- Progress Pics (NSFW)
- Labs (Blood Tests, Gut Microbiome Test, DEXA Scan)
I completed a 4 year experiment consuming a 100% meal replacements diet and exercising 1 hour weekly. It was the healthiest I’ve ever been. I liked it so much that even after the experiment ended, I continue to use meal replacements as my default meal and keep my workouts minimal.
- 200 lbs
- 36 Years Old
- End of Cut
- 170 lbs
- 2500 Calories
- Lost 30 pounds in 5 months without exercise
- One Year Anniversary
- 37 Years Old
- 190 lbs
- 3300 Calories
- Gained 20 pounds in 7 months with exercise
- End of Bulk
- 205 lbs
- 4000 Calories
- Gained 35 pounds in 12 months
- 2 Year Anniversary
- 38 Years Old
- End of Cut
- 180 lbs
- 3000 Calories
- Lost 25 pounds in 7 months
- 3 Year Anniversary
- 39 Years Old
- End of Bulk
- 220 lbs
- 4000 Calories
- Gained 40 pounds in 12 months
- End of Cut
- 200 lbs
- 2600 Calories
- Lost 20 pounds in 6 months
- 4 Year Anniversary
- 40 Years Old
- 190 lbs
- End of 6 month recomp toggling monthly between 2800 and 2600 calories
- 1 Year After Conclusion of 100% Meal Replacement Diet Experiment
- 41 Years Old
- 200 lbs
- Meal replacements used as default food. I only eat other food when it’s free, when going out to eat, or for special occasions.
- 2 large meals a day
- Meal replacement meals are about 1200 calories each from different brands (Huel, Soylent, Plenny Shake)
- No calorie tracking for non meal replacement meals.
- 2 full body workouts a week
- Each workout is about 30 minutes
- each workout has…
- 1 compound pull exercise (example: pull ups)
- 1 compound push exercise (example: dips)
- 1 compound leg exercise (example: single leg squats)
- each exercise has 3 sets
- each set has 8-12 reps
- rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets
- Increase difficulty when it gets too easy (example: weighted vest, rings)
- Dips increased 95 lbs in about a year
Your blood chemistry results, cholesterol levels and kidney function and liver enzymes were all normal. Your white blood cell count and platelet count were just below the normal range but it would seem unlikely those were due to diet. Do you have any previous labs for comparison, it is possible these are your normals for those tests but hard to know if you have no prior results to compare. These results would not produce any symptoms at this level.Doctor’s comment for April 2018 blood test
I am pleased to let you know that your recent labs were normal. Your HIV lab also showed no infection. Your “t bili” was ever so slightly elevated though not significant in this context. Your other liver function labs were normal. Please let me know if you have any further questions about them.Doctor’s comment for April 2019 blood test
No blood test taken for 2020 due to Coronavirus preventing non-essential appointments.
I just wanted to reach out and let you know that all your labs look normal. Please let me know if you have any questions.Doctor’s comment for April 2021 blood test
Gut Microbiome Test
Why are you only drinking meal replacement shakes?
A few years ago, I kept coming across news articles of people doing 30-day challenges with these new meal replacement products that claim to provide 100% RDI. That piqued my curiosity, and I wanted to experiment with it myself.
I lost ten pounds the first month. Excited about the progress, I wanted to keep going. What was meant as a 30-day experiment turned into a long-term habit. I’ve been on this diet for more than 3 years now and still going.
My main motivation is still curiosity. I think it’s a worthwhile goal to help determine the minimum system requirements humans need to operate. So by eating according to current RDI every day for a long time, I can see if I become toxic or deficient in any areas and we can adjust our knowledge.
Which meal replacement are you using?
I use a product called Plenny Shake. I chose it mainly because of price. It also has a variety of flavors (mango is my favorite) and is plant based (lactose free).
To get my serving size and how much a meal will cost me, I used this calorie calculator.
I kept the powder and water in separate bottles and mixed on demand. I used a food scale to consistently measure my meal sizes. I had to use a larger shaker bottle since my 1333 calorie meals didn’t fit in the free shaker bottle that came with my first Plenny Shake order.
Did you take any supplements?
No supplements, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, snacks, cheat days. Just the powder and water.
How did you measure your body fat?
I got one of those home body fat scales that use bioelectrical impedance. I know it’s not the most accurate, but it gives me a pretty good estimate. I tried to measure myself each time with similar conditions (right after waking up and using the restroom).
If my weight and body fat stays about the same for 3 to 4 weeks straight, I increase or decrease my calories by 10% depending on if I’m bulking or cutting.
When are you going to eat traditional food again? What will be your first meal?
I don’t plan on doing it forever. I think I’ll go 4 years max. I read an article that says it takes about 4-5 years to approach your natural fitness limit. After 4 years, I’ll probably still use meal replacements, but not 100%.
My first meal will probably be Hawaiian poke.
What advantages have you experienced with this diet?
The biggest advantage about an all meal replacement diet is the convenience. Three major conveniences are:
- Calorie tracking
In regards to time and money, I spend less than 30 minutes a day doing food-related things (meal prep, consuming, clean up). There is no traveling to get food, no waiting in line, no refrigeration, no cooking, and no wasted leftovers.
It is way cheaper than my previous diet that consisted of cereal, fast/frozen food, snacks, and home cooked Filipino dishes.
Also, I stay in my vehicle part time when I am far from home for several days, and powdered food has been a godsend in that situation.
With regards to calorie tracking, it’s stupidly easy to keep track of calories when you eat the same thing every day. Losing/gaining/maintaining weight is all about calorie management.
Being confident that I can control my weight at will is a great superpower I’ve gained since experimenting with this diet.
