ketostix. So, I know that my body is burning fat somehow. For the month however, I have lost 5 pounds and about an inche around my waist. So, something is working even though the last week seemed non-productive. The week before last, I took one planned day off of the diet and still lost 3 pounds. On this planned day off, I ate at an all-you-can eat pizza buffet and had birthday cake. Go figure....

pj at seems to think that there is a need to fluctuate the level of carbs you take in. She sited body builders who use carb-cycling to produce ultra lean, muscular bodies. The thought is that the body will adjust and become used to whatever it's diet is. For example, if you were cutting calories then your matabolism would slow down to accomodate. She thinks that your body will adjust to your carb-intake as well. So, you basically have to keep the body guessing by varying the carb intake. I spent quite a bit of time over the last few weeks reading about carb-cycling on body building web sites. I think that there is probably something to this. However, all of the carb-cycling plans that I have found have been intended for people who are already very muscular and are extremely active. To them, low carb is often around 250-300 carbs per day! Wow, 10 times what I consume. I'm contemplating alternating between 30-45 net carbs and 90-120 net carbs per day. There is a lot of debate over how long these cycles should be. Some bodybuilders do one day no-carb, one day low-carb, one day high-carb. Others do a few weeks low followed by a few weeks high. I'm leaning toward trying 5 days low-carb (30-45) with 2 days maintenance level (90-120). This way the weekends have many more dietary options. I know that most of you are likely thinking that the higher carb days might knock me out of ketosis. But, I'm thinking that it might make it easier to slip back into ketosis. Has anyone heard of this sort of plan? Does anyone know how this could be adjusted to a person who isn't "ripped" and has a fairly low activity level? I'm thinking of starting the carb-cycling some time in March. I still have a bit more research to do before I am comfortable that the cycles are set appropriately. When I begin, I'll post a detailed plan. It will be an experiment. If I do not continue losing at least 5 pounds a month then I'll go back to my current diet of 30-45 net carbs per day, everyday (except for my 2 floating diet vacation days per month).


Lady Atkins said...

Very interesting. I should look into this.

Lady Atkins said...

Did some research on this today. Slow-cooked oats were on the carb list and I remember my old Atkins calerndar mentioning it (I held onto that page). That might be a way to do carb cycling without totally screwing up my diet. Add a little Splenda or sugar-free syrup and you'd have a nice slow-digesting meal that wouldn't spike blood sugar.

I can't go up to 90g a day though. Maintainance for me is about 60g so I wouldn't want to go much above that.'ve got the wheels in my head turning!

Big Daddy D said...

Update: I still lost weight under the 5 day down 2 day up carb-cycling. But, the rate of loss was less than I was losing on straight low-carb. One month may not be enough to kick-start my metabolism as it took 3 months for the weight-loss to slow down when I started straight low-carb.

The thought occurred to me that it takes up to 3 days to slip back into ketosis, leaving only 2 days for fat loss. So, I recently switched to an 11 day up, 3 day down cycle (every other weekend off the diet). And, on the up days, there is a minimum of 190 net carbs with no maximum.

Cycling with an up side of anything lower would not give my system the shock that my theory depends on to make carb-cycling work.

rapidweightloss said...

very good ..
it's interesting for me, thank you .

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