Thursday, August 23, 2012

Skipping Meals Puzzle

The idea that all one has to do to lose weight is to eat regular meals and then skip meals occasionally seemed completely rational.  But there was a problem when I tried it:  I wasn't losing more weight.  This was perplexing.  How could that possibly be?

One thing I noticed from a fasting experiment is that it took me 7.5 days to lose 20 pounds.  But I regained all that weight in 6 days eating two meals per day.  It is tempting to think that I was eating enough calories to gain 20 pounds in six days, but that was not the case.  I would have needed to eat 70,000 calories in addition to my base metabolic requirement to gain 20 pounds in 6 days.  That would be about (roughly) 14,000 calories per day!  Since I was only eating twice a day that would mean I was eating 7000 calories per meal.  That is the equivalent of about two POUNDS of butter per meal.


My guess is that I was eating around 2000 calories per meal or 4000 calories per day.  So how could I have gained 20 pounds in 6 days?  That's a great question!  I have no idea.

But one thing is certain:  I didn't gain 20 pounds of fat in 6 days.  It had to be mostly water.  Imagine how difficult it is to go through 7.5 days without eating anything.  The whole time thinking about how much fat was being burned.  Then in only 6 days ALL of that work is gone.  Something tricky is going on here.

We know that eating regular meals keeps the metabolism high enough to keep body fat stable.  It looks like a body (well, my body anyway) has an aversion to losing weight quickly and will go to extreme measures to prevent that by retaining water.  So the trick is to keep the metabolism high enough to burn off fat and prevent that full body edema.  Here is my solution:

1.  Eat regular discrete meals daily (preferably at least three meals per day).

2.  At MOST only skip one meal every other day.  This should (fingers crossed) keep the metabolism high enough to burn a little extra fat without shocking the body.

Does it work?  I'm about to find out.  Follow along with my latest experiment on Jimmy Moore's Livin La Vida Low Carb Forum.