The Last Mile: First Impressions and Meal Diary

It’s been almost two weeks that I’ve been following the 3 hour meal schedule of the last mile. Eating my way through piles of nuts, endless chicken breasts and too much spinach to count. How’s it been so far? What’s the progress like? Found out from the midst of this latest experiment I’ve undertaken.

I’ll start by mentioning that I’m also more aware of the science behind this method than I previously have been. The book literally gives no explanation as to how this diet works, and as to the changes going on in the body to make it work, so I will go into some more details later on.

But first, a quick look at my experiences and results so far:

Energy

This is the most obvious one – I am tired. Extraordinarily tired at times, and it is staggering what a difference the types of foods you eat can do. Despite eating every 3 hours, I am thinking about food more often than that, and sometimes just can’t hold out the whole 3 hours. I’ve found it tough to get on with some things that need doing, and the couch has never been such a good friend. I’m less interested in getting outside and being active too. Interestingly every now and then I get a wave of energy where I feel like I have a good amount to get on with things, but it’s by no means constant.

Mental Focus

I’m more distracted, and don’t have as much enthusiasm for certain tasks that I would normally be happy to get on with.

Weight Loss

None to speak of. Seem to have gained a little bit of fat around my middle, definitely haven’t lost any since starting (1.5 weeks), and was on a losing trend when I started, which has stopped.

Thoughts on the foods

Though there is variety, and plenty of fat, I don’t find myself satisfied with these ‘meals’. Whilst Almond Butter and Peanut Butter are both delicious, I have started feeling like I could eat the whole jar, not just a couple of teaspoons. It’s incredible that though I am eating quite a lot, I feel like I’ve cut my food intake in half.

Workouts and Recovery

This is killing me – my weights haven’t dropped so badly as they have in the last week. Just no energy to make the sets happen. So I drop the weights down and get through what I can. Not a lot of muscle soreness the next day, or the day after that, which suggests I’m not pushing my muscles to their capacity = wasted training. Recovery hasn’t seem as necessary, though muscle fatigue could be hidden under the general fatigue I’ve felt most of the days.

Injuries

Doing a ‘fast cardio’ session the other day, I found my legs in particular around my knees to be much weaker-feeling, even when getting going, but figured it might have been due to all the sofa-sitting I’d been doing. Sure enough though, towards the end of the session, I started feeling a deeper ache that was not muscle soreness, or fatigue, but something being strained. The following day I was sore when walking up and down stairs.. I wonder if due to lack of muscle strength I was relying more heavily on my tendons, and joints to take the impact and generate the power. It took a few days to get over this strain, and every now and then I still feel it. This is unusual for me in general, and even more unusual considering I have easily just played a month of ultimate frisbee with no injuries to report (and have since taken adequate rest and recovery time).

General Impressions

It is a more regimented way of eating – following the 3 hour protocol. I’ve packed food, and taken it with me places, I’ve been measuring things more than usual, and have still enjoyed a variety of food. There are some questions though that the book just doesn’t answer – like how 2 Tbsp of Peanut Butter can substitute for 1/2 cup of almonds – there’s a 200 calorie difference between the two, so if you opted for peanut butter all day, as compared to almonds, you could be 600 or so calories down compared to using peanut butter.

But that’s not the only strange thing.

The diet is in fact delivering many more calories than my regular slow carb diet would, or even my modified slow carb diet I was doing to build muscle while minimizing fat gain (not adding rice like Occam’s Protocol, but adding protein shakes and peanut butter between meals for extra calories and protein). But I still feel a sense of hunger.

And so, it’s time to get to the science, because there are good reasons why all this is taking place.

