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Recorrecting my Paleo


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So recently I've been battling my weight demons and though I'm supremely impressed with my workout regimen (Spezzy, I swear after I get back from Everett, I'm going to talk to my trainer to design a free weight routine) I'm not so thrilled with my eating style. I'm trying to eat Paleo, and I find that not eating bread and minimizing dairy is not too hard (other than I have heavy cream in the morning for fat and yogurt to get my probiotic intake) So I'm attaching my workout log where it outlines my diet. I think my biggest issue is, I'm not a great chef, and I've learned to survive minimally so my carbs are low, my fats get high, and my proteins are hit and miss. Currently setting at 227 lbs, 5'9, and 30 years of age. (I can't measure around the important % Body Fat points due to being shorthanded, but I'll find a way. Heck I found out how to do a pull up (even if it is assisted)). I work out 2 on, 1 off (unless I hurt myself in a previous day then I might take an extra break day), and my dietary numbers are as follows:

Calories: 1800 - 2300: I typically hit this or end up in the 2400-2500 range, but feel I run great at this level

Protein: 164 - 235 g

Fats: 105 - 141 g

Carbs: 50-100g

Yes, as mentioned by Wolfy, I was dumb doing this at first and fell into the 'Carb Bad' concept cause I thought Ketosis would drive the weight off of me.

So if you can help me figure it out I'd really appreciate it.

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The diet looks decent for maintenance. But for fat loss if you can swing it, try to drop all of your intake stats by 7-10% except your protien. And unless you are doing some pretty intense weight lifting 235g of protien may even be to much because your body will just convert it to glucose and then fat if its not used, thus negating its thermogenic effect. I'll give you an idea of what my stats look like for my current work out of 3 days of lifting and 2 days of cardio per week.

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 247 lbs

Calories: 1800-2200

Protien 160-200g

Fat 100-130g

Carbs 70-90g

Oh and a big rule I follow is don't drink calories. That means no juice (veggie or fruit), milk, soda, kool-aid, beer, etc. I can drink diet soda (1 can a day), water (with those flavor adders like crystal lite, and I know they have like 5 cals pers pack but thats no big deal), and tea/coffee (unsweetened or with calorie free sweetener).

Caveat: I do drink 3 protien shakes a day at 140 cals each but that comes mostly from the 30g of protein each. Its Platinum Hydro Whey in water

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What is your true goal? If it is pure weight loss, then you need to eat closer to the 1800, and do cardio

If the goal is to lose weight and preserve strength, then you need to eat closer to 1800 and do cardio for the burn, and strength training to minimize muscle loss. You will have to accept that your strength gains will plateau...you simply don't have the calorie surplus to add muscle mass.

If the main focus is weight loss, forget the nutrient percentages and focus on a calorie goal that will ensure you run a deficit. 1800 is good. Running 2400-2500 as 1fever said, is maintenance.

Repairing a lifetime of bad habits...

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Yea, its more for weight loss, with strength preservation. Yea I'm starting to really see the plateaus coming up, and I guess I can just feel alright about them. Stubborn nature, what can I say.

Typically I do hit 10 minutes of cardio to get the heart pumping, go through my strength routine, and then 15 more minutes of cardio to bring it down. I understand on the 'drinking of calories' (actually outside of the heavy cream I do drink vegetable juice so that I can get past the taste of Fish Oil, but thats it) I'm thinking of 'phasing' the heavy cream out.

Now, though I have a follow up question based on your thoughts:

The reason I increased my calories was due to being told that I should increased my carbs, proteins, and such because I was 'starving myself' because I was working out and staying under the radar with my values (of course my carbs were hanging out at around 50 g, but its hard to get me to eat Carbs, but I'll work on it). So I guess my understanding from others was, increase calories because I need to replace what I burn.

