Braden's V-Log

Have you ever had a Starbuck’s Oatmeal Fudge bar? They have this chewiness from the oatmeal that perfectly balances the creamy smoothness of the chocolate fudge. You can squish the fudge against the roof of your mouth, and there’s nothing but chocolate in the world. Swish that around in there with a double-shot cappuccino, and you get a rush you can physically feel. I have had a few of these. Or more accurately, a few too many.

And so, I find myself on day one of the Velocity Diet, which I probably could have paid for entirely from the money I spent on Starbuck’s Oatmeal Fudge Bars. Why now? Well, chocolaty goodness notwithstanding, two years ago I was at my lowest weight in over 25 years. Eight months of hard work had gotten me down from 210 lbs to almost 185 lbs, with a drop in body fat percentage of nearly 10%.

That was measured by myself with Fat Track II calipers, mind you, so I won’t commit to real numbers, but it is good for trend data. I have always felt that regardless of the numerical accuracy of the measure, if it’s going down, that’s a good thing.

Most importantly though, I felt great. I felt lean. And as most do, I swore up and down that I was done with the old lifestyle; that people should just shoot me if I ever let myself get that way again. Standing now in front of the firing squad, I reflect that sure, if there are excuses for letting oneself go, I had them.

My beautiful wife and I entered a very dark two-year-long period of our relationship that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and it seemed like life – and my health – had just gotten away from me.

Still, everything ends at some point, our only choice is whether we let it end badly or make it end well. And so after watching this diet for over 2 years, it just seemed like the right time. My sensei has been asking me for over a year now if I am committed to testing for my Sandan rank, and I say hella yeah, I am ready!

But then I look sheepishly down at my black belt and notice that the Kanji that spell my name are slowly disappearing into the knot. I know that mentally I have been ready for a long time, but physically, I ain’t anywhere near it.

Things like that can be irrelevant if we just find the power to make them that way, and so today is day number one. I was pleasantly surprised at the first shake. I admit having used generic insert-store-name-here whey powder for a long time; I didn’t know what I was missing with the good stuff from Biotest. It’s tasty!

Starting Point:

Height: 5’8"
Weight: 205

Neck: 16
Bicep: 14
Forearm: 11.5
Chest: 43.5
Waist: 41
Hips: 40.5
Thigh: 23.0
Calf: 16.0

For what it’s worth, I measured BF% at 26, but as above I am not hung up on the specific number, just the delta over time. My method is to measure 5 times, throw out the high and the low and average the remaining three.

Really looking forward to the workout today …

Sandan soon.

Awesome. Keep us posted!

Well, after one week on the Velocity diet, I looked at the calendar and realized it had only been two days. I suppose anytime we do something so radically different we are so focused on the “new thing” that is seems like it goes on a lot longer than you think. Kinda like the car ride to somewhere new is always longer than the ride home.

I’ve spent the two days shocked at my obsessiveness with food. Not in the “I-can’t-stand-another-shake” way; in fact, I’ve found all of them rather tasty. No, it’s more of the “junior-hasn’t-finished-his-dinner-so-I-guess-I’ll-clean-that-up” or “I-need-a-break-from-this-technical-problem-I-wonder-what’s-in-the-pantry” kind of way. There’s no hunger involved, just mindless eating.

The first workout was solid. I hadn’t really increased my weights in quite a while in any meaningful way, so I cranked them up. I won’t post any here, as they won’t impress anyone except my mother, but you gotta start somewhere. The DOMS is kicking in right on schedule.

I’m doing the intermediate workout, and I did the chinups because I can’t do lat pulldowns. I gave up my gym membership a couple of years ago when I went into a Zach Evan-Esh Underground kick, and set up a gym in my basement. Still, you’d be surprised at how I have been able to outfit it with plenty of weights, benches, etc. And all for free, too, I might add. If any of you are as – let’s just say, “financially careful” – as I am, then freecycle is your friend (google it). Here’s where one can benefit from the general lack of perseverance for exercise in the general population. There’s a ton of unused exercise equipment collecting dust out there. Most people are glad for me to take it off their hands. I’m picking up an Ab Wheel later this week.

But back to the workout: The only modification I made was to the chinups. I’m sure there was a time when I could to a chinup, but I don’t remember it. So I did them as eccentrics instead. It’s a goal on this trip to get to actual chinups.

Oh, and what a great time of year to be doing NEPA walks. Everything is burning orange and golden yellow out there.

Onward …

Great observations and comments here. Good stuff, Braden!

Days 4 and 5 … they say they’re the toughest, and I can’t disagree. The shakes have gone from rather tasty to rather cloying. As much garbage food as I ate before this, I’ve never eaten 5 days of non-stop sweet things. I’ve found myself having to pop a pinch of salt into my mouth on occasion just to remind myself that savoury still exists.

