What have you done to yourself? (Self-experimentation)


Continuing the discussion from 400 lb 65 y/o Type II Diabetic & life long food addict, Soylent effects Miraculous:

No, I wasn’t taking chemo. But starting my Extended Fasts (72 hours) was prompted by reading research which was originally related to looking at why fasting making chemo more tolerable. I’ve been doing an EF once every three to four weeks since July of 2014.

A few of my dietary experiments where about weight loss/gain. Most of them are about health and longevity - with a particular emphasis on the longevity.

Other things I’ve guinea-pigged myself on:

  • Going vegan - back in 1991, or so. (I’ve gradually added back eggs, dairy, fish, and poultry, in that order, over time. I never added back (and never will add back) mammal meats. I don’t tolerate dairy well, but I don’t cut it out completely.) This was done for health reasons - I was diagnosed hypertensive, reversed it with diet changes, and reintroduced things over the course of the next fifteen years. Have healthy blood pressure, still.
  • PSMF - Protein Sparing Modified Fast, as far back as 2001, I think. This was for fat loss.
  • ADF - Alternate Day Fasting. For longevity.
  • UD 2.0 - this was a CKD, a cyclical ketogenic diet. This was about muscle gain and fat loss with weekly cycles.
  • ADPSMF - instead of alternate day fasting, alternate day PSMFing. For longevity.
  • Periodic Fasting - for about a year, I fasted for one day every week, with a few exceptions. For longevity.
  • Periodic EF - what I do now, an extended fast every three to four weeks. For longevity.

I also have tried Soylent (mostly 1.1, if I recall), and have been doing several different Schmoylent-based DIY formulas since starting, back in July of 2014.

I’ve been keeping daily morning weight logs (with body tissue percentage breakdowns) for several years. I also used to keep detailed training logs, but I don’t do that any more. I’m less interested in muscle building now, and more interested in overall health and longevity. I check my BP periodically, and for the past six months, I’ve also been able to test my blood sugar with an at-home kit.

So, what have you all done to yourselves?


Without the parentheses in the title I would’ve felt strangely guilty. “I don’t know… what have I done to myself…?”

I’ve experimented on myself, but I didn’t use the best measurements or controls… and it wasn’t dietary related…

I think I tried an amateur paleo diet once, but not for long. I’m German so… I’ll keep the pastries, thank you.

All this talk of fasting and longevity makes me want to try. I just worry being on empty might accrue cellular damage… or I suppose that’s the point, no? I always hear never to drive around on an empty tank, but then my car doesn’t heal itself continuously, so there’s that…


I once saw a video of a guy who had filmed himself performing surgery on himself. Apparently self-surgery is an actual thing.

The things people come up with to experiment on themselves with is mind-boggling to me, sometimes.


Yep, a Russian surgeon once performed an appendectomy on himself with no anesthesia (appendicitis is one of the most painful, agonizing deaths known to man) in the middle of sub-zero temperatures. But that’s nothing. One time I stubbed my toe and I only cried for… like 2 hours.

I didn’t come up with the things to experiment on myself. It was mostly thanks to discoveries by two brilliant scientists named Hoffman and Shulgin.


I followed this program:

Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient‑Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight …
by Joel Fuhrman

For almost a year, and lost maybe 30 lbs.

I believe in it even now, except for the simplistic attitude toward processed foods.


What were the macros on that diet?
And @mentalnomad… Wow


I’m currently trying to use a DIY soylent in conjunction with high weight low reps resistance training to build strength. Currently I think I might need more carbs. While I’m seeing weekly improvements in my first set but my muscle endurance isn’t there.


The Fuhrman diet puts aside the idea of macro ratios. It largely tries to avoid the macronutrients. There’s a lot of good to be said about it.

He calls it a “Nutritarian” diet - it focuses on foods which are high in micronutrients, and avoids foods high in macronutrients. In practice, this results in a largely vegetarian diet high in greens and vegetables.

One the plus side, you can eat a lot of veggies and greens to physically fill you up. And when you eat enough of that stuff, there isn’t much space for the high-calorie stuff… and, in the end, you end up getting the amounts you really need of those, too.

(I haven’t done Fuhrman, but it looks like a healthier version of my more vegetarian days - I really went after a lot of pasta and breads and stuff that was high in calories.)

Your exact macros will vary, but you can sum this diet up as:

  1. Low in protein.
  2. Low in fats/oils.
  3. Low in digestible carbs.

From https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/what-is-a-nutritarian-diet.aspx:


You might consider this: muscle strength largely comes from the amount & size of myofibrillar tissue (muscle fibers.) Endurance, however, comes from the quantity of mitochondria, energy stores, and degree of vascularization.

Heavy weight/low rep focuses on the muscle fibers, but does little to stimulate the rest.

In other words, perhaps you’re only gaining strength, and not endurance… because you’re only training for strength, and not endurance.


MentalNomad got the essentials right. The good thinge is that after you consume all the greens you practically can’t consume anything that would make you gain or maintain your weight level. It worked great for me for quite awhile but finally I just drifted away from it.


Giving this topic some serious thought, I’d have to say the most obvious body “hacking” I’ve done to myself over the last dozen years involves excercise more so than diet or sleep patterns.

(Speaking of health and longevity, check your Fitness Age)

In college I was 5’10" and 150lb but blossomed to 185lb within a few years working at an aerospace desk job despite being somewhat active… (Hiking).

A girlfriend training for a marathon prompted me to try running. The relationship didn’t last but the drive to run did and over the first decade or so was able to take off 10-15lb with no change to my rather S.A.D. (Including soda) Adding cycling and swimming for triathlon I was able to get down to 170lb with about a 32" waist.

By 2012 I had taken note of my rising blood cholesterol in my annual physicals (both HDL and LDL). Doctors told me not to worry as the ratio was really good but I still didn’t like being over 200 total so I made my first substantive dietary change: less red meat.

Over 2 years my LDL dropped below my HDL, decreasing my total.

After hearing about Soylent on Colbert and doing some research, I jumped in. During the 6 month wait I started with 50% Schmoylent and after reading more about low carb benefits began upping the unsaturated fat slightly (probably 40% of calories on Schmoylent which was a little over half my diet, the rest being SAD). For the last 4 months I’ve been on Soylent 75%-85% and I’m now down to 160lb and 30" waist. Not sure how much of that is due to Soylent vs the reduction in SAD and soda… It has helped my running speed though.

I’ve been experimenting with slightly higher fat in the rather hard to quantify quest to become better fat adjusted (or metabolicly flexible… Pick your lingo de jur). As best I can tell now, the higher fat diet is working well although I do perform better athletically with more carbs ingested just prior to running.

After 3 days of 45% fat tweaked Soylent 1.4 I had my blood drawn for a lipid panel yesterday morning… Eager to see the results. And btw, Quest Diagnostics? Wtf… Where’s my Theranos… I asked about a blood Ketone test (Beta Hydroxybutyrate) and they wanted $21 to draw the blood and $145 to test… B.S. I doubt I’d be over 0.5 anyway…

edit: PS blood work in…
Total cholesterol 196 (up 21 from 9 months ago but about the same as 2013)
HDL-C 103 (all time high, up 18 from 9 months ago but about 3 more than 2013)
LDL-C 85 (up 4 from 9 months ago but down 1 from 2013)
Triglycerides 41 (lowest since 2009, 3 less than 9 months ago and 13 less than 2013)