The ILCD – How A Doctor Dropped 5lbs In 1 Week


There was an experiment done recently, where the goal was to find out what would happen if a guy who is reasonably jacked, has about a decade’s worth of training experience under his belt, and is known for lifting heavy, did something as radical as eat 2000 calories below his maintenance energy intake for 6 days!

Would he pulverize all muscle mass? Lose his hard-earned gains? Go into “starvation mode”? Experience metabolic slowdown? Destroy his relationships due to loss of sanity?

Or would he become an even leaner, sexy beast?

The aim of this experiment was to search for a new, alternative and extremely effective method for perfecting physiques across the globe. And as you can probably guess, the jacked guy who was mental enough to suffer through such an experiment, was me!

Let’s Start With The VLCD

The Protein Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF) is a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) designed over 40 years ago to induce rapid weight loss in the morbidly obese patient group under careful medical supervision. A strict definition of the PSMF does not exist, but common figures suggest a daily food intake which ranges from 400 to 1000 calories per day – most of which comes from lean protein sources. Its effectiveness has been proven in numerous scientific studies where the results have been favorable weight loss with minimal muscle loss. In one such study, 668 obese patients who, in combination with exercise and diet advice, were put on a 1000 calorie/day PSMF (1,5 gramsof protein/kg ideal body weight) for an average of 17 weeks and lost21 kg(47lbs), on average, of body weight with positive health effects such as lowered blood pressure and improved blood lipid status(1).

Now, you’re probably thinking: “So putting fat people on semi-starvation diets leads to weight loss, what a surprise!” But here’s what’s interesting: one study showed reduced hunger sensations in obese patients treated with a 500 calorie PSMF, compared to those put on a balanced 1200 calorie weight loss diet – suggesting a bigger anorexic (hunger inhibiting) effect with the more radical diet, over a four-week period (2).

Yet another interesting study compared the difference in weight loss and perceived hunger between PSMF in the form of solid foods or a protein-formula-liquid diet. Both diets provided about 400 kcal daily(3). There were no differences in weight loss. However, the liquid diet subjects reported increased hunger compared to the group eating solid food over a two week period.

So, what does this tell us? That solid food is better than protein shakes? Yes, maybe, but one important factor in the study design needs to be addressed before such a conclusion is made. The macronutrient distribution between the diets were different, in that the liquid diet contained no more than 2 g of fat per day along with 30 g carbohydrates, as compared to the solid food group whose fat intake was noticeably higher since their source of protein was lean meat, fish and fowl, and contained almost no carbohydrates. We know that fats are more satiating than carbohydrates given isocaloric conditions, at least for the short term. Also, as you can see in the diagram, if the experiment were to continue for a longer period of time, the difference in perceived satiety might subside between the two diet setups.

Reported adverse effects from PSMF(1,2,4) include:

  • Mild postural lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased bowel movements and constipation
  • Electrolyte disturbances
  • Cold intolerance
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss (after many weeks)

Adverse effects are rare, and most patients felt good on the PSMF and were probably motivated further by their ability to lose weight. Given the short time frame of my experiment, I hypothesized that any general risk, or any of the side effects mentioned above would be minimal.

So, from the science we can draw the following conclusions:  Very low calorie diets in the form of PSMF have been used with great success in the mildly to severe obese population for weight loss, reduction of cardiovascular risk factors, metabolic risk factors, and sensations of hunger. All of this with minimal, and often rare adverse effects. Awesome.

As expected, no studies have been made on the non-obese population such as bodybuilders, powerlifters, and frequent gym-goers. Nor have any studies been done that throw in proper resistance training. Such a study could even be considered ethically questionable since the non-obese population have such a high basal metabolic rate that putting them on VLCD can sacrifice their performance and/or gains. Fortunately, there is one crazy doc who doesn’t give a shit, happens to fit the description of non-obese, and was willing to try. And try he did.

Defining the ILCD

If a 500-1000 calorie/day diet for an obese person (who has a low basal metabolic rate) is considered a VERY low calorie diet, then a 650-750/day calorie diet for someone with a maintenance intake of 2750 calories/day is absolutely insane! Thereby inducing the highly scientific term: Insanely Low Calorie Diet (ILCD).

Now, “why the hell would someone want to do something like that?” you might ask yourself. Did I really want to do this because I thought there was a huge scientific gap in the understanding of the effects of PSMF on the non-obese or general population? Of course not. My goal was, and always will be, to find different ways in which to produce lean, shredded bodies with confident personalities so I can enrich the lives of myself, and my clients.

I’m trying to manipulate human physiology in way which produces the lowest amount of body fat with maximal muscle mass… without the use of illegal substances. See? Even doctors have to search for the “holy grail” when it comes to looking sexy.

