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Thread: I Want To Be Wrong.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Narberth, PA

    I Want To Be Wrong.

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    I think I'm doing it wrong! And I'm thrilled!

    My Primal journey has been an interesting one. Here I am 14 months in and I feel like I've been doing this for a lifetime. I've experienced a lot, and I've learned a lot. I've had some fantastic successes and some huge failures. On the whole, this has been the most exciting and enlightening experience of my life, and I owe my newfound health, energy and strength to mainly two people: Mark Sisson and Martin Berkhan. I am a new person and barely recognizable from who I was a little over a year ago. Since graduating college in 2009, old friends I bump into that I haven't seen since college barely recognize me. It's not just the dramatic change in my build and the improvements in my hair and skin, but the newfound confidence I radiate. I've grown up my entire life being uncomfortable about my body. I was always one of the smallest, chubbiest and weakest people in the room (despite being born with very good hand-eye coordination). Though I've never been fat, I've always been embarrassed of my body, and the shyness carried through. For the first time in my life, I stand out in a crowd instead of blending in, and I owe it all to this lifestyle and those who supported me throughout my journey.

    That being said, it's been FAR from a smooth ride. I've learned a lot and altered my body composition significantly, but I've hit a serious plateau recently. When I first began my Primal journey, I was under the impression that it wasn't about calories and "all about insulin." My first few months, I was strictly low carbohydrate all the time. While my health improved dramatically, I attribute it to dropping grains and sugars, not being low-carb. My strength and body composition didn't really improve dramatically until I started cycling carbohydrate - high on lift days (and therefore low fat to compensate) and low on off days (and therefore higher fat). However, since then, I've suffered some setbacks.

    I really started delving deep into calorie theory. I did two 6 week cycles on the Ultimate Diet 2.0. This taught me all about calories and how they really affected my body composition. I got leaner than I ever had been in my entire life, and I felt awesome. But then something happened. My 12 weeks of hard work entirely disappeared in 2-3 weeks of eating normally. Actually, I put all the fat I lost back on and then some, and I wasn't overeating because of my hunger. It was so disheartening - all that work for NOTHING! So, I took some time off and let it ride. Starting in March, I decided to dive back in, but cycle calories more conservatively using the Leangains-method.

    According to calorie calculators and equations, my maintenance is around 2,400 calories being a moderately active 25 year old male. With a classic -20%/0% (off day/lift day) caloric split, that would put me around 1,900 calories on off days and 2,400 calories on lift days. After my UD2 experience, I decided that wasn't aggressive enough. I decided to go 1,600/2,200. And it seemed to be working. But then, it kind of stopped. Out of frustration, I took two weeks off. All the fat piled back on just eating normally. More frustrated, I went more aggressive. I did 1,300/2,200. This time the fat stopped coming off. This went all the way til Memorial Day. After a few days of heavy BBQ indulgence, I decided I'd really buckle down and do a one week PSTM. That took me all the way up until today. In the past 2 days, I've worked a total of 25 hours on about 1,200 calories (estimated). I've eaten nothing but super lean beef and greens. I felt like shit. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

    I'm getting obsessed.

    For the past few months, I've totally crushed my metabolism. All my lifts were going through the roof, and for the past 6 weeks I've fallen flat on my ass. I can't lift anymore, my recovery is down and I haven't been losing fat, even though I've been cutting pretty hard. Well, maybe, JUST MAYBE I've messed up my metabolism and my body thinks it's starving? Brilliant deduction. And maybe because it thinks it's starving, it's immediately piling on all excess calories into fat storage at all times? Even more brilliant deduction! Maybe, just maybe...I'M DOING IT WRONG! So, I feel it's time to do a TRUE experiment, Leangains-style for all to see. The experiment will consist of:

    - Eating more fat
    - Eating more carbs
    - Eating more protein

    Wait, I think I'll just EAT MORE FOOD! I'll actually follow the plan this time instead of trying to go harder for the sake of fast results. I've tried that, and the end result is I've gotten the chubbiest I've been in 6 months, while simultaneously I've been the hungriest. Eat my way thin? Is it possible? We'll see if I crash and burn. So here's the rules:

    I'm doing this for 8 weeks. This is where I'm beginning at. I took this picture immediately coming home from work (it's the chubbiest I've been in a long time ):

    This is the plan I will stick to:

    This will be the most food I have eaten in a long time. And I'm very, very excited.

