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What am I doing wrong?

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  • What am I doing wrong?

    Hello all, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I'm eating well, getting some exercise, but not really losing any body fat. Here's what I've been doing:

    Just about every day, I eat 4 whole grass fed eggs in the morning, grass fed beef at lunch, and wild sockeye salmon at dinner. At each meal I also have a green smoothie. The smoothie is essentially just Kale, Avocado, Spirulina powder, coconut oil, sometimes coconut water, kelp, broccoli sprouts, some berries, and occasionally some raw 100% cacao powder. I also try to get some colors throughout the week: yellow peppers, tomatoes, red cabbage, etc. Between meals I may have some extra protein, usually from egg whites, plus a small handful of berries or olives. Just about everything is grass fed and/or organic and I also drink at least a gallon of good quality water every day.

    Not exactly the most primal thing to do, but I also supplement a lot. Multivitamin, krill oils, curcumin capsules, vitamin D sublinguals, CoQ10, etc. I've found that certain supplements are key to keeping my mood and mental clarity stable.

    Once or twice a week I do a fairly intense round of bodyweight exercises. It consists mainly of pull ups, pushups, and lunges. I intend to ramp this up slowly in the near future, as I am getting my body used to weight lifting again. Also, I do some light cardio on a stationary bike maybe 3 times a week or so.

    As far as I can tell, I am doing it all correctly. No grains, no beans/legumes, no dairy, no sugar, no chemcials, very low caffeine. In fact, I purposely kept my carbs super low yesterday (~30gms) ; I don't eat quite that low carb every day, but it was just an experiment. The point is that the scale hasn't budged in a week. Fat is not melting off. Even from the view of conventional wisdom, I am at (more or less) a calorie deficit and should be shedding body fat.

    The only thing I can think of is that, aside from the exercise I mentioned, I am barely active so maybe my metabolism has gone to sleep. (I am a digital artist which requires me to sit in front of a computer 12+ hours a day). Maybe my metabolism has sort of down-regulated because of the lower carb/calorie intake? OR, maybe I am gaining muscle, which is why the scale isn't moving? BUT, there is no way I could be gaining muscle as fast as I should be losing fat. Looking in the mirror at least, I don't see much body recomposition.

    I am 33 years old, 6 feet, 178lbs and generally in good health. In the past, I've been able to lose body fat fairly easily. That was especially true before 30 of course, but I was able to rapidly drop 10+ lbs as recently as a year ago.

    My short term goal is to lose about 15-20lbs of fat and/or gain some muscle. I'm fine with the idea that this might take 6 months; I just want to see any sign of progress for now. In the longer term, over the next 5 years or so, I'd like to gain 20lbs of lean muscle and get myself under 10% bodyfat.

    So that's basically my story. Maybe primal just isn't a good fit for me? Thanks for reading and I'd really appreciate any advice you guys can offer.


  • #2
    You've only been at it for a week?? Give it time! And take measurements, don't go by the scale.
    $5 off QOC241

    "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

    For nutrition/wellness tips:!/pages/One...34671179916624


    • #3
      Nope, I've been eating long these lines for about two+ months already, maybe even three months.

      Although it wasn't until this last 2-3 weeks that I got quite as clean as I am now.

      Before these past 2-3 weeks I was still mostly primal, but not quite as strict and also having a cheat meal once a week.


      • #4
        fat loss doesn't always go in a linear method, particularly once you're already skinny.

        which brings me to my next point - at 6ft. and 178, you're looking to lose 20 lbs? that's gonna make you one really light dude. i would want to basically maintains something around that weight, and just work on body recomposition - more muscle, less fat.

        anyway, though the food you eat sounds delicious and very healthy, fat loss is all about calories, and this becomes more and more apparent, the slimmer you are and the healthier you eat. to get to sub 10% BF, you will need to mind your calories carefully.


        • #5
          Are you tracking calories? If so, how many a day are you averaging?
          F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.


          • #6
            I agree that you should concentrate much more on body comp rather than specifically fat loss only. Do some strength training. Increase your lean mass and stay at your current weight.


            • #7
              178 at 6 feet means there isn't much left to lose, the last 20 pounds or so is usually the hardest. That being said, focus on body comp more than fat loss. Continue to eat a healthy diet and stick to a well planned workout routine and you'll start to see improvements.
              Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

              In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert, there are few.

              I've shaken hands with a raccoon and lived to tell the tale

              SW: 220- 225 pounds at the beginning of January
              CW: 180 pounds

              Goals for 2012: Lose a bit more fat and start a serious muscle and strength routine


              • #8
                Yeah I don't think that losing 20 lbs of fat is realistic. Building 20 lbs of muscle isn't either for the vast majority. Certainly not in a short time unless one was regaining previous muscle and or was using anabolic drugs.