The main questions which motivated me to start this whole process were:

  1. What would happen if someone fairly advanced, with a decade of strength training behind them tried to substitute the classic 500 calorie/day deficit with a burst of an extreme deficit, along with a period of maintenance caloric intake?
  2. Could I get the same results from very intense deficits for a week every so often, instead of long, boring dieting for months?
  3. Does a one week 2000 calorie/day deficit equal to four weeks of 500 calorie/day deficit dieting, results wise?
  4. Is this even something that could be pulled off without muscle loss, loss of sanity, broken hearts, and putting my job in jeopardy? (Doctors need to pay attention at work, as you know)

A word of caution: This is not a program I recommend to the general trainee and the whole trial was done under medical supervision. I do not take any responsibility (except for the awesome rate of fat loss) for those who plan on replicating my experiment.

Here’s the written plan that I wrote before starting the experiment.

The ILCD experiment setup:

Daily nutrient intake:

  • Alternating amino acids (EAA) and Casein drinks
  • 10 fish oil capsules (o3)
  • Multivitamins
  • Electrolyte substitution

…Along with an unrestricted intake of coffee, water and other non-caloric beverages, landing at a total of 750 calories/day (calories from fish oil included).

“Why liquid protein sources and not solid food”, you might ask? After all, the study I mentioned earlier said that solid food might be better in terms of feeling fuller for longer. Personally, the reason was purely psychological. I didn’t want to cook my normal food, only to force myself into eating very minute amounts. It’s too much of a tease. I wanted to completely get away from eating or preparing food, doing the dishes and everything else associated with eating in general.


My plan was to do three fully-body heavy strength sessions as outlined below, with the most important exercises in the first workout when performance should still be high. I also did 3 sets x 5 repetitions on the main exercises and 2 x 6-8 on the accessory movement. On the last day (Sunday) I threw in one intense glycogen depleting session with high reps, followed by a big 4000 calorie carbohydrate reefed to refill glycogen stores and start the maintenance period.

Monday Wednesday Friday Sunday
Bench pressSquats

Chins (weighted)

Barbell curls

Chest supported rowStanding military press

Rack pulls

Lying triceps extensions

LungesDips (weighted)

Dumbbell rows

Standing calf raises

High repetition, glycogen depleting workout

After the ILCD week, I planned an intense carb cycling program with every other day training sessions. Rest days would be a pretty heavy deficit, resulting in a 1500 calorie intake and training days at 4000 calories, averaging out at 2750 calories daily. This is basically my maintenance intake overall. 

And so the experiment began. Below is my diary, day in and day out. It’s uncensored for your reading pleasure. Enjoy


Day 1- Monday:

Morning weight: 81,4 kilograms

06.30 – 12,5 g EAA + 10 O3

09.00 – 30 g Casein

11.45 – 12,5 g EAA

13.00 – 30 g Casein

15.00 – 12,5 g EAA

16.00 – 30 g Casein  + Electrolytes

19.00 – pre workout 12,5 g EAA + Creatine


Bench press 110kg x 4,2,4,2,4

Chins BW+37,5kg 5,4,3

Squats 117,5kg x 4,4,4

Barbell curls 50kg x 10,7

Workout 8/10

Notes: Struggled a bit with technique on bench press. Other than that, awesome workout with increases in all lifts and surprisingly high energy levels! Pretty much felt like any other workout. 

21.00 post workout 12,5 g EAA + Creatine

22.00 30 g Casein + Electrolytes + Multivitamins

Day summary: 

Mental focus 5/10 (due to sleep deprivation, not hunger)

Hunger 3/10

Irritability 1/10 

Really easy first day. Low mental energy during the day but this wasn’t due to my low calorie intake but because of a night without much sleep. Excited about whether I will wake up hungry tonight, or if I will have to go to the bathroom frequently. I expect day 2 and 3 to be a lot harder! 

Day 2 – Tuesday:

Morning weight:  79,0 kg (-2,4)

06.30 – 12,5 g EAA + 10 O3 + Multivitamins + Creatine + Electrolytes

09.00 – 30 g Casein

11.45 – 12,5 g EAA

13.00 – 30 g Casein

16.00 – 12,5 g EAA

17.00 – 30 g Casein + Electrolytes

21.00 – 12,5g EAA

22.00 – 40g Casein

Day summary:

Mental focus 8/10

Hunger 3/10 (some hunger spikes in the evening, NO hunger pangs during the day)

Irritability 1/10 

Expected the real fatigue and hunger to kick in today. Positively surprised by the fact that I slept like a baby, and the whole day passed without any problems – no lethargy, no irritability and except for a few hunger spikes in the evening, NO hunger pangs.  

Day 3 – Wednesday:

Morning weight:  78,2 kg (-3,2)

06.30 – 12,5 g EAA + 10 O3 + Multivitamins + Electrolytes

09.00 – 30 g Casein

11.45 – 12,5 g EAA

13.00 – 30 g Casein

16.00 – 12,5 g EAA

17.00 – 30 g Casein + Electrolytes

19.00 – pre workout 12,5g EAA + Creatine


Sumo rack pulls 152,5kg  x 5,5,5

Standing OH press 60kg  x 5,5,5

Chest supp row 55kg  x 5,5,5

Seated dumbbell triceps extensions 14kg x 6,6

Workout 7/10 

Notes: Mentally, training was hard today, and I felt like shit if I’m honest (pretty much as expected). Surprisingly enough though, performance was really good with a PR in sumo rack pulls. Awesome. 

