Hey all, need some help
Just joined the forum after about a year of lurking. I've been eating primal/paleo style for about 2 years now and just recently have encountered some issues with disordered eating habits.
Before I get into my story here's some background info:
-I'm a Male, 5'9, 18 years of age.
-I'm currently enrolled in a one year intensive visual effects program (high stress/sedentary)
Started at: 156lbs
About 5 months ago I made the decision to lose some body fat after being sedentary for 6 months due to injury+school. I began tracking my calories on my fitnesspal and started with an easy cut:
-1750-1650 calories a day (not net)
-3x week doing strength training /light cardio (20 minutes)
- 2 days of cardio (60 minute sessions)
-no more than 150g of carb a day
-no more than 60g of sugar
I began to lose weight slowly but I wasn't seeing results so I cut my carbs/calories and raised my exercise and now 5 months later I'm doing:
-1350-1550 calories (not net)
-3x strength+ 30 minute HIIT a week
-3x 45-60 minute HIIT cardio a week
- No more than 100g of carb a day
- No more than 40g of sugar a day
Over the past month, I've been experiencing intense night sweats (my bed gets completely soaked), painful muscle cramps in the morning and I'm constantly freezing despite being in well air conditioned environments. While my cardio has improved and I've cut down alot of fat, my gym performance is suffering and I feel and move like an old person (constantly tired, stressed, grumpy.)
The thing is I'm no longer hungry throughout the day and fear my metabolism is shot. I also feel like I do better on fats than carbs.
Here's an average day:
7 am Breakfast: (example: 3 eggs,1 lb of frozen vegs, 1/2 avocado)
2 pm Lunch: lunch (can of tuna, 1lb of veg, 1/2 avocado)
8 pm Dinner: (2 eggs, 1/2lb of veg, 1/4 can of coconut milk)
Now what I want to do is maintain my body composition and not feel like crap throughout the day. How would i got about doing this? Is it possible for me to make smalls gains without gaining body fat?
Thank you so much for reading, I'm a major noob (as you can see) ,any advice would would greatly appreciated
I'm not too sure what everyone else will say, but to me it seems like you're eating way less than you need to be, especially if you're doing workouts fairly often. It definitely stood out to me that you aren't really eating any meat. Are you on a student budget? Or is there any other reason for why you aren't?
I have to agree with Ashley... Your calories are really low for an 18 year old man, even a sedentary one, let alone someone who's now pretty active! You've obviously lost weight, but do you know how much of that weight was fat mass vs. muscle mass? With calories that low, I'd be concerned about lean muscle loss. How's your recovery?
I would think upping the fat and protein calories would be the best strategy. I know that the idea of increasing calories can be hard when you've lost weight, and you're worried about losing ground, but there is a difference between good calories and bad calories. The weight loss you've had isn't necessarily a result of eating less, but of eating less of the bad stuff, which is a great first step... Now you just need to add in more of the good stuff!!
I agree too. you're under-eating by a lot.
i suggest eating more, and to get the body composition/look that you want, do a lifting (body weight or otherwise) routine 3x week.
I'm a woman, five ft seven and god and fit, and i weigh 128.
I completely agree with Kmilloy. You need to remember your body is a machine. When you eat, all the energy and nutrients from what you eat go to the vital parts of your body that keep it running (your organs). Once they get enough, any that's left over go out to the rest of your body, such as muscles, skin, hair, etc. If you aren't eating enough, your body wont be capable of sending the nutrients to everywhere that needs it. Once you start exercising, that means not only does your body need those nutrients to function normally, your muscles will need extra to help them recover and rebuild.
I also think that the small amount of food and lack of diversity means lack of minerals and vitamins too. What veggies are you eating throughout the day?
Like Kmilloy said, at this point, you need to stop worrying as much about the calories and eat more of the good stuff that's going to fuel your body.
If you're wanting to maintain, I think it would be safe for you to cut down on the amount of cardio you do, and increase your food by a few hundred calories. As long as you're strength training and doing HIIT occasionally you should be fine. I just think that now you're where you want to be, you're body is exhausted. Give it some well deserved rest.
As a comparison for you, this is an average day for me. I'm a 22 y/o female, 5'1 and 110 lbs. I play 1-2 hours of tennis usually every day and a couple times a week do about 20 min of body weight exercises.
3-5 hardboiled eggs
2 apricots/ 1 cup berries/ grapefruit (whatever fruit I feel like and have)
a sandwich bag full of veggies
1 sandwich bag of veggies
1-2 cans of tuna
1 steak/ chicken breasts or thighs/ pork chops, etc
salad/ 3 cups cooked veggies
dark chocolate and almonds (girls gotta have her chocolate!)
Yeah, I'm on a pretty tight budget right now but try and vary my protein sources a little bit per week. I would normally substitute the 3 eggs in the morning with 4-5 oz ground beef or the can of tuna (they are the 4 oz cans) with 5 oz of chicken thighs. I also generally tend to avoid pork but maybe I'll reconsider given my current circumstances.
So if I'm raising my calories I should still keep my carbs lowish (75-100g) and up my fats/protein?
Last edited by dkstee; 06-01-2013 at 02:31 AM.
On days that you exercise, you'll need some extra carbs. Sweet potatoes, bananas, etc. I'm not too sure where you're from but those are usually inexpensive. The only reason I'm suggesting sweet potatoes over white ones is for nutrient value, but those are acceptable too for a quick dose of carbs.
I'd suggest trying to stay under 150g of carbs a day still on days you are doing more intense workouts, but if you go over the odd day I don't think it will cause too many issues. Just listen to your own body. I know if I don't eat enough carbs when I work out, I get tired and weak.
Lots of this is trial and error since everyone's bodies react differently. For most people, between .7-1lb of protein per lb of lean body mass is optimal for each day. You can figure yours out with online calculators
I know, I've felt like I was working out like a crazy woman and not eating and my metabolism just shut down. I pretty much lost my mind. I've learned when I work out like crazy, I need the carbs to lose weight.
I believe you need more of everything. You cannot compare yourself to women or even a 30 year old man on here. You are at a prime age for a male, you are still developing, you need fat/calories/protein more than anyone! Feed your body tons of fat/protein/veggies and good carbs (sweet potatoes!) and your body will respond greatly!
Also, I've been following Dr. Mercola for years and he always says HIIT cardio is taxing on your body and you should only do it 1-2x's a week. - just something to think about but being your age, you probably could get away with it but please-- go eat some potatoes and a whole rotisserie chicken with the skin on it!
Your body is literally starving, which is why you are experiencing all those negative effects. For an 18yo male at the activity levels you describe, you should probably be taking in close to double the amount of calories you are currently, utilizing all three macros (fats/proteins/carbs).
I'm curious though, since you mentioned disordered eating- can you elaborate on what you mean by that? You seem to have dropped your body weight to an unhealthy level, I wonder if you are experiencing body dysmorphia as well. It has been shown that men are increasingly developing both eating disorders and body image issues, and if that is what is at play here then you are going to need more help than a forum can give you.
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