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[soapbox]

You need fuel, end of story. 1800 cals on a strength regimen is just too low- Alecto and I are just going to have to butt heads on the calorie restriction thing, becasue I think calories below 2000 for males who actively work out is a bad idea. Your body will go into stress/survival mode and will store fat if you're not fueling it properly. Wolfy ran into trouble becasue she was cutting her carbs to near zero AND reducing her caloric intake to below 1500 per day without any kind of ramping down period for either carbs or cals. Plus she was doing highly active classes like Zumba and cardio-kickboxing at the same time. Your BMR is 2151 and even the lowest activity multiplier in Steve's article (1.35 for 'works out a couple times per week') has your workout-day calorie needs at 2903. With moderate exercise 3-5 times per week your caloric needs jump to 3334 per workout day. I believe you're the person who posted up their food logs previously, and were eating closer to a 1700 cal per day average with huge fluctuations. If I'm remebering correctly (and I may not be) Spezzy, I, and a few others told you your caloric input was way too low for your work output. That was just a few weeks ago, so I'm not sure you're giving your body a real opportunity to adjust to the training and food.

To quote the above article:

WARNING: If you get a crazy idea to to cut your calorie intake drastically and lose lots of weight quickly, it won’t work. If you cut the calorie intake back (I’m talking way down), your BMR will actually slow down to keep the food inside you longer because your body thinks it’s starving. So, don’t try to lose more than 1% of your body weight per week (generally a loss of 1-2 pounds per week is okay). Nice try, sucka!

Ketogenic diets work. They force your body to convert fat to energy, whether it's the fat you intake through food or the fat that's stored around your midsection. Carbs aren't bad across the board becasue not all carbs are created equal. Donuts and sweet potatoes are different. Paleo/primal regimens don't want you to count anything, you're supposed to eat to satiety. If you're following a paleo regimen then you're going to be low carb just by the nature of the program. His Holiness the Dalai Robb Wolf would have you throw your scale in the nearest deep, dark pit.

If you want to follow paleo/primal, get the books (Cordain, Wolf, Sisson) and follow a program. If you want to do a calorie restriction thing then do that. If you want to do calorie restriction AND carb restriction then you need to stop working out. A popular program that is low cal, low carb is called Ideal Protein. My wife has lost 60 pounds on it, but her diet coach has warned her repeatedly: this is a diet that is designed to give you just enough energy to let you walk to the bathrom. She says that was basically true for the first three weeks, and now whenever she tries to walk on the treadmill she is reminded that it's a bad idea (she's still on program eating less than 20 carbs per day and is under 945 cals. That's not a typo- 945). Wolfy discovered this on her own and was allowing herself MORE calories than my wife was allowed at any time during the program.

Here's the mental change I think a lot of us need to make: we're not couch potatoes anymore, we're amateur athletes. This would seem to be especially applicable if you're on a 3-on 1-off rotation. That's a lot more work than you're used to. Athletes need fuel. Michael Phelps eats 12000 (yes, three zeroes) per day becasue he's a goddamned machine. Check out some of the calorie counts on bodybuilding forums: 7000+ per day. I'm not saying any of us are peak-performance olympic calibre athletes, but our bodies are still being put under stresses that require external fuel. Robb Wolf and Andy Deas talk about this all the time in their podcast. They get 6'+ guys who come in looking to cut down to sub-10% bodyfat while busting out CF mainsite workouts, and are eating fewer calories than the 5'2" women that are doing the same work- then they wonder why they're not losing weight, why they're not preforming better, etc.

[/soapbox]

Question time:

How is your sleep? How is your overall stress level? How are you getting vitamin D (sun, supplements)?

I read a study once that said doing ANYTHING in the gym is more anabolic than doing NOTHING sitting in front of the computer.

~Chris Shugart @ T-nation

Iron is full of impurities that weaken it: through forging, it becomes steel and is

transformed into a razor-sharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion.

~Morihei Ueshiba

Favorites:

* Robb Wolf Podcast #68- Matt Lalonde vs gluten (<-transcript)

*Documentary: Fat Head

*NF blog:Most Inspirational 20 Minutes

*Starting Strength Wiki

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I have to agree with Gowaduv.

I don't count calories. I eat till I'm full. I rather worry about making sure I get enough food. I average 2200-3500 minimum on any given day and the weight keeps coming off. Yeah, I need to make modifications from time to time (cutting foods that I might be allergic or have reactions to), but other than that I don't worry about it. I'll recommend either the primal blueprint or the paleo solution (robb wolf), because that's what works for me :)

Note: I do a running total of calories about once a week in my head, but the rest of the time I don't worry about it. As long as it's in the list of allowed foods and in front of me, I'm eating it. End of story...