21.00 – post workout 12,5 g EAA + Creatine

22.00 – 30 g SLOOW Casein  + Electrolytes

Day summary: 

Mental focus 7/10

Hunger 5/10

Irritability 2/10 

No hunger in the morning but definitely starting to feel more lethargic and tired. Mental focus is very good and concentration during the day is not a problem. Still, the hardest day so far. Surprisingly, performance in gym is still really high even if, mentally, I have a hard time getting motivated to hit up the gym. Also, starting to feel a metallic taste in my mouth which probably means that production of ketone bodies is really starting to kick in. Sleep is still no problem once I go horizontal. 

Day 4 – Thursday:

Morning weight:  77,6 kg (-3,8)

06.30 – 12,5 g EAA + 10 O3 + Multivitamins + Creatine + Electrolytes

09.00 – 30 g Casein

11.45 – 12,5 g EAA

13.00 – 30 g Casein

16.00 – 12,5 g EAA

17.00 – 30 g Casein  + Electrolytes

21.00 -12,5 g EAA

22.00 -40 g Casein

Day summary:  

Mental focus 8/10

Hunger 3/10

Irritability 2/10 

Today actually felt easier than yesterday. Had a really hectic day at work with tons to do, concentration was maximal, mental energy was high and hunger was not an issue. Just like yesterday, fatigue kicked in a bit more in the evening, and taste of metal is even more pronounced now. Definitely starting to think more about food and I really miss having a meal. Another problem is falling asleep. Once I fall asleep, I sleep like a baby but every day so far takes me longer to fall asleep. Also, I’m starting to feel worried about the weekend since I think it will be much harder when I don’t have the huge workload to occupy my mind. This might allow the thought of food to creep in.

Day 5 – Friday:

Morning weight: 77,6 kg (-3,8)

06.30 – 12,5 g EAA + 10 O3 + Multivitamins + Electrolytes

09.00 – 30 g Casein

11.45 – 12,5 g EAA

13.00 – 30 g Casein

16.00 – 12,5 g EAA

17.00 – 30 g Casein  + Electrolytes

19.00 – pre workout 12,5 g EAA + Creatine


Lunges w dumbbells 41kg x 5,4,3

Dips BW + 40kg x 5,5,5

Dumbbell rows 43kg x 5,5,5

Standing calf raises 150kg x 6,6

Workout 7/10 

Notes: great workout. Needed a little more rest between sets but strength was good. Not much more to add.  

21.00 – post workout 12,5g EAA + Creatine

22.00 – 30 g Casein + Electrolytes

Day summary: 

Mental focus 8/10

Hunger 5/10

Irritability 3/10 

Work today was really good – full of focus and energy. Training was awesome, some dizziness and pretty heavy breathing but definitely not any decreases in strength. No hunger spikes during the day what so ever. The evening was tougher, mostly because it’s Friday and I’ve been awake later than the rest of the week. Can’t wait for it to be over now, since this is getting to be really mentally draining. Having said that, I feel awesome knowing that the whole work week is over and that I had no problems doing my job – which was one of my main fears. Also, I did not drop any weight today, which was kind of surprising; guess I’m starting to retain water. Last day tomorrow, afraid it’s going to be hard since I won’t have the hectic hospital environment to keep my thoughts off from food. We’ll see…

Day 6 – Saturday:

Morning weight:  76,9 kg (-4,5)

06.30 – 12,5 g EAA + 10 O3 + Multivitamins + Creatine + Electrolytes

09.00 – 30 g Casein

11.45 – 12,5 g EAA

13.00 – 30 g Casein

16.00 – 12,5 g EAA

17.00 – 30 g Casein  + 1 Electrolytes

21.00 12,5 g EAA

22.00 40 g Casein

Day summary:   

Mental focus 6/10

Hunger 8/10 

Irritability 7/10 

Today was a bitch. Been thinking about food constantly, all day. Incredible how much harder things are when I’m at home and not working. Just looking forward for this shit to be over. Note to self: better to start ILCD over the weekend when motivation is at your highest. Also, I’m never having this nasty-ass Casein drink again. Ever! 

Day 7 – Sunday:

Morning weight:  76,9 kg (-4,5)


12 pm fasted glycogen depletion workout:

Leg press 3×15

Leg curl 3×15

Press machine 3×15

Lat pulldown 3×15

Lateral raises 2×15

Bicep machine 2×15

Standing calf press 2×15

Rested as little as I could possibly handle between sets (30-45sec). Repeated whole cycle twice. 

Notes: doing this after 6 days of not eating carbohydrates and training 3 heavy workouts was incredibly hard. I did enjoy pushing myself to the limit but let’s just say I’m lucky there was no food in my stomach to throw up. 

