Losing 43lbs in 144 days on the ex150 diet
Running a series of experiments to arrive at a "magical" fat loss diet
I went from 292lbs to 249lbs in under 5 months
That’s about 10lbs/month of fat loss, or 0.3lb/day
Despite 25 days (or 17%) off my diet since starting it
Diet is effortless with no cravings, no willpower, no working out
The ex150 diet is the result of running many fat loss experiments
Obese for 20 years, I ended up at 301lbs
I’ve pretty much always been overweight and have tried diets/exercise/other interventions ever since I was a teen. The most extreme ones might’ve been strict fruitarianism (only fruits, though I didn’t make it long) after vegetarianism and veganism in my twenties, and carnivore on the other end of the spectrum, as well as water fasting for 5 days and “coffee fasting” for 7-10. Oh yea, a year of very intense CrossFit 4x per week didn’t budge my weight either.
For the last 7 years I’ve been on a (dirty/reddit-style) ketogenic diet, starting in late 2015. Originally, I lost over 100lbs after starting keto while living abroad. But when I got back to the U.S. I ballooned back up, hovering around 250-300lbs most of the time, no matter how strict I was on my ketogenic diet. I peaked at 301.4lbs last year, which put me just barely into the “morbidly obese” (40+ BMI) category at 6’1. (Interestingly, my blood glucose and HDL/triglycerides plus a coronary calcium scan were great despite being massively obese. Thanks keto!)
Engineering my perfect diet incrementally
Running small, informal n=1 experiments on myself for years, I got really inspired last year when reading Slime Mold Time Mold, a blog exploring various possible reasons behind the obesity epidemic.
I’ve always been somewhat optimistic about fat loss compared to most people I know. I had experienced losing ~100lbs without any effort, never feeling hungry or working out much. So I knew it was possible - I just didn’t know how I’d done it. (Or rather, I thought I knew at the time, the ketogenic diet - but it turned out that wasn’t enough, or maybe not the reason at all.)
After reading Slime Mold Time Mold, and possibly being the very last person in the world to read Taleb’s The Black Swan, I decided that I should become more serious about these experiments.
Now, with a long series of experiments under my belt, I think I’ve found a winning formula. My current diet really feels like a “magic switch” that just causes the fat to melt off. I’ve never lost fat this rapidly, over such a long time period, without any willpower or struggle at all.
To emphasize: the real point is the meta-framework of experiments. Formulate a hypothesis, design a 30-day experiment, test it. I’ve probably done dozens of these over the years.
Here are some examples from the last few years:
30 days of cold showers
90 days of no online news (I thought stress might contribute)
90 days of the carnivore diet
30 days of eating only at In’n’out burger
Doing Starting Strength, a beginner’s powerlifting program
Doing Simple & Sinister, a kettlebell training program
30 days of a low-fiber diet
30 days of a low-protein diet
30 days of a potato diet
30 days of drinking only distilled water (including for coffee)
Eating only pemmican, a raw meat paste invented by Native Americans
Some of these failed in the sense that I could not complete 30 days (e.g. pemmican, which was just so unpalatable that I couldn’t get enough of it down to meet energy expenditure). Others failed in that I didn’t lose any weight at all (distilled water, cold showers, potato diet) or even gained a lot of fat (Starting Strength).
But, as Edison allegedly said, I learned what doesn’t work every time.
Experiment continuously, eliminating one false hypothesis after another.
Eventually, you will arrive at your perfect diet.
One of the most interesting ones was the low-protein experiment. I’d originally done it to see what it was about the carnivore diet that would kick me out of ketosis - eating no fiber, or eating too much protein. I ran two experiments of 30 days each, one testing very-low-protein carnivore, and one testing carnivore with a minimal amount of fiber.
These showed me that the protein was not the reason, it was the fiber. Even a very minimal amount of fiber would allow me to stay in ketosis. Specifically, I would eat 1 protein-style double-double burger from In’n'out per day as my only source of fiber. It contains some lettuce and a tomato slice. The In’n’out website lists it as having 3g of fiber. This was enough to keep me in ketosis.
