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Noob question about diet and fitness balance

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  • Noob question about diet and fitness balance

    I'm very new to the Primal diet. I've was doing Atkins for a month and had lost 12 pounds. Now I've discovered Primal diet and fitness and I'm really enjoying what I've found! I've read quite a bit here, and I've also bought the Primal Blueprint but haven't got to read it yet. I have a quick question about caloric intake on this diet.

    I'm trying to figure out what a good caloric intake is for me. I'm 5'10" and 224. I'd like to be 180 or maybe 175. I seem to have plateau'd at 224. I've been exercising a lot more recently, something that is difficult because I've been so sedentary for so long. I'm walking a lot, cycling, and now I've just started doing Primal fitness. The problem is I don't know how much I should be eating now that my body is mostly used to being on a low carb diet.

    As an example, here is what I've eaten today:

    Breakfast: handful of almonds and an Atkins shake (low carb, 10g fat, 16g of protein, or something like that)

    Lunch: hamburger patty with cheese and bacon, small salad (lettuce, onions, bell peppers, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, egg, turkey, sunflower seeds)

    Dinner: A couple of handfuls of almonds while making dinner, a small bag of veggies (yellow, red and green peppers), small piece of chicken with a bit of cheese and green chile sauce.

    Today, I probably walked over a mile at work. I went on a 13-mile bike ride after getting home and then I did the Primal workout. I'm not in good shape at all, so I can only do knee pushups, assisted pullups, and so on. Given that level of activity, have I eaten enough to get plenty of nutrients to my muscles (and the rest of my body) while still burning fat?

    Sorry for the lengthy post! I will continue to read this wonderful forum for more tips and guidance.


  • #2
    Focus on losing weight due to diet. "working it off" is a waste of time. Do exercise for fitness when you feel a need.

    Blood chemistry (diet) comes first.


    • #3
      I am exercising for fitness, but I'm also doing it to increase my calorie burning and metabolism. I'm VERY out of shape. I've been extremely sedentary for a long time and it's really taking a toll on me. Take my weak muscles and throw on all that extra weight and I'm in pretty bad shape. I need to exercise to build my strength back up. You'd think I was 40 going on 80 some days. I'm already noticing a difference just after a couple of weeks. I just have no idea where my calorie count should be if I'm exercising. I want to make sure I'm getting enough nutrition for my muscles, but not so much food that it's hard to lose weight.

      I guess I'm especially concerned because I've been stuck at 224 for a couple of weeks and it's getting on my nerves. lol



      • #4
        When I was losing (300+ to under 200) I gave up trying to exercise to speed it up. It just never worked. If you are stuck at 224, forget about all that stuff you read about calorie burning and metabolism speeding it up. I don't believe it. There are too many variables.

        People who are already fit and adding muscle talk about this a lot, but they don't know what it's like coming down from being heavy and just starting to get things in order. The exercise may be the CAUSE of you stalling. It was for me.


        • #5
          Interesting. How would that work? If I'm burning calories by exercising, that energy has to come from somewhere. If it's not all coming from what I eat, that would mean I'm burning more stored fat, right? Or no? There must be something to what you're saying because I've seen a few other people say something similar.


          • #6
            I never really figured it out, but there is a lot going on when you are burning down the weight.

            I tried bicycling a few times a day when I was down to about 220/230 and I put on 5 lb quickly. It was not muscle either, it was around the waist. I could not believe it. I stopped riding and in a week the weight was gone and I started losing again. I tried again, same thing. I repeated this 6 times and gave up.

            There is just too much going on when you are losing. It may have something to do with cortisol, not sure. You could be stressing your system that isn't used to the activity. All I know is after that when people asked me how to lose I always said "blood chemistry first, exercise second."


            • #7
              The big impetus to change for me was reading an article a few weeks ago about how sitting can kill you, or at least that was the title of the article. It went on to describe how bad sitting for long periods every day is for your system. It causes all sorts of problems that I had never thought about. So, I replaced my desk chair with an exercise ball so that I'm always moving a little bit. Then i started walking and cycling. I dropped 12 pounds and two inches off of my waist in a month! But then I hit that barrier. I'll try not to push my body too hard. I'll read the book and find out more about the diet side of things and see how that goes.