After the workout I began my 4000 calorie reefed. I managed to squeeze in 4000 calories until 8pm.  

Day summary: 

No weight loss since yesterday, once again probably due to water retention. If I continued for one more day I’d probably see another big drop in scale weight (Not gonna happen’). I fasted until my workout at noon and that actually felt really good, high energy levels, and in a good mood. Once again, today proved how much psychology plays a big role in the perception of hunger. Even while fasting until noon, there were no carvings and no hunger, just because I knew that it was over. The workout was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, and I’ve done some pretty crazy training sessions over the years, so this was a surprise.

 Reefed was hard for the first few hours; got full really fast and had to take it slow, meaning that the first few hours I took in nothing but oatmeal, fruit, juice and milk. A few hours after starting the reefed, it all felt much better, and I could eat a big heavy meal as per usual.

 Tomorrow will probably be a pretty big weight change with saturated (and perhaps even super-compensated) glycogen stores. I’m planning on having a 1500 calorie day tomorrow which together with the 4000 calorie re-feed should land right at my maintenance intake and show where my “true” weight landed, as I’ll be in the same condition as when starting the experiment. 


Morning weight: 79,9 kg

Intake 1500 calories just like planned. Looking bloated and going to the bathroom once every 30 minutes. Feeling good.


Morning weight:  79,2 kg (-2,2 kg)

I look notably difference from 8 days ago – much fuller and vascular. “Thick, tight and solid…” as they say. Really pleased with the way it turned out. Even other trainees at my gym noticed a big difference and asked how long I’ve been dieting (they did not believe my answer). No problems with returning to maintenance. No cravings or binge eating tendencies that I usually feel when I’ve been experimenting with full 24 hour fasts. Actually, I feel as if last week never happened.

Ripped Doctor

TOTAL 8 DAY WEIGHT LOSS: – 2,2 kg (4.85 lbs)

Now what?

I see no reason to change the original plan. I will return to my regular training template, and I expect to continue to progress in my main lifts as if last week never happened.

ILCD – The Conclusions

So during an eight day experiment, I lost a total of 2,2 kg (lbs) body weight, without any strength losses. Surprisingly, the workouts a week after the experiment have been absolutely amazing, with incredible personal records way ahead of my planed progress curve. The weight after ILCD has been stable over the course of the week at 79,9 kg after the high 4000 calorie intake day. And at 79,2 kg after the 1500 calorie intake days.

ILCD is an alternative to normal steady state dieting that can be pulled off during shorter periods of time, even if you have very high demands on strength retention and mental capacity. Weight-loss-wise, the six day experiment resulted in the same weight loss as I normally lose on a four week 500 calorie/day deficit, like I was hoping. Now, I’d say that is pretty amazing given that the total volume of activity during a one week period cannot be compared to total volume of activity during a four-week period. If I lost any strength (which I didn’t) I’d have a full three weeks to recover or even increase my strength in a four-week window. Did it suck? Yes, at times it did. However, it lasted for one week and one week only.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! However, I would do a few things differently:

I’d start the experiment on Friday instead of a Monday, since my motivation is at its highest levels over the weekend. Working hours were really easy, the weekend though – not so much. I’d make sure I did the ILCD on a very hectic week which requires me to stay really busy, all the time. Actually, after having a really productive week, it dawned on me how much time you actually spend on food during any given day. And a one week ILCD is the ultimate time saver. Planning to write a book? Design a homepage? Study for a test? Bring your casein, EAA, and supplements and close yourself in a basement for 6 days to be super productive.
Maybe I should package and sell ILCD as the ultimate in weight loss and time management tool.

Practical takeaways

There are a few ways I’d use the knowledge acquired with the ILCD experiment to turn myself and others, into sexy beasts. One alternative is to do bursts of ILCD every 4th week with 3 weeks of maintenance intake in between, instead of doing consecutive 500 calorie/day deficit dieting. This is for the hard-core trainee since it was pretty challenging in the end, and doing it every 4th week will demand everything out of you.

The option I’d prefer, is to get away from longer dieting altogether and stay incredibly lean during the whole year. I will probably add one week of ILCD for each 16-week muscle building period. That would equal to four, one-week periods during the whole year. I’ll never allow myself to add more than 2 kg of body weight to my ideal lean state, and plan on staying in this optimal window without any long and boring 16-week diets.

Since the first two days were really easy, another alternative that might fit you better is even shorter periods of ILCD, but more often. You might do two consecutive days of ILCD, either once a month, or once a week.

Lastly, you can do one week of ILCD at the beginning of a normal, slow, steady state diet to kick start fat loss, increase motivation, build tolerance for hunger and build some mental toughness.

Setup summary: 

  • Diet one week on/three weeks off
  • One week ILCD, 2-4 times during the year (my preference)
  • Two days at a time once/month
  • Single days 1-2 times/week, similar to fasting cycles.

