7 Day Carb Depletion Diet – The Results
Diets come in many forms. At its most basic level, a diet is nothing more than the type of food you consume on a daily basis. Changing what you eat changes the makeup of your body. This is nothing new. That is why people say, “I’m going on a diet.” They are making a change to their current eating habits to achieve a result of some kind. This was the case when I decided to try the carb depletion diet. Here is my experience.
Before the Carb Depletion Diet
When I first began weight training I hired a personal trainer. He coached me for a few months showing me the proper form and also advising me what to eat. As a naturally skinny guy, the first thing he told me was to eat more. He wrote up a diet plan that included eating 5-6 times a day.
At the time I was a bit naive. He was an amateur bodybuilder and almost certainly on steroids. He wrote up a diet plan that would be given to someone who is using gear. Which was not me. After a few months of eating a massive amount of sweet potatoes and chicken, I began to get fat.
Yes, you can still get fat eating a “clean” diet.
It took me a while to notice I was gaining weight. I was lifting 4-5 times a week and my newbie gains created an illusion. It was tough to tell if I was getting fatter or gaining muscle. In reality, it was both.
However, one day stands out. I stepped on the scale and weighed 204 lbs. My journey began with me weighing 165 lbs standing 6’2″. In total, I’d gained 40lbs in a little over a year. Looking in the mirror my face was bloated and I couldn’t see my abs. My body was telling me no more.
At first, I thought it was cool. My entire life was spent eating whatever I wanted and never gaining a single pound. The last year was different. Eating 5-6 meals a day finally caught up to me. My training couldn’t outpace the number of calories I was taking in.
With steroids, my body most likely would have used the extra calories. Without them, the calories went unused and instead turned to fat storage. I knew I had to change things.
Making a Change
Around this time I moved and joined a new gym. The members of the gym all seem to gravitate towards a single trainer. After a few weeks of interacting with him, we agreed on training together.
The first thing he asked me about was my diet. I told him about my first trainer and showed him the diet plan he wrote for me. My new training partner told me what I already knew. The diet plan was too much. He suggested I try a 7-day carb depletion diet. After a bit of discussion, I agreed. Here is my experience.
What is a Carb Depletion Diet?
There are a number of ways to do a carb depletion diet. With the one I did, you completely cut carbs for 7 days. You replace them with protein, lots of green vegetables and fats. This forces your body to burn fat stores since you are consuming fewer calories. At first glance, this seems to make sense.
Cutting carbs are cutting calories. Unless those calories are replaced by other calories your body will burn more calories than it consumes. Thus forcing your body to burn energy from within you, such as fat storages. By continuing to consume protein and fats you are still giving your body some calories. This is different than fasting where you consuming nothing but water.
I’m not a doctor or even a dietary expert. To claim I know the science behind the mechanisms at work with this diet would be criminal. However, I can give you my experience and results from my own 7-day carb depletion diet.
For my 7-day carb depletion, I cut out a total of 800-1000 of 3000 calories per day. In total, I was consuming approximately 2000 calories of nothing but protein, greens, and fats.
The first few days I didn’t notice much chance in my hunger, body composition or training intensity. However, by day 3 my body started to realize what was going on. I started having extreme cravings for carbs. Specifically sugary carbs. This was interesting because I barely ate sugary carbs, to begin with.
Getting Through It
Day 3 was leg day. The training session was brutal. Since this was my first time doing a carb depletion I figured you trained like you normally would with carbs. This was not the case. My energy level was a fraction of what I normally brought to a weight training session. (I would not recommend compound lifts while on this diet.)
The next day I was terribly sore. It felt like the first time I did squats. I could barely walk. It was day 4 and my body was begging for carbs. Day 4 training session was just as miserable as legs. On top of my lack of energy, my mind was becoming cloudy. After a half ass back workout, I went home and passed out.
Days 5 and 6 were spent resting and recuperating. I was determined to see the carb depletion diet through.
Finally, came day 7. The refeed day. With the carb depletion diet, I was told the final day you get to pig out. You eat as much as you want. Since you’ve been eating below your maintenance calorie level your body is in a state of starvation. At the end of 7 days, you eat a bunch of carbs. This supposedly has the effect of jump-starting your body out of starvation and into growth.
Sunday night I ate everything in sight. Mash potatoes, a couple slices of pizza, oatmeal with my favorite protein powder (this) and ice cream with berries. I was stuffed. The next day I woke up and felt great. My mind was clear and I was full of energy. My gym sessions quickly returned to normal.
After 7-days of hell, these were the results. In total, I lost 5lbs. While I was staying hydrated my skin looked considerably tighter. I also noticed over the next month I continued to get leaner. After the carb depletion, I keep my carbs in check. The number of carbs I craved dropped considerably. My training intensity remained high afterward despite the reduction in carbs.
There were also unexpected psychological benefits. It was nice to know I could conquer my body with my mind. It was an achievement I can look back on and feel really good about. Dieting takes discipline. I proved to myself that I can be disciplined and achieve a goal.
Have you ever dieted? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments.
PS: Modafinil can be a game-changer as far as warding off hunger. I can’t recommend it enough. Learn more here.