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  • Puzzled by Girlfriend Hitting the Wall...

    Assuming that she is not running off and sneaking in gummy bears and french fries, I've become a little perplexed at the state my girlfriend currently finds herself in. She went primal about a year ago and hit a peak quickly after losing about 15 pounds. I have speculated that she has experienced some metabolic damage from a lifetime of bad eating (she was 19 years old when she first began eating primal).

    I figured I would come on here and ask for suggestions. Here are some things she has already tried without much success.
    -Intermittent Fasting (IF)
    -Full on extended ketosis
    -Regular caloric restriction while still eating primal...

    Her body is simply refusing to let go of the fat. This leaves me a little frustrated, as the diet has worked outstandingly well for me (5 ft 10 inches, 142 pounds myself).

    Any ideas?

  • #2
    What about carb cycling? Worth a google.
    My website: http://www.shoppinganywhere.net/

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    • #3
      What macro percentages does she eat, how many calories, what exercise? What is her normal daily menu?

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      • #4
        For me personally, I have to shoot for 100% and forgive my self if I have a little mess up. If I do the 80/ 20 rule I seem to plateau out.

        Also I lost my water weight first and then nothing till I cut out all dairy and most of the nuts. It came off pretty fast after that though.

        Good luck to her. I know how frustrating it can be.
        ~Blog~

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        • #5
          maybe she is at her ideal weight?

          what is this obsession with losing numbers. is she healthy? is she fit? is she happy?

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          • #6
            Yep - we need more info. Her height, weight, health, goals.

            Also diet for a day or two would helpful. Does she eat dairy? Nuts?
            Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

            http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jammies View Post
              Yep - we need more info. Her height, weight, health, goals.

              Also diet for a day or two would helpful. Does she eat dairy? Nuts?
              Height: 5 ft, 6 inches
              Weight: 165 lbs
              Some health notes... hydronephrosis (one kidney has impaired functioning), previously had to gain weight according to medical instruction for kidney surgery and then never lost it again.
              Goals: To get to ideal weight, around 12% body fat (though I'd need to measure via my calipers to determine her current percentage). She certainly does not have a bezerk, crazy muscle mass to account for that weight.

              Since altering the diet, everyone has noticed how much better she looks overall, of course, improved skin condition, less inflammation visible in the face, more energy, but she's just still hanging onto that body fat.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sue View Post
                What macro percentages does she eat, how many calories, what exercise? What is her normal daily menu?
                Admittedly, she does limited exercise but she's recently started trying to get more HIIT sessions in, maybe a couple per week but she hasn't started that for longer than its first week so far. Too early to tell if that makes a significant impact.

                She is also under a considerable amount of stress and has been for months, cortisol levels, I've acknowledged, may have something to do with it. She's working a lot of overtime (we both keep pretty busy to pay the bills).

                It's been a while since she's done an exact nutrition log but her percentages are almost exactly like mine: probably 70g of carbohydrate or less per day, mostly fat, plenty of protein. She eats a lot of salads and minimizes the use of fruit in the salads (along with any sweet vinaigrettes)...

                Calories during many days are unknown exactly but many days in a number of consecutive periods she's eaten only one meal and claimed not to feel hungry beyond that.

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                • #9
                  Weight loss is both caloric and hormonal. In addition to proper attention to overall food intake, boosting the following hormones makes fat loss a lot easier:

                  1.) Testosterone
                  2.) Human growth hormone
                  3.) Insulin-like growth factor-1
                  4.) Leptin

                  The following hormones make weight loss more difficult:

                  1.) Cortisol
                  2.) Estrogen
                  3.) Insulin

                  Notice something in common? Men make more of the hormones that make fat loss easier, and comparatively less of the hormones that make fat loss more difficult. It's harder for a woman to lose fat than a man, so to compare her progress to yours is unfair. Women also need four to five times more body fat than a man just to survive. Essential body fat for a man is around 3-4%. If a woman drops below the 15% body fat treshold, they'll likely lose their period and suffer metabolic damage. If they drop under 12%, they're on the brink of death. 12% body fat for a man means still a chunky belly. Ask me how I know.

                  Keeping calories low all the time is absolutely detrimental to a woman. The female metabolism is a fragile thing. If she dropped calories, the 15 lbs tapered off quickly because eventually, her body adapted to the lower calories. If originally she could maintain her weight at 1,800 calories a day and started eating 1,500 calories a day, then it's only a matter of time until her new maintenance calories become 1,500 calories a day. You need to cycle calories AND carbohydrates to avoid this. I recommend the following:

                  1.) For two weeks, have her not restrict calories. That doesn't mean gorge. That means eat a bit more food, but still eat Primal foods. Boosting her calories for two weeks will boost her metabolism. I also recommend eating around 100g of carbs per day during this time.

                  2.) After she "resets" her metabolism, begin cycling calories and carbohydrates. Since her activity is low, she can't go extreme with carbohydrate. I'm going to assume her maintenance is 1,800 calories being a female. So let's shoot for 1,400 calories for restriction. So a good plan would be the following:

                  Monday through Friday, eat 1,400 calories with high protein, moderate fat, low carbohydrate. That would be about 80g fat, 120g protein, 50g carbs.
                  Saturday and Sunday, eat 1,800 calories with high protein, low fat, moderate carbohydrate. That would be 40g fat, 120g protein, 240g carbs.

                  That may seem like a lot of carbs. It's not. Consider that the average American eats 300-400g of carbs every day, and most of those carbs are coming from sugar and grains. 240g of carbs from sweet potatoes, bananas, squash, apples and berries won't hurt her. Those two higher carb and higher calorie days will rev up her metabolism, but it won't be chronic enough to lead to lots of fat gain. Then, when she snaps back into the low calorie, low carbohydrate days, her body won't hold onto fat for fear of starving.

