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  • Macro Breakdown and Weight Loss Plan Question

    Hey guys - I've thoroughly enjoyed the Primal Blueprint and have had some success establishing many of the changes described in the book. I'm ready to take it to the next level. I'm about 6'4" and weigh 246. I'm probably around 20% bodyfat. I'd like to start losing some weight, specifically fat. I'd like to cut carbs down to around the 75g range. Can you guys tell me if you think this sounds like a good plan?

    Roughly 3100 maintenance cals - so I'm aiming for 2600
    250 grams protein
    75 grams carbs
    145 grams fat

    This means 50% of my daily calories are going to come from fat. Is this too drastic of a change? It's roughly a 500 calorie drop. My plan is to include carbs in my first three meals of the day (breakfast, snack, lunch) and no carbs afterwards. I'm thinking of 25g carbs the first three sitting through potatoes, fruits, etc. I know I'll be hitting 75+ as I'll be getting other trace amounts of carbs from nuts, veggies, etc.

    Does this sound like a good plan?

  • #2
    It sounds like a good starting point for you. You'll have to make adjustments related to the outcomes along the way.
    One area you may find difficult is calculating the macros. To get 250 grams of protein, you'll have to eat a lot of meat. it's hard to calculate the fat content of most meats we eat, whether it be chicken, beef, or pork. Ground or lean. Skin on--skin off. If you are eating 3 big ribeyes for supper, that will probably exceed your fat target for the day. If you are also eating a jar of almond butter, you really blew it!

    But anyway, you'll have to play around with the numbers and don't expect to get it right first time. When you find a good combo for weightloss in the range of 1-2 pounds a week, keep at it til that runs out--don't mess with a good thing! When you have lost most of your weight, it will get harder and harder to see continued loss.

    Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Supawood26 View Post
      Does this sound like a good plan?
      Well, something is wrong in your setup, since your macros gives 2'205 kcal and not 2'600 kcal as you are aiming for. Anyway, 2'205 kcal gives you a energy deficit of 895 kcal per day and that will give you a little less than 2 pound of fat loss per week and that’s a bit more "agressive" than only a 500 kcal deficit that sums up to a pound of fat loss per week…
      Last edited by Gorbag; 11-13-2012, 03:19 PM.
      "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

      - Schopenhauer

      Comment


      • #4
        hey i know lots of people will chime in to the contrary, but you really don't need quite that much protein.

        also, and here's the honest truth - if you're going to count calories really analy, the macros don't matter. you could toggle the fat and carbs all you want. the changes that you'll notice, and that matter, have to do with satiety.

        good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Gorbag View Post
          Well, something is wrong in your setup, since your macros gives 2'205 kcal and not 2'600 kcal as you are aiming for. Anyway, 2'205 kcal gives you a energy deficit of 895 kcal per day and that will give you a little less than 2 pound of fat loss per week and that’s a bit more "agressive" than only a 500 kcal deficit that sums up to a pound of fat loss per week…
          Hey Gorbag - I believe the setup is correct:
          Protein - 250g x 4 cals per gram = 1000 cals
          Carbs - 75g x 4 cals per gram = 300 cals
          Fat - 145g x 9 cals per gram = 1305 cals
          Grand Total - 2605 cals (a 500 deficit from my estimated 3100 maintenance cals)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by otzi View Post
            One area you may find difficult is calculating the macros. To get 250 grams of protein, you'll have to eat a lot of meat. it's hard to calculate the fat content of most meats we eat, whether it be chicken, beef, or pork. Ground or lean. Skin on--skin off. If you are eating 3 big ribeyes for supper, that will probably exceed your fat target for the day. If you are also eating a jar of almond butter, you really blew it!

            But anyway, you'll have to play around with the numbers and don't expect to get it right first time. When you find a good combo for weightloss in the range of 1-2 pounds a week, keep at it til that runs out--don't mess with a good thing! When you have lost most of your weight, it will get harder and harder to see continued loss.

