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Hack this plan for an obese family member...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 24, 2012 at 2:46 PM

A close family member has had enough, and has tasked me with building a diet.

Due to my own struggles with obesity, I consider myself fairly well read on the subject, and I have been working on my program for quite some time. I know what works for me, and I know the "general" rules of what works for others.

However, with this individual, I don't want to do a PSMF or any other "rapid" plan where rebound is almost inevitable. I want to use this as a "kickstart" to a more sensible paleo/primal sort of diet.

The basic rundown is a 35/5/60 P/C/F VLC diet, with gradual re-introducing of carbohydrates as the program progresses - the VLC starting point is basically for combatting water retention.

There will be some supplemental protein in there, otherwise it's a basic lower carb Paleo diet.

We are dealing with a female, mid-40's, and over 300lbs. I'm trying to really build her a diet that won't be too drastically different from a standard Paleo diet, as her weightloss progresses.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on May 24, 2012
at 05:43 PM

Totally agree. There's no need for protein powder. I like Robb Wolf's approach. It's fine to go up to 1g of protein per lb body weight, 300g in this case. Since protein is sating and most people can't eat 300g of protein in a day, they'll be unable to complain about how little food their eating! 300g of protein might put them in your ratios. But they may be satisfied with 20% protein, which might be somewhat better. But basically, you're good either way.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on May 24, 2012
at 05:39 PM

Yes, the first month may be hell! A suggestion in the Eades' book was to take 3-4 99mg potassium pills the first month since potassium is lost with water, and being low in potassium can be misery. You might consider suggesting a piece of fruit available for when the low carb flu hits the hardest. It was a live saver for me. I only needed a piece a day during the flu, which only lasted two days for me. But I didn't start at 300lbs. The main thing is that a single piece of fruit per day to avoid the flu is not a cheat, especially when the alternative could end up being a binge on ice cream.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on May 24, 2012
at 05:32 PM

It's an initial thing Matt, just to get water weight down. I will say though, that I lost over 140lbs with VLC to low-carb... it's effective, and easy to enforce.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on May 24, 2012
at 05:11 PM

Why VLC? It's not necessary.

3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:53 PM

I can't agree enough with your advice about the "whys" - my husband followed me into Paleo two years ago but doesn't want to understand why we're eating how we eat, so he cheats all the time, if I'm not physically present to remind him that XYZ isn't such a good idea. As a result, he's been stalled for over a year. For me, knowing the mechanisms behind what I did made all the difference on earth, and continues to do so.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:30 PM

Oh and she would probably benefit greatly from getting evalutated by a competent thyroid doctor. Easier said than done, I'm still looking.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Most humans will naturally settle around 25% protein, regardless of where the carbs and fat are. I think it makes sense to shoot for that mark.

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4 Answers

6
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:17 PM

Don't have much to say in critiquing the diet except please make sure you warn her about possible carb flu. My guess is her diet is relatively horrendous (read: loaded with processed junk and refined carbs), and she might have a pretty rough time with withdrawal the first few days. (Dizziness, headaches, etc.)

Also, at her starting weight, she probably doesn't need to restrict carbs to just 5% to lose a significant amount of fat. Lots of people at that weight can see big changes just by "reducing" carbs, but overall, I agree that for an initial big drop in weight, you want to get her body running on fat as much as possible. (Which would mean VLC...but I think 10% or 15% would get her great results too.)

Don't know how interested she is in the why's and how's of this stuff working, but as far as I'm concerned, knowledge is power. She might find it easier to resist temptations if she knows why and how dropping carbs helps heal a broken metabolism. You don't want to overwhelm her with biochemistry -- unless she's really into it -- but a beginner's lesson might be helpful. You can do the whole "eat this, don't eat that" thing, but I do think it's easier to stick to when someone knows WHY certain foods are helpful and others counterproductive. (Not that the knowledge is always effective. I know a fair amount about this stuff and I still find myself reaching for a piece of x, y, or z here and there.)

One last thing: kudos to her! Be enthusiastic! Congratulate her on getting interested in making some changes. Stay positive. Celebrate even the little victories. Good for her for having the courage to approach you about this. How many threads have there been about people desperate to help family members who just don't give a damn? It's nice to see someone start to seek advice. :)

3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:53 PM

I can't agree enough with your advice about the "whys" - my husband followed me into Paleo two years ago but doesn't want to understand why we're eating how we eat, so he cheats all the time, if I'm not physically present to remind him that XYZ isn't such a good idea. As a result, he's been stalled for over a year. For me, knowing the mechanisms behind what I did made all the difference on earth, and continues to do so.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on May 24, 2012
at 05:39 PM

Yes, the first month may be hell! A suggestion in the Eades' book was to take 3-4 99mg potassium pills the first month since potassium is lost with water, and being low in potassium can be misery. You might consider suggesting a piece of fruit available for when the low carb flu hits the hardest. It was a live saver for me. I only needed a piece a day during the flu, which only lasted two days for me. But I didn't start at 300lbs. The main thing is that a single piece of fruit per day to avoid the flu is not a cheat, especially when the alternative could end up being a binge on ice cream.

4
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:02 PM

I've lost 60lbs doing something similar, so it sounds like a great plan to me.

My only observation is that the protein seems a bit high relative to fat. Any protein that isn't used for maintaining your structure or fuelling a small bit of gluconeogenesis to fuel your brain will be converted to glucose.

If you're going to go to 5% carbs you might as well take advantage of ketosis and go 18/5/77 P/C/F (based no Volek's recommendation of maximum 18% protein). 35% protein will be enough to knock you out of ketosis, which seems a bit of a waste.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Most humans will naturally settle around 25% protein, regardless of where the carbs and fat are. I think it makes sense to shoot for that mark.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on May 24, 2012
at 05:43 PM

Totally agree. There's no need for protein powder. I like Robb Wolf's approach. It's fine to go up to 1g of protein per lb body weight, 300g in this case. Since protein is sating and most people can't eat 300g of protein in a day, they'll be unable to complain about how little food their eating! 300g of protein might put them in your ratios. But they may be satisfied with 20% protein, which might be somewhat better. But basically, you're good either way.

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 24, 2012
at 04:46 PM

I have tracked my weight on Paleo diet and this is my advice:

  1. Ditch all fruit and nuts. All of them, at least till she no longer craves sugar.

  2. I would highly recommend as many green leafy vegetables, cabbage family and onions as possible per day.

  3. Go easy on fat. She can have some fatty cuts of meat, fish, EVOO, but I would not be eating Kerrygold butter, ghee or bacon every single day. Use sparingly. They are very high in calories. She can re-introduce them later.

  4. No dairy for now.

1
F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:28 PM

Short term weight loss is motivating, but will slow down. You want to make sure she doesn't get discouraged. The two things that helped me to feel better were total elimination of grains, high Vitamin D, and vastly improved O3:O6 ratio. Once I got used to that I was motivated to keep going even during the times when the weightloss is a total fail. (And trust me, a woman in her mid-40s is going to have difficutly losing weight, even on paleo)

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:30 PM

Oh and she would probably benefit greatly from getting evalutated by a competent thyroid doctor. Easier said than done, I'm still looking.

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