And yes, I do believe the carnivore diet (if done 100% with zero fiber) is not ketogenic. My theory is that gut bacteria involved in the production of ketones die off after 6-7 days of eating zero fiber, but I haven’t explored it further. I originally got the idea after reading a study where people fell out of ketosis after taking antibiotics.
A lot of people say they’re in deep ketosis on a zero-fiber carnivore diet. I admit that I didn’t actually test my ketones when I thought I’d fallen out of ketosis, I went by symptoms. Eating keto puts my Non24 into remission. Eating carbs makes it come back. Carnivore also made it come back, so I assumed I was out of ketosis. But it might’ve been some other factor. I will have to use a ketone meter next time I try this.
What piqued my interest though was that the super-low-protein carnivore diet, while it still kicked me out of ketosis, made me rapidly lose weight, about 10lbs in the 12 days until I ended the experiment early (because I was out of ketosis already, proving the hypothesis).
This spawned the idea for my current diet. What if the insulin hypothesis is correct, but carbohydrate is not the only insulinogenic macronutrient? I kind of knew that protein could be very insulinogenic, but I had never considered a low-protein diet for fat loss. Everyone knows protein is the best macro, right? Even most people on keto argue for more protein, not less, especially when it comes to fat loss.
Losing 43lbs (and counting): the ex150 diet
I call my current diet ex150. The “ex” stands for “experiment” and the “150” stands for 150 grams (of meat).
Here’s the entire diet:
Eat 1 meal of ~150g meat + green vegetables (~60g) + pasta sauce (~80g) every day
Eat whipped cream and butter ad libitum, i.e. as much as you feel like eating
If this immediately throws up a lot of questions for you, don’t worry, I’m putting an FAQ at the end of this post. I might already have addressed your questions there. If not, feel free to hit me up.
The idea was that I would modify my previous attempt at a very-low-protein diet but add some fiber to stay in ketosis, and to enhance flavor and palatability. This meal clocks in at around 20-30g of protein per day depending on the type of meat. I’ve mostly used ground beef chuck (80% lean/20% fat) and sometimes ribeye steak. The steak kind of sucks because you have to cut it into tiny pieces, and so you’re basically eating 6 bites of steak and go “why am I paying ribeye prices for this?”
I’ve been eating basically the same meal for the majority of the last 5 months and I still love it every single day. It’s a pretty small portion, after cooking out the water the entire meal is usually in the 150-170g range. This is because meat, vegetables, and sauce are mostly water. But I got used to the small portion size after a week or so, and the ad libitum calories from pure fat make more than up for it in terms of actual, biochemical hunger/energy requirements.
Sometimes I have to force myself to eat enough fat, because pure cream isn’t very palatable, even when adding instant coffee powder for flavor. It helps if I eat a few spoons of tomato sauce. I think the acidity helps disolve the fat taste that eventually covers my entire mouth, allowing me to eat more.
How do you determine how much cream/butter to eat on an ad libitum diet? Trial and error. I usually make whipped cream from about 200ml of heavy cream, adding 1-2 packets of instant coffee powder. Sometimes I chill it in the freezer for 20 minutes, which makes the texture more ice cream-like. It makes a nice, full dessert bowl. Some days I can’t even finish the bowl and I keep it in the fridge overnight and finish it the next day. Technically this diet isn’t OMAD (One Meal A Day) or any other time restrictions, but in practice I mostly end up doing 16:8 plus a ton of heavy cream in my many morning coffees (I can quit any time).
Since this is an ad libitum fat diet, I make liberal use of butter for cooking (usually about 15g to cook the meat + vegetables) and heavy cream in my coffees. I go through a lot of cartons of heavy cream, maybe one every 2-4 days.
Why 150 grams of meat? I’ll admit the number is kind of arbitrary. It seemed like a pretty small amount, and it is if this is your only solid meal of the day. Maybe 130g works better, or 160g. Trial and error.
I didn’t actually weigh the meat in the beginning, or any of the ingredients. I just bought the 1lb package of ground beef and cut it into thirds. That’s about 150g. Note that due to this, the 150g is wet weight. If you leave your meat out in the fridge for a few days, it’ll lose a bunch of weight as it dehydrates. After 3 days, my 1/3 cuts often weigh only 120g or so. Again, I’m not sure the number needs to be that exact.