            Good luck.
            I'm going to try not to be too anal about the macros, I figure this is a starting point for me. I'll aim to get 1000 cals from protein sources, 1300 cals from fat sources, and 300 cals from carbs sources and look at it that way. This way the calories should be there and the macros should be pretty close.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jakey View Post
              hey i know lots of people will chime in to the contrary, but you really don't need quite that much protein.

              also, and here's the honest truth - if you're going to count calories really analy, the macros don't matter. you could toggle the fat and carbs all you want. the changes that you'll notice, and that matter, have to do with satiety.

              good luck!
              Jakey - thanks for taking the time to respond. After doing some calorie counting leading up to this - I realize I've been eating roughly 250g carbs per day and relatively low amounts of fat. I'm hoping the biggest result from these changes will be increased satiety...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Supawood26 View Post
                Hey Gorbag - I believe the setup is correct:
                Protein - 250g x 4 cals per gram = 1000 cals
                Carbs - 75g x 4 cals per gram = 300 cals
                Fat - 145g x 9 cals per gram = 1305 cals
                Grand Total - 2605 cals (a 500 deficit from my estimated 3100 maintenance cals)
                Yes you are right, for some strange reason I must have read "150 g" of protein. Sorry about that! I still recommend you to do a larger deficit though, since you are a bigger guy, to go lower on fat maybe 80 - 90 gram, and to keep protein and carbs the same.
                "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

                - Schopenhauer

                Comment


                • #9
                  Gorbag - cool, thanks for the advice. I was thinking of starting w/ 500 to get adapted, see how I progress, and go from there...those are my thoughts at least. I didn't want to have too big of a deficit and then bottom out and binge. My thought process is slow and steady.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    +
                    Originally posted by Supawood26 View Post
                    Gorbag - cool, thanks for the advice. I was thinking of starting w/ 500 to get adapted, see how I progress, and go from there...those are my thoughts at least. I didn't want to have too big of a deficit and then bottom out and binge. My thought process is slow and steady.
                    OK, on a deficit of 500 kcal you will lose a pound of fat per week, and if you think it's safer go for it! After some time you will stall, so remember to make a new adjustment down when that happens. Good luck!
                    "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

                    - Schopenhauer

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Supawood26 View Post
                      Hey guys - I've thoroughly enjoyed the Primal Blueprint and have had some success establishing many of the changes described in the book. I'm ready to take it to the next level. I'm about 6'4" and weigh 246. I'm probably around 20% bodyfat. I'd like to start losing some weight, specifically fat. I'd like to cut carbs down to around the 75g range. Can you guys tell me if you think this sounds like a good plan?

                      Roughly 3100 maintenance cals - so I'm aiming for 2600
                      250 grams protein
                      75 grams carbs
                      145 grams fat

                      This means 50% of my daily calories are going to come from fat. Is this too drastic of a change? It's roughly a 500 calorie drop. My plan is to include carbs in my first three meals of the day (breakfast, snack, lunch) and no carbs afterwards. I'm thinking of 25g carbs the first three sitting through potatoes, fruits, etc. I know I'll be hitting 75+ as I'll be getting other trace amounts of carbs from nuts, veggies, etc.

                      Does this sound like a good plan?
                      No. And here's why:

                      Low carbohydrate is fine in and of itself for sedentary people, but with all that protein, you are going to run into issues. If you are going to eat a high protein diet, you should at a minimum have an average protein:carbohydrate ratio of 1:1. Otherwise, you're probably going to feel lousy. Converting protein into glucose via gluconeogenesis is a very stressful process and really elevates cortisol. It's fine here and there, but if you are constantly consuming a high protein/low carbohydrate diet, you're really going to stress your body, particularly your thyroid and adrenals. That's why you hear so many people eating low carb having their hair fall out, getting cold after eating and having their heart rate drop/thyroid slow. They eat too much protein. For you to maintain a carbohydrate level that low as a percentage of your daily calories, you're really going to have to cut protein consumption and really elevate fats. Do you want to be on a low protein diet? It probably will not keep your body composition the way you want it.

                      If you want to shoot for a high protein diet like that, you're going to have to do one of these things:

                      1.) Cycle your carbohydrate where you eat lower fat/higher carb on workout days and eat higher fat/lower carb on non-workout days (this is what I choose to do).

                      2.) Up your average carbohydrate consumption each day.

