Caloric Excess, Caloric Deficit Pt. 2

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Photo by Andres Pinto Sanchez

This is a follow-up post to last week’s post about an unofficial experiment of eating excessively for 5 days and then eating less than usual for 3 days to see how my body responds.

After the gluttonous feeding frenzy I definitely gained weight and looked smooth. From eating a lot of refined carbohydrates and sweets, my food cravings increased in magnitude and frequency.

But post-gluttony extended fasting wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined, and I believe that has to do the mentality shift that occurs when you’ve made the decision you’re simply not going to eat.

So for 3 days post gluttony I ate only one meal per day, and I ate to complete satisfaction. My food choices were of wholesome, real food that’s minimally processed.

At the end of day 3, I definitely leaned out, but suspected a lot of it was due to water release — eating the standard Western diet results in high salt and increased glycogen storage, which dramatically shifts water balance. I also assume that the weight lost was partially from glycogen and fat storage.

Although in 3 days I lost most of the weight I gained, I wasn’t quite back to the same leanness pre-gluttony. The skin around my body (most noticeably around the stomach) still giggles. The theory is the diminishing fatty acids in fat cells are now partially replaced with water.

I believe there’s a little more fat to be lost, as eating excessively for 5 days can’t always be undone in 3. My plan didn’t necessarily produce a big enough deficit to lose all of the weight gained.

Had I done, however, a 2- or 3-day complete fast, then most likely it would have gotten me “there.” But I don’t care to do long fasts of that nature.

So my plan is to add a couple more single-meal days next week. As for now I’m back to my regular daily intermittent fasting lifestyle, eating my first meal around 4pm and my last around 11pm.

But today (Sunday), I’m off to my 4-year-old niece’s birthday party and BBQ, and you bet I’ll be eating burgers and cake. She only turns 4 once.

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25 Responses to Caloric Excess, Caloric Deficit Pt. 2

  1. bret says:

    Hey Johnny when you go to events like birthday parties do you just eat regularly or do you start fasting earlier when you get home?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Bret,

      Sometimes I fast longer in before or after the event, though not all the time. Since body weight is an average through time, whatever little weight gained is eventually be lost, and is typical when using intermittent fasting.


  2. lolo says:

    today i had the chance of eating a shiton of sweets and i didn’t do it. I feel great. If you “cheat one day” your fat metabolism dsnt assimilate sugar that efficiently so not much harm done> but if you start to cheat more frequently BAM, the damage increases exponentially ( this comes from the ketogenic diet book) So about that cake / burger combo… wouldn’t do it. unless you manage to drain all your glycogen stores !

    • Johnny says:

      Hi lolo,

      I read the Ketogenic Diet years ago, and have read it several time since. Great book. I’ve also been a fan of Lyle McDonald since the early 90s.

      Thanks for your advice, but I think I’ll join my family and friends and celebrate my 4-year-old niece’s birthday party. It’s part of the philosophy here at The Lean Saloon, and it has never failed me or the people I know and work with.


  3. lolo says:

    I like your approach but i dont share that philosophy: No cake = no celebration ? Totally =/= for me. ( i mean burgers) Unless your 4-year-old niece made that cake specially for you i dont see why you need to “JOIN THE DARK SIDE OF CAKE RUSH / CRASH MUUAJAJAJA”- XD just kidding, eat the cake man, and enjoy the party, is not going to do you harm – yet-

    • Casey Adams says:

      The way i see it, there are two kinds of people who have a hard time with weight… the ones who celebrate with food TOO MUCH… and the ones who hardly ever celebrate with food. Looks like Johnny is somewhere in between, enjoys his life, and have his cake too. It hasn’t hurt him one bit… have you seen his pictures taken over the past 2 years?

      but you don’t have to agree with anyone’s philosophy. obviously do what works for you. but it’s a shame that people in our culture avoid certain food yet are fat, while people in other cultures relish in it for celebration yet are lean. (???!)

