My friends & family’s 2-week eating experiment stories: Increased quality of life, weight-loss, and a sustainable way of eating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the previous post I summarized the result my family & friends had after carrying out the two-week eating experiment (increased quality of life, weight-loss, and a sustainable way of eating). In this post I’ll share the details of what all nine of them said about the experiment and I’ll share some pictures so that you can see who my beloved family & friends are. I have decided to share all this private information, with the acceptance of my friends & family of course, so that you can get a real look into what’s likely to happen to you if you undertake the experiment. Let’s get right to it!

Kristina, my girlfriend

Kristina in Fortaleza, Brazil, October 2011

Personal information

  • Age: 26
  • Sex: Female
  • Background: Felt OK before the experiment and didn’t have any major issues  that made me think that a change in the way I eat could have an effect. Started the experiment in Mai 2012. I have continued to eat in line with the new way of eating, but I have carbs from “safe” sources and live by the 80/20 rule.
  • Still eating according to the experiment: Yes

Evaluation score and weight loss before and after the experiment

  • Score before the experiment: 111
  • Score eight months after the experiment: 218
  • Improvement: 96,4%
  • Weight loss: 2 kilos

Key challenges during the two-week experiment

It was difficult trying to find alternatives to the food I used to eat. I hadn’t looked into new recipes and it is a different way of thinking about how you put together your meals. Also I really missed having good snacks options. And of course not enjoying a glass of red wine with dinner.

Key positive impacts after the two-week experiment

I was very skeptical to the promises of the diet, but I really felt much better quite quickly with very little or none side effects. I general I slept better, felt more calm, had more mental and physical energy. One of the more surprising effects was that I could go for 10 hours without eating and I didn’t feel dizzy or short tempered because I lacked food.

Key challenges after the two-week experiment

No real challenges.

How have you eaten since the end of the two-week experiment

I am really enjoying myself so I have kept to the diet for more than six months. It is really not an effort at all and I will never go back to my old ways of cooking. What I’m doing now is much more fun and enjoyable. I do use a 80/20-rule. My 20 percent consists of red wine, chocolate, and fruit. I never have cravings for sweets or wheat products anymore.

How much would you recommend that others try the experiment (1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being highly recommended)?

I have no idea how this will work for other people. But when you find something that has worked so well for yourself, why wouldn’t you share it or recommend it to others? Just like sharing your favorite recipe. And I have already recommended it to family and close friends who are thriving on the new way of eating. I give a 10.

Tommy, one of my best friends in life

Tommy in Quanoa Quebrada, Brazil, January 2012

Note from Bjarte: Tommy’s story is a little bit different from the rest of my family & friends. Tommy decided after visiting me in Brazil in January 2012 that he was going to make a life-change and get his health in order. This meant making some drastic changes for the first months to lose as much fat as possible as fast as possible and then adopting the diet outlined in the two-week experiment.

Personal information

  • Age: 31
  • Sex: Male
  • Background: I was too big before, I weighed a lot, had problems with energy, tiredness, and general health. Tried the experiment to see if I could turn things around.
  • Did the two-week experiment in: Started a fat-loss version of the experiment in February 2012 and changed to the normal experiment diet in June 2012.
  • Still eating according to the experiment: Yes of course!!!

Evaluation score and weight loss before and after the experiment

  • Score before the experiment: 81
  • Score eight months after the experiment: 234
  • Improvement: 188,8%
  • Weight loss:47 kilos.
    • I’ve lost nearly 50 kilos since the 1st of February 2012! It feels fantastic. I don’t really have much more to lose and 2 months ago I started lifting weights to increase my muscle mass. I feel like a completely different person!

Tommy in Bergen, Norway, October 2012

Key challenges during the two-week experiment

In the beginning it was very, very hard for me. I used to eat lots of terrible stuff every day. To stop doing that and the next day suddenly eat way less and healthy was a shock for my body. I had lots of withdrawal symptoms and I was craving sugar, pizza and other stuff all the time. It was important for me to have close friends as Ivi and Bjarte to help me through those first 10 days. It didn’t make it easier that lots of other people I spend my time with eat at least as badly as I used to do. Watching them enjoy sweets, pizzas, burgers, cakes etc. and not being able to eat myself was very hard.

