The Common Sense Diet: Week One Documented With Conclusions and Plan

Day 1 – 5/4/2020
Described in my previous post. Weight is 194, girth circumference is 40″.

Day 2 – 5/5/2020
I weighed in yesterday (day 1, 5/4/2020) at 194 lb. and today at 190 lb. I do understand that body-weight fluctuates quite a bit largely due to water retention and such. Even so I am down 4 lb. in one day, having weighed myself at the same time of day as on day 1, on the second day and that’s a step in the right direction. Yesterday I did manage to follow the guidelines established in my initial post on the Common Sense Diet. I did a session of pull-ups and body-weight rows. I had two meals with no evidence of piling or mountains shown in yesterday’s post, no alcohol last night, and did manage two short jump rope sessions. My only “snack” yesterday was a small handful of blueberries.

Meal 1 today: Fried eggs, sweet potato, peppers, pear
Poor little dinner today was a busted attempt at a Cinco De Mayo meal. I forgot that we live in a crowded area and everyone would be trying to do the same thing at the same time. We tried 3 restaurants and two hours later, nothing. So we found what we could from the freezer, having nothing to do with Mexican cuisine. But although I was starving (it was 8:00 by the time we gave up on Mexican food) I kept it to one plate and no mountains or seconds. This is pizza, broccoli, falafel, cheese, olives and Tiropita (Greek cheese pie). I feel just fine right now. Had I eaten as much as I thought I wanted, I would be in a food coma.

Day 3 – 5/6/2020
I will only provide detail every day for the first week. I am initially interested in how much weight and how many gut inches I lose in one week. Following the first week I will only post changes or notable details. This morning my weight was 190, same as yesterday. Today I did body weight dips using the backs of chairs, pull/chin ups with a drop set to towel rows, ten minutes of jumping rope, assisted pistol squats, and a short bike ride in the chilly rain. I did the whole thing in micro-workout fashion, or spread throughout the day.

Starting yesterday and continuing today I have noticed less bloating and I no longer feel strongly like I need to take a nap right after eating. My asthma symptoms have improved also.

Meal 1: Eggs, potatoes, sausage, pear, orange. No piling but some crowding. I only ate half the orange.
Meal 2: Burritos with ground beef, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, refried beans, cucumbers. Not pictured: watermelon

Starting today about mid-day I was having really bad acid reflux. It got worse when I started eating and then went away when I finished eating. Might be an adjustment reaction and I hope it goes doesn’t return. I will carry on tomorrow and see how it goes.

Day 4 – 5/7/2020
It comes in fits and starts my friends. I’m stuck at 190 lb for the third day in a row after a 4 lb drop (of likely water weight) after the first day. However, one inch off the girth measurement. I’ll take it! Feeling good, too, which is even better.

Meal 1: a combination of leftovers that have been in the fridge for too long (egg, sausage, falafel, onion, tomato as well as fresh carrot and celery). Celery overload because I’m the only one in the family who likes it and we got a big bunch of it in the farmer box.

Day 5 – 5/8/2020

Meal 1: Scrambled eggs and taco meat in a shell, honeydew

Day 6 – 5/9/2020
Last night was breather night, so I had beer (first time in 6 days) and a sub sandwich with fries. It tasted great but felt horrible. Today my weight is back up to almost what it was at the beginning of this whole things, which I think is not surprising. This clearly shows how much weight fluctuates from day to day and hour to hour, particularly in response to a cheat evening. Honestly, I’m happy that it has not matched or exceeded the first reading, and if it stays below, even a pound below, I will call this a success. Losing a pound a week is what is recommended. The real mission at this point is to keep it up.

Day 7 – 5/10/2020
The final readings are below, and after that, my conclusions and plan.

The glass is cracked. Is that symbolic?
The tape measure does not lie
Greek Mother’s Day breakfast: Eggs in tomato, herbed potatoes, bread, watermelon

Conclusions and Plan

Body weight is meaningless
I weighed 194 when I started this one week ago and did not have a reading that high again the rest of the week. So something changed. Most of the readings during the week were 190, including today. This does not say much, other than that weight itself doesn’t mean anything except in relative terms and as a reflection of something other than body fat. I feel I lost fat but not 4 lb. of fat. At one point during the week my weight was 192.5. I did not lose 4 lb of fat the first day and gain 2.5 of it back during the week and lose those again. This was mostly water and inflammation playing out on the scale, but the fact that I ended lower than I started and trended down throughout the week indicates that I did lose some fat. But these numbers mean nothing at all other than a way to gauge, literally, whether or not something is changing. Not absolute but relative. I know how I feel and I know what I need to do and I need only to stop and feel to realize it. And to look in the mirror. 190 is just plain old too heavy. I know how it feels to bend over and tie my shoes and I know how my gut feels from day to day. The mirror and how you feel are your best measures.

