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Buddah1337

Help tweak my diet

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So i'v been pretty serious for over a year now. I'm looking to get some better results. I'm looking to possibly tweak my diet to do so. So i'm looking for some suggestions. Here is a basic meal log for the week. Should i be more concerned with my daily macros or weekly? I was thinking of cutting out my fruit. Bringing them to 38% 100.4g carbs 44% 117.6g protein 18% 21.8g fat and the calories down to 1147. Any suggestions or criticism is more than welcome. 

 

Monday - Wednesday these days equate to 1427 calories macros of 50% 172.4g carbs 35% 121.6g protein 14% 21.8 g fat

 

Breakfast 8 oz milk, pure protein bar

snacks (throughout the day) 2 cups of mixed fruit (grapes, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe) , 8 oz plain nonfat Greek yogurt, fresh mixed veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery)

Lunch grilled boneless skinless chicken breast med-small

Dinner Spicy Salad ( that i need to post a picture of one of these days. which with the lose it app equates to 394 calories 41.7 g carbs 19 g protine

 

Thursday just adds a dinner at my moms usually roasted veggies, and some sort of grilled fish.

 

Breakfast 8 oz milk, pure protein bar

snacks (throughout the day) 2 cups of mixed fruit (grapes, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe) , 8 oz plain nonfat Greek yogurt, fresh mixed veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery)

Lunch grilled boneless skinless chicken breast med-small

Dinner roasted veggies, grilled fish

 

 

Friday is the some breakfast and dinner with a cheat meal for lunch.

 

Breakfast 8 oz milk, pure protein bar

Lunch cheat meal (usually a burger)

Dinner Spicy Salad ( that i need to post a picture of one of these days. which with the lose it app equates to 394 calories 41.7 g carbs 19 g protine

 

Saturday Sunday is the same minus the snacks. I'm usually to busy and distracted to get to those. 

 

Breakfast 8 oz milk, pure protein bar

Lunch grilled boneless skinless chicken breast med-small

Dinner Spicy Salad ( that i need to post a picture of one of these days. which with the lose it app equates to 394 calories 41.7 g carbs 19 g protine

 

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There are a few traditional questions that get asked when looking at calories / macros:

 

Current height / weight. What are your overall goals (just losing weight or getting stronger)? What are your average weekly calories? How are you tracking weight loss? Average current weight loss per week (or per whatever time span you track)? Are you measuring also? What has your change in measurements been? How long have you been using this current set up?

 

High level, I wouldn't recommend cutting any more calories without some more information. You will most likely see diminishing returns through pure calorie restriction, and cutting down to 1147 seems very low. 

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5'10” around 250lbs haven't weighed in, in a while.

 

Lose weight but I also want to get stronger. 

 

Weekly calories I'm working on getting a week's worth I eat a little less on the weekends. 

 

Over the last year weight loss has been around 10 a  month.

 

No I haven't been measuring. Except waist which is down 10 inches. 

 

I will have been on this diet a year in April. 

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Truthfully, 10 pounds a month is pretty aggressive. If you are still losing that much consistently, I would not go any lower. If anything, I would say increase calories for a bit. (FWIW, my husband is around your size and is losing weight - although at a slower rate - on about 2300 calories a day without regular exercise). 

 

What kind of better results are you looking for?

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29 minutes ago, Sylvaa said:

Truthfully, 10 pounds a month is pretty aggressive. If you are still losing that much consistently, I would not go any lower. If anything, I would say increase calories for a bit. (FWIW, my husband is around your size and is losing weight - although at a slower rate - on about 2300 calories a day without regular exercise). 

 

What kind of better results are you looking for?

I've plateaued a bit but that could of been because February was basically an off the wagon month. I guess maybe I just thought I'd be farther by the one year mark. 

 

So instead of going lower would it be worth it to try and cut carbs and replace it with more protine?

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13 hours ago, Buddah1337 said:

I've plateaued a bit but that could of been because February was basically an off the wagon month. I guess maybe I just thought I'd be farther by the one year mark. 

 

So instead of going lower would it be worth it to try and cut carbs and replace it with more protine?