    I will be tracking calories as much as I can. Sorry, but it's the only way to see if the "eat more = lose more" experiment works. I won't physically be able to track 100% of the time, but I will try and have a strict 80% adherence (80/20 rule in effect!).

    I feel this is a good time to begin because I essentially had a post-workout refeed on Saturday, a big BBQ on Sunday, a BBQ on Monday, and I just fed on a large meal right now to rev up my metabolism again.

    There will be two photoshoots: one at week 4 and one at week 8, as well as a weigh-in on each. As of now, I weigh 144 lbs. I will track all my lifts as well to see strength increases (I will post tomorrow as my journal is in the trunk of my car) to see if I got stronger after the 8 week cycle.

    There will be lots of Fitdays and lots of food porn. And to get things started, here is my kickoff meal I just crushed:

    Three home-ground 95% lean burgers fried in bacon grease with two strips of uncured bacon, a pile of satsumaimo sweet potato fries and a bowl of pumpkin yogurt with creme frainche and chocolate syrup topped with walnuts.

    My goal at the end of this experience: to prove to myself that I've been doing it wrong the past few months, and the true path to fat loss is the SLOW road. Aggression seems to lead to failure. Maybe it's crappy genetics, and maybe this experiment will be yet another thread detailing "what not to do." Whatever happens, I invite you along for the ride. Clearly, eating less and less food seems to be making me fat. So maybe I really CAN eat myself thin.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Fredericksburg, Virginia
    Choco, you are way better informed than I am, so there's no way I can give you advice. I can only give you my best wishes for your success. Your posts on here have always impressed me, so I'm sure you will be successful in figuring it out one way or another. You just go for it, buddy.
    Live your life and love your life. It's the only one you get.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Subscribing. I'm all ears dude. Lots I could say here, but I won't flame you. Props for posting pics.
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Following. I'm beginning to think the "slow and steady wins the race" thing might actually be right too, so I'll be looking forward to seeing your results. I don't always agree with what you say but you are easily one of the most well informed, well researched individuals I've come across. Best of luck dude
    Went Primal July 25th, 2011.

    Current Age: 25

    Total Loss: 126 lbs

    Starting Stats: Weighed 266 lbs, Body Fat 37.6% (100 lbs), BMI 40.9

    Current Stats: Weight 140 lbs, Body Fat 15.2% (21.1 lbs), BMI 21.2

    Current Goals: Get a stronger core through Pilates and continue being as Primal as I can be.

    My Weight Loss Notes Now on a blog page. It starts with "My Weight Loss: Introduction." Available to the public, share with friends if you'd like!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Narberth, PA
    Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it. But I have been struggling lately.

    I remember when I first started the Primal Blueprint. I just went by Mark's definition. I ate whole foods, I ate bigass salads...but there was a difference. I used to load up my salads with sharp cheddar, avocado, pour on olive oil without regard, sear my meats in lots of oil, make coconut flour treats, I didn't track macros much, etc. I wasn't losing much fat doing this. I had a SMALL recomp, I got a little stronger, but I definitely wasn't gaining. I looked back at a handful of Fitday's from March and April of 2011 and what I saw stunned me.

    Most of my calories were around 2,500. I was regularly consuming fat in the 150g/day range. My protein was about the same, and my carbs were about the same as what I eat now because while I didn't do large refeeds like I do now, I ate fruit every single day. Now, I stopped putting oil on my salad and use just vinegar, I started cooking things in stock instead of oil, I don't eat fruit on days I don't lift meaning off days are much lower carb now, and I'm averaging 500 calories/day LESS now even though I'm the same weight but have CONSIDERABLY more muscle. Basically, I should have a HIGHER maintenance calorie level NOW and I'm eating LESS, yet I'm getting fatter eating less calories. WTF?


    So, I'm going back to my roots. I'm going back to oil on my salads, I'm going back to pan frying in fats, I'm going to eat more fruit at all times, I'm going to overall eat larger meals and I'm going to keep my refeeds still large. I expect to see BIG GAINS in my lifts, and if I'm right and I get my metabolism out of this funk, I'm hoping to see a big recomp. I think I've been literally starving myself for 6 months and I've just gotten used to a feeling of constant hunger.

