Sunday, October 29

Diet and Weight Loss Results via Calorie Cycling

Several months ago I started a calorie cycling diet. The particular version of this diet I'm following is where one day you eat a reduced amount of food and the next you eat a normal amount of food. To make things a bit simpler I declared both Saturday and Sunday as low calorie days, meaning I eat normally during Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I've been doing this consistently for a couple of months and I have some results to share.

Background Diet Research
First though, I'll point you to two posts that will provide more background information. Initially I created a post about a research study that showed there were quite a few health benefits related to calorie cycling. A month later I noticed some other research that shows that pinolenic acid (extracted from pine nuts) appears to increase satiety.

I thought perhaps supplementing with pinolenic acid would be an alternative way for people that are less disciplined than I to practice some type of caloric reduction. Many of us eat too many calories, simply because we live a sedentary life - we don't have to perform physical labor in order to earn a living or acquire or cook our food.

Weight Loss Results
Anyhow, to get back to the part about results, I started at a weight of 220 pounds with a belly measurement of 39 inches. I was not obese by any means since I do go to the gym and perform resistance training on a regular basis, but I was not as lean as I wanted to be. Approximately three months later I am at 210 pounds with a belly measurement of 37 inches. Anecdotally, my strength at the gym has increased over this period, so I should not have lost any appreciable muscle mass.

Oh, importantly, I have been lifting regularly and seriously for a couple of years now, so it was not an addition of exercise that caused the changes above.

Relevance to Frugality
You may be wondering what this has to do with frugality, but I have a very good answer for you. My food expenses have been almost halved since I started following this calorie cycling plan. On lower calorie days I eat very little, but enough to ensure that I am able to maintain muscle mass. This means I will make sure to eat a bit of long lasting protein here and there throughout the day - usually cottage cheese.

This type of diet may not be appropriate for everyone, but for those that are carrying some excess fat and who will eat nutritious foods on both normal and low calorie days, the benefits are clear. I've both saved money and lost weight over a period of three months. What more could a frugal guy want?

NOTE: The belly measurement is performed at the fattest portion of my midsection. This is a good indicator of fat loss. A woman may need to measure the largest portion of her hips if that is where she tends to accumulate fat. A simple tape measure and a consistent measurement method works wonders.

NOTE: Included in this week's Festival of Frugality post.

Frugal Guy said...
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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

i sometimes feel an eat-on-alternate-days style might be more suited for our times ...

Weight Loss Help said...

Good article. Calorie cycling is probably much better than constant calorie restriction. It probably has a much better effect on metabloism.

FIRE Finance said...

This is great information since I am working on a raw food diet for weight loss.

Frugal Guy said...

Thanks for the comments. If you give the diet a try, please come back and let us know how it worked for you.

Anonymous said...

10 pounds over 12 weeks? That is awful. Quit wasting your time. I eat a ~500 calorie deficit diet and lose 1.7 pounds a week. This has been going on the last 12 weeks. I eat 5 or 6 times a day and am never hungry. If anything I short myself on calories because I'm not hungry.

frugal guy said...

Hi Anon,

There are many types of diets suitable for many different people.

Keep in mind, the results achieved will have a lot to do with your starting point and whether or not you add weight as muscle while losing fat.

In particular, a lot of people who focus on losing "weight" end up losing a lot of muscle... and end up simply putting fat back on once they stop what is usually a fad diet.

AZAmber said...

Ten pounds in 12 weeks is just fine. Everyone is different, but in general, a slow, consistent weight loss is much more apt to stay off than a more rapid weight loss.

Some experts on aging have found in research that people who skip an occasional meal live longer. I would suspect that caloric cycling is very similar.

Janet said...

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts.

luccy said...
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luccy said...
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Frugal Guy said...

Stop spamming my blog Luccy...