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My personal plateau - should I ride this out?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 27, 2012 at 1:06 AM

When I talk about my plateau, I'm generally not talking about everyone else's... I'm not going for some sort of peak physique or performance threshold, I'm just doing my best to gauge my adjustment level and I'd say I've hit a kind of wall here. I'm eating as Paleo as I can manage, with a few cheats... lots of protein is never a problem for me; I've always felt like a bit of a T-Rex. I'm eating lots of rare, grilled steaks, sausages, baked bacon, eggs, fish (especially tuna steaks and planked salmon), and chicken. Lots of sweet potatoes and onions, and lots and lots of peppers: jalapeno, ghost peppers, habanero, etc. I also throw in fruit sometimes: berries, tomatoes, the occasional melon. My cheats are milk, cheese, and beer. I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around saying goodbye to any of those. I have managed my cravings for other stuff. I went to the butcher today to get some more steaks and some bacon and some bangers, and the lady behind the counter lifted the lid on a giant box of pastries; she said they were for the customers and to please take one. There were at least 6 of everything I used to like, and the smell hit me in the face, and I genuinely didn't want it. I pass on stuff like that at the office all the time, too. So I'm proud of myself there, but I don't have the energy level I'm hoping for (I have a desk job and I'm swamped often because of the size of our team vs. the size of our work load, so time for exercise comes at a premium), and I was hoping that eating healthier would give me a bigger boost than this. Also, I'm having a hard time figuring out my timing when it comes to meals. I want to try IF but I'm not sure that I'm fat-adapted enough yet. I always feel like I'm trying too hard to listen to my body and use that as the basis for everything I do, and I'm starting to incorporate "noise" into what I "hear" when I'm "listening". I'm probably not making enough sense. Does anybody have experiences that sound like this? What did you do to become more sure-footed with this lifestyle?

91119f53c3827f5c7fc90b98cab85b04

(799)

on September 10, 2012
at 02:12 PM

kettlebells rule. In 8 weeks I have brought my 2-handed swing from 16 to 24 to 32kg. 240 swings with the 24kg this morning - dont give up!

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 09, 2012
at 09:20 PM

indeed! thanks for the encouragement.

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 09, 2012
at 09:19 PM

I have a lot of things to try before I'm desperate enough to drop coffee then, lol... thanks for the site suggestion. I just got a bag of Sumatran beans in from another site, but I think I'll try portlandroasting.com next time. And yes, as much as I love things like chorizo or andouille or maybe just a good old fashioned English banger, I have to admit, I've always known they're no good for me. I'm trying to be a little more strict with myself, and I've also increased the intensity of my workouts. I recently got a kettlebell and have been trying new things with that. I will not give up!

91119f53c3827f5c7fc90b98cab85b04

(799)

on September 03, 2012
at 04:41 PM

dropping coffee is an option if u r doing the other stuff and are still stuck - I get mine from portlandroasting.com I like the Guatemalan and Organic Dark Colombian varieties. The beer is the first to go though, let me tell you I didnt like it either I was a big microbrew fan but the body composition results I have without the beer speak for themselves. Also, eat all the steak you want my point with the sausage is that you wont find a meat / fat ratio like that in nature so better even to go for bacon or something that is a single cut

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 03, 2012
at 12:35 PM

Sounds like a mental thing. Try to figure out if it's your brain or your body telling you that you need food. Sometimes we get into a schedule and listen to our Brian's saying, hey it's food time -- rather than focusing on our body tel King us it has a need...

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 03, 2012
at 12:32 PM

Eddie, links to coffee info? Everything I have ever read suggests coffee improves metabolism, especially during a fast. Thanks!

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 03, 2012
at 12:30 PM

crap, I just realized that I didn't really answer the question at the top of your answer... right now I'll have a beer (or 4) every 3 or 4 days. so on a Monday, then on a Friday, then repeat. or something similar. I try to only eat when I'm hungry, but I have to admit that I feel like my body is on a schedule simply out of habit. one of the reasons I'd like to try IF is to see if I can teach my body to detach from the clock and get my cravings to be based on my body's needs, ONLY. not sure how feasible that is, though...