The Science – and some answers

Without getting too deep into the biochemical methods the body uses for fat storage and fat burning, it’s fair to say that The Last Mile is a good example of a controlled Cyclical Ketogenic Diet. This is a diet where the number of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) is very low – generally speaking, below 80 grams/day, and usually around 30-50 grams/day. With so little carbohydrates available for energy, the body turns to a process called ketosis, whereby it produces ketones in the liver, to fuel the brain. In this state, the body effectively has ‘flipped a switch’ and is burning fatty acids for energy, not glycogen (which comes from carbohydrates) in the blood stream for energy. This obviously would suggest that fat storages would be burned as well.

The sever lack of carbohydrates in this program explains a lot of my symptoms early on – many sources suggest the body doesn’t become active in ketosis for between 3-14 days after a low carb diet has been started. This means that this in between period is something to ‘get through’ to the other side of burning fat for energy. However, much of the research published online doesn’t suggest that this still adequately fuels muscles for intense workouts, as they run primarily on glucose.

And so, we get a new perspective on The Last Mile – it’s not just another means to burn fat. It is truly a ‘cutting’ diet, to use the bodybuilding term. It’s not likely you’ll be posting any personal bests in the weights room, and its less likely you’ll feel like superman. Of course, after the ketosis adaptation, it’s possible that many people will feel great. The trouble here is that having followed this plan for close to the 14 days (the maximum window of switching to fat burning for energy), I still don’t feel great. And my workouts aren’t getting any better.

The other surprising thing is the volume of food, in calories, that I’m taking in. This surprised me, especially due to the lack of energy I have had. I have always equated eating (and sleep of course) with energy. I have been getting plenty of sleep, so it’s down to the food that I’ve been taking in. Eating 500 more calories per day than I usually would, I am still feeling like I have less energy and less strength.

Meal Diary – A look into the nutrition behind the meals

FOODS Calories Carbs Fat Protein Cholest Sodium Sugars Fiber
(Wake 7.45am)

Breakfast 8am

Eggs – Hard-boiled (whole egg), 4 large 310 2g 21g 25g 848mg 248mg 2g 0g
Spinach – Raw, 2 cup 14 2g 0g 2g 0mg 47mg 0g 1g
Early Lunch 11am
Nuts – Almonds, 0.5 cup, whole 413 14g 36g 15g 0mg 1mg 3g 8g
Chicken – Breast, meat only, cooked, roasted, 1 breast, bone and skin removed 284 0g 6g 53g 146mg 127mg 0g 0g
Arvo Lunch 2pm
Kaizen 100% Whey Isolate Protein Powder – Vanilla Ice Cream, 1 scoop (40 g) 150 1g 0g 35g 0mg 50mg 1g 0g
Safeway – 100% Natural Peanut Butter, 2 tablespoons 180 8g 16g 8g 0mg 140mg 6g 4g
Dinner 5pm
Oil – Olive, 1 tablespoon 119 0g 14g 0g 0mg 0mg 0g 0g
Beef – Ground, 85% lean meat / 15% fat, patty, cooked, broiled (hamburger), 2 serving ( 3 oz ) 425 0g 26g 44g 153mg 122mg 0g 0g
Extra Meal 8pm
Clover Leaf – Flaked Light Tuna-In Water, 1 can (60g) 120 0g 1g 30g 40mg 300mg 0g 0g
Clover Leaf – Flaked Light Tuna-In Water, 1/2 can (60g) 60 0g 1g 15g 20mg 150mg 0g 0g
Broccoli – Cooked, boiled, drained, without salt, 1 stalk, large (11″-12″ long) 98 20g 1g 7g 0mg 115mg 4g 9g
Nuts – Almonds, 0.5 cup, whole 413 14g 36g 15g 0mg 1mg 3g 8g
Extra Meal 2 11pm
Turkey breast meat, 170 g 177 7g 3g 29g 73mg 1,726mg 6g 1g
Broccoli – Cooked, boiled, drained, without salt, 1 stalk, large (11″-12″ long) 98 20g 1g 7g 0mg 115mg 4g 9g
Western Family – Natural Almond Butter , 2 Tbsp (15 g) 160 4g 14g 6g 0mg 0mg 2g 4g
(Bed 12.30am)
Calories Carbs Fat Protein Cholest Sodium Sugars Fiber
TOTAL: 3,021 92g 176g 291g 1,280mg 3,142mg 31g 44g