Get blackout curtains for your room, supplement with vitamin d if needed, and eat veggies. Plus lots of fat (bacon!) :D

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Agree to disagree I guess b/c if hes intaking 3300 calories he better be doing some ridiculous work outs. He is 5'9 and unless I'm wrong not the machine Michael Phelps is because none of us are. The pool cools Michael Phelps core tempurature so his body burns ungodly calories to keep it warm and fuel his swim routine and he is disciplined enough to not eat 12000 calories on his down days and weeks. 1800 calories is within his necessary range even with a workout for someone of his size. I intake 1800-2200 calories per day and continually increase my 1rm weekly while I run 9-13 miles a week, lift like crazy, and do all of my Army stuff. I never ever go over 2500 calories and I am 6'3" and 247 lbs. and have lost a steady 3.5 inches over the past 3 months and no long term fatigue. 1500 calories is to low but 1800 is not. For those afraid of the metabolism drop...just lift weights, and I mean really lift heavy weights . Your metabolism goes into overdrive for 24-36 hrs after a hard lifting workout. You also get a metabolism boost from HIIT cardio. I don't like the "if you work out you need to eat more mentality" unless you are eating 7 chicken breasts a day for bodybuilding or 4 paltes of spaghetti for a marathon it is a downward spiral. I highly doubt he works out nearly enough to warrant even 2700 calories. The other issue is his body will become used to his 3000 cal. a day cycle and require it even on non-workout days so those calories will just sit. Do you think cavemen that were ridiculously strong ate 3000 cals a day? A 180 pound male running for an hour straight will only burn 600-700 calories an hour, that is 6-9 miles. A hard weight lifting session for 1 hour will burn 500-700 calories per session. If you at 5'9" and 227 lbs. eat 3300 calories a day and run 18 miles a week and lift 3 times a week you will still overshoot on net calories by alot. Some math here average male burns 1800-2000 calories per day just sitting around. So that is 2000x7 days a week= 14000 calories. Then you do 5 days a week of work out at 700 calories per session= 3500 calories. 14,000+3,500 calories=17,500 calories. So to maintain you need 17500 calories a week. If you intake 3,000 calories a day over the course of a week you will eat 21,000. For a net gain of 3,500 calories or gaining 1 pound a week. You may gain muscle during this time but you will also gain fat. On the flip side if you eat 2000 calories a day using the same work out you will lose a 3,500 calories a week or 1 pound.

On a seperate note the sleep question is very valid as you need at least 7-8 hrs of sleep for any diet/exercise plan to be effective.

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Gowaduv, dude thanks. I think my big thing is, I've not figured out what works yet (aka lately I've had good energy, but then the weight loss isn't hitting, or I have sucky energy (back in the 1700 cal days) and yup you guessed it, no weight loss). I think it frustrates me because I keep thinking I'm doing the right thing, but just not seeing it.

Now for your questions: Sleep: Mildly erratic lately, but have been making myself get to bed so I can get at least 7 hours (I need to work harder on this). Stress isn't too bad for the most part. I try to be mellow. My vitamin D I'm getting 20,000 IU

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Apologies rcarper, I'm going to get on my soapbox for a moment to reply to 1fever.

<gets on soapbox>

@1fever...

I'm 5' 9'' too. I may be 300 pounds now, but I am losing weight without counting a calorie during my regular eating periods. Yeah, perhaps me being overweight gives me a bit of leeway, but if you read the paleo solution, or the primal blueprint, the freedom is the release from worrying about calories and instead eating till you're full. Yeah, it's weird, but there's more about getting rid of sugar, fixing the leaky gut, and becoming who you should be instead of who you were on the standard american diet.

As for workouts, I do about 4 a week. 2 lifting sessions with kettlebells, and 2 bodyweight session. That's all I need for the progress I'm making. No need to over-think it. At most I spend 2-3 hours working out. I spend more time stretching and in the kitchen cooking...time well spent in my opinion.