For the vegetables, I initially added a small handful of microwaved frozen vegetables (okra, spinach, green beans, fajita mix) to the ground beef. I mostly went with what seemed like a good fit in terms of taste and texture. Eating 1lb of vegetables with 1/3lb of meat would be weird. Later I weighed it, and the vegetables tend to be around 60g or so. Again, I don’t think the exact number matters much. Sauce ends up being 80-100g, I’ve seen 120g on the scale. Doesn’t matter much either as long as the sauce is low-everything and mostly water (e.g. most store brand tomato/alfredo pasta sauce).
Losing 10lbs/month, visualized
As you can see, I started ex150 very soon after completing the 30 days of distilled water experiment. As you can also see, that experiment did nothing to my weight and I kept hovering between 285-290lbs the entire time. (If you’re wondering what the idea behind distilled water was, the hypothesis was that regular tap/mineral water is contaminated with enough lithium to affect fat regulation in the body.)
You can see the beginning/end markers for various experiments, and a few small ones. CSalad and CBBQ are cheat days where I went off the diet for one meal for social reasons. You can see they cause little blips (salad) and big blips (BBQ). I wouldn’t cheat with a salad again, it wasn’t very tasty. I might for BBQ, as I’m a huge BBQ fiend. Takes forever to get back on track though, lol.
On the Pemmican stretch I only ate Pemmican (+ 1 piece of dark chocolate per day for fiber to stay in ketosis). It’s still a very similar macro count to ex150, so I’m counting it as an ex150 mod. Call it ex150pemmican.
The experiments are numbered ex150-1 through ex150-4, but they’re really the same diet over and over.
You’ll note how rapidly my weight dropped after I first began the diet, about 1lb/day. Also note how rapidly I regain weight when going off the diet. A lot of the first move in either direction is water weight, I think. I couldn’t possibly have gained 5lbs of fat after 1 meal of BBQ. The entire meal wasn’t even 5lbs. But BBQ is very salty and I ate a lot of coleslaw, which is high in fiber. Both salt and fiber cause a lot of water retention. Conversely, ex150 is extremely low in fiber. So every time I get off it, I gain 5-10lbs within 2-3 days. And that immediately evaporates in 3-5 days after I go back on the diet. So you should probably discount the very first, huge spike in either direction for up to 5 days.
Late last year, I actually went off ex150 for 14 days in a row. This was to prove to myself that it wasn’t some other random factor in the environment causing the fat loss. If I went off the diet but kept losing weight, the fat loss might be caused by something else. As you can see, not only did my weight quickly bounce back up dramatically, after I went back on (with Pemmican, this time) it settled about 3-5lbs above where I had left off, meaning I probably gained about 3-5lbs of actual fat in the 14-day period on top of all the water retention changes. A little lame to “waste” so much time, but I’m still glad I did the experiment to verify ex150 is actually the effective factor in my fat loss. Interestingly, it also proved that I didn’t actually miss eating “regular” keto foods or amounts that much. After the initial high of eating a ton of food again wore off, it was mostly boring and I felt bloated. Probably from all the high-fiber keto bars.
If we run the numbers, an average of -0.3lb/day implies a deficit of ~1,150kcal/day (1lb of body fat has ~3,500kcal). Yes, 25 of those days weren’t spent on the diet, but there’s also a big initial water weight component, and this is all kind of handwavy math, so let’s just go with it.
The main ex150 meal contains ~600kcal, and 200ml of heavy cream contain ~675kcal. Copious amounts of heavy cream in coffee and lattes (oh yea, I still go to Starbucks) add some more calories. Maybe my total daily intake is around 1,500-2,000kcal. This would add up to daily energy expenditure of ((1,500-2,000) + 1,150) or 2,650-3,150kcal/day. That seems somewhat reasonable for a 6’1 guy, almost 40, at best moderately active, schlepping around 250-300lbs.
I actually measured the amount of heavy cream I add to my coffee, and it’s about 60g (~2oz). That’s about 200kcal per coffee. My records indicate I drink an average of 4-5 cups of coffee per day (incidentally, I can quit any time). That means my average caloric intake will be on the upper end of my estimated scale or even above, if we assume 5 * 200kcal just from coffee cream. My total daily intake would thus be ~2,000-2,200kcal, and expenditure when adding the deficit is an estimated ~3,150-3,350kcal/day.