Compared to Slow Carb

A quick look above at the totals will show the picture pretty clearly, if you’ve ever checked the nutrition of the beans we all eat on slow carb. Beans are packed with carbohydrates, and most likely the daily total for most people is between 150 and 250 grams/day of carbs. Taking fiber out of that, you might have a net carbohydrate consumption of between 100 grams and 180 grams. This is still a lot lower than a typical western diet, however is much higher than The Last Mile’s 40-50 net grams of carbs per day. Protein is higher than on slow carb, by quite a lot, but fat is the really obvious one. It is substantially higher than slow carb – perhaps 3 or 4 times higher in fact, depending on your regular protein sources. This is mostly due to the almonds, and peanut butter during the day, and also the olive oil.

The Last Mile diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet. The Slow Carb diet is a high fibre, moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein, low fat diet.

Alternatives

Studying up on low carb diets, there are variations that can be used for making gains at the gym – but there’s a lot of science around them. You start getting into making a lot of calculations, Looks like it’s back to my modified slow carb diet to achieve my goal of muscle gains. Examples of these are Cyclical Ketogenic Diets (with re-feeding – or ‘cheat’ meals – more often than The Last Mile suggests), or Targeted Ketogenic Diets – where carbs are taken before a workout, and potentially after a workout, to try to support muscle gains, whilst maintaining ketosis. Both of these however require a lot of planning and attention, which I totally understand is worth it for some people.

Conclusions

To be fair to this diet, it has its purpose. And I have no doubts as to it’s efficiency for it’s goal if calories are monitored. I’m sure that if losing the last bit of fat was the number one priority I had, that I would be OK with losing some gains in the weights room, whilst I lost fat and maintained muscle mass (research has shown low carb diets tend to lose fat whilst preserving muscle mass). I might even be ok with losing a few hours of productivity. I can see how if I weighed around 190 pounds, and was looking to cut down to 180, that this might be a great option. Reality is, however, that I’m yet to develop that amount of muscle, and until then, I think developing more is a better focus.

Practically speaking, if I were to continue The Last Mile, I might be waiting endlessly for ketosis to come, and in the meantime, my body aches, is tired, has more aches and pains, and I’m not enjoying the gym, or running, and have less energy for all the things I need to get done every day. Early indications have shown that I’ve gained some fat, which is probably due to the caloric load of the meals, so I’d need to bring that down, and count calories meal-to-meal. To me, that equals a sacrifice I’m not willing to continue, as I’ve already lost valuable time on my calendar.

Having gone through The Last Mile diet’s first couple of weeks, I can safely say that unless you’re prepping for competition, there’s probably a more practical way to achieve your body-goals that works for your lifestyle, without losing energy, focus and things you like doing. To me, a diet isn’t worth it if it forces you to totally change how you’re living. I’m looking for a practical means to continue excellent health, and continue to build strength. I’ve seen countless other examples of people in low bodyfat percentages, who have achieved that state whilst having great energy, and making gains at the gym, using all kinds of other methods. Of course, everyone is different, and my experience is just that – just mine. If your body switches to ketosis quickly, you might only endure a couple of days of low energy, and then start having the clear energy feelings that people report when they get through the induction phase of Atkins.

For me though, I look for simplicity in my food routines – practicality with good results always beats perfect results with large sacrifices. Not that I’m unwilling to try and go to some extra effort, but if I lose my regular lifestyle for too long, I just don’t see a net benefit.

Have you tried The Last Mile? Did you lose, or gain? Maybe you’ve tried some other low-carb diets and have experience with them?