<off soapbox>

@rcarper...check out this book. It keeps on getting recommended on the robb wolf podcast. I'd also think about not worrying about calories in, calories out. In my opinion, hormones changes the ballgame and removes thermodynamic laws from the mix. Perhaps I'm the exception, but it works in my case. I find very little in the way of argument on my part when I have lost 15+ pounds in 23 days on paleo. I might be the newbie on paleo, but I'm transforming my life one steak at a time :)

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[soapbox]

You need fuel, end of story. 1800 cals on a strength regimen is just too low- Alecto and I are just going to have to butt heads on the calorie restriction thing, becasue I think calories below 2000 for males who actively work out is a bad idea.

Again, it comes down to your goal. 1800 calories is perfectly reasonable for someone trying to lose weight. However, every person is different, and one size definitely doesn't fit all.

Rcarper has says he's not on a strength regimen...he's on a weight loss plan with strength preservation.

So his focus needs to be a calorie goal that ensures he loses weight. If you have a lot of excess fat, your body will use that as energy. Overtime, your balance of fat, energy in, and energy out will reach a tipping point and you will need to increase your calories in order to support your exercise.

For 5.5 months, I ate 1600 calories and lost 96lbs. My energy levels were through the roof. I'd mow the lawn for an hour, go on a 3 hour hike, and then play basketball.

After I started going to the gym once winter kicked in, I started noticing it was feeling like I was taking longer to recover from my increasingly intense cardio and lifting sessions. So in order to continue to lose weight, I increased my calories to 1700. Over the next few months, I kept increasing my calories up to the 2000 mark while continuing to lose an additional 64lbs.

I listened to my body - when my fat levels reduced enough that they weren't a good source of energy that allowed me to be as active as I wanted to be, I increased my intake.

Repairing a lifetime of bad habits...

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Just for the record, I started this after 1fever's response to my post, but before the other posts appeared....

What's chow like in the Army? If it follows the general food pyramid guidelines then we're really comparing apples and oranges when comparing low carb/high fat to a standard American diet, and we may have to agree to disagree. If RC is trying to do paleo then in my opinion he is doing himself a disservice by also trying to cut calories and workout on a 2/1 schedule. I'm 6'4 275, eating 2600 cals per day, lifting heavy shit* to complete exhaustion, and am losing 2 pounds per week- I bought new pants last week that were tight and yesterday a coworker asked me if I was trying to sag my jeans like a gangsta. I didn't say RC was Michael Phelps, and in fact hedged the statement by saying NONE of us were olympic calibre athletes. I referenced Phelps' caloric intake to illustrate that working requires fuel, and more work requires more fuel.

RC has to figure out what works for him. To do that he needs to try one thing and stick with it for a month, pay attention to how he performs, feels, and looks, then make adjustments. I don't have a preference for what that program is, but I don't know that he's been consistent for a month.

Clawed and I are living high on the hog (literally) on our paleo- losing weight, feeling good, setting PRs, doing our best to reduce the surplus population of farm animals. 1fever and Alecto prefer the calorie restriction route. That's fine, but I take exception when folks show up and say "only this way will work" which is what I see too much of from the calorie restriction folks. I take further exception as a person who tried a low cal standard diet and did not lose weight. At 316# I went from approx 2400 cal per day to 1800 cal per day for two weeks and didn't lose anything. To make things worse I had zero energy the whole time, and if you think I'm abrasive now, when I was low cal I made Jamie at Chaos and Pain look like a fluffy bunny on Easter morning. After two weeks my wife literally told me that I could either go back to eating reasonable amounts of food, or I could find a new wife. You can imagine her trepidation when I told her I wanted to try paleo- 8 or so weeks after going fully compliant I am still married. You can email condolences to her for having to put up with me via PM, and I'll be sure she gets them. My point being, some people simply do not respond well to that method for weight loss. You'll note that I also referenced a weight loss program that has been successful for my wife and several of her friends that is low cal/low carb/no workout, so it's not like I'm blind to non-paleo alternatives.

*I workout twice per week, but am trying to add a regular third day. For me heavy is a 275# backsquat, bearing in mind that 6 weeks ago getting off the couch was sometimes difficult, so our definitions may vary. My definition of "complete exhaustion" is that after a 2-3 minute rest I cannot move a given weight through a full range of motion one time after having been able to move that weight through a full range of motion at least once during the workout.

I read a study once that said doing ANYTHING in the gym is more anabolic than doing NOTHING sitting in front of the computer.

~Chris Shugart @ T-nation

Iron is full of impurities that weaken it: through forging, it becomes steel and is

transformed into a razor-sharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion.

