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Hit a plateau, help?

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  • Hit a plateau, help?

    I'm 3-4 weeks in and I seem to have hit a plateau. My weight has been hovering around 349 for about ten days now. I'm 6'4". I do low-level exercise five days a week (a walk, 2-3mph, for 20-30 minutes each morning before breakfast), strength training three times a week (20-30 minutes each session, just before lunch). I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch five days a week, the dinner changes slightly:


    1x hard-boiled egg

    2x crustless mini-quiche (eggs, crumbled bacon, peppers, onions)

    10x blueberries

    2x strawberries

    1x banana


    1x 8oz oven-baked chicken breast

    6x broccoli florets, steamed

    4x baby carrots, steamed

    1x 8oz cup of green tea (sometime in the afternoon)


    1x 8-10oz NY strip steak

    6x broccoli florets, steamed

    4x baby carrots, steamed

    4-6x mushroom slices, sauteed in butter and garlic

    And most nights I have a very small piece of dark chocolate shortly before bed. The piece is generally 2" by 1" in size. All food is organic.

    I plugged all of this into a calorie counter and it came up with roughly 1900 calories. I calculated my basal metabolic rate using an online calculator and came up with 2600. Not sure how accurate these measurements are, I've not really paid much attention to calorie counting.

    So... any ideas? The resident health nut at the office suggested I look at carb cycling, and I've read up a bit on it. It sounds like it works for some people, but I'm not sure if it will work for me. Any advice would be appreciated though.

    I started strong, dropped a lot of weight, but now I feel a bit stuck. If I just need to stick with it and the pounds will eventually start coming off again, that's fine, I'm just worried I'm doing something wrong here.

  • #2

    Oh, forgot to mention: aside from the cup of tea in the afternoon, water is the only liquid I drink.


    • #3

      Ok, I promise, last post haha. The calculator reported 92.7g of fat, 84.3g of carbs, 158.9g of protein, if that info helps. Thanks everyone!


      • #4

        Some ideas:

        1. Maybe do some IF, either for 24 hours or something like Fast 5 or alternatively skip dinner for a couple of days and sleep early (has always worked for me)

        2. Do for a really really long walk, maybe on a Sunday

        3. Go to sleep early

        4. Drink more water

        5. Skip the fruit for breakfast (ie try and get to below 50g carbs for a few days)

        6. Do strength training only once or twice a week


        • #5

          I'm surprised that there's 92 grams of fat in that menu. Seems like there'd be a lot less.

          I would buy some coconut oil and have a couple spoonfuls of that per day as well. If the online calculator is accurate, a daily 700 calorie deficit might be too much. You can eat at or above maintenance level a few times per week as long as the extra calories come mostly from fat and some protein. When the body is chronically deprived of calories it tends to start hanging onto its fat stores. You want to let your body recognize that it is not in danger and has adequate dietary fat intake so that it lets go of its stores.

          You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


          • #6

            Looking at that list, there's not nearly enough fat and way too many carbs. Cut out the fruit - at least the banana - in the morning, and the chocolate for now. You should aim for a ratio of about 70-80% of your calories from fat and the rest protein, with minimal carbs (try for 20g or less per day).

            Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

            Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is:

            Ditch the scale!:

            My Success Story:


            • #7

              I do JUDDD--(Johnson's Up Day Down Day)alternate day fasting--and it is the only thing that has worked to help me lose fat--plus paleo food! every other day, I fast from dinner to dinner and eat between 500-600 calories for dinner on the fast day. I have been lowcarb for years, I have increased my fat, I have done everything I could to lose weight and everything came to a standstill until I added JUDDD. I also believe that because I eat freely (paleo) on alternate days, my metabolism is healing--just a thought--


              • #8

                Thanks for the feedback.

                This diet is keeping me pretty satisfied, so what should I add for fat? I could add some almonds, cheese... I could stop grilling my steak and start cooking it in a skillet with butter. Any other thoughts?