But as I look through the V-Life recipes, I notice they are all things we want to eat, just re-“thunk”, so I’m determined to start practicing that with the shakes. Not changing them, of course, but re-thinking them.

One example that’s going to keep me sane in this is taking my last shake of the day and running it through my ice cream maker. It comes out a sorbet, of course, being water-based, but boy, it sure is nice to be eating “solid” food.

I also noticed that the Vanilla Metabolic Drive powder reminds me of a flavoured Coffee Mate. So today I plan on making up a batch of strong decaf coffee and using that instead of water for a V-Life cappuccino.

Now, normally I fall into the camp that believes that decaf coffee is what they serve in Hell, but I’m using it now because frankly, the HOT-ROX are kicking my butt. I think I’ll be switching to the Carbolin 19/Se7en stack once Biotest re-stocks the Carbolin 19 (they seem to be out at the moment). I was kind of surprised at that, because I drink a lot of coffee, so I figured they would be no problem for me.

I mean, it’s not like I’m taking out the garbage naked, or seeing the tiny marching band coming out of the stereo speakers again (boy am I glad those days are over). I just don’t like that cold, clammy-handed sense of foreboding I get when I’m over-caffeinated. Besides, I’d still rather get my caffeine from Major Dickason ( ), or even better, from the devil himself ( ). But in the meantime, I’ll push ahead with the HOT-ROX. Maybe I just need an adjustment to them too.

Here’s a tip for those with hunger pangs, waiting for that next shake. Nothing kills your hunger for a good 30-45 minutes like a Listerine Breath strip. Personally, I can’t even drink water for a while after I’ve had one of those …

I almost always have a my morning coffee with a scoop of vanilla MD. Or sometimes I mix some chocolate and vanilla together and then put a scoop in. I am not on the v-diet right now, did mine in March, learned alot and realized what I need in my diet, what I dont and how much mindless eating a person does. Now I am aware of every single thing I put in my mouth and why.

Good work and great log.

Sweet, we started the same day. Good luck on yours! (I’ve never had one of those oatmeal fudge bars though).

Hey glwllia, good luck to you as well! I don’t know what your V-Diet schedule is, but for me today is HSM day! Sweet Mary, how I’m looking forward to that meal. On deck is a Romaine lettuce salad, grilled salmon tail, a small grilled steak, and piles of broccoli and cauliflower.

Truthfully, that has been a typical dinner for me for a few years now, good quality protein with lots of vegetables and zero starches or other carbs. No, I’m not on the V-Diet because of my dinners. I’m on the V-Diet because I discovered a meal between breakfast and lunch. And it was very sugary.

Today is also V Burn day, and I’m expecting it to take me a while. I was like many in that I looked over the workouts and thought “that’s it??”. If you do them properly you are grateful that’s it. I certainly hope ibuprofen is an approved V-Diet supplement, because it’s been a regular part of my stack.

Now, without further ado, the results after 1 week (OK, 6 days):

Weight: 202.8 (-1.8)

Neck: 15.75 (-.25)
Bicep: 14
Forearm: 11.5
Chest: 42.5 (-1.0)
Waist: 40 (-1.0)
Hips: 40.5
Thigh: 22.5 (-.05)
Calf: 16

Sadly, I’m still 5’8". Perhaps Mr. Shugart will tweak the protocol for that in Version 4.

My results are not as dramatic as I was secretly hoping. But hey, that’s 2 pounds and almost 3 inches did not have 6 days ago. Hard to complain about that. Certainly the workouts have made me aware of my muscles again, and that feels great. Nothing like a good leg and chest pump to take your mind off your middle.

One thing I did find out as I was analyzing this is that my nut butter label lied to me. It said 1 Tbsp was 90 calories, and that was equal to 15 g. However, the “Tbsp” measuring implement I have been using seems to take 24 g of nut butter, so if the rest of it is to be believed, I have been putting close to 360 calories in my last shake rather than the prescribed 210. The lesson: labels are evil, kitchen scales are good.

On to week 2. More focus, more weight (on the bar, that is) …

Good job! keep it up !

I see that it has been a long time since I posted.

The truth is, this week life threw me a high, hard fastball. I flew into a whirlwind, and not in a good way. I was in complete react/survival/whatever you want to call it mode, enough that I had to burn some precious vacation time to clear my schedule to even just survive it. It was hard, extremely stressful, and I’m sad to say, gave me all the reason anyone could need to drop this program and focus on getting the hell out of there.

Which is exactly why I didn’t.

