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Journal of a Weary Dragon

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  • 12 week n=1 experiment
    Protein 46g (sedentary female), Carb 5g, Fat 80%, Cals 1130 incl 30g Coconut Oil. If LBM lost move up a protein level. If Wt Loss stalls add extra 7g (56 cal) coconut oil

    Start Weight: 174lb BMI: 28.03 BF: 40.7% Water: 43.2% LBM: 55.6% LBM: 103.2lb

    Week 4 of n=1

    Mon 18-Mar Cals: 1485 Protein :50g Ratio: 14-2-84 Sleep: 2hr+3.5hr Notes: This clearly not working. Will raise Cals to 1300, P 55g SLD no snacks
    Tue 19-Mar Cals: 1397 Protein :53g Ratio: 15-2-83 Sleep: 4hr straight went to bed late Notes: First day of 3500 cals, P 55g
    Wed 20-Mar Cals: 1706 Protein :60g Ratio: 14-5-80 Sleep: 7.5 hrs, woke breifly once
    Thu 21-Mar Cals: 1642 Protein :56g Ratio: 12-3-86 Sleep: 5.5hrs straight
    Fri 22-Mar Cals: 1120 Protein :51g Ratio: 18-1-80 Sleep: 2hrs - working late forgot to do BIA
    Sat 23-Mar Cals: 2373 Protein :61g Ratio: 11-3-87 Sleep: 8hr then 1.5hr
    Sun 24-Mar Cals: 830 Protein :56g Ratio: 28-5-67 Sleep: 6hr straight

    Weekly Average: Cals: 1508 Protein :56g Ratio: Av % (15-3-83) Total Loss since start of n=-1: -2lb

    Weight: 172lb Gain: 1 BMI: 27.68 BF (BIA): 40.6% Water: 42.7% LBM: 56% LBM:102.2lb


    When I started my n=1, the low protein (46g) was to ensure I entered NK as soon as possible & the low cals (1130) was because I have never lost weight on 1200+ cals in the past. I am also not a great believer in calculated BMR values.

    After 2 weeks I lost 6lb but at the end of week 3 I had gained back 2lb. On the verge of giving up I was encouraged to up the protein to 55g, which is just below the low end of my protein level using the optimal diet formula, and increase calories to 1350 which is 20% < my supposed calculated sedentary BMR. Ratio stayed the same at 16-2-82

    The protein suggestion I am grateful for. 46g was not sustainable long term. 55g is. It allows me to eat my favourite meals without having to have all the protein at that one meal so for now I will continue with that.

    The 1350 calories I have found to be more problematic. Because of the protein restrictions & my low carb intake, it means my diet is basically fat. But there is only so much fat you eat in a meal. I ended up reintroducing HCWC to get the calories up. This is a known trigger food for me & after 3 days I gave it up again. Having trigger foods is not where I need to be right now. Also, eating for the sake of eating is what got me into being over weight in the first place. I need to learn to listen to my body & eat only when hungry. Predictably I also gained another 2 lb giving me a net loss of 2lb for the past 4wks.

    Moving forward

    I have put together 30 daily menus (6 lunches, 5 dinners, everything else the same) giving me a Protein range of 50g-56g, calorie range of 1050-1350 & enabling me to keep my fat >78%. I expect a weekly average of approx 1180 cals/day. Doing it this way means I can get on with life without having to think about food all the time. A bit of calorie cycling won’t hurt and is more in keeping with a long term WOE than trying to stick to the same calories every day.

    I have come to realise that for me, losing my last 30lb is going to be a long journey rather than a short sprint so the whole thing will be more sustainable if I keep it in the back ground.

    I will continue to track daily for the next 2 months & see what happens before making any changes as I want to get some solid data before determining any next move.

    NB: 2 non weight changes I have noticed are that my damaged knee no longer aches & the black dog doesn't visit so often. For both of these I am truly grateful to NK.