This is not a low-calorie diet. I believe this is one of the reasons it works.
Why does ex150 cause fat loss?
Short answer: I don’t know, exactly.
Long answer: I have different hypotheses, and I might not have the right one at all. One reason I decided to call the diet “ex150” and not “low-protein keto” is that I don’t actually know if the amount of protein, or the fact that this diet is ketogenic in nature, actually matter for the fat loss. I decided to treat the diet as a black box and just name it for what’s in the meal, the 150g of meat being the most defining factor.
Update 2/26/2023: I have created a page dedicated to my hypotheses for why ex150 causes fat loss. I will continue to update it.
My hypotheses for why ex150 works:
Extended insulin hypothesis: the diet is extremely non-insulinogenic due to restricting protein to a minimum (20-25g/day) and carbohydrate almost entirely (except for some sugar in the tomato sauce or whatever’s in the vegetables). I.e., protein + carbs => insulin => fat gain. This was my original idea when designing the diet, and it is my main hypothesis. Shoutout to Gary Taubes for promoting the insulin hypothesis and making me aware of it, and getting me into low-carb all those years ago.
Palatability/brain hack: there is a lot of science out there around the brain’s ways of dealing with food, food reward, and metabolism. Stephan Guyenet’s The Hungry Brain is maybe the best summary, I think. I’ll admit I haven’t read the book, but I listened to a few podcasts where he talks about the ideas, and I think the ex150 diet fits his hypothesis. The idea is that hyper-palatable food that is very energy-rich causes us to overeat in terms of energy. The ex150 diet has 1 hyper-palatable meal every day, but it is very small. The remaining calories come from a bland mono-food that’s hard to overeat (heavy cream). Maybe this tricks the brain into not overeating the cream, yet never feeling more than 24h away from a hyper-palatable meal to release lots of dopamine or other happy food reward signals? I think that even if this might not be the main causal factor, it sure helps make the diet sustainable. I’m never more than 24h away from the most delicious meal I could imagine, and I can eat unrestricted amounts of “dessert” (=whipped cream w/ instant coffee powder). I did the potato diet for 30 days and I HATED how bland it was. Same for the pemmican. Maybe there’s a sweet spot for palatability/blandness of food and this diet happens to hit it.
Minimizing contamination of some unknown (lithium?) factor: maybe X disturbs the fat regulation mechanisms of the body, and maybe X is concentrated in meat for some reason. Or in vegetables, technically. I guess it’s not in heavy cream because I’m eating a lot of that.
Something else: Science is frickin’ hard. Could be anything.
Update 2/21/2023: Saturated fat/unsaturated fat ratio. This hypothesis comes from Fire in a Bottle and Hyperlipid. The theory is that too high a ratio (or threshold amount?) of unsaturated fatty acids (mostly poly- or PUFA, but also mono-/MUFA to a lower degree) reduce your cells’ ability to signal satiety and therefore insulin sensitivity. I honestly don’t understand much of the biochemistry there, but the hypothesis does match my experiment and experience.
My favorite part of this hypothesis is that it explains the hit-you-like-a-sack-of-bricks satiety I feel when eating pure saturated fat (e.g. butter or heavy cream). It goes from “Mmm, delicious!” to “Ugh, cannot eat another bite to save my life” in literally seconds. Is this what satiety is like for normal people?
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Obviously, I’m hoping that the rapid fat loss will continue. I expect it to plateau out around 200lbs or so, which would put me just over the border of normal weight/overweight. I’d need to get to 188lbs for that. But hey, 200lbs would make me very happy.
In the meantime, I’m planning to do some modifications to the ex150 diet. Both to try and figure out what exactly is working about it, and where it’s unnecessarily strict.
For example, could you make the diet work eating only at common fast food restaurants? Using only prepared deli meats? What about cheese? Is it really just about the amount of protein, or does it matter what kind of protein? Eggs?
Does the diet even need to be ketogenic? What happens when you reach a healthy weight, can you back off the diet? Do you cycle it? Is there a maintenance version?
