Body Recomposition – Part 1


Proposing to do a test on myself with the following goals:

  1. Improve HbA1C number (HbA1C is a lab test which shows the Blood Sugar over the previous three months)
    July 2017: 5.8 (Low end of Pre-Diabetic level)
    Goal: < 5.6 (Below bottom of Pre-Diabetic levels)
  2. Lose weight to reach 15% Body Fat (Visualize Body Fat percentages)
    [Changed goal later to 20.9%]
  3. Barring any injury, be able to do exercise throughout entire test (CrossFit)
    Submaximally is OK (<85% of max level)
  4. Conserve current LBM (Lose Weight but not muscle)
    Possibly add LBM?
  5. Maintain current metabolic levels.
    The same thing as saying not to eat at a net calorie deficit.


The means to this end is a form of the Protein Sparing Modified Fast:

A protein-sparing modified fast (PSMF) is a very low calorie diet with some protein, fluids, and vitamin and mineral supplementation.

I don’t plan on doing this using very-low-calories but with an adequate level of calories to not lower my metabolism. The source of calories will come from both body fat and from macro-nutrients consumed.

See also Very-low-carbohydrate diets and preservation of muscle mass.

The Math

Some math is required. Some of this is constants (values which don’t change) and some of it is variables (numbers which you can play with). Part of the variables relate to weights and measurements. Some of the variables change day to day.

Constants and Variables

MacroNutrients to Achieve Goals

There are only three macronutrients in this world (other than alcohol). They are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Selecting the right mix and amount of each of these three macronutrients is what any diet is about.

Low Carbohydrates

Of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates have the most effect on blood sugar and are the lest important macronutrient for function. It is necessary to stay at a low carbohydrate level to maintain a low blood sugar level.

I plan on sticking with the 20 grams of carbs per day limit. This number will not change over the course of this experiment. The source will continue to be green vegetables.

Protein for LBM preservation and Gainz

The Protein Sparing Modified Fast provides enough protein to maintain LBM and a little extra protein to cover muscle building. Dr Fung has a lower value for this number than most of the other sources (0.61 g/kg/day). KetoGains has a number of 0.8 g/lb/day of LBM.

For my LBM of 156 lbs, that’s 124.8 grams of protein per day. This number will not change over the course of this experiment since I want to maintain my LBM. I don’t want this number to be higher because it will lead to GNG or lower because it will lead to LBM loss.

Fat Level

When I have done long fasts, the lack of fat during the fast put me at a metabolic deficit. I could see this was true from my body temperature which was cold. I had enough energy to walk and function but was quickly tired by any exercise.

What gets left over after carbs and fat are determined is the amount of fat. Rather than High Fat or Moderate Fat of the typical LCHF/Keto diet, dietary fat is only used to make up the difference between the fat oxidation rate and the number of calories needed to not drop the base metabolic rate.

On day 1, that is only 17 grams of fat – about 1/2T of butter a day. That is quite a bit lower than I am currently doing but that’s probably why I am not losing weight. If I go over this number it will decrease my daily deficit and I will lose weight slower.

Intermittent Fasting

In the short term, I plan to do this experiment by continuing to feed one time per day. This is convenient and helps me keep my Insulin levels as long as possible. I may experiment with the timing of this one meal or may split it into a pre and post workout meal.

Testing the Results

Any good experiment requires some evaluation criteria against the goals. For this experiment I will:

Proposing to do a test on myself with the following goals:

Goal: Improve HbA1C number

Measurement: Get test done of HbA1C on Jan 1 for  < 5.6. Surrogate will be 90-day average blood sugar of 110 or less.

Goal: Reach 15% Body Fat

Measurement:  Use Visualize Body Fat percentages to check body fat percentage. Get third party to check from the pictures. Alternately use BodPod or DEXA scan test.

Goal: Be able to do exercise throughout transition

Measurement: Stick with current CrossFit with minimum average attendance record of 3 days per week. Stretch goal of 4 days per week (only open 5 days per week). Submaximal performance is OK although I would like to be able to complete at least 50% of timed WODs in the allowed times.

Goal: Maintain current LBM

Measurement: Same as Body Fat % Goal.

Goal: Maintain current metabolic levels.

Will know if this works if end weight is maintainable.

Best thing is this all could be done by Christmas!

Author: Doug

I'm an Engineer who is also a science geek. I was pre-diabetic in 1996 and became a diabetic in 2003. I decided to figure out how to hack my diabetes and in 2016 found the ketogetic diet which reversed my diabetes.

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