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  • Another discouraged one...

    Hello everyone,

    I've been lurking here for a while... Back in April I began the gradual process of going Primal, and this site has been of great help. I confess, until about a month ago I wasn't completely Primal - I have a weakness for sushi and mashed potatoes, so I indulged in those things maybe once a month, and I also put sugar in my coffee. Lots of it. But I could still feel the results of ditching grains right away: I had more energy, better skin, could go for hours without getting hungry, and hunger no longer came with nasty carb withdrawal (mine used to be really bad... jitters, light-headedness, even stomach pain).

    HOWEVER... As far as my weight goes, nothing has changed in all this time. About a month ago I figured it was because I'd been cheating here and there, so I finally decided to go 100% Primal. The only non-Primal thing in my diet these days is a spoonful of organic raw sugar into my coffee every morning... Which, sue me, I can't live without. I figured if Mark does it I can too . It's been 4 weeks now, and not only have things not gotten better, I feel they've gotten worse! I actually feel like I've gained weight, and my skin is breaking out like crazy. Today I put on jeans after weeks of wearing dresses (it's been hot here), and I nearly died when I saw a muffin top.

    My stats... I'm female, mid-30s, 5'5", about 136-140 lbs (goes up and down all the time). Haven't gotten my bodyfat measured in a while, but last time I did (April) it was about 24%. This is my food log from yesterday: Trying to keep calories under 1500 and carbs under 50. As far as fitness goes, I do advanced Zumba/Hip Hop 3 times a week for an hour, and some weight training. I also walk at least a mile a day.

    What's going on here?? Any suggestions? It's like the harder I work the lesser the results! I'm feeling very discouraged and confused (not to mention, tempted to get some sushi). Thanks for bearing with me!

  • #2

    A couple of things kind of jumped out at me when I looked at your food log, so I have a couple of questions:

    1.) When you have mayonnaise, do you make your own, or is it store-bought?
    2.) Do you have cheese every day?
    3.) Do you take any supplements? What kinds?

    I guess that's three, not a couple


    • #3
      I think, based on the numbers you gave, that you might up your calories.
      1500 is supposed to be what people do who are sedentary and want to lose weight, not people who do serious activity like Zumba 3 hours a week, weight train and walk every day.
      It seems counter-intuitive to up calories to lose weight, but it works a lot of the time. Your body needs that energy.


      • #4
        How much do you sleep? Do you spring out of bed in the morning or curse the alarm clock and pray for 5 more precious minutes? What are your stress levels like? How much do you play/laugh/relax?

        and what supplements do you take....
        Heather and the hounds - Make a Fast Friend, Adopt a Greyhound!


        • #5
          I agree with Melodious, so your sample day of 1235 calories may not be enough. Your metabolism has probably slowed in order to adjust for the decreased caloric intake. Why not try around 1800 for a week, and see if that makes a difference? And nice job on keeping the carbs low
          Everything in moderation, including moderation.


          • #6
            Originally posted by NYCNoir View Post
            I'm feeling very discouraged and confused (not to mention, tempted to get some sushi).
            You can still eat sushi! That's one of my favorite foods, and I eat it a few times a month. I usually go for some sashimi and one hand roll to keep from overdoing it with the rice.
            Everything in moderation, including moderation.


            • #7
              You'll get a lot of good suggestions. I'm going to give a general one. Primal isn't a one size fit all type of thing. You may or may not lose weight fast... that will depend on a LOT of things. How your particular body reacts to certain foods (some people can't do any dairy, some have no issues). If you have any underlying issues, your body will work to HEAL first... weight loss is not your body's first goal, health is. So, for example, if you're insulin resistant it can take time for that to resolve, and you very well may have a few underlying issues that you are not aware of. If you start with the basic Primal laws (removing grains, no packaged crap, etc.), for a while... say 3 months. Then you can adjust and tweak to find what suits you. Because your body will be different than mine, or somebody else's.

              That said, there are two things I recommend. Use measurements AND weight. If you're truly doing body recomposition you will be building muscle and losing fat and the scale is the WORST measure of your progress. Experiment with higher calories some days. Not a binge, just in the higher range, so that your body doesn't think 1200 calories is all it's going to get and conserve by slowing down your metabolism. And relax... stress will up your cortisol and screw with your metabolism as well (and chronic exercising can be perceived by your body as stress)...
              sigpic "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


              • #8
                Originally posted by Minxxa View Post
                Primal isn't a one size fit all type of thing. You may or may not lose weight fast... that will depend on a LOT of things.
                It may have to be a modified primal/paleo diet, but adding grains/legumes/refined sugars/vegetable oils isn't going to be beneificial for ANYONE!


                • #9
                  > Trying to keep calories under 1500 and carbs under 50 ?
                  I know I am going to get a lot of FLAK on this, but your exercise routines and workouts FAR EXCEED the food you are eating. IMO, your body has switched into "Starvation Mode," or "Fat Preservation Mode" or whatever you want to call it. Your body feels threatened with such a little amount of food and such heavy workouts, and it is holding on to that fat for dear life.

                  We have a HUGE discussion on this very subject here:

                  And your story is just another typical example [one of many others] of someone into heavy workouts on a very restrictive diet. Our discussion above will resolve this issue once & for all. Until I see convincing proof otherwise, "Starvation Mode" is real. This is where the body burns muscle instead of fat when it feels threatened by starvation.

