Blog,  Nutrition,  Self-experiment

AltShift experiment (part 1)

As some of you may know, I like to experiment on myself. In my constant pursuit for health and happiness, when I see something that makes sense I try it and see how it works for me. That’s how I ended up being a Buddhist who eats a paleo-style diet. And that’s what made me want to try AltShift.

Despite its name and what I do for work, this has nothing to do with computers. AltShift is a fat loss protocol (diet, if you want to call it that way) created by Jason Seib, one of the people in the paleo world that I’ve been following for a few years. He’s devoted most of his career to help people lose fat. He’s a gym owner, trainer, author of The Paleo Coach, and runs a podcast and training website alongside Sarah Fragoso, another paleo personality. In other words, the guy knows his stuff.

The protocol is based on macronutrient and calorie cycling. This helps prevent adaptation and accelerates fat loss, at least in theory. Protein, in general, tends to stay the same within a particular creature’s diet (Google the protein leverage hypothesis if you’re interested), so what cycle are carbs and fat. When fat goes down, calories go down.

What motivated me to want to test this protocol, aside from plain curiosity, was the extra fat that I have put on in the past few months and have bumped my weight set point to ~3kg more than what it used to be and feels right for me. My genetic baggage, a broken metabolism due to poor food choices and yo-yo dieting, and my age make this task harder than what it seems. Finally, as a future dietitian I like to have first hand experience of different approaches before recommending them to a client or patient.

Me and 2 friends started on January 2nd. I have been tracking my food intake the whole time (it’s kind of fun when you don’t have to do it for an assignment!) and was surprised to see how inaccurate were my guesses, particularly in the low fat/lower calorie cycle (aka 3 shift).

A 3 shift meal

I weighed and measured myself a few days before starting and plan to do the same at the end of each 5 shift. Below are the results and some observations from the first round:

  • Lost 2mm off my waist (could be measuring error!) and 900g
  • Interestingly and despite having been eating lowish carb for the past ~5 years, it was easier for me to go very low fat on the 3 shift than to go very low carb on the 5 shift
  • I was hungrier than usual on the 3 shift, and felt cold during the day
  • My digestion was perfect on the 5 shift, but slow on the 3 shift (I was also very gassy during this shift)
  • My energy and sleep were normal
  • My strength was normal, I had no problem hitting my percentages in training (during both shifts) even though I have stopped using pre-workout and whey protein

I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding recipes appropriate for each shift. To be clear, this is not strictly a paleo protocol, but encourages paleo-style food choices and certainly can be done using 100% foods that fall under the paleo denomination. I have been eating exactly the same things I normally eat, just combining them differently to fit within the guidelines. If you check my Instagram feed you will see my food does not look a whole lot different to what it used to.

A 5 shift meal

I will continue to track my progress as the experiment goes on, and will keep posting my observations. Judging from the overwhelming amount of positive feedback on the AltShift Facebook group, this stuff works. BTW, that is one awesomely supportive group for anyone who decides to join the journey.

If you’re interested in learning more about AltShift, head to

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