You might be interested in reading these too:

  1. The Truth: Low Carb vs Slow Carb I write to you today at the end of an experiment. Ready to present the results. However, I'm a little worried about what it might do. You see, for the last 2 weeks,...
  2. Can slow carb get you below 10% bodyfat? This is a controversial question, for a few reasons. But that's not going to stop me writing this article. I am taking a very hard look at the slow carb diet, for one...
  3. Your Natural Fat Low Point Losing fat, to hit certain goals, is, in my opinion, an excellent pursuit. What those goals are, however, is a very personal decision, and can come in many different forms. It depends heavily...

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26 Responses to The Last Mile: First Impressions and Meal Diary

  • Justin says:

    Interesting self experimentation, but I think it may have been a bit mis-aligned with your goals at this time?

    A couple corrections I would add.
    1. Muscles run on glycogen, glycogen can be made from fat as well. The reason that intense exercise is difficult to sustain when not eating any carbs is the time taken to convert dietary or stored fat to glycogen takes longer than converting dietary carbs to glycogen. Too lazy to look up sources to cite but there are lots out there.

    2. When you say ‘waiting for ketosis to come’ I think you mean waiting to become more ‘fat adapted’ which is a non-technical term that Robb Wolf uses frequently. This means that you can convert fat to glycogen faster and do not need as much carbs. I would have thought that the SCD would have helped with that bit but I guess not.

    What I would have recommended to you is to dial back your workouts a lot if you are going to go really low carb/CKD. Maybe 2-3 a week for 15-20 minutes top, and no metabolic conditioning (cardio) as there is no fat loss benefit to it anyway.

    I do think that you could still benefit from a CKD style diet but adding carbs pre and post workout as you mentioned. I would do fruit (like rasins) for pre workout, the high glycemic index means it will digest fast, you will get a bit of an insulin spike, and your liver will store the gylcogen, but you will burn it with your workout. Then do some low GI carbs (yam/beans) for post workout to quickly restore muscle glycogen which help with recovery which is where the real fat loss happens. I have done this in the past and still do sometimes and it works really well for me.

    If you are looking for more things to self experiment with for fat loss, I would highly recommend playing with a leangains style intermittent fast.

    We can discuss more next week, look forward to meeting up with you and Kat, but not Trevor (just joking Trev).

    • Luke says:

      Hey Justin, thanks for you thoughts here – really valuable.’

      My goal was in fact to cut fat, looking to see what my low-point could be. Having considered the losses I may make in the process, I have now changed my goals back to a muscle-gaining focus, with minimal fat gain.

      1/ True. I left out a mention of this, because I have read the process for the liver converting fat to glycogen is quite inefficient, and some have questioned whether it’s enough to power muscles for workouts. You’re spot on here.
      2/ Correct. I have a feeling I am quite carb-dependent, with my predisposed body shape lending itself more towards fat storage, not muscle-building, if my earlier years are anything to go by (though the large amount of carbs may account for fat accumulation). I too would have thought slow carb would have got me closer to ‘fat adapted’ processing, however my extraordinary lack of energy and want to do anything suggests otherwise.

      I like your recommendations, and I’ll definitely consider the CKD with lowered workouts, and no cardio in the future, with pre and post workout carbs. Your ideas on raisins, and yams/beans sound right in line with what I’ve been reading, including Gary Taubes’ excellent book, Why We Get Fat.

      Leangains intermittent fasting is definitely an area that looks like a solid alternative, whilst still having energy, etc to build real muscle. Back on slow carb for a few days now, and the effect of a workout is obvious, compared with the lacklustre performances in low carb. My muscles are back to aching and rebuilding.

      For the time being – it’s all about keeping my glycemic load down low, and including a good amount of carbs to maintain energy, plus lots of protein for muscle, plus a decent amount of fat. Basically slow carb, capping the beans at 1 cup per meal (a little less normally), and adding in peanut butter + protein shakes in between meals, with a few brazil nuts and almonds here and there to get calories up. It’s a little different to the brown rice/quinoa suggested in the book, with more fat, but less carbs, so I’ll be interested to see the results. I have a longer-term goal of gaining approx 15 pounds of lean muscle in 4-5 months without bulking on loads of fat with it. I think it’s definitely doable.

