Ok I need help. I am completely stumped. About 3 years ago I started on a low carb way of eating after reading Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. My life changed and so did my weight. I started out around 266 lbs., I am 6'1", and after 6 months or so with ZERO exercise, my weight got down to 228lbs. My normal weight should be somewhere between 205 - 215.
Unfortunately, I went back to my old ways and gained most of it back. I decided to start eating the Paleo way and have had minimal success and cannot figure out where I am going wrong. I have lost only about 5-7 pounds in about 1 1/2 months.
So I say that I am on the Paleo WOE but really my diet has not changed much from the LC diet I was on before. The only thing that I have really added is occasional fruit maybe twice a month only on my weekends and only strawberries. Here is the what I eat pretty much every day of my life:
Breakfast: 2-3 eggs made with coconut oil or real butter. Sometimes just a handful of mushrooms and a tiny bit of onion. 2 Slices Bacon Glass of water
Lunch: 2 cups romaine lettuce either with olive oil & balsamic vinegar dressing OR a homemade creamy garlic made with homemade mayo as the base, parm cheese (2.8 oz.) and other ingredients that are negligible on the carb scale. Certainly a full fat dressing :) 1 Large Chicken Breast cooked with coconut oil Avocado (1-2 days a week sometimes no avocado for a few weeks) Glass of Water
Snacks: 1-2 pieces of string cheese Handful of Almonds
Dinner: 2-3 cups romaine lettuce with (same as above dressings) 15-20 oz. chicken thighs 1-2 TBLS Tiger Sauce (12 grams carbs) Glass of Water
Occasionally, on my weekends (maybe twice a month), I will make some homemade ice cream made with 1 cup strawbwerries 1/2 cup heavy cream and a product called "Just Like Sugar" (which is NOT an artificial sweetener and has ZERO carbs made from chicory root and orange peel) mixed in a food processor.
That's about it. I still don't really exercise yet due to an injured shoulder. My diet appears to be higher in fat low in carb and moderate in protein. I feel great, I am rarely hungry and do not crave sugar or sweets. No processed food at all that I can tell.
I agree with Taubes about the calorie in/calorie out theory because I ate as much as I wanted until I was satiated, was eating a TON of fat all day, didn't exercise at all and still dropped 38 lbs
BTW I am a 49 year old male.
Where am I going wrong? HELP!!!!
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We seem to have different definitions of "weight loss completely stopped", because I wouldn't call 5-7 lbs in 1.5 months "completely stopped". Paleo, Low-Carb etc. are no magic bullets. You don't begin to drop weight like crazy. Losing weight takes time.
Imagine a cavemen who gained 20 lbs of fat for the winter and then he suddenly loses 15 lbs in the first month of low-carb the winter. We wouldn't be here today if that were the case.
We have to keep in mind that while whether we're gaining or losing weight is probably dependent on many factors, but let's approach weight loss from a very simple perspective:
If you want to lose 1 pound of fat, then the fat needs to go somewhere. You have to get the fat out of the body somehow. Because our bodies probably aren't going to just excrete that fat as fat, the only way to get it out is to utilize the fat and then excrete the end-products (and probably lose some energy through heat). That's what low-carb supposedly does, it offers you easy access to your fat stores, so the body can burn the fat for fuel. But because we won't magically lose the fat, we have to "burn" it.
And there is a limit to how much fat you can utilize in a given time. Most people just won't lose more than a few pounds of fat per month and that's ok, given that i also took them years or even decades to gain all the extra fat.
The notion that going paleo and/or low-carb will magically make your body dump 20 lbs of fat per month is wrong and it does not make sense at all. Our bodies are so good at conserving energy, that just throwing it away is not what we are built to do. We are built to mainly lose our energy stores by utilizing the energy. And there is a limit to what you can utilize.
When you go from gaining 1 lbs a month to losing 3-5 lbs a month, then I would call that a success. A lot of people would be very happy to achieve even half that. Yes, some people might lose weight faster, but a lot don't. The important thing is not how fast you can lose weight, the important thing is how your weight changes long-term. And at 3-5 lbs a month, you will still lose 36-60 lbs in a year, which means you could achieve normal weight in a year, which is not bad at all.
You also mentioned that you gained the weight back, when you went back to your "old ways". So look at it this way: The reason you're weight is higher than you would like it now is not because you lose weight too slowly, it's because you gained it back. So if you want to achieve your goal weight, you should not focus on how fast you are losing weight. Your should focus on what you can do to keep eating this way.
There are a way additional tips, however:
- don't just eat chicken. incorporate other types of meat
- incorporate fish into your diet (especially omega-3 containing ones)
- try to eat organ meats from time to time (esp. liver)
Otherwise, just keep at it and give you body the time it needs for adjusting the weight.
Start counting your calories if you're totally stumped.
Doesn't seem like the most nutrient-dense diet. Romaine and chicken for lunch AND dinner? Hope you're incorporating some grassfed beef, organ meats and other veg.
"...my diet has not changed much from the LC diet I was on before. The only thing that I have really added is occasional fruit maybe twice a month only on my weekends and only strawberries."
I'm thinking there must be more than just fruit/strawberries that differ between the two diets. Try & remember back 3 years ago & see if you can come up with some other (significant?) differences/factors.
Not that i think it is a factor, but were you eating the (daily?) 'handful of almonds' when you lost the weight 3 years ago.
Check out these articles:
Maybe something in one of those can give you an idea of what you may be doing that's stopping your weight loss.
Do daily squats and low intensity cardio. This will get you losing again. Lay off the nuts.
- Um, sometimes it is about the calories and/or the macronutrients. For example, you may not be eating enough food (and/or need to adjust one or more of yr macronutrients), which inhibits weight loss. Tracking yr food is really the only way to find out. Also, consider:
- Killing (a) nuts and/or (b) dairy for a while. Both are known to slow weight loss down in many folks.
- Boosting your carbs to around 40-50 grams daily. That sometimes works to jump-start weight loss. Of course, you'll need to track your macronutrients to do that.
I stalled for months, read a quickie book or two on Intermittent fasting and now do 16 hr fast daily. It started the weight loss again. I also added a few sweet potatoes a week to increase the carbs.
You should be happy with a slow, steady weight loss. Any extreme measures you take to lose weight quickly will only lead to eventual weight gain. By looking at what you wrote, you aren't eating enough at all. Paleo can lead to yo yo dieting as well - and your metabolic health will suffer in the long run if you do it too lean and low carb. Find a balance and go slow and steady.
I agree with some of the comments--an injured shoulder shouldn't prevent you from exercising. There are still A LOT of strength training exercises that you could do, especially lower body work. Maybe increase walking too & try some sprints?
I also agree that your diet really isn't the most nutrient dense. Switching your protein source or changing your macros might help you get off the "plateau." You could always carb and calorie cycle--it's incredibly effective in plateau scenarios.
When I first started Paleo I lost ten lbs the first month then nothing more for the next couple of weeks. So, I read more about Paleo, decreased nuts and stopped all fruit. Started drinking just black coffee (no more creamer) and got rid of butter. A month and a half later and I'm down another 13 lbs. That's 23 total in 3 months. And I'm more energetic, feel more alert, and happier than I've been in years.