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Is losing weight slowly really worth it

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  • AnvilHead
    AnvilHead Posts: 18,343 Member
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    Slower is good for compliance, lean mass preservation and overall health generally speaking.

    Please can you provide any evidence for the above. I would say the opposite;

    -Many people find it easier to comply to a 4-6 week diet than a 4-6 month diet
    - Lean mass can be preserved during a faster more agressive cut
    - Many people would be healthier if they were carrying 10-20lbs less fat

    I disagree because for the same result, the 4-6 week diet would need to create a 4 times higher deficit than the 4-6 month diet, involving way more restriction on eating or way higher amounts of exercise.
    And getting the weight off is just part one, keeping it off is the second part, and that can't be done quickly by definition since it's something permanent. And which way is the better to form good long term habits, a 4 week crash diet with unreasonably high exercise or half a year of eating just slightly below what your maintenance is going to be plus regular exercise?

    While I agree with you about forming long term habits, it's only fair to mention that in Lyle's RFL protocols, he's emphatic that exercise has to be reduced pretty drastically - not increased. Those diets aren't just a random "eat a lot less and move a lot more" thing - they have very strict guidelines about macros, calories, exercise and supplementation which you're expected to follow to the letter. It's also fair to mention that most people who have done it say it's very difficult and not at all pleasant, but there's no arguing that they get results. But it's not sustainable in the long term, nor is it intended to be. Lyle also includes very specific steps for returning to maintenance level calorie intake.

    Where the main problem lies is that the vast majority of people shooting for rapid weight loss aren't doing a meticulously/intelligently designed diet such as RFL or UD 2.0 - they're just starving themselves and doing cardio like rabbits without regard to a lot of the problems that can create without attention to the proper details. IMO there's a big difference between doing some ridiculous celebrity cleanse/crash diet from a tabloid and doing a diet that has been intelligently designed with the proper nutrition and training protocols.

    Personally, I've gone the gradual route. Over the last 14 months, my average loss has been a bit under a pound per week. For me, adherence and satiety are much better when running a reasonable deficit and I've had virtually no feelings of deprivation.
  • amusedmonkey
    amusedmonkey Posts: 10,330 Member
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    DebSozo wrote: »
    DebSozo wrote: »
    I guess when I think of compliance I'm thinking of the numerous daily threads and experience of seeing friends restrict too hard in order to lose quickly. They then can't keep it up and as above, rebound and then some as they compensate for over-restriction. And whilst you can reasonably safely restrict hard for 4-6 weeks, most people have a lot more weight to lose than going balls to wall for that short a time will achieve.

    Those here who appear to be most successful are those who have a sensible deficit (and this of course varies depending on TDEE) and just get on with living and changing habits over the long term.

    Of course this is anecdotal and I don't profess to know if this is total fact. Just my own personal and personally observed opinion.

    As to the muscle loss but isn't it correct that the body can only metabolise so much stored fat in a day? And the muscle sparing diets require quite specific training methods and diet? not for the faint of heart or, I would have thought, for those with a lot to lose? I could be wrong though. Always learning.

    They do require resistance training, yes, and a VERY specific macro breakdown (about 90% protein, and just enough fats to get in the essentials). There are actually different protocols for people are different bodyfat levels (1 for sub-15, 2 for 16-30, 3 for 31 and above). Each is structured a bit differently to keep hormones from tanking and provide the LBM sparing effect. Trust me, if they work to peel bodybuilders from 10% to 8% in two weeks, they work just fine for taking...ehhh...the average American back to human shaped just fine. There's also built in cheat meals for the uber-fatties so they don't lose their minds entirely in the process.

    Is it hard? For most, though I'm actually finding my C2 run hilariously easy. Does it get results for those who can hack it, and the properly follow the procedures for going back to maintenance and taking short term diet breaks? Most definitely.

    It's a matter of preference though. I prefer extreme short term pain, to long drawn out annoyance. The faster my fat is gone, the faster I can get back to real lifting, instead of this three day per week *kitten*.

