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Need help tweaking the knobs and dials

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  • Need help tweaking the knobs and dials

    Hey folks,
    I’m at a point where I’d appreciate some advice to see if I can optimize some things to see better results, I’m just a little bit stuck to know what to try next.
    Bio: 31 M 5’8 224lbs

    My background is that I’ve been Paleo-ish for about a year. I started over a year ago with Tim Ferris’s 4 hour body, on which I dropped about 15lbs in two months basically eating paleo + legumes, my only exercise was walking about 3 miles most days. I tend to track calories when I’m first getting into something like this, so looking back I see I was eating about ~1500-2000 calories a day, with 50-150g of carbs per day. I didn’t avoid fat, but I was usually going for leaner cuts, like chicken – so protein was the main calorie source.

    After I got down to 200, I basically went on auto pilot. I tried to mostly keep the same diet, but became less strict about it. I rarely if ever ate wheat, but items like tortilla chips and rice crackers showed up more and more, I also drank a lot of beer and mixed drinks, so more sugar showed up in my diet.I actually thought I was doing alright, as I was avoiding wheat + sugary baked goods and candy pretty consistently… last month though, I got on the scale and realized I was back to 226.

    Since then, I’ve been strict paleo – my worst cheat the entire month has been a single glass or red wine. I’ve also started crossfitting 3 times a week, though it’s still too cold out for long daily walks. The issue is, I’ve seen almost no change – I dropped 2 lbs immediately, settled at 224, and have been there since. I haven’t seen body composition change, but I haven’t been measuring – though I’m going to start.

    A normal day of food for me consists of:
    Breakfast: 2 eggs cooked in grassfed butter, sausage or bacon, coffee

    Lunch: Meat (often conventional chicken) + green vegetable, broccoli or brussels sprouts

    Dinner: Meat + green vegetable, maybe a salad with EVOO

    Snacks : Macadamia nuts (less than 1 oz), a couple of clementines, a serving of sunflower seed butter, snap peas

    I eat around 1900 calories. About 60% fat, 30% protein, 10% carbs. Maybe a little more on crossfit days, mostly in the form of fat and protein. I eat until I'm full, I just track calories because I like to have a food log.

    So what’s my deal? Should I be tweaking something? Or do I just need some patience? I find it strange that I seemed to have faster results when I was eating legumes and higher carbs.
    Last edited by Kastro; 03-22-2013, 07:48 AM.

  • #2
    This is my recommendation, coming from another guy, who has been where you are and worked it out for myself, with much help from this forum.

    Do these things:
    1. Limit alcohol to 1 or 2 drinks a week, or stop altogether, for at least a year.
    2. Absolutely zero wheat, refined sugar, or vegetable oils (foods fried in them, or contained in prepared foods)
    3. Breakfast - skip it every day
    4. Lunch around 11 or 12, eat 1-2 servings of fish/seafood nearly everyday and vegetables, no fruit.
    5. Dinner around 5-7, eat a bunch of meat, 1/2 - 1 pound, beef, chicken, fish, wild game, liver, eggs etc...Also eat a big serving of starch most days, like 2 potatoes, big pile of rice, squash, plantains, etc... no corn or legumes. Eat most starch on days you exercised hardest, on other days, eat starch--just not as much. Have a serving of fruit (or berries better yet) or two if you like, have some nuts (almonds or macas), have some really dark (80-100%) chocolate if you like.
    6. Don't snack outside of meals, drink coffee if you do, drink water when thirsty--don't force it.
    7. Don't count calories or macros, but get an idea of what you can eat to maintain your weight on, then after a month or two, if you are not where you want to be, cut back on something frivolous, like nuts or butter or cheese--not the core stuff like meat, veggies and starch.
    8. Don't add fats for flavor, but don't avoid fats, either. Don't pour olive oil all over your veggies, don't drown your potatoes in butter and sour cream, don't deep fry your chicken in coconut oil.
    9. Take whatever supplements you like, but as a minimum you may want to take Vit D3, 1000-5000IU/day. Most others are just a waste of money and you should be getting all your nutrients through your food.
    10. Exercise - Forget crossfit, you only need 4 exercises: Walk/Sprint, Pushups, Pullups, Squats. Walk a lot every day, sprint a couple spurts a couple times a week. Learn to do good pullups; by the time you can do 20 good ones in a row, you will be lean and muscular. Do as many squats and pushups throughout the day as you can manage to fit into your schedule. 10-25 at a time is a good goal for each, maybe 3-5 times a day.

    Eating and exercising like I have outlined becomes very intuitive and it's sustainable. Counting every calorie and aiming for exact macros is not sustainable, as you have found out. Same with exercise, if you eventually become lean and want to get athletic, take up crossfit and weightlifting, but for now, stick to some basic functional stuff you can do every day or at least 3-5 times a week for most.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      This is helpful stuff, thanks! I'll start playing with some of it to see if I can find the proper recipe.


      • #4
        Just a little update - I put many of your suggestions into effect, and have seen a decent "woosh" of weight loss and body recomp.
        Since I made a lot of changes at once, it's hard to know what was the missing piece - but I'm leaning heavily towards carbs. I did a bit of a carb refeed last Friday and saw results almost immediately. Based on this, and past weight loss experiences I think I do a lot better in that 100-150 carb range than I do sub 50. I'm going to keep my carb level a little higher overall, and do occasional ~200 carb refeed days to keep the ball rolling.

        thanks again


        • #5
          Aw, I like winter walking! Unless the ipod freezes, then I give up.

          I agree with otzi that precise reckoning of everything is no way to live but 10% carb + sweating seems like a difficult combo. Plus manufacturing glucose from meat gets pretty expensive.

          My peculiar nutrition glossary and shopping list


          • #6
            I'd guess you probably want to get down to about 165-170. At some point, you are going to have to come to terms with the fact that you will never be able to eat all you want. That was probably the hardest thing for me.

            When I was losing weight, I kept thinking: 'as soon as I hit X pounds, I will be able to relax a bit', but relaxing meant putting weight back on. I think a big key is finding a food intake and exercise level that lets you maintain your weight. To lose a bit more, you have to decrease food and/or increase exercise, but to retain the weightloss, you can't go back to your old maintenance level of calories and exercise--you have to cut a bit more.

            When I look at what I'm eating now to maintain my current weight compared to what I was eating when I didn't care about weight, it is totally amazing!


            • #7
              I hear that. Twice in my life I've lost a substantial amount of weight, and regained it - once after adopting a paleo approach, and then gradually letting more and more bad food back in to my life. I'm working much harder this time on finding strategies to maintain the loss than I have in the past. I don't want to grow complacent again.

              That is the main reason I've decided to keep Crossfitting. I've never been athletic or really enjoyed any type of workout, however I really enjoy Crossfit. For me it's as much about finding a first time knowledge and love of athletics as it is any specific performance goals.