I probably lost one pound of fat in one week, which is actually pretty good
My highest weight was on day one and my ending weight was 4 lbs less. There was fluctuation in between and that can only be from water weight. But I did not fluctuate back to the highest and in fact I stayed at the lowest so I’ll call it 1 lb of fat. That’s the recommended amount of weight to lose in a week, so I am calling this a success.

The eating rules were too extreme too soon
This is important. I broke the rules a number of times. The eating rules I laid out were two meals a day, no seconds, no piling and no snacking. This was way too strict. It is probably a good rule for something like week 4 rather than week 1, and I’ll keep it in the toolbox for when I get to week 4. I stuck to the rules the first two days and I was incredibly hungry. It was also difficult to stick with these rules in a house full of people who are not following them, and especially when I do most of the meal prep and cooking. This is the Common Sense Diet, of course, so it makes more common sense to conform a bit closer to the habits of those around you, particularly when you are on lock-down. It would have been wiser to start with three meals and three snacks or (if you’re a bodybuilder), six small meals. Then work down week by week to the original proposal of two meals and no snacks. But I was going for glory and wanted week 1 to be monumental.

It’s essential to keep track of things in some way
If you don’t keep track of things in some way you will not really know what you are doing and are not doing, and you will likely under-estimate how much you are eating and over-estimate how nutritious it is. It can be a meticulous diary, tracking app, pictures, or journal entries. It can be scribbles. Just something. Two meals only was too restrictive, but six may be too much. What’s the answer? Track it and see how you feel and go from there. You could try a calorie/macro tracker and not worry about the number of meals and snacks. I have spoken against this plenty in the past but it certainly could be a temporary fix for these problems in the early stages of dieting. Not a permanent plan, but a way to get one’s sea legs.

One of the rules made all of the difference and this is obvious
I think clearly the biggest and most effective change was to avoid alcohol during the week. In fact, you might argue that it alone was responsible for any improvements I saw during the week, given how difficult it was for me to stick to the eating rules and the fact that my exercise did not change. If I can keep this behavior alone intact, I think I will continue to see improvements in the weeks and months to come.

Consistency is boring but it’s the only thing that matters in this game
This was one week but it seemed like a month, probably because it occupied so much of my attention. I made great progress in one week and if I can dial in what worked and what didn’t, I will be on track to reach my target weight some time in late summer or early fall. Although that seems like forever from now, it really isn’t. This is the best way to proceed. I like to watch videos on Youtube of people doing amazing things. Some of my favorites are really strong people who aren’t young doing amazing calisthenics, short guys dunking basketballs, and someone playing amazing guitar. What I tend to forget is that it took the subject of the video years and years of practice to get there, so it’s not a big deal to take six months to achieve this particular humble little goal.

Weight loss is simple but not easy
It really is a matter of paying attention to what you are doing, eating well but not eating too much, and making sure all of the other pieces are in place. It doesn’t have to be complicated and involve avoiding entire food groups or enduring temporary starvation. There is a Common Sense way to do this.

Week Two Plan

I feel good about the results form the week, but I do not feel that good in the stomach. I have a lot of digestive issues like bloating and acid reflux. Like it or not, it’s time to drop sugar and wheat. There’s only one way to find out if these likely culprits are to blame. As for the plan, I’m going to dial back the original plan and then work up to it, so for this week, three meals a day, no piling or seconds, and no snacks. I will do a single weigh in and gut measurement at the end of the week. I will also try to quantify my digestive symptoms each day and correlate with meals. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I have a Before picture, but I’m not publishing that until there is an After picture worth showing.


Published by FormIsEverything

Primal health and fitness coach

3 thoughts on “The Common Sense Diet: Week One Documented With Conclusions and Plan

  1. I definitely recommend tracking your calories in. At least to start with anyway. I have made my best fat/weight loss this year because I finally stopped winging it and tracked my calories closely and my steps. I don’t track calories burned during my workouts because to be honest it won’t be that much as I do only enough to get stronger and not enough to burn significant amounts of calories. I aim for a slight deficit each day but don’t always achieve that if I have a large pudding or can’t get enough walking in for whatever reason. I don’t sweat it though because on the whole I know that I’ll lose a little bit each week. Rather than making me stress about the numbers it’s actually freed my mind to focus on other things because I can see in black and white if I’m eating too much or about right and can adjust if I choose. No more hoping for the best. In the past I always ate healthy but just too much. Always underestimating how many calories I was consuming and overestimating how much I burned during exercise.

    I hope you continue to stick to your plan. I think it’s a sound idea and will get you great results with minimal effort. Good luck!


    1. You are right, tracking is the only way to really know. I started using My Fitness Pal this week as a test, but it is annoying me because it keeps asking me to go premium and I keep having to unclick for it to send me daily marketing messages. I may try to find another one. Which one do you use? Thanks for your feedback.


      1. I use my fitness pal as well. I don’t have the premium package, just the basic one and that’s enough for me. I have it linked to my fitbit so it adds my steps and takes that into account when telling me how many calories I have left for the day.

        Liked by 1 person

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