January 1, 2021

Weight Loss and Diet - Keeping the Pounds Off

As many of you know, I had some medical issues in 2016 that resulted in a significant weight loss. After fighting my weight gain for decades, I lost 45 pounds. In so doing I learned some interesting things about weight loss, using my own body as a guinea pig. I have concluded that, in addition to the benefits of exercise and body building, it really is about "calories in, calories out". If you consume less calories than you can burn, you are going to be able to maintain or reduce your weight. Goal: 2,250 calories per day.

To that end, I wanted to find a low calorie breakfast substitute / meal replacement that would work for me. I wanted to find something with about 300 calories that would keep me going until lunchtime.

Now, my absolute favorite meal replacement is the MET Rx Extreme Chocolate Shake. It is thick and very much like a chocolate shake. A terrific product, and one that I have been using it as a breakfast drink for many years. And when I get a craving for a cookie, cake, or chocolate at night, I will sip one of these. I recommend it (best pricing is on Amazon).

But the mad scientist in me wanted badly to create his own protein shake. And so, I set about to build one from ingredients, focused on a 40 gram protein formula. Doing the research of the various protein powders (whey, casein, plant protein) I determined that the price per serving of 40 g is all over the place, depending upon which brand you choose. Marketing. Thus, my gut feeling is, just go with what is most economical for a 40 g per serving product (may be one scoop, may be two). For example, you will see in the above photo that I found a brand in close-out for half price ($35).  Organic Greens can be found at Walmart. The Optifiber comes from Costco. The guar gum ( a superior thickener to xanthan gum which I had been using) is from Bob's Red Mill and I found it in closeout at H-E-B. Be sure to pick up some Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa to make the drink a little more palatable.

The formula (using the scoops provided where applicable):
2 scoops Optifiber
1 or 2 scoops of chocolate flavor protein powder (to build an equivalent of 35-40 grams of protein) your choice of brands
1 tbs Special Dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp guar gum
1 scoop Organic Greens chocolate flavor
20 ounces of ice cold water, or add some ice cubes

All ingredients in a blender, blended until nice and thick. Note: add more guar gum if the thickness is not to your liking.

Here follows the TM/DR ("too much information, didn't read")  portion of this riff:

I was able to use myself as a guinea pig last year when I was on a feeding tube for several months. The liquid nutrient/meal replacement solution that I poured through the tube three times a day was crap. It was whey for protein, canola oil for fat, and high fructose corn syrup for carbohydrates. It was tailored to a daily caloric intake of 2,250 calories. And I did just fine on it. I had lifted weights prior to treatment to bulk up as much as possible, knowing that there would come a time when I couldn't swallow and that all food would taste bad. The rule of thumb is that when you drop your body weight by 10%, it's time to go to a feed tube. So, the first thing that my body turned to for energy were my muscles. As they started to disappear, my body started pulling from my fat storages and weight loss occurred because, at 2,250 calories, I was burning more in a day than the meal replacements were delivering. And the light bulb went off that, at the chemical/molecular level in the stomach and digestive system, the body really doesn't care if you are ingesting canola oil and whey protein, or paté and burgers. So once I had this baseline where I knew that I could sustain myself with "crap", it was just one step forward to realizing that if I maintained a nominal calorie intake, eating in moderation, that I would continue to keep the weight off. In the best of all worlds, that calorie intake should come from, say, a quality protein , some starch such as potatoes, rice, pasta, and pretty much all the vegetable on could tolerate.

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