                And I'll cut the banana and the chocolate. I'm eating the berries because I remember reading they're a good source of antioxidants, but I could cut them out as well. The carrots and broccoli are high in carbs... should I swap them for something else?


                • #9

                  Cut the banana and the chocolate. Intensify the weight training. Try to get your carbs on the days you are eating to less than 50 grams

                  Fast 2 days a week!

                  First week you will feel fatigued but you will lose weight. Your urine and breath will start smell funny.

                  Make sure you do your strength and intensified exercise (45 minutes) on a or after a day you had food.

                  Good luck and keep us posted!


                  • #10

                    I've been in a very similar situation, except my carbs were lower and fat higher, and still my weigh loss stopped for 3 weeks after a fantastic start.

                    1. How much have you lost since you started? Sometimes the body really needs to catch up with the fat loss!

                    2. I discovered (through trial and error) that I might be sensitive to too much protein. When I reduced my protein intake from 120-130g to 85-90g, my weight loss restarted. Excess dietary protein can be converted into glucose in the body, rather negating the low carb effect. In practice, I now eat 2 instead of 3 eggs fried in bacon grease, and more streaky bacon for breakfast; any veggies are drenched in olive oil (if not roasted in fat); and I eat avocados and coconut more regularly.

                    3. Reducing carbs. Yes, berries have a lot of antioxidants, but they also have fructose which some studies have shown to be more dangerous (in terms of fat gain and diabetes) than glucose. Dark chocolate/cocoa nibs also contain antioxidants, so maybe you can eat berries one day, a square of darkest choc the next. Oh, and drop the banana!

                    Good luck and hope you find what works for you!


                    • #11

                      Coconut oil!!!

                      And do NOT add cheese or dairy of any kind.

                      Heed my words!!

                      You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


                      • #12

                        I've got some great info on my blog about your dilemma. You may find it helpful

                        Now to your quesiton(s): you don't need to carb cycle. The only time that you would want to consider carb cycling is at low body fat levels and when you're trying to 'lean out'.

                        My suggestion would be to make your diet at least 60% protein; make up the rest with 25% fat and 15% carbs. You want protein to be your base. One reason is satiety; another is its slightly higher thermic effect relative to other macronutrients.

                        Just a clarification: You are 349 lbs, correct? Assuming that:

                        Losing weight is about a calorie deficit, but you are in a major deficit. You can lose plenty of weight @ 3000 calories/day. Try eating higher calories on lifting days and lower calories on non-lifting days. I'd also employ intermittent fasting. Consider your calories on a per week basis and keep it under 21,000/week and see how that works.

                        Let me know if I can help further.



                        • #13

                          Most of the above advice is sound. I disagree with Sterling very much. Your diet should be at least 60% fats, preferably 70% and the rest proteing.

                          But work that backwards. Find any online LBM calculator. You need a tape measure. Yours will probably be in the 180-190 pounds of LBM range. Multiply by .5 grams of protein and you have a daily protein need of 90-100 per day, or 360-400 calories (overlooking protein's thermic effect.) That's all you need for the level of exercise you are doing. Anything more and you will be making unnecessary insulin.

                          Add 200 more calories for 50 of carbs (as has been said, ditch the fruit and chocolate)and you are at 600 calories. Almost all animal protein, of course, has some fat. So by default that 600 will be higher. Anyway, use fats for the difference in daily caloric needs; butter, olive oil, lard, bacon fat, whatever.

                          Track your macronutrient intake on Fitday. You might be surprised how you aren't eating what you think.


                          • #14

                            10 days isn't a plateau. I've already hit these "plateaus" tens of times, didn't change anything and eventually lost weight. There is absolutely nothing to worry about here. When you hit a month-long plateau you may start getting worried.

                            Height: 5'4" (1.62 m)
                            Starting weight (09/2009): 200 lb (90.6 kg)
                            No longer overweight (08/2010): 145 lb (65.6 kg)
                            Current weight (01/2012): 127 lb (57.5 kg)


                            • #15

                              I agree and say lower the carbs to under 50 and up the fat/protien.

                              Maybe try adding some sprints in there was well.