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Thread: Macro Breakdown and Weight Loss Plan Question page 2

  1. #11
    ChocoTaco369's Avatar
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    Quote 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 at 10:29 AM.
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  2. #12
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    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!

  3. #13
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    Quote 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

    Quote 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 at 11:48 AM.
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  4. #14
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    Quote 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 at 04:58 PM.

  5. #15
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    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.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supawood26 View Post
    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.
    30 lbs for someone that is 6'4" isn't a lot of weight. Given your weight and body fat percentage, there is very little chance you're Type 2 Diabetic or pre-diabetic I'm assuming. There is no reason to go very low carbohydrate - and for a guy of your size, 75g of carbohydrate is damn near ketosis.

    500 calories a day is a decent deficit. If you drop too much, you're going to compromise lean muscle mass. The slower your deficit, the more fat vs muscle you'll lose. Do you lift weights? Do you have heavy exercise days? If you do, I recommend cycling your calories - eating maintenance on days you lift or exercise heavy and cutting harder on days you don't. If you work out 3 days a week, cut cals by around 850 on days you rest and eat maintenance the days you don't. That'll help ensure you retain or even build muscle while losing fat, and it'll put you at the same deficit.

    Responding to Neckhammer's post, don't let him mislead you. There is no metabolic advantage to a ketogenic diet. It all comes down to the calorie deficit, and if you keep your protein level equivalent, it's not really going to matter what your fat/carbs breakdown comes from as long as you pick whole food sources that keep you full (don't go comparing steak and eggs to flour and sugar). Do not underestimate how stressful on your body a prolonged diet of meat and vegetables can be. Danny Roddy covers a lot of this in his "Your Gut From Hell" series.

    Your Gut From Hell, Or: Why The Evolutionary Model of Intestinal Health Is Goofy &mdash; The Danny Roddy Weblog
    Your Gut From Hell Part II: A Ray Peat Inspired Digestive Primer &mdash; The Danny Roddy Weblog

    If you're really brave, look at his "Becoming Stress Proof" series.

    The orthodox paleo view is ridiculous as it's a completely assumed diet, and it treats carbohydrate as optional and meat and vegetables as king. While it's true your body doesn't need to directly consume carbohydrate to survive, what's essential and what's optimal are two entirely different things. It doesn't address the major issue of excess cortisol and the insanely imbalanced ratio of calcium to phosphate in the Whole 30-style diet. Look around this forum for threads about hair loss and body chills. It's real.

    We may not know what the ideal diet is, but we do know that life generally evolved around the Equator where leaner game meats and fruits/tubers reigned. We also know that the majority of traditional civilizations still in existence today consume more carbohydrate than fat. There are very few low carbohydrate societies in comparison, and you probably didn't descend from those societies since the people didn't emigrate to cold climates where fatty game was common until very recently (comparatively).

    Just some food for thought. Ultimately, no one can tell you what to eat. You need to find out what you feel best on. But it's a reality that you may feel best eating more carbohydrate than you think. Just choose quality sources of starch and seasonal fruits.
    Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 11-14-2012 at 10:01 PM.
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  7. #17
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    Thanks again for taking the time to respond - it's amazing how easy this stuff goes on for me now. My most difficult time is the weekend. I can eat perfectly but on the weekends, I fall off of the wagon hard!

    I do lift weight - I workout 3x per week and cycle through heavy weights and high rep/low weights as well. It's highly varied but is planned.

    I'll give those articles a look this afternoon when things slow down. I do feel better when I eat "primal" food and avoid gluten. What is your take on cottage cheese and greek yogurt?

    What are quality sources of starch you eat regularly?

  8. #18
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    Most cottage cheese is pretty awful and contains a load of gums, preservatives and "modified food starch." Whatever that is. There are two brands I can find in most major grocers that are legitimate - Friendship brand 1% to 4% unflavored is all clean and only contains milk ingredients and salt (the 0% is not, avoid it). Daisy also makes 2% and 4% that only contains milk ingredients and salt.

    My personal favorite is Friendship brand 1% cottage cheese with no salt added (dark red container). Maybe you'll have other options in your location. Just check the labels.

    I'm okay with unflavored Greek yogurt. I buy Trader Joe's 0%. Some may frown at 0%, but I use it for essentially pure milk protein, not a fat source. Maybe you like full fat, maybe you like 2%. Technically, full fat will have the highest nutrient content since vitamins A & K are found in the fat so going low fat or fat free removes nutrients, and the added D is fat soluble, so it needs to be consumed along with a fat source to be absorbed. I won't eat flavored yogurt. If I want pineapple yogurt, I'll just add pineapple to my plain yogurt. If I want vanilla yogurt, I'll add vanilla. Flavored yogurts are bulked up with lots of cheap sugar.

    It's up to you how you react to dairy. I only seem to have issues with homogenized milk, so I eat cheese and yogurt often.

    My regular sources of starch are white potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantains and bananas. I eat a lot of fruit, though. I'm running through 3 lb bags of apples right now like crazy. I'm going through 6 lbs of honeycrisps a week. I can't describe to you how much I crave apples in the fall...and as soon as it gets warm it goes away. Funny how that works. I also make my own ice cream (cream, milk or coconut milk and 8-9 whole eggs) with coconut sugar, so I do eat quality sources of sugar (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar). I'll eat white sugar if someone makes something with it in it, but I don't use it myself directly. It's empty calories, but it's "clean." Again, YMMV and if "clean sugar" makes you feel bad or you can't lose weight, you should cut it out. For me, it helps me recover after deadlifts and squats, but I use it more for medicinal purposes, ha. Someone that sits in an office all day and just walks or jogs for exercise should avoid it probably.
    Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 11-15-2012 at 08:39 AM.
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  9. #19
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    Thanks for the response - I'm sorry for the delay, I never got notice that anyone replied. I'll look at my store to see if they carry Daisy. I've never seen friendship.

    I'll have to look out for Trader Joe's - we have one in my town and it's on the opposite side of town (about 30 minutes away). I rarely head out that way so we'll see. I don't react to dairy - gluten is a different story.

    Thanks for the thoughts on the starches - I usually lump bananas and plantains into my "fruit" thinking...but maybe that's part of the problem with my thinking. I should expand my starch possibilities to fruit and view them as such. Here is what I typically eat in a day - would you mind critiquing? This is aiming for roughly 2200 cals:

    Breakfast (or post-workout when lifting weights in the morning)
    6 oz cooked protein (typically chicken, pork)
    200 cals from starch (lately been sweet potatoes)
    100 cals from fat (typically butter or bacon fat)
    veggies (usually cooked in the fat choice above)

    10:00
    200 cals from cottage cheese
    200 cals from greek yogurt
    100 cals from almond butter

    1:00
    200 cals from protein (chicken, pork, fish, sometimes beef)
    200 cals from starch (rice, potatoes)
    100 cals from fat (butter usually)
    salad (low-calorie dressing)

    5:30
    200 cals from cottage cheese or protein shake
    100 cals from starch (if workout day) or 100 cals from fat (if rest day)

    7:00
    200 cals from protein
    200 cals from starch (if workout day)
    50 cals from fat (if workout day)
    200 cals from fat (if rest day, no carbs)

    Thanks dude!

  10. #20
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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Any thoughts?

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