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AM I EATING ENOUGH FAT?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 04, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Hi All,

I've been pretty strict paleo for ~2.5 weeks now and have seen some decent progress as far as how I look and feel. Definitely feeling less bloated than before. I was gluten-free for about a month prior to going full paleo, so these first couple weeks of being full paleo haven't been too hard for me. I started at about 215-220 lbs and am now weighing in around 202-203 lbs. I think I probably lost ~5-10 lbs during my month of just being gluten-free, and then probably another 5-10 lbs since going full paleo. By the way, I'm about 5'11"-6' tall and I am 26yrs old. Also, I sit at a desk in front of a computer for most of the day at my job.

Before I ask my question, below is a breakdown of when & what I have typically been eating:

~8am ("breakfast"): 4 hard-boiled eggs, a large (usually a Starbucks venti =24oz) black coffee (no milk, cream, sugar, or anything added)

~12:30pm ("lunch"): salad from Chop't (I've been getting the same one everyday) =iceberg & romaine lettuce, "free-range" chipotle chicken (grilled), avocado, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, crumbled hard-boiled egg, diced red & green peppers, olive oil and/or balsamic or red wine vinegar for dressing

~7:30-8pm ("dinner"): usually either roast or grill chicken, fish (usually salmon), or sometimes steak, with some sort of green vegetable (eg. Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, kale). And the meat/fish is cooked in olive oil and usually cooked with onions and/or cherry tomatoes and some seasoning.

***Also, occasionally I'll have Trader Joe's brand non-caffeinated peppermint tea before bed. I don't believe there are any calories in it and it helps put me to sleep. (But correct me if I'm wrong)

REGARDING HYDRATION: I think I do a pretty good job of drinking enough water throughout the day, especially while at work, since my office has a filtered instant cold/hot water machine, so I'm constantly drinking water.

REGARDING SLEEP: I haven't been doing a great job of getting as much as I should. I'm typically in bed by 11pm and asleep by midnight and then up for the day around 6:45-7am. I'm probably logging ~6-6.5hrs of solid sleep per night, which is 2-3hrs shy of what I should be getting.

And as for workouts, I didn't really workout the first couple weeks for fear of pushing myself too hard while adapting this first month (just wanted to focus on and master the diet before layering in workouts), but this past week I've started consistently going to the gym. I'm usually there for no more than an hour and my workout usually consists of 2-3 circuit exercises or a barbell complex of 3-4 exercises and then 20-30mins on the stationary bike.

SO, my question is -- am I eating enough fat? Could I not be eating enough fat and if so, would that be hindering my progress? My goal is to burn fat, not just "lose weight." My goal is to be lean, not thin or skinny. I set a preliminary goal of getting down to 185 lbs and then assessing things from there, deciding then if I felt I needed to lose more. I was about 185-190 lbs my senior year of high school and I was pretty lean at that weight, so I thought setting that as my initial goal was a good place to start.

Anyway, any light anyone can shed on their experiences as they relate to my own story, in particular regarding fat intake as it pertains to one's progress, I would be most appreciative!

Thanks in advance for your help! And feel free to throw any questions my way as I would be more than happy to help in anyway that I can.

Justin

1719a6d839f02b0e1524449725e70764

(20)

on October 05, 2012
at 06:20 PM

That's impressive. 220 lbs to 183 lbs in roughly 2 months and a week. Did you workout at all during that time period or was your weight loss entirely due to your diet? And did you follow a paleo diet during that time? Did you eat fruit? I've not been eating fruit because of the high sugar content and seeing suggestions that if weight loss is your goal, then it's best to cut the fruit out at first. Thoughts?

Adb249ff0b1447d86ed308d0265e2b86

(571)

on October 04, 2012
at 10:10 PM

69 days including a bit of food poisoning toward the end from a chicken salad. That was over two years ago and I certainly don't know what my rush was about; I did in fact take it under 183 for a while. I maintain my weight on Paul Jaminet's 'Perfect Health Diet' which includes rice, tubers and a little wine and dark chocolate; many people on here speak highly of Paul's work. Weight loss can be quick but you've got to find a maintenance plan that you'll stick with for life.

1719a6d839f02b0e1524449725e70764

(20)

on October 04, 2012
at 08:54 PM

@ Spears: Thanks for the answer. I included the nitty-gritty details of my diet so as to provide anyone interested in answering my question with as much detail as I possibly could. I wanted to avoid people having to ask me additional questions in order for them to properly answer my question. That said, I'm beginning to think about ditching the salad for lunch and having a more substantial piece of meat/fish instead. Or at least having more meat/chicken/fish in my salad than what Chop't provides. So how long did it take for you to get from your starting weight of 220 lbs to 183 lbs?

