5

votes

Please hack my diet because I am beyond frustrated!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 16, 2010 at 1:03 AM

I'm getting increasingly frustrated because I feel like my body composition is getting worse not better. I am happy that the diet makes me feel and perform better (been paleo since September 2010), but looking better it has not. I am not a heavy guy and never have been, I am very athletic and 5'5" 147lbs. I would say I am 10-12% bf, but who the hell knows. I know thats pretty good for most people standards but I don't feel like it is going in the right direction. I have tried cutting out fruit, nuts, increasing meals, decreasing meals, and many of the other suggestions I've read and heard. My sleep is ok, but not bad. As I have mentioned before on this board, I have kids, so waking up a couple times a night is pretty common but I don't feel tired when I wake up or throughout the day. I eat 95% grassfed/free range/wild caught. I also weight train 3 days a week and do either slow steady cardio or sprints twice a week. Here is a sample of what I ate today (I do not measure my food these are estimations):

Breakfast - 4 eggs with spinach and tomato cooked in tbs of coconut oil

1/2 avocado

saurkraut

Pre-workout - 2-3 ounces roast beef

1/2 avocado

Workout (45 minutes)

post workout - 3/4lb ground beef

1 yam

Dinner - 3/4lb steak

salad with olive oil dressing

1 serving kombuch

To me that is not a lot of food. What am I doing wrong here?? For the life of me I can't get a handle on the body composition thing. I would like to be around 8% but it seems I just keep going up. Also worth mentioning is it is primarily in my mid-section.

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 16, 2010
at 09:26 PM

I used to eat over 200 grams of protein when i was bodybuilding so 150g for me seems about right if I am doing any intense training.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 16, 2010
at 06:00 PM

I absolutely agree. It's really a mental thing with me due to my food issues and avoiding being over hungry. I read a study, that I wish I could find, about leptin receptors being permanently damaged in the previously obese, which is me.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 16, 2010
at 03:03 PM

Metabolically grazing is poor. However some people who don't fo well only eating when hungry may do better with the portion control that grazing forces. Our Bodies have a wonderfly complex hormonal system(leptin/ghrelin etc) that regulate our portions for us. Forced portion control is only good IMO if those systems are damaged.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:57 PM

Don't forget the intermittent fasting--I've found it's the only thing that kick-started my fat-burning of that troublesome "last bit" of belly fat.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:19 PM

His ~27ounces of beef are about 155g of protein. I agree that that's slightly on the high side (a bit over 1g per pound- which incidentally I think is probably too high anyway) but not completely insane post-workout. I'm not sure starchy vegetables are necessary if he's mostly looking to lose fat, rather than gain muscle.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:36 PM

For my own part, I'd say it's better to eat just beef (although any other red meat is fine) rather than beef and chicken or pork, given the omega-6 of both and the relative lack of nutrients in chicken. Fish is definitely a good call though.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:14 PM

I know grazing isn't supposed to work for a lot of reasons related to insulin and fat storage, etc. It does work for some of us though. I managed to drop weight and build muscle eating 3 meals plus 3 snacks per day. I think this is when self experimentation really works. I do think the original poster should try IF and less meals a day to see if it works for him, since his current regimen is not working.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:12 PM

I think that some paleos forget that insulin is an anabolic hormone. Self-experimentation with post-workout carbs is a good idea.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:10 PM

Well, different things work for different people. I really only meant for it to give him a baseline of where he was at. I actually thought he might need MORE calories and that maybe seeing it written out would make it clearer. If I ate when hungry, I would be obese again. I broke those mechanisms a long time ago. I can control it now, but it takes effort and always will.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 16, 2010
at 12:42 PM

Relax and fast for sure. But track calories? Our bodies do that automatically with hunger. Eat when hungry, don't when not.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 16, 2010
at 12:31 PM

Ugh, disagree. You can get ripped with no veggies, you cannot get ripped an stay healthy with no meat.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 16, 2010
at 12:30 PM

