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What am I doing wrong? :(

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  • What am I doing wrong? :(

    So, this is my third (and maybe final?) stint at trying the PB for weight loss. I'm 5'9", ~163, and am trying to lose at least 20 pounds, would love to get down to 125 (the bottom of my BMI, but not sure that would be possible). I feel OK on the PB (except for exercise...haven't stuck with it long enough to really keto-adapt to exercise), but I just can never seem to lose any weight on it. I know weight isn't the best proxy (bf % would be better, or noticing clothes fit better), but all three parameters don't seem to change.

    This last stint has been maybe 3 weeks long? And I haven't lost anything yet. I'm starting to wonder whether I'm an anomaly, and low-carb really doesn't work for me? Here is what I did yesterday (a typical day for me)...IF'ed until ~noon, and before that, ran an easy 4.5 miles outside. Had lunch out with a friend...Half a chicken caesar salad and half a broccoli cheese soup (checked carbs and calories before I ordered). Then dinner was a 6 oz steak and veggie skewers, followed by some dark chocolate. Pretty much all primal (unless you count the cheese and dark chocolate). Then a short, easy run outside (about 4 miles again). I have been doing run intervals in the morning instead of a slower run, but yesterday didin't get to the gym. I count calories in addition to carbs, because I've tried just carbs in the past, and didn't lose anything. The past 3 weeks, I've been counting both, making sure I'm at least 500 calories under maintenance to lose at least a little weight, and still I'm not...

    I'm not suggesting I go back to a Standard American Diet (can't do that anyway, as I'm gluten-intolerant), but not bothering to count carbs and running a lot seems to have produced better weight loss! I KNOW I can lose weight running a lot and eating more carbs, because I've done that in the past (recently, even). I just literally don't understand why the PB isn't working for me. I see all these success stories, and wonder what I'm doing wrong.

    I've cut out most dairy, all nuts, and started IF'ing, to no avail. I'm running out of options. The science behind low-carb weight loss makes sense to me (I'm a biologist), and it seems healthier than a higher-carb diet, but when I look at (my) evidence, it doesn't appear to add up.

    3 weeks should be long enough to lose SOMETHING, and I haven't...clothes fit the same, everything. Anyone have any suggestions what I could do? I'm already at the 'extreme' end of PB, I think, having cut out most dairy, nuts, and IF'ing for 16 hours a day...not sure what else is out there. If nothing moves in the next few days, I think it's back to running 70 miles a week and eating higher carbs, because at least then, I was losing weight at a decent pace (or at all!). So frustrated...


  • #2
    First of all, this is not a weight loss diet. This is a longterm lifestyle. Many people lose weight on PB because it naturally reduces their overall caloric intake in a way that makes it easier than most diets. Secondly, for many people, like myself, eating less is the only way to see real weight loss. That's where intermittent fasting came in handy for me.


    • #3
      You don't say what your current BMI is or what you are aiming for. 163 at 5'9" doesn't seem bad to me. (I don't buy the lowest possible BMI thing, as you might guess from my forum name.) You may need to post more about your diet and supplements, if any, for people to help you. Do you take vitamin D?
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      • #4
        Hi Kathy~
        I hear your frustration. I wasn't losing anything after eating Primally for 2.5 months (except for the initial water weight) until I did some tinkering.

        125 lbs seems very low for your height, unless you have really tiny bone structure. I'd suggest dropping your scale weight as a goal (not helpful, or accurate, as you know!) and relying on your clothes/how you look as a more reliable goal.

        How is your sleep? Stress level? Elevated cortisol can stop fat loss in its tracks, as you probably know.
        If you are having any inflammation from dairy sensitivity, you need to cut out all dairy except ghee.
        If you are nightshade-intolerant, you'll need to cut those out--again, inflammation being the culprit.
        How is your vitamin D level? Being sufficient can make a big difference for some.
        How old are you? Hormones can play a big role for women, as I am finding (I'm 47.) Lifting Heavy Things (my preference is for body-weight workouts like PB Fitness) can make a HUGE difference for women. We NEED to keep our lean muscle mass up to keep out metabolisms from bottoming out.
        How many calories are you eating? Now that I've been Primal for 3 months, I notice that I (like many others) need fewer calories to maintain.
        And finally--how low are your carbs? I was eating in the 60-70 range initially and needed to drop below 50 to finally see my body fat drop.
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        • #5
          So you run 8.5 miles every day? Wow, that seems like a lot.