    90% protein? What do you do for the other 10%? No carb only 10% fat?

    That's pretty much how it works. Like I said, it's not meant to be long term sustainable. It's a short term fat ripping/muscle sparing process, after which you move to a more balanced maintenance for a couple of weeks and reevaluate.

    There is allowance for both carbs and fat per meal, but I personally don't use them. They just impede rapid progress.

    Right. I'm not in that catagory so it doesn't apply to me. You are talking about bodybuilders preparing for contests.

    No he is talking about a Protein Sparing Modified Fast which has been proven to be very effective for people at every stage of the weight loss "journey" from morbidly obese people to contest ready bodybuilders.

    Effective, sure, safe? Not exactly. It's only safe short term. When you are talking about someone who started like me, needing to lose 150 lbs, the process would take a whole year on such a diet. I personally like my gallbladder too much to part ways and slower weight loss has allowed me to learn many skills and strategies I wouldn't have otherwise. Plus for someone who already has a slower metabolism thanks to health problems, the extent of metabolic slowdown that comes with a large deficit is a hole I'm not willing to jump into. Even Lyle himself advises against this diet unless absolutely necessary in certain circumstances and that the long approach is much safer and much more preferable, but if you do opt for crash dieting for whatever reason, it needs to be limited to shorter periods.
  • LessIsMoreDeb
    LessIsMoreDeb Posts: 1 Member
    edited October 2016
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    WOW! So many of you have really inspired me and confirmed my slow weight loss! I started off with "small changes", cutting portions in half, added My Fitness Pal etc, and have lost 17 # since the spring. You might think that is too lax or slow, but for me, it is major! (I like to envision 17 pounds of butter or meat! hahaha) I've "fought weight" all my life and done the fast weight loss in different ways and programs over the years and I DO NOT want the yo-yo dieting to ever come back, as it's so bad for one's health. Plus, I'm getting older, and I did NOT want more wrinkles because of too fast weight loss. And I've seen it with crash/fad dieters.

    So...thanks again to you folks! I only weigh myself when I get near a scale that's pretty consistent with the last time I weighed. (like at a medical facility or an old fashioned school-type scale). Works for me every 2, 4, 6 weeks with less discouragement. I just want to be HEALTHIER, and that is coming, as I lose up to around 60-70# total! Blessings to all!
  • Hornsby
    Hornsby Posts: 10,322 Member
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    I wish I could rewind time and lose weight again (no, not really). I lost my 80lbs on average of 1700-1800 calories (gross) while riding by bike 100 miles per week minimum. That put my net at around 1000 calories or lower. I did it for 6 months and lost 80lbs. I didn't include any lifting in that 6 months. I don't really feel like I lost a lot of muscle but it would be interesting to know for sure. At that time I just wanted the weight off. I had no idea that I would keep going to where I am now.
  • louann_jude
    louann_jude Posts: 307 Member
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    I just wanted to add my experience from losing it fast. I started the year weighing in at 283 pounds. I have lost 102 pounds since January 3rd.

    The good to losing fast
    I have been more motivated this time. I enjoy tthe fact I am now wearing clothes I haven't seen in almost ten years. I can easily walk up stairs and keep up with my kids.

    The bad for me
    Obsessing over every calorie I take in. I am now smaller so I have to be more viligant in counting. I have anxiety when it comes to weighing in now. What if I don't lose weight. It freaks me out to the point of panic attacks. My stomach hurts a lot now. At first they thought it was my gall bladder they removed and my stomach hurts just as bad if not more.

    I could be wrong, but what you are describing in your negatives probably would have happened to you, regardless of pace of loss. I am much the same with the obsessive tracking, but I am able to easily deal with the reality that there will be weigh-ins that suck. Some people just don't do well with them, and you can see it all over these boards, regardless of diet, speed of loss, gender, or anything else.

    You're right if I lost it slow I could still have those problems. I could have still had them if I never even lost the weight. But one of the things they warn you about with fast weight loss is gall bladder issues.