Disagree, post workout the yams are hitting muscle not storage.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 16, 2010
at 12:24 PM

Good luck hemanvt!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 16, 2010
at 08:57 AM

I also second the recommendation for relaxation. If you're working out a lot (and not getting great sleep because of kids) then you might be running high on the old cortisol. A full week off from exercise can sometimes re-energize you. (I sometimes take two weeks off even; still move around a lot, but no weights.)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 16, 2010
at 08:54 AM

I agree with the last paragraph from Melissa. Especially good as a kind of meta-rule, since often with these advice questions the asker gets a zillion different recommendations. So whatever you choose to do, stick with it for a little while. Might be time consuming. Some people hate the process of self-experimentation, but I think it can be really fun.

2e060a5edde44c1fe77abcf8d3997e01

(865)

on December 16, 2010
at 05:02 AM

I'll second Leangains and the 16/8. It's pretty effortless once you get use to it, and it's made a big body recomp difference for me.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:17 AM

good advice here too

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:14 AM

My food is pretty varied. I just happened to have extra beef today.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:11 AM

@sherpamelissa, great answer! I would add that Martin Berkhan is the go-to guy if you want to get lean-- http://www.leangains.com/ . He recommends a daily 16/8 IF program (16 hour fast with 8 hour eating window), so I'm not sure if one day per week would be enough.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:00 AM

How much variety do you get in your diet? Is it all beef? Or do you get chicken/fish/pork as well?

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:52 AM

I only do the yam 3 times a week after my weight training and the sauerkraut has no sugar added...it's fermented cabbage. I ate the typic bodybuilding diet of high protein, High carb and low fat. Probaly ate more calories that I am now. I switched because my health was going down hill fast. Bad IBS and adrenal fatique. Paleo fixed those issues.

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15 Answers

7
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on December 16, 2010
at 02:01 AM

I think you need to relax. Everything looks great. Sometimes, you need to stop trying so hard and let your body catch up. Take a week off.

Then log your food for a week. Look at your calories and your ratios of fat/protein/carb and see if there is something you can tweak there. I would say that might not be enough food, but I only eyeballed the calories. Stick with a change for at least 4 weeks before you decide it's not working.

You may want to try cycling your calories or carbs also to give your body some variety. When you do the same thing over and over for too long your body gets used to it.

You may also want to change your workout. Instead of strength try some HIIT or hit different muscle groups.

I do think fasting can help too. Maybe one day a week, try a 16 hour fast.

Don't give up on a change too quick though, it can take your body awhile to catch up to the new thing and if you keep changing it, you won't know what worked!

2e060a5edde44c1fe77abcf8d3997e01

(865)

on December 16, 2010
at 05:02 AM

I'll second Leangains and the 16/8. It's pretty effortless once you get use to it, and it's made a big body recomp difference for me.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:11 AM

@sherpamelissa, great answer! I would add that Martin Berkhan is the go-to guy if you want to get lean-- http://www.leangains.com/ . He recommends a daily 16/8 IF program (16 hour fast with 8 hour eating window), so I'm not sure if one day per week would be enough.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:10 PM

Well, different things work for different people. I really only meant for it to give him a baseline of where he was at. I actually thought he might need MORE calories and that maybe seeing it written out would make it clearer. If I ate when hungry, I would be obese again. I broke those mechanisms a long time ago. I can control it now, but it takes effort and always will.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 16, 2010
at 12:42 PM

Relax and fast for sure. But track calories? Our bodies do that automatically with hunger. Eat when hungry, don't when not.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 16, 2010
at 08:57 AM

I also second the recommendation for relaxation. If you're working out a lot (and not getting great sleep because of kids) then you might be running high on the old cortisol. A full week off from exercise can sometimes re-energize you. (I sometimes take two weeks off even; still move around a lot, but no weights.)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 16, 2010
at 08:54 AM

I agree with the last paragraph from Melissa. Especially good as a kind of meta-rule, since often with these advice questions the asker gets a zillion different recommendations. So whatever you choose to do, stick with it for a little while. Might be time consuming. Some people hate the process of self-experimentation, but I think it can be really fun.