      Looking forward to catching up with you! Sounds like a great evening.

      Cheers,
      Luke

  • Aethonan says:

    I really appreciated your description of the experience, in particular as it encouraged me to take the “calorie light” version of the LMD in my own application. I eat chicken/tuna/whey more than the fat-heavy options, and focus on veggies like the red cabbage you recommend elsewhere and lots of collard greens and spinach, as opposed to heavier options. Thus, my daily intake (as a 23-yr-old fem. w/110 pounds of core muscle & 23% body fat) looks like:

    Meal 1: 2 eggs + cabbage salad (onion/vinegar/mustard to season)
    Meal 2: 4oz. chicken + cabbage salad + 1/8c nuts
    Meal 3: 4oz. chicken + cabbage salad + 1/8c nuts
    Meal 4: 4oz. chicken + cabbage salad + 1/8c nuts
    Meal 5: whey protein + greens powder (generally following a workout)
    Meal 6: 4oz. chicken + cabbage salad + 1/8c nuts + glass red wine
    + tbsp olive oil to cook the chicken

    This rounds out the total calories at about 1400/day. Yes, I know I’m skimping on the nuts, but with the olive oil in the cooking, I’m trying to watch those pesky calories!

    All I can say is: so far, so good. Two weeks, and I’m down 6 pounds. Three more weeks to go. Perhaps this will help with those considering the diet, though we’ll see how well the weight stays off — given the caloric deficit — after the five weeks are up! :)

    • Luke says:

      Hey thanks so much for sharing! Really appreciate it.
      It’s great to see a smaller female’s version of this diet, because there’s a lot online about bigger guys.. say around 200 pounds, doing something like this, and it’s very difficult to tell how that would work for smaller people in general.

      Your meals look really good – getting in some nuts, but not overdoing them I think is key to success. I suspect I even put on some fat, but in retrospect, having read more about low carb diets, I think my carb level was still a little high for this to truly have it’s effect. I’m looking forward to having another go at it, for about 4 weeks, in a few months’ time.

      It will be interesting to see how well the weight stays off. But if you approach things for a low carb/slow carb perspective, there’s no reason that you should gain any weight back. If you go back to starches (even whole grains), then there’s a chance, depending on a lot of factors including your natural predisposition to either store or burn energy in your bloodstream, that some fat may come back. According to low carb rules, if you stick with low carbs, and higher protein and high fat, then its not possible to regain fat.

      Let us all know how you go after the 5 weeks, and then 5 weeks after that! Feel free to email us through the Contact page too!

      Cheers,
      Luke

  • Graham B. says:

    I was wondering whether you had any updates to the “last mile Diet” experience?

    PS: I’ve recently embarked upon this adventure as well, and was interested in whether you had any more information besides that supplied in the article above.

    Cheers

    • Luke says:

      Hey Graham,

      I found the last mile diet incredibly challenging, to be honest. I really commend you on getting started with it. I’m not sure if I have the discipline – I see it much more now as being closer to a true bodybuilder’s prep diet for contests, and I’m not aiming to get down that low. I think at higher bodyfat percentages, there are other alternatives that may yield as good results, without so much trouble. A strategy like intermittent fasting, for example, could allow for similar fat loss, while allowing for muscle retention. Another option is a CKD – cyclical ketogenic diet, which Tim mentions briefly in the book got him down to having veins across his abs.

      Interested to hear how you do with The Last Mile! Keep me up to date.
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Eva says:

    What nuts can you eat. How much? and how often?

