It’s time again to check in on how I’m using The Karma Sense Eating Plan to advance my personal goals for being healthier, happier, and saving the world. In the last installment, I focused on the saving the world part. Before that, I discussed my progress after 2 months working the plan. In that post, I foreshadowed my intention to shift the goal slightly. Unlike the politicians currently dominating the news cycle, this shift is not a flip-flop. I’ll explain it all below. If you’re not interested in a Karma Sense case study, skip to the end and help choose the topic for the next L4 post.
I went into this plan with the goals below.
- Decrease my body fat percentage by 5% preferably by gaining muscle versus losing fat.
- Adopt the 16/8 hour intermittent fasting protocol as a personal learning opportunity. Specifically, I want to see if it’s a viable technique for increasing muscle mass. I also want to see if it’s a good weight loss practice. I usually don’t recommend intermittent fasting for women since it can introduce hormonal issues. Fasting within a 16-hour window should keep hormones in check. But will it support weight loss?
- Provide a demonstration of The Karma Sense Eating Plan in action.
- Be healthy, happy, and save the world. I’m doing this by allocating money saved from fasting to a TBD charity.
And I created the following tracking sheet to move me towards those goals.
Here are the new updated goals:
- Decrease my body fat percentage by 5%
preferably by gaining muscle versus losing fat.
- Adopt the 16/8 hour intermittent fasting protocol as a personal learning opportunity. S
pecifically, I want to see if it’s a viable technique for increasing muscle mass.I alsowant to see if it’s a good weight loss practice. I usually don’t recommend intermittent fasting for women since it can introduce hormonal issues. Fasting within a 16-hour window should keep hormones in check. But will it support weight loss?
- Provide a demonstration of The Karma Sense Eating Plan in action.
- Be healthy, happy, and save the world. I’m doing this by allocating money saved from fasting to
a TBDthe charity Deworm the World and to other charities to be named later. (NOTE: Added text in italics.)
I explain why I’m making the change in the next section. But here is how the tracking sheet changes.
The bottom line is that I’m focusing the next phase of my Karma Sense Eating Plan on the weight loss part and not the muscle-building part. This makes for a plan that is decidedly easier. But that’s not why I’m doing it, at least not directly.
Rationalization (a fancy word for flip-flop)
In the 2000 presidential campaign, Democratic Party candidate John Kerry made his infamous I-voted-for-it-before-I-voted-against-it flip-flop. It wasn’t really a flip-flop, however. Instead, it was a rational argument made in an awkward and unconvincing way (speaking of awkward, check out this very short video of Kerry making this gaffe and tell me what that guy in the second row wearing the brown uniform is doing with his hands). Let’s see if I can live up to the Kerry standard (of awkward and unconvincing).
My goal for this Karma Sense Eating Plan is to use a 16 hour per day fasting technique to see if it works with two similar but drastically different outcomes. The first outcome is to improve my body composition using a body builder’s protocol for adding muscle. The second is to see if it is a good weight loss technique. While building muscle and losing weight are not mutually exclusive, they’re difficult to achieve at the same time. Doing both simultaneously requires close attention to calorie intake, macronutrient allocation and exercise. When male movie stars show up totally ripped in blockbuster films, it’s usually because they adopt an intense feeding and workout routine for several months before filming their popping-six-pack-and-pec scenes.
People who just want to lose weight often fail when the process includes calorie counting. I know from experience that 22-32 hour fasts once or twice a week can help people lose weight without every having to count calories. Unfortunately, long intermittent fasts of a full day or more aren’t advisable for everyone, especially women. But, losing weight depends solely on consuming fewer calories than you burn (see this Facebook post to learn about why the calorie is broken but still remains our best hope for managing weight). There are many different ways to work that equation. The trick it to find the one that’s natural for you. Skipping breakfast and delaying lunch by an hour (i.e. a 16 hour fast) may be all it takes. We’ll find out if that’s true for me over the course of the next few weeks.
So, ladies and gentleman of the jury, I submit to you that this change is not a flip-flop. If you review the series of posts on this subject, you see that I always acknowledged the difficulty of the muscle-building goal given my age (I’m old) and other factors. In this next section, I discuss some of those factors.
