Hey, I'm a 14 year old girl, 5.3" and 150 pounds. I'm not massively overweight, but I could lose a few pounds (from the dreaded belly area)
When I was 13, I could eat whatever I liked and not gain a thing. I wasn't skinny, but I really wish I had my old body back. I had a flat stomach, I liked my legs, my arms were nice and toned from my mountain biking.
I abused that privilege. Over god-knows-how-long, I started to put on the weight, till I looked at myself one day and though "oh sh*t" that was around 8 months ago. Been trying to lose weight ever since.
Tried the calorie counting thing. Didn't work. I only lost about a pound and a half over 9 weeks. It was especially hard to maintain because I was so hungry from cycling all the time.
Then I heard about the paleo diet. And I thought it was a fad at first. After all, I had been learning the importance of "healthy whole grains" for my entire existence. I was also told to never eat fatty meats, except from once in a while, because of heart disease.
But honestly, you can't ignore the facts and evidence. And it's not like I don't want to believe it. My parents don't.
But, I think I can go 80% paleo. And even 80% is better than 0. I just need help.
Like I said, I want to lose weight. This is only half a vanity thing, the other is because I want to be lean and healthy (I am healthy, just healthier) to help my cycling. I also want to have an excuse to eat a lot of steak (kidding)
But, I'm in the middle of a season. I have a massive race in 3 weeks time, and I kind of wanted to start tomorrow. It's probably not enough time for me to adapt to it and train at the same time.
Should I wait until the season finishes (in February) and just eat what I'm eating until then? (I don't eat bread or pasta; just rice and oats) or should I start tomorrow? Baring in mind I'll be training almost every night.
Also, when I do start, can anyone give me an idea on what I should eat? It's quite confusing for me. I have visited Mark's Daily Apple. It's a great site but the articles about athletes are more generalized than specific.
I know it's a lot to ask, and I apologise for the long question, but I would really like some help.
asked bycyclinyoungun (430)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on September 16, 2012
at 11:24 PM
Please please please don't worry about weight loss. You're too young and still growing. That said, you can still clean up your diet and grow into your "extra" weight.
You're an athlete, so you're going to eat more carbs than most people. Have most of your carbs during/after your workouts and stick to fruit and root vegetables for your dense carb sources. If you're going to eat grains (which may be unavoidable while a minor living at home), go for gluten-free. Rice and gluten-free oats are some of the least harmful.
Up your fatty meat consumption to compensate for the lower carb load. Once your race season is over, dial back the carbs even further.
on September 17, 2012
at 03:21 AM
I'm getting a laugh out of these "don't worry about your weight" comments. Wanna flash back to your teenage years and think about that for a sec?
It's true, the body does undergo a lot of weird changes around her age, which may include weight gain. But it sounds like she just wants to clean up her eating and approach the idea of a "healthy" diet from a different perspective. Props to her, at 14, I was under the impression that twizzlers were a good diet food because they were fat free. Some of my friends tried a 500-calorie-per-day diet. If she wants to adopt a healthier lifestyle to see if it will improve her body, I think she should be supported in that endeavor at age 14 or 94.
Agreed that you shouldn't limit your calories. You should definitely be nourishing a growing and athletic body, especially a woman's body at an important developmental time. Eggs, quality seafood, full-fat dairy, and butter are great foods for your womanliness. Especially if you're doing a lot of cycling, not getting enough calories could hurt you as much as getting too many.
It sounds like your diet is pretty clean... but be honest. A lot of people your age go kinda crazy for junk food. Not necessarily on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes fries from the cafeteria... sometimes skittles from the vending machine... sometimes giant ice cream sundaes with friends on Saturday night. Even if it's not on a regular basis, throwing a bunch of crap food in your body can negatively impact your metabolism. Don't get me wrong - you should definitely have a healthy relationship with food that includes splurges sometimes, but your choice of what to splurge on can make a big difference.
Just focus on eating a wholesome diet, and if the weight is unnecessary, it will probably go away. If it's a natural part of your growing process, good news, it will probably still go away just on a different schedule and for different reasons. More important than your weight though, you'll be making yourself strong and healthy, and you'll probably have great opportunities to learn a lot about food and cooking.
If I could go back in time and talk to 14-year-old me, I would tell her to spend as much time outdoors as much as possible, and stop looking at impossibly skinny broads on TV and in magazines. So... that's my advice to 14-year-old you.
on September 17, 2012
at 02:09 AM
You're body is still so young and growing- you have a lot of changes that are going to keep shaping your body well into your 20's. What you need to focus on right now is NOT losing weight (because you probably won't and probably shouldn't) but growing into your body. Lots of people, boys and girls, gain weight quickly right before a growth spurt. Restricting calories, even a minor amount, can cause growth stunting at this age when it is really important to get in a lot of nutrients. You really don't want to stunt your growth! You also want to keep all those female hormones happy so that you can cycle regularly and fully develop- those female hormones may cause spurts of weight gain throughout puberty, and that weight is often there for you to grow into.
Keep the rice- you are really active and they sure aren't hurting you. 80/20 is totally healthy. Eat when you are hungry. Eat plenty of veg and meat. Keep a good attitude. If this is stressing you out to much and you are having issues with body image, don't be afraid to reach out to someone- counselors are great for this.
on September 17, 2012
at 01:13 AM
I think you're way too young to worry about weight loss