          And I don't think you've really given primal a full chance if you're eating out every day. I don't trust nutrition info published at eateries. I personally don't think IF is a good idea until you're stable on primal and I would out ALL dairy and ALL chocolate (it hurts just to type that, LOL!)

          So my suggestions would be to cut back on the chronic cardio and use some of that time to make your own food at home where you can be sure of the ingredients, and go really purist--maybe the Whole30 plan?

          Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
          Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food


          • #6
            What's your water intake like? My body will not relinquish any weight if I am not drinking a lot of water.

            It's taken me a long time to put the pieces together, but I've finally figured out what works for my body. I've lost close to 50 pounds since July, after 6 months of nothing. Inflammation is a big, big component to it all. Once I excluded the foods that were inflaming *me* (nightshades, dairy, nuts), really up'd the water intake, starting taking CLA, and started eating lots of coconut oil (which boosts metabolism/burns fat, is strongly anti-inflammatory, and is healing to the thyroid), something really big shifted.

            As far as exercise, the holy trinity really does seem to be lifting heavy things twice a week, really intense interval training once a week, and moving slowly the rest of the time (long walks). I discovered this years ago, by accident. Looking back on it, my exercise patterns/life at the time mimicked exactly what Sisson prescribes, and I was losing weight so quickly then that it actually scared me and I had to pull back. (I was also grain-free at the time as well.)

            edit: All that chronic cardio you are doing is inflammatory.
            Last edited by TigerLily; 01-23-2011, 10:37 AM.
            "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


            • #7
              geez stop running! lol
              Get on my Level


              • #8
                @John--I know this is a 'lifestyle', not just a diet, but I SHOULD be losing weight when I have fat to lose, if I'm both counting calories AND counting carbs (which is why I'm so frustrated). I make sure I have a 500 cal deficit, and I'm below 50g CHO each day.

                @Hedonist--Can't remember off the top of my head what my current BMI is, but for my height, the range is from 125-169. My Dr. says I should be at 145...I've gotten down to 137 through 'conventional', high-carb dieting, and even then, I still had lots of fat to lose in the abdominal region...

                @Dragonfly--Thanks for feeling my pain, lol! My sleep has actually never been better! I used to take (and till just recently, have!) taken melatonin at night (figured it was better than Benadryl, what I used to do), and better than not sleeping (which I used to have problems with). I tried sleeping without it last night, and slept pretty well (we have noisy neighbors, which I think is part of my problem). I don't think I have problems with dairy, but how would I know??? Same question with nightshades, I guess? I don't know how I would recognize that kind of inflammation?

                I used to take Vitamin D supplements (just as a precaution), but stopped when the bottle ran out (about 6 months ago) because I didn't notice any kind of difference. I can start taking Vitamin D again, if you think it would help?

                I'm 26 (sorry, forgot to mention that!). I eat below 50g CHO, and my calories (yesterday, for example) were 2200, minus 1145 burned from running). It might seem like I'm exercising a lot, but I'm a marathoner/triathloner, and I've already cut my training back a lot (in hopes it would help with weight loss)...I've added in a little strength training (could probably do more), and have switched to doing more intervals (i.e. sprints!) instead of only longer, slower runs.

                Thanks for helping, y'all! I really don't want to give up, because I feel low-carb is the healthier way to lose weight (I will stay with primal foods, even if I do switch back to higher-carb, because I'm convinced it's healthier).


                • #9
                  @Lizch--Sorry, forgot to mention, I'm an endurance athlete (I know chronic cardio is part of the 20%, but I think I should still be able to set things up so I can lose weight and maintain my chosen sports simultaneously?). Conventional dieting has certainly allowed me that (not that I WANT to go back to that...). I have cut back on the running in hopes that my cortisol will lower (if it is indeed elevated), and switched to more high-intensity runs instead of long, slow, etc.