If ex150 continues to work, it’d be great to make it as widely palatable and feasible as possible. I don’t expect everybody to go full ketogenic and eat heavy cream. There has to be an efficient frontier for fat loss, and I’m hoping to run more experiments to poke at it.
Does that sound interesting?
Q: Is it the best feeling in the world to have to order a normal-sized-person belt because your plus-size belt doesn’t fit any more?
A: Absolutely, glad you asked.
Q: This diet seems pretty extreme.
A: Extreme problems sometimes require extreme solutions. Being morbidly obese certainly felt extreme and I wasn’t very happy with it. I’m happy to use extreme solutions if the less extreme ones don’t seem to work.
I’m also not saying everybody should do the ex150 diet. But do experiment, making systematic progress toward finding the diet perfect for you. It’ll take some trial & error, but I’m confident it’s possible.
Q: Is ex150 for everybody?
A: Probably not.
If you already like/do well on keto but aren't losing (much) weight, ex150 is likely a good fit. You might be eating so much protein that it spikes a lot of insulin, thereby preventing you from losing fat. I suggest you try ex150.
If you already hate keto, you’re probably not going to love this. It’s just tiny keto food plus lots of cream and butter. You could still try if it works. I might do a diet that’s not super fun if it produced 0.3lb/day fat loss over months. Instead, you could also just adopt the meta-framework of running experiments and eliminating hypotheses. If you’re obese like me, there’s SOMETHING causing it. It’s hard to fix something if you don’t know the cause. You might find the cause and still be unable to fix it - but now at least you know.
Maybe your process of experimentation will lead you to to a completely different diet, say ex101 or ex280 or ex-vegan or ex-whale-oil. Don’t stop looking.
Experimenting is for everyone.
Q: Why don’t you cut out the whipped cream for an even bigger deficit?
A: Because “bigger deficit” eventually makes the diet unsustainable. If it was just about the size of the deficit, we could all just water fast our way to a six pack. Clearly that’s not how it works. Eating a ton of calories as pure fat is a vital part of the ex150 diet. As I said above, it’s easy to undereat the cream some days, and I have to remind myself to do it when I’ve skimped a few days in a row.
Q: What about all those bodybuilders/fitness models that lose fat in completely different ways?
A: “Bodybuilder fat loss” at already-low body fat levels is probably very different from obesity fat loss. I believe that, in order to get really obese (remember, I hit the “morbidly” modifier briefly at 301lbs) something has to be really dysfunctional in your fat regulation system, even if we’re not exactly sure what it is.
So the “only thing” (lol) we need to do as obese people is find the magic button that will fix our fat regulatory system, and then the pounds will just start melting off while we feel fine and energetic the whole time.
My understanding is that this is not what it’s like for bodybuilders and other thin people. Once the body is at a healthy weight (say <20% body fat for men or <30% for women) there is no “magic switch” as far as I’m told. I’ll admit I’ve never been at such low body fat levels and haven’t tried any of the bodybuilding techniques, but it makes intuitive sense to me. As obese people trying to get to a healthy fat level, all we have to do (sounds so easy doesn’t it?) is fix something broken. Bodybuilders and fitness models are trying to reach fat levels that are below normal and below healthy, so they have to resort to very different measures.
In short, ex150 and my focus in general is to get from 300lbs to 200lbs or a bit lower. Not on going from 15% to 8% body fat. If I never make it past 200lbs and never get a six pack, it’ll still be totally worth it to me. Maybe some of the ideas in this framework will still be helpful to get into six pack shape, but I wouldn’t know about it.
Q: This is just keto.
A: Yes, I’ve been doing keto for the last 7 years. Initially I lost ~100lbs, but I now attribute that to not just keto, although I think keto helped. I think it was because I was living abroad for 2 years, where keto meant eating very small portions of meat. As soon as I moved back to the U.S., I quickly gained all the weight back while still eating keto.
In a nutshell, this is not JUST keto. Although I am currently in ketosis (typically 1.7-2.7mmol/l), I’m not sure that ketosis is technically necessary for fat loss. It depends on what the actual mechanism is, of course. If the insulin hypothesis is correct, then “fat loss diets” overlap with “ketogenic diets” insofar as ketogenic diets cut out a lot of carbohydrate, and carbohydrate is insulinogenic. It is somewhat more of a debate as to how much protein you can eat on a ketogenic diet.
