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Hey there from Toronto (although moving to New York next week!)

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  • Hey there from Toronto (although moving to New York next week!)

    Hey guys,

    So I've been following MDA and eating primally (let's say 70-80% of the time) for about 6 months now. I'm 25, pretty active and in decent shape (~14-15% BF) but looking to get closer to 10% if possible. I read through the newsletter everyday and have read archived posts as well. I think, however, that I've hit a little bit of a plateau recently and could use some expert insight/tips.

    I started off at 5'5" weighing around 145-150 lbs following CW in terms of working out and eating. Lotsa of oatmeal, whole wheat grains, nuts, lots of fruit of all kinds, some veg, low fat meats/poultry and low fat milks and cheese. I've never had much of a sweet tooth so desserts have never been and issue. I am, however, quite a snacker. I loved chips, nuts, pieces of salami and cheese and anything else salty that I can just eat without abandon, especially late at night in front of the TV.

    Since that life (6 months ago) I increased fats, both in the form of olive/coconut oils and animal fats, cut out milks except for with coffee occasionally, lowered cheese intake (but not gotten rid of it), reduced fruits to berries and sometimes apples (very rarely I'll have exotic fruits like figs, dates, dried fruits, citrus, but that's at the very most 1-2 servings per week), tried to consume nuts in moderate amounts (but probably a bit more than is recommended for fat loss), increased vegetables (other than potatoes/yams/corn/pea) significantly, and cut out grains completely (except for 1-2 servings per week, but even then it's like a couple of crackers or the odd birthday cake slice.

    My workouts have always been primal, in that I lift heavy 2-3 times per week and try to play sports when I can, once a week or so.

    This helped me go down from 145/150 to about 135 or so. I've been as low at 131, but I'm back to 135 and have been for a couple of weeks. I don't really want to go any lower. In fact, I wouldn't mind putting on some weight, but without adding fat of course.

    My problem is that recently I did a BF% test at my gym, one that I've done a few times and while I know it isn't a perfect measurement, I would look at it more from a consistency standpoint. So back in May I was at 14.8%, a month later at 13.7% and recently (call it two months later) back up to 14.9%. I don't care about the actual number, but I don't like seeing it jump up 1 full %. That's quite a bit since I haven't veered off the primal diet at all. Funny enough, I feel as good as ever, look no worse (maybe even a tad better) than my previous reading and am better conditioned due to my body weight workouts than before (albeit not as strong since dropping the heavy lifting).

    Having said that, here are some things I could improve on, but you guys give me your opinion:

    I haven't been IFing like I used to. IFing isn't difficult, it's just that I love food, the taste, the social aspect, and the routine (weak I know, but it's true).
    I haven't been sprinting this past month like I used to.
    I haven't been lifting as heavy as I used to; but this is because for the past month I've been doing bodyweight exercises, and actually working out more consistently than before, 3-4 times a week doing rigorous 20 minute circuits (which explains why I didn't sprint as much as before). It's also because I recently injured my lower back after poor deadlift execution and that has hindered my weight lifting. Thank goodness for BW exercises!
    I've been a little less strict with myself as opposed to when I started eating primally, letting myself enjoy foods a bit more, because I know that most of the time I eat correctly.
    Before my 13.7% BF reading, I would track my food on FitDay for about 2 months to get a sense for how I ate. I found that helped keep me in line day to day, but I didn't want to sustain it forever so after 2 months I dropped it and figured I can just eyeball my meals.
    Also, this past month I accepted a new job, and am planning on moving to NYC so I imagine my stress levels have been a bit higher than normal (even though I'm usually a stress free kind of guy) so that could have a negative impact.
    Finally, I've been sleeping better and longer recently (7-8 hours easily) so I imagine sleep isn't an issue for me.

    Phew....Now that I can catch my breath, for those brave souls who have kept with me up to this point - any thoughts? Should I cut nuts completely? Start lifting heavy again exclusively? Sprint more? Track my food again? Am I being neurotic after just one reading?

    Any help/tips advice is welcome.

    Thanks so much guys!

  • #2
    Some ideas:

    - I would cut gluten entirely. Things like crackers, if your body is sensitive to gluten (and IMO everybody is) could hinder your results.
    - Your body has a set-point for its fat and you sometimes have to go to extremes to modify that set-point. About how much grams of carbs to you eat per day? You could probably benefit from going a couple of weeks very low carbs with very high fat and moderate protein. This will tell your body to really become fat adapted and insulin sensitive.
    - Make sure your omega-3/omega-6 ratios are about equal. Nuts a often high in omega-6. You could benefit from cutting them for a while.

    Hope this helps
    Get great paleo diet lifestyle tricks, recipes and cooking tips. My contribution to the paleo movement.


    • #3
      I see, thanks for the tips. I have found recently, after cutting out grains, that when I introduce even a single baked potato or couple slices of bread, I feel bloated and gassy the next day (sorry for the TMI). Is this an indication of gluten intolerance, or is it because I've cut out grains that my body doesn't recognize them anymore? I should say that I drink once a week with my buddies, anywhere from 5-10 drinks (most likely beer) in an evening. I'm sure that doesn't help either. I'm trying to strike that balance between health conscious but also enjoying life.

      Good point about the omega 3/6 ratio - but I wonder how much of an affect that has? I could eat more fish, and reduce the nuts, but do you really think that can change things?