1

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Hack my beginner attempts at paleo (not quite paleo but trying/probably faileo-but-better-than-SAD-diet right now)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 11, 2013 at 12:49 AM

TLDR Warning, huge rambling novel below:

Hi PaleoHacks. Time to give some background, or semi-life story to any who cares to read.

I am a dude, 5' 11'', about 165-170 lbs with around 18-23% bodyfat (I don't know how to do the various measurements the different online calculators ask for, besides waist). I am fairly 'skinnyfat', in that I look lean and skinny, with an emerging 4-pack, but I have stubborn love handles, and some leftover jawline fat from when I weighed around 190 lbs (due to taking a horrible medication and general crappy SAD diet).

I credit that 20-lb weightloss to my efforts to improve my diet and steady exercise and weightlifting (lots of HIIT). Since last summer, I have moved towards a paleo-leaning diet. To me, it is an absolute information overload. I understand the broad tenets that make up the majority of what is considered paleo, such as 'low carbs, high fat, no grains/legumes/processed', but it has been a series of baby steps/stumbling blocks over this past year, with plenty of 'oops, apparently that wasn't paleo after all, godammnit!' moments.

Anyway, my strategy was to cut down the carbs, especially breads, all legumes and grains, and basically snack on nothing from a supermarket. Actually, not snack at all.

Living in what can be called a 'food desert' where it was really frickin hard to shop paleo (at least there was a local butchers which I was grateful for), I didn't consider myself paleo, more like the description I wrote in the title. I still ended up having some buns with my restaurant chicken, had a supermarket snack every now and then and ate a lot of evil frozen supermarket Gorton's fish (covered in Frankenwheat). But it was with the knowledge that while this was faileo, I would be moving to a new location where it would be easier to move in a more paleoward direction(a big city). Or, I think it would be easier.

Anyway, I think it has been more positive than negative, despite it not being really paleo. Therefore I want to ramp it up and increase my knowledge of what is paleo bit by bit so I don't get frustrated with the metric tons of conflicting information out there. Still plenty of stumbling moments ('you mean 'cage-free' ISN'T that good? F you Trader Joes!!!') but I think it's getting better.

Basically this has been my diet since moving into a new place in a new city (it's been a week and a half):

Eggs fried in unsalted grass-fed butter (they are those bs 'cage-free' eggs, but, hey, now I know to get Omega-3 from now on at Trader J's)

Bacon (kind of sketchy TJ's applewood smoked. I just got the uncured unpreserved 'we promise this is like totally healthy' variety. I am really confused about bacon however; lots of conflicting info)

Lots of stews: I use TJ's coconut oil, TJ's chicken (could be better choices but that's what I'm here to learn), or pork sausage, peppers, onions, spices. For a newbie chef, I think they are pretty tasty.

Grass feed beef patties (again, TJ's. I live at that place. I don't think the patties are nearly fatty enough though)

Sweet potatoes or white potatoes: the white potatoes are mainly in the stews and not many.

Brazil nuts and walnuts (I have a handful maybe once/twice a day) liberal amounts of hot sauce (I made a question here months ago about Sriracha)

Dairy kefir from TJ's.

I used to be chronically fatigued and tired basically all day. Since I started my psuedopaleo approach last summer and lost the pounds, I also gained more energy.

But, I still get bouts of tiredness, especially in the mornings. But this is slowly improving.

I am currently doing a general cutting approach at the gym, with a few sets of compound free-weight exercises for various areas of muscle and 35 mins of HIIT on a stair machine or elliptical. Any tips for good foods to help with such a diet would be great. I tend to get really crabby after the HIIT, but the kefir helps.

I am also considering trying IF, but I'm not sure.

My end goal is to lower my BF% to under 15%. 10 would be ideal. Anything to cut down on the lower stomach fat. And man, I really want my old chiseled jawline back too (it's getting there though).

My main confusions are over what kind of fat to get, what kind is good, and how to eat it.

Oh, and if it helps, I have been diagnosed with ADHD from a very young age. I take supplements like fish oil, b-vitamins, d vitamins, potassium, Ashwagandha, 5-htp, tyrosine, theanine (the last three are in a compound supplement).

I'd like anybody interested to hack my little diet. I started using myFitnessPal as well.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 16, 2013
at 06:15 AM

Oh, '3 or 4 times a day' is supposed to read '3 or 4 times a week'. Sorry.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 16, 2013
at 02:48 AM

Pt 3: So, I'm not too psyched about using MyFitnessPal as I'm not sure I'm using it correctly. I am still figuring out what helps my sleep and what doesn't. I think an IF regimen that involves eating my last meal around 8 pm and fasting until 11/noon could help with energy. I'm still figuring out the carb thing. What confuses me is that bodybuilders argue that a caloric deficit cuts fat no matter what, but others argue that a deficit makes it harder to lose fat. So that's confusing.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 16, 2013
at 02:45 AM

Pt 2: I've eaten a bit more carbs as well, figuring out what helps and what doesn't. I find moderate carb works well with HIIT. A side of roasted white potatoes for lunch at 1 pm and lots of water goes a LONG way towards fending off the post-workout crash. So... as things are (hopefully) beginning to get more baseline and stable in terms of stress, I think I can continue what I'm doing. Fo workouts, Maybe 3 or 4 times a day, depending. Sometimes I will go on a schedule of 4 days in a row: weightlifting on even days, HIIT on odd days, but occasionally a day or two off.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 16, 2013
at 02:42 AM

Well, the last few weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster. A lot of stressful crazy things happening around the new apartment leads to lack of sleep and high anxiety, so that threw a curveball. Developments are a bit more positive recently, so my sleep has been improving. I was distracted by schoolwork and neglected MyFitnessPal over the last few weeks. I find it kind of hard and tedious to use, and I'm never sure if I'm doing it accurately. A few times it told me I had a caloric deficit of a few hundred calories.

