My Suboptimal Approach to Weight Loss Has Been Successful: 30 lbs Lost. But Can I Get a Six Pack?

by David

in Health & Fitness

Over Christmas and New Year I set myself the challenge of losing 10 lbs in 4 weeks by eating one meal a day.

It’s an approach to dieting that I’ve been perfecting over a period of five months, and initially I was slow to make progress because it was very much trial and error.

There was a lot of room for error because at no point did I actually count the calories I was eating, I just guessed that my one meal would take me to a daily calorie deficit somewhere in the region of 800 calories a day (Monday to Friday).

I wrote more here about the diet.

Note: I’m not advocating you try this diet or suggesting that if you do, you’ll have the same results. Results vary – you should make your own decisions and do your own thing.

Prior to starting the challenge I had already lost 20 lbs over a four month period and wanted to show that it was possible to lose a significant amount of weight eating normal everyday foods.

Well, I didn’t quite make it. I lost 9lbs instead of ten, but it was still worth the effort. Christmas was probably not the easiest time to undertake such a challenge, so I’m delighted that I got so close to my target.

My total weight loss for the whole period took me past the 30lbs lost mark, which is a huge deal for me. I haven’t been this weight for well over 15 years.

Losing 30lbs was my major goal, and it feels fantastic to have done it, but now I’m keen to work towards my next goal.

Losing weight eating just one main meal is probably what many would call suboptimal. Meaning that most people wouldn’t advocate taking this approach and they’d use all sorts of evidence to back up their assertion.

Many would suggest that it’s better to eat six small meals a day. Others would insist that it’s important to supplement the diet with strenuous exercise. The vast majority would advocate cutting out fatty and sugary foods almost entirely, reducing carb intake, and changing immediately to a completely healthy eating program.

I haven’t done any of those things and I’ve still lost the fat. (See week one of my diet.)

I’ve made some minor adjustments but I still eat the food I like and that sometimes includes junk food. But it also includes fruit and vegetables, nuts and raisins, which I feel gives me a reasonable balance.

What really interests me is how far I can take this suboptimal approach (which I find works well elsewhere in life too).

Can I continue to eat one or two normal family meals a day and lose even more weight? Can I get a flat stomach this way? Will my progress stall when I get to a certain point?

Will I eventually need to eat an optimal diet to get six pack abs?

Everyone tells me so, but I’d like to find out for myself.

My next goal

I’m going to continue to lose weight with a suboptimal diet and see how far I can go.

This time I’m not worried about the scale weight, it’s fat loss I’m going for.

That said, I suspect I’ll need to lose another 12 -15 lbs before I see abs and as for totally flat abs… who knows?! We’ll have to wait and see.

Here’s me a 173 lbs. Only the 2nd time I’ve ever weighed in at this figure!

173 lbs

And here I am at 205 lbs:

205 lbs

I’ll post another picture when I feel I’ve made some significant and visible progress.

Do you think it’s possible to get flat abs without eating a highly optimized diet and supplementing it with a strenuous exercise routine? I’d love to hear from anyone who’s done it!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Midlife Singlemum January 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Congratulations – photos show a good improvement. I’m afraid any talk about exercise is out of my league so I can’t advise there. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your explanations of the whys and wherefors of the I meal a day regime – it all made perfect sense.


David January 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Thank you. 🙂

I think the photos will look better once I start losing the last bit of fat. My belly and lovehandles (<--- What is this part of the body really called?) are the last to lose the fat. I say that because whilst I haven't weighed so little for years, I have been leaner. I used to have a little more muscle (before I traded it in for a career and a family). I'm so glad you found the 1MaD post helpful. It took me a fair while to write, so I'm delighted you got some benefit!! 😀


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