1719a6d839f02b0e1524449725e70764

(20)

on October 04, 2012
at 02:18 PM

Thanks for answering. So what do you think of what I've been doing thus far? Any opinions on my typical daily diet? Any thoughts on my fat intake and whether or not eating enough fat can hinder progress?

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6 Answers

1
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on October 04, 2012
at 11:58 PM

Lower carb = less need for sleep.

In ketosis I can get away with 5 hours of sleep. That would never happen if I raised my carb intake past ketosis.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 04, 2012
at 04:29 PM

That's plenty.

Unless you need to remain ketogenic for a seizure disorder I don't see that extra added fat is worth much.

Yes a good 20-30% can make tasty food and make sure you are absorbing your nutrients but anything beyond that is just not needed.

Especially if you want to lean out. A moderate carb diet that is low-cal is ketogenic or very close to it. Eating fat absolutely doesn't help you burn YOUR OWN fat and anyone who has done a whole food PSMF can tell you that.

1
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on October 04, 2012
at 03:50 PM

You seem like you're doing a lot of stuff right ??? congrats!

I also recommend logging your food at one of the online tracking sites:

I have used both professional nutrition software and cron-o-meter to track my eating. I like cron-o-meter, because of its real-time graph displays, including the omega-6 and omega-3 fats (it's important to keep the ratio at 4:1 or lower). I haven't seen that kind of display in any other tool, but I'm not that tech-savvy.

The percentage of fat you should eat depends on whose plan you follow. For example, Jaminet's Perfect Health Diet calls for 50% of calories from fat. Other people's (Rob Wolff, Mark Sisson, Diane Sanfillipo, Chris Kresser, Dan Pardi) plans have different guidelines. Personally, my body seems to work best when I eat 65???75% fat.

What I will suggest is that you get more saturated animal fat (except chicken, which is high in inflammatory omega-6 fats) in your diet. Plant fats are usually just 1 major type of fat, but animal fats are always a mixture. For example, lard is half mono-unsaturated (like olive oil), but the other half is some omega-6 fats (a little is good to eat) and then other fats that your body uses for immune functions and hormone production.

The drawback to putting more lard, tallow (from beef), suet, and the like is that you have to make it yourself from the raw material of animal fat that you have to find; prepackaged animal fats sold in stores, especially lard, is usually hydrogenated to extend its shelf life, but that's bad for your health. Since mammals store the byproducts of detoxification in their fat (that protects the animal), it's ideal if you can get fat from pastured, organically-raised animals. If you have a butcher shop in your area, that's the easiest source. Whole Foods meat dept. is generally willing to save beef fat scraps for you with a few days notice. You won't need much ??? just about 5 lbs. of animal fat for a batch that you can refrigerate for months. And you need to eat only 2???4 T/day. It takes about 2???3 hours to prepare a small batch of fat, and you can find instructions by Googling "make lard." Essentially, you just cut up the fat into small pieces and simmer it on low heat, until you have a lot of liquid fat, plus some hard pieces of connective tissue (the cracklins).

It's reasonable to think, "It would be so much easier to get more fat from nuts, especially almonds." There are, however, a few problems with eating nuts:

  • All nuts, including almonds, are high in inflammatory omega-6 fats.
  • You need to soak nuts in water overnight to de-activate the chemicals in them that interfere with digestion of protein, and then dry the nuts to make them tasty again.
  • Nuts are high in phytates, which interferes with the absorption of minerals. That's why almonds, for example, despite having a lot of magnesium, are a poor source for the mineral.
  • Nuts are very caloric. And while eating paleo/low-carb might give you some slack in how much you eat, calories still matter (although they're not the only thing that matters).

You've identified a problem with your sleep, and you're quite right to do so. Studies show that bodies slow down weight/fat loss (among other problems) when you don't get enough. Part of the paleo concept is about adequate rest (see Chris Kresser's blog post or his recent podcast with Dan Pardi on this topic for an example).

You were also right to defer exercise for a few weeks. Adapting to a new fuel source is quite stressful on its own. Your regimen seems fine, although you might want to alternate the circuit training with a stability ball routine to focus on strengthening your core muscles. I've used the book Ultimate Core Ball Workout by Jeanine Detz as a guide, but it's old and has never been updated.

