Gerrit’s Success with the 3-2-1 diet

Gerrit Van Doornik (@GerritvDoornik on twitter) is a student from the Netherlands. He has undertaken a fund raising project with some friends, who are all completing a range of endurance events to help raise money for a charity called ‘right to play’. You can read about here.

He read about my 3-2-1 blog and gave the diet a go, getting some great results. The difference here is he then adapted it to suit his lifestyle – which personally I think is the KEY TO SUCCESS not a failing! Here is his story…
When Mel asked me if I could write down my experiences on the 3-2-1 diet I didn’t really know where to start.
Let’s go back to October, I just finished my first triathlon season with a bang (crashed in my last triathlon, but that’s another story) and started making plans and a schedule for winter. One of the plans was to lose some extra weight, I’d been around 84 kg (168lbs) all season and in October I was somewhere between 85-86 kg, perfect according to my friends and family but not for me of course.
I didn’t know anything about losing weight so I started reading stuff, asking people for advice and then Mel came by on twitter about the 3-2-1 diet. For me this was all the same as any other diet but she was enthusiastic so I figured to give it a try.
How was it?
It took some efforts, eating a lot in the morning, a bit less for lunch, bringing along healthy snacks to the university and not eating too much for dinner. For me eating a lot didn’t prove to be difficult, I’m used to eat soft curd cheese (Quark) with muesli in the morning and I just ate some more of this, easy enough. Lunch was fine too, I’m a student and I usually get some slices of bread at the canteen for lunch, this is reasonable cheap and since the diet promotes a lighter lunch (compared to what I was used too), this got even cheaper now, perfect for me! Than the 4-o’clock snack came along, for the first weeks this was ok, I brought some stuff from home and this kept me through the day. The dinner in the evening would then be some light salad, all perfect.
The difficulties
I’m not a very well-planned person when it comes to shopping. Muesli+curd for the morning is easy enough but I always mess up with the snacks, so at some point I found myself never having a snack for the afternoon. Drinking water is part of the diet so I started increasing the water intake (even more). This helped enough for me, I was not hungry and I was still losing weight.
Living in a student house together with 7 other students proved to be an extra obstacle too, for the first few weeks I was fine eating a salad (or something similar) when they had “normal” dinner but never joining in for dinner is just not so nice. So at some point I joined in for “normal” dinner, still trying not to eat too much but probably I was eating much more then I was supposed to (sorry Mel)!
For my training, I didn’t change too much, I’m training somewhere between 9-12 times a week and I only do morning training sessions if I plan to do two sessions a day. I simply prefer training in the evening so I don’t wake up early if I don’t have to.
The diet helped. I started somewhere in October and continued until the beginning of December, I lost around 5kg (10lbs) and I felt perfect while doing it. To give some evidence, here is a graph of my weight (the trend is obvious, I lost just a bit over 1 pound a week).
My experiences with the diet are positive, I’m not the most experienced dieter, this was the first I ever tried and I didn’t follow it exactly all the time. It works for me to stick to the 3-2-1 principle without being too strict. During dieting I didn’t feel fatigued due to a lack of food or whatsoever, but at the same time, I hardly ever feel fatigued because of this so I cannot tell if 3-2-1 made a difference.
At this moment I’m at a steady 83kg again which is fine for me in the off-season, my first big plan coming up is the Rotterdam Marathon (in april) and I might lose some kg’s before doing that. If I will, I will definitely use the 3-2-1 principle again.
Mel’s thoughts:
When I did this diet, I too lost a steady but small amount per week, so this is very similar results to those I myself experienced. The beauty of this diet is you can be flexible, and still make it a success. For me this is the key, or a ‘diet’ is impossible to stick to and will ultimately fail!
Having nothing else to compare it with, Gerrit will not be able to state, like I can, that a ‘normal’ diet, which works on calorie deficit, usually leaves athletes tired and depleted, therefore unable to perform. This was certainly the experience I had.
I am very glad that Gerrit had success, and hope both he (and you) can see that around a loose set of basic but locical nutritional principles, this diet CAN work for anyone, but especially for athletes.
Thank you Gerrit, for sharing your story.

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