What negatives have you experienced with this diet?
The biggest negative thing about this diet is the social aspect. Sharing meals is a bonding experience for most people, so I miss that part. It is a bit awkward going out with friends, and I’m just drinking water while they are eating and getting drunk. Also, people get disappointed when I deny food that they are offering especially if they cooked it.
How do you handle cravings?
The first couple weeks was hard. But like most things, you get used to it after awhile. I went to bed hungry and woke up feeling not hungry which to me seems like my body was burning stored fat instead of recently eaten food when I went to sleep.
I experimented with intermittent fasting also which helped me control cravings. I am able to do a 20 hour fast with a 4 hour eating window comfortably. Most days though, I’m on a more conservative 14 hour fast with a 10 hour eating window.
It’s become so routine to me now that it’s just something I do like brush my teeth or take a shower. Not a lot of thought goes into it anymore.
I treat it more like a prescription… “Take three of these shakes a day to control your weight and stay alive. Adjust the dosage as needed”.
Products like these are the closest thing to simply popping a pill to give your body the fuel it needs to function.
How is your energy level?
Energy level during cutting was noticeably lower than when bulking, but that’s the same with normal food as well.
As of now, I’ve never felt this fit in my entire life. I don’t use caffeine and am able to keep up with my kids while working graveyard.
Also, I haven’t experienced any kind of brain fog or headaches. I still feel sharp and enjoy learning challenging new things.
What other physical activities do you do?
For my job, I walk around for about an hour. At home, I take care of my little kids. Other than that, no other major physical activity.
How are your bowel movements?
Skip this part if you don’t like reading about poop.
Before this diet, I was often constipated. Now, I have a bowel movement at least once a day, and it goes out easily. If I go right when I feel the urge, it comes out like soft serve ice cream. If I hold it for a long time, it comes out like logs.
Plenny Shake changed their formula in the middle of my experiment to contain less protein. After the change, I noticed a vast improvement in the condition of my bowels. I had far less gas and bloating, the poop doesn’t leave skid marks or clog the toilet anymore, and the smell no longer clears the room.
What is the condition of your mouth?
I still stimulate my teeth and gums by chewing gum after every meal and brushing/flossing every day. The condition of my mouth actually improved. I get far less canker sores than I used to and my breath got better also.
How do people around you react?
When people first hear about my diet, their knee-jerk reaction is usually disbelief. They can’t imagine something like this can be healthy or sustainable. However, after sharing my progress pics and blood test, they start getting interested. I’ve gotten quite a few people to incorporate modern meal replacements as part of their diet after they saw my results.
Is someone paying you to do this?
No one is paying me to be on a 100% meal replacement diet. I consider myself an independent researcher, and I am meal replacement agnostic. If a more affordable one came out that still provides 100% RDI and can be delivered monthly to me consistently, I’d switch brands in a heartbeat.
My guy. You don’t know me, but you have provided me with the key perspective I needed to really improve my life. If not for your posts about how you were able to be healthy living on only meal replacement shakes, I would have never tried it. So I tried it, and holy shit man I lost 20 pounds in a month and feel amazing. I even started standing up straight and lifting and doing cardio. My diet was trash because I am lazy, but now I can be lazy and fit while saving money. So thanks man. You kind of saved my life in a way. Keep on being a legend.– Reddit Private Message from Will
Thanks for the info. You’re changing lives man. Your post a couple of months back kick-started me into losing 40lbs.– Chance_Wylt
You are an inspiration to lazy humans across the globe.– mr_potato_arms
Nobody is commenting on those lipid panel results, not even his doctor? Those levels are outstanding, although it probably comes down to genetics more than nutrition. An LDL-p around 50s is something that healthy people would only reach through medication – if you have that by default you are a very lucky man.– sevenhorsesseen
Very interesting to see your progress. So much regurgitated information everywhere…it’s awesome to see what intelligent and diligent programming and conditioning achieves. Stoked you’re healthy and feeling fit. Nice #’s too, by the way!– GoBraves
You might want to consider crossposting this to /r/dataisbeautiful because this is intensely interesting, well-detailed, and extensively documented. Overall, it was truly compelling information.– MouzeRat
just wanted to reach out and say thanks for your site. it seems in this day in age everything that can be said in 10 words is fleshed out to 100 for SEO or some other nonsense reason. your site is on point, information is bang on and not verbose.
great style my friend, thank you.– email from Ryan
Thanks @phloating_man. I think your story is the first to make me a true believer.– Inventi
why is this post weird? – albertowtf
For me, it was the point where he talks about the protein farts, and it reminded me of that guy years ago that posted pictures of underwear he’d literally farted holes in. You just get every little detail; warts and all. Rarely do you find such frankness, and often down right absurdity, shared so openly elsewhere on the internet. its not that it’s weird- I mean, it is weird – but it’s that strange mixture of innocent obsession and a willingness to share every aspect of an experience that some of the best of Reddit encapsulates.– petethepool
Eating is a hassle, especially when bulking. I would prefer it to be recreation only. This guy is my hero.– WhatIObserve
You are an absolute madlad. Very impressed by your determination and curiosity.– AstronauttiX
Reminds me of something that I would see on BodyBuilding,com or 4chan. Great work.– friday9x
That’s as Spartan as it gets. Cool experiment!– Tugurium
Quite interesting. Very extreme but well done.– Mjoelniier
i think this is the most fascinating thing i‘ve ever seen regarding a human body holy shit– Nikol5
awesome experiment, i am a minimalist and enjoyed this. thanks– Mbiased
You’re pushing the boundaries, for better or worse.– apathy-sofa