                  IMO, if you give your body more carbs, meat & fat, it won't feel so threatened, you should follow Marks Guidelines of 50 to 100 carbs per day detailed here.

                  Also with so few carbs, you are likely into ketosis. See marks Ketosis article:
                  and your body needs many weeks to adjust to ketosis mode, which is maybe why it is fighting back with "Starvation Mode."

                  >>mid-30s, 5'5", about 136-140 lbs
                  You are fighting your LAST 10 lbs which is nearly impossible for many to get rid of. The internet is FULL of articles on this "Last 10 Lbs of Fat" drama. If you have large bones, you might be at your ideal weight now. What is your target weight? Maybe your goal is unreasonable?
                  What color is your PEE? If the color is too yellow, you are not drinking enough water.

                  * Tips to lose those last 10 lbs
                  * Prevention Mag: Lose that Last 10 Lbs

                  My 2 pennies worth,
                  Last edited by Grizz; 09-22-2010, 11:03 AM.


                  • #10
                    Sorry if I missed it: Any changes in body composition? Clothes fitting looser? If so, throw away the scale.

                    Edit: Try sashimi. All the goodness without all the rice. Added bonus: You can eat scads of it.


                    • #11
                      Have you had your thyroid checked? If that's not right, all the eating and exercise in the world won't make you lose weight.


                      • #12
                        How bout throwing in some intermittent fasting to the mix... cycling calories might prove a bit beneficial as well... as well as cycling carb refeeds. On your low days, you should aim for 1000-1200 cals to hit a really big deficit.


                        • #13
                          I'd also try ditching all that cardio stuff and sticking with just walking for cardio and lifting weights 1-2x a week for about a month... you sound kinda tired and overworked.


                          • #14
                            Wow, thank you so much for all the replies, guys! I really appreciate it!

                            Here are some answers to your questions... I will couple them together as efficiently as I can.

                            kuno1chi: I used to use store-bought mayo. In the past month I started making my own with egg yolks and olive oil. I don't actually use it all that often, what you see in the log was a base I used to make homemade tartar sauce for the fish (I added dill and literally a drop of pickle brine)... I don't have cheese every day. I'd say two-three times a week, a cube/slice or two with salad... No supplements as of right now.

                            melodious, MariaNYC, and Grizz: I used to eat about 1800 to 2000 calories a day. The reason I lowered it was because I was getting no results and thought I was eating too much.

                            Grizz, I wouldn't call myself a chronic/obsessive exerciser. I'm the sort who just won't do it if it's not enjoyable (I hate running, for example, so I never run). Is 3 times a week dance routine really that much? I'm actually surprised to hear this, I've been thinking I've been exercising way too little... I'm definitely drinking enough. I'm in the habit of downing a glass of water before a meal, actually... My goal is 125, 130 at most. I don't want to be skinny or overly muscular, I just don't want to be chubby. Right now, I don't think I look like someone who works out and eats right... Oh, and thanks for the links! I will check them out.

                            kennelmom: sleep IS an issue. Mostly because I have a 4 year old who's a very light sleeper and wakes up at least twice during the night. On average I get about 6-7. Sometimes I get 5, stay up for an hour, and go back to bed for another 4... I usually catch up on the weekends. Some days I spring out of bed after having slept for 6 hours, other days I curse the alarm clock after having slept for 10. I don't really see a way around this, unfortunately... Overall, my life is pretty comfortable, most of the stress comes from this feeling of being out of tune with my body.

                            Minxxa: here's the thing: even though I'm relatively new to Primal, I'm not new to living healthy. I started working on my health in early 2006. I was about 10 lbs overweight after my last pregnancy, and pretty much a pizza-loving couch potato. I completely changed my life in regards to health and fitness. I lost the excess weight, and then some. I was 132 at one point (that was before Primal). Then pounds began creeping back on even though I wasn't changing anything about the way I ate and exercised. So technically, I may not have been eating completely healthy for the past 4 years (minus the last 6 months of PB), but I have been losing fat and building muscle... BUT, I can see that all my muscle is under a layer of fat, and I don't know why my body just won't shed it... And BTW, I agree about the scale, I don't trust that infernal device either.

                            Lojasmo: I don't have a scale, I hate the damned thing and don't trust it anyway. But clothes are actually tighter now than 4 weeks ago.

                            PrairieProf: Had a full physical last March. Thyroid fine. No health issues whatsoever. Doc said "lay off carbs", which is what lead me here.

                            Chunster495: I'm already doing IF, actually... Sorry I forgot to mention it! I'm a "natural faster" if you will, I don't get hungry until about noon. I have my last meal at 7 or 8 pm, and don't eat again until 12 pm at the earliest the next day, but sometimes as late as 2 pm. I've started doing 20-hour fasts once a week, eating the last meal at 6 pm and going all the way until 4 pm the next day. So far it hasn't changed a thing. As for ditching cardio, I definitely don't feel overworked or tired... I do it because I enjoy it, and it gives me energy.

                            Whew! I think that's all I can remember... Don't hesitate to ask more, and again, thank you all so much for the support!


                            • #15
                              maybe your fat loss has stalled but you are building muscle? that's why the jeans are tighter...don't know though...think you got some good suggestions there....instead of 3 zumbas why not 1 zumba, one yoga and do something fun like frisbee!

                              Scottish Sarah

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