      And for what it’s worth i’ve been enjoying food that’s usually off limits to the paleo folks, yet i’ve been holding under 10% bodyfat and continuously feel energetic and healthy. food defines our culture and all of its celebration. It’s reckless abandonment OR complete deprivation that’s the problem. call a spade a spade — blame it on a lack of control, not the food type.

      i enjoy my life, low body fat, health, and sometimes my cake too!!

      • Nicole R says:

        I agree with Johnny and Casey. Studies show over and over that food restriction is temporary and only sets most people up for eventual failure. Personally, if I enjoy a piece of cake here and there, and allow myself to participate in social events surrounding good food, I am much more likely to be a responsible eater, rather than depriving myself of delicious food, which in all probability leads to a dietary blow-out that nets me only a feeling of guilt and failure. Plus, the relationship and social enrichment of a 4 year old’s birthday party goes beyond just “being there.” Too many people possess this self-righteous attitude of eating clean all the time and pat themselves on the back for not eating a piece of birthday cake (regardless of who made it), while others make the excuse that if they have just one piece they open some ridiculous “flood gate” that really doesn’t exist. Think of it as a damn. If you never open the valve now and then, the pressure will build up and will break the damn. I think that’s why I love Johnny’s message so much: enjoy dessert now and then (opening the valve a little), but know when to “turn off the valve.” Those who don’t open the valve now and then, face a damn that will eventually burst.

        Sorry for such a long reply but I have never been this lean for so long while still having MY CAKE too, thanks to the message shared by websites like The Lean Saloon!

      • Al says:


        You post has inspired me to ask you a question. I am very curious as to HOW you keep your bodyfat under 10% since you supposedly eat whatever you want. Can you give details? I am always curious when someone stays stays lean that doesn’t have a strict diet. Thanks!

  4. lolo says:

    I dont know what he ate over the past 2 years… i really dont think he did much gluttonous feeding or cakes, thats for sure, but it is possible ( my case) i definitely tend to celebrate with ( shit) food way TOO MUCH( but punctually, and from time to time) , and im relatively lean ( and taller) … the middle of the road approach (to me) is an abomination of torture. Anyway, i love to eat cake, but i also know that timing is really important, why? because cake is ( shit) food. To much shit is always bad news, always, so if you have been indulging, then it might not be the best of time. ( cravings, hi?) I mean, is not magic. Is just fasting.

  5. Casey Adams says:

    Al, the answer is intermittent fasting.

    But I want to be clear… I DON’T eat just “anything I want.” I do enjoy food that’s outside of the paleo diet. But in the end, it’s IFing that keeps me below 10%.

    • Al says:

      From your reply though it seems that you eat Paleo most of the time right?

      • Casey Adams says:

        Al, not really. i respect what the paleo diet can do for the average western food consumer, but i don’t subscribe to the whole paleo ideology. i still eat whole grains (sprouted and un-sprouted) and i still enjoy my dessert in moderation. i eat both grass-fed and traditional red meat. i eat fat, carbs, and protein indiscriminately, but like johnny writes about, i do get the nutrients i need by eating mainly a variety of vegetables, etc. Other cultures eat grains and stuff outside of paleo, but they display very few obesity, health problems, and possess greater longevity… the one thing they seem to have in common is a low stress lifestyle and they don’t overeat. i subscribe to that lifestyle and IF makes it easier for me to avoid overeating.

  6. Al says:


    What is your definition of overeating? I know that sounds like a dumb question but there can be diiferent answers to this. I assume you mean that you don’t stuff yourself PER MEAL, right? Thanks!

  7. I think, based on a lot of experience, that how a person sees another person “cheats” brings up a reflective emotional reaction. This is to say that if I “cheat” I end up having a few brownies, maybe some potato chips, perhaps also a burger. I don’t have a pan of brownies, a bag of chips, and a double cheeseburger but I suspect if the person reading about Johnny’s soon to occur cheat is an all or nothing type, they would (or used to) do the latter.

    I do the former and have little trouble keeping my bodyfat around 10% year round, even less as of late. I suspect Johnny is the same.