Key positive impacts after the two-week experiment

After two weeks I felt like a new man. I had more energy, less cravings, increased happiness, and the kilos where running off me! I stopped sleeping after work, reduced my TV-time, started easy jogging etc. I basically got lots more energy and positive thoughts.

Now, nine months later I feel I have a new life. I look completely different. I feel completely different. I act completely different, and my life has become completely different! Nearly everything about my life has changed and very much improved. I am more happy, I want to say “hi” to everyone I meet on the street! I have lots of energy, feel good inside, I think more about what’s really important, and I generally feel like a completely new person. It kicks ass!

Key challenges after the two-week experiment

The key challenges were to continue following the strict diet. The diet I ate in the beginning was stricter than the one in the two-week experiment. For the last five months I’ve eaten exactly as outlined in the experiment, using the 80/20 to full advantage! For me it’s very easy to eat like this. I love the food and I love the way it makes me feel!

How have you eaten since the end of the two-week experiment

Like I said, I’ve followed the experiment way of eating. I do use the 80/20 rule and my stomach does NOT feel good after I’ve been out drinking or had a «Grandiosa» (Norwegian ready-made pizza), but I think it’s important to not be a maniac about these things. Sometimes it’s OK to eat unhealthy stuff as long as it’s the exception and not the rule.

How much would you recommend that others try the experiment (1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being highly recommended)?

Ehhh, this is pretty easy for me. The score is definitely a 10. I’m trying to convince other people I know to try it. It’s been life-changing for me and I’ll never go back! :D:D

The mum of one of my closest family & friends who wishes to be anonym

Personal information

  • Age: 54
  • Sex: Female
  • Background: Struggled with weight gain, stress, depression, and anxiety for decades. Overall I had very little energy and focus to do things.
  • Did the two-week experiment in: August 2012.
  • Still eating according to the experiment: Yes

Evaluation score and weight loss before and after the experiment

  • Score before the experiment: 90
  • Score two months after the experiment: 159
  • Improvement: 76,7%
  • Weight loss:8 kilos
    • After being 12 weeks with the new way og eating I have lost about 8 kg. My clothes fit so much better and it is no longer a struggle to get dressed every day and that definitely makes me feel better about myself. Before I used to have so much water in my body that I got very deep marks after my socks and couldn’t wear rings. I am not doing any exercise at all, just eating differently which gives a weight loss of 200-400g a week. At my age I am satisfied with losing weight slow and steady, especially since I am also on medication.

Key challenges during the two-week experiment

My biggest issue was that I experienced massive withdrawal symptoms after I stopped eating sugar. Mentally and physically I really struggled with cravings for alcohol and sugar. The first ten days were very difficult in regards to this and if I hadn’t had the support I did, I am not sure I would have made it. But after the initial first days it became so much better.

Key positive impacts after the two-week experiment

The changes have been massive. I feel much more calm, less stressed and have more energy to a level where I could cut one of my anti-depressants (Paroxitin), sleeping pills and I reduced Retalin. Before this my dosage kept increasing, but now I am actually cutting back after eight years of medication! I have of course done this under close supervision from my doctor, who is absolutely amazed by my progress.

For me it has been a real turn around, even though I am just getting started. I can actually focus and concentrate and I am not “manic” anymore. My energy levels is what to me is most surprising. Before, the only thing I managed was to watch TV after 5pm. Now, I can be in front of the computer working at 8pm, and I don’t really watch that much TV anymore since I have the energy to do other things. I can’t remember the last time I had this much energy.

The craving after “bad” food has also gone away even though I still have them occasionally.

Key challenges after the two-week experiment

My only challenge is that I am not really interested in cooking og finding new dishes. So for me it would be so much more easy to pick up a bag of chips or bread. For me I just end up with little variation since I really can’t be bothered to cook.

How have you eaten since the end of the two-week experiment

I at accordingly to the diet, and I use the 80/20 rule. Sometimes I eat some fruit and nuts.

How much would you recommend that others try the experiment (1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being highly recommended)?

