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  • Calories

    I have been following the primal diet since January and have now lost 27 pounds, going down to 224 pounds at 6' 5". But I have hit a plateau and can't get the weight lower.

    In parallel, I am cycling 3-4 times a week, an hour at a time, at a pretty brisk pace in preparation for an event. I'm starting to struggle with my energy levels on these rides as the pace goes up.

    So I spent a week looking a calorie counting, to see if that is a way forward - i.e. primal, but ensuring calories are reasonable. My issue is that the target given by Livestrong is 1500 calories a day to lose 2 pounds a week. With the primal diet, a decent breakfast can put a big dent into 1500 calories, before I even think about two more meals.

    Any ideas? I'm frustrated with the plateau. The calorie counting route feels like a trap, but I'm not sure how to proceed. I understand all the Grok exercise stuff says I shouldn't be doing the intense cycling, but that's my sport and I'm not giving that up.

    Ideas would be appreciated, thank you.

  • #2
    Fasting helped me break my plateau... I'm now at 76 lbs lost and I never once looked at calories...

    Calories is a measure of heat energy... I've found it has little to nothing to do with weight loss...
    March 1st 2010: 308lbs | CW: 219lbs / 18.5%BF | New Goal: 16% BF
    Male. 28. 6'4''. Currently working on them muscles and strength!

    "My chest hair caught fire when I was fighting a bear with a flamethrower, how do I get my hair back? - Rivvin


    • #3
      Re: Calories

      Have you monitored body fat?

      Also have you done and heavy lifting?

      I would do the following:
      1. Mix up your workout routine.
      2. Make sure you are lifting heavy things a few times a week (Deadlifts, Squats etc)
      3. Focus on being lean, not light.


      • #4
        1500 calories for a person your size doing that volume of activity is definitely not reasonable. as evidenced by your struggle for energy. fuel your rides, you need it.

        HANDS OFF MY BACON :: my primal journal


        • #5
          If preparing for an event, getting your macros right is essential. Definitely need to count. You'll need between 100-150g of carbs. You'll want 1g protein for each pound of lean body mass. The rest of your calories should come from healthy fats.

          If you lose weight with that routine then I'd regard it as a bonus. Trying to lose weight and prepare for an event is biting off more than you can chew
          Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

          Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine


          • #6
            Really useful thanks everyone.

            A few more points/questions -

            I was doing weights, deadlifts particularly and I dropped them as the cycling activity went up, as I couldn't recover. So I will look at putting a day of that back in.

            On the fasting - can you give me a clue on period and frequency please?

            Yep, noted on the fuel, at the moment it feels like I'm doing neither weight loss or training well. Maybe if I look after the training, the weight will follow later. My event is some way out yet, but my issue at the moment is I'm hitting the wall a little.

            Thanks again all


            • #7
              I have used calorie counting as a tool for my fat loss success. I agree with Batty, that in your situation, 1500 might be too low. Try going for a one pound loss per week and keep your calories around 2000. See how that goes for about 3-4 weeks before making any other changes. If you lose 3-4 pounds in that amount of time, then you are on the right track. Just remember, as you weigh less, your energy needs decrease. Therefore, you will eventually need to adjust your calories down.


              • #8
                It's a challenge to focus on fueling your high activity level and leaning out at the same time.

                But if Taubes is to be believed, calories shouldn't matter at all. The example in GCBC of Kahn's mice was compelling to me. Kahn genetically removed the sensors in the mice's fat cells for insulin and insulin-like growth factor and they were unable to gain weight, even when forced to overeat.

                It's certainly possible that something besides diet is the reason for the plateau - sleep, too much exercise, stress, etc.


                • #9
                  I strongly believe that calorie counting is completely useless ONLY IF you are truly eating a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet. Not only because your body is an extremely adaptive homeostatic mechanism that has varying caloric needs on a daily basis, but also because if you are truly eating high fat/low carb then NO MATTER how many calories you consume you CANNOT gain any fat, you can only lose fat or stay the same.

                  It would take me too long to explain why so if you want to know why just read Dr. Eades's blog in Protein Power. Basically, the less calories you eat, the slower your metabolism. Your body will adjust it's metabolism to how much you are eating, so if it senses you are not eating as much your metabolism will slow down. That is why many people can't lose weight even though they are on super low calorie diets and exercise 2 hours everyday. They are ruining their metabolism. The more calories you eat, the higher your metabolism. But it's very important that most of your calories are coming from fats, then protein, then carbs. There is even an example of a guy who ate 7,000 calories (high fat/low carb) a day but still lost weight because his body sped up it's metabolism to burn off the calories.
                  Last edited by chuckarie; 04-01-2011, 10:19 AM.


                  • #10
                    I think this is an excellent article by Dr. Eades on calories: The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. Low-carb and calories


                    • #11
                      I counted for 6 weeks and found it helpful (to acquaint myself with portions), but boring. I now IF (intermittent fast) every day for 14-16 hours and eat Primal foods to satiety during my eating window. Once a week, I am going to do a 24 hour fast, just to help me drop this last bit of belly fat. It's working great so far.

                      More info on fasting here: The Lean Saloon | Intermittent Fasting. Liberate Your Life.

                      Oh, and adding magnesium has made a huge difference to my fat loss while eating 70-80 gm of carbs. Magnesium citrate, 200-600 mg an hour before bed.
                      Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
                      Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
                      Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article


                      • #12
                        mark does not recommend IF for extremely active athletes that train more than what he recommends, just FYI.

                        i am a cyclist, too, and back in my HRM wearing days, one hour of pretty intense cycling burns me about the same amount of calories as about time is consuming for himself ALL DAY. and i am decidedly NOT 6'5" and over 200 lbs.

                        eat to fuel and recover from the activity you love. don't worry about tracking. i would absolutely not worry about IFing right now if you're training for an event. just keep it primal and you'll be fine.

                        HANDS OFF MY BACON :: my primal journal


                        • #13
                          thanks to all of you, fascinating insights from the people that have been there and done it


                          • #14
                            I moderated my fat a little - just by cutting back on cheese consumption really. I also carried on tracking calories, because to an earlier reply I was eating too little with the cycling - I had a shock one day when I was calorie negative. So I have tried to be closer to 2000 calories, more on heavy training days.

                            The result is I have lost a further five pounds and my cycling mileage is going up. So I'm eating more and am now losing weight again


                            • #15
                              You've done brilliantly losing 27 pounds since January so probably due for a little plateau. I would up the carbs.