August 1st, time for the second weigh-in. Spoiler: I didn't lose any weight. But I don't even feel bad about it. Here's why.
So, the first thing you need to know is that this month was a lot different from the last month in a number of different ways.
First of all, I didn't weigh and count everything I ate this month. I figured that, realistically, weighing everything I eat is not something I'm going to do every day for years. And seeing that I'm focused on building healthy habits, I wanted to move away from the counting and test if I could still be okay eating completely intuitively.
Another big difference is that I started eating fattier cuts. 🍳 🥩
I found out from reading this article on protein by Kevin Stock that although protein is indeed the most satiating macronutrient, that's only true until a certain point. As soon as you have gotten enough protein for the day, more protein is not (much) more satiating than other nutrients.
In this light, it makes sense in hindsight that I was eating so much protein in the first month. I was eating such lean cuts of meat (chicken breast etc), that I would really end up eating a ton of protein before feeling satiated.
I'm not exaggerating, I averaged 270 grams of protein per day and a 3:1 P:E ratio over the month of June.
This was a little ridiculous, in hindsight. Even Ted Naiman himself only recommends 2:1 for aggressive fat loss. It now also makes more sense why Naiman recommends eating protein first and then backloading with energy.
Protein is really important, but it's not the only thing.
What I know for sure is that I felt a lot better this month, after incorporating more eggs and red meat in my diet–likely because of the saturated fat.
But, seeing that I didn't count my ratio this month, I might have swung a little far in the other direction again, I'm not sure.
Overall though, I stayed the course. I stuck to the systems for success I set up for myself, which I count as a big win in and of itself.
These were my measurements this morning:
Lost 0 lbs (0 kg) ⚖️
Lost .75 in (1.9 cm) 📏
I'm not going to lie, it was pretty disappointing to see that I didn't lose any weight. But then, if I'm honest with myself, I'm not truly unhappy.
Because I know I've been getting healthier. I know I'm making progress.
I'm clearly getting stronger and I can feel that I'm building muscle. I can tell that I look better, and I'm not dreaming because other people are also starting to comment that I look better. My clothes are getting more spacious, etcetera.
And my waist circumference going down is a great indicator that I'm losing fat, even if I'm not losing weight.
Key question 🔑
So I'm trying to decide what to do next. What do I want to change, if anything?
To answer that, I'm getting back to the reality that I started this whole thing with: there is a tradeoff between speed and maintainability in this process.
More extreme measures will yield quicker results, but will be harder to maintain.
Coming to terms with this tradeoff seems to be the common theme in this series of diet chronicles. After all, I set up my systems for success after finally realizing that I need to slow down and focus on the long term.
So then, the key question becomes:
Am I still moving in the right direction?
Will I (eventually) get fit and healthy if I keep doing what I'm doing now?
I think the answer to this question is yes.
And so I should feel free to keep doing what I'm doing, exercise patience and focus on maintaining the good and healthy habits that will get me where I want to go over time.
It may sound like I'm making up excuses here. After all, I didn't lose any weight and that's what I set out to do, right?
Well, not exactly.
The right direction
Hilariously, this makes these guys technically obese, according to BMI.
Yet, Sam and Tom are clearly in the 99th percentile when it comes to human health and fitness. Like a lot of athletes, they're only heavy because they're packing a ton of muscle, not because they're fat.
So, hypothetically, if I were to not lose another gram of bodyweight, but kept losing fat and gaining lean body mass like I have been, I would eventually end up looking like these guys.
Would that be a bad thing?
The plan: play around
What I've settled on is that I want to keep the minimum standards for success low, while at the same time feeling completely free to do more, if I want to.
This approach is completely analogous with what I do for my daily exercise, where I set the bar really low.
I choose reps & weight according to how I feel that particular day, even allowing myself to only do one rep with the empty bar for every exercise, as long as that gets me my non-zero day. ✅
Not only does this flexibility make my workout less intimidating, increasing the likelihood that I'll keep it up, but it also allows my workout to feel like play, because I'm always free to do more.
And I do, all the time, because play is natural.
I want to apply the same principles to my diet.
So I'm hereby granting myself permission to keep doing what I've been doing. I'm free to do more whenever I want–choose higher protein foods, even count my food intake–but it's not going to be a requirement.
Because what I'm doing now is maintainable, and it's working. Even if it's really slow, it will get me where I want to be, eventually. And at the end of the day, that's all I ask.
One single drop in the bucket every day.
Sooner or later it will fill up.