Testing The Effects of Individual Food Items On Your Diet

I am coming off a fantastic day on the snacks-only diet. About half of what I ate yesterday consisted of smoothies. This could definitely make you think that smoothies are great for dieting. I would not conclude that too easily, though. However, there is a method you can use to possibly test the benefit of a particular food for dieting purposes. Just keep in mind that this may not be a foolproof scientific method.

It’s hard to test the benefit of individual food items on a diet unless that is the only food you eat. However, I seem to have been doing well overall lately on days that include smoothies. I don’t like to assume things, though. Whether a food is good for your diet also depends on other factors, such as how much of it you are prone to eat. Even something like smoothies could be a problem if you go overboard on them.

I don’t personally count calories for many reasons, instead estimating the weight of my food. However, even if you do track calories, it’s going to be difficult to ascertain the effect of a particular food item. One thing you can try is to test a full day’s diet as a whole and then replace items one at a time on ensuing days to see if you notice a difference when tracking the results.

It would take a long time to test using the “replace a single food” method. I would say you need about 21 days of results to get a decent estimate. That means 21 days with the new item you are testing while also not changing any other part of your diet. Any changes in other foods, and you will mess up the result.

For the snacks-only diet that I am on now, my focus is on eating approximately the same weight of food each day, but while keeping in mind that something crazy, like 2 pounds of bread or sugar, would probably be a disaster. So in addition to the weight, I like to balance things out with food from the different groups: a little meat, a little vegetable, a little fruit, a bit of bread or grains, and a small amount of sugar. I might throw a little dairy in there, at least when having smoothies.

My method is much easier than counting calories even if it arguably yields less useful results. But is it really less useful? My goal and your goal is to individualize diet and exercise, not to run a scientific study that yields an average result among 50, 100, or 1000 or more human beings. Does everyone have the same exact ideal calorie mark for their diet? Averages don’t even apply to an individual (either you or me). Studies are valuable because they give you ideas on what might work. But you then have to try it out and see if it works for you. I don’t even claim to be an expert and am not licensed in any field related to health. So what? Did that stop me from losing 68 pounds using my own system? No. Did it stop me from creating my own snacks-only diet to make the process multiple times easier? No. All of the studies in the world won’t mean a thing unless you experiment until finding the diet-exercise combination that you are willing and able to follow on a daily basis.

My first meal probably had a bit too much liquid this time, including some milk. So my weight was up to 78.4 from 78.0 even after waiting a while and going to the bathroom. I don’t really want to mess up yesterday’s great results, so I should be careful not to “celebrate.” It would be better to wait for a cheat day to celebrate my success.

I have never actually measured my weight increase after eating only a fast food burger with no fries, no coke, and nothing else on the side. I just had 1 1/2 chicken burgers that had only one chicken filet, a little lettuce, and a little mayonnaise. This was not a huge burger, like a Double Whopper or something like that. My weight went up to 78.8, and I counted this as 2 snacks. This is certainly not an endorsement to eat fast food. Read carefully what I wrote. I had no fries, no coke, and none of the other stuff that is often added to a fast food burger. This was the snacks-only version of fast food, not the usual pigging out that I do when eating such food. It worked out okay in terms of weight because there was nothing on the side. The calories still may have been pretty high. As I explained above, though, I do not count calories. As long my discipline is good on total food weight, which DOES include not overdoing it on sugar and carbs, then my tracking is showing that this works for me.

A frozen pizza was my next snack, and I ate a little too much (around .3 kg). This got me to 79.1 kg, which would not be so good if I were still hungry. But the pizza did its job, and I am really not all that hungry. I was supposed to eat 2 more snacks but can probably get away with eating one and a mini snack (something that is only 2 or 3 regular-sized bites and well less than .1 kg).

I probably overate a little today, but the results are turning into a disaster that I could not have predicted. When I went to bed, I was at 79.3, or 1.3 over. That is a little high, but it’s not super high or what would appear to be a major mistake. But when I woke up, I was still at 78.9, or .9 kg over for the day. That is the lowest overnight loss recorded in a while. There were 4 hours left until the official weigh-in at that time. I hope this is just slowly moving digestion or something, but today might end up completely erasing yesterday’s .5 kg weight loss. There is also a bit of a constipation issue. If that gets worked out, maybe I can lose some of this weight before the weigh-in.