6
A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:08 AM

I put your day of food into MyNetDiary. It looks like you're getting 75g to 100g of carbs per day!

You might want to try and reduce that to 50g or less, per Mark Sisson's carb curve. I know that he says 50g to 100g is good for effortless weight loss, but that assumes that you don't have some sort of metabolic derangement.

Given your history with IBS, you may have some healing to do. Going under 50g of carbs a day might be necessary for body fat percentage reduction.

Also, consider repairing your gut health before gunning for fat loss.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:17 AM

good advice here too

5
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on December 16, 2010
at 12:39 PM

Intermittently Fast instead of grazing.

Train Fasted, this tears fat off you. Eat tubers post workout.

If you're not hungry, don't eat.

Don't be afraid of good carbs, especially if you want to bulk.

I lost 105lbs, thru low carb, gained little muscle. Switched to potatoes post workout and I've gained 20 lbs of lean muscle. We evolved with tubers.

I'm repeating myself because this is the #1 failing IMO, if you're not hungry, don't eat. If you are hungry, eat more, but do it all in 1-2 meals a day. Snacking keeps you in storage mode.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:14 PM

I know grazing isn't supposed to work for a lot of reasons related to insulin and fat storage, etc. It does work for some of us though. I managed to drop weight and build muscle eating 3 meals plus 3 snacks per day. I think this is when self experimentation really works. I do think the original poster should try IF and less meals a day to see if it works for him, since his current regimen is not working.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 16, 2010
at 03:03 PM

Metabolically grazing is poor. However some people who don't fo well only eating when hungry may do better with the portion control that grazing forces. Our Bodies have a wonderfly complex hormonal system(leptin/ghrelin etc) that regulate our portions for us. Forced portion control is only good IMO if those systems are damaged.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 16, 2010
at 06:00 PM

I absolutely agree. It's really a mental thing with me due to my food issues and avoiding being over hungry. I read a study, that I wish I could find, about leptin receptors being permanently damaged in the previously obese, which is me.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:12 PM

I think that some paleos forget that insulin is an anabolic hormone. Self-experimentation with post-workout carbs is a good idea.

5
5489f67c05ca5fc68f2b984e48b6da5e

on December 16, 2010
at 03:42 AM

Congrats

I first want to say that I'm impressed with your understanding and adherence to a Paleo Diet. I also want to thank you for allowing me to write this. I felt compelled.

You've done good, no matter how you feel about your body right now this moment. It's obvious that you care.

However, it's also obvious to you that you're frustrated and your body is trying to tell you something. So, let's listen to it and try something new. Let's hack this shit.


Hack It

First impression: possibly too many carbs, eats too frequently throughout the day, and needs more rest.

Sleep:

Pretend OK is not good enough. Pitch black room. Aim for 8-9 hours (add 30 minutes for the time it takes to actually fall asleep). Don't stay in bed in the morning.

If your kids don't wake you, do you sleep all the way through the night? Or do you wake up around 3 AM?

Weight Training:

2 days/week.

Cardio:

1 day/week of sprinting only.

Food quality:

Take out the yam and saurkraut. Consider taking out the tomato and any other nightshades you didn't mention. Get iodine from sources like salt. Add green vegetables like romaine lettuce and celery if and when you feel like it.

Food timing:

Try eating 2-3 times a day starting around noon (ala leangains). Eat to satiety. Don't snack between meals. This will help insulin have more natural peaks and valleys instead of being mostly elevated and level all the time. Take a look at this graph of insulin levels throughout the day (via this post from Jimmy Moore's blog).

