Epic Fail … Glorious Victory
I‘ve been somewhat remiss in posting, in general, and specifically with respect to my results. So, without further suspense, here is a summary of what I’ve found to date.
Just to recap the basic approach, I monitored my weight for about 10 days prior to engaging on dietary modifications to establish a baseline weight. Subsequently, I consumed variants of 1500 kcal isocaloric diets that provided the bulk of the calories from either potoato CHO, rice CHO, or fat. In all cases, the amount of consumed protein was constant and provided by egg whites and albacore tuna in order to minimize ingested fat while on the high CHO phases, resulting in single digit intake averaging about 8 grams per day.
Before diving into the graphs, let me explain a bit about what is being displayed. Rather than show the standard weight graphs, I wanted to have something that was comparable across each intervention, so I transformed the data by standardizing each observation by calculating the sample mean, subtracting that from the observation, and then dividing the result by the sample standard deviation. The net result of all of this is that the values are dimensionless, and in each of the graphs you will note that the y-axis scale does not change. The graphs also include a trend line shown in dashed red, as well as the equation for the trend line.
What would be the definition of an epic fail in the body recomposition world? How about taking in a significantly reduced calorie diet and turn that into a weight gain?! Does that qualify? I believe it probably does. The trends lines tell the whole sordid story. From a slight downward trend during the baseline to a dramatic reversal while eating potatoes, and only a slight improvement, albeit still trending upward, while eating rice instead of potatoes. Of course, this may very well be due to retaining water in order to accommodate the significant increase in carbohydrate load. Be that as it may, my weight still increased by a couple of pounds during the course of a week on potatoes. This does bring into question what is going on for those who report essentially immediate and dramatic weight loss? I suspect that this may have at least something to do with digestive tract contents ( i.e food that has transited the g.i. tract and is pending a bowel movement )
In the interest of full disclosure, as I mentioned in another post, I may have a low level allergy to either potatoes, or the chemicals used in their processing ( herbicides, fungicides, or anti-sprouting agents ) If this is true, then the results are potentially skewed. To mitigate this effect, I swapped out potatoes for rice, the rationale being that if the weight gain were due to some histamine induced edema, it should clear under the non-histamine inducing rice, unless of course I wind up being allergic to rice as well. As the graphs go to show, the situation was not much improved, if at all, while consuming rice as the carbohydrate of choice.
Here is the graph of my weight during the period of the intervention:
Caloric Intake and Composition
Note that were it not for the data of Nov. 1, where I ate somewhat less that my usual fill, the 500 – 600 calorie difference between the baseline diet and the intervention diet would be much more readily visible in the graph.
So, it looks properly hopeless, there is no way to snatch victory from the jaws of this defeat. But, not so fast, because in all heroic epics, the hero must always be seen to be on the verge of utter defeat before rising phoenix like from what were sure to be his own ashes …
When you stop a moment to realize that with a calorie restricted high fat, high protein dietary regimen the total weight loss was on the order of nine pounds, you have to seriously take a step back and wonder at this. Yes, some of the weight was probably water, but you need to consider that over this time frame my carbohydrate intake averaged about 80 grams per day. Not exactly low carb, that.
Having saved the best for last, here is my favourite chart … please take a moment to bask in the warm glow of the slope coefficient of that trend line: