For those that did not follow along, I took up Andrew 'SpudFit' Taylor's "Spudtember Challenge" to eat nothing but potatoes for an entire month. Andrew, in contrast, was working on his ninth month of a yearlong potato diet.
During the month I lost a total of 12 pounds. Keep in mind, I have been at a healthy weight for several years maintaining my weight in the 185 pound range (I'm 5'11). I've been wanting to get rid of a couple extra pounds that I carry around my belly, but mostly I just wanted to explore a longer all-potato diet than my recommended 3-5 day "hacks."
Thirty days is a long time! And I had a hard time staying 100% compliant, but it was easy enough to do a diet where 98% of my calories were from potatoes. Mostly all-potato meals with an occasional "cheat," as they say.
One critique I often get from those first introduced to the Potato Hack is that the weight lost is all water-weight, or muscle. I can say confidently that this is not the case.
First time dieters who are quite overweight will often lose tremendous amounts of weight on an all-potato diet, weight lost in excess of about 1 pound per day is most certainly water-weight. It is unrealistic to believe a person can lose 5 pounds of fat in one day, and then gain it back in another. Systemic inflammation creates this ability to store and flush large amounts of body fluids, often in fat cells. An all-potato diet creates a condition in the body where inflammation is greatly reduced, perhaps through the sealing of the gut and release of toxic compounds such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) from certain bacteria found in the gut, as Dr. Art Ayers from Cooling Inflammation suggested to me in a recent exchange.
At any rate, obese people almost always have inflammation present in their bodies. Once a person finds a way to eliminate this inflammation, weight loss seems to be much easier.
A short-term potato diet creates the perfect conditions for long term weight loss. The antiinflammatory effects of the diet, coupled with reduced caloric intake and completely adequate nutrition allow the body to burn stored fat through most of the day and night, resulting in lasting fat loss. Additionally, an all-potato diet contains ample protein from the amino acids in potatoes to prevent muscle wasting. Andecdotally, I was able to exercise with the same intensity on day 30 of my potato challenge as I was before I started. There was no loss of ability to do pullups, benchpress, and jog 2 miles. Possibly a professional weightlifter or athlete might not receive enough protein in an all-potato diet to continue strenuous muscle-building activities, but for the rest of us, the protein appears completely sufficient, and possibly even in a better amount that on one's regular diet.
I started Spudtember at 184 pounds and ended at 172. Afterwards, there was a slight regain, followed by a drop. Charted out daily, it looks like this.
You'll notice my weight loss became stagnant after three weeks. I was eating lots of potatoes! I think this graph shows the loss of some inflammation early on, a shifting of the weight we carry as gut bacteria, but mostly the loss of excess body fat. A trend for diets that result in a big drop in water weight and subsequent regain look more like this...look familiar to anyone?
My goal this winter, and for the foreseeable future, is to try to keep my weight centered on 172 +/- 3 pounds.
The next couple of posts will discuss weight maintenance by different methods, and potato hacking.
Thoughts? Anyone having trouble maintaining their weight?