You better believe I was sucking back those shakes, and increasing the weights, and pounding the iron, and damn well earning my Surge. Because in a week like that, this diet morphed for me. This was no longer about weight loss and body transformation. This was about waving a sky-high middle finger at all the external forces that try to knock you off your path. In all the things I could not control, this was the one thing I could, and they were going to have to pry the Metabolic Drive and shaker bottle out of my cold, dead hands.

And so, after two weeks:

Weight: 200.6 (-4 total, -2.2 w/w)
Neck: 15.5 (-0.25)
Chest: 43 (+0.5 w/w)
Bicep: 14
Forearm: 11.75
Waist: 39 (-2 total, -1 w/w)
Hips: 40 (-0.5)
Thigh: 22.5
Calf: 16

Again, not dramatic, but steadily downwards. Except chest; by gum, I daresay I might be actually gaining. Very cool.

Very much looking forward to HSM tonight. It’s Thanksgiving up in the GWN, and a nice hot plate of turkey and harvest vegetables is sounding incredibly good right now.

Courage, V-Dieters … we are in control.

Glad you were able to overcome Braden! Stay strong, and happy thanksgiving!

Awesome Post way to keep at it.

I can’t believe it’s already Day 19; only 9 more to go before regular HSM’s. I can tell you I’m tremendously excited for that, not just because it’s real food, but because I am itching to start trying out so many of the recipes, tips, and techniques in the Healthy Solid Meals forum.

I’ve always cooked a lot at home, and this has really got me thinking differently about cooking again. For me, I think that will be one of the biggest take-aways from this whole experience.

I’m about halfway through “The End of Overeating”, and was especially struck by the one passage where he talks about the food-reward system: “Putting together the various lines of study, we gain a fuller picture of the cycle: A cue triggers a dopamine-fueled urge … dopamine leads us to food … eating food leads to opioid [endorphin] release … and the production of both dopamine and opioids stimulates further eating.”

If any of you has done any research into addictions (alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.) the circuit described above should sound very familiar … Gives one a good perspective into drug and alcohol abuse as well as over-eating. And remember that this is an internal system that is (was?) crucial to our survival as individuals.

But on more positive topics, the workouts are going great. I’m feeling so much tighter than before, although my son looked and me and said “you don’t look any different”. I’m thinking about making him drink nothing but shakes for a week just for saying that. He he he …

90 Shakes down, 46 to go. Or something like that …

Kick Fat’s Ass, get those Kanji back.

Just curious how it ended - sounded like you were rocking it strong so post some updated measurements!

Hey, thanks for asking, I am still here and still chugging along. I did indeed finish the main V-Diet yesterday, and am starting transition today. I have not been able to update the log as frequently as intended, but life does that to you at times. I’ve been struggling with the shakes again in the latter part of this week, and I’m not sure why. Thankfully I can start to taper them off.

So, at the end of the main diet:

Weight: 196.8 (-2.6 w/w, -7.8 total)

Neck: 15.5 (-0.5 total)
Bicep: 14.0
Forearm: 11.5
Chest: 43.0
Waist: 39.0 (-2.0 total)
Hips: 39.5 (-0.5 w/w, -1.0 total)
Thigh: 22.5
Calf: 16.00

Still losing weight, which is good. 8 lbs in 4 weeks is not bad at all, I think, and certainly I feel tons better. Where the weight is coming off in terms of measurements is not entirely clear, but then I have not been as fine-grained in my measurements as was suggested by the diet, which was my bad. My spare tire is definitely getting more “slopey”, so I suspect a big part is that. And I can say that I feel like I’m getting back into the proper shape, and perhaps that’s the most important part.

One crucial part I have not been able to keep up with is good solid sleep; sleep has been hard to come by in the last couple of weeks because of life outside of the V-Diet, and I think that has held me back considerably. I went as hard as I possibly could in the workouts this week without actually blowing a tube, but I know that at least one of those workouts was only 85% because of fatigue. The good news is that my doorbell just rang with my order of Z-12. Hopefully that will help me catch up during the transition, or at least get a better pattern started again.

Got some great ideas from the recipes section for this week, so I’m anxious to start cooking again. I’ve even got some of my own that I hope to post, assuming they turn out edible …

I’m Day 5 into transition, and starting to get my cooking chops back. It’s been a week of yummy proteins, tons of veggies, and a few V-Life recipes. That flatbread is clearly going to be a staple. Like, holy smokes is that good. I highly recommend Chris’s Moroccan Chicken, that was the transition day 1 meal. I still think fondly of it … and I can’t wait to have friends and family try it.

Still, I have had some apprehension this week, since now I’m dealing with actual food rather than the strictly controlled calories of the shakes. Did I eat too much there? How many actual calories am I consuming, here? But I am determined not to count; a major reason for doing this diet in the first place was getting off that roller coaster. It’s simply unsustainable.