                      With a protein intake that high, I'd go for a minimum average carbohydrate level of 250g. That would put your macros at:

                      Fat: 65g
                      Carbohydrate: 250g
                      Protein: 250g

                      My guess is you won't like those numbers. In that case, drop your protein to something more like:

                      Fat: 110g
                      Carbohydrate: 200g
                      Protein: 200g

                      Personally, I think you'll find the second group of macros I laid out ideal because it'll allow you to enjoy an ample amount of everything - lean meats, fatty meats, eggs, fruit, starches, vegetables...IMO it's pretty ideal for your average macros to hit. "Weight loss" comes down solely to calories in vs calories out, so don't stress about the carb count. As long as they're coming from fruits, starchy roots and tubers and other whole foods, you'll be fine if you're in control of your blood sugar. Stay away from the flours and refined sugars and you're pretty much golden. There are more high carb traditional societies free of modern disease than there are high fat/low carb traditional societies, so embrace your roots, tubers and seasonal fruits.

                      EDIT - I want to add that 1:1 protein:carbohydrate is really the MINIMUM. You may actually feel better eating less protein and pushing more of it into carbohydrate. I eat more like 1:1.5 protein:carbohydrate, and most serious lifters will eat more like 1:2. My average carbohydrate intake is probably 200-250g per day (100-150g or so on my rest days, 300-350 on my workout days). I probably get around 150-200g of protein or so a day. The more protein you eat, the more carbohydrate you should eat because protein creates a large glucagon release, and high intakes of protein in the absence of carbohydrate can make you hypoglycemic. I get wobbly if I just eat high protein without carbohydrate to balance it out. You may be able to do it with fat to an extent, but I get sluggish and cold if I drop carbs too low for too long due to my lust for phosphate-rich muscle meats. YMMV. I've learned the hard way to pair my protein with fruit when I'm sitting around and pair it with starch after I lift.
                      Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 11-14-2012, 10:29 AM.
                      Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hey ChocoTaco - thanks for the input but doesn't this contradict what Mark talks about in his book? His weight-loss chapter deals with finding how much protein you need, figuring out the number of carbs you want based on your goals (1-50 for Ketosis, 50-100 "sweet spot" - 100-150 for effortless weight maintenance/recomp, and so on...), and from here, fill in the rest with fat based upon the caloric needs? I'm not disagreeing with you - just asking the question.

                        Mind if I ask you any background info that may substantiate your post or give me an idea of what you do? Obviously I want to take the best/safest route to get to my goals. I already have low cortisol (given from saliva tests). Work by Jack Krause suggests low-carb appraoch for resetting leptin resistance, etc. I'm just trying to do the right thing - thanks!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Supawood26 View Post
                          Hey ChocoTaco - thanks for the input but doesn't this contradict what Mark talks about in his book? His weight-loss chapter deals with finding how much protein you need, figuring out the number of carbs you want based on your goals (1-50 for Ketosis, 50-100 "sweet spot" - 100-150 for effortless weight maintenance/recomp, and so on...), and from here, fill in the rest with fat based upon the caloric needs? I'm not disagreeing with you - just asking the question.
                          No.

                          Mark makes this recommendation for one reason - unintentional calorie cutting. Most people that seek out diet books are a wreck. Their blood sugar is out of control, they're very overweight, etc. These people typically have issues with blood sugar and are literally addicted to flour and sugar. Reducing the carbohydrate content helps aid weight loss for them because it removes low-nutrition/low-satiety foods and naturally increases the consumption of proteins and fats - meat, fish, eggs, etc - and fibrous vegetables - that keep you full for a long time on comparatively less calories. If you come into this fit and active and just looking to get even healthier, adhering to Mark's recommendations will likely hurt you because your performance will likely suffer, and you may actually gain weight because high fat foods are calorically dense and easy to overdo if your maintenance calories are low.

                          Dietary fat is actually more fattening than carbs - fat is what is almost always stored as fat. When you eat a high carbohydrate diet, it's all the tag-along fat being stored as fat tissue. It's very difficult to store carbs as fat and you generally have to keep dietary fat <10% calories from fat for de novo lipogensis (converting carbs to stored fat) to occur. Most Americans are eating 30-40% calories from fat - which is significant - they are just eating poor quality fats and carbs, resulting in a huge calorie surplus all the time paired with nutrient deficiencies. Imagine - we are getting fat AND starving at the same time!

                          If you have stable blood sugar and you aren't looking to drop a massive amount of weight - say less than 30 lbs or so - what is going to matter most is you eating whole foods. Potatoes aren't anymore fattening than avocados. They're both natural, nutrient dense and real food.