    • Luke says:

      Hey Eva,
      If you’re asking about solely the Last Mile – then almonds, and in quantities discussed in the book.
      On slow carb, best to avoid nuts entirely.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Hi Luke, did you ever hear back from Aethonan? I’m really curious to hear about her results. I am on the last mile. I just had my body fat analyzed today and here it is – 24.7% body fat. My goal as of right now is 18%.

    Can I lose the “last mile” on the regular slow carb diet? Or do I need to switch to the last mile diet?

    Also curious to hear about Kat and percentage she’s at and how she got there.

    Thanks a lot to everyone for all the great information on this site.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Michelle, I didn’t hear back, at least not yet.
      I think ‘the last mile’ diet is a little misleading. It truly is for those preparing for competition, or for some specific event (like modelling). Realistically, at your level, and with your goal, slow carb, plus some workouts should get you there. Think about a combination of weights (1-2 times per week), and short, high intensity cardio 1-2 times per week. Then if you’re looking to get lower than 18%, you’ll probably need to start counting calories at some point. For women, getting down to 15 or lower can be very challenging, likewise for men 10% or lower. We’re not publishing any personal stats, as that isn’t really what we’re trying to achieve with the site. It’s less about us and more about helping everyone with their personal journeys, and we’d hate for someone to use our progress as some kind of benchmark – everyone truly is different.

      All the best!
      Luke

  • Luke thanks for the info. I did pull the book back out yesterday and reread the last mile chapter and the piece about Tracy. In the book they describe how she went from 21% to 18% using the diet plus a few days a week of exercise prior to eating breakfast.

    Since my goal is to lose the last amount of belly fat that I have before summer and not for competition, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and add a few tweaks to my routine.

    Thanks again Luke for this wonderful site.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Michelle, you’re very welcome! Sounds like you’ve found a good approach that will work for you. I always like to suggest additionally to consider doing weights training, but that’s something more for long term health and fitness, though it can help with fat loss too.

      All the best!
      Luke

  • Hi Luke just wanted to post a little update. I cut my bean intake down from 2 1/3 cups to 1 1/3 cups a day and have lost 4lbs in 5 days. I was consuming too many calories to lose weight on the SCD. So for little people, at least in my case, you do need to count calories to some extent to lose the last few pounds. Thanks for the tip. I’m losing weight now.

    • Luke says:

      Fantastic! Great to hear Michelle, and thanks for letting me know! Really appreciate it.
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Graham B says:

    Hi Luke.

    Just a quick update on my experience with this. I didn’t stick to the 4HB “Last Mile Diet” explicitly, just tried to keep the daily carbs low enough (<30-50g) to be in some form of ketosis.

    As I mentioned in another post, I discovered that at week 9, I was consuming 500g of nuts per week, which was most likely impacting the reduction in fat loss, so I completely removed all nuts from my diet.

    Another goal I had was to not lose much/any overall body weight, as when I began this diet I was 69kg at 1.78m, so the aim was to replace every lost kg of body fat with a kg of muscle. By trial and error, I was able to achieve this with a daily intake of 250g Protein/65G Fat/25G Carbs.

    Although I have lost a reasonable amount of body fat around the waist, in my case, the most stubborn fat still to be removed is that right in front of your abs – I probably needed to perform more intense "fat burning" exercises, as promoted by abs guru mike geary.

    Anyhow, I believe the "last mile" works, but everyone should use trial and error to tweak the diet, as well as incorporating intense fat burning exercise programs on a regular basis.

    Cheers

    • Luke says:

      Hey Graham,
      Thanks for sharing your experiences – it’s interesting to hear how it worked out for you. Did you find your energy levels were OK with that mix? It looks like around 1685 calories total for the day, in theory then the rest coming from your own bodyfat, as you would have been in ketosis (though affect by that level of protein, as protein is 58% ketogenic, 42% not. It generally impacts blood sugar around 1/4 of what carbs do).
      A combination of interval training and heavy resistance training (weights) would be ideal to continue losing fat. It’s just that that’s the place of fat deposit preference for guys, meaning there’s more there to lose. Keep at it and it will go though!
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Graham B says:

    Thanks for the reply Luke.