  8. lolo says:

    XD@ Nicole R ” self-righteous” … and cake is “delicious” and ” good food” … talk about nonsense… I can tell you one thing, you are NEVER going to be as lean / healthy as i am eating / thinking like that. Never. But maybe you dont have to, so its ok. Anyway, your body dsnt care about silly emotions . I never said ” dont ever eat cake” ” dont spend time with the family” ” deprive yourself” you just have to choose the BEST TIME that’s all. Been in control. Personally i want to go crazy, i do it whenever I WANT TO, ( and not just a puny tiny portion of cake) but not because some random event that’s not under my control. I do my fasts ( last time i ate ?
    28 hrs ago- usually i do 23- and im working out right now) because i like to be healthy, not because im on a” diet”, if you are loosing weight eating crap, “good” for you , but to me that’s just negative reinforcement. Hell, If you want to gain weight do it with REAL FOOD. Otherwise you are just ( micro) hurting yourself. (microsuicide?) Also i dont need a pat in the back, all i have to do is look at myself in the mirror and see the results. Also Never having a cold again ?, never feeling tired?, never feeling hungry? , Never feeling cold? n > all the fluffy feelings and cakes in the world.

    • Nicole R says:

      Hi lolo,

      Thanks for your input.

      And since your posts seem to display arrogance and self-promotion, I’ll share a little info about myself, so that you don’t continue to make wild assumptions about someone you don’t know:

      I’m lean for a female, and by all indication from a recent comprehensive physical examination with an advanced lab screening — which involved analysis of multiple constituents of blood markers, full-spectrum urinalysis, EKG and nuclear tests, full body and CAT scan, cardiac ultrasound, and cardiopulminary function exam — I’m as healthy as a person can be, and one who holds an executive job, who has a busy family, who sits on the board of three companies, two non-profit groups, and who volunteers throughout the year.

      So yes, I also enjoy my cake whenever I feel like it. And I’m glad you are able to enjoy your cake whenever you want to also. Which leaves one to wonder what the hell your earlier posts were trying to say, with their poor use of language and childish profanity half-hidden behind asterisks and other keyboard strokes.

  9. Audley says:

    As a type 2 diabetic, I have to say no to cake and other treats that I used to eat on an regular basis from childhood into my 20’s, then on an infrequent basis until 5 years ago when the diabetes hit me in my 40’s. (many on my mother’ side are type 2 as well). My doctor told me it was a good thing I have been pumping iron for the last 20 years or I would have been hit with this in my 30’s. Now in my 50’s I have gained control over diabetes without meds, using a diet with no grains or sugar, HIT weight training and most recently IF. My bodyfat runs around 10%.
    HOWEVER, lately I have been able to “fall off ” the wagon a bit with a small portions some of the “forbidden” food items (homemade pizza, nacho chips) with little or no problems. They do taste good. I still can’t do cake, ice cream or large amounts of fruit as they do make me ill, as Johnny did on the stuff he ate on the cruise.
    If you can eat “forbidden”food every so often, as long as you can re-gain control, why not?

  10. lolo says:

    Nicole R, this is not my native language ( wsnt that obvious? ) im not selling anything here, only the truth ( at least mine) anyway, it seems to me that you are stressed and in desperate need for vacations… and maybe some cake. XD chilout. you dont have to agree with me, btw yesterday after my workout i ate 500grams of pategras cheese,
    ( like 1900cal !) + HUGE steak, 6 eggs, ” salchicha criolla” and drank 1 liter of milk. Didnt gain weight, i wonder why? i think my cake abstinence works fine.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi lolo,

      You can abstain from cake or whatever else you want, but I ask that you not carry a tone of superiority in the comments.


  11. Johnny says:


    The primary objective of The Lean Saloon is to help people who are interested in getting and staying lean and healthy through intermittent fasting. It doesn’t care to debate what food is “good” and what is “bad,” and what kind of diet is best for losing weight and staying healthy, as there’s plenty of evidence that the most effective diet is variable across cultures and across individuals within the same culture.