Psychological:

Forget about the concept of pre-workout/post-workout. Seriously. It's never inspiring to read or hear people talk about.

How do you feel after your workouts? Exhausted? Aim for Exhilarated. I used to do a 5x5 version of Starting Strength 3 times a week, eventually reaching 255 lb. full range barbell back squats after warming up. I would get out of workouts so tired and depressed, it felt like I was dragging myself back home.

"Do as little as needed, not as much as possible". ~ Henk Kraaijenhof

Your body is a temple. Your body is God. Listen to it and nourish yourself.


Good luck!

I apologize if this doesn't work. Take what you need. Your situation and mine are pretty similar and I'm trying to solve this for myself too. I'm with ya, dude.

2
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:56 AM

Why not try ketosis? Reduce carbs to just about nothing, reduce protein, increase fat intake. Live on macadamia nuts, coconut oil, butter if you do dairy... If you stay in it for a few weeks and do regular exercise and sprints you will kill fat for sure.

Get some Ketosticks at the pharmacy to check and keep yourself in ketosis.

Also I would recommend getting your body fat checked since you are trying to change it, you might want to know where you are at.

1
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 16, 2010
at 11:36 AM

Thanks everyone for some great answers to my question. Overall, it looks like I need to relax a little, decrease training and carbs,and improve my sleep. I will work on this and give it enough time as suggested.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 16, 2010
at 12:24 PM

Good luck hemanvt!

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:57 PM

Don't forget the intermittent fasting--I've found it's the only thing that kick-started my fat-burning of that troublesome "last bit" of belly fat.

1
4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:54 AM

Don't know why you are gaining weight but I think you're eating too much beef and not enough starchy vegetables. I'm a broken record, I know..

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on December 16, 2010
at 02:19 PM

His ~27ounces of beef are about 155g of protein. I agree that that's slightly on the high side (a bit over 1g per pound- which incidentally I think is probably too high anyway) but not completely insane post-workout. I'm not sure starchy vegetables are necessary if he's mostly looking to lose fat, rather than gain muscle.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 16, 2010
at 12:31 PM

Ugh, disagree. You can get ripped with no veggies, you cannot get ripped an stay healthy with no meat.

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 16, 2010
at 09:26 PM

I used to eat over 200 grams of protein when i was bodybuilding so 150g for me seems about right if I am doing any intense training.

1
B2157bdf4a217ac943c41125d1a67845

(258)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:46 AM

Looks like a lot of food to me, and the sugar from the yam and saurkraut might cause fat storage.

What were you eating before you turned paleo, in September, and why did you switch diets if it was working for you?

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:52 AM

I only do the yam 3 times a week after my weight training and the sauerkraut has no sugar added...it's fermented cabbage. I ate the typic bodybuilding diet of high protein, High carb and low fat. Probaly ate more calories that I am now. I switched because my health was going down hill fast. Bad IBS and adrenal fatique. Paleo fixed those issues.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 16, 2010
at 12:30 PM

Disagree, post workout the yams are hitting muscle not storage.

0
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on December 16, 2010
at 07:12 PM

I would say I am 10-12% bf, but who the hell knows. I would like to be around 8% but it seems I just keep going up. Also worth mentioning is it is primarily in my mid-section.

Distilling the high points from your post:

1) You want to get to 8% bodyfat (you don't say why, looks? A 6 pack?)

2) You don't know how much bodyfat you have (you've got to get this measured. Get calipers. You can't set a goal of 8% when you don't know where you are currently or if you've reached your goal).

3) My recollection is that bodybuilders can get to around 10% bf on diet alone, but under that they have to do progressively more work to shave off the percentages (cutting diets, etc). Something you might want to ask is how many people on a paleo diet are in the single digits bfwise, and see what their diets/exercise are like. You might be desiring something that will take a lot more work/control than what you're doing now. Personally, I'm not near single digits, but it's also not something I'm targetting.

