Why Quick Fixes Suck…For Long Term Results

(Sorry for the abrasive language.)

Lose 10 pounds in 5 days! Take inches of your waist in ONE week! 4 minutes to Six-Pack!

All things we see on the cover of magazines, infomercials, and other popular media outlets.

Do these methods really work? Can you lose the weight in a matter of days? Yes*

Do these methods last for a lifetime? Do they replace a solid foundation of health? Do they lead to never ending happiness? Are they as “easy” as they claim? Hell No.

This past week I ran a simple self experiment. I came across an article on T-Nation “Shredded in 6 Days” that laid out the ground work that many fitness models, bodybuilders, and cover models use to get ready for a show or photo shoot, and decided to give it a try. (I condensed it to 5 days, and didn’t do the supplements they recommend)

***Let me say again, this is a method used by people looking to get cut as **** for one moment in time. This is not a fad diet you see in magazines, BUT it does use alot of the underlying principles from those popular fad diets***

You can read the details in the article, and how it works, but the main points are:

  1. You must already be relatively lean to get the true effects from this method.
  2. It is extremely strict in many ways.
  3. The first few days you cut out all starchy carbs, and try to keep your total carbs as low as possible, while drinking un Godly amounts of water (3 gallons per day)
  4. Then, you flip the two, eat a high amount of carbs, and drink as little water as possible.

This works by essentially flushing out water from your body, from under your skin, to make your muscles “pop” out more. These are some of the same underlying principles that people use for to weight loss, detoxing your body and soul, etc.

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Starting weight on day 1 – 208.2 @ 15.9% fat (33.1 pounds of fat)

Weight at day 4 – 201.8 @ 14.8% fat (29.8 pounds of fat)

This is only a 3.3 pound difference in body fat! What did the other 3.1 pounds come from? Muscle? Probably not? Water and glycogen? – probably. Now these measurements are from a basic bioelectrical impedance scale, so I highly doubt I even lost 3.3 pounds of fat, and most of this was from pure glycogen and water depletion. Woop dee do!

What I Learned:

Drinking 3 gallons of water per day, and having very little carbs sucks.

Cutting water out after 3 days sucks even more.

I lost about 6 pounds in those 4 days, and gained 2 back as soon as I reintroduced carbs into my diet.

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***Weight and “bodyfat” after one carb heavy meal on day 4***

I was miserable by day 2, and excited to eat the forbidden carbs by day 4.

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PREACH OPRAH! PREACH!

My workouts were low energy by day 3, not fun, and unmotivated.

And by Sunday afternoon, I was right back up to the same body weight I was at when I started this little trial. I wasn’t upset, this is what I expected. 

Why This Is a Terrible Idea…For General Fat Loss

This type of weight loss is all artificial, can be demotivating for people who are seriously looking to lose body fat (if you only read the scale, a weight fluctuation can be depressing), and it definitely does not represent a real world diet that works for most people.

For most people looking to lose pounds, they are not looking to get cover model ready. Maybe just to drop a few sizes, or feel more confident, but not to look like they are ready for the next Muscle Mag Cover.

As I noted above, I expected these results, so I was not put off by them.

So Why Did I Do It?

For one thing, once I set my mind to something, I plan on doing it – 110% committed. Like I said, by day 2 I was starting to reconsider. Yes, it was cool to see how the body water can be manipulated to make you look more “shredded”, but that was about it.

Once I went back to my standard diet, nothing crazy like this, I felt better, had more energy, and was just fine with everything.

Real results take effort, but not crazy drastic effort like this. They take longer, but they last longer – even a lifetime.

I have lost over 50 pounds since college, and maintained that weight for over 6 years. I still go out, I still enjoy sweets, I still live my life. It is all about finding TRUE moderation with what you eat, and finding times to enjoy the less healthy foods in life.

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I like cake, I got married, you bet I ate some damn cake at my wedding…and every other wedding I go to…

 

It has been a process, but once you make healthy choices into long term habits it really becomes automated.

The four principles I still stand by to this day for long term fat loss success are:

  1. Be mindful of eating. Stop when you are satisfied, not bulging at the belly (still do this on occasion)
  2. Move everyday, as much as possible. This is not exercise – it is just moving. Luckily I have a job that keeps me on my feet most of the day, so this comes naturally.
  3. Move with intent most days of the week – this is exercise. When working out, don’t just go through the motions. Have a plan, know why you are doing what you are doing, and attack it with 100% commitment. Enjoy it!
  4. Allow yourself to enjoy certain foods, have the occasional drink, but still practice moderation (see step 1 – and I still struggle with this once in a while)

Find a healthy lifestyle that works for YOU, and work at one thing at a time. If you get pretty lean, and want to look good for the beach or a photoshoot – sure give this a try (and props to those who have done anything like this before!) to a but don’t expect to walk around looking like this for long if this isn’t the lifestyle you enjoy.

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Stay healthy my friends,