May 2011 – Reduced carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day and reduced protein intake to approximately 120 grams per day, entering a state of nutritional ketosis. Another way to see the implications of these changes on my actual intake is shown in the figure below.
The most externally obvious change that occurred as I ratcheted down my carbohydrate intake was a decrease in body fat.
The other (profoundly simple) “test” I used to track my weight loss was my waist measurement.
Between February 2010 and July 2010 I had a bad bout of swine flu, which left me in pretty rough shape for a while. Pay more attention to fat mass, separately, than overall body weight, and do the same with lean mass.
Most people, especially physically active people, probably experience some seasonal variation in body fat, especially at low levels.
While fat isn't all bad, too much of the wrong types of fat can be detrimental to your health. The following recommendations for low-fat menus are based on the MyPlate suggested 2,000 calories per day.
Stick with grilled sandwiches made from white meat poultry, pile on the veggies, leave off the mayo and cheese, and have fruit or a salad without dressing for a side. The best snacks are raw fruits and veggies, but when you want something more, consider some of the following low-fat snacks.
However, because of the high fat content of nuts and seeds, limit them to an ounce or less per day. Instead of snacking on processed foods that are labeled "low-fat" or "fat-free," stick with whole natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole grains. By making smart choices and planning meals and snacks, you'll be well on your way to low-fat living. Also, make sure you understand the ground rules to lose weight, so that you don't undo any of your good work. As a result, I probably lost more lean mass than I would have liked, or expected to, even transiently. My body fat probably fluctuations between 7 and 10% over the course of year now, often a function of activity type (more than activity level).
This card is sure to make some women laugh as they contemplate their own sagging, or soon to be sagging breasts. My goal was to reduce my waist to 32 inches and I calculated I would need to lose 20 pounds of fat, without losing any muscle mass, to do this.
Lean mass took a big hit initially (although I believe in my case, the prolonged illness didn’t help), but then recovered.
It’s a pretty remarkable test that is now the gold standard for measuring body composition. As silly as this sounds, I recall, back in the spring of 2009 while stuck in an airport, using calculus to integrate the volume of fat I needed to lose from my waist (both visceral – around my organs – and under my skin) to get down to a 32-inch waist. Total body weight is shown on top of each bar, while the blue bar represents lean tissue and the red bar represents fat.
After all, unless you can afford some plastic surgery, there’s not a lot you can do about it. Back when I was in high school we relied on a combination of calipers (in the hands of an experienced user) and something called hydrostatic testing, where you are weighed in and out of water to calculate your percentage of body fat.
It’s actually an easy problem if you can remember how to integrate the volume of an oval “cylinder” and you know the density of fat. Hence, in September 2009, I weighed 195 pounds, of which 156 was lean, 39 was fat, and my body fat (the number below) was 20%. Doing in the “wrong” way can result in equal loss of fat and lean mass (or, worse yet, disproportionate loss of lean mass). Without any loss of lean tissue, I had reduced fat mass to 13 pounds and body fat to under 8%.
Unfortunately I experience this with my own friends and family who still insist on consuming low-fat products, using margarine instead of butter & generally following the mainstream 'dietary advise', even though this has resulted in them gaining more and more weight over the years.
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