Thursday, October 16, 2008

Review of "Rapid Fat Loss" by Lyle McDonald

I've been reading of Lyle McDonald since I started low-carbing in 1998. When I first heard of him he had written what the "serious" LC community regarded as THE authoritative reference work on low carbohydrate weight loss, called "The Ketogenic Diet."

Recently as I was starting to get serious about weightlifting and bodybuilding I decided to see what Lyle had been up to recently and found a wealth of information on his site Body Recomposition. To put it simply, Lyle's work is the answer to every former fat kid's prayers. He has dedicated his career to instructing people in PROPER training and nutrition for fat loss and muscle gain.

Anyone who has followed this blog for the last year or so will remember my weight weight struggles through last fall and winter. When I saw the referenced title in Lyle's bookstore I knew I had to order it immediately. The title said it all, I wanted to lose fat and I wanted to do it fast.

First off, Lyle states at the outset that the diet is very literally a "crash" diet. It is very low calorie and the nutritional requirements are very strict. It is a very short term solution only. The book does describe a maintenance phase and how to move from the low calorie phase - more on that later.

As is typical with Lyle's books RFL is written in a very no-BS style. He does not make promises the diet won't deliver and there is no smoke and mirrors about this being the end-all cure for all one's ills. He spends several chapters explaining the biochemical basis for weight control in the body, which sets the basis for the "why" of every step of the diet.

As with every diet, one gets results based on the hard work they put in. If one has been honest in the calculations (yes, there is math involved to calculate nutritional requirements) and one strictly monitors food intake, the results will be stunning.

To the right is a sample weekly summary from the weight tracking site Physics Diet. As you can see for that week my weight loss was 3.2 pounds.

If we look at the total weight loss graphically the loss is even more dramatic. The straight black line represents the average weight over time. The blue line is rolling average. The green and red represent deficit or surplus intake from average. The red spike is water retention from a vacation and we can see it drops off fast.

All in all the "Rapid Fat Loss" diet is an incredibly powerful weapon in the fight against body fat. I estimate losing about 7% body fat in about a month. Make no mistake - this diet is very, very restrictive and very difficult. It takes work and discipline to stick with it however the obvious and fast changes one can see in the mirror goes a long way to mitigating the difficulty.


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