The original, medical ketogenic diet for epilepsy is extremely low in protein, prescribing a 4:1 ratio of fat:protein+carbs BY WEIGHT. Given that fat contains more than double the calories than protein or carbs per weight, this diet is infamously unpalatable.
For comparison, my ex150 with ad libitum whipped cream and butter is not as skewed toward fat and away from protein as the original ketogenic diet is. Even pure heavy cream just barely meets the bar of that diet at ~85% fat by weight instead of the required 80% (4:1 is 80% fat/20% protein+carbs). They were basically feeding these kids boluses of coconut fat, lol.
But it seems that most people who do a ketogenic diet for non-epilepsy reasons get a majority of the benefits even when eating very high levels of protein. So in a sense, it depends on what you mean by “ketogenic” and what your goals are. Most people probably don’t require any of the medical benefits of the ketogenic diet because they don’t have epilepsy or similar conditions. So if you’re just after keto for the appetite control, the calm of mind, or maybe to improve your sleep a bit, you can probably eat as much protein as you want. It just might not be compatible with fat loss, if my hypothesis is correct. If you like keto but are still obese on it, I recommend dialing back the protein.
Q: Reeeeee CICO
A: You’re not wrong. But you’re not even wrong. “Losing fat with CICO” is a tautology. Yes, the calories went out of your body fat storage and clearly for that to happen you had to take in less than you burned.
In my opinion, CICO is simply answering the wrong question. When somebody asks you “How do I lose weight?” then CICO is not the answer just like “Come in first” is not the answer to “How do I win a race?” Yes, it’s true by definition, but the person asking was probably looking for some actionable advice.
As such, I find CICO to be a boring distraction from useful information. Sue me.
Q: Won't you lose a ton of muscle running such a huge deficit while eating so little protein?
A: Maybe, but if so, it’s worth it to me. Ask any 300lbs person how great it is to walk around at 300lbs and if they’d be willing to give up a bit of muscle to lose that fat.
In addition, many studies actually suggest that since obese people have a lot of energy stored as fat, they won't lose much muscle during dramatic fat loss. This is not true for the aforementioned bodybuilders and fitness models, which is why they can’t simply find a “magic button” to hit. When they run too high a deficit, they will lose hard-earned muscle.
As obese people, we have the luxury of running huge deficits fueled mostly by our body fat reserves. If we can find the “switch” to tap those reserves.
Q: Why did you go off the diet if it was working?
A: The short answer is, to validate the hypothesis. I’d lost over 100lbs before and thought I knew how fat loss worked. Then I gained it all back. It sucks to be wrong like that, so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t some other effect in the environment, like the colder temperatures.
By breaking the diet intentionally for 2 weeks, I think I did a solid job of showing that the fat loss is probably caused by the ex150 diet.
The worst case is I reach a healthy weight a month later. 14 days off the diet, and then about another 15 days or so to get back to where I was when I left off. The best case is I disprove an illusion and save myself another disappointment.
In short, it’s a bit of long-term over short-term thinking.
Q: You're just going for walks now.
A: No, fat loss started 2 months before that and the rate hasn't changed. But yes, I feel so energetic many days on this diet that I started spontaneously wanting to go outside and take long walks. One time I even fell into a light jog! In my experience this is a result of effective fat loss, having “unlocked” the key to utilizing my body fat, not the cause of fat loss. 1,150kcal/day (0.3lb of body fat) would be a long walk to take every day.
Q: Why did you stay on keto for 7 years if it wasn't working?
A: It happened to fix an unrelated medical condition with my sleep, improving my quality of life tremendously. Even if I gained all the weight back, it was still 100% worth it to stay on keto just for the sleep. This obviously doesn’t apply to the vast majority of people. If you don’t have an obscure medical condition, and you don’t feel better on keto, there’s no reason for you to be in ketosis per se. Though cutting out most carbs might help you lose fat if they were the cause of your fat gain to begin with.
Q: Why don’t you exercise?