More importantly – and I keep remarking on this to my wife – I walk away from the table feeling full (sometimes, really full), but not “logey”. I feel like I can actually go do something, rather than feeling like I need a nap. It truly is a stunning difference. Funny, I always assumed it was the proteins that made me feel that way … I guess once you are indoctrinated, it takes a while to re-program.

But back to the actual meals: So far this week I’ve eaten a roast chicken, steamed fish, shrimp, and the recipes mentioned above. I haven’t decided on protein for tonight yet, but there’s a pork hock staring at me in the fridge begging to be slow-cooked in sauerkraut with caraway seed. Those of you looking to mix it up a bit on the veggie front I recommend Chinese long beans (yard-long beans) and baby bok choy, both are delish sauteed with chopped garlic and lemon. Heck, the beans are delicious raw, and I think a good sub for asparagus when you don’t have that.

Next V-Life recipe is going to be the almond-flour muffins; I’d like nothing better than to get my son onto those.

Well, I feel a whole lot better after measurements this Sunday:

Weight: 195 (-1.8 lbs w/w, -9.6 lbs total)

Neck: 15.5
Bicep: 14.0
Forearm: 11.5
Chest: 42.5 (-0.5 w/w, -1.0 total)
Waist: 38.0 (-1.0 w/w, -3.0 total) <-- Yehaw!
Hips: 39.5
Thigh: 22.0
Calf: 16.0

Waist is measured across navel, so the widest part. Lost another inch there, so looking forward to that continuing to shrink.

More importantly, I didn’t calorie count, I didn’t control my portions, I just ate clean foods to my heart’s content and stuck to the workouts, and I am continuing to lose. Man that feels good. It feels, dare I say, easy … as I mentioned before, I’ve been on that calorie-count/portion-control treadmill and I hated every minute of it. You just know you can’t keep it up forever, and then what?

Well, I’m done.

Not done as in “done like dinner”, done in that as of 5 hours ago, I drank my last prescribed shake. 42 days done, some 190-odd shakes down.

The “final” tally:

Weight: 193 (-11.6 total)

Neck: 15.5 (-0.5 total)
Chest: 41.5 (-2.0 total)
Bicep: 14.0
Forearm: 11.5
Waist: 37.5 (-3.5 total)
Hips: 39.5 (-1.0 total)
Thigh: 22.5 (-0.5 total)
Calf: 16.0

That’s 12 lbs scale-weight off, 7.5 inches lost overall. I can honestly say – and I don’t work for Biotest (;-)) – this diet was the best decision for my health I have ever made. It’s true that I have lost 12 lbs in 6 weeks before, as I’ve mentioned, but only through rigid calorie-counting, strict portion control, and seemingly endless (and endlessly boring) cardio work. I even remember cutting out of work early many times to make sure I could get the calorie-burn I needed on the elliptical trainer. I was proud of the achievement, but as I think back on it, I think I knew even then that what I had been doing was unsustainable.

But this … this V-Life stuff … it seems made for me. I love to cook, I love to experiment, and you can do all that stuff almost without worry. My celebratory dinner tonight? Meat sauce (lean beef) over spaghetti (squash, of course), flat bread (almond, natch), and a Romaine salad with cauliflower, black olives, shredded carrot, and my Mom’s special salad dressing I have loved since I was a kid. A bit of sugar, vinegar, and cream all mixed together. Simplicity itself. Of course, I’m a “lifer” now, so change that to a bit of Splenda, vinegar, and almond milk instead (I actually prefer the slight nutty flavour the almond milk gives it, even if it is not quite “creamy” anymore. I think Mom would approve). Oh, and I admit to one indulgence to add to the celebration: a heavy, dense, Australian Shiraz, suitable for hand-to-hand combat.

I imagine I’ll still be quaffing the shakes regularly; they are, as Chris mentioned elsewhere, still very convenient, and a good reminder that you can take an easy meal without resorting to the bad stuff. And the Surge, the Flameout (and now FiniBars!) are going to always be in the cupboard.

As for my workouts, well, I’ve got Cressey’s Show and Go program all queued up, so we’ll see how that goes for the next four months.

See you all on the forums! Maybe I’ll even have a few recipes to share. And for all you V-Lifers out there, remember, “We have assumed control …”

(I couldn’t do an entire log without a Rush quote ;-))

great stuff braden! I made a similar meal last night and ate 1 lb of lean beef. I really couldn’t move for a couple hours, still need to let my brain process when I am full, instead of going on beast mode. Good luck!

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Disclaimer: Individual results may vary.