First of all, even though I’m no longer focusing on the muscle building goal, it is working. It’s just too slow. If I extrapolate my progress to date, we’ll be deep into 2017 before I reach my goal. I’ll have missed any opportunity to play the part of Wolverine in the next of the X-Men movie, X-Men – Attack of the Lower Back Pain.
There are a bunch of things I can do to accelerate the pace. They include:
- Actual Adherence to my Protein Goal. My target for this plan was 1.25 grams per pound of my weight. I never consistently reached that level. Protein is very filling. It’s one of the things that makes it so great at weight loss. I just felt too full all the time.
- Amp up the exercise. For an office jockey, I already spend a significant amount of my free time being active and my workouts are usually focused and difficult. I really don’t have any more time to spend in the gym.
- Tweaking other aspects of my diet. Before starting this plan, my carbohydrate intake was much lower. I started eating more carbs to make sure I had enough energy to exercise. I probably could cut my carbs back to my pre-plan level and that may give me more stomach space for protein.
- Nuts. I love them. I eat a lot of them. They’re an okay source of protein but they pack a caloric punch. If I cut back on them I could also open up some room for more concentrated sources of protein, but…
- I just don’t want to eat any more chicken, eggs, or protein shakes.
In a nutshell (see what I did there?), I am not ready to make the kinds of changes necessary to become more chiseled. I’m convinced this is a path for someone who is ready to make those changes, but I’m not that person. If I reflect back to my vision and values, being ripped isn’t really aligned with that. Therefore, it’s time to move on to the next part of my goal, losing some weight.
How I Plan to Drop Some Pounds
I’m cutting calories by fasting 16 hours a day and eating how I always eat during the remaining 8 hours. In the previous plan, the one I just said I’m going to abandon, I still tried to fit in a whole day’s worth of food in the 8-hour window. In the new plan, I eat what I’d normally eat in the afternoon and evening. Here’s how I expect things to play out compared to my original plan.
|Habit||Original Plan||New Plan|
|16 Hour Fast||This was easy for me to follow.||Continue.|
|Total Calorie Goal Met||This was not easy to do without consuming junk.||Don’t worry about calories|
|Protein Goal Met||I almost never reached this. I would do better by reducing other macronutrients||Don’t worry about it. My natural diet is sufficiently high in protein.|
|Carbohydrate Goal Met||This was easy to do but the goal was higher than my “normal” diet.||I had no problem with flagging energy so the additional carbs don’t seem necessary. Revert to my previous habit of getting most carbs from vegetables and beans (and the occasional Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby).|
|Fat Goal Met||This was easy to do but mostly because of my high intake of nuts.||Don’t worry about it but reducing my nut intake would accelerate weight loss with no downside on my diet.|
|Alcohol Limit Met||This amounted to abstaining from drinking 2-3 nights per week. It meant I drank less than I usually did before adopting this plan.||Continue with this habit. There is no physical downside to reducing my intake. But, theoretically, I ought to be able to revert to my previous level and still meet my goal.|
|Take BCAAs||These seemed to help my energy level for fasted workouts but I still think they’re just a placebo.||Continue.|
|Heavy Exercise Prior to First Meal.||This is done primarily to drive fat burning.||Continue.|
|Light Exercise Prior to First Meal.||This is done primarily to drive fat burning.||Continue.|
The next time we check in, I’ll be several weeks into this and we’ll see how it’s going. Until then…
Help Me Select This Blog’s Next Topic
If you’ve been around this blog for awhile or if you’ve read an advanced copy of The Karma Sense Eating Plan, you know that I like to take the guess work out of my life (it’s a nice way of saying that I can be a bit rigid and structured). This blog talked about that aspect of my personality in this series of posts. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I determine the content of the blog based on a sequence I consistently followed for the past few months. That sequence is:
- Health Topic
- Book Update
- Update on My Karma Sense Eating Plan
- Go Back to #1
which means, it’s time for me to post on another health topic. I have a number of ideas of my own but welcome your input. If you want to help me decide what to post on next, just complete the poll below.