    Energy levels were never a problem. Total calories averaged around 1900. One cheat meal per week, after a “heavy” weights session.

    I think the thing that let me down was not enough intense “fat burning” sessions as I has two injuries (not at the same time) which restricted the HIIT sprint sessions and any movements that involved feet (e.g. no burpees, which I found is a great exercise) .

    I believe you can burn fat and gain muscle at the same time based on some research on the net as well as my own naive experience. Here is one article that you may/may not find interesting. Cheers

    “Building Muscle and Losing Fat” – http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/kelly3.htm

    • Luke says:

      Thanks Graham.
      Before I googled the text, I actually thought it sounded like something from Leangains or Lyle McDonald. All in all, either following a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet, or an Intermittent Fasting Protocol will likely yield fat loss with muscle gain. The article you’ve referenced (adjusted for copyright reasons) is offering a Targeted Ketogenic Diet, which will work well mostly for men who can drop back to ketosis quickly. Some people can, some can’t. After a few cycles it should be easier.
      You’re right about the cardio training – HIIT sessions seem to be quite necessary to achieve the ultra low bodyfat percentages.
      Cheers!
      Luke

  • Justin says:

    What do you think about the supposition that different people tolerate ketogenesis differentially? I’ve been reading tons of Lyle McDonald and Alan Aragon’s work, and it is pretty similar to my experience with body comp (I’m 5’11 and have weighed 155 lbs on race morning for triathlons and 202 lbs on a bulking period of weight training) in the last 4 years.

    I did very strict slow carb and was pretty good at converting fat to lean mass (and lost about 8 lbs to a new recent low) and am now gaining muscle like crazy after piling on protein and starting thrice-weekly olympic weightlifting classes. However, I don’t really handle ketosis well.

    When afterwards I did a caloric/macro evaluation of my slow carb diet, i realized it was fairly low carb and had a good amount of protein (1.2g/kg) but was the most hypocaloric diet I’ve ever followed. It’s even moreso if you make the -20% of cals/g of protein that Tim Ferris suggests (3.2cal/g instead of 4cal/g)

    Why don’t you think that following a high-protein (1.5-2 g/kg) but hypocaloric diet (-400-800 cals/day) with adequate carbs to run your brain (100-120 g/day) would be effective?

    • Luke says:

      Hey Justin,

      You’re right that different people experience ketosis differently. In general, for training, you’d be using a cyclical ketogenic diet or a targeted keto diet – in either case, consuming carbs around training. Slow carb is a form of CKD. If you mean you don’t handle ketosis well, in terms of energy you have, this is pretty common for people who train. I’ve read about athletes who take around 3-4 weeks to adjust, then they comment on having good amounts of energy. Personally, I haven’t experience above-average energy when in ketosis, however when cycling on a fairly extreme TKD, I have had periods of time when my energy and power was through the roof.
      Slow carb, when followed to the letter, is a low calorie diet, unless you eat like a horse. If you’re training, however, that’s the recommendation – along with taking in other carbs too, presumably to add to calorie total, as well as to offer more nutrients to recovering muscles.
      I don’t think a low calorie diet, even one that’s high protein and has adequate carbs for mental function is a good idea. From my research, a minimum base of 1500 calories is much better to start with, and then include up to 500 calories’ worth of exercise, to create around a 1000 calorie deficit daily. This would need to be paired with a low carb or controlled carb eating regime, to allow bodyfat to be used to make up the difference. That said, training results would like be weak and muscle development stunted, as insulin is required for nutrient storage. That’s why I favor other alternatives that rely on bumping up hormones through training and nutrition, to get testosterone and growth hormone to help the body lose fat and gain more muscle. It feels a lot better than half-starving every day.

