Slowly trucking along in Phase 2 at my own pace - how low is too low of calories before I move to phase 3?
Seems like from my quick perusal of previous/closed posts in Phase 3 Discussion Forum, this is the general advice about phase 2/3:
- Stay in Phase 2 as long as possible as it's the majority of the cutting / fat loss of the program
- Only do Phase 3 / refeeds if warranted; otherwise either 1) go back to onboarding and kind of start over (bypassing phase 3/offboarding altogether?) OR 2) offboard and start over?
(not sure about those #1 & #2 above?)
Here's my weird winding DSK story so far:
- Aug 13, 2018: Started onboarding
- Sept 10, 2018: Started Phase 1
- Oct 29, 2018: Started Phase 2
I'm still in Phase 2. I decided to just stick with it for the long haul, and at one point kept my macros for about a month through Thanksgiving and travel to Disney with family to remain consistent and not fall off the wagon. Just started tapering again, I know this isn't according to plan but it seems to be okay - my weight was stable through that, went up a little on my cycle, and is back to normal. I think I am experiencing body recomp (calipers/body measurements and visual muscle suggest so, though I need to do a follow-up bodypod to be sure)
Currently my macros are as follows:
1455 calories (123 f, 77p, 10c)
I am trying to conceptualize the rest of my program - I'm totally comfortable staying on DSK longer than normal to get the most benefit out of it, but would like to be completely wrapped up by the beginning of April, including offboarding, to enjoy a 3 week trip to Japan at a higher metabolism.
So, working backwards from that end goal, I was thinking perhaps that it would make sense to:
- Reserve 4-6 weeks for offboarding (most of March and half of February)
- Reserve 4-6 weeks for Phase 3 (other half of February and most of January)
- Finish up Phase 2 by around New Year's / within first weeks of January?
If this seems logical / sound, here is my runway:
this week (week of 12/17): 1453
week of 12/24: 1395
week of 12/31: 1367 -?? - start phase 3?
week of 1/7: 1340 - ?? - start phase 3?
week of 1/14 - 1313
week of 1/21 - 1287
week of 1/28 - 1261
week of 2/4 - 1236 - start off-boarding?? (or the next week, week of 2/11?)
offboard from 2/4ish through end of March?
So my biggest questions are:
1. is this plan sound? (I might be missing some very obvious thing!)
2. if it is, when would you suggest move form Phase 2 to Phase 3? week of 12/31: 1367 cals or week of 1/7: 1340 cals? (Note: I recognize I could probably go lower in calories in phase 2...would it be better to do THAT and be in phase 3 for a shorter period of time?)
3. I suppose this last question might depend on your recommendations for #2 above, but, when in theory would you target starting offboarding?
Something to know about my goals for DSK - I have a goal weight but I don't really care about it as much as I do about body recomposition, fat loss, learning to eat more intuitively by following macros (yes...somewhat counterintuitive, but by feeling what real food and fuel feels like, and overcoming a tendency to over-fast and under-eat, etc. I do feel that's working)... ultimately, I just want to learn about my body, gain consistency with my eating, and uncover some of my fat to reveal more of my muscle.
Any advice or insight would be very welcome! Thanks in advance!
Great info and great thinking through everything with your trip in April. It helps me see things with it. 🙂
Since you ideally want to be mostly done with offboarding before your trip, I say look at that as a main 2nd goal. We definitely don't want you to go too low in calories and be at the start of offboarding then. I know the spreadsheet lets you go closer to 1200 calories but I'd say stay above 1300 as that's what Robert does with his clients.
You also want at least 2 weeks of phase 3. Using your trip date, I feel like only doing 2 weeks of that would be smart. I say this as I know you said you have a goal weight in mind but are looking more at body composition and other things. Yes, it's best to stretch the program out as much as you can, yet I don't want your body to hate you down the line for when you intuitively eat. I want to give you enough offboarding runway. I went for a long time and I know it helps. One thing I will definitely say is that try to stay away from keto package "treats" while you first eat without tracking. I went a tiny crazy and somewhat regretting it now.