A: In terms of fat loss, it has never helped me in the past. Lifting heavy made me gain a ton of fat (maybe by increasing appetite?). CrossFit did very little if anything over a very intense (4x/wk) year. Running just makes me hungrier and hurts my knees. Swimming is fun and you can still do it while fat without hurting your joints, but I didn’t lose any weight. I would like to get back into some lifting or maybe sports once I’m at a more healthy weight, say 220lbs. I think being obese makes a lot of exercise not very fun/feasible.
Q: Do you have any loose skin?
A: No, none so far. I also didn’t have any excess/loose skin the last time I lost 100lbs+, although then I was early 30s instead of late 30s, so quite a bit younger. Not sure if it’s the age, genetics, luck, how you lose the weight..
Q: You drink a ton of coffee. Is it just the stimulant caffeeine causing the fat loss?
A: I drank just as much coffee for years before this, and at one point I drank considerably more. I’m not telling you it’s healthy, but if coffee was causing fat loss I should’ve never gotten obese to begin with.
Q: Some people <insert name> have been recommending low/moderate protein and high fat for years!
A: I was aware of moderate protein/high fat before, both in keto and carnivore. I suppose I either didn’t go “moderate enough” or the effect only really took on “low protein” for me. Or maybe it’s not the protein at all!
In any case I’m not claiming I invented the idea. Props to Amber O’Hearn, Fire in a Bottle, Hyperlipid, and others.
Q: Are you worried about lack of micronutrients? Are you taking supplements?
A: No, and no. I’ve done 90 days of pure carnivore and had zero issues. I even went to the dentist and asked if I had scurvy. He looked at me like I was an idiot and assured me my teeth were perfectly fine.
To my knowledge, whole animal products like meat and dairy are quite high in micronutrients. Many carnivores have only been eating animal products for years or even decades and don’t have micronutrient deficiencies. In addition, the ex150 diet contains 60g of mostly green vegetables every day, so even if there’s something unique to vegetables, I’ll be getting some.
Q: What eating schedule do you follow? Do you do intermittent fasting?
A: I don’t do intermittent fasting on purpose, but I’m not a breakfast person and never have been. I eat the meat + vegetables + sauce meal for lunch every day. Typically I will eat the whipped cream dessert in the evening, between 6pm and 10pm. It’s not that I’m really hungry, but eventually I think “It’s dark, I should get that cream in.” Some days I’m too busy or forget, and then I do feel slightly hungrier and more sensitive to food smells the next day, so I try not to skip it.
Some days I can’t finish the whipped cream because I’m too satiated, and I put it in the fridge and eat it for breakfast/pour it into my coffee the next morning. Often times when I do that, I will then skip the dinner cream and it works out.
That puts me at around a 16:8 or 14:10 interval. Unless you count the (massive amount of) cream in my coffees, which I drink immediately upon waking and try to stop around 3pm so it won’t mess with my sleep. In that sense I don’t do any IF at all, although I do think pure fat intake works differently and you still have some of the effects of IF, e.g. no blood glucose/insulin spikes. For the sake of that, I’d be doing OMAD/23:1 since I only eat one non-almost-exclusively-fat meal per day.
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On the sustainability factor. I took the liberty to 'run' your numbers ( male, 38, 245) and the CDC has a range of 87-307g protein/day and the ADA came in at 89 to 111g/day. I realize that there can be some grace given if obese- probably a fair amount of structure is being eliminated and can be recycled for protein use? But I'd still worry that you will hit a wall where the steak YouTubes start flooding in. I guess you can always up the protein a bit at that point and see what happens.
Very interesting story, will certainly follow your updates. I've discovered keto and carnivore a year ago, thought it was the end of all my issues, I leaned out a lot (close to six-pack) but I simply couldn't sustain it for more than a month or two. I either become lethargic and/or grumpy or I 'fall off the wagon' and binge on for example chocolate or french fries. At least for now I'm staying away from alcohol and processed foods as much as possible, which helps to prevent gaining much if any weight. However I find it hard to keep things stable let alone lean out more again. Lots of butter seems to help (also inspired by Hyperlipid/FireInABottle), not too much protein, but also a bit (50ish daily grams) of carbs from plain starches or not too calorie dense fruit (berries and such). I notice it does increase my hunger a bit, but on the other hand decreases the risk of binging.