                  I also didn't mean to imply that I eat out everyday (I don't, just did for lunch yesterday). I'm currently dating someone though, and I don't find eating at home for EVERY mean to be truly realistic? I definitely agree eating at home is better, but I do what I can, I guess?

                  @TigerLily--You might be right about water...I don't drink enough, I'd bet (based on the 8-glasses-a-day theory). Is there any reason (science-based, lol) that this should be true? I see this mentioned a lot, but not sure why drinking above my thirst level should help things (I'll definitely give it a go, though!). Also, how did you figure out what foods were inflammatory to you? This part confuses me, sorry!

                  Thanks so much for your help!


                  • #10
                    I don't think I have problems with dairy, but how would I know??? Same question with nightshades, I guess? I don't know how I would recognize that kind of inflammation?
                    Drop them both for 2-3 weeks and add each one in separately to see if you have a body reaction.
                    I used to take Vitamin D supplements (just as a precaution), but stopped when the bottle ran out (about 6 months ago) because I didn't notice any kind of difference. I can start taking Vitamin D again, if you think it would help?
                    Read this and decide. Most folks are deficient, unless they live in warmer climes and get lots of sun. You will want to be sufficient for many reasons, including losing weight.

                    I agree with the PPs, all the running is putting your body into a state of inflammation which will thwart your fat-loss goals. You have to decide what is more important to you. Drop the running down, up the strngth training, drop the fat and then pick your training back up once you are maintaining your body fat at the level you want.
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                    • #11
                      I will write more later about the water (I'm on my way out the door to get a massage -- also helps with inflammation), but as far as the foods, it was a lot of trial and error. I've basically been my own science experiment for the last year. But those three food categories I mentioned are generally the usual suspects, I learned from reading this board. You might not need to cut all three, like I did. Play with it.
                      "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


                      • #12
                        In the PB book, Mark recommends only exercising moderately 2-5 hours a week, and "unleashing the beast" (so to speak) every 7-10 days in short, powerful intervals. It's been really hard for me NOT to run, but I'm trusting the blueprint, and saving myself for big runs every 7-10 days as suggested. I'm hoping it will help my endurance and running time. Maybe you should try it too. There's a book out there called Run Less Run Faster. Check it out!
                        Last edited by Dr. Bork Bork; 01-23-2011, 11:00 AM.
                        --Trish (Bork)
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                        • #13
                          Maybe you should prime the pump? If you are to burn fats, maybe add more good fats to your diet? Add a good quality butter, nuts, coconut oil, etc. You will reach and pass your goals, sooner or later, stick with it! The BMI chart will make you like a person from the third world. Don't use it as a final goal setter. All of these have helped me. My goal was 20-25lbs, lost 40lbs. It make take time for you to become a "fat burner".


                          • #14
                            What everyone else said PLUS, have you had your thryoids checked? I could also lose weight using CW and exercising like crazy, but never looked much different...And could never keep to it because of the sleep issue (although it sounds like your sleep is improving!) and fatigue that goes along with hypothyroidism. Eventually I got on a supplement (NOT meds) and added in PB and lost weight pretty fast. But I never got on PB to lose weight, although these forums tend to be geared towards it. It did rid me of every other health problem I had, AND 10 pounds to boot!

                            Again, I don't believe in BMI's. I am 125 at 5'5, and pretty darn lean.. I can't imagine someone that tall at 125! You are focusing too much on the weight, let go of counting and the weight will come off easily!


                            • #15
                              I didn't lose too much on PB last year, because I wasn't as strict as I should have been. Some people cannot have the same luxuries as others. Since Jan 1 I have been 100% primal, with little or no dairy, no regular "cheats", little or no caffeine, plus the usual no-grains etc ... I've also cut out potatoes except the odd sweet potato. I have also started exercising, right now I'm doing non-primal exercise but it is a good balance between cardio and weight lifting (modified P90X). I've lost 8lbs since Jan 1st.

                              It's going to take practice, and playing with ratios, foods, and exercise.
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