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Encouragement/Advice, please

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  • Encouragement/Advice, please

    I've been aprehensive to post but I'm getting frustrated, so here goes. I've been "mostly" primal for several weeks. I say mostly, because I have had a few alcoholic drinks each week (either red wine or vodka), some dairy (which I tolerate just fine...and love), and it looks like I eat a little more fruit than some. I still suffer frequent headaches and have not seen any weight loss whatsoever. I'll preface my scenario by first stating that I'm not a real typical woman; I've been referred to as "freakishly strong" and have much more bone and muscle mass than most women (my previous fit weight was 165lbs, now at 187). I am very cut on most of my body, but have a big...gigantic tummy that won't budge. I work out more than is recommended by the PB, but I really like/need this outlet and comraderie with those I train with. I'll admit that my job is very stressful, and I'm really working on making my home life less stressful.

    My questions: (short of cutting back on exercise) what am I doing wrong? what could I do better? Can anyone else testify to a similar experience?

    Day in the life for me:

    B: scoop of whey protein, coffee w/splash of whole organic milk

    2 egg omelette w/1 link breakfast sausage, a fistfull of bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and a small campari tomato, about 2Tbsp. avocado

    S: handful of nuts (almonds, cashes, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts)

    L: big salad w/balsamic vinegar & EVOO, 1 oz. walnuts, large chicken breast, ~10 red seedless grapes, less than an oz. of crumbled gorgonzola cheese

    S: 1/2 cup cottage cheese, then a banana right before workout

    Workout: ~45 min. intense exercise: squats, agility ladder exercises, medicine ball slams, sprints, tire flipping, jumps, pullups, barbell cleans/snatches...changes everyday. 5 minute "rounds", very little rest (30 sec. - 1 min.) between exercises. I do this 4 days/week.

    Post workout snack: scoop of whey protein w/handful of frozen blueberries, 1Tbsp almond butter

    D: salmon, big pile of french green beans sauteed in olive oil & fresh garlic

    Sometimes if my stomach is still screaming and my head is pounding, I'll have another scoop of whey protein for an evening snack.

    I feel very fit now, but I want my big tummy to go. I basically have fat on only the trunk of my body. The rest of me matches how I feel: strong and energetic. I will appreciate any constructive feedback that anyone may have. Thanks!

  • #2

    While I don't have any real issues with consuming dairy, I've experimented with giving it up. I've noticed more of a weight loss on weeks that I've been good about not consuming dairy. Might be worth experimenting with.


    • #3

      Elana, watch out for the fillings in the sausages, some of them are very high in carbs. Grapes also tend to have a high sugar content.

      And I second Tim on the diary thing, give it a try. If you have to have something like milk, try switching to almond milk, for example. And if you are feeling hungry, try to increase the fat.

      “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
      "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
      "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull


      • #4

        Do you weigh and measure your food?


        • #5

          Thanks for the input. The sausage is just pork, no fillers, nitrates, sugars, etc. As far as the grapes go...I've adapted my intake a little with some input from the Paleo for Athletes diet. I was having major energy issues (or lack of, really) before incorporating a little more fruit. I really want to keep up with my workouts because they're really fun, it feels good, and it's the only time that I ever get outside of my work/mom/housewife roles. I wasn't doing well on just berries and the other fruits seem to have helped a bit. My daily carb intake is still only at about 130g at the most, but usually at around 100g.

          I like the idea of the almond milk, I'm definitely going to give that a try! As for the whey protein, it seems even that is condoned by the PB and consuming all the protein I need is a volume issue. I only have so much room in my stomach and sometimes I feel hungry but really not in the mood to chew, lol.


          • #6

            Conan: I haven't gotten a scale yet (on my list...), so I'm not weighing my food yet, but I do measure everything else and I'm using to track everything I eat.

            My average daily stats for the past 30 days:

            1903 Calories

            76 g. Fat (just increased this by about 50g. over the past week, but this is the 30 day average)

            130 g. Carbohydrates

            122 g. Protein (again, been trying to increase this over the past week)

            In spite of not having a scale, I still have a pretty good idea of the amount of meat I'm eating b/c most of it is flash frozen in single portion packs of 4 oz. or so.


            • #7

              How much alcohol are you drinking?


              • #8

                when I do drink (which is sporadic, sometimes about 3-4 days/week, sometimes nothing for a week or two) I'll have a glass of red wine with dinner, or if it's vodka, I'll have 1-2 oz. w/lime and seltzer.


