It is with mixed feelings that I wrap up my bulletproof experiment.
On one hand, I lost weight, felt (and ran) strong, and rather enjoyed the coffee concoction as a meal supplement. Being a black (no sugar or cream) coffee drinker, the butter coffee was a sweet treat.
On the other hand, I experienced a little discomfort along the way, which mainly consisted of morning or late night hunger pangs, occasional heartburn, and forcing my meals into an eight hour window.
This last one was particularly tough socially. On weekends especially, my family and friends would get together for big breakfasts around 8am, before weekend activities commenced. If I partook, it meant I needed to wrap up dinner by 4pm. Who eats dinner before 4pm?
No one. Dinner, my last meal was made and served closer to 7pm. So it was awkward and anti-social to miss one of those meals. Loved ones thought I was starving myself, and sometimes it felt like it.
There were a few other side effects worth mentioning.
Slight heartburn or indigestion happened a couple of times, about two hours after the bulletproof coffee. It lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes and then went away.
Headache. Early on, in the first ten days, I had a couple of headaches that lingered all day. But once I got into a routine, these went away completely.
Dry mouth. Especially before my first meal, my mouth felt cottony. It’s not bulletproof sanctioned, but to avoid an awkward situation I’d pop in a piece of gum before walking into a meeting with questionable breath.
Mid-day sleepiness. Every fourth or fifth day, around 2pm, I felt tired and sluggish. This occurred much less after two weeks into the experiment.
Noisy tummy. After the coffee concoction, which was mostly decaf for me, my tummy would get loud. It didn’t hurt. It was just annoying and distracting, and if anyone was in earshot, embarrassing. This wasn’t limited to the coffee either. When I’d eat a meal, randomly, my tummy would get noisy. Really noisy. No bathroom issues post noisiness, it just loud.
Overall, intermittent fasting with the bulletproof concoction drove weight loss and performance strength. I ate far fewer calories on the fast. No big surprise here, but I wasn’t expecting to eat that many fewer calories without being hungry all the time. Sure, sometimes in the mornings or late at night I felt a little hunger, but after the coffee concoction, I felt good.
Lunch and dinner consisted of around 500-650 calories each. If I needed a sugar fix, I’d add a couple of dates to the end of dinner, but even with that, I didn’t come anywhere close to the 1800-1900 calories I usually ate. I felt the results mostly in my middle, which thinned a little.
As mentioned, the bulletproof coffee had probably improved my performance. While on it, I recorded the best 5K time in several years. It could have been the fitness training (and a myriad of other things), but I believe it was a combo of the oils, clean eating, and consistent training.
For anyone debating on trying it, I say do it and start slowly. Charlie Norton did a writeup on his bulletproof experience that still makes me chuckle. You want to ease into the butter and oil or you’ll feel it.
Start with whatever you’re comfortable with, but still within reasonable guidelines. A little white rice or granola might not hurt if you keep the overall calorie count down (although diehards would argue), but you can’t expect to see results if you’re downing a six-pack, bottle of wine, or pack of cookies during the week.
Until next time, stay healthy.
As some of you know, I started intermittent fasting on December 27, 2018. For me, this meant eating during a nine-hour period of time, so fasting for fifteen hours, each day.
Making the bulletproof coffee took a few tries to get it right (and drinkable). The first time I added raw cacao powder on Chris’s recommendation, but couldn’t handle the chalkiness and decided to forego the added antioxidants it promised.
I also had to play around with the amount of butter, oil, and collagen until my stomach could handle it. I started with half the recommended amount and upped it little by little over time.
The second, third, and fourth coffees (in as many days) proved to be really enjoyable once I figured out how to make the coffee while keeping it nice and hot.
I found blending actually cooled the coffee down because of the room temp oil and cold butter. So I brewed a shot of the coffee, tossed it into the blender with the butter, collagen, oil, a little more hot water, and mixed it well. Then I poured the concoction into a coffee mug, which filled it about halfway. I added more hot water to fill the mug, and the result was a perfectly smooth, steaming cup of coffee loaded with collagen, butter, and oil. (Still waiting for the face to breakout but it hasn’t happened yet.)
Of the past ten days, about half of them included the coffee concoction. I had been traveling, so while lugging my blender, butter, oil, and collagen around might have made me a more committed dieter, I prefer to travel light so left it all at home and skipped it.
Even though the three-hour time difference and busy work schedule made it challenging, I stuck to the nine-hour eating window.
All in all, I enjoyed – and continue to enjoy – the fast. I feel tighter and less bloated. My jeans fit great. This could be caused by my eating a little cleaner in general, i.e., no gummy candy, but I have had a snack pack of potato chips here and there. (Gummy candy is my weakness. If I have a little, I’ll have a lot, so I’m avoiding it all until after the race.)
With the intermittent fasting and avoiding gummy candy, I find myself simply eating less. It’s like the perfect diet for a minimalist. When I do eat, I’m hungry but my stomach is smaller so less feels like more. Just like minimalism. I’m not tired or weak. Actually, I feel really good and strong eating less.
While traveling, however, I had a dark night of the soul.
Usually after eating my final meal of the day, I crave candy, especially gummy candy. On the last night of the trip, something changed. I went from casually craving candy to let-nothing-stand-in-my-way-to-get-it craziness.