    Modified n=1

    Protein 55g (optimal diet low end), Carb 5g, Fat 75+%, Cals Weekly Average 1200 incl 35g Coconut Oil. No Dairy. No modifications for 8 weeks


    • Calories In v Calories Out – Part 1 (Not all calories are the same)

      There a lot of discussion about calories & whether they matter if you are in NK. I believe they do matter but it’s not as simple as calories in = calories out. All calories are not the same:

      a) The body treats cal from carbs differently to cals from protein and cals from fat. I.e. given a diet equal in carbs, protein & fat it will burn the carbs first for energy (some carbs remain undigested & leave the body in faeces) & only store carbs as body fat as a last resort, use the protein for repair (some protein gets burnt off in the process of digestion) & most dietary fat is stored (the body finds it easier to oxide body fat than dietary fat)

      b) If you burn a lb of fat you will burn off 3500 cals. However if you burn a lb of muscle you will only burn off 600 cals. Hence a 3500 cal weekly deficit could mean you losing 1lb (100% fat) or 1.7lb (50% fat/50% muscle).

      Conventional Low Carb diets don't work long term because although they work short term (blood sugar levels don’t spike so cravings diminish & less calories tend to be eaten as a result), if there are no carbs to oxidize (the easy route) then the body has to turn elsewhere & that is usually to a higher protein diet.

      High Protein diets don’t work long term because excess protein is converted to glucose which requires higher water retention (increased scale weight) & keeps body fat from being oxidized.

      Low fat diets don’t work long term because they cause hunger (fat is very satiating) & do nothing to teach the body how oxidise body fat. Also, if the body is not getting its energy from fat then higher carbs & /or protein must be being ingested.

      Benefits of a VLCLPMF diet
      a) A Very Low Carb, Low Protein (just enough for muscle & cell repair) & reasonable (Moderate) Fat diet (i.e. optimal NK) teaches the body to optimise its body fat oxidising process whilst ensuring craving are diminished naturally (NB: Using Artificial Sweeteners whilst on this type of diet will most likely trigger cravings as the brain is ingrained to associate sweet things with instant energy (sugar rush) & pleasure. AS instigates the response but not the energy so the brain switches on a more urgent craving to get the energy rush it desires).

      b) By opening up the ketone pathway to the brain, the brain is able to receive its preferred optimal nutrition (ketones) rather than the normal glucose forced on it by a SAD diet. This in turn optimises brain function for clearer thinking & enhanced cognitive function). A happy brain means a happy body as the brain controls the body.
      Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 03-25-2013, 03:48 AM. Reason: clarification


      • Originally posted by Ddraig Goch View Post
        [U]I have come to realise that for me, losing my last 30lb is going to be a long journey rather than a short sprint so the whole thing will be more sustainable if I keep it in the back ground.
        Yeah, me too.
        -- Ruth


        • Wed 27/03

          Russian circus in town today so that will mean I have tracked for 1 complete cycle. Last time I lost 6lb. Oh for that to happen again.

          Av calories back down to 1130. Same as before but protein still at 55g. Am really missing the nuts & HCWC but I guess I will get over it. Forgot to take my CO shot to work this am & was starving by the time I got home so I guess it does work as an AS.

          I'm really interested in everyone's JUDDD experiments but still not convinced it is the best method & I certainly couldn't anticipate doing it for life. I am happy to do VL Cal to get to the end but would hope to get up to a reasonable no of cals for maintenance. Still if I don't lose consistently over the next 4 weeks I will wait for the Russia circus again & then try it. It should be warmer then & I have nothing to lose by trying it for 12 weeks. I like the idea that RMS123 had of using JUDDD to stir things up & I also like the idea of being able to eat 1700 cals - imagine eating nuts & HCWC without having to worry too much.