 

If it were me, I would take a few weeks and reverse diet. Here and here are two links that give more information for you to look into. Note: neither article is perfect, but they both give some great detail into why you should look at taking a break from dieting after a sustained period of calorie restriction. The TL/DR version is that our bodies are very efficient and will adapt to lower calorie levels, so you'll stop seeing the same results. 100 pounds over the course of a year is almost 2 pounds a week. That is truly at the high end of "reasonable" weight loss. And honestly, it's much more difficult to sustain that type of weight loss as you get smaller. 

 

You can start looking at macros if you wanted to, but (and please recognize that this is only my personal opinion) unless you are invested in a workout plan that supports the need for increased protein, it will only be so helpful to do so. The macros you listed (which coincidentally don't appear to add up to the 1427 you have listed) are right on target with the recommendation of 1g protein / kg body weight. You could increase protein on days you lift, but changing macros isn't going to have a huge impact on the amount of weight you lose - that's going to be based on total calories.

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3 hours ago, Sylvaa said:

You can start looking at macros if you wanted to, but (and please recognize that this is only my personal opinion) unless you are invested in a workout plan that supports the need for increased protein, it will only be so helpful to do so. The macros you listed (which coincidentally don't appear to add up to the 1427 you have listed) are right on target with the recommendation of 1g protein / kg body weight. You could increase protein on days you lift, but changing macros isn't going to have a huge impact on the amount of weight you lose - that's going to be based on total calories.

 

I’m going to have to disagree at bit with this part, on a few counts. First, a recent meta study was just released on ‘ideal’ protein intake for different body composition and goals (https://examine.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-do-i-need/) that would indicate that overweight individuals should be eating at least 1.2-1.5g/kg of bodyweight – that would be around 140-170g of protein; so by that metric, you could definitely stand to add a protein shake (or cup of cottage cheese, or whatever other protein options you prefer).

 

Other studies have suggested that for overweight individuals, they’re better off calculating based on lean body mass (ie. your weight net bodyfat). For sake of discussion, we could assume that you currently have about 160lbs of LBM (which would put you around 35% BF); the recommendations I’ve seen suggest 1-1.2g protein/lb of LMB, so that would look like 150-192g of protein – pretty close to the last suggested intake actually!

 

However, there is ALSO evidence that

A) higher protein intake can improve muscle sparing during weight loss (ie. you lose more fat rather than losing muscle) for example: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26817506

B} for whatever reason, a caloric surplus combined with a high protein diet MAY not result in the same kind of weight gain – and could actually encourage an increase of muscle along with fat loss: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4617900

 

So, personally, I like to err on the side of more protein, rather than less. For individuals at a healthy weight who are trying to lose fat or gain muscle, optimum recommended levels are as high as 2.2-3.3gprotein/kg of bodyweight – which @ 250lbs would be 250-375g of protein. Even I’ll admit, that’s a bit much. ;) But I couldn’t see any harm in aiming for an average daily intake of, say, 200-220g of protein? That would be in surplus for the minimum required intake while overweight, but enough wiggle room that if you don’t hit it every day you’ll still be getting enough to help encourage fat loss rather than muscle loss.

 

Being very realistic, you’ve lost 100lbs in a year (WOW!!!) which is an incredible rate of weight loss – some of that was definitely muscle, but that’s just a natural consequence of losing that much. We need more muscle to carry around more weight, so it’s inevitable that during significant weight loss you’ll lose mostly fat but still some muscle. Assuming that most days you’re getting 1,400-1,500kcal/day (which frankly just sounds hellish), and losing on average 2lbs/week, your TDEE is probably be around 2,500kcal/day - which sounds just about right. If nothing else, if this is your first time plateauing, that’s really impressive. Frankly, I can’t imagine the discipline you must have had to keep with that meal plan for so long!

 

Do you have a ‘goal weight’ to stop and take a break from fat loss for a while? You could have a break now, maybe for 6-8 weeks at 1,800-2,000kcal/day for a good compromise between more calories without gaining. Another good goal could be 180lbs – which would probably see you at 20-25%BF, which is a GREAT place to practice maintenance. That would also coincide with an average TDEE of 2,000kcal, which is a nice number to stabilise at. At your current rate of fat loss, slowing down a bit as you get leaner, it would take another year or so to get there. Alternatively, you can start tracking girth measurements and use an online calculator to guestimate BF%, and aim for 22-25%BF instead of a scale weight. Truly, honestly, you have made incredible progress, and 2 years to get down to a comfortable maintenance weight (losing 170lbs!!!) would be VERY fast – I understand your frustration that it takes so long, but you’ve been doing so well, keep it up!