  • ryry_
    ryry_ Posts: 4,966 Member
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    I have always tried to go too fast and flamed out. 10 years into it and only partial success, I finally tried a slow deficit.

    I've been going a pound a week since January and down about 30+lbs (this includes some summer maintaining). It has been easy peazy and hasn't felt restsrictive at all. I'm about 10 lbs or so from where I want to be.

    I highly recommend it, just enjoy the process and the changes that come with it. Do it once and do it right, so five years from now you aren't in the same place.
  • ryry_
    ryry_ Posts: 4,966 Member
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    Slower is good for compliance, lean mass preservation and overall health generally speaking.

    Please can you provide any evidence for the above. I would say the opposite;

    -Many people find it easier to comply to a 4-6 week diet than a 4-6 month diet
    - Lean mass can be preserved during a faster more agressive cut
    - Many people would be healthier if they were carrying 10-20lbs less fat

    I disagree because for the same result, the 4-6 week diet would need to create a 4 times higher deficit than the 4-6 month diet, involving way more restriction on eating or way higher amounts of exercise.
    And getting the weight off is just part one, keeping it off is the second part, and that can't be done quickly by definition since it's something permanent. And which way is the better to form good long term habits, a 4 week crash diet with unreasonably high exercise or half a year of eating just slightly below what your maintenance is going to be plus regular exercise?

    Yup
  • VintageFeline
    VintageFeline Posts: 6,771 Member
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    I've been eating (mostly) Paleo since February, and have lost an average of slightly less than a pound per week (.879 lbs).
    I am hardly ever hungry, except right before normal meal times.
    My skin is nice and tight, with no sign of sag.
    To me, this is the biggest reason to go slowly, so I don't have to deal with loose skin. I know three different people who crashed off 80 to 100+ pounds in a year or less, then had to have horrific surgery to remove the excess skin.
    One girl now has fake nipples and a fake navel, and scars everywhere...why?

    I ain't gonna deal with THAT...

    I lost around 50lbs at a quicker pace and I have absolutely no issues with saggy skin or even stretch marks.

    Conversely, whilst saggy skin isn't a problem for me thus far, I have had stretch marks since I was 13/14 because I hit puberty as soon as I stopped training as a high level competitive gymnast and shot up (relatively). I was still tiny but my genetics and particular circumstances dictated the stretch marks. And my genetics are dictating the saggy skin. Short time spent at my highest weight probably helps too.
  • Aaron_K123
    Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,122 Member
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    "Is losing weight slowly really worth it"

    I don't really understand the question. Its worth it if you are overweight and want to improve your health, yeah. By "slow" people are typically refering to 0.5 to 1 pound losses per week which if you think of it in terms of your entire life is still really fast. If you have 50 pounds to lose (which would likely make you obese) you can do that in just one year losing 1 pound per week. Doing it faster certainly doesn't gain you anything in terms of longterm health and given the difficulties one can encounter trying to lose weight "quick" its not worth it practically, its just being impatient.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,261 Member
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    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    "Is losing weight slowly really worth it"

    I don't really understand the question. Its worth it if you are overweight and want to improve your health, yeah. By "slow" people are typically refering to 0.5 to 1 pound losses per week which if you think of it in terms of your entire life is still really fast. If you have 50 pounds to lose (which would likely make you obese) you can do that in just one year losing 1 pound per week. Doing it faster certainly doesn't gain you anything in terms of longterm health and given the difficulties one can encounter trying to lose weight "quick" its not worth it practically, its just being impatient.

    When I think of slow weight loss I think of less than 0.5 pounds per week, not 0.5 to 1 pound. To me, 0.5 to 1 pound is moderate and anything above that is fast.

    I lost 52 pounds over the course of a year. If you take out my maintenance breaks, I was dieting for about 9 months. For the first 3 months, I averaged 2 lbs per week. After that I averaged a half pound per week. I consider the first 3 months to be fast fat loss and the rest of the time to be average fat loss.
  • sisxena
    sisxena Posts: 47 Member
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    I've been eating (mostly) Paleo since February, and have lost an average of slightly less than a pound per week (.879 lbs).
    I am hardly ever hungry, except right before normal meal times.
    My skin is nice and tight, with no sign of sag.
    To me, this is the biggest reason to go slowly, so I don't have to deal with loose skin. I know three different people who crashed off 80 to 100+ pounds in a year or less, then had to have horrific surgery to remove the excess skin.
    One girl now has fake nipples and a fake navel, and scars everywhere...why?

