I Lost 3 lbs Eating Chocolate Everyday for 4 weeks!
February 2021. A month I will remember for one thing. ALL THE CHOCOLATE!!
If anyone’s wondering what I did, and you haven’t figured it out from the title yet, then here goes…
I ate chocolate!
4 weeks, 28 days, consistently eating a bar or bag of chocolate each day.
What chocolate? I hear you ask.
I’m not talking about a small Mars bar here or 1 or 2 digestives with my morning coffee. I’m talking 500-700 calories worth of chocolate each day.
To put that into perspective that is around 100-120g of the chocolatey goodness each day and around 3 kilos of the stuff over the month. I’m talking about share bags of Malteasers, big slabs of Dairy Milk, Galaxy, you know the ones I’m talking about. The ones which you know you probably shouldn’t eat but you do anyway, because...well, because they taste incredible, right?
You remember the time when you grabbed a big bar of Dairy Milk and you said to yourself that you’ll only eat half now and save the rest for another day. Yet, before you know it, you’re left with a damning piece of evidence in the form of an empty wrapper that stares at you mockingly as you begin to hate yourself for falling off track yet again.
We’ve all been there.
Now you must be wondering how on earth anyone can eat 3 kg of chocolate over the course of a month and not put on a considerable amount of weight.
Well, not only did I not gain any weight, I actually lost weight in the process.
In this article I am going to explain how that was possible. I’ll also discuss how I felt during this challenge and how you can set yourself up for long term dietary success.
How did you manage that?
But, isn't chocolate bad for you? Surely if you’re trying to lose weight then you should be avoiding chocolate at all costs?
You may still be struggling to get your head around the fact that, despite eating a substantial amount of chocolate each day, I was still able to lose weight.
Is it genetics?
No, let me explain the simple concept of how.
Now, you may have heard this term many times before, and you may have heard multiple fitness influencers just spout this phrase without giving it any context whatsoever, which quite frankly helps no one.
I’m sure people are probably sick of hearing ‘all you need is a calorie deficit bro’ or ‘it’s just calories in vs calories out’, ‘eat less, move more’ and although these phrases aren’t wrong, they provide little to no context on how to actually do it and what it actually means.
So, what is a calorie deficit?
The graph on the right shows the breakdown of our total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This represents the amount of calories that we burn on a day to day basis.
In order for us to lose weight, the total amount of calories that we consume through the food we eat MUST BE LESS than our TDEE.
So for example, if we were to burn 2000 calories in a day we would need to consistently eat less than 2000 calories for weight loss to occur.
The reason I say consistently is because simply being in a deficit for 1 or 2 days is not going to achieve the results that you want, it's what we do on average over time that determines the results we achieve.
This should hopefully give you a better understanding of how I was actually able to lose weight while eating chocolate every single day, as it simply comes down to calories in vs calories out, and over the month long period I was in a deficit the majority (not all) of the time.
I’ll explain a little bit later on why you don’t need to be in a deficit every day when I discuss how to set up your diet for long term success.
My Chocolate Diet
In this section I’m going to talk a little bit about what I did over the 4 week period to achieve a calorie deficit, and thus lose weight. I’ll talk about the chocolate I ate as well as the other meals I had. I’ll also give you an insight into my thoughts and feelings throughout the challenge and whether or not I fell off track (I did) and how I managed to keep going and make progress despite having a few wobbles along the way.
So, where to start?
I knew that setting myself up for this challenge was extremely important if I was going to be successful. As with any diet, that initial stage of planning is so key.
How will I set up my diet? What tools will I use to help me? How will I track my progress? How can I make the process easier? Is this something I can sustain? How long for? What’s the plan after?
A lot of things to think about and are all questions you should be asking yourself before entering into any form of diet. Many people skip this step, and it inevitably ends in frustration, as they either can’t stick to the diet, or, they don’t feel like they’re making any progress.