 

I do like the idea of reverse dieting, and just for kicks and giggles, here’s another good article on the topic: https://legionathletics.com/reverse-diet/. However, I can think of a few other strategies that you could use to help moderate your diet too, namely carb cycling and/or a 5:2 pattern. These are both eating patterns that vary your energy intake based on daily needs, in order to help you eat more on some days without as much chance of gaining weight or stalling fat loss. The only reason I like these approaches better is because I find them easier to use when transitioning into maintenance, and I like the idea of ‘practicing’ what you’re normally going to eat after fat loss. Totally a personal bias though.

 

The other thing I’d mention is that it’s ok to calculate ‘net carbs’ - which is to say, your carb numbers shouldn’t include the fibre (indigestible carbohydrates); this is handy because it means that most vegetables are much lower carb than the initial numbers may indicate. Personally, I also prefer slightly higher numbers for fat intake than what you’ve listed – mostly for hormonal health. But you can also experiment with ‘toggling’ high fat vs high carb in the calories you have left over after protein intake – everyone responds differently, and the way only way you’ll know for sure is if you play around with it and take notes for yourself!

 

Are you doing any resistance training? If not, now is a GREAT time to start! If you’ve mostly been doing steady state cardio (eg. biking, running, etc), that’s a good habit– but it’s resistance training (ie. weight lifting) that really lends itself to gaining/keeping muscle. If it were me, I’d aim for 3x week resistance training, 2x week steady state cardio, and 2 days off. The days off are especially important if you’re going to maintain a caloric deficit. This is a great routine to start with if you haven’t done resistance training before: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/beginner-body-weight-workout-burn-fat-build-muscle_v_coaching/. Remember, it’s ok (and safer) to start off at whatever level you are, and progress as your strength increases – don’t judge your level by anything but your own improvement.

 

So, for sake of discussion, this could be a fun/new way to structure your diet and exercise that will still allow you to lose fat, while adding some variety to break up the monotony:

 

Sunday: 1,200kcal; 180g protein (720kcal, 60%), 25g carbs (100kcal, 8%), 42g fat (380kcal, 32%) - DAY OFF from training, go for at least an hour walk outside

 

Monday: 1,800kcal; 220g protein (880kcal, 49%), 135g carbs (540kcal, 30%), 42g fat (380kcal, 21%) - RESISTANCE TRAINING, at least one circuit of the bodyweight routine, no longer than 30min for the routine itself– don’t forget to warm up/cool down and stretch a bit! As you improve, you may be able to do several circuits in the same amount of time, until you feel good about progressing to the advanced bodyweight routine.

 

Tuesday: 1,500kcal; 200g protein (800kcal, 53%), 80g carbs (320kcal, 22%), 42g fat (380kcal, 25%) - AEROBIC TRAINING, go for 30min on the bike or something – again, warm up/cool down/stretching too (not included in the 30min total training time)

 

Wednesday: 1,800kcal; 220g protein (880kcal, 49%), 135g carbs (540kcal, 30%), 42g fat (380kcal, 21%) - RESISTANCE TRAINING (same as Monday)

 

Thursday: 1,500kcal; 200g protein (800kcal, 53%), 80g carbs (320kcal, 22%), 42g fat (380kcal, 25%) - AEROBIC TRAINING (same as Tuesday)

 

Friday: 1,800kcal; 220g protein (880kcal, 49%), 135g carbs (540kcal, 30%), 42g fat (380kcal, 21%) - RESISTANCE TRAINING

 

Sunday: 1,200kcal; 180g protein (720kcal, 60%), 25g carbs (100kcal, 8%), 42g fat (380kcal, 32%) - DAY OFF from training, go for at least an hour walk outside– same as Sunday!

 

This gives you 3x resistance, 2x aerobic, and 2x off days; plus a total weekly kcal intake of 10,800kcal (giving you a weekly deficit of 6,700kcal, projected to be just under 2lbs loss a week – NOT taking into account any energy you expend while working out). So more or less the same rate as what you’ve been losing fat in the past, but with modified numbers to help you keep/gain muscle and preferentially lose fat. Menu plans can be created with any number of different apps/programs to help you figure out what to eat. If you decide to give this a shot, you’ll likely want to find a decent protein powder, and stock up on chicken breasts, cottage cheese, and tinned tuna (all cheap protein sources). Your fruit consumption will also probably be limited to your resistance training days.