Less than an hour and a half later, I was finally able to go to the bathroom. However, it’s not like it helped a huge amount. I did get down to 78.7, but that still left me .7 kg over with 2 1/2 hours to go. At this point, I would settle for gaining .5 today so at least I would only gain back what I lost yesterday. Getting down to 78.4 would seem like a relief at this point. I know my diet was not good today, but the results should not be this bad. The only thing I can think of is that maybe I lost too much yesterday, so the body is retaining weight to “compensate” for that. I really don’t know, though.

If you read yesterday’s blog, you will now understand what I meant about not celebrating after a great day. You have no idea what is going to happen the next day. You could gain it all back. That is exactly what is happening to me today.

Only 30 minutes before the final weigh-in, I was still at 78.6 kg. Disaster is about to be confirmed. I have not had such a wild 2-day swing in a while, but it’s not unprecedented. I am just going to remain optimistic because I am still ahead on this diet, and this is the worst day I have seen so far. Records (both good and bad) have to be broken at some point.

I lost .1 kg more and finished at 78.5 kg. So I gained back all the weight lost yesterday. Still, the overall results are fine.

Day 30 – gained .2 kg
Day 31 – gained .1 kg
Day 32 – lost .5 kg
Day 33 – gained .5 kg
Overall Result: lost 2.5 kg

“No Exercise” Days: lost 1.2 kg – 31 days
Simultaneous “No Exercise” Portion: lost .2 kg – 2 days
All “No Exercise” Stats: lost 1.4 kg in 33 days
Exercise Days: lost 1.3 kg – 2 days
30-min Days: lost .3 kg – 1 day
90-min Days: lost 1.0 kg – 1 day
Day After Exercising: gained .5 kg – 2 days
Average of Day Of Exercise And Day After: lost .8 kg – 2 sets of 2 days

Days of Small Weight Loss Not Usually a Big Concern

I have now gained a little weight each of the past 2 days. So I am now trying to avoid a 3rd day of gain.

With a system that is close to breakeven, it’s important to remember that there will be a fair amount of days with weight gain. In fact, this is going to be true even if you are losing weight overall. When I was losing 68 pounds, I had many days of weight gain. And when reaching my target weight and starting Pentamize maintenance phase, the percentage of days with weight gain rose dramatically even with a majority of days included a 90-minute run.

About the most days in a row of weight loss (or breaking even) that I have had in 2 years has still been only about 12 days. When exercising, I still occasionally gain weight 4 or 5 days in a row. So it is true that my record streak of weight loss is longer than my record streak of weight gain.

The point I am making is that small weight gains of .1 or .2 kg (about .2 to .5 pounds) are quite normal and not much different than a breakeven day as long as the majority of your days are showing weight loss. This is true when you are still trying to actually lose weight. But it can also be true in maintenance phase if you are prone to having cheat days. Let’s look at an example:

1. You have a cheat day and gain .7 kg. That is only one day of weight gain, but it’s a pretty big increase.
2. Now, unless you can literally lose .7 kg the next day, you are generally going to need more days of weight loss than weight gain to get back to even. Here is a sample:

a. lose .2 kg
b. lose .3 kg
c. gain .1 kg
d. lose .2 kg
e. lose .1 kg

In this situation, which is very typical in my experience, you need 4 days of weight loss to 2 days of weight gain to recover from the one big cheat day. The less cheat days you have, though, the less times you will have to struggle to recover in this manner. There is no way to give an exact percentage, but frequent cheating can make it difficult just to maintain and even more difficult to actively lose.

I am off to an unusually good start today. After the first 3 meals, my weight had only increased to 78.9 (after waiting a bit and going to the bathroom). This has the potential to be a really big day if I just stay the course. Although the last 2 days have not been that bad, it would still be nice to avoid a 3rd day in a row of gaining weight.

The 4th snack consisted of some smoothies, and it just about doubled my daily weight increase. I was at 79.4 after that, but it still puts me in decent shape, at only .9 kg over. That is about where I am usually at with 2 snacks to go for the day.

I did not weigh in again until about 5 in the morning, when I was at about 78.9 kg. That looks like a low-to-average overnight loss, and it appears to give me a pretty good chance of losing weight by the end of this 24-hour daily period.

Holy smokes. Between 5 and 9, I lost about .8 kg, getting down to 78.1. That put me at a large weight loss for the day of.4, and with another hour left until the official weigh-in. In that hour, I lost .1 kg more, finishing at 78.0 and a weight loss of .5 kg.

While I technically ate only 5 snacks, the smoothie snack was more or less 2 snacks in 1. So I don’t think that’s the reason for losing so much weight today. I actually had 2 different snack with smoothies, but the first one, with strawberries was pretty small. The bigger one included avocado, celery, and apple. Of course, both contained milk. I suspect that smoothies are good for my diet, but that is a hard thing to track. Read tomorrow’s blog post for some ideas on how to possibly do that.

Day 30 – gained .2 kg
Day 31 – gained .1 kg
Day 32 – lost .5 kg
Overall Result: lost 3.0 kg

“No Exercise” Days: lost 1.7 kg – 30 days
Simultaneous “No Exercise” Portion: lost .2 kg – 2 days
All “No Exercise” Stats: lost 1.9 kg in 32 days
Exercise Days: lost 1.3 kg – 2 days
30-min Days: lost .3 kg – 1 day
90-min Days: lost 1.0 kg – 1 day
Day After Exercising: gained .5 kg – 2 days
Average of Day Of Exercise And Day After: lost .8 kg – 2 sets of 2 days

Testing Diet And Exercise In Phases

Yesterday, my streak of 6 days in a row of not gaining weight came to an end. On the 7th day, I gained .2 kg. However, that is still a weight loss of .3 g over the past 7 days. And after 32 days of tracking the snacks-only diet, I am still .6 kg under the start even when including all cheat days and semi-cheat days.

The total is more than 32 days, but the cheat days are included within the total period. What this means is that I have discovered a method of at least breaking even or coming very close to it even with some cheat days in between the normal snacks-only days. The other crucial factor is that I have had almost no exercise, so this system is going to be getting even better soon. What I have done so far is mostly what you might refer to as Phase I of the test. Phase II will include a lot of running. I am considering a Phase III, which will include weightlifting/calisthenics instead of running if I do it. And if I do a Phase III, it will be weightlifting only so I can compare running to weightlifting. Mixing these two exercises into the same time period, such as on alternating days, could produce unreliable results.

Even though alternating can call into question the validity of results, there is yet another potential problem. If I run for some weeks, get down to my target weight, and then level off because the body doesn’t need to lose any more weight, then starting weightlifting/calisthenics at that point would yield results that cannot be compared to the running results. One solution is to do only running for a week, only weightlifting the next week, and then keep alternating on a weekly basis. While this might not yield perfectly reliable comparative results, it may be the best option among a list of imperfect options. Doing it this way, the results should yield at least a decent estimate. For your purposes and mine (losing weight), the most important thing is finding what works for you, not yielding a perfect scientific result. And your results aren’t going to apply exactly to anyone else, anyway, since everyone gets somewhat different results.

I was at .9 kg over (79.3) with 2 snacks to go today. As long as I follow the plan, this has a chance of being a very good day.

The day did not work out very well even though I maxed out at only about 1.2 kg over. The weight just didn’t come off quite as expected, but I did go down 1.1 kg and finished with the minimum weight gain of .1 kg (78.5 from a start of 78.4).

Day 26 – lost .2 kg
Day 27 – lost .2 kg
Day 28 – lost .1 kg
Day 29 – broke even
Day 30 – gained .2 kg
Day 31 – gained .1 kg
Overall Result: lost 2.5 kg

“No Exercise” Days: lost 1.2 kg – 29 days
Simultaneous “No Exercise” Portion: lost .2 kg – 2 days
All “No Exercise” Stats: lost 1.4 kg in 31 days
Exercise Days: lost 1.3 kg – 2 days
30-min Days: lost .3 kg – 1 day
90-min Days: lost 1.0 kg – 1 day
Day After Exercising: gained .5 kg – 2 days
Average of Day Of Exercise And Day After: lost .8 kg – 2 sets of 2 days

Can I go 7 days in a row without gaining weight and even with no exercise?

My normal testing procedure for new diet or exercise routines is to get about 20 or 21 days of results. Or to put it another way, I like to get about 3 weeks of results. The reason for this is because you don’t know whether you are starting a new experiment on what may be an unusually good or bad streak.

In the case of the snacks-only diet, I am now well past 3 weeks and have completed 29 days. If we count 30 days as a month, then today will mark one month of tracking on this regimen.

The last 6 days have been one of those good streaks. If this were the beginning of the test, I would be cautiously optimistic but not coming to any conclusions yet. But since I have 29 days under my belt, I can safely conclude that these are realistic long-term results, not merely a short-term lucky streak. No, I do not mean average results. The last 6 days are definitely a hot streak and probably better than average. But it is the type of streak that is not a weird anomaly among an otherwise failed system. It is a nice streak in a successful diet regimen.

Let me give some words of caution, though. Just because you find a successful diet regimen that is working this month or this year, it does not necessarily mean it is going to achieve the same results forever. Even if you maintain the same diet and even the same exercise, your body may change in unforeseeable ways. This may require a modification of your diet or exercise. When I say that I have found a successful diet, then I mean it is successful at the present time. Barring any negative changes in my metabolism or other body functions, this will hopefully remain successful without modification. But there is no such guarantee.

My ankle does not feel 100% healed yet. This has convinced me to hold off on starting exercise again. When I do start back up, the good thing is that I will be in position to take a break when needed instead of being forced to work out almost every day. I am still over the moon that I can at least take a break when my body actually needs it. My ankles sure don’t seem to be built for running about 40 miles a week.

I still need to run full test of the snacks-only diet with exercise. It will be especially interesting to see if I can easily get back down to my target weight of 75.0 kg and, if so, how much lower I can go. When I previously bottomed out at 75.0 kg for 3 straight weeks while running 90 minutes almost every day, was that because of my diet at that time? With this new diet, will I keep losing weight even after reaching 75.0 kg again?

Today, I was 79.6 after combining the last 2 snacks into 1. Before that, I was doing just fine, sitting at only .8 kg over for the day (78.2 to 79.0).

I waited too long for the 5th snack, getting too hungry. This was a tactical error on my part, and it may well have killed my 6-day streak. It’s possible to lose 1.4 kg in 13 hours. I even did that yesterday. But it’s borderline and could easily end my streak. This still needs to be recorded as a snacks-only day because errors are part of a diet plan. All-out cheat days don’t count, but small errors must be counted (at least in my opinion) since small errors are bound to happen from time to time.

I was still at 79.0 when waking up at 6 in the morning. I was not expecting something this bad. Not sure
what to make of it, but I do know that I have 4 hours left until the weigh-in. That is hopefully enough time to at least come within .3 or .4 of breaking even. What a brutal result!

Fortunately, I kept on losing weight after waking up. I was down to about 78.6 with 2 1/2 hours to go before the final weigh-in. That gives me an outside chance at breaking even, but at least I will get within .1 to .3 kg of it even if my streak is over.

With 20 minutes to go, I had only dropped to 78.5. There is not enough time to break even now, as I already finished going to the bathroom. I was only able to squeeze out .1 kg more, finishing at 78.4 kg. That is a daily weight gain of .2 kg. While it’s not possible to prove this, it’s likely that that last meal is what hurt me today. It was a small mistake, but sometimes small mistakes are enough to ruin an otherwise good day. Anyway, even with this, I am still doing great overall on the snacks-only diet.

Day 24 – broke even
Day 25 – broke even
Day 26 – lost .2 kg
Day 27 – lost .2 kg
Day 28 – lost .1 kg
Day 29 – broke even
Day 30 – gained .2 kg
Overall Result: lost 2.6 kg

“No Exercise” Days: lost 1.3 kg – 28 days
Simultaneous “No Exercise” Portion: lost .2 kg – 2 days
All “No Exercise” Stats: lost 1.5 kg in 30 days
Exercise Days: lost 1.3 kg – 2 days
30-min Days: lost .3 kg – 1 day
90-min Days: lost 1.0 kg – 1 day
Day After Exercising: gained .5 kg – 2 days
Average of Day Of Exercise And Day After: lost .8 kg – 2 sets of 2 days

Trying For 6th Day In a Row Of Not Gaining Any Weight

In the first 28 days of trying the snacks-only diet, I have seen the same up-and-down streaks seen throughout my entire Pentamize tracking history. This is true whether I am trying a snacks-only diet with no exercise or a 90-minute run.

I will say that I have only done one day with a 90-minute run and the snacks-only diet. This might not ever result in a weight gain until I reach my target weight, where the body may refuse to lose weight. But that would be for a good reason since it would mean I have already lost enough. At any rate, testing of the snacks-only diet with 60-minute and 90-minute runs and some other durations is my next step. Time will tell.

