Surviving primarily on Protein Mixes for 2 weeks will get old pretty quick, so I played around in the kitchen today developing a soup I can eat as a substitute for one of my meals/snacks during the VLCD. Utilizing small amounts of vegetables I sourced in the refrigerator, I basically created an ultra-low calorie broth to vary my diet. I let it come to a boil and then simmer for about an hour to extract every bit of flavor I could out of the meager ingredients, which isn’t saying much.
- 1 large pot of water
- 1 tsp whole black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp tandoori masala
- 1 cup shredded red beets
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 medium celery
- 1 small onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 small bell pepper
- 1 handful of fresh celery leaf
- 5 fresh chopped chive
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
Very Low Caloric Diet (VLCD)
The first step in my fitness plan is to begin with 2-2.5 weeks on a Very Low Caloric Diet (VLCD). A VLCD is defined medically as a diet of 800 calories per day or less and is primarily for severely or morbidly obese individuals who must lose or wish to lose large amounts of weight as rapidly as possible in a safe manner.
While I am in no way considered morbidly obese with a 19-20% body fat percentage at 176lbs (I don’t even fall into the overweight range), I’d like to get down into a leaner range of 10-12% BF at a heavier 190-200lbs. Aesthetically, I feel this would be ideal for someone of my height 5’11”, and any heavier wouldn’t look good in suits or other professional attire. Of course this is all speculation, as each person looks different, and I’ll play it by ear as the fitness plan progresses.
The average weight loss on the VLCD program is in the range of 3 to 5 pounds per week, and I’m hoping to stay on the higher end of that range by modifying it slightly with supplements and small workout sessions. Consuming 1,000 calories per day or less has the same effect physiologically as total starvation. I intend to consume roughly 866 kcal a day of high protein/low fat/no carbs, so by strict definition won’t be engaging in a VLCD, however by all practical means it’s the same.
Whatever caloric intake I have will be quickly mobilized for maintenance and important body functions, while whatever else that’s required will be taken from my body’s fat stores as I’ll begin to exploit fat through a process known as ketosis. When the body’s cells can’t find the necessary sugars to keep working, they utilize a different pathway to produce ATP (energy) that breaks down triglycerides into usable components. This is the basis of diets like the Atkins or South Beach diets. However, those diets are flawed in that caloric intake is the major factor in adipose development, and thus by limiting calories to 1000 or less while keeping fats low and altogether eliminating carbs, the VLCD is a sure way of shedding existing body fat.
One of the most difficult things with any diet, and what plagued diets like Dr. Atkins’, is cheating. It’s very difficult to stick to a diet, especially one that forbids entire food categories like carbohydrates. This will likewise be a struggle for a VLCD, however I intend to accomplish this through strict scheduled meals and my body’s own starvation programming. This hard-wired coping mechanism usually kicks in after four to five days, and the appetite will diminish and in most cases completely cease.
These initial four or five days may be the most difficult until the appetite suppression kicks in, and willpower is crucial. I look to combat this through supplementation and a diet comprised of proteins and plenty of water which acts upon the gastric stretch receptors to trigger the brain into thinking it’s full. The water will also have the additional benefit of keeping the kidneys working properly over this initial starvation phase which will only last 12-15 days before I begin to slowly introduce more calories and heavier workouts into my routine until I move into the anabolic phase where caloric intake will be above 3300kcal and consist of proteins, minimal simple lipids, and complex carbohydrates.
Mikey Morphin Power Ranger
Oftentimes, responsibilities have a way of consuming our lives to the point that our health and appearance become neglected altogether. This neglect has a way of creeping up on us as we miss a few workouts a week until you reach a point like me, where you haven’t touched a weight in 7 months or even physically moved for longer than 5 minutes at a time. Of course you don’t realize the change is occurring until some event provides that necessary slap in the face to notice that your muscles have atrophied to a fraction of their former glory and you’re now covered in a soft layer of flub. For me, this realization was my upcoming wedding; five months away to be exact. With limited time and an even more limited budget, I needed to devise a workout plan to correct this by wedding day.
While each individual has different motivations and fitness goals, there are common themes that most people will agree upon - Body-fat is a bad thing, and lean muscular physiques epitomize health. While ratios differ for individuals based on height, frame, all the way down to the intricacies of body hormones, I set to design a universal diet/exercise regimen based on things I’ve researched in both my medical education and interest in nutrition and fitness.
Thank you for joining me on a fitness journey.
DISCLAIMER: The ideas and opinions expressed here are strictly personal and intended for my individual case, so use at your own risk. As with any diet/training plan consult a health professional with absolute honesty before attempting.