Experiment: a moderate leaning up protocol

Since 2020, I’ve been (semi)systematically trying to get to 10% body fat and then maintain that level of leanness with minimal effort. I’ve gotten close (at one point being at 11.5%), but the goal has remained elusive. Whether for physical or psychological reasons, the last stretch seems to be the most difficult one, and this seems to be the case for most of the people out there engaging on a similar goal.

The strategy of putting intense focus on the goal and making sacrifices has backfired; it feels like all that extra effort creates a lot of internal tension and resistance, which dilutes the leaning up process and then makes me overeat and go back to where I was before. At this point, I know that I cannot force my way into the goal; instead, I need to ease into it.

At the same time, I want to preserve what I now have: I’m currently at ~14% body fat and have been able to maintain this weight for months now with relative ease. The ease factor, for me, is critical, because the entire point of getting to 10% body fat is to establish a healthy and natural baseline that becomes a habit, so I don’t have to worry later in life about being overweight or the complications that stem from that. As someone who has struggled with weight issues for years, this can be liberating.

So, starting this week I’m going to start a new experimental protocol, much milder than previous attempts I’ve done at leaning up, but still involving significant actions:

The goal of the fasts is double: improve metabolic health while creating a caloric deficit. The health benefits of regular fasts are well documented, and I want to partake.

Overall, I expect to lose about 1kg of fat every three weeks. At my current weight, I would only need 9 weeks to get to my goal.

The rest of the days I should eat normally, the same way I’ve been eating for weeks while maintaining my weight. It might be somewhat a challenge to do this on the days after fasts or after the days with a low caloric ceiling. Getting used to this is part and parcel of this habit.

Eventually, if this works, I’d like to keep on fasting on Mondays as well, only for the metabolic benefits. Whether I’ll manage to healthily make up for the Monday fast caloric deficit (rather than eating more junk food on the weekends) is an open question.

The need for a leaning up protocol exceeds the immediate attainment of the goal: I fully expect that in some periods of my life I might put 1-2kg (for example, during holidays), so I need a habit through which to efficiently and sustainably lose the extra fat.

I’m writing this in public in case it helps someone; it will surely help me commit publicly to this, which has definitely worked in the past.

I will post updates every three weeks.