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 03, 2012
at 12:18 PM

also, I know I'm only supposed to try one of these at a time, but I already knew I needed to intensify my workouts, so that one's already "active". I think I will also try to cut out all dairy, and see how I do with that. I miss you already, cheese!

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 03, 2012
at 12:13 PM

I definitely need to adjust my attitude about workouts, you're right... I just tell myself I don't have enough time, all the time. I tried to skip breakfast and I'm definitely not fat-adapted yet. The one clear thought in my head all morning was "FOOD"...

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 03, 2012
at 12:11 PM

so stop cheating entirely, ditch coffee (wow), eat healthier and work out way more. yeah, that sounds like a winning combination... I can't imagine what my life would be like afterward. I guess I will start trying these, and try to avoid feeling like I'm sucking the last few drops of joy out of life (no more alcohol? no more steaks? sausages? NO MORE COFFEEE???)... do you guys smile ever, or is that over too? (j/k)

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 03, 2012
at 12:04 PM

yes, that's why beer went into my "cheats" list. I know I need to stop at some point, but it's tougher than I thought it would be. sometimes a guy just needs a drink, and I basically hate everything else...

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 27, 2012
at 05:29 PM

sorry to say, but beer=wheat, not paleo. You can switch to something else... maybe hard cider? tequilla?

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on August 27, 2012
at 01:40 AM

Also, I feel like my energy level is so low during the day that I need a boost to make it, so I drink about 3 cups of black coffee when I'm at the office. Not sure if that's excessive or not...

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on August 27, 2012
at 01:39 AM

Those are really good questions. I've been eating this way for 3 months, and I've felt stuck for about a month now. Sometimes I'll get broccoli and squash and zucchini and grill or steam those (or just eat it raw). But I don't remember to buy those very often. Re: work... yes, I sometimes feel stretched a bit thin and I'd like to have less stress. As for the changes, I did notice that my cravings adjusted themselves. I didn't have to do anything to want to eat this way; I just focused on cutting out processed foods for a few days and here I am.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 27, 2012
at 01:12 AM

How long have you been eating as you described above, and about how long do you feel you've been on your personal plateau? Any more veggies than mentioned? You mentioned your job - do you feel very stressed from the team/work load issue, or overly stressed about anything else happening in RedCavemanLand? And last question... what changes -have- you noticed since starting Paleo? :)

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2 Answers

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91119f53c3827f5c7fc90b98cab85b04

(799)

on August 27, 2012
at 01:55 PM

how frequent are the cheats and how much of the foods are you eating?

I would recommend 2-week trials with the following, meaning, try one of these things for 2 weeks and see if it helps. If it does help you know you are onto something that was creating an impediment, so you should eliminate that for the time being. If you find one that works, continue doing that and after 2 weeks add in another. Im recommending 2 weeks because I have found personally that sometimes a week isnt enough to produce a result or give any one of these a fair shot. I would go in the following order as the ones closer to the top of the list will be the more likely culprits. I understand that some of these may not be the popular or most well-liked option:

  • do not drink any alcohol, it stops your liver, and fat loss in its tracks until its out of your system. If this is even one or two beers a day its pretty much bye bye fat loss unless you are into chronic cardio

  • check your calories with a tracker and make sure you are eating enough, your metabolism will adapt to very low carbs or calories after a while. If this is a problem for you, add in some more good carbs after workouts and a good dose of protein in the am (30-50g) and avoid intermittent fasting until well after (4-6 weeks) you start losing again

  • intensify your workouts, even if the frequency and duration are the same. Go faster, push heavier weight. Within reason, dont injure yourself but find a way to bring it a little harder or a little more at each session

  • cut out all the dairy aside from grass fed butter, and use that sparingly - couple of Tbsp a day is plenty

  • cut out coffee if you drink it (could be messing with your metabolism, especially if taken first thing in the am on an empty stomach and / or with meals)

  • try IF on an alternate day schedule, starting with 1 day a week and ramping up by adding a day each week if it feels good to you. No breakfast (16 - 18 hrs) seems to be what works for most 9-5 working people

  • eliminate "compound" or processed meats, like sausages, deli meats, or eating more than a single protein source at a given meal (slows digestion considerably)

best of luck with this, persevere, do not get discouraged, you will get past it
interested to know if you obtain any results from trying any of this

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 03, 2012
at 12:32 PM

Eddie, links to coffee info? Everything I have ever read suggests coffee improves metabolism, especially during a fast. Thanks!