                • #9

                  These would be my recommendations in this order:

                  1. Reduce Stress, Get more sleep

                  2. Weigh and measure your food, especially the oils and nuts (a handful of nuts could be 3 oz. depending on the size of your hand .

                  3. Try cutting back the fruit a little bit. Drop the banana and grapes for now and replace with apple/pear/strawberries - all lower GI fruits(you can also cut them up and put it in your salad). Try to limit the blueberries to a half cup a day.

                  4. Increase protein by about 40g / day (shoot for 165g total). Add some egg whites to your omelet and double the size of the salmon filet from 4 to 8 oz. (assuming you can handle it).

                  5. Add some long slow walks, hikes, etc on your non-Crossfit days. These could also be stress relievers and you could make it a fun family activity. You could also try to add a sprint workout once/week or so. I don't think your current schedule of 4 intense workouts / week is too much, especially if you enjoy it.


                  • #10

                    Thanks Conan; really awesome tips, plus, I'm a big fan of lists I admit I'm scared to drop the banana because I had substituted it with an apple for a couple weeks before and felt like I was going to just die during my workouts.

                    How many nuts do you think is too much? I probably eat about 3 oz. of nuts each day (a handful for me is 1/4 cup, roughly 1 oz., which I only eyeball when I'm at work for lack of my measuring cups). When I'm home, I use my teaspoons, measuring cups, etc. for all my oils, nuts, and anything that can be measured, really.

                    I'm just not sure I could stomach any more food at my meals. This morning, I couldn't finish my breakfast b/c I got too full, but then I was starving by noon. My tummy seems more inclined to grazing as I get full pretty fast but get hungry often. I really appreciate the help though, and I'm definitely going to put the advice to work. Wish me luck!


                    • #11

                      I empathize - my stomach is my problem, too. I tried not counting calories/weighing/tracking for a while, but my weight loss completely stalled .. so I'm back at it. Weighing the food is my only advice. Nuts were my problem. I was eating a handful here and there - to the tune of 4 and 5 ounces a day.

                      I have no real advice, but I kind of thought I was going to die during working out, too, when I dropped carbs (even a banana). It's gotten better. I'm actually working out now without having eaten anything at all most days. Maybe give it another try while upping the protein and see how it goes?


                      • #12

                        Thanks Sarah, will do. Protein intake seems to be one of my bigger struggles. For someone who likes to eat, I sure do have a hard time getting enough of it down! Naturally, it just makes me feel full more quickly than other things, therefore making it more difficult to eat more of it. Sometimes it feels like I'd have to be eating meat all day long in order to reach my target.

                        Unfortunately, I'm stuck at work right now without access to other foods until minutes before I go work out, so I'll have to give it a shot tomorrow (eating protein right before a workout will surely result in puking it right back up once I start working out). I'm going to try to really ramp up my protein intake and ditch the banana and see how I feel.


                        • #13

                          Maybe it is just taking your body a little time to adjust to dropping the carbs. How about 1/2 a banana and maybe you won't 'die' during workouts.


                          • #14

                            It may not be as hard as you think to add 40g of protein to your diet. Add some egg whites to your breakfast and increase the size of your meat portion sizes from 4 to 6 ounces.

                            The other thing that I would try is changing your preworkout meal to an apple and whey protein shake instead of cottage cheese and a banana. Both are low GI and both digest relatively quickly. This is just a theory but by eating the banana pre-workout you may be sending a signal to your body to use stored glycogen for energy rather than stored fat. Then you are eating more carbs in the form of blueberries post workout to replenish the glycogen stores that were depleted during the workout.

                            I also think you should weigh and measure nuts while you are trying to lose weight. It is not that hard to eat 4 ounces of nuts and depending on the type, that could be as much as 800 calories. Some nuts also have quite a few carbohydrates. Personally, I limit myself to one ounce of almonds / day and occassionally 2 tablespoons of almond butter as a snack.

                            On a side note - I feel like I am going to die during nearly every Crossfit workout regardless of what I eat beforehand. That is one of the great things about Crossfit, you push yourself to your limits. If you aren't completely spent after the workout and if you don't feel like quitting halfway through then you aren't doing it right.


                            • #15

                              Conan, that was my first thought as're supposed to feel like death no matter what you eat! If there is a difference in the way you feel during a workout due to the lack of a banana, it will pass. Any dramatic change is going to make you feel a little goofy initially but you don't need that banana to do that kind of workout. For reasons beyond me it seems like the weight loss takes a while to get rolling, then it starts falling off like crazy. Best of luck!

                              Now off to do a rowing workout (4x1000 meters) that I dread like the matter what I eat!