    This blog’s current and only recommendation in dietary composition is the intake of mostly real, wholesome food; and call it what you will.

    This blog and the comments within have carried a friendly tone conducive to helping others, and as such we all should tolerate no personal attacks.

    Let’s get back on track.


  12. Pingback: Caloric Excess, Caloric Deficit Pt. 3 | The Lean Saloon

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  14. Shelly says:

    May I ask you a question? I’m female, 45, and was underweight all through childhood. I was at a basically normal weight after adolescence, but simply exploded with both pregnancies. I took off most but not all of the weight after having my babies (in my 20s). I went on a major exercise kick in 1997 for about six months (spending about 10-12 hours at the gym each week) but then I went back to work and simply had no time available for it anymore. I never lost one ounce (or dress size) by working out, btw. I did become stronger, fitter and more toned, but no smaller. A few years after that I managed to lose weight on a very low-fat diet, but I also managed to have excruciatingly painful gall bladder attacks, which the hospital personnel said when I had surgery to remove my gall bladder was because of a too-dramatic diet change. I finally concluded that my body was just destined to be chubby and to live with it. Fast forward to 2001. I underwent a very painful and unexpected divorce and for several months was unable to eat more than a few bites of food a day. I’d go days without sleeping more than an hour or two a night or eating more than a few sips of broth a day. Because I was so upset, my stomach was churning to the point I couldn’t hold down food. I then lost a dramatic amount of weight, and I was pleased, after a few months when I had recovered emotionally enough to begin eating again, that food had no power over me. In fact, someone could offer me a piece of decadent chocolate cake and I would have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. After a couple of years of being the thinnest (and most attractive) I’d been in ages, I clearly remember the moment it all went to hell. I was sitting alone shortly after Halloween. My children were at their father’s house, and my first serious post-divorce boyfriend had just broken up with me. I remember feeling very sorry for myself, getting into the kids’ candy, and consciously ignoring the little voice in the back of my head that told me I was making a serious mistake. I ate a lot of candy that night and all of a sudden I was back to being powerless over food. Now, I’m not a weak-willed person in other ways. I quit smoking ages ago. I work tremendous hours at my career. I seem to have plenty of will power in all other parts of life, but not with food. I remarried a few years ago. My husband is a vegetarian who eats an incredible volume of food but is strong and pretty fit for a guy pushing 50. He’s exceedingly active and healthy. We eat a lot of beans, pasta (usually but not always whole grain), brown rice, lots of vegetables, the whole nine yards. He, btw, eats an unbelievable amount of bread, which I don’t. (He’s European and they all seem to suck down several loaves a day and yet remain thin). I eat a lot of very healthy food but if you wave a piece of chocolate in front of me I react the same way a 21-year-old guy reacts to a hot girl — I feel that I’ve-just-gotta-have-it feeling. Call it lust, but for chocolate or for that matter for lentil dhal or vegetarian veggie soup or even spinach salad. What I’d love to figure out a way to do is to once again be able to look at food and have it hold no power over me. I don’t want to go through divorce again to get this. 🙂 What can I do, though? If I wait too long to eat, I don’t just get hungry — I get HUNGRY. Hungry as in hands shaking and feeling like I am going to throw up and having the most vicious headache imaginable. I actually have thrown up from being hungry before. I don’t get a lot of exercise because I can’t even find enough time in my schedule to get enough sleep most days, let alone work out and sleep both. I’ve no idea what to do, but I’m not just overweight but obese and I would like to be at least a little bit thinner, mostly for health reasons. (My husband truly doesn’t care if I outweigh him by probably 60 or 70 pounds. I was already fat by the time we met, but I’m sure he’d appreciate a thinner wife. His last gf was a gorgeous woman with a perfect body — a model, in fact.) So, if you’re even still reading at this point: How can I fast when it makes me shake and vomit, and how do I stop wanting to feel wonderfully full on a delicious meal?

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