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3 Answers

2
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on April 11, 2013
at 02:01 AM

I think you're doing a good job dude. The only advice I'd give you is to increase the intensity and decrease the duration of your elliptical HIIT sessions to help you finish cutting.

1
3880a4eac4320ea6e8c1739a407cf605

on April 11, 2013
at 02:43 AM

Good Job so far dude! The nutritional part will fall into place...you're the one in control and know how certain foods effect you, etc...As far as fat goes, use the coconut, olive oil, avocados. I eat a lot of Beef liver too. totally grosses the wife out...lol!

I agree with Stephen R. that you should maybe increase the intensity and decrease the duration of your cardio routine.

I would also suggest that you give IF a shot. I've been IF'ing for 2 months and the fat is falling off of me! I'm doing a 18 hour fast with a 6 hour feeding window (18/6). I workout with heavy weights 3 days a week and do this in a fasted state. I also do a Sprint workout 2 times a week and try to walk as much as possible.

I have crazy energy and the only "problem" I have is trying to get all of my calories in! I'm actually putting on muscle and losing body fat. My weight has only dropped a couple of pounds, but my composition is definitely changing. I've never experienced anything like this before.

Anyway, keep up the good work man!

0
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on April 13, 2013
at 01:01 AM

Per the other answers...you're doing fine. Body recomp takes time.

Losing body fat becomes harder as the the % falls, you've lost the easy stuff. :(

I went from the mid / high 20's to high teens with little effort. (6' @ 220 to 192 in ~ 7 months) I'm too old & too lazy to go lower.

TJ's is big help. I'm not a huge fan of bacon, even the "healthy" stuff. There are way better food values, that are way better for you...grass fed beef goes well with eggs instead of bacon.

Couple questions / comments... are you working out too often? Is that the source of your tiredness? Going to bed too late? Not getting enough sleep? Lack of sleep can stall fat loss. Are you getting enough calories to support your workouts? Have you done some calorie & energy output tracking?

Beware of nuts, very calorically dense & and stall fat loss. I plateaued at 197 because I was overeating almonds & pistachios.

Carbs are the devil's calories for an older less active guy like me... but with HIT, you are definitely "earning" your carbs. Too much HIT can stall fat loss.

Checkout 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss... it's 500 pages but for fat loss & muscle gain you only have to read about 100 pages. He has some tips & tricks for young guys would want achieve low body fat.

Here are couple blog posts that you might find useful

This one talks about alcohol consumption but has chart that shows carbs needs as a function of VOmax http://graemethomasonline.com/beach-body-or-beer-belly-alcohol-and-your-physique/

Here he talks about "earning your carbs"... your post workout crabbiness indicates you need to dial things back or add some carbs

http://graemethomasonline.com/carbohydrate-daily-requirements/

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 16, 2013
at 02:42 AM

Well, the last few weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster. A lot of stressful crazy things happening around the new apartment leads to lack of sleep and high anxiety, so that threw a curveball. Developments are a bit more positive recently, so my sleep has been improving. I was distracted by schoolwork and neglected MyFitnessPal over the last few weeks. I find it kind of hard and tedious to use, and I'm never sure if I'm doing it accurately. A few times it told me I had a caloric deficit of a few hundred calories.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 16, 2013
at 06:15 AM

Oh, '3 or 4 times a day' is supposed to read '3 or 4 times a week'. Sorry.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 16, 2013
at 02:48 AM

Pt 3: So, I'm not too psyched about using MyFitnessPal as I'm not sure I'm using it correctly. I am still figuring out what helps my sleep and what doesn't. I think an IF regimen that involves eating my last meal around 8 pm and fasting until 11/noon could help with energy. I'm still figuring out the carb thing. What confuses me is that bodybuilders argue that a caloric deficit cuts fat no matter what, but others argue that a deficit makes it harder to lose fat. So that's confusing.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 16, 2013
at 02:45 AM

Pt 2: I've eaten a bit more carbs as well, figuring out what helps and what doesn't. I find moderate carb works well with HIIT. A side of roasted white potatoes for lunch at 1 pm and lots of water goes a LONG way towards fending off the post-workout crash. So... as things are (hopefully) beginning to get more baseline and stable in terms of stress, I think I can continue what I'm doing. Fo workouts, Maybe 3 or 4 times a day, depending. Sometimes I will go on a schedule of 4 days in a row: weightlifting on even days, HIIT on odd days, but occasionally a day or two off.

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