In part 1 of this series, I wrote in detail my experience (thus far) with a vegetarian diet and also shared my results both from a feel perspective and a body composition perspective. In this part, I will attempt to answer an important question that most definitely popped up in your head when you read the previous post.
If I ate to appetite, didn’t count calories, ate ice-cream/chocolate pretty often and did not do anything specific to actually lose fat, how did I end up losing fat?
Every change in the human body is a result of an action and this was no exception. Here are some of the reasons for the unplanned fat loss.
- Lack of calories.
The shift to a vegetarian diet built around vegetables and fruit meant a sudden drop in calories especially since I wasn’t counting calories and eating to appetite. Vegetables and fruits are low in calories in general and eating even huge amount of the same won’t result in packing in too many calories. On the other hand, if I had moved to a vegetarian diet rich in grains and nuts, the opposite would’ve happened.
- Enough protein.
Though I didn’t eat any meat and though it seemed like I got only a few grams of protein (from dairy, whey and eggs), vegetables contain plenty of protein (more than carbs) and when consuming vegetables in the amounts I do, they are a significant contributor to total protein.
- Intermittent fasting.
We all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If fat loss is desired, hunger needs to be tolerated. When you choose to feel hungry depends on each person. While some go the 6 meals a day route restricting calories, feeling hungry and dissatisfied throughout the day, I chose to deal with hunger during the first part of the day by skipping breakfast. This creates a calorie deficit which isn’t compensated for even after eating lunch and dinner to appetite (due to reasons mentioned above).
- Elevated leptin.
If you remember my previous post, I mentioned that I went on a junk food spree during my last 2 weeks in the US. Junk food in general is high in carbs and in calories and my gorging on such food rich in calories and carbs could’ve possibly elevated my leptin levels. This followed by a sudden drop in calories could be the reason for such accelerated fat loss. For those not familiar with the concept, this is why cheat meals help you get past stubborn plateaus.
- Consistent resistance training.
If you did check out the specifics of my workout routine in the Facebook page you’d have noticed that I regularly trained for strength and speed. The goal of my training was ‘muscle stimulation’ which basically means to train a muscle or move only enough to stimulate it (and hence force growth) and not train to failure. Or in other words… smart training.
You guys know I’m not selling you anything and I’m not the one to scam you by making you believe that my way of fat loss is easy. So when I (or anyone else for that matter) say I ate to appetite, ate junk and plenty of fruit everyday and still lost fat without really trying, realize that there is more to the equation.
But, like I’ve said before, fat loss and health are (most times) two different things. Unless you are morbidly obese, losing fat is a short phase in your life or at least it should be. That said, let’s jump from mere short-term fat loss to long term health. From a long term health perspective, is this diet healthy? In order to answer that question we need to address three very important requirements.
2. Food quality
3. Essential micros and macros
I’ve had a long and rough day today and so I’ll stop here. But in the next post, I will discuss these three points and take an unbiased look at ‘vegetarian eating’. Should I even say that post will rile up some folks? Stay tuned!