    I ain't gonna deal with THAT...

    I lost around 50lbs at a quicker pace and I have absolutely no issues with saggy skin or even stretch marks.

    Conversely, whilst saggy skin isn't a problem for me thus far, I have had stretch marks since I was 13/14 because I hit puberty as soon as I stopped training as a high level competitive gymnast and shot up (relatively). I was still tiny but my genetics and particular circumstances dictated the stretch marks. And my genetics are dictating the saggy skin. Short time spent at my highest weight probably helps too.

    I lost 66 pounds in the last year, which has been a very slow but surely great adventure. However, as you said VintageFeline, genetics is the greatest dictator in whether your skin will sag or not. I have stretch marks since forever and of course my skin is sagging everywhere.

    But I guess I am sill happy because I LOST THE WEIGHT!! :smile:
  • OhMyGodAreAllUsernamesTaken
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    The key is to keep at it. Whichever way you go. If you go with the slow loss option you have to be prepared to commit to it for the rest of your life and you will live very long (happiness is not promised of course since you will live a limited life). If you go the fast way- and that would be eating disorders- then you will still suffer both physically and psychologically. As a person who has lost weight both ways I can say that for me it was much more fun to be bulimic than to be healthy attractive. However both after bulimia and after about a year of healthy life I gained back even more than I weighed at the begining, but that is just because I gave into depression. As long as you are psychologically stable and have a good support system you should be fine and you should definitely go the slow route.
  • Christine_72
    Christine_72 Posts: 16,049 Member
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    To be totally honest.. If i could hack it i would choose the high deficit, fast weight loss route. Get it over and done with asap!!
    However, i know i can't handle eating really low calories for more than 2-3 days in a row, so slow and steady it is for me.
  • janekana
    janekana Posts: 151 Member
    edited October 2016
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    jemhh wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    "Is losing weight slowly really worth it"

    I don't really understand the question. Its worth it if you are overweight and want to improve your health, yeah. By "slow" people are typically refering to 0.5 to 1 pound losses per week which if you think of it in terms of your entire life is still really fast. If you have 50 pounds to lose (which would likely make you obese) you can do that in just one year losing 1 pound per week. Doing it faster certainly doesn't gain you anything in terms of longterm health and given the difficulties one can encounter trying to lose weight "quick" its not worth it practically, its just being impatient.

    When I think of slow weight loss I think of less than 0.5 pounds per week, not 0.5 to 1 pound. To me, 0.5 to 1 pound is moderate and anything above that is fast.

    I lost 52 pounds over the course of a year. If you take out my maintenance breaks, I was dieting for about 9 months. For the first 3 months, I averaged 2 lbs per week. After that I averaged a half pound per week. I consider the first 3 months to be fast fat loss and the rest of the time to be average fat loss.

    I think OP's definition of "slow" is 0.5-1lbs per week though, from the sounds of it. Everyone has different definitions of slow and fast, and I feel like they've been skewed because of the media, like the TV show The Biggest Loser. I can see why people nowadays feel that 0.5-1lbs of loss per week is extremely slow when they've been shown a lot of people who dramatically lose 50 in a week.

    I do believe that losing it slowly is much healthier than losing it fast (I don't want to screw up my metabolism by eating only 500 calories a day), however I feel like I need to point that out because I've seen so many people give up because they don't lose 10 lbs per week like they see so many celebrities do.
  • Aaron_K123
    Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,122 Member
    edited October 2016
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    jemhh wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    "Is losing weight slowly really worth it"

    I don't really understand the question. Its worth it if you are overweight and want to improve your health, yeah. By "slow" people are typically refering to 0.5 to 1 pound losses per week which if you think of it in terms of your entire life is still really fast. If you have 50 pounds to lose (which would likely make you obese) you can do that in just one year losing 1 pound per week. Doing it faster certainly doesn't gain you anything in terms of longterm health and given the difficulties one can encounter trying to lose weight "quick" its not worth it practically, its just being impatient.