              Thanks for all your help!


              • #8

                In the end, we are humans and we were made to move. No doubt about that. It's just a bit weird how things can be when you are in transition.

                I doubt you are going to hit what athletes call burnout, but my theory is that a big person in transition has already stressed their system and some things can be going on that are somewhat similar to burnout, even if you aren't working that hard.


                • #9
                  I don't think theres a problem with exercising, in fact I think its beneficial for maintaining muscle mass so you don't come out the other side as a skinny guy. The problem with exercise for weightloss is that the calorie expenditure is rediculously small. One study it took about 30 minutes at 50-65% VO2 max to burn 200 calories and 45 minutes for 300 calories.

                  The effect of your exercise bout will depend on how intense it was and how long it lasted, but it is still unlikely to exceed 500 calories. People overestimate this and go gorge on food/sweets as a kind of reward but end up consuming more than they 'burned'.


                  • #10
                    You do need to read the book. It has an excellent chapter on counting macros.

                    In short, you need to get enough protein (don't think you are from your brief description), you will want some carbs (most lose best in the 50-100g/day range) and you'll make up the rest of your calorie requirement from good fats.

                    Other things:

                    * ditch the nuts and seeds - high in bad fats and lots have trouble losing while eating them
                    * some need to ditch dairy because it is inflammatory for them
                    * ditch the processed food (Atkins shake) Real food is best

                    Finally, many find they have to eat real food for a period of time to repair a damaged metabolism before they can lose weight. Don't be discouraged by slow progress, so long as you are feeling good. Keep an eye on the mirror rather than the scale
                    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


                    • #11
                      I'm 5'2", female and largely sedentary, and the day's intake you describe would feed me nicely, I should think. I expect you could use some more food.


                      • #12
                        Here's the article Mark wrote that I think helped explain why I found that exercise was just making me gain instead of lose weight-

                        "...Well, we know that this current popular high intensity aerobic pursuit is a dead-end. It requires huge amounts carbohydrate (sugar) to sustain, it promotes hyperinsulinemia (overproduction of insulin), increases oxidative damage (the production of free radicals) by a factor of 10 or 20 times normal, and generates high levels of the stress hormone cortisol in many people, leaving them susceptible to infection, injury, loss of bone density and depletion of lean muscle tissue – while encouraging their bodies to deposit fat. Far from that healthy pursuit we all assumed it was! What, then, is the answer?"

                        A Case Against Cardio (from a former mileage king) | Mark's Daily Apple

                        Note that he's talking about a lot of cardio, not walking or a slow cruise on a bike.

                        My theory is that someone that has been doing no exercise at all, and/or has been huge and is in the process of losing it, will experience the problems Mark is referring too without much cardio, compared to an athlete over doing it to the point of burnout.

                        The last thing you want to be doing while you are trying to lose is produce insulin and cortisol!*

                        I think the real explanation is something like this, not the BS about you rewarding yourself for burning 300 calories by eating 500 more. I tried cycling 6 times and just gained each time and I wasnt adding food to make up for it. I was way more careful that that, which is why it didn't make any sense.

                        I know that I did have issues with insulin and cortisol both, so Marks article seems more to the point.


                        • #13
                          you've been dieting a month and hit a "plateau?" you are mistaken and impatient.


                          • #14
                            How is your sleep, stress levels, etc? These seemingly unrelated factors can also have an effect on weight loss.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DFH View Post
                              When I was losing (300+ to under 200) I gave up trying to exercise to speed it up. It just never worked. If you are stuck at 224, forget about all that stuff you read about calorie burning and metabolism speeding it up. I don't believe it. There are too many variables.

                              People who are already fit and adding muscle talk about this a lot, but they don't know what it's like coming down from being heavy and just starting to get things in order. The exercise may be the CAUSE of you stalling. It was for me.
                              My brother from a differnt mother. I always jump UP after a good workout. and my chemistry goes all over the board
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