Ending Thoughts…

Alright, so this piece turned out way longer then I planned. But I really didn’t want to miss a single detail during the entire process. I hope you enjoyed it, and that now you have a few alternatives to long, boring, steady state dieting. If you liked it, please support the enormous effort (and pain) that this experiment took, and sharing this post on your preferred social network. Facebook and Twitter share buttons can be found on you left.

If you have any questions, thoughts or personal experiences about this experiment, please avoid email (as I get a lot) and throw them into the comment section below. I promise to get back to you. Also, I’d love to personally welcome you to the Lift-Heavy family by getting on my list… It costs nothing, is completely awesome, and totally spam free. Trust me, as a doctor who practices upmost confidentiality with his patients, I will treat your information in the exact same manner and never share, rent or sell your email address.

CLICK HERE to get on my VIP list.

And to end things off, I just want you to remember one thing: Even if we are talking about fat loss and scale numbers, don’t let yourself get too hung up on the figures. I don’t care if you carry 6% or 16% body fat. What I do care about, is the expression on your face when you look in the mirror. Don’t chase numbers – they are just there to illustrate data. Instead, chase the feeling of awesome. It’s all about how you look with a smile on your face, not a caliper in your hand.

Doctor With Biceps

- Written with love by Dr.Bojan Kostevski, edited with ferocity by Coach Sahil M..


1.        Palgi a, Read JL, Greenberg I, Hoefer M a, Bistrian BR, Blackburn GL. Multidisciplinary treatment of obesity with a protein-sparing modified fast: results in 668 outpatients. American journal of public health. 1985 Oct;75(10):1190–4.

2.        Wadden TA, Stunkard AJ, Day SC, Gould RA, Rubin CJ. Less food, less hunger: reports of appetite and symptoms in a controlled study of a protein-sparing modified fast. 1987.

3.        Wadden TA, Stunkard AJ, Brownell KD, Day SC. A comparison of two very-low-calorie diets: protein-sparing-modified fast versus protein-formula-liquid diet. 1985.

4.        Stallings VA, Archibald EH, Pencharz PB. Potassium, magnesium, and calcium balance in obese adolescents on a protein-sparing modified fast. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1988;47(2):220–4.

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48 comments on “The ILCD – How A Doctor Dropped 5lbs In 1 Week
  1. paul dee says:

    Hi Bojan,
    Fascinating article and amazing visual results. Given this diet was calorie and nutrient sparse, my question is related to micro-nutrients as outlined in the RDI. I am looking at hitting RDI with nutrient dense low calorie options like a side salad of multiple veges, along with boiled spinach being another side (oxalates) that I eat alongside big serves of protein.
    Two questions.
    How did you calculate your maintenance prior to the deficit?
    From an MD perspective, what the hell happens to the body when micro-nutrient requirements (appreciate the multi-vitamin in the regimen here but doubt that would be sufficient long term) are not met in a diet PMSF like this longer term? 
    Cheers Paul

    • BojanKostevski1 says:

      Thanks  @paul dee ! 
      -I did not calculate in any way. I’ve tried many different intakes and experimentally found that when I eat 2750 calories/day, my weight is stable. 
      – I have not looked into the research specifically, but think that you are right as a long term PSMF would cause micro nutrient deficiencies . However, during a one week experiment, I highly doubt that to be a real problem. 

  2. HugoLifts says:

    Hello Bojan. This was a good read, interesting. 
    I have two questions regarding the dietary intake:
    – what is the importance of the electrolytes and what did you take?
    – it seems your fiber intake was pretty much non-existent with the liquid diet; any problems with the ‘output’ being liquid as well? (sorry but it’s a serious question, this is what keeps me from experimenting with short-period liquid diets)

    • FitJerk says:

       @HugoLifts Well if you read the “adverse effects” that was listed from one of the studies, a decrease in bowel movement was noticed due to a PSMF. So it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that bojankostevski  suffered a similar fate to some degree.

    • BojanKostevski1 says:

       @HugoLifts Thanks! – I’m not sure, and since the experiment only lasted 1 week i highly doubt it can cause any trouble. It was more a “better safe then sorry” kind of argument why I decided to take them. I just bought Electrolyte tablets from my local pharmacy (should be pretty much the same concentration as plasma for most electrolytes.- This is what I’ve been getting most questions on, haha. To be serious: by stool was perfectly normal (which I did not except) apart from that I only had to “go” 2 times during the whole week. I normally go every day, if you must know. ;-)Hope that answers your questions!  

      • HugoLifts says:

         @BojanKostevski1 thanks for the reply! I realize now that the question was quite personal so sorry for that, but it was out of pure (healthy) interest :)
        It’s cool that I was actually thinking about doing a 1 week PSMF kind of thing, this is a perfectly timed article! Think I’ll do a ~1200/day to try for the first time.