    When I think of slow weight loss I think of less than 0.5 pounds per week, not 0.5 to 1 pound. To me, 0.5 to 1 pound is moderate and anything above that is fast.

    I lost 52 pounds over the course of a year. If you take out my maintenance breaks, I was dieting for about 9 months. For the first 3 months, I averaged 2 lbs per week. After that I averaged a half pound per week. I consider the first 3 months to be fast fat loss and the rest of the time to be average fat loss.

    Well what "slow" is is subjective so its a bit silly to argue about what "slow" is. There are certainly plently of people who post daily on this forum complaining bitterly about losing weight so slowly and they are losing weight at 1 pound or more per week.

    The OP seems to refer to people being proponents of "slow" weight loss and what I have seen is people telling the impatient to take it easy and try to lose weight at 1 pound a week. So apparently that is what we are defining as slow in this context.

  • JamieCroyle
    JamieCroyle Posts: 109 Member
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    I hear this all time at my Weightwatcher meetings Slow and Steady Slow progress is better than no progress.
  • ekim2016
    ekim2016 Posts: 1,199 Member
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    I have been averaging about a 1.12 pound loss per week. Hoping this will minimize the skin sag effect.. fingers crossed.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,261 Member
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    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    jemhh wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    "Is losing weight slowly really worth it"

    I don't really understand the question. Its worth it if you are overweight and want to improve your health, yeah. By "slow" people are typically refering to 0.5 to 1 pound losses per week which if you think of it in terms of your entire life is still really fast. If you have 50 pounds to lose (which would likely make you obese) you can do that in just one year losing 1 pound per week. Doing it faster certainly doesn't gain you anything in terms of longterm health and given the difficulties one can encounter trying to lose weight "quick" its not worth it practically, its just being impatient.

    When I think of slow weight loss I think of less than 0.5 pounds per week, not 0.5 to 1 pound. To me, 0.5 to 1 pound is moderate and anything above that is fast.

    I lost 52 pounds over the course of a year. If you take out my maintenance breaks, I was dieting for about 9 months. For the first 3 months, I averaged 2 lbs per week. After that I averaged a half pound per week. I consider the first 3 months to be fast fat loss and the rest of the time to be average fat loss.

    Well what "slow" is is subjective so its a bit silly to argue about what "slow" is. There are certainly plently of people who post daily on this forum complaining bitterly about losing weight so slowly and they are losing weight at 1 pound or more per week.

    The OP seems to refer to people being proponents of "slow" weight loss and what I have seen is people telling the impatient to take it easy and try to lose weight at 1 pound a week. So apparently that is what we are defining as slow in this context.

    I'm not arguing. I had originally typed that slow is relative but erased it. Regardless, as I stated in my first post in the thread, there are too many variables to answer this question.
  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 10,036 Member
    edited October 2016
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    I guess when I think of compliance I'm thinking of the numerous daily threads and experience of seeing friends restrict too hard in order to lose quickly. They then can't keep it up and as above, rebound and then some as they compensate for over-restriction. And whilst you can reasonably safely restrict hard for 4-6 weeks, most people have a lot more weight to lose than going balls to wall for that short a time will achieve.

    Those here who appear to be most successful are those who have a sensible deficit (and this of course varies depending on TDEE) and just get on with living and changing habits over the long term.

    Of course this is anecdotal and I don't profess to know if this is total fact. Just my own personal and personally observed opinion.

    As to the muscle loss but isn't it correct that the body can only metabolise so much stored fat in a day? And the muscle sparing diets require quite specific training methods and diet? not for the faint of heart or, I would have thought, for those with a lot to lose? I could be wrong though. Always learning.

