As of June, 2006, I have been on a Calorie Restriction diet for 26 months, but with a 5 to 6 month hiatus after the first year. I have been on it continuously for 2006. These are the changes I have noticed:
I dropped from 158 lbs to 130lbs (I limited weight loss to about 1 to 2 lbs per week by upping calories as needed - quick weight loss is not healthy). At 5'7" my BMI is 20.4 and my body fat is 12% to 14% based on my Tanika scale and neck/waist ratios.
My cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides values all improved
I was pretty disappointed in cholesterol level however. My wife and son, who are not on CR, and most of the people on CR in studies, have very low cholesterol, while my is at 159.
My Hair Mineral Analysis
As far as I know, the level of toxic and nutrition elements in my hair is not directly affected by CR itself. Of course, what I eat will certainly affect the analysis. I have had samples of my hair analyzed on occasion, and here are the hair analysis results.
For the first 6 months of 2006, my average calorie intake per day has been 1675 calories (18% fat, 14% protein, 68% carbohydrates). For the first few months this year I was at 1500 calories per day. However, I have been increasing my calorie intake to avoid more weight loss. To keep from dropping below 130 lbs I appear to need 1750 to 1850 calories per day.
I eat very little meat other than occasional fish to get B12. I limit the fish because of the mercury contamination now so prevalent. I also don't eat dairy products. My diet consists of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts/seeds, cereals. To the extent possible I stick with organic foods.
I once estimated I had just eaten 19 servings of fruit and vegetables in a day. Eating just 5 servings as recommended by the US government would be a major decrease.
We have a mulberry tree in the backyard and I found I could harvest a huge bowl just by setting down a large cloth and shaking lower branches. What a discovery that was. I actually ate 3.9 lbs of mulberries in one sitting. My wife and son won't touch them after they noticed various insects and larvae crawling around. I follow a policy of "don't wash, don't look". They taste wonderful.
One thing I found was that no drinks are nutritionally dense, except perhaps some of the vegetable drinks, which don't appeal to me. So other than 1/2 cup of OJ on morning cereal, I drink nothing but water. It's just not worth the calories.
I found that if I do not track the food I eat in detail on a daily basis, then I quickly get off the diet. I have always used an Excel spreadsheet. Over time the spreadsheet has become more automated with more information. After I had been on the diet for a little over a year, I accidently deleted the entire spreadsheet. I had no backup. That began a 5 to 6 month hiatus in my dieting, resulting in a weight gain of 12 or so pounds.
I am very tempted to use some CR tracking software, but have not gotten around to doing so. Although it is in Beta test, you might want to try the CRON-o-meter open source software, which is constantly being improved and is already pretty impressive.
The attached weekly tracking chart shows in excruciating detail, nutrient by nutrient, my daily average intake for each week of 2006, when I began CR after my 6 month hiatus. Since there can be a substantial difference in the RDI and the most current DRI values, I have given both sets of numbers that I am using. I do not really track sodium and I am depending on sunlight for Vitamin D for most of the year. At the bottom of the chart is typical exercising I am doing each week.
The attached sample daily tracking chart shows an example of one week's worth of my meals with nutrient values, again in excruciating detail. The last columns of this spreadsheet are my calculation of nutrient density for each dish for each nutrient.
I prefer not to use supplements to meet nutritional needs. This is because I believe we are largely ignorant of nutritional needs and that for every vitamin and mineral we know about today, there are many, many more we do not know about. Pills and capsules will get you what we know about and do nothing for what we don't know about.
If you get all of the known nutrients from food, you will be forced to adopt a variety of foods. That variety of foods will get you far more of the unknown nutrients than the 0 amount you get from supplements.
Having said that, I admit to taking Vitamin D supplements in the winter (I live in Kansas which is at too high a latitude for your body to produce adequate Vitamin D in the winter); several calcium tablets a week; and each day a teaspoon of fish oil which has been checked for mercury and other contaminants. Also, several foods, such as bread, have supplements as ingredients.
I personally avoid all the artificial sweeteners. I strongly suspect that those chemicals will turn out to have unhealthy side effects. We humans know little about subtle, long term effects and those responsible for looking for such effects have little incentive to find problems because of profits and/or politics.
I find it amusing that sucralose was discovered by scientists looking for a better pesticide and, in fact, some believe it is closer to that class of chemicals than it is to sugar. The FDA and the manufacturers of this chemical naturally like to emphasize that the industrial process used to manufacture the chemical begins with a sugar molecule.