                          A very informative read:

                          Lyle McDonald: How We Get Fat

                          Originally posted by Supawood26 View Post
                          Mind if I ask you any background info that may substantiate your post or give me an idea of what you do? Obviously I want to take the best/safest route to get to my goals. I already have low cortisol (given from saliva tests). Work by Jack Krause suggests low-carb appraoch for resetting leptin resistance, etc. I'm just trying to do the right thing - thanks!
                          Far too much reading and personal experimentation. I've watched people on this forum for 2 years get the chills after they eat, have their hair fall out and develop thyroid issues from high protein/low carbohydrate diets. It feels great at first - but after a few months, it hits them hard once the chronically elevated cortisol and low T3 hits them from being in a chronic state of gluconeogenesis.

                          Don't buy into the BS that a lot of these self-righteous "gurus" are trying to sell you. It's as simple as just eating real food. If you can kill it, pick it or dig it up, it's probably food. Eat it. If it comes out of a box or a bag and didn't come from a cow, it probably isn't food, and I say avoid it unless you have a damn good reason to eat it (like it's a slice of your sister's wedding cake or something...I'll forgive you!).

                          This is a helpful read.

                          Whole Health Source: Clarifications About Carbohydrate and Insulin
                          Whole Health Source: Is Sugar Fattening?
                          Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 11-14-2012, 11:48 AM.
                          Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Supawood26 View Post
                            Hey ChocoTaco - thanks for the input but doesn't this contradict what Mark talks about in his book? His weight-loss chapter deals with finding how much protein you need, figuring out the number of carbs you want based on your goals (1-50 for Ketosis, 50-100 "sweet spot" - 100-150 for effortless weight maintenance/recomp, and so on...), and from here, fill in the rest with fat based upon the caloric needs? I'm not disagreeing with you - just asking the question.

                            Mind if I ask you any background info that may substantiate your post or give me an idea of what you do? Obviously I want to take the best/safest route to get to my goals. I already have low cortisol (given from saliva tests). Work by Jack Krause suggests low-carb appraoch for resetting leptin resistance, etc. I'm just trying to do the right thing - thanks!
                            Yes....yes it does. Don't fall for the fear mongering against low carb. People will vilify cortisol in the same way they that they think insulin has been vilified. It's just intellectually dishonest. Not to mention there is another important factor to gluconeogenesis called glucagon...so the cortisol bit is overhyped anyhow. No proof whatsoever that you will nuke your thyroid or create adrenal fatigue to any degree greater than being in a caloric deficit would do on its own either.

                            That said I agree that you could go with slightly less proteing (.7-1.0g/lean mass lbs) that will still give you great re composition. It will actually be the best way to cut and retain lean mass. The studies indicate that sufficient protein along with resistance training is most important for retaining lean mass. You will achieve that with the above quoted portion. You could increase fat if you need more calories, and if 75g carbs seems too low you can throw a re-feed in every few weeks. Or if your working out very hard on a daily basis you may actually need higher carbs....but, as jake said you can play with those two things.

                            Seriously just follow the book and if your fit you will get even more so. Follow the guidelines in the PB without listening to the hoopla on this forum and you'll do just fine. Actually after re-reading the Lyle stuff along with his "ketogenic diet" page and "nutritional intake, storage, and oxidation" I don't don't see anything that would not advocate a low carb diet?! For all that I don't care for his comments, I dunno what the argument is here. He says high carbs leads to burning more carbs and less fat.....well ya, thats kinda the point of keeping the carbs lower.
                            Last edited by Neckhammer; 11-14-2012, 04:58 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And this is why trying to lose weight is frustrating.

                              ChocoTaco - I read the Lyle McDonald post and I see what he is saying and why you made the recommendations you made. With regards to my physical state - I'm 6'4, roughly 245 lbs, probably 20% of greater bodyfat percentage. I'm probably looking at losing right around 30 lbs...I'm not so sure what my ideal weight would be until I get there. I have low cortisol and can post the test results if you think that would be helpful. Would you recommend a 500 cals deficit or greater? Also, if only 500, and knowing that I'm looking at a drop of 20-30 lbs, would you stick w/ the macro breakdown you initially posted? Thanks for taking the time to respond.

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