Taking into account the amount of training and activity I planned to do throughout the challenge (I’ll get into the specifics later) and using what I’ve learned about my body in the past I knew that giving myself a starting calorie target of around 2500-2700 a day would be a good start to bring about around 1-2 lbs a week of fat loss.
2500-2700 to lose weight? You may be shocked by this number but let me explain something to you.
Often when people start their fitness journey with me they’re shocked to find out how many calories they can eat in order to lose weight. This usually stems from the fact that a lot of people try to diet on super low calories between 1000-1200, and unless you’re a really small person that hardly moves that just isn’t sustainable.
Inevitably, people who do these very low calorie diets end up feeling tired and hungry and then they eventually fall off track and binge before repeating the cycle over and over and making zero progress towards the goals.
Their next thought process is to restrict calories even more and try and eat even less which again doesn’t work well. Setting your calories higher may mean that progress is a little slower, but it is far more enjoyable and sustainable in the long term.
To help me manage my food intake I tracked my calories via MyFitnessPal throughout this challenge. This is a tool that has helped me many times in the past when looking to lose or even gain weight. I won't go into too much detail about calorie counting here as I have a video you can watch where I explain more about it and talk about who should and shouldn’t calorie count.
The link to that video is here:
Tracking My Weight
If you head over to my instagram page @lewisgrahampt and click on my story highlights you will be able to see all my weigh-ins across the 28 days (you’ll also see every bit of chocolate I ate too). The reason I tracked my weight daily throughout the challenge was to show you that the scale fluctuates.
Tracking your weight, just like tracking calories, is a tool to help you get a better understanding of whether you’re on track or not. The best way to do this with weight is to track EVERYDAY, at the same time if possible. I do it first thing in the morning, usually naked but for the purpose of the challenge, and not to expose myself to my 600 or so followers, I weighed in my pants and socks.
Day 1, I weighed in at 185.2 lbs and day 28 at 182.4 lbs. 2.8 lbs in total.
Now I always recommend with my clients that they compare their average weight on a week to week basis. This simply involves adding up your weigh-ins across the week and dividing by 7 to get the average.
My average weight was:
Week pre challenge: 185.6lbs
Week 1: 183.6
Week 2: 182.6
Week 3: 182.1
Week 4: 181.9
As you can see my weight comes down at around 1-2 lbs a week which is what I set out to do.The first week felt much easier as I really focused on making sure my diet was on point outside of the chocolate.
I prioritised protein at each meal to help me stay fuller for longer, I also added more volume to these meals by adding in plenty of fruits and veg, as these are low calorie and help to fill you up.
Here’s a few examples of the meals I had:
Jerk Chicken Breast fried with peppers and onions with rice and broccoli.
Ham and cheese omelette served with a side salad and mayo.
Roasted chicken breast with sweet potato, side salad and coleslaw and a chicken wing.
How I felt
Generally I felt pretty good throughout the challenge as I knew what to expect. I knew I was going to experience some feelings of hunger from time to time. Hunger is completely normal for anyone trying to lose weight and it is usually a good sign that you’re in a calorie deficit. If you’re ravenously hungry all the time then you want to have a look at the amount of food you’re eating or the quality of the food you’re consuming.
Now I’d consider myself relatively lean, not shredded but I probably walk around at about 12-18% body fat. I’d previously been on a 6 week diet before christmas and then started dieting again in the new year up to the start of this challenge in February.
As you get leaner it becomes more and more difficult to keep getting leaner and your body will try it’s hardest to keep hold the body fat you’re desperately trying to lose. Your body will increase hunger levels, you’ll start to feel a lot more tired and even a decreased sex drive.
I certainly felt these symptoms, more so in week 3 and 4 as you’d expect. The chocolate diet therefore wouldn't have been sustainable for me to be able to continue losing weight after the 4 week period.
Post chocolate diet I am going to continue doing another 4 weeks of dieting but with a more sustainable approach. Instead of having a large amount of chocolate everyday I can use those calories to increase the amount of nutritious food I eat as well as allowing more variety into the diet.