Based on my experience I would give it a 10 or a 12 for that matter. I really wish I had the energy and know-how about recommending it to other because I look around and I know that there are so many of my friends who would benefit from it. My only concern is that it can be difficult and I wouldn’t have made it without support. Therefore, I don’t really talk about it to others than those I feel can actually make it. The reason is that you have to be serious if you want to do it and you have to do it right. And the last thing I would want is people who want a quick-fix and do not make it, and then just speak badly about this.

Bergljot, my mum

Me and my mum in Paris, France, October 2010

Personal information

  • Age: 59
  • Sex: Female
  • Background: Great health, no issues. Wasn’t really too keen on starting the experiment as I already feel fine and eat quite well.
  • Did the two-week experiment in: Started it in August but didn’t complete it due to going on vacation in Italy.
  • Still eating according to the experiment: No, but will do the experiment again in January after Christmas.

Evaluation score and weight loss before and after the experiment

  • Score before the experiment: 200 (Bjarte comment: By far the best before score of the nine experiment participants)
  • Score two months after the experiment: Didn’t do the evaluation
  • Improvement: Didn’t do the evaluation
  • Weight loss: 2 kilos
    • Lost 2 kilos after 7 days on the experiment. Didn’t really want to lose a lot more.

Key challenges during the two-week experiment

I stopped the experiment half-way as I was going to Italy on vacation and it wouldn’t be possible for me to carry out the experiment whilst being there. I didn’t have any problems at all during the 10-days I did the experiment. I already eat very little grains & sugar and I didn’t expect the experiment would have much impact on me. Initially, I also had some fears about what it would do to me if I started eating lots of fat suddenly even though I’ve seen the evidence that strongly suggests fats area healthy. I guess it’s hard to suddenly change without being worried about the impacts.

Key positive impacts after the two-week experiment

N/A

Key challenges after the two-week experiment

N/A

How have you eaten since the end of the two-week experiment

I didn’t complete the experiment, however I have reduced the amount of sugar I eat and I will try to eat more fat going forward. I checked my cholesterol two weeks ago and it’s absolutely fine so I’m less worried about fat now. I think I will do the experiment after Christmas :)

How much would you recommend that others try the experiment (1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being highly recommended)?

Everyone who has done it has had great effects except from me but then again I didn’t complete it. I’d like to do the experiment first and then answer this question later.

Kristin, my stepmom

Personal information

  • Age: 53
  • Sex: Female
  • Background: Had some weight to lose, felt a little stressed, energy could be better, some stomach issues too. Tried the experiment to see if it would help with some of the above stuff and other things.
  • Did the two-week experiment in: August 2012
  • Still eating according to the experiment: Yes!

Evaluation score and weight loss before and after the experiment

  • Score before the experiment: 149
  • Score two months after the experiment: 193
  • Improvement: 29,5%
  • Weight loss: 4,5 kilos
    • However, using a modified version of the eating experiment way of eating I lost about 7 kilos of fat before I started eating 100% according to the eating experiment so my total is now 12 kilos. I’m still losing weight but I don’t really aim to lose a lot more and I haven’t been as light as this for many, many years!

Key challenges during the two-week experiment

To make food / dinner for the whole family without having to cook myself, new shopping-routines.

Key positive impacts after the two-week experiment

Less hunger, no need to eat as often as before, nearly any stomach trouble at all, increased energy levels, more calm.,

My general feeling is much better. Especially my stomach trouble.

Key challenges after the two-week experiment

Self-experimentation as only introducing ONE thing at a time is hard and takes time!

How have you eaten since the end of the two-week experiment

I’ve eaten according to the experiment and I’ve used the 80/20 rule too. Sometimes I drink a little wine or beer etc. but I generally stick to this way of eating and it’s easy for me. However, Bjarte argues I might be eating a little too little carbohydrates these days!

How much would you recommend that others try the experiment (1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being highly recommended)?

I’ve already recommended the experiment to several friends and some are doing it right now. For me this has been a great thing so I would give it score 9.