                I would at some good resistance to your program in the way of weights. You will stimulate more muscle growth. It doesn't take a lot of training if its real intense. Instead of "cardio" on a stationary bike, do high intensity interval training such as sprint intervals. You could alternate between that and intervals on your bike. Do this once a week or so. These 2 things will change you metabolically. Other days just walk and move a lot when you are able. Even if you lost 5-10 lbs of fat and gained 5 or so pounds of muscle, you'd look much tighter and defined.

                Anyway, this is where I'd start.


                • #9
                  Er, I'm 6 foot 33 years old as well and around your weight. I could maybe, maybe shave off 10 pounds through intense IF and boring calorie counting but why bother? If I lost 20 pounds half of these would have to be lean muscle mass at least. I'd look emaciated.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for your thoughts guys. Yeah, you're right and I think I'll shift the focus away from fat loss. Just kinda sucks to sink in time and money and see no bodily change. Energy levels and mood are very good though, so that's a big +1 for Primal in my book.

                    I've been at 155lbs before and did not look sickly thin, so I don't agree that losing 20lbs of fat is unrealistic (but yes, unnecessary in my case). Gaining 20 lbs of muscle is not unrealistic either, as a long-term goal. If anything, gaining 3 or 4lbs of muscle per year seems quite doable with proper training.

                    Can't help being a bit confused right now though. Beginning of last year, I started at 180 and easily dropped 10-15 lbs over 2-3 months with no exercise, no calorie counting, and no fasting of any kind. This was on the 'slow-carb diet' which, aside from the high bean intake and the full blown cheat day, isn't altogether that different from Primal.

                    Anyway, thanks again everyone. Definitely appreciate your input. I'll keep doing what I'm doing for now and, if you're curious, I'll post again if/when anything changes.



                    • #11
                      Oh, just to address a couple things that came up:

                      For those that mentioned it, yes, my goal is ultimately to be at the same weight, I just want to be much more fit. That means losing fat and gaining muscle...

                      No, I am not counting calories at the moment. But doing the rough numbers in my head, I'm pretty sure I am taking in less calories than before I was eating primal.


                      • #12
                        You may need to hone your eating patterns and post-workout meals more for lean gains.

                        Intermittent fasting diet for fat loss, muscle gain and health

                        A lot of people find they have to start counting or estimating calories more carefully once they're down to their last 10-20 lbs of fat to lose. It's a chore, so kind of a last resort.

                        Being more active is likely to be more effective in the long-run than cutting calories. Swapping some fat for carbs can also boost fat loss and muscle gain as you become more active.
                        F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.


                        • #13
                          I started out at 220 pounds (category 3 lardass) and now 10 months later I'm around your weight and the PB and Crossfit have done a really good job.

                          Keep us posted and grok on.


                          • #14
                            Hey again, you asked to keep you posted

                            It turns out that I was losing bodyfat but I wasn't going to the bathroom properly. Once that was corrected, the scale is moving better than expected. (forgive me the tmi)

                            For anyone who's curious, here are a couple things I experimented with this week which you may be interested in:

                            1: Intermittent Fasting - Big thanks to Paleo-Bunny for that link to Berkhan; I'd heard of him but didn't sit down to read until you linked. Very interesting and, if even half of what he says is true, IF is totally worthwhile. My early experiments so far are promising and I suspect IF will be key in the long run.

                            2 : Fewer meals - I now eat only 2-3 larger meals, later in the day. 50% or more of caloric intake is fats; protein is quite high and carbs are under 100gms daily. Only a few days in and feeling great, losing fat, and even skin and joints are benefiting.

                            3 : PGX Fiber - I know supplements aren't popular here, but this is basically just extra dietary fiber. Taken before a meal, it seems to have an effect on slowing the absorption of carbs and managing blood sugar in general. Too early to say for sure, but seems worthwhile. Also helps with elimination (i.e. helped break my weight loss plateau, see above).

                            4 : Bulletproof Coffee instead of breakfast- Wow, only did this twice so far but loving it. When I started doing green smoothies a while ago, the instant boost in energy and mood was amazing (I credit mostly the spirulina). Bulletproof Coffee had a similar instant effect on top of the boost from the smoothies. I did it yesterday morning and honestly felt awesome all day. Better than I have in a long time. Also felt very satiated all day.

                            I believe it worked largely because the body converts the mct oil into ketones - here's something I found on the net, don't how true it is but seems a possible explanation:

                            "Medium Chain triglycerides are preferentially and almost entirely cleaved by the liver into ketones, even when not in ketosis. It's not 100%, but it is a significant amount. Your body doesn't store ketones, and the process by which ketones can be converted into fat is highly uncommon.
                            ... They are metabolic fuel that, for all practical reasons, will not be stored even at caloric surplus."

                            Ok, that's my story. Thanks again everyone and stay well