 

That being said, this approach is quite complex, and much more difficult to make into a routine in comparison to the same kcal and workout every weekday. Be realistic with yourself and what your likely adherence is going to be – if it needs to be easier, stick with 1,400-1,500kcal/day and add some resistance training (if you have an extra protein shake on weight training days, that’ll be an easy no-brainer way to marginally increase protein and energy for the harder workouts).

 

Woof. Sorry, I didn’t mean to write you an essay. Lots of info here – maybe too much. If you take nothing else away, know that you’ve made stupendous progress so far, and I’m SO impressed with your discipline. Plateaus are a natural part of fat loss, so don’t freak out unless it lasts for more than 8-10 weeks once you’re ‘back on the wagon’. See you around the ‘boards!

 

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3 hours ago, Defining said:

I’m going to have to disagree at bit with this part, on a few counts. First, a recent meta study was just released on ‘ideal’ protein intake for different body composition and goals (https://examine.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-do-i-need/) that would indicate that overweight individuals should be eating at least 1.2-1.5g/kg of bodyweight – that would be around 140-170g of protein; so by that metric, you could definitely stand to add a protein shake (or cup of cottage cheese, or whatever other protein options you prefer).

 

I've definitely seen you post this before. I'll absolutely be the first to admit that the research on protein intake is incomplete. For every NIH article that states more protein is necessary, there is another one that says we overestimate the amount of protein we need. For example, here is a recent study showing that macro breakdown does not have a statistically significant effect on fat loss (which, coincidentally showed additional weight loss after 2 years consuming between only 15% - 25% protein). Here is another really nice article that also quotes a study with little lean muscle loss with 30% protein. I'm not saying protein isn't important. I'm saying that if you aren't focusing on strength training, the protein impact isn't as important as people make it seem. 

 

Regardless, we can both agree that whatever the OP can stick with is the way to go. 

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Totally! And I readily admit my bias from personal anecdotal evidence that more protein helps me lose fat. I am biased! ;) However, personally I've also found more well designed studies that support the higher protein hypothesis than the less conclusive studies. But pretty much any dietary study is immediately flawed because the vast majority rely on subject self reported intake, as well as often poor compliance and high dropout rates - especially for long term studies. 

 

For example, the first study you referred to stated: "We aimed to test a contrast in protein energy of 10% but achieved only an ∼3% contrast, which our trial was not powered to detect." They were comparing 15% protein to 25% (eg. 75-125g protein in a 2,000kcal intake) - but adherence of the subjects gave them a 3% variation rather than the desired 10%, so it couldn't fully test the parameters of protein intake as intended.

 

Or in the second study you mentioned, the 'moderate protein' women were being asked to consume 125g of protein a day: "Weight loss in the Protein Group was partitioned to a significantly higher loss of fat/lean (6.3 +/- 1.2 g/g) compared with the Carbohydrate Group (3.8 +/- 0.9)." - in this case, the gross lean mass numbers weren't significantly different, but the overall loss was (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12566476)

 

That same article (second link you have) also referred to another study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16002798) that stated "An increase in dietary protein from 15% to 30% of energy at a constant carbohydrate intake produces a sustained decrease in ad libitum caloric intake that may be mediated by increased central nervous system leptin sensitivity and results in significant weight loss". Suggesting that eating more protein can cause us to eat less by virtue of usually being more filling than carbohydrates.

 

Another interesting example, looking at more specific populations: overweight/obese men over 21 who maintained a 750kcal/day deficit for 12 weeks, without resistance training: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.20078/full  "Although the amount of weight loss does not depend on macronutrient distribution, consumption of a higher-protein, energy-restricted diet can attenuate lean body mass loss during weight loss compared with an isocaloric normal-protein diet. " To be fair though, it's a pretty weak data set because they only had 43 participants, and their 'high vs low' protein comparisons were only between 0.8g/kg vs 1.4g/kg.

 

Another thought is that in the range I'd be aiming for as the OP (200-220g protein, 800-880kcal) the percentages are hugely skewed by the caloric deficit - if the daily intake was TDEE at 2,500kcal, it would only be 32-35%, well within 'normal' parameters. But when we cut calories, I always personally choose to cut carbs/fat but not protein - again, an individual choice, but in keeping with my own biases because of how my body responds to different macro-nutrients.