Regarding a target weight, I always suggest that people first establish a target body fat %, and then derive the appropriate target weight from that. Here's a web page that explains more about why you should set your BF% target first. You can start with this page; be sure to look at the age-adjusted chart for your gender.

Next, calculate your current percentage of body fat. The best tests (dunk tank and BodPod) are very accurate (within 1%) and very expensive. Calipers are next best (within 1-2%) but cost about $15 and require practice (and some personal guidance) to use skillfully. All other methods are accurate to within 3-5%. If you have a tape measure, you can use this online body fat % calculator.

Then, calculate your ideal body weight.

0
Adb249ff0b1447d86ed308d0265e2b86

on October 04, 2012
at 04:24 PM

I went from 220 to 183 today so I suppose the weight parameters are similar. I think your diet looks very short on meat, I ate 3-4 times a day with fish or meat in 3 meals. I never had grilled anything! During my weight loss I avoided starches and had plenty of fat and protein.

You don't need some detail: "a larger (usually a Starbucks venti =24oz) black coffee (no milk, cream, sugar, or anything added)" we only need to know as "black coffee." Same for the salad breakdown e.g. "salad w/ avocado." Some detail is superfluous that's all I'm saying.

This is coming from someone who logs all his macro's in Excel. Detail this instead and tell us your daily kcals and carb / fat / protein grams and then your question is easy to answer! What size is your single piece of daily meat? How many grams of fat are you consuming each day?

Not working out for the first two weeks was a great idea. Regular strategic deconditioning is very useful for long-term progress and people easily shock their systems while acclimatizing to new diet.

If you end up looking too thin at the end on your weight loss project it'll be easy enough to eat and train for size in the next phase. It's a journey.

Adb249ff0b1447d86ed308d0265e2b86

(571)

on October 04, 2012
at 10:10 PM

69 days including a bit of food poisoning toward the end from a chicken salad. That was over two years ago and I certainly don't know what my rush was about; I did in fact take it under 183 for a while. I maintain my weight on Paul Jaminet's 'Perfect Health Diet' which includes rice, tubers and a little wine and dark chocolate; many people on here speak highly of Paul's work. Weight loss can be quick but you've got to find a maintenance plan that you'll stick with for life.

1719a6d839f02b0e1524449725e70764

(20)

on October 04, 2012
at 08:54 PM

@ Spears: Thanks for the answer. I included the nitty-gritty details of my diet so as to provide anyone interested in answering my question with as much detail as I possibly could. I wanted to avoid people having to ask me additional questions in order for them to properly answer my question. That said, I'm beginning to think about ditching the salad for lunch and having a more substantial piece of meat/fish instead. Or at least having more meat/chicken/fish in my salad than what Chop't provides. So how long did it take for you to get from your starting weight of 220 lbs to 183 lbs?

1719a6d839f02b0e1524449725e70764

(20)

on October 05, 2012
at 06:20 PM

That's impressive. 220 lbs to 183 lbs in roughly 2 months and a week. Did you workout at all during that time period or was your weight loss entirely due to your diet? And did you follow a paleo diet during that time? Did you eat fruit? I've not been eating fruit because of the high sugar content and seeing suggestions that if weight loss is your goal, then it's best to cut the fruit out at first. Thoughts?

0
09725e52a79d639dda33c08a6e3e74af

on October 04, 2012
at 03:41 PM

For me, personally, that would not be enough fat ... but I think it just depends on your body and how you're feeling. After my first few weeks of Paleo, I was tired and really, really sad a lot of the time. I was grilling all my meats, eating a lot of raw salad, etc. I did some reading and many reported similar experiences that cleared up when they upped their fat intake. Now I cook an afternoon snack and dinner in a lot (really, a whole lot) of coconut oil, and I feel much better. It hasn't slowed my progress with weight loss either.

0
2e1591c76896828077b930de5107f1af

on October 04, 2012
at 02:08 PM

keep track of your progress and if you see the results that you want to see, keep doing what your doing until you hit a plateau. if it happens ajust your macro numbers(lower carbs and up the fats) i hope this helps justin

1719a6d839f02b0e1524449725e70764

(20)

on October 04, 2012
at 02:18 PM

Thanks for answering. So what do you think of what I've been doing thus far? Any opinions on my typical daily diet? Any thoughts on my fat intake and whether or not eating enough fat can hinder progress?

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