I'm thinking right now, let's see how you feel the day before 12/31 and evaluate things then. Yet, after I stare at this question more with my comments, I feel like starting phase 3 on 12/31 would be best as it would give you more runway for offboarding.
What are your thoughts after this?
Thanks so much for your reply. Let me just make sure I understand you correctly:
- starting Phase 3 12/31 (depending how I feel)
- Doing Phase 3 the weeks of 12/31 and 1/7 only?
- Staring Offboarding 1/14 and doing that the rest of January, all of Feburary, and all of March?
Seems like a long time to offboard, but, I do suspect you're right that having a lot of runway and building up bit by bit to intuitive eating is wise. Is there time for a bit longer in Phase 3? Or just not really necessary in your opinion? It seems like Offboarding functions as kind of an extension of Phase 3 and then goes further, so maybe 2 weeks is sufficient?
Thanks for the tip on avoiding treats - I think I'll be ok but you never know when you'll lose your head and feel like "I deserve this after X months of "being good". - Just the kind of thinking surrounding food I'm trying to break myself of. I think that since I've been doing DSK for so long, through multiple special events and holidays, that should help me maintain my baseline of routine and I'll probably even keep tracking for the first few months at least after DSK, just out of curiosity and to keep learning, but just not worry as much about hitting the goals perfectly each day - would you recommend this?
I'll check back for an answer on whether I understood your recommendations and then be back 12/30ish to see if we still think off-boarding that week is a-go! Thanks so much!
Yes, that's what I'm thinking.
For me, I started my offboarding on August 6th and stopped around the end of November. I most likely could have kept going also with increasing my calories.
In my opinion, with your goal and your vacation, I would say 2 weeks in phase 3 will be fine. If you didn't have the vacation I'd say longer is fine, but I'm just pulling from my experience in offboarding and me not tracking for a few weeks (I'm back to tracking now) and with your trip. I'd also like you to stay above 1300 calories. I got lower with working with someone nearly every day, but by going that low was extremely hard and really affect my mental health during the lower calories and going into offboarding. Offboarding is still not easy with any calories, yet I feel like it may have been harder for me with where my calories where.
We don't want any holy crap too many calories/off plan when you do offboarding, especially at the start. Both Crystal and Jonathan did this and they don't recommend doing this. I was warned not to do this, even though I wanted just one day to eat what I wanted when I started off boarding. I stayed the course of the plan though. When you start offboarding, your body is a sponge and if you give it too much at once, it will soak it in and give you unwanted weight/fat gain.
What do you mean exactly by seeing offboarding is kind of an extension of phase 3? I don't want to give my input on this comment and not fully understand what you mean and insult you.
I'm currently mentally struggling with just a few pounds gained in the last couple of weeks. Even though I understand the reasons for it and how to bring it back in, it's still affecting me in ways that I don't like seeing in myself. I don't want that for you or anyone.
This is clear and helpful. I got some awesome data from a bodpod test today! I have dropped 2% body fat (~2.5lb) while maintaining and even adding a little muscle! I've always heard that Keto is muscle sparing so this was very encouraging to see confirmed, especially since I've had a few intuitive days and stuck with that one set of macros for so long, which isn't exactly on-plan. I have been very careful with strength training to try to maintain muscle as I lose body mass and it seems to be working!
I'm actually not sure looking back what I meant by offboarding being an extension of phase 3? I think maybe I saw in a video that you will continue the keto refeeds in offboarding like you do in Phase 3 until the calories come back to a middle point / meet in the middle with reverse dieting and caloric refeeds? Does that make sense? So, I should maybe mentally approach my experience with off-boarding similarly to my experience with phase 3? Except of course each week I'll build a little runway instead of cutting a little?
Thanks so much for your guidance, Abby, it's very helpful!
In offboarding, you will be increasing your calories each week and will have some refeeds. Yet, each refeed will be a lower calorie one compared to the last refeed you had.
Also, one thing to remember is that when the chart shows that offboarding is done, you will want to keep going. Add in lines yourself to the spreadsheet. We can figure out at the point how to change the macros for these weeks you added in. I did this during my offboarding phase.
