5

votes

Is too few calories a problem?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 29, 2010 at 7:24 PM

I will save the detailed description of my problem for another time, but suffice to say, I've been plateaued at 195 (I'm 43, 5'8", male) for quite sometime now. Some days 194, some days 193.

Following the principals quite diligently, hitting the gym most every day, alternating a total body circuit (via Turbulence Training) with intervals on the stationary bike or a nice hour long cardio, keeping heart rate under 130.

I track everything I eat using CalorieKing, and it seems most days are around 1600 to 2000 calories, probably on the lower end of that range. Generally, 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs.

I've been doing intermittent fasting as well, at least one day a week. Try for two, but depends on schedule.

So, my question: could I actually be eating too few calories? Am I shutting my metabolism down? Starting to get a little frustrated.

A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c

(951)

on March 30, 2010
at 09:23 PM

You should also be sure to drink plenty of water. Working out every day, you are losing a ton of liquid. While my was getting rid of the gluten backup in my gut, I found myself getting dehydrated faster. If I have some bread or something now, I need to drink more with my meal to compensate for how much the bread absorbs.

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on March 30, 2010
at 06:40 PM

Sure, so do I. I was referring to the flawed idea of more is better when it comes to working out.

6b1b839cf2b0335717a8a1b33674e248

(144)

on March 30, 2010
at 01:52 AM

I suppose, I just feel good sweating at least once a day in some manner.

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on March 29, 2010
at 10:03 PM

If you can work out five or six times a week, you're definitely not working out hard enough. I *need* a full week just to recover.

6b1b839cf2b0335717a8a1b33674e248

(144)

on March 29, 2010
at 09:20 PM

Good point, and one I forget. Beyond just vanity (wanting to be about 15 lbs leaner), I have been following paleo for quite some time and sincerely love the way I feel on it. I've been tracking calories more as a way of looking at macronutrient profiles, just to see what's working and what isn't. Obviously, too many calories isn't really an issue for me (I hope) but it's hard to tweak what's not working if you don't have a clear picture of what the problem is.

6b1b839cf2b0335717a8a1b33674e248

(144)

on March 29, 2010
at 09:14 PM

I do try not to focus on the number on the scale, rather by how clothes fit, etc. Guess I'm just not used to having to work this hard to lose fat. I feel great, and definitely know when I've strayed from the paleo diet. Brain fog, lethargy, etc. My lipid numbers are great, just feeling doughy and want to get leaner. Ketogenic diet is driven by pure vanity. I have Body By Science, and I will try to implement. See where that takes me.

6b1b839cf2b0335717a8a1b33674e248

(144)

on March 29, 2010
at 09:10 PM

I'm a victim of the "more is better" mind-set. If working out once a week is good, 5 or 6 should be even better. I actually have Body By Science but just haven't implemented. I will review and give it a shot. Obviously nothing to lose at this point, as results from TT haven't been satisfactory.

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7 Answers

9
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 29, 2010
at 07:58 PM

First thing that jumps out at me is your constant hitting the gym. If you take a look at Body by Science by Dr Doug McGuff, he advocates heavy weights, slow reps, and taking the muscles almost to failure. His big five is done in the space of 12-15 minutes and then take a week off for regeneration of the muscles. It seems counter intuitive but he has the science to back him up as well as real world results. I have been follow the program for 3 months and have seen my strength increase by 40% Body by science is a topic here on paleo hacks. http://paleohacks.com/questions/656/body-by-science-hype-hack-paleo

It would seem that your body thinks you are headed into a period of lean times due to your eating pattern....Generally that means you are indeed not eating enough meat and fat and your body is hanging onto every kcal it can. Couple that with your workouts and you are telling your body to get save all the energy it can because you are headed into very lean times.

Increase your meat and fat add back in some sweet potatos or yams slathered in butter and bring your kcal intake up to 2500 to tell your body you are not headed into lean times. Continue the IF one day a week. Seems counter intuitive to increase kcals to lose weight, but it can happen.

I suspect you will begin to drop the pounds

Keep us posted.

6b1b839cf2b0335717a8a1b33674e248

(144)

on March 29, 2010
at 09:10 PM

I'm a victim of the "more is better" mind-set. If working out once a week is good, 5 or 6 should be even better. I actually have Body By Science but just haven't implemented. I will review and give it a shot. Obviously nothing to lose at this point, as results from TT haven't been satisfactory.

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on March 30, 2010
at 06:40 PM

Sure, so do I. I was referring to the flawed idea of more is better when it comes to working out.

6b1b839cf2b0335717a8a1b33674e248

(144)

on March 30, 2010
at 01:52 AM

I suppose, I just feel good sweating at least once a day in some manner.

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on March 29, 2010
at 10:03 PM

If you can work out five or six times a week, you're definitely not working out hard enough. I *need* a full week just to recover.

3
6eb2812b40855ba64508cbf2dc48f1b6

(2119)

on March 30, 2010
at 12:19 PM

What's screaming at me is the cardio. Drop it like it's hot - seriously.

Obviously, this is just one of those IMO things but...