  3. JoeyIndelicato says:

    Hey Bojan,
     Great experiment and article. I really respect those who are willing to take time out of their own life to construct and carry out experiments on their own theories. It’s this kind of innovation that leads to legitimate advancements in the industry. Did you happen to take any readings on LBM%, BF% and hydration levels? I don’t doubt the fat loss given the clear progress in the photo, however I feel that a lack of these measurements may be a stopping point for some people in regards to their thoughts on the efficacy of an ILCD. 

    • BojanKostevski1 says:

       @JoeyIndelicato Thank you so much for the kind words. To answer your questions: No, I have never measured my body fat percentage, like I said in the end of the article, figures are just figures. To me, I did not lose any strength and I got visually leaner. That’s all the proof I need. 

  4. arnaudbutel says:

    Hey Bojan,
    Great experiment and interesting result. It would be interesting to know if in the following weeks the ILCD backfired on you. 

  5. arnaudbutel says:

    Great article. As you are a doctor a question occurred to me. Will low calorie-moderate protein-high nutriment diet allow mass retention? Because every body’s talking about carbs fat proteins but nobody seems to be interested in micro nutriments. (our bodies are organic godamnit).I was thinking about doing an experiment like this myself. Although i know what people says in the fitness field about proteins, i come from a family of doctors. By talking to them, it showed up that there is a really big gap between what fitness industry says and actual doctors say. By the way, you were asking about getting some ideas for upcoming articles.Well here is my two cents contribution. We all know some fitness freak (actually i don’t. France isn’t too incline toward strength training).Anyway, a lot of guys talk about training / dieting as it was the only thing or the most important thing they do days in days out.Well this isn’t my case. I’m a soon to be lawyer. As you could imagine, i have (strangely though) other things in my mind than “just” thinking about training or my macros. But it doesn’t mean i don’t give a shit at all.What i want to point is: you are not one thing (just a weightlifting machine). And you are a pretty good example as you are a doctor.You can do a lot of things, you don’t have to be one thing alone. Actually i may think that the best way to go with strength is to take it as a sport not as your life (unless it’s your profession).

    • BojanKostevski1 says:

      Thanks for the awesome comment,  @arnaudbutel I honestly haven’t looked much into the research on the role of different micronutrients and mass retention, could be a candidate for future research and blog post. ;-) But to be honest, with a western diet, as long as the intake is not too restricted for a long period of time, I highly doubt that micro-nutrient deficiency is very common. Plus, the experiment is of very short duration and I really don’t think that micro-nutrient deficiency is something one should worry about, given that short time-frame. I totally agree there is a big difference in what doctors and fitness professionals say. My next blog post will touch on this precise matter. Also, one most remember that striving for maximal muscle mass with minimal fat mass, does NOT equal training for optimal health. I totally agree, training is not ALL I do, I am a doctor and training is something that I love and that complements my life, NOT rules it. Actually, as I stopped obsessing about the small things, my progress increased. Guess you put mental barriers by stressing about training to much. I no longer stress about missing a planned PR and never let training stop me from having a drink with my friends. I think many could use a more relaxed approach to their training. There is just to many beautiful things to experience in life and to little time to stress about a bench PR THIS week. You’ll get it next week.   

  6. JSyatt says:

    Bojan, you absolutely killed it with this post, brother! Extremely detailed and very well put together. Thanks for putting yourself through the ILCD in the name of Sexifying the Universe :)

  7. LinkTwit says:

    Loved it and practically mirrored my experience with PSMF a couple weeks ago. I’ve done it twice before with mixed results. This time, armed with protein shakes, protein pudding (casein + water) and lean meals, I pulled off 2.5kg of fat loss over 8 days and it felt like nothing. I prefer this to long dieting, actually. If you stay relatively lean year round, it’s really easy to just throw in one or two PSMF’s as you get ready for the summer or a specific event. I was looking forward to this article and Bojan delivered!

  8. HVF says:

     @BojanKostevski1 This was a fuckin awesome read/listen. It has spurred my hibernating experimental cravings. I haven’t done much in the experimenting zone or the better part of a year (after I discovered IF). But now i feel I have something to try out once again. Gonna re-read the article and probably give this a try during next week and keep it to my current IF-regime and se how it goes with that.Once again, excellent article and awesome experience, thank you for the inspiration! 

  9. jfcowell says:

    I’m curious as to your input on water retention and calorie restriction, any further insight you might provide? Also, could you elaborate a bit more on your EAA & Casein intake? Thanks!

  10. Richard Earl says:

    Hi Bojan, thanks for a really interesting article. Were you worried at all about the effects of such a low calorie intake on bone density? I would expect some change if you kept up the restricted diet for longer, but also for you to have high BMD beforehand due to strength training. Continuing training through the diet will also help maintain BMD as well as muscle mass.

    One reason I don’t really like VLCD as a treatment for obesity is the idea that it’s a quick fix. For someone who has had bad eating habits for years I think it’s more important to entrain good, sustainable lifestyle habits over quick results.

