The only redeeming feature of “The Plunge” (an 800′ drop in 300 yards in ankle deep dust) on the Wasatch course is that it marks mile 89 on the course and is the last really nasty obstacle between runners and a finisher’s buckle. By contrast, Day 89 of the Wasatch 100 diet plan was a celebration as I’ve now lost 32 pounds and am nearing 150 pounds. I had nearly convinced myself that, at age 61, I would never see that morning weight again.
Science Behind the Insanity of the Diet Plan
There’s considerable science behind crashing from a pudgy 187 pounds to a lean and mean 152 in just 3 months. Those 3 months found me recovering from May 30th hamstring reattachment surgery, a factor that I believe actually helped me lose weight on my diet plan. How so?
First of all, I’ve used simple but strict calorie counting to lose weight for this diet plan. Measuring cups and spoons, digital food scales and calorie count websites were invaluable. I’ve averaged about 1300 calories per day but burned about 2600. From experience, I know I can’t sustain high intensity training with such a big, 1300 calorie deficit. Here’s where the injury probably helped.
My hamstring injury (complete proximal hamstring rupture) forced me to limit my 1-2 hours of daily physical activity to the elliptical trainer, weight room, walking paths and eventually gentle cycling. Of necessity, these were done at a low heart rate, well within the “fat burn zone” below 70% maximum heart rate. This means my body was able to pull the 1300 extra calories it needed per day from my abundant fat stores. Had I been training hard at a higher percentage of max, my body could not have kept up and I would have crashed.
I’ve tracked my fat loss using a simple set of body fat calipers, giving me confidence that I haven’t been losing critical muscle mass. Each day I reached a Wasatch weigh-in mile marker, out came the calipers to measure fat on the same 6 sites each time. These are: front of left thigh; back of left calf; left of navel; left upper chest; right waist at belt line; and back fat roll above belt line. On September 2nd (Day 24), the sum of these 6 fat measurements was 128 millimeters. By September 18th (Lambs Canyon, Day 52) it was down to 93 mm, on Oct. 14th (Brighton Lodge, Day 75) down to 64mm – showing I’d lost about 50% of my fat stores. I estimate I’ll hit the finish line with less than 50 mm fat, my Wasatch-ready target.
Diet Plan Finish Line In Sight
With just over 10 days until the finish line, I’m confident of making 100 consecutive days, completing my symbolic 20th Wasatch 100. I’d like to drop 2 more pounds. My plan is to keep counting calories and continue my daily weigh-ins to keep my weight between 150 to155 pounds. For me that’s pretty light…probably 9% body fat which is thin for a 60 year old man.
Next Blog – Diet Plan Finish Line and Plans for Wasatch #20 plus Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks – Reinventing My Running Form After 35 Years