Ok, quick update - 10 days later, I am down 2.6lb and feeling good but also kind of feeling ready to move into Phase 3. My reasons for this are mostly psychological - I am starting to feel hunger during the day (though I still am totally fine) and I think the keto refeed days to look forward to will help me with sticking to my macros the other days. Also knowing that it would only be fore 2 weeks before slowly getting into and extended off-barding with a lot of runway sounds wonderful.
What else am I failing to consider or overlooking, Abby or any of the coaches? Or is it just time? I am about 1.3 lb above my "goal weight" but
1) am not married to the goal weight as much as to body recomposition and feeling good and
2) my numbers are all trending in the right direction even with normal fluctuations.
Should I expect to continue to see the scale drop in phase 3? Or does it level out?
Thanks! - Becky
My answer is to go for it, on the fact that I know the end goal of traveling. 🙂 It sounds like you are at the part where things get hard and oh I remember these times. This where you learn what you are made out of. 😉 Since I didn't have a trip to go on, I pushed myself more in phase 2 with the need/want of more food in the day.
Coaches, tell me if I'm wrong in saying this, yet I believe that just because you want those refeeds because you are feeling psychologically ready for them, doesn't mean it's time. You are also still losing weight in not having these refeeds yet. However, reviewing of where your calories are now and you traveling after offboarding, I do feel fine with you doing phase 3 this week.
Some people still do lose weight in phase 3 and even in offboarding.
One thing to remember is that those refeed days may be really fun, but still hard. I recommend planning for them. Plan for what foods you want to have. Feel free to space out your food if you wish, as you are not going for a show look in your body. Do what works for you, but do not leave anything uneaten, even if you have to force it. 🙂
Hey @beckyjoy ! I completely agree with Abby’s response! If you goal was to get as lean as possible or a competition I would stay on phase 3 . In a caloric deficit hunger is almost guaranteed so it’s not necessarily the best sign to go based off of . However, being that your traveling and will continue to lean out while off boarding while also increasing your calories to where when you actually travel you can enjoy a little more food, I think going into offboarding is not a bad idea 😬 I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions
Thanks guys! I did go ahead and begin Phase 3 on NYE and so this will be week 2 out of 2! I am feeling great, continuing to lose slowly and measurements are trending downward! I had one hard day where I was super cold and hungry but that's honestly it. Mostly, if anything, I think I've been achieving..wait for it...a deeper state of ketosis because I keep having sky high energy and no hunger for 20+ hours at a time! It's very similar to that euphoric sense of wellbeing I had at the beginning of going keto 2+ years ago. Fun stuff! So one more week of cutting with 1 more refeed, then on to off-boarding! I am feeling great with this plan!
I do have one question, however. If last week my macros were:
Is it okay to go down as planned calorie-wise but play with my ratios? The spreadsheet suggests I do this this week:
...however, I've noticed that I am craving more protein than fat lately? Would it be okay to do this instead this week?
So essentially I'd be cutting 9g of fat and upping protein by 9g instead of cutting fat by 3g and protein by 4g? If I did the math right (always possible I did not haha) the calories are the same but I'd be eating 24% protein, 73% fat instead of 21% protein and 77% fat?
Obviously I can do whatever I want, so I'm not exactly asking permission...more like...what can I expect to happen physiologically if I go down in fat by 3% and up in protein by 3% in the course of one week? Would it be best to save that kind of self-experimentation for off-boarding? What impact does it have to play with the fat and protein levers? Can it stall you? If and when I do something like this, would this be an OK step to take or should it be smaller baby steps of a 1-2% change per week over several weeks?
I'm glad things are going well. 🙂
For your macro question: Quick answer is no. 🙂
Throughout this whole program, it's meant to give your body only gradual changes. I do not know what will happen if you change the macros to what you want. This phase is also not always easy and then if you change something here, you may want to change something again in offboarding and then it will really change how this program is laid out.
Your body may be craving more protein because it just wants more food and that's normal in this stage of the game with what your calories are at.
And of course like you said you are not asking for permission and it is your choice. I just would not recommend it, as it's not how this course was set up with helping you succeed.