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 03, 2012
at 12:30 PM

crap, I just realized that I didn't really answer the question at the top of your answer... right now I'll have a beer (or 4) every 3 or 4 days. so on a Monday, then on a Friday, then repeat. or something similar. I try to only eat when I'm hungry, but I have to admit that I feel like my body is on a schedule simply out of habit. one of the reasons I'd like to try IF is to see if I can teach my body to detach from the clock and get my cravings to be based on my body's needs, ONLY. not sure how feasible that is, though...

91119f53c3827f5c7fc90b98cab85b04

(799)

on September 03, 2012
at 04:41 PM

dropping coffee is an option if u r doing the other stuff and are still stuck - I get mine from portlandroasting.com I like the Guatemalan and Organic Dark Colombian varieties. The beer is the first to go though, let me tell you I didnt like it either I was a big microbrew fan but the body composition results I have without the beer speak for themselves. Also, eat all the steak you want my point with the sausage is that you wont find a meat / fat ratio like that in nature so better even to go for bacon or something that is a single cut

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 03, 2012
at 12:18 PM

also, I know I'm only supposed to try one of these at a time, but I already knew I needed to intensify my workouts, so that one's already "active". I think I will also try to cut out all dairy, and see how I do with that. I miss you already, cheese!

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 03, 2012
at 12:11 PM

so stop cheating entirely, ditch coffee (wow), eat healthier and work out way more. yeah, that sounds like a winning combination... I can't imagine what my life would be like afterward. I guess I will start trying these, and try to avoid feeling like I'm sucking the last few drops of joy out of life (no more alcohol? no more steaks? sausages? NO MORE COFFEEE???)... do you guys smile ever, or is that over too? (j/k)

91119f53c3827f5c7fc90b98cab85b04

(799)

on September 10, 2012
at 02:12 PM

kettlebells rule. In 8 weeks I have brought my 2-handed swing from 16 to 24 to 32kg. 240 swings with the 24kg this morning - dont give up!

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 09, 2012
at 09:19 PM

I have a lot of things to try before I'm desperate enough to drop coffee then, lol... thanks for the site suggestion. I just got a bag of Sumatran beans in from another site, but I think I'll try portlandroasting.com next time. And yes, as much as I love things like chorizo or andouille or maybe just a good old fashioned English banger, I have to admit, I've always known they're no good for me. I'm trying to be a little more strict with myself, and I've also increased the intensity of my workouts. I recently got a kettlebell and have been trying new things with that. I will not give up!

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 27, 2012
at 01:18 PM

Red,

One of the things that helped me bust through plateaus was exercise. Not necessarily more, just better quality. Instead of banging out 5 miles on the road and forcing myself back into the house 35 minutes later -- I went out to a trail (btw, battlefields are awesome to run through), slowed it down, and enjoyed the run. Instead of trying to hit the gym and be back in the office in 40 minutes, I tried some new lifts, even took a yoga class. I too am swamped at work, but I find that the stress of hitting deadlines is rough on the body. And taking a few extra minutes to myself makes me more productive the rest of the day (also eliminates the stress).

As to IF. My suggestion would be to skip breakfast one day. See how you feel. Then a few days later skip breakfast and lunch. If you are hungry, but not lethargic, then you are probably fat-adapted -- your body is just set in it's schedule.

Good luck and stick it out. If you remain sluggish, get some more veggies in you, experiment with higher carb veggies, see what works for you.

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 03, 2012
at 12:13 PM

I definitely need to adjust my attitude about workouts, you're right... I just tell myself I don't have enough time, all the time. I tried to skip breakfast and I'm definitely not fat-adapted yet. The one clear thought in my head all morning was "FOOD"...

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 03, 2012
at 12:35 PM

Sounds like a mental thing. Try to figure out if it's your brain or your body telling you that you need food. Sometimes we get into a schedule and listen to our Brian's saying, hey it's food time -- rather than focusing on our body tel King us it has a need...

B1899db8787beae16722d2e482808fe7

on September 09, 2012
at 09:20 PM

indeed! thanks for the encouragement.

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