    • BojanKostevski1 says:

       @Richard Earl Nope not after one week. I’f id do it for 6 months, yes I’d definitely pay more attention. But doing a one week intervention, while training heavy – nah, I don’t think so. 
      And, I don’t like VLCD as a fast fix for obese, I do however use it to get an initial large drop in weight to build motivation and hunger tolerance. Like having a intensive 2 week period before starting the normal fat loss program. had very good success with it, seems to really motivate people.
      Thanks for your thoughts!

  11. Simon Agren says:

    Really interesting article, think I’ll give it a go :)
    A question about your 4000 kcal carb up period, what did you eat? Were you strict or did you just eat anything you could get hold of?
    And how are you splitting of macronutrients are on a dayly basis in the maintainence period. 
    Best regards /Simon

    • BojanKostevski1 says:

       @Simon Agren I never pig out. The 4000 calories were monitored and I tried to hit 1-2 grams of protein/kg bodyweight and keep the fat as low as I could while getting as many carbs in as possible. First coule of hours were juice, low fat milk, oatmeal and fruit. In the evening more solid foods such as rice, chicken and very sugary sauces. 
      In the maintenance period I ate 1500 calories on rest days, protein as high as possible, and on training days 4000 calories, carbs as high as possible. i usually don’t complicate stuff more then this. 
      All best,

  12. wazzup105 says:

    I should make a write-up of my week… I went on vacation, ate normal (as normal as I could for camping out), had icecream, beer and chocolate and still managed to lose 2.1 kilo. I did run 100 K though that probably helped a bit :)

  13. DrejgUlf says:

    I think one popular PSMF method advocate training only twice a week. Considering that your approach was more extreme did you ever consider to decrease training days in your experiment? What are your thoughts on training frequency on a calorie deficit?

    • BojanKostevski1 says:

       @DrejgUlf I just wanted to train the way I usually do. Do I believe it’s necessary to train more than twice a week during fat loss? Probably not, especially not if its just for one week.  However, I just love lifting and want to train more often. 

  14. DrejgUlf says:

    I think one popular PSMF method advocate training only twice a week. Considering that your approach was more extreme did you ever consider to decrease training days in your experiment? What are your thoughts on training frequency on a calorie deficit?

  15. nmack41 says:

    Just wondering just wondering what you think of replacing casein with whey? Whey is said to be more for protein synthesis while casein for protein sparing, maybe from the effect of insulin.  Would the spikes of insulin cause less lipolysis or beta-oxidation, or do you think the spikes would be insignificant (assuming 1 scoop of whey is 24g and taken multiple times per day).  
    Personal reason: I may try something similar in the near future and whey at Costco is like 30$ for 5lbs, so its super cheap compared to casein. 

    • BojanKostevski1 says:

       @nmack41 Probably not going to make any noticeable difference, not in such a short intervention at least. If I did id again, I’d consider doing EAA and Whey shakes only during the day and casein only before going to bed. But like I said, the difference in a one week trial is just to short…

  16. JCDFitness says:

    please be advice

  17. StevenAcerra says:

    Very cool and needed experiment – obviously a longer duration would be cool while studying things like protein accretion markers, cascade signalling ,and some scientific metabolic rate calculations.There’s some debate about metabolic slowdown and muscle loss due to dieting.  There’s military studies that suggest you can practically be tortured for a year without losing muscle (if training), Brad Pilon talks alot about this – things like endogenous protein synthesis, the cori cycle, etc etc.Overall, cool experiment – not long enough to come away with anything of too much value as it pertains to my ideas on fitness however.   

    • BojanKostevski1 says:

        Thanks Steven Acerra ! Appreciate your input, and while I was considering doing a longer trial, this applies better to how I was thinking about using it. We’ll see, I’m already playing with the though of running a longer experiment with more people. ;-)
      Take care man!

  18. tedsting says:

    Great article. My question is it possible to be “too low” in scale weight even if it would require somebody getting to a low number on the scale to be at a very ripped state?

  19. KristaJulienne says:

    I’m definitely giving this a shot, starting tomorrow. It is going to suck ass, because I think my RMR is only about 1300 (female, 125 – 130 lbs, pretty lean). I am starting after a cheat day, and ending with a cheat day.  I am also using whey, because I do not have casein and frankly don’t usually need it. I will be adding a small amount of psyllium husk fibre to the miniscule amounts of whey.

  20. MikeTNelson says:

    Thanks for the great write up Doc and your experience.   
    My thoughts are that if you are healthy and “metabolically flexible”  it will allow your body to tap into fat as a fuel source quite easily.   We know that people with type 2 diabetes have a harder time using fat once their baseline levels of insulin go up.  Insulin is the fuel selector switch, higher insulin pushes the body towards carb metabolism and less use of fat as a fuel.  
    I think that lifting during low calorie periods is extremely protective to muscle tissue and EAA and BCAAs may help with this (but BCAAs will not completely keep protein synthesis running just by themselves) .
    In the end I think it may be a short term option for the most extreme people who are already metabolically healthy.    I liked the weight loss graph, as it shows variability even though calories are fixed and it was not a direct linear loss.   
    Open to more thoughts from everyone! 
    rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  21. BenCunningham_ says:

