Moocher Makeover Update

Followers may recall that the moocher began dieting and resumed strength training last winter. From time to time, I’ve written about the moocher’s progress or lack there of. There’s bad news and good. I fell off the lifting wagon this summer when yard work, club work, and doctors appointments started cutting into exercise time. The good news is that I’ve kept tinkering with the diet and it is now working.


  3. for Matt’s My Protein 15% discount. Link is for the US shop.

Diet Basics

Back in January, I began to track my weight and macros using the Under Armor Fitness Buddy app. Using Muscles for Life as a guide, I picked a calorie target and a protein target and began to actively manage my diet. Since I follow a mostly plant based home cooked diet, I was doing a lot of recipe macros calculations.

For a number of reasons, mostly annoying social network features and continual pestering to make in-app purchases that added no value to me, I chucked the UA app for another, My Macros+ which is considerably less intrusive.

I’m still targeting 1800 calories with 100 grams protein. And about there. I thought I was there back in March but weight was yo-yoing. I discovered that trying to stay plant-based with a little Mitica Parmesan cheese for additional protein, I was way below my protein target of 100 grams per day. I picked this figure above the WHO daily level but below growing-athlete targets of 2 gm per kilo of body weight. I needed to add protein while keeping calories about where they were. This is actually a pretty tight box. Adding something requires removing something less valuable to the macros balance.


It was clearly time to start tweaking the diet to establish weight loss.

My original plant-based diet was leaving me with the munchies. I’d nick some extra cheese or some of the dogs’ pilling peanut butter 2 or 3 times in the evening. This was probably enough to throw the diet into surplus as weight was fluctuating and creeping upward.

Tuna sandwiches for lunch. Tuna is supposedly high in protein but low in fat. Couldn’t get enough additional protein in the diet. I kept missing my macros by about 30 grams of protein. And having mid-afternoon munchies.

Protein shake for lunch. The next change was to start making a protein shake for lunch using vanilla protein powder, frozen mixed berries, and low fat yogurt. The result was tasty, sweet, and filling but weight was creeping up. These turned out to be high calorie with or without yogurt or using plain yogurt. Time for plan C.

Fruit, cheese, vegetable juice, and protein shake for lunch. The shake route was putting me over on calories and macros were better but still low on protein. I basically needed to add more protein and remove some carbohydrates. Sugar was hitch-hiking in the protein products I had been using.

Matt Does Fitness to the Rescue

Matt Morsia, world class 100 kilo power lifter, came to the rescue about 2 months ago. Matt posts twice weekly episodes to his YouTube video log about his training and life as Matt in general. After European Championships (Matt made the podium), Matt began a hypertrophy phase whilst his spouse’s pregnancy came to term. Following the blessed event Matt, Saris, and mini-Matt are going to take a break from training to figure out the Married with Children thing.

Matt is a My Protein endorsing athlete and describes his use of My Protein products in his training. Matt’s Krell furnace metabolism requires careful feeding. Matt has the problem of eating enough to maintain weight and strength, the opposite of my challenge, finding a diet that lets me loose weight and recomp my Jabba the Hut-like physique.

Running low on protein, I decided to give My Protein Whey a try. I ditched the smoothie lunch for fruit, cheese, Whole Foods Vital Vegetable Juice, and a My  Protein whey milk shake. I added a second evening shake as a snack about 1 1/2 hours after meal time.

My Protein Whey, unlike the sugar sweetened products I had been buying in the shops, is sweetened with Sucralose. So the calories in the product are from the whey protein without a similar amount of sugar calories tagging along. This change let me get the protein up to my goal while meeting my calorie target, and slaying the evening munchies.

To my pleasant surprise, my weight started drifting downward about 1/2 kilo a week which was my goal. I’m about 2 kilos below my sticking point and the loss appears sustainable.

Low Sodium Vegetable Juice

Remembering something I’d read in a atherosclerosis self-help book, I began having low sodium vegetable juice as part of lunch. Whole Foods Vital Vegetable is perhaps the best of these. Think Campbell’s V-8 but with an attitude. Whole Foods puts a goodly amount of lemon juice in its vegetable juice. And uses potassium chloride as part of the salt, a common tactic to keep a product salty with  low sodium. Whole Foods doesn’t market its juice as low sodium, it just is. Potassium and sodium work together in the body. A little added potassium helps the body to regulate fluid balance. Adding the Vital Veggie to my diet helps with lower leg fluid retention and water related weight fluctuation.

Magnesium Supplement

Calcium and magnesium are the other electrolyte pair that needs to be in balance. I’ve started taking a 250 MG magnesium supplement off the self at Target. This supplement contains calcium in ratio. I’ve not seen an observable effect from this change. The afore-mentioned self-help book indicates that it helps with blood vessel function and should reduce blood pressure a bit. This hasn’t really been observable amid the other noise affecting blood pressure tracking.

My Evil Scale

I finally figured out how to get my Chinese scale to tell me a useful weight rather than making a random number.

  • Move the scale to the bathroom tile floor
  • Weigh once. Throw first weight away
  • Weigh again. This one will be about a kilo less than the first
  • Weigh a couple more times to confirm that the feet and frame have settled.
  • Keep the final weight.

More about Matt

At his YouTube channel, Matt chronicles his career as an adult competitive athlete. In his mis-spent youth, Matt was a willowy jumpy thing who competed in the long jump and triple jump during Uni and with his local athletic club. A lower back injury sidelined a restless Matt for several months.

Following his recovery, Matt began lifting seriously and discovered that he was actually good at it. World class good. Matt now competes as a raw with wraps power lifter in UK and European events and most recently took a platform position in the WPC European championships this June. Matt has the right mix of genetics, interest, knowledge and attitude to be a genuinely good power lifter.

Matt’s YouTube channel is more about a day in the life of a “bullet headed anglo-saxon mother’s son” than it is about lifting. Matt, with a mix of British irony, sarcasm, and silliness shows how he balances family, work, and sport. Matt shows the value of experimentation. When training isn’t working, change up routine to find a workable training regime. Keep tinkering with intensity and volume to maintain progress.

The other thing I like about Matt is that, when he has a rubbish day, he shows it and gives a candid assessment of what went wrong and how to fix it. If form is going to rubbish, he’ll describe the problem and take a de-load to recover form and resume progress. And admit that he did.