      If you have more questions, I’d love to hear them!
      Cheers,
      Luke

  • Julie says:

    Luke,

    I have been on the the SCD for about 3 months now and i’m down 15 pounds. i started the last mile to loose the last 5 pounds.

    I am 8 days in and I barley have the motivation to get up in the mornings and cant concentrate, i feel like my mind is in a constant state of chaos. Totally opposite of how I have felt since starting the SCD.

    While I don’t have a problem eating 6 times a day as that was how often I have been eating, but barley loosing only a pound is just not worth continuing.

    I just wanted to thank you for your view on the last mile, it was encouraging

    • Luke says:

      Hey Julie,

      I hear you! The Last Mile truly is a bodybuilder’s diet. You need to have that level of incentive to actually carry it through, and it’s almost a full time job. With experiments I have done, I know that I was able to achieve certain results with certain protocols, but the results were not worth the life impact! At the end of the day, we’re looking for something that works with what we currently do. Very few people have the option or the inclination to actually completely change their whole life based around wanting to manipulate their physique. Depending on your current habits, you may find satisfaction with slow carb, combined with a weights program – often adding 5 pounds of muscle achieves the ‘look’ that people would like to have, without losing barely 1-2 lbs of fat. And the icing on the cake is that adding muscle is incredibly healthy, and good insurance for the future.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • gphilip says:

    I think the problem is the amount of carbs you had.

    It’s worth reading this thread where they present this diet (one of the various places) and the commentaries. Everybody suggests eating very low carbs, around 40g per day with training (without training it’s probablt even less)

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=5899101

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hi thanks for the suggestion. You could be right, though I was working on limiting the carbs, when I first tried this, my focus was ‘blindly’ following the directions in the book, rather than do any extra calculations, etc. If I was to take this approach again, limiting carbs low, probably to 25-30g /day while working out, would be ideal and result in more fat loss.

      Thanks again for your thoughts, and the link too!
      Luke

  • Ryan Lambert says:

    Most people don’t eat enough fat when they do these CKD diets. Really about 80% of your caloric intake should be fat.

    the fat intake needs to be much much closer to that in the meatless machine chapter. TF recently posted on his blog a video with Dave Attia about ketosis and athletic performance.

    More fat = better performance while in ketosis. Check it out. http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2013/07/30/ketogenic-diet/

    He became ‘fat adapted’ and actualliy outperformed a lot of his pals in cycling at higher altitudes because his body was better at converting the fat.

    He got 80% of his calories from fat, 17% from protein and a small amount from carbs. I would suggest you try this again but eat more fat.

    This is what I do

    Mackerel (super fatty) With Mayo, Tuna with a lot of Mayo, Dark Meat of Chicken, Whole Eggs (sometimes with mayo :-) … notice a theme), spinach/kale, Almonds.

    Your fat intake is about half of your protein intake, which doesn’t exactly encourage your body to use fat as much as it does protein. You’ll notice when you burn fat you’ll smell a sweet smelling smell, but if your body is burning protein it will stink.

    I hope that is helpful

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hey Ryan, thanks very much for sharing your comments.

      The Peter Attia material is excellent – he has some other great videos online too which are great to watch.
      One important thing to note – his adaptation to fat burning is a result of 2 years of being in nutritional ketosis, without a break. That’s extreme for most people, and would be unlikely to be followed by most people. If someone was to do this however, I expect they’d enjoy similar results.

      I have found that every time I move to a higher fat, lower carb setup with a CKD that it takes my body a long time to get into ketosis, and often times is only lightly producing ketones. That’s a challenge, because it means all the performance and fat loss that’s expected doesn’t necessarily eventuate, and on top of that, I regularly have low energy and low temperature. It’s a challenge to stick at. I flip back to slow carb, have fat loss, better gym performance and more energy. So it depends from person to person I think, but ultimately, yes, I think a fattier bias is ideal.

      Cheers!
      Luke

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