 

 

We could definitely go back and forth with any number of studies ;) but I absolutely agree with you, that the best solution is always whatever individual can be consistent with!

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Thank you both for all the information (no way was i expecting that much but i'm incredibly thankful!). I have a lot to go over. I think i'm going to try to get my protein  up a little.

 

 

On 3/10/2018 at 1:36 PM, Defining said:

Do you have a ‘goal weight’ to stop and take a break from fat loss for a while? You could have a break now, maybe for 6-8 weeks at 1,800-2,000kcal/day for a good compromise between more calories without gaining. Another good goal could be 180lbs – which would probably see you at 20-25%BF, which is a GREAT place to practice maintenance. That would also coincide with an average TDEE of 2,000kcal, which is a nice number to stabilise at. At your current rate of fat loss, slowing down a bit as you get leaner, it would take another year or so to get there. Alternatively, you can start tracking girth measurements and use an online calculator to guestimate BF%, and aim for 22-25%BF instead of a scale weight. Truly, honestly, you have made incredible progress, and 2 years to get down to a comfortable maintenance weight (losing 170lbs!!!) would be VERY fast – I understand your frustration that it takes so long, but you’ve been doing so well, keep it up!

 

Are you doing any resistance training? If not, now is a GREAT time to start! If you’ve mostly been doing steady state cardio (eg. biking, running, etc), that’s a good habit– but it’s resistance training (ie. weight lifting) that really lends itself to gaining/keeping muscle. If it were me, I’d aim for 3x week resistance training, 2x week steady state cardio, and 2 days off. The days off are especially important if you’re going to maintain a caloric deficit. This is a great routine to start with if you haven’t done resistance training before: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/beginner-body-weight-workout-burn-fat-build-muscle_v_coaching/. Remember, it’s ok (and safer) to start off at whatever level you are, and progress as your strength increases – don’t judge your level by anything but your own improvement.

 

I do have a goal weight I want to weigh under 200. I did kinda take a break in February. 

 

I am doing resistance training every other day. I also bike an hour daily. I hope to start jogging/running when it gets nicer out. 

 

On 3/10/2018 at 10:05 AM, Sylvaa said:

You can start looking at macros if you wanted to, but (and please recognize that this is only my personal opinion) unless you are invested in a workout plan that supports the need for increased protein, it will only be so helpful to do so. The macros you listed (which coincidentally don't appear to add up to the 1427 you have listed) are right on target with the recommendation of 1g protein / kg body weight. You could increase protein on days you lift, but changing macros isn't going to have a huge impact on the amount of weight you lose - that's going to be based on total calories.

 

I do lift other day, so maybe i should up it on those days only? 

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2 minutes ago, Buddah1337 said:

I do lift other day, so maybe i should up it on those days only? 

 

I think this sounds like a great plan. If it were me, I'd increase calories on lifting days and have the additional be primarily protein versus replacing current calories with protein. 

 

Side note: I did take a look at your Battle Log before posting that. Are you using a specific strength training routine? I see that you are repeating workouts, but I didn't notice any increases in those repeats (either weights or reps). If you aren't using a specific routine, you might want to look at posting your routine in the "Help Me Build a Workout Plan" and get some input on your current routine. NF has a good article on building strength if you haven't read it already. Now, adding in a more focused strength training routine would impact your nutrition strategy, but after a year of dieting, it might be a good idea to change focus.

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4 minutes ago, Sylvaa said:

 

I think this sounds like a great plan. If it were me, I'd increase calories on lifting days and have the additional be primarily protein versus replacing current calories with protein. 

 

Side note: I did take a look at your Battle Log before posting that. Are you using a specific strength training routine? I see that you are repeating workouts, but I didn't notice any increases in those repeats (either weights or reps). If you aren't using a specific routine, you might want to look at posting your routine in the "Help Me Build a Workout Plan" and get some input on your current routine. NF has a good article on building strength if you haven't read it already. Now, adding in a more focused strength training routine would impact your nutrition strategy, but after a year of dieting, it might be a good idea to change focus.

 

I see a trainer now and again, i had gotten those from him. With slacking so much February I'm haven't been able to increase reps in my second week back to being serious. I was steadily increasing every other week. I also cant go too crazy i just have a basic home gym and dont currently have a membership anywhere. 

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