          JUDDD numbers: DD 345 cals UD 1770 cals (>BMR) Av cals 1062
          Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 03-27-2013, 08:25 AM. Reason: added JUDDD numbers


          • I watched Michael Mosley’s Fasting documentary again last night & read his website. I am going to do the 5:2 diet from the start of the next cycle of my n=1 in 4 weeks time. Not for weight loss reasons but for health benefits. I have come to accept that this is necessary long term so I need to find a way of incorporating it into my life. The WOE is not as extreme as JUDDD as it is only 2 days of fasting on 500 cals. In fact Dr Mosley has now switched to 6:1 for maintenance. (I would want to test IGF-1 before & after trying that to see if the health benefits were the dame).

            His book is still n order at th library & I an 2 out of 6 in the queue so I guess I will get to read it some day.

            Interestingly, he also recommends a protein intake of 0.8g/lb & doesn’t see any harm in lowering that on DD (something else to test when I have a meter) although he also recommends increasing carbs (low cal) & is not taking about NK.

            There is an interesting UK forum set up in the wake of his book & lots of good info coming out of it. I may join when I start if it becomes a long-term thing. They have started collecting stats from members & it seems that you can expect to lose an average 1 lb/wk on 5:2. Doing 4:3 is the same where as JUDDD is 1.25lb/wk so at the moment I can't see the point of doing anything other than 5:2.

            One other thing I found from reading this paper is that dairy (milk & whey - not cheese) promotes high IGF-1 so another good reason to stay away from it
            Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 03-28-2013, 09:16 AM.


            • The Potato Hack

              I cam across this by accident today. It may be something to think about after a long term stall but need more careful consideration first before I would want to do this.Just need to dump it somewhere so I dont lose it
              Is the "Potato Diet" the missing link for Paleo? -



              • I have been so hungry today. Not mindless eating (had a drink & gave it an hr between eating) but actual hunger. I have eaten all 3 meals in quick succession & some extra fat & its only 15:30. With no nuts or HCWC, & a finite amount of protein its hard to know what to eat. I have ended up eating butter dipped in mayo which is silly.

                I AM STILL HUNGRY


                • I have over eaten on the fat today big time but have just realised that I have actually been craving protein & a big meal all day. I have also started eating carrots out of the fridge just to have something to dip into the mayo. I have not eaten nor wanted to eat starchy carbs for over a year. This is getting really silly. It’s not as if the weight or inches are coming off. I get the health benefits of NK & am happy to do 5:2 when it warms up for the same reason but I'm not sure NK is working for me. More protein & less fat seems a much better idea. At least until I get the blood monitor & can check all this out properly.

                  Maybe I should have a day off & just eat what I want (ie more protein/less fat). But then maybe I shouldn't. I don’t really know what the answer is. This is all still taking up too much of my time & brain power. I am definitely going to stay away for a while & see what happens. I can’t be doing with food intensity like this anymore.


                  • ^ I feel the same way about the protein. I can keep it low-ish, but 50 g is hard. I MISS protein. Not 150 g like I was doing (this, I think, was WAY too much for me), but a moderate amount. I cannot get enough fat in and keep that low, at least on UDs...and really, not well on a general low calorie day. I did enjoy JUDDD with 70 g protein on UDs...and I was (at least for 2 weeks) losing weight. I also lost a decent amount on the inch side. I don't know this, but I believe it was fat (probably a little lean mass as well), because of how significant the inches lost was compared to the scale weight. OTOH, I'm finally getting the nice appetite suppression thing going again... It really should not be this hard!

                    PS Thanks for your research and comments, both here and in my journal. I like the way you process data and think.
                    -- Ruth


                    • Thanks - I have learned a lot but is beginning to take over my life. I have to move on for a bit, especially as nothing I seem to do will give me a consistent small 1lb a week weight loss (I'm not asking for much lol)

                      PS: great news on you measurements.

                      PPS: This weight loss thing is so hard!!!. Yesterday I was constantly actually hungry Today I had 3 boiled eggs with mayo at lunch time & have no appetite since!
                      Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 03-29-2013, 10:43 AM. Reason: spelling


                      • Yesterday I did a really stupid thing. Went to buy another batch of ground turkey & discovered ground beef on offer (both supermarket, not grass fed). Short of money, thinking primal (i.e. beef) & thinking I was adding fat without adding fat I bought enough for 35 portions (it was price). Why stupid. Well it doesn’t taste as good (probably because I’m not used to it) , because it’s not grass fed I forgot I should have bought the lean stuff & ADDED fat & I also forgot the reason for ground turkey in the first place – it’s boosts the metabolism.

