Carb-cycling, fat loss and paleo?

Answered on October 18, 2013
Created October 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM

I am a 5'4", 30yo woman. As of today, my weight is at 139.8 and body fat 23.5%. I've been struggling in a few different areas. First off, let me say that I am a runner, however I just finished the Asheville full marathon 3 weeks ago and I have sinced changed my focus of my workouts to more strength training, weight lifting, HIIT cardio. I workout 4-5x per week. When I lift, I follow more of a powerlifting-based workout format. So, overall, I'm going from running 30-40 miles per week with maybe one workout per week of strength training, sometimes two, to focusing more on weights/strength/HIIT with one, maybe two running workouts per week (including sprints).

On all the online TDEE calculators I've seen, I've been put at around 2100-2200 cals per day. I've been tracking my cals and macros, and aiming for a 1900cal/day goal (or at least a 1900cal/day average through the week). I have been cycling my carbs, having more low/no days than medium/high days. My weight went up in the last week by about a pound. I know I've been getting significantly hungry between meals this past week, approx 1-2 hours before my next meal. I'm trying to only make changes one week at a time to see what works and what doesn't.

So, my few questions are, if you carb-cycle (and not with a competing-related goal, purely for fat loss, non-aggressive), how many high/med/low days do you allow for? I'm not sure if my lack of positive results this past week is due to a lack of starchy carbs/too many low carb days, if I'm consuming not enough cals, or if I'm consuming too many cals.

When tracking macros, my ranges are approximately:

fat: 50-60%

protein: 25-30%

carbs: 18-25%

I know those don't all equal up to 100%, those are my general ranges from day to day, depending on high/med/low carb.

My goals are to drop my belly fat and maybe drop to around 133-135 for a maintenance weight.

I guess my issue is that I had no positive results this week, so I'm not sure how to go about my next week, if I should increase cals or decrease, or simply add more medium carb days, if I should abandon carb-cycling all together (and perhaps just focus on the quality of my food while throwing in low/no carb days on rest days?).

I appreciate any guidance anyone may have to offer.

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2 Answers



on October 18, 2013
at 03:56 PM


monitoring week to week changes and trying to interpret <5lb changes is not too wise, body weight fluctuates too much daily to notice a 1lb fat loss on a scale. and a week is a very small timescale, a lb of fat has 3500 calories so you would need to be at a negative of 500 calories a day to lose a lb in a week.... that being said your also <10 lbs from your goal weight, and the last 5 is always 100x harder than the first 5.

dont really have any helpful information, that site may be worth a look. and you may want to reassess your monitoring protocol.(Imo)


on October 18, 2013
at 12:41 PM

One other thing I'd like to add... After reading It Starts With Food and doing my first Whole30 back in June/July, I switched from 5 to 3 meals per day. My husband, the powerlifter, still believes in the 5 meals/day format. He wants me to go back to 4-5 meals/day, but I'm not so sure I want to try that again. I'm at the point that I don't even know what works for me anymore because NONE of it seems to be working. So, any input anyone has to offer on the whole 3 vs 5 meals/day thing is also appreciated!

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