    Tomorrow is a lift day and I put an ounce of walnuts in my bigass salad. ZOMG FATS ON A WORKOUT DAY! And I'm eating THREE whole apples along with it. It's literally double the size of my typical BAS and has more fat, carbs AND protein than normal, so I'm excited. This still leaves me 1,500-1,600 calories for my post-workout meal, which is it's normal size, so tomorrow's going to be fun for me I also bought an avocado the size of a grapefruit at Trader Joe's today, so that's going in a BAS tomorrow. And damn it, there will be cheese and bacon.
    Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 05-30-2012 at 08:16 PM.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Also subscribed. Very interested in how this works for ya. I'm in a weird spot where I just can't bypass the 15/16% body fat point. Only made slight progress in the last year. Good strength gains, but they aren't visibly apparent.
    August 2010: 207 lb, 37" waist, 25+% BF | Currently: 177 lb, 33" waist, ~15% BF

    I have a new site up and will soon be blogging at The Wayward Mind. (My journal is semi-retired at this point)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    I had a pretty interesting experience about a month back. Since I lost my original 25kg I've hovered up and down in between 9% to 15% body fat over the last 12 months which actually takes me a fair bit of effort and diligence. I had also been experimenting with weekly refeeds a little as well.

    Anyway, a month ago my uncle asked me to help him out in his bakery for a few days so I worked with him for 5 days and I thought "stuff it, i'll just eat whatever to make the most of a shitty job/situation". I had also remembered reading something about how if you really want to restore leptin, even a full day worth of refeeding/overfeeding probably wouldn't do the job and you won't get the same result with protein and fat, it had to be a real pig out over a few days and it has to be carb heavy. Perfect opportunity.
    I tried to keep it mainly low fat but I wasn't obsessive, so for 5 days in a row I pigged out on cereal for breakfast, mushroom rolls, date scones, berry scones, chicken and beef sandwiches, pizzas with limited cheese but tonnes of bbq sauce, finger buns, raisin muffins with jam etc. I was probably averaging around 3500 - 4000 calories at about 70% carbs. I usually eat around 1800 - 2200.
    I was still making myself a primal meal of steak and vegetable for dinner to add at least some sort of dietary balance.

    I felt pretty cruddy doing it (partly psychological because I thought I was destroying my health goals but at the same time it was pretty damn enjoyable) and by the end of the 5 days I was a little bloated and had visibly put on a little abdomen fat. Over the next few weeks I went back to my standard low/moderate carb primal diet and I shed the weight effortlessly, not only that but my sleep has improved, my appetite regulated, I have more energy, I wake up easily in the mornings and I just feel better overall without the afternoon slump. Sometimes I'm even awake at 5am wishing it was 7am already so my day would begin, something I haven't felt in years. I think it was something my body really needed.

    I'm not really recommending it to anyone as I'm sure it could backfire on a lot people (especially celiacs or the gluten intolerant lol). But I do think some people could do with a bit of a break if they've been steadily trying to maintain a certain BF% and it has down regulated thyroid function and BMR, which it obviously had done for me. It's something I'm probably going to repeat it every 6 months or so but I'll be a bit more sensible with it next time around using more foods like rice, rice bubbles, potatoes, sourdough bread, skim milk and maybe even some scones, jam and cereal for old times sake.
    Last edited by Forgotmylastusername; 05-31-2012 at 03:17 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Of course I will be following along.
    I'll be back with a more insightful post later...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    North Carolina
    @Forgotmylastusername: I think you might be thinking about this Lyle McDonald post: The Full Diet Break | BodyRecomposition - The Home of Lyle McDonald

    @Choco: I think your new plan looks good. I remember in the Leangains post where Martin describes his own path to ripped-ness, he made the point that it's important to gradually shift calories if you're going from a bulk to a cut or vice-versa. If I remember correctly, he cut for a good while, then ate at maintenance for a week before upping his calories further to start a bulk. Sounds like slow and steady wins the race.

    And also that balance is key. I used to think balls-to-the-wall was the best way to do lots of things, but I'm actually starting to believe what so many people have been saying forever: moderation in all things.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Shop Now
    I'll be following (as usual) to see your progress. I've recently discovered that slow and steady DOES win the race, and a couple of sprinting periods thrown in here and there don't hurt a bit.

    Thanks for sharing another experiment and good luck! Looking forward to reading about it.
    Life is not a matter of having good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.

    - Robert Louis Stevenson

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