Activity & Exercise
I’ll quickly touch on exercise and activity throughout the challenge. You may have been wondering if I was doing endless cardio each day to burn off the calories from the chocolate. I’m hoping that when I discussed TDEE earlier in this article, that you now realise that exercise doesn’t burn that many calories, obviously the more exercise you do, the more you will burn.
Bear in mind it’s much easier to reduce 100 calories from your diet (equivalent of 15ml cooking oil) than it is to burn 100 calories through exercise (around 30 minutes of running). Exercise should be done because you enjoy it or because you want to improve your physical attributes like strength, speed, stamina etc.
I followed my usual training routine throughout the challenge which included: 2x 5km runs, 2-3 strength sessions and a few walks (average around 8k steps per day throughout the month)
Falling Off Track
This is a big deal for a lot of people and one of the main reasons that I wanted to do this challenge in the first place. Often when people enter into a diet, they restrict the foods that they like, the ones that they consider “bad”. This often includes foods such as chocolate, crisps, sweets, doughnuts, cookies, burgers etc.
When people eat these “bad” foods they often feel guilty and they feel like they’ve ruined their progress or that they’ve messed up their diet. This often leads to a complete binge where they overeat all the foods that they have previously been restricting, saying things like ‘diet starts monday’.
Maybe this sounds familiar?
During this challenge I had my fair share of ‘off days’ if you want to call them that. Day’s when I skipped a workout, and days when I went over my calorie target, I had a Pizza one night ‘Two for Tuesday’ had to be done, right? I also had a few more takeaways over the month on the weekends, sometimes I could fit it into my calorie target, sometimes not.
The best way to get back on track?
So what if you go over your calorie target? So what if you overindulge over the weekend?
Look, don’t get me wrong, if you’re looking to lose weight then falling off track all the time isn’t going to get you to where you want to be, but missing the odd workout or having a takeaway every now and then isn't the end of the world. Just get back on track as soon as you can, the next day, not Monday. Don’t allow yourself to think you've messed up so that you have the excuse to keep messing up.
You can't mess this up, providing you don’t quit or give up.
Nobody is perfect and nobody’s ‘on plan’ 100% of the time. Consistency is the key.
Setting Yourself Up For Long Term Success
If you’re looking to set yourself up for long term dietary success, learn more about how you can enjoy the process and how you can maintain your results long term, myself and fellow coach, James McIntyre recently did an Instagram Live on this topic which I’ll put the link to below.
The main things you want to think about when setting up a successful long term diet are:
Enjoyment - if you don’t enjoy your diet then you’re not going to be able to stick to it long term, pick a dieting approach that works well for you that helps you achieve your goals.
Avoid being too restrictive - if you’re looking to lose weight then it is going to involve some form of restriction as you can’t just eat whatever you want all the time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include the foods you love. Not only will it help you enjoy your diet more but it will make you more likely to stick to it long term.
Watch how you talk - the way we talk about foods is very important. Avoiding terms like ‘cheat meal’, ‘clean eating’ and not describing foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ is going to help you create a better relationship with food.
Do what works for you - there’s so many diets out there and so many ways you can set up your diet, but ultimately it comes down to what works well for you. You don’t have to be in a deficit everyday. If your calorie target is 2000 per day, you may want to eat 1700 Monday-Thursday and 2400 Friday-Sunday to give you a weekly average of 2000. You may want to eat less on rest days and more on training days. You’re an adult and it’s your prerogative to do as you please.
So there you have it. My chocolate challenge.
I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read this article, and I hope you’ve learned a thing or two along the way, not least of which that you can eat the foods you love and still make progress towards your goals.
Feel free to read more of my articles, or head over to my youtube and instagram for more tips on health and fat loss.
If you’d like to work with me and achieve your goals while enjoying the process and eating the foods that you love then drop me an email or fill in an coaching enquiry form and I’ll be in touch.
Have an amazing day and I’ll see you soon.
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