4) Midsection weight. Cortisol is the stress hormone. There's a lot of cortisol receptors in the abdomen. Thus mid-section weight is common in guys that have a lot of stress/cortisol. Look into things to reduce cortisol levels as much as possible. Some things you can't change (kids), others you can (post workout nutrition, long exercise sessions, etc).

0
1aeb2cfacf9bc03644bcda640ce459ba

(154)

on December 16, 2010
at 05:46 PM

I am just going to make this a simple comment; Relax, September 2010 was not that long ago. Give it more time.

0
E9798942dfaa0cda97a8f9a71c128c5d

(168)

on December 16, 2010
at 04:29 PM

I agree about working out in a fasting state. That's pretty much a given by most experts.

But also, you don't want ANY carbs 2 hours post work out. That virtually eliminates HGH production (Human Growth Hormone) which you want for very good, youthful health (and a big reason we exercise in the first place).....

You mention you eat tubers post-exercise. I would hold off on that at least Q2 hrs/post-exercise. Go for fat and protein instead.

Also, up your Coconut oil consumption. I recommend at least 3 TBS minimum a day for my clients. More, if they are having difficulty like you are. As long as your system can handle it (i.e. not too many loose stools), it can do wonders as a thermogenic. I see about double the weight loss rate with my "high-CO consumption clients" vs. low/non-consumers.

Good luck and above all, Patience in all things! You are on the right path....We live in a culture where we all want things to happen quickly (this is our nature). You will see progress...perhaps a bit more slowly than some, but it will come and will be worth every bit of effort you've put into your new lifestyle. Remember....this is a journey for a lifetime!

0
5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on December 16, 2010
at 08:44 AM

here are my thoughts: 1. take supplements (magnesium, D3, MV/MM, fish/krill oil, pro-biotics) 2. log/analyze your food for a while (with nutritiondata.com for example) 3. try to find and eliminate all food allergies you might have (could easily be the eggs..) 4. eliminate all high-intensity workouts for a while, only do moderate 2x 30min a week 5. go for a 30-60min walk each night before bed instead (u can listen 2 your fav podcasts etc) 6. don't go lower than 10% bodyfat. your problem does not have much to do with total bf. 7. relax, reduce stress, go outside as much as possible, play, listen to your body.

0
Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260

on December 16, 2010
at 03:49 AM

I had the same problem. I was gainig weight once I started Paleo and it was driving me nuts. I do Crossfit 5 days a week, so also with the exercize. I was obsessing about my diet and the scale was making me crazy. I decided one day to just relax, it's a lifelong way of eating and not a short term fix (diet) so I quit weighing myself and ate when I was hungry and didn't when I wasn't. Today I haven't been hungry at all, so it is IF, but not planned, just listening to my body. My weight gain was all muscle and it took a little bit of time for my body to start letting go of the fat...but it did and is happening. Relaxing about it, giving yourself a break and time and when it's not such a pressing issue...it just seems to happen. Measure your body fat and nothing else.

0
286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

on December 16, 2010
at 02:48 AM

Is it that you are trying to lose wt?? If so I think your Protein is too high - Eat just one egg white and throw the rest away- have the yolks. Have more green veg with your meals. This worked for me after sitting on the same wt - very low carb for months - I did one simple thing - ditched the a few eggs and ( god forbid) the bacon and added Avo/cucumber/ lettuce to my breakfast - so green food was 2/3 the meal - bang there you go - just changed one meal of the day. I use to have bacon and eggs only.

I also did the high fat and no carb thing ( really hard to have high fat no carbs and small protein if you don't want to have dairy) did not work very well and I started to obsess about what I was eating - Now feel very balanced

0
0c60711a7b3f04697753ecd824f8a3fa

(20)

on December 16, 2010
at 01:50 AM

What are you supplementing? How many hours of sleep are you getting a night? Is your job stressful?

And if you want to drop fat, slow cardio is a waste of time.

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