Apologies for the length of this. Need some advice about weight loss and what I might need to do different to start losing. I???m a 39 year old male and have gained and lost the same 160 (!!!) pounds since the time I was in my teens. I have been 160lbs or so at my best (though I have weighed less, but unhealthy) and 320lbs or so at my worst. After working very hard to lose 120lbs in 2012 to early 2013, I am now back up to about 280lbs and devastated. I???m 5???10???. I went Paleo/Primal back in November, but have definitely had my major stumbles.
For full-disclosure, In my teens and 20???s I suffered from periods of anorexia and bulimia. In my early 30???s I went through periods of starving myself and then eating unbelievable amounts of food but not purging. I really have no idea what a proper amount of food for me is. The only diet successes I have had have been doing Medifast type diets, which are mainly protein shakes and one meal a day of lean protein and green veg and end up being about 800 to 1000 calories a day at most on the lower carb spectrum. That???s how I have consistently been able to lose 120 to 150 lbs in a year???s time and I feel like if I don???t cut calories down to a drastic level, I just don???t lose weight. But it???s not sustainable, and I want to improve my health and do something I can sustain.
I seem to gain weight so easily and rapidly and I???m not sure how to heal that. I know people say don???t count calories???and I haven???t been since trying Paleo/Primal, but I???m clearly not losing and have actually gained after an initial 15lb weight loss in the first month. Would it help if I tried to keep my calories at a level consistent with the weight I want to be (back to 160lbs)? When I did have some weight loss on Paleo, I was using egg-white based protein shakes with lots of green vegetables added and usually some coconut oil as my main source of calories during the day, but then I read that it wasn???t really Paleo to do that since they are processed foods on some level. I have identified that nuts and nut butters are trigger foods for me and I stopped having them around as I found I would snack on an entire jar of macadamia nuts in one day along with lots of jerky. My eating style is very disordered so it???s hard to describe a typical meal for me. I do love to cook, so cooking is no problem for me other than I have to really work on planning ahead.
I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine. I???m pre-diabetic, have high blood pressure, and my testosterone level is at about 200 - 210, which I believe is far too low for my age, but my doctor and endocrinologist don???t want to do anything about it, because it is still ???in the normal range and there are disadvantages to hormone therapy???. My psychiatrist disagrees and feels I would be aided greatly by hormone therapy, but I really don???t know. Despite the major stress I am under at work and in a personal relationship, my cortisol is completely normal. One thing Paleo has allowed me to do is go off psychiatric medication that I had been on for YEARS. So I do notice health improvements, but I really need to lose this weight for me, for my self-confidence, for my family???(my mother had gastric bypass and worries greatly about me as two of my uncles died in their 50???s from heart and other issues related to their excessive weight (both topped 500lbs).
Exercise is very hard for me at this point???.I am so embarrassed. I get winded and my heart races and I break out into a heavy sweat and I feel like I am going to pass out if I have to run half a block to catch a bus! I have a bike and can???t use it right now???it???s beyond my level. My muscles ache and cramp instantly as soon as I try to push myself even a little. Suggestions? Should I just do weights and go for walks and not worry that I???m not pushing myself? I am trying the four basic exercises in the Primal Blueprint book, but right now I can only do planks and squats and not very well at that.
All that being said, I know I can do this if I could just figure out what would work and let me see a little progress.
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The faster you take weight off, usually the faster it is going to come back. I did several cycles of losing big amounts of weight over my lifetime and finally with sticking to a pretty strict Paleo diet I've slowly taken off a lot of weight and easily keep it off. Minimal exercise and weight lifting does the trick for exercise. Consider that it is going to take a few years of slow weight loss and you will conquer the problem - don't do gimmicks.
Don't do shakes or diet meal plans. Do count calories. You need to track to a T, your intake and estimated output. It's as simple as that, and you're very likely going to have do this for the rest of your life (which could be a long time). Or you could not… and the rest of your life may be too short for your liking.
Don't be embarrassed about exercising. Going outside, walking, fresh air, sunshine… that will do wonders for you too.
My instinct tells me that you should not try to "jumpstart" your weight loss because of your history of eating disorders, but just stick to eating well and taking moderate exercise i.e. walking, until you can do more. If you are not losing weight, then perhaps you can tweak your diet/calories by using an online food tracker.