Colin's Calorie Restriction Journal Back to Index
Colin's Calorie Restriction Journal

In January of 2011 I decided to begin a calorie restriction (CR) regimen. For years I had heard that some impressive results were being uncovered in laboratory experiments regarding the longevity of animals on calorie-restricted diets. In late 2010 I finally found some time to peruse the available literature on the subject and I was pretty blown away. Unlike most other 'diets' that are based on pseudoscience and hearsay, the evidence behind CR has been confirmed in literally thousands of clinical trials. Although the human-based studies are incomplete at this point in time, the overwhelming evidence gleaned thus far indicates that the results observed in the animal trials will translate to the human organism. To give you an idea of what this means, they expect that humans on calorie restriction can increase their lifespan by up to 60% depending on the level of calorie restriction undertaken and the point at which the regimen is adopted in life. The best part is that instead of adding these years on at the end, when we are old and feeble, the effect extends our adult 'middle age' years. As someone who loves life and finds it relatively easy to adopt a healthier lifestyle in spite of potential difficulties, I figured that CR was something I would attempt.

 In addition to the potential longevity benefits, calorie restriction has been documented as having a profound effect on many human biomarkers, such as BMI (obviously), blood pressure, resting heart rate, glucose tolerance and many others. As a result of these effects and others, it has been shown to drastically reduce the incidence of cancer, heart disease, stroke and other common causes of death. Thus not only are you more likely to live to a healthy old age, but you are less likely to die of a crippling illness too. Anyway, I would highly recommend personal investigation into these claims. My word is worthless, but the following volumes do a great job of conveying the information that's out there:
The Longevity Diet
Beyond the 120-Year Diet
The CR Way
I highly recommend the first two books. The first one is a great overview, and the second is a bit more technical and precise, but definitely the one I will go back to for reference. The third is pretty good but sort of extreme in its recommendations. Nonetheless it contains a bit more information to assist the reader in the adoption of a personal plan. In addition to reading these books, you will need some recipe ideas to keep you interested in the healthy food that you'll be eating. Each of these books contains a few selected recipes, and I've also created a page with some on this site: Colin's Favorite Recipes. In addition if you're interested in determining the nutrient density or caloric content of any meal that you prepare, or of your diet as a whole, I highly recommend the following free software: The CRON-o-Meter. Good Luck!

March, 2011

At this point I've been restricting calories for over two months. I have decided to start at a diet of 2100 calories. This may sound like a small reduction, and in fact it is, because it's important to slowly adjust to a restricted calorie regimen. My goal is to get down to 1600 or so, but the transitional period will take a few years. Thus far several good changes have taken place. My blood pressure and pulse have decreased significantly. I have stabilized at around 162 pounds, which although light for me still allows me to retain a surprising amount of muscle mass. My favorite change has been my general energy level, which has noticeably increased. In addition, I have found my body to require less sleep. In fact, I am averaging less than seven hours per night and I feel 100% fine. Unlike in previous experiments where I've reduced my level of sleep, this really feels natural and invigorating for my body. As far as hunger is concerned, I have generally been able to avoid it by properly spacing my meals and eating plenty of vegetables and other voluminous, low calorie foods. Here is my present daily food regimen:

6:30am 1st Breakfast (~300 calories):
1 cup Organic Fat Free Plain Yogurt mixed with:
1/2 cup Blueberries
1 medium Banana
1 crushed Walnut

9:00am Post-Workout Shake (~200 calories):
1 cup Organic Light Vanilla Soy Milk
1 scoop Chocolate Whey Protein Powder

10:00am 2nd Breakfast (~300 calories):
1 cup Rolled Oats mixed with:
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice)
2 packets Splenda

1:00pm Lunch (~400 calories):
3 cups Vegetarian Hopping John (soup made of black-eyed peas with onions, garlic and seasonings)

5:00pm 1st Dinner (~600 calories):
4 oz Organic 100% Whole-Grain Durum Spaghetti
1 cup Pasta Sauce
1-2 tsp Olive Oil

7:30pm 2nd Dinner (~300 calories):
Steamed Vegetables (Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower) with
Lemon Juice and Seasoning
1 crushed Walnut

I find this diet to be very scrumptious, so it's easy for me to eat the same basic meals every day, although I do allow for some variation. If I need to make some room for a few beers on a particular day, I usually skip the 1st dinner and eat some vegetables, which leaves me with about 400 or 500 calories of head-room. This isn't good to do for multiple days in a row, however. In addition to the food I am supplementing with some Flaxseed Oil and a few vitamins and minerals. I expect that as more information about ideal nutrition comes out I will make tweaks to my diet, so I'll continue to post my 'standard meals' over the years. The last thing I'll mention is that I have started to drink a lot of tea between meals. I found an amazing place to get tea online: The site is really well done and they get their tea direct from the growers. This means that the people making the tea are benefitting more and their prices are pretty amazing. I invite you to take a look.

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