Bjørn, my father

Here is Bjørn with my sister Frida and myself in Bergen, Norway October 2012

Personal information

  • Age: 62
  • Sex: Male
  • Background: Had some weight to lose, lots of headaches and migraines, low energy, irritable, high blood-pressure and cholesterol. A few things could definitely be better. Tried the experiment to see if I could feel better, lose some weight, and get more energy.
  • Did the two-week experiment in: August 2012
  • Still eating according to the experiment: Yes

Evaluation score and weight loss before and after the experiment

  • Score before the experiment: 135
  • Score two months after the experiment: 192
  • Improvement: 42,2%
  • Weight loss: 6,5 kilos

Key challenges during the two-week experiment

None :)

Key positive impacts after the two-week experiment

I discovered a lot of tasteful food, most of it using different kinds of vegetables. Mostly I do not feel hungry. And I’ve no cravings for beer (some months ago by far my most favorable “snack”/drink)

I also feel more determined, more relaxed and calmed, less stressed and annoyed.

My digestion is a lot better, I don’t have any problems at all anymore.

However, I could possibly have felt even better if it hadn’t been for the fact that I underwent shoulder surgery when doing the experiment something that’s given me pain for several months and has had a negative impact on my sleep. I’ve a great deal of pain particularly during the nights. I’m aware that this might affect this eating experiment in some way.

Key challenges after the two-week experiment

How to use the 80/20 rule. I’ve also been lacking ideas when trying to vary the different meals.

How have you eaten since the end of the two-week experiment

Mostly I’ve avoided carbs. I’ve had 4 meals a day and I’ve tried to vary amongst vegetables, meat, fish, chicken and a small amount of fruit. I think I might need to eat a little more carbs.

How much would you recommend that others try the experiment (1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being highly recommended)?

My body needed more time than two weeks to convert from primarily using glucose to fat as the main energy source. This might have been due to my operation, medicines and sugary drinks I had to drink for  a few days etc. However, when my body did finally adapt after about four weeks I started feeling a lot better. I don’t know if this will work for everyone. It’s certainly worked for my wife and I, but every person is different. I’d say give it a try! Score 9.

Jiten (Jits), one of my best friends in life

Jits in London, England, August 2011

Personal information

  • Age: 28
  • Sex: Male
  • Background: I had added a few kilos over the last few years and could do with losing a few. Was very busy with work, had some issues with energy levels. Things could definitely be worse but they could also have been a lot better. I had two overarching goals going into this experiment: 1) to reduce my chances of ever getting diabetes, and 2) to achieve more constant and higher energy and focus levels.
  • Did the two-week experiment in: August 2012
  • Still eating according to the experiment: Not perfectly but more or less

Evaluation score and weight loss before and after the experiment

  • Score before the experiment: 106
  • Score two months after the experiment: 200
  • Improvement: 88,7%
  • Weight loss: About 9 kilos when eating right but I’ve added back about 2,5 kilos now probably because I haven’t followed the way of eating as well as I would have liked.

Jits in Manchester, England, October 2012

At the peak of my health after the experiment, it was: 200. Currently (after diverging from the experiment a fair bit, but still cutting down on some key problem food areas, and having a fair bit of “extra” stress and lack of time lately), it’s: 173. Note, this current score also includes a non-eating related improvement (specifically, improving my breathing during sleep.)

Key challenges during the two-week experiment

Note, I didn’t have a proper 2 week period as Bjarte suggested. Rather, I started by slowly cutting out sugars and cereals for about a month, and THEN I started reducing carbs significantly (but never zero) until I felt like I had adapted. I basically ended up eating like described in the two-week experiment but I went about it differently initially hence it took me longer to adapt. Here are some of the key challenges I had during the period of really trying to adapt to fats:

  • Finding enough good fats in the food I ate.
  • I got some mild stomach aches, which may have been due to my stomach and intestines adapting to the different foods and lack of fiber maybe. (I still do now, but definitely not as much as before).
  • I got blurred vision quite a lot, again probably due to my retinas not getting enough glucose, but eventually that stopped happening
  • My body temperature definitely increased, but it was very inconsistent
  • Generally maintaining the eating pattern was (and is) very hard for me, as I just don’t get enough time to cook, and food from outside rarely meets the requirements (Bjarte comment: Jits works A LOT!)