~Morihei Ueshiba

Favorites:

* Robb Wolf Podcast #68- Matt Lalonde vs gluten (<-transcript)

*Documentary: Fat Head

*NF blog:Most Inspirational 20 Minutes

*Starting Strength Wiki

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I'm not an expert, but I think 1800 calories might be too low for a large active male, even if you are trying to lose weight. I eat 1900-2000 calories a day and that maintains a medium-size, low activity female (me) at a stable weight.

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Hylian Assassin 5'5", 143 lbs.
Half-marathon: 3:02
It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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Just for the record, although I began the experiment by maintaining my calorie restrictions, I didn't keep them. As soon as I lowered my carbs further, and especially when I entered hardcore carb face-punching, I didn't count a single calorie. I even drank heavy cream straight! lol I wasn't actually trying to break myself, that's just what ended up happening. :)

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Okay, okay...ENOUGH! I think because this is my thread I get the right to say this. I did not intend to create a 'holy diet' war, nor did I ask for my workouts to be judged. I do 2 on 1 off because I keep breaking myself physically. (Honestly if I had options on how much to torture my left arm, I'd put it through so much hell it'd rip off my body, but I've realized I need a rest day in between just to go hard continually). So now that I put that to rest, now to go back to the mutterings on food.

Let's get some things known on RC (You guys can call me Robb if you'd like (only just coincidence to Wolf I promise))

A.) RC is an engineer; so formulas are his friend

B.) RC hates having a mid-section with its own zip code

C.) RC has issues with substances like condiments (I really like them, so sadly when I make Brisket its BBQ Brisket)

So I've read Robb Wolf's Paleo solution, and have listened to several podcast (I've not gotten caught up to where he releases the book, but I'm chipping away), but I guess my thing I have trouble is getting dialed in. Blacking out windows would be so awesome if that were the main problem, but for me its silencing the mind once I'm resting. I'm also working on taking supplements Robb suggests. You know...Fish Oil, Magnesium...etc. Just trying to get going good you know. You know I don't like counting calories, but I just feel like if I don't, I can just fubar stuff up on my own. So if you want to explain it better to me, awesome, but I don't care who has what stance...I just need to figure out what works and get the glitches out of my system.

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I'm not an expert, but I think 1800 calories might be too low for a large active male, even if you are trying to lose weight. I eat 1900-2000 calories a day and that maintains a medium-size, low activity female (me) at a stable weight.

Again, it depends on your goals and where you are starting. Everyone is different, and it's important to listen to your body and adjust your intake accordingly.

Back to you, Rcarper....as an engineer, maybe you should take a look at the Hacker's Diet: http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/

"The Hacker's Diet, notwithstanding its silly subtitle, is a serious book about how to lose weight and permanently maintain whatever weight you desire. It treats dieting and weight control from an engineering and management standpoint, and provides the tools and an understanding of why they work and how to use them that permit the reader to gain control of their own weight. The book is intended primarily for busy, successful engineers, programmers, and managers who have struggled unsuccessfully in the past to lose weight and avoid re-gaining it"

Repairing a lifetime of bad habits...

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As far as condiments go...do you like mustard? If so, I use this stuff called Dijonaise as a replacement for my mayonaise but. It is fluffy like mayonaise and eliminates the dryness of whatever its put on like mayo but is as healthy as mustard. BBQ sauce is tricky because most people are very particular about their BBQ sauce. Its also hard to find a decent tasting bbq sauce that is healthy. But here is a site that may help...

http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/kitchen_product_reviews/eatingwell_taste_test_barbecue_sauce

or Pork Barrell BBQ sauce...it was rated #1 in BBQ sauces by mens health. For salad dressing stay away from creamy forms even fat free creamy dressings like ranch and ceasar have their fat replaced with sugar. Ketchup is generally fine, just go low sodium. Actually on all sauces try to go low sodium. Use cocktail sauce instead of tartar for fish. Salsa is also an awesome bet for various meats. But mustard is the best of the best for condiments because 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard has 5 calories, 0.2g fat, 120 mg sodium and yellow mustard has 3 calories, 0.2g fat, 57 mg sodium.

Oh and I forgot Hummus to...very healthy

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