                        Next time will GMOW – not get sucked in by the sale sign or confuse primal principles

                        UPDATE: Have just read
                        Eat Like A Predator, Not Like Prey & it says chicken & poultry have a high omega 6 content (the reason I have given up walnuts). Having looked around the www this post suggests the opposite & other sites say turkey is OK because it is leaner than chicken.
                        Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 03-29-2013, 02:22 PM. Reason: update


                        • Further thoughts on IF

                          To understand the basis of IF for weight loss we need to understand how fat is mobilised (something I had forgotten).

                          After a feed, insulin and fatty acids are elevated (NB: this is known as the post prandial phase - more nutrients are being stored than are being released from storage). The body is in the fed state and there's zero fat burning going on. The body is relying completely on glucose oxidation during the hours following the meal - one thing to remember here is that carb oxidisation prevents fat oxidisation so if no carbs are present fat oxidisation would presumably continue unabated (protein oxidisation is a separate thing and, providing it is moderate in quantity, would have no impact on fat oxodisation). (NB: Protein oxidisation is dependent on the amount of protein being ingested & there is a time lag so over eating or under eating protein slightly on one day should not affect oxidisation levels. In theory one could under eat on a DD & over eat on an UD slightly & get away with it whilst remain in NK & not affect LBM - one to test with the ketone strips)

                          One way of measuring this is via the respiratory quotient (RQ). An RQ of 1.0 denotes pure carbohydrate metabolism ("storage mode"), while 0.7 denotes pure fat metabolism. To put this into perspective, consider that RQ is 0.95-1.0 for about 1.5-2 hours after a meal, 0.82-0.85 after overnight fasting (12hrs) and 0.72-0.8 after 16 hours of fasting.

                          As the hours go by and the nutrients from the meal are done being absorbed (NB: Post absorptive stage - hormone levels change and the body starts shifting to an overall catabolic state ie the body is releasing more nutrients from storage than are being stored), RQ drops in conjunction with insulin. There's a shift towards fat burning and mobilization of stored fat.

                          I have been re-reading Mark’s take on IF.

                          Why Fast: Part 1 Weight Loss Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy
                          How to: Intermittent Fasting Women and Intermittent Fasting

                          He suggests pure fat taken during a fast will not take you out of the fast but will slow body fat oxidisation (obviously) GOOD!!

                          He also suggests studies have shown IF may not work as well for women as for men re weight loss BAD!!

                          The most useful thing I have found though is post from Martin Berkhan of

                          My research has indicated that the ideal state of fat burning is reached after 12-18 hours of fasting. Coupled with high levels of catecholamines, increased blood flow to stubborn regions, and low insulin for a2-receptor inhibition, this time interval is the "golden age" of stubborn fat mobilization.

                          Let me just explain real quick what I mean by the ideal state of fat burning. Studies have examined free fatty acid (FFA) oxidation from anywhere between the overnight fasted state to three days of fasting. While FFA oxidation increases the longer time you spend in the fasted state, the contribution of fatty acids to whole body fat oxidation changes.

                          In short-term fasting there's a significant increase in subcutaneous FFA oxidation. That's just a fancy way of saying that you're mainly burning body fat and nothing else. For up to 14-20 hours* after a 600-calorie meal in normal-weight subjects, fat is only mobilized from body fat stores in resting individuals.

                          * 14-20 hours in a completely sedentary state should easily equal 12-18 hours in real life.