Key positive impacts after the two-week experiment

After I had adapted to the new way of eating I experienced a number of positive effects:

  • MUCH better energy levels! :-) The consistent high levels were noticeable, apart from some dips here and there due to not always eating properly, or high levels of stress and activity. But in general I noticed that I felt much more active and energetic and alive :-) :-)
  • Much reduced need to always be eating ;-) THIS WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME! I would always be eating stuff, and I felt like I *needed* to. After eating and burning fats a lot more I felt I could go much longer without eating and still be a functional human being! And (shock, horror), I could even skip breakfast (or other meals) without much of a problem.
  • Calmness – I definitely felt much calmer in general, even though I felt energetic. Which is a great combination! It’s like a slowly purring diesel engine that is ready to go 100 miles an hour when needed, but can happily purr away without jumping up and down with restlessness.
  • Weight loss – I lost a few kilos :-) (Though I’m not losing any more at the moment).

Key challenges after the two weeks & how have you eaten since the end of the two-week experiment

To be honest, it was very, very difficult to maintain the more optimal eating habits of eating lots of good fats and vegetables, and little carbs. Instead, I now do eat plenty of rice and potatoes and occasional pizzas. But still very little sugar, no cereals and occasional bread/pasta. I feel this is a good balance at the moment – I still do have good energy levels (not perfect), and I feel better than I was before, but there’s just too many things going on at the moment to truly keep on top of my eating habits.

How much would you recommend that others try the experiment (1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being highly recommended)?

Definitely 10/10 on trying it out but I would also say that it’s important to not get too stressed or militant about it, especially if you live a busy life. I think the biggest gains are from seeing it as an experiment and being more aware about what you eat and how you feel as a result, and using Bjarte’s excellent and interesting work as a platform on which to try different eating habits out, and cutting out the obviously bad things that you have “addictions” on (e.g. eating too much sugar or breakfast cereals). Having said that, I think it’s also important to test the fundamental idea: whether your body can adapt to processing good fats as the main fuel source.

Also, I want to mention that doing this experiment sets up an important platform for the future: more understanding about the things I should/can do to improve my wellbeing, and more awareness of what I eat and the effects it has on me. I’m not afraid of eating fats anymore!!

Ivar Andre (Ivi), one of my best friends in life

Ivi in Fortaleza, Brazil, January 2012

Personal information

  • Age: 31
  • Sex: Male
  • Background: Didn’t have many problems before I started to eat differently. Played lots of football, had energy, haven’t been that much sick. Things were pretty good. The reason I tried the experiment was that I was curious to see if I could feel even better.
  • Did the two-week experiment in: June 2012
  • Still eating according to the experiment: Yes

Evaluation score and weight loss before and after the experiment

  • Score before the experiment: 152
  • Score six months after the experiment: 204
  • Improvement: 34,2%
  • Weight loss :5 kilos
    • Lost five kilos in the six months I’ve eaten like this but I didn’t have much fat on my body before.

Ivi and me in Bergen, Norway, October 2012

Key challenges during the two-week experiment

  • Disoriented
  • Dizziness
  • Eating enough
  • Low energy

Key positive impacts after the two-week experiment

  • More focused
  • Inner peace & calmness
  • Have more energy
  • More patience
  • Feeling more happy and tolerant

Key challenges after the two-week experiment

Eating different foods.

How have you eaten since the end of the two-week experiment

Have been eating the same as during the experiment but added some more carbs. Also I’ve added the 80/20 rule and I use it especially on Saturdays.

How much would you recommend that others try the experiment (1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being highly recommended)?

I would say score 10. The changes have been far greater than I expected. I felt fine before, now I feel even better. I never thought I’d be able to reduce my bread and pasta intake but it’s been very easy.

