BULLETPROOF DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS
BULLETPROOF DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS â€“ MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE RAPID FAT LOSS PROTOCOL (RFLP)
This article goes like:
- Introduction and background Results
- Notes on my experience
- Bigger picture takeaways
(We decided to give you guys the results up front so we donâ€™t leave you hanging for too long)
Back in April 2012 I was on the tail end of a debaucherous Fiji holiday (which was precluded by a stressful time at work so I hadnâ€™t been taking v. good care of myself in the weeks leading up to it either – it happens from time to time!), being a fairly impatient person I felt like I needed a bit of a jump start to get back into the swing of things.
Enter the Bulletproof Diet â€œRapid Fat Loss Protocolâ€â€¦
Feeling fairly stress free on the tail end of the holiday the idea was to use the RFLP as a way to jumpstart my way back into a healthy physical state. The diet is basically a cyclic ketogenic diet with some systems thinking put into supplementation and food quality to ensure that it isnâ€™t unnecessarily stressful on your body and also to address vitamin/mineral deficiencies that appear when you limit your diet to butter, Bulletproof Coffee and MCT oil. Cyclic ketogenic diets are pretty commonly used by bodybuilders in their cutting phase so I was confident that it would work, but I had never done anything that extreme so I was curious to see how I would respond.
I was pretty attracted to the thought of losing a LOT of weight in a short amount of time â€“ its always nice to get to your goals in a shorter amount of time! Speaking of goals, at the time my initial thoughts on the process were:
- Starting weight 87kg/191lb, from visual inspection my bf is ~15-17%, goal is to get it down to ~10% (note to self that I was probably being a bit nice to give my visual body fat assessment @ 15-17%)
- Based on the fact that I’d just got back from a debaucherous week in Fiji (think beers and bad diet) I reckoned I would dump water down to 84kg/185b in a couple days.
- Based on the last point my target is to get to 78kg/172lb with no muscle wastage.
- I took some body measurements as a test â€“ wanted to make sure I wasnâ€™t losing all of my cms/in from my guns 😉 Not going to do much exercise apart from swing the kettlebells a bit in the mornings of my refeed day.
- This was to avoid extra stress from training, and to do get a bit of a carb back-loading effect and avoid putting on too much extra weight on the refeed day.
- I decided to do my first refeed after 3 days (instead of 5-7) so that I could ease into it and set up a bit of a routine… Based on the advertised 1lb / day fat loss (0.5 kg) I decided to try the program out for 14 days and see what happened.
Well I did lose a lot of weight! Especially the first couple of days when I dumped over a kg a day. HOWEVER this is all due to dumping water weight from drawing on my carb reservoir (for every 1 g of carbs stored your body stores 4g of water!!!).Â Think about that next time you see an ad on tellie promising 1kg / day fat loss in the first week, its not fat its just water â€“ you will notice it because youâ€™ll go to the loo about 100 times.
What really surprised me was that the weight loss continued at a pretty rapid pace throughout the 2 weeks, almost maintaining the 1lb / day rate talked about in the article. The experiment was a pretty considerable success considering that I wasnâ€™t fully compliant with the protocol. See the table below for my scale measurements. (total weight loss ~6kgs in 2 weeks, pretty impressive.Â Note how pronounced the water re-gain is on the re-feed days!!!)
- In terms of meeting my goals of not losing muscle mass during the experiment it was tough to be definitive.
- Arm and chest measurements did not decrease much, but without a DEXA scan or something more reliable it is impossible to be sure.
- My gut feel was that through all the BCAAs etc that the muscle mass loss was minimised if not eliminated entirely.
- The photographic evidence below give some indication of this but again, its hard to be sure. My before/after pics are below. The before / after pics are probably the victim of lighting and angles working in favour of the before pic (the hulk shadows make me look like I was in a bit better shape than I actually was). However particularly the side on pic shows a pretty significant change.
Iâ€™ve noted down some of the things that stood out to me throughout the process:
Overall it was a good way to lose a lot of fat in a short amount of time but it wasnâ€™t without its challenges:
- As of about midday the first day I was already craving my refeed day (look how happy I am in the pic!) but over time it got easier and then harder again.
- Doing the full 5-6 days between refeeds was a bit tough for me to deal with, 3-4 days would be a lot easier for me to stick with over a longer term protocol. (lamb heart, lamb ribs, rice and a nice hot cup of bone broth to start the day!). Great Lakes Gelatine makes it really easy to whip up some bone broth.
- After the first couple days the thoughts of beer/junk food disappear and you end up craving healthy food (just one egg yolkâ€¦ come on, please?). It ended up taking a bit of a toll on me psychologically (physiologically the absence of food was generally fine) and I ended up catching myself sitting for 30 min staring at the different recipes on the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook that Iâ€™d just bought for my ipad.
- There were a few moments where the protocol took a bit of a toll on me in the form of:
- Coldness â€“ I would eat a truck-load more butter/MCT
- NauseaÂ I would have some liposomal gluthatione, wait 20 min then have a few charcoal tabs
- Cravings â€“ I found I could have a bit of Unrefined sea salt sprinkled on butter which killed my food cravings pretty good.Â Having the same amount of butter with no salt didnâ€™t do much. I can only think that I was missing some minerals that In general my compliance was good but there was a weekend down the coast which involved me eating a truck-load of oysters at the Narooma oyster festival which meant basically an extra refeed day.
- I didnâ€™t poo very much which was kind of weird (over share?) Also note that I didnâ€™t follow the prescribed protocol exactly, I made a few modifications due to laziness or also trying to improve the protocol: I didnâ€™t get the recommended bloodwork done (although I had done those tests within the previous 6 months). I would like to one day replicate the experiment using the talking20 product and see what kind of stresses manifest in my biochemistry during the experiment.
- I didnâ€™t take any Betaine HCL or other enzymes, I had be paleo/Bulletproof diet for a while and was already pretty well adapted to digesting the high amount of fats. I dosed up on Alpha-Lipoic acid on my refeed days to try to limit the amount of water re-gain (something i thought i would try from Tim Ferrisâ€™s â€œ4 Hour Bodyâ€ PAGG protocol. For a very small sample size it seemed to be effective!
- There were a few things that this experiment taught me about myself generally and about how I respond to cyclic ketogenic diets: Deprivation is a good thing. After the end of the experiment all I wanted to eat were really healthy foods â€“ I had a newfound appreciation for the nutritional value of the foods I eat (you have to maximise the benefit you get from the 1 day / week youâ€™re allowed to eat).
- In general (life lesson time) I think its good to deprive yourself of things from time to time so that you appreciate them. This is a tool I am going to keep in my toolbox for the inevitable time that I live like a hedon due to stress/holidays etc. In fact I actually felt pretty awesome after doing this type of fast so its something I have continued to do 1 or 2 days per month.
- The diet was overall pretty easy to comply with, i actually enjoyed the fact that not worrying about dinner / lunch etc freed up about 2 hrs per day!
- My girlfriend tried to do the same protocol and struggled more than I did. This was strange because sheâ€™s a fair bit tougher than me! A bit more research and talking to others about it (particularly Ivy from www.paleoinmelbourne.com.au) has led me to realise that girls are a lot more sensitive to the stresses of ketosis than guys are. My thoughts are that this type of approach needs to be moderated a bit if a girl wants to do it.