                          Past this time point, fat burning increases further. That goes without saying. But it's not necessarily the type of fat you're after that you'll be burning. Somewhere in between the 10- and 30-hour time point, the oxidation of intramuscular fat increases greatly, but no increase is seen in subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat simply can't keep up with demand, so you're playing a game of diminishing returns if you push the fast too long.
                          I also read a study which suggests IF does not affect RMR & another which says it is as effective as CR but less painless. Also I read somewhere that walking in the 4-6hrs of optimum fat burning in a fasted state will also elevate fat burning in a to a new level

                          So now I understand better why people are aiming for 1 meal per day & why incorporating the full ADF protocol may be better than 5:2.

                          I still want to get the coconut oil in daily & I am concerned about eating 1 large meal a day (memories of all those years I only ate once a day & put weight on (OK it was SAD, lots of cals probably & some alcohol but still). Won’t this keep the stomach large to accommodate it? Mark B talks about timings based on a meal of 600 cals. A larger meal would take longer to digest I assume so throw all the timings out.

                          Until I can afford to get 6mths worth of 4-weekly cycles of RMR & BF Calliper testing going (there’s a place just 6 miles away that does it Yes!!), a GoWearFit toy or equivalent & enough ketone blood testing strips for 6 mths, any more thoughts re NK is a waste of time as \I have no idea if I’m actually in it. I will continue with the level of Pg I am currently using (just in case) Cg is not an issue any way. But I am fed up with forcing down possible unnecessary fat for the sake of it.

                          In the meantime, given the long term health benefits of IF, regardless of the weight loss (or not) I am inclined to start working towards my own version of IF now.
                          Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 03-29-2013, 12:42 PM. Reason: clarification


                          • Found this out today – An intake of 15-50 grams per day of carbohydrate may be required to ensure protein sparing whilst still allowing ketosis to develop. Something to remember when I go back to formally doing NK again even though I am not convinced.
                            Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 03-29-2013, 11:47 AM. Reason: spelling


                            • IF n=1 (mod 2)

                              Timing seems to be everything:
                              1) It’s important to not snack (or at least if one must then CO, EVOO or butter only).
                              2) Carbs will be limited to spinach & eggs
                              3) Menu will be made up of 2 meals on UD with 4hr eating window, 1 meal on DD (all 600 cals) & up to 2 x CO shots (outside 18-24hr fast window) as necessary.
                              4) 1 day per week (Sun) will be tracked but not calorie restricted (i.e. may contain higher carbs (<10g net) & up to 60g protein, the rest fat). This is NOT a cheat day or a re-feed day, just a relax day. Mac nuts (4oz) or HCWC will be allowed but not both (life has to be worth living).
                              5) Daily protein = 55g i.e. 110g over 2 days i.e. 37g per meal
                              6) For my job I walk 5-8 miles a day from 8am. Ideally this would be during hrs 18-24 of the fast. So ideally my DD meal would be at 14:00 & my UD meals would be 10:00 & 14:00. But this would mean all meals ‘on the road’ – not the way to enjoy food. So meals will be 12:00 & 16:00. This will give me 24 hr fast between UD & DD and 20hrs between DD & UD

                              Will report back in 3 weeks
                              Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 03-29-2013, 01:57 PM. Reason: clarification


                              • Sat 31/4 - Update

                                My weight loss is following the same pattern as last month - down during TOM. Weird. I am curious to see if the pattern remains the same throughout the month so will put off n=1 (Mod 2) until the start of the next cycle. Never having this sort of day on day data before, I think it will be useful to know for the future & even though I am aware of the health benefits of IF, 3 more weeks won't hurt. Besides, I want to see if this cycle of weight loss pushes me into the NSZ naturally (Ie a NSZ is not a natural set point).

                                PS: worked out my IF menus last night. 600 cals & 37g protein gives some really awesome meals & after my fairly low day yesterday (I did eat some fat last night just to up the cals a bit) I am not at all hungry this am.

                                PPS: I will use the next 3 weeks to ease gently into the IF routine - try to start eating within the time frame (but keep the cals to 1150/d approx, Pg =55) only eat when hungry etc
                                Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 03-30-2013, 02:46 AM. Reason: PPS