    They do require resistance training, yes, and a VERY specific macro breakdown (about 90% protein, and just enough fats to get in the essentials). There are actually different protocols for people are different bodyfat levels (1 for sub-15, 2 for 16-30, 3 for 31 and above). Each is structured a bit differently to keep hormones from tanking and provide the LBM sparing effect. Trust me, if they work to peel bodybuilders from 10% to 8% in two weeks, they work just fine for taking...ehhh...the average American back to human shaped just fine. There's also built in cheat meals for the uber-fatties so they don't lose their minds entirely in the process.

    Is it hard? For most, though I'm actually finding my C2 run hilariously easy. Does it get results for those who can hack it, and the properly follow the procedures for going back to maintenance and taking short term diet breaks? Most definitely.

    It's a matter of preference though. I prefer extreme short term pain, to long drawn out annoyance. The faster my fat is gone, the faster I can get back to real lifting, instead of this three day per week *kitten*.

    10% calories from fat on a 2-lb a week cut for me would only be 15 grams of fat. I don't believe that would be an adequate total. It's barely enough to squeeze in adequate amounts of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid if there were a fat source with only those, in the proper proportion.

    ETA: Plus, yuck. There's only so many chicken breasts and cans of water-packed tuna I'm going to eat. As you say, it's a matter of preference, and the food I could eat on that regimen would be so unappealing I would probably quit in less than a week. And I've done all of Lent vegetarian, with vegan Fridays (I'm an omnivore) without quitting.
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    edited October 2016
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    I guess when I think of compliance I'm thinking of the numerous daily threads and experience of seeing friends restrict too hard in order to lose quickly. They then can't keep it up and as above, rebound and then some as they compensate for over-restriction. And whilst you can reasonably safely restrict hard for 4-6 weeks, most people have a lot more weight to lose than going balls to wall for that short a time will achieve.

    Those here who appear to be most successful are those who have a sensible deficit (and this of course varies depending on TDEE) and just get on with living and changing habits over the long term.

    Of course this is anecdotal and I don't profess to know if this is total fact. Just my own personal and personally observed opinion.

    As to the muscle loss but isn't it correct that the body can only metabolise so much stored fat in a day? And the muscle sparing diets require quite specific training methods and diet? not for the faint of heart or, I would have thought, for those with a lot to lose? I could be wrong though. Always learning.

    They do require resistance training, yes, and a VERY specific macro breakdown (about 90% protein, and just enough fats to get in the essentials). There are actually different protocols for people are different bodyfat levels (1 for sub-15, 2 for 16-30, 3 for 31 and above). Each is structured a bit differently to keep hormones from tanking and provide the LBM sparing effect. Trust me, if they work to peel bodybuilders from 10% to 8% in two weeks, they work just fine for taking...ehhh...the average American back to human shaped just fine. There's also built in cheat meals for the uber-fatties so they don't lose their minds entirely in the process.

    Is it hard? For most, though I'm actually finding my C2 run hilariously easy. Does it get results for those who can hack it, and the properly follow the procedures for going back to maintenance and taking short term diet breaks? Most definitely.

    It's a matter of preference though. I prefer extreme short term pain, to long drawn out annoyance. The faster my fat is gone, the faster I can get back to real lifting, instead of this three day per week *kitten*.

    10% calories from fat on a 2-lb a week cut for me would only be 15 grams of fat. I don't believe that would be an adequate total. It's barely enough to squeeze in adequate amounts of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid if there were a fat source with only those, in the proper proportion.

    ETA: Plus, yuck. There's only so many chicken breasts and cans of water-packed tuna I'm going to eat. As you say, it's a matter of preference, and the food I could eat on that regimen would be so unappealing I would probably quit in less than a week. And I've done all of Lent vegetarian, with vegan Fridays (I'm an omnivore) without quitting.

    I actually pull about 12g total fat per day on my current intake (all cocentrated fish oil and incidental fat from tuna and swai). I'll see if I can find the study, but ALAs are basically crap compared to fish oil, due to the body's inefficiency at breaking them down to EPA and DHA.