Bjarte, that’s me

Bjarte in Miami, USA, August 2011

Personal information

  • Age: 31
  • Sex: Male
  • Background: Generally felt happy before I changed what I ate. Had energy, but I also felt a little stressed, had stomach issues, and was more sick that most of my friends. Tried the experiment to see if all the knowledge I’d gained from studying nutrition & health would have an actual impact in my daily life or if it was all just fluff.
  • Did the two-week experiment in: April/May 2012.
  • Still eating according to the experiment: Yes

Evaluation score and weight loss before and after the experiment

  • Score before the experiment: 144
  • Score eight months after the experiment: 217
  • Improvement: 50,7%
  • Weight loss :4 kilos (about 3 kilos fat and 1 kilo muscle)
    • I’ve lost about 4,5 kilos pure fat mass over the last year and I’ve also lost 3 kg of muscles as I didn’t go to the gym for nearly a year due to my world travels. Since April 2012 I estimate that I’ve lost about 3 kilos of fat and 1  kilo of muscle however I’m not completely sure. It’s fascinating to see that even though I did minimal training I lost fat and reduced my body fat percentage with 4% over the last year; simply through eating differently. As soon as I started going to the gym again (October 2012) my muscle mass started to increase. My body fat percentage is still declining.

Me, Ismael, and Jits in Manchester, England, October 2012

Key challenges during the two-week experiment

  • Low energy
  • Felt “dumb”, difficult to concentrate, make decisions and think clearly
  • Felt “strange”
  • Dizziness

Key positive impacts after the two-week experiment

My energy levels have increased but I’ve at the same time become more calm, tolerant, peaceful and less stressed. All my stomach issues have gone away and I simply feel a lot better than I did before. I feel that my mental capacity and focus has become significantly better and to be honest I think it was good before so that’s very cool. I can now go for hours without eating which is great as I used to be a real p*ick when I hadn’t eaten for three to four hours. The change is massive as now that I’m writing this I realize that I haven’t eaten a thing for 13,5 hours and I feel fine!

It’s worth noting that I’ve felt pretty decent all my life and that I did not at all expect the eating change to have these effects. I’ve been completely flabbergasted by all of this to be honest! You might think that’s strange as I strongly believed in the research evidence when I started experimenting, however there’s a difference between a logical understanding of something and the emotional understanding you get once you feel the changes happening to your mind and body.

Key challenges after the two-week experiment

The two main problems for me has been eating enough carbs and finding the right salt balance.

  • Carbs: I completely stopped eating carbs for a long time as I wanted to experiment with ketosis, however I believe I do better with some carbs in my diet. Unfortunately, I often forget to eat sweet potato, rice etc. these days and I have to remind myself to do it.
  • Salt: I sometimes get a strange mental feeling of decision fatigue, not being able to think clearly etc. This problem is fixed when I eat more salt. However, I’ve been way to relaxed about my salt intake when I should be focusing more on ensuring I get enough.

How have you eaten since the end of the two-week experiment

I’ve been eating as I did during the experiment, however I use the 80/20 rule (probably more like 90/10 to be honest). I’ve also added liver, mackerel, bone marrow, and other super-foods to my diet. I absolutely love the new way of eating. I always believed I had to eat low-fat to be healthy and have a decent body and consequently I’ve eaten a lot of boring food over the last 15 years. I’m delighted to be able to eat delicious food again!

How much would you recommend that others try the experiment (1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being highly recommended)?

It’s a bit weird for me to answer this question as I made the experiment, however I’m passionate about it. Not only do I think it works; I also think it’s a great way to get people started on their journey to improved health. Few people are motivated by pure facts and logic. We need to “feel” things to get the motivation to change and this experiment is designed to do exactly that. After two weeks people feel a lot better and they consequently want to continue doing this. That’s the strength of the experiment in my opinion and one of the many things that make it different to fad-diets. I highly recommend trying it hence score 10.

That’s it!

There you have it; the personal stories of my family, friends, and myself. As I mentioned in the introduction I decided to share all this private information with you, with the acceptance of my friends & family of course, so that you can get a real look into what’s likely to happen to you if you undertake the experiment. Not everyone is the same however and I can never guarantee results, however I think it’s worth at least giving the experiment a try!

Good luck!

Me kite-surfing in Kalpityia, Sri Lanka, July 2012

6 thoughts on “My friends & family’s 2-week eating experiment stories: Increased quality of life, weight-loss, and a sustainable way of eating

      1. Jits

        Absolutely.

        A suggestion for a future post: a detailed list of which foods are ideal, and maybe even some quick recipe ideas. Personally I would love a single page I could go to as a reference on what things are better to eat, with some simple cooking ideas.

        Reply

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