                  That's the plan I'd follow if I were her. You don't have to be a calorie Nazi, either. Just have her track for two weeks or so to get a feel of what those levels of calories and carbohydrates look like. After that, you can ballpark it. FWIW, I recommend the high carb days be low fiber. Sweet potatoes, white rice and bananas are excellent choices so you get almost all your carbs from glucose and not sucrose or fructose. If she decides to lift heavy things or sprint/HIIT, these are the days she wants to do it! Save the low-level cardio for the low carb days.

                  NOTE: She WILL gain "weight" during a carb-up. It's not fat gain. It's water weight. When you eat carbs, you store glycogen plus 3-4g of water per gram of glycogen stored. So, if she stores 400g of glycogen over those two days, she will store 400g of glycogen plus 1600-2000g of water for a grand total of 2000-2400g of total weight, or 4-6 lbs. She will drop all that water weight by Wednesday, and probably some fat, too. Don't watch the scale. I typically gain 10 lbs during my carb-ups.

                  Good luck.
                  Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 01-01-2012, 12:29 AM.
                  Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scottlee View Post
                    Goals: To get to ideal weight, around 12% body fat (though I'd need to measure via my calipers to determine her current percentage). She certainly does not have a bezerk, crazy muscle mass to account for that weight
                    If she gets to 12% body fat, she could very will die and will almost certainly be infertile and very ill. Victoria's secret models are around 18% body fat. A healthy body fat level for a woman is 20-24%. If she wants to be a bikini model, she can shoot for 17-19%.




                    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you for the in-depth reply, Choco. And I threw out 12% as a figure without examining the proper body fat percentage for female (I wasn't quoting her directly on her goal and again, we haven't measured). I've also acknowledged previously that comparing her progress to mine is unfair.

                      I don't think your image examples are quite accurate... I'm at about 11% body fat myself and look nothing like that 10% guy.

                      I definitely think you have a good point about the long term calorie restriction and the body's adaptation to it. We'll probably experiment with the suggestions you've given. I've also considered that the metabolic upkeep needs to be driven by a higher food intake.

                      "Carb cycling..." I know the concept but have never heard the term in a rhythmic manner as I've read it looking through different posts. Sounds like a plan.

                      It also might make good sense but I have to wonder how effective it will be given all the other methods she's attempted. I'll show her your exact post after she gets off work tomorrow.

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                      • #12
                        Yea, I was trying to sound a bit extreme on purpose. As for the body fat percentages, the pictures are very accurate. It's just that guy has a lot of muscle.



                        This was me after 6 weeks of extreme carb cycling (50% caloric restriction M-Th with a 1000g carb-up on Friday, I was eating a pumpkin pie, a cornbread, a cheesecake, a tray of brownies, a half gallon of ice cream and a banana bread on Friday - 40g fat/1000g carbs/350g protein/5,200 calories).



                        I couldn't sustain it for all that long and I would STRONGLY recommend you go nowhere NEAR that approach as it requires a low body fat percentage and about 8 hours a week in the gym, but it gives you an idea of the results. I'm a good bit chunkier now because I fell off hard from Thanksgiving to...tonight, haha...but it was a pretty interesting experiment. Basically, I'm back to the "before picture" I'm personally taking a Whole 30 on January 2-31 to get back on the wagon hard for the new year. Should be fun!
                        Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 01-01-2012, 01:28 AM.
                        Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                        • #13
                          would your approach work for someone who had more bf to lose (around 12-15% to lose) maybe more.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ayla2010 View Post
                            would your approach work for someone who had more bf to lose (around 12-15% to lose) maybe more.
                            Absolutely not, unfortunately. For carb cycling to be effective, you have to be fairly lean to begin with. If you're trying to lose 30+ lbs, I wouldn't do it, especially in the fashion I did it. Basically, the more body fat you have, the less extreme your carb cycling has to be. You can still do it if you have a lot of fat to lose, but you have to be a lot more subtle. I ALWAYS recommend calorie cycling - it's important to regularly have days where you increase your food intake to keep your metabolism from downregulating. If you have a lot of body fat to lose and you want to experiment with carbs, you'd have to do it more like this:

                            M-F 30% caloric restriction, 50g carbs
                            Sat-Sun 0% caloric restriction, 75-100g carbs

                            Basically, on you keep very low carb M-F and on Saturday and Sunday, eat chicken breast or tuna instead of beef and salmon (lean meats instead of fatty cuts) and eat a sweet potato with dinner.

                            Another option is a ketogenic diet. They're not fun because food choices are so limited, but a 6-8 week cycle of keto could be good for you as well if you feel you have a lot to lose. There are many ways to get to your goal, you just have to find what is most sustainable for you. And remember to always take diet breaks around the 6 week mark. Chronic dieting (caloric restriction, chronic low carbohydrate, etc) messes with your metabolism.
                            Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 01-01-2012, 01:38 AM.
                            Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                            • #15
                              I am currently having under 50 g every day (i don't track every day now though) and I am always in ketosis when I check with a wee stick (i check every few days). I only asked as I was curious. Even on heavy lifting days if I have a banana I am still under my 50 g a day, and I feel amazing ;D
                              I don't feel like I am on a diet, I am not restricting calories (I am eating to hunger, and if I track it has been varying amounts from 1500-2000 cal a day).
                              What i am doing is working, but I guess just wanted to see if that might help me faster, although really that is silly, I feel good and what I am doing is working, so never mind me LOL.

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