"Following the principals quite diligently, hitting the gym most every day, alternating a total body circuit (via Turbulence Training) with intervals on the stationary bike or a nice hour long cardio, keeping heart rate under 130."

You are telling your genes that you are an evolutionary loser. When would Grok have decided to elevate his heart rate to 150% for an hour every other day? He wouldn't. What paleo person would do that? Someone of low status and under TREMENDOUS stress!

Your strength workouts should be less frequent and much harder (which others have already mentioned, and I guarantee they know more about that than I do). If you have excess energy and want to do something else, use your now free hours to walk for pleasure, preferably somewhere green! Relax, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the sun!

One of the only things I really got from Dr. Stephen Gundry's book was to think about what you're doing as sending signals to your genes - positive or negative.

And, unless your appetite is really messed up and you feel it can't be trusted, I'd stop recording calories. By now, I bet you know what the right portion looks like anyway. If you really need to keep track of what foods you're eating, just keep a journal so that you can debug it after the fact.

3
5cd18bfcafadc56292971e59f2f1faf6

on March 29, 2010
at 11:59 PM

How long has the plateau been? Inexplicable weightloss plateaus happen and it might take a couple of weeks to push through. It's normal to hit a plateau like this after a few months of steady weightloss. I've honestly never figured out what causes it and haven't found much evidence to support the various popular theories like metabolism shutting down. It's definitely frustrating but will often right itself if you just stick it out.

The first thing to do is to take account of the situation to make sure you haven't strayed too far from what was working. It looks like you have a pretty good handle on the situation but the mind can play tricks to get you to up the calories without realizing it. If you've recently started snacking on a lot of nuts or taking long naps during the day, that could be what's making the difference.

I agree with the others than maybe you are hitting the gym too often. If you've been on the daily gym routine for a while, how about taking a week or so off to give your body some time to recover?

2
Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on March 29, 2010
at 09:44 PM

You need CrossFit, and a more sensible training schedule. Cut out the long slow cardio, it's totally counterproductive, breaking down your systems when you need to rev them up. And get more sleep!

2
A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c

on March 29, 2010
at 08:07 PM

"I will save the detailed description of my problem for another time" This is actually fairly important. As jm stated, the reason for changing your lifestyle to fit Paleo changes what you need to do for the desired effect. I wanted to lose a few pounds and be generally healthier, so just changing my diet and exercising a little bit every day or every few days has achieved my goal. I do a set of push-ups, pull-ups, sit ups or squats every day and every few days I do several exercises. I have lost the weight I was looking to lose and fell much healthier. Also, if you are sticking to everything else strictly, there should be no need for counting calories. If you browse the testimonials and basic rundowns of the principals for most of the major blogs, you will see that they say not to count every calorie. As long as everything is properly balanced, you will lose weight even consuming a large amount of calories. You may also nee to cut back on the cardio. The general consensus seems to be a vigorous 30 - 45 minute workout 2 or 3 times a week is what is best, the "lift heavy things and every once in a while move really fast" principals.

6b1b839cf2b0335717a8a1b33674e248

(144)

on March 29, 2010
at 09:20 PM

Good point, and one I forget. Beyond just vanity (wanting to be about 15 lbs leaner), I have been following paleo for quite some time and sincerely love the way I feel on it. I've been tracking calories more as a way of looking at macronutrient profiles, just to see what's working and what isn't. Obviously, too many calories isn't really an issue for me (I hope) but it's hard to tweak what's not working if you don't have a clear picture of what the problem is.

A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c

(951)

on March 30, 2010
at 09:23 PM

You should also be sure to drink plenty of water. Working out every day, you are losing a ton of liquid. While my was getting rid of the gluten backup in my gut, I found myself getting dehydrated faster. If I have some bread or something now, I need to drink more with my meal to compensate for how much the bread absorbs.

2
0637289bb4a0ab314d80fa4de627d395

(1015)

on March 29, 2010
at 07:47 PM

Why focus on body weight? How does your body look and feel? Any reason you are on a ketogenic diet? Prediabetic, empirical evidence, listening to Paleo guru's? All the metcon work you are doing in the gym may not be giving you the results you seek. How would you feel about cutting down the metcon to one day per week? Substitute the metcon for a building strength program like Body by Science or Starting Strength. The LSD bike rides seem ok. Opinions vary widely about their effectiveness.

6b1b839cf2b0335717a8a1b33674e248

(144)

on March 29, 2010
at 09:14 PM

I do try not to focus on the number on the scale, rather by how clothes fit, etc. Guess I'm just not used to having to work this hard to lose fat. I feel great, and definitely know when I've strayed from the paleo diet. Brain fog, lethargy, etc. My lipid numbers are great, just feeling doughy and want to get leaner. Ketogenic diet is driven by pure vanity. I have Body By Science, and I will try to implement. See where that takes me.

1
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on March 30, 2010
at 04:30 PM

I would suggest dropping your carbohydrates lower to the 0-5% range, and replacing them with fat. Some of us are very sensitive to even small amounts. This makes all the difference for me.

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