It surprised me how hard it was to will myself not to go to the store or worse just tear into the bag of Haribo gummy bears in the mini-bar. Everything in my body, down to a cellular level, insisted on gummy candy that night.
I really needed to think and rethink about why I wanted to stay gummy free: Running a strong race in Antarctica and training injury-free. Like a mantra, I repeated it over and over in my head, and maybe out loud, too.
Eventually, the terrible craving passed and I was able to trust myself to stand without running out of the room and down to the Walgreen’s. Instead, I brushed my teeth, undressed, and got ready for sleep. The war was won. Good gal 1 – Crazy craving 0.
Back to intermittent fasting. For the first few weeks, I found myself sleepy around 1pm or 2pm. That eventually passed and instead I felt energized, even motivated, to do a run or get in a few pushups or sit-ups at the office, when no one was looking.
During this experiment, I noticed how I genuinely appreciate the food I’m eating when I sit down for a meal. I’m more selective with good foods, except when I picked up the aforementioned snack pack of potato chips. (Potatoes are the most misunderstood vegetable in my humble opinion.)
Another side effect of the fast has been the feeling of a slight hunger pang at night when lying in bed before sleep. It’s not particularly strong or painful or scary. Instead, it’s somewhat comforting knowing that my body is entering ketosis and will burn fat through the night.
It’s worth mentioning, I’ve continued with the vitamins I take regularly (or don’t, depending on if I remember). Those include a multi-vitamin, iron and vitamin D. I also take a dosage of Airborne (a mass of vitamins) whenever I feel the start of cold or sore throat. I swear by the stuff.
So that’s how the Bulletproof and intermittent fasting experiment is coming along. I’m still unconvinced the coffee concoction is doing anything other than briefly alleviating my appetite with butter and caffeine during the morning portion of the fast. But I’m not half of the way through my little experiment yet, so we’ll see how it progresses.
Will give an update in another week or so. Until then 🙏.
My personal trainer, Chris, has been nudging me, slowly at first but a little more aggressively after the New Year, to get into intermittent fasting (IF) and the whole Bulletproof thing. I’ve been resisting as it seems like a crazy movement and, candidly, another fad. I say this having not attempted it nor knowing much about it. So I promised I’d try it if only to prove that it doesn’t work.
First, what is intermittent fasting? There are a few different definitions out there. But for our purposes, it’s limiting our eating window to ten, nine, eight, or down to as low as six hours per day.
The Bulletproof Diet recommends six hours, but that seems like something we can work up to. If you’re interested, there is a ton of information (and rules) available to go all-in on the Bulletproof Diet. I’m simply starting with the fasting and coffee concoction, as that seems to be enough for Chris, and plenty enough for me.
Just before the New Year, I began intermittent fasting, and started with nine hours. The toughest part about it for me – being an up-well-before-dawn kind of gal – was pushing out breakfast to 9am or later so I could finish my last meal by 6pm. I continued to have an americano (10 calories) at the crack of dawn, which made it easier, but it was an adjustment.
By the time 9am rolled around, I’d been at work for a couple of hours, so it was awkward and strange to eat a healthy and tasty (and definitely not smelly) breakfast there.
Beyond the brands selling products that support the intermittent fasting diet, there’s not a ton of objective research published. One of the most reasonable and updated articles I came across from Harvard Heath said it best, “Avoid snacking or eating at nighttime, all the time.” Seemed simple enough.
The best good side effect reported in the study from the same article showed that IFer’s have a better metabolism and less hunger overall over time. However, all participants in that study were men.
Women can respond differently to IF. Obviously, if you’re pregnant, don’t fast. I’m not a doctor, but that seems like a bad idea. Other side effects that can affect women include late or no periods, feeling cold, irritable, hungry (no kidding), and low energy, and, really, those last four can affect men as well.
My sense is if it starts to feel more than a little uncomfortable, like really bad, then stop and adjust to what your body needs. We’ve got fabulous intuition, use it.
Now, let’s talk about the Bulletproof Diet. Beyond intermittent fasting, according to my trainer, the kicker to increased energy, vitality, and performance is to incorporate the Bulletproof coffee concoction. It’s also supposed to make the fast a little less painful, or fast-like, I guess.
As you might know, my first attempt at trying Bulletproof coffee failed miserably. What I learned later is you can brew Bulletproof coffee like any other coffee. But you need to add in a lot stuff, mainly fat, fat, and more fat to make it Bulletproof. I still feel like a lot of this is gimmicky, but I’m trying to keep an open mind.
Preparing to start this diet, I had to spend – invest – over $50 (beyond the coffee itself that was on sale) just to make it trainer-approved Bulletproof. The supplements he recommended that differ slightly from the website include unsalted, grass fed, organic butter; raw cacao powder (good antioxidants); MCT oil; and collagen protein.
I’m kind of expecting to get fat, bloated, and break out with all of the oil and collagen and butter in this thing. But, hey, that’s the fun in trying something new and a little crazy. 🤓
The plan is to stick with it for three weeks assuming I can tolerate it and see what happens. If you feel so inspired to go all in, let me know how it goes. I’ll be cheering you on from the still-eating-granola-and-rice sideline.