    Great article. Oddly enough I came across it the day I finished my own PSMF experiment. 
    Started at roughly 9%bf and did 10 days at 800 calories of solid protein (upped slightly on 3 heavy workout days)
    Wasn’t nearly as tough as I thought it would be. Had a pretty similar experiences to yours; didn’t loose any strength, hunger came and went and had sporadic times of feeling shit. The last day or two was the main struggle.
    The only real downside I found was the reduction in output capacity, any form of sustained activity (even light walking) would leave me feeling depleted a couple of hours later.
    Surprisingly the time I felt most physical discomfort was the reefed at the end. My body was not prepared for that.
    I think if your focused and disciplined, it’s definitely worth the effort. I will use it again; your right the slow cut gets boring quickly.

  22. xg3nevi3vex says:

    awesome article, doc! just a question about the fish oil supplementation. why 10 and what would you recommend for a 54, 43 kg female? (157,48 cm) 
    I plan on trying this soon and would love some supplement advice. thanks in advance for  response!

  23. dave says:

    Great Arcticle! Just wondering how much calories did you have for the fish oil alone? If I would take 10 of the softgels I have I end up with 200Calories from them alone which seems a lot.

  24. wanzap says:


    I am wondering how this would compare with you going on a 1700 Kcal per day diet (1000 below your maintenance) for two weeks.

    for me 1700 is very easy to stick to, though is only 600 below maintenace, I am wondering if I dropped another 400 of it for two weeks, could I see such dramatic results as a week on the ILCD?

    Many thanks

  25. Bo says:

    Hi Bojan,

    Thanks for this! Currently on day 5 and don’t have a problem at all and it works perfectly with the Leangains protocol.

    I have two questions – 1 )why did you choose to go for a glycogen depleting workout when you are completely out of glycogen and 2) would you consider it to be too much to add 60-90min walks to the protocol to speed things up even further?

    Many thanks again! I am used to 12 week cuts but I think this will sort of revolutionize my cutting periods, if it works well in the lower single digit BF levels where I am currently in.

    Best regards,

  26. Gav says:

    Great article Doc and after having done a 3 day, zero calorie fast in the past, I am going to give this a go and see how I get on, maybe incorporate this once every other months or so.

  27. Alex says:

    I’m on my 5th day on ILCD, feel good. Still have great workouts while losing body fat as fast as never before.
    Do you still use this aproach by yourself? How often?
    Thanks for interesting reading and great experience Bojan!

    Merry Cristmas and Best Regards,

  28. Alex says:

    Hi Bojan,

    Just want to warn your readers not to experimet with this setup right before the X-mas or whatever time when you consume huge amount of food, just like I did. Wanted to lose as much as possible of body fat and I did it (3 kg per 7 days). BUT gained it all back (and 3 kg above that) during followed 2 weeks feast…
    You must remember your metabolism is slowed down during prolonged period of big calories deficit, so you should cure your metabolism carefully afterwards, otherwise you risk to repeat my mistake :(

    Thanks and Reards

  29. Filip says:


    Har du någon uppdatering om du tagit konceptet vidare sedan detta försöket. dvs 1v. vlcd 2-4ggr /år och isåfall är det ett upplägg som funkar bättre än längre dietperioder med -500kcal?

7 Pings/Trackbacks for "The ILCD – How A Doctor Dropped 5lbs In 1 Week"
  1. […] or Carbs – Mike Roussell 3 Keys to Developing Optimal Skating Technique – Kevin Neeld The ILCD – How a Doctor Dripped 5lbs in 1 Week – Bojan.K Success Principles with Scott Ginsberg – Perry Nickelston The Slight Edge – Kyle Newell […]

  2. […] Vad är ILCD undrar nu många av er, ja det ska jag berätta för er. Det är ett koncept som Bojan Kostevski, skapare av den eminenta sidan utarbetat. Insanely Low Calorie Diet står ILCD för och är en ‘förädling’ av VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet). JAg tänker inte gå in speciellt mycket på hur tankarna har gått när denna metod utvecklades då jag inte skulle göra det rättvisa känner jag. Istället hänvisar jag er till Bojan’s egna text i frågan som ni hittar HÄR. […]

  3. […] som skiljde sig åt var att jag började på en fredag, detta efter att Bojan tipsat om det i sitt inlägg och ‘I took it to heart’. Ingen glukogentömning gjorde jag heller men det vet ni redan […]

  4. […] Härkan du läsa om ursprunget till dieten. ILCD […]

  5. […] Här läser du originalidén bakom ILCD. […]

  6. […] dag 3 av 20 01 Jul2012 Posted by admin in ILCDMin ILCD har tagit sig till dag 3. Det är också min första officiella […]

  7. […] reading Bojan Kostevski’s cool experiment with an insanely low calorie diet, I decided to dabble in my own ILCD. For those of you who were too lazy to click the link above […]

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