Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
In 2010, I got fat.
OK, maybe not quite as fat as I’d gotten in 2008, but close.
In 2008 I was barely a year into barbell lifting and following Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program as well as StrongLifts 5 x 5. With chasing ever heavier squats I was doing the GOMAD (Gallon of Milk a Day) program and ramping my body up to a record weight of 252 pounds.
Like many Americans, I lost my job later that fall. Unlike many Americans, I used my unemployment time to get in the best shape of my life, up to that point. Working out with self-directed CrossFit metcons and barbell work mixed with intermittent fasting, I dropped down to around 211 pounds and felt great, thought my girlfriend (now wife) thought I looked too skinny. It wouldn’t be the last time I’d hear that complaint.
In summer of 2009, I found my next job at a firm Alex P. Keaton would admire. After having been off work for nine months, I eagerly worked 50+ hour weeks on top of an hour commute each way to the Loop. I barely had time to eat after I got home from work, let alone work out. My weekends were spent DJing as I’d booked a ton of gigs to supplement my unemployment checks, not knowing when I’d land another day job.
Living on mochas and a mix of Potbelly subs and Chipotle burritos, I was putting back on all the weight I’d stripped off earlier in the year. Soon I ditched the carbs for more Paleo-friendly Chipotle bols and salads, I dove headfirst into the world of heavy cream and fat. The Paleo world was adamant that you could eat all you want of fat in place of carbs and not get fat myself.
Um, not quite.
I have a pretty hearty appetite and downing a cup of heavy whipping cream in my mochas took no effort at all. And still left me hungry.
Needless to say, I put on quite a bit of pudge around my waist in addition to not being able to work out. I tried hitting the local gym in the Loop over lunch, but combined with my crazy work hours and lack of sleep from twice-weekly acting classes, I wore myself into the ground and came down with one of the worst sinus infections I’ve ever had.
I was a mess.
l also got engaged that September (affectionately celebrated as Pearl Harbor Day by George H. W. Bush fans), and soon got busy planning for the wedding on top of everything else. At that point, I didn’t want to be fat any more since I was going to have my morning coat made for me.
That’s when I jumped on Lyle McDonald’s Rapid Fat Loss diet. It was nearing Halloween and my acting classes were about over and work was slowing down. I had more time to devote to working out and eating right. Kicking it off with a crash diet seemed like a sensible plan. Sure, why not?
I ordered the book and studied the material – high protein mixed with trace carbs and essential fatty acids.
He likens it to a protein-sparing, modified fast. I called it “Eat more chicken and then eat some more with still more for dessert.”
That was basically the diet along with a bag of broccoli topped with salt and soy sauce for dinner. I ate like that for nearly two weeks starting November 1. I dropped weight like crazy and wasn’t as ravenously hungry as I thought I’d be. By Friday the 12th I was ready for my weigh-in and more dieting.
I broke two toes that morning. I woke up and kicked the door jam walking into our spare bedroom which led into my bathroom.
When two of your toes are blackish-purple and attached at right angles, dieting is the furthest thing from your mind.
It had been a successful diet up to that point, dropping nearly 20 pounds. I had to put it on hold, though, until I healed up. Then I got word the following Monday that my job was being moved to NYC. Um, I didn’t want to move to NYC. Oh well, it was time for me to find a new job. Happy Holidays!
I landed a new job in short order where I remain to this day and started in January. After a week of training, I dove into the diet again after a pig-out weekend filled with homemade cinnamon rolls.
This time, I stayed healthy and kept to the diet for months. I didn’t quite follow it correctly, and probably ate too much chicken, but it still worked.
Reference note – when counting chicken protein amounts, just go with 8 grams per pound of pre-cooked weight to make it easy.
My fiancee wasn’t too hip on the diet as I could be pretty militant when it comes to adherence. There were a few nights we went out to eat and it wasn’t a free meal for me so I stuck with just eating chicken and veggies.
My co-workers could tell when I was on the diet, too, as I’d eat a chicken breast at 1:00 and then another at 4:00 on a daily basis with massive amounts of coffee throughout the rest of the day. Then I’d go home and eat another for dinner with the broccoli and soy sauce.
I also did a lot of walking instead of taking the bus and in April I got a membership to Bally’s near our apartment and started going there to walk on the treadmill every morning. I worked out with weights twice a week doing the full-body workout prescribed in the book.
By June I managed to get down to 212 pounds before moving onto Lyle’s next creation, the Ultimate Diet 2.0. More on that in another review but that’s more of a cyclical ketogenic diet. I did that for six weeks and got to a ripped 203 pounds by mid-July. My fiancee and a lot of my friends complained I was too skinny.
All in all, Rapid Fat Loss was a success for me and I’d go on to do it at various times over the next few years. Each time it worked as advertised. It’s not the easiest and I’m sure I probably wasn’t the easiest person to be around but I coudln’t argue with success.