I just happen to be on a nice 5-day streak at the moment, having either broken even or lost weight. I broke even on Days 1 and 2 and have lost the past 3. The total weight lost on these days has been .5 kg, for an average of .1 kg per day. That is a little more than my 28-day average of .06 kg of weight loss per day.

At this time, there are only 2 downsides I see to the snacks-only diet. The first is the obvious one, which is that you tend to stay a little hungry and are never totally full. The second is that there are a lot of dishes, especially when adding drinks other than water, that you probably won’t be able to eat at all. A medium-sized hamburger with all the trimmings (even with nothing on the side) is probably too big for one snack. So you may have trouble eating out unless you change some of your habits. Even many appetizer dishes are too big.

One solution to this is to get something you like but eat only one snack worth of it and take the rest home with you. This is sometimes easier said than done. It can take significant willpower, particularly if you are with a group of people who are scarfing down all their food.

Compared to many other diets, though, the positive part of a snacks-only diet is that you can presumptively eat anything you want, just in a lesser amount than you might want. This diet plan focuses on the amount that you eat instead of a strong focus on what you eat. You can still eat too much bad food, and it is up to you to test and track to determine how much is too much. This is why I say you can presumptively eat what you want and instead of never being able to eat certain things. However, eating 2 pounds of sugar a day is probably not going to work.

The point I am making is that I would personally never try a diet routine which says I can NEVER eat this, that, or the other. But I am perfectly willing to try a diet plan that focuses on moderation. This is exactly what a snacks-only diet is – a way to eat in moderation instead of strictly limiting what you eat.

Do you really think you are going to get fat on a few grams of sugar a day? Highly doubtful. So if you can limit the bad food by eating it in moderation instead of totally getting rid of it, why try a diet that says you can never eat what you want? If a snacks-only diet doesn’t work for you, then try a strict diet if necessary. Are you really going to never eat sugar the rest of your life? If you can honestly say that, then try one of those super strict diets. But if you cannot honestly see yourself doing that, then maybe learning to eat everything in moderation is the way to go for you. This is what has been working for me. Ultimately, though, you won’t know what is the right fit for you until you actually try it for at least a few weeks.

Today, I started at 78.2 kg. Most of my snacks have been even smaller than usual this time, so I have already had about 4 to 5 snacks. However, as I said, they have been just a few bites in some cases. At 2:45 p.m, I weighed 79.0 kg. This is a bit more than usual, so I should probably be careful the rest of the day. For example, I was only .9 kg above for the day at bedtime last night. If I am not more careful the rest of the day, my streak may be over. But as always, I am not going to starve to keep a streak alive.

At 4:30, I was at 79.1. I have consumed a whole lot of water today, which may have some effect on my current weight. Actually, though, it’s not even that bad. I just need to continue being careful to have small snacks only. As I have observed many times, all it takes is one oversized meal to screw up an entire day.

My snack at 6 in the evening was a cucumber with red pepper sauce. The red pepper sauce is a good way to add a little flavor instead of a high-calorie salad dressing.

Cucumber is obviously a healthy snack, but that and water is making my weight go up more than on the usual snacks-only diet day. I got up to 79.6 kg after that, with one snack to do. Sometimes, that weight is reduced by morning, and sometimes it is not. Anyway, it is probably okay in the long run even if it appears to hurt me today. I am going to have my last snack, anyway, since it doesn’t seem like I have made any mistakes.

I did start to lose fast and was back down to 79.3 within only about an hour after the last snack, which was quite small. If that keeps up, I may still have a good day.

Overnight was pretty good. I was 78.4 when getting up, which puts me on pace to break even. At a minimum, it will at least turn out to be a decent day.

As expected, I broke even. This does keep the streak alive at 6 days, although 3 of them are breakeven days. But it’s still 6 days without gaining weight on any of those individual days.

Day 24 – broke even
Day 25 – broke even
Day 26 – lost .2 kg
Day 27 – lost .2 kg
Day 28 – lost .1 kg
Day 29 – broke even
Overall Result: lost 2.8 kg

“No Exercise” Days: lost 1.5 kg – 27 days
Simultaneous “No Exercise” Portion: lost .2 kg – 2 days
All “No Exercise” Stats: lost 1.7 kg in 29 days
Exercise Days: lost 1.3 kg – 2 days
30-min Days: lost .3 kg – 1 day
90-min Days: lost 1.0 kg – 1 day
Day After Exercising: gained .5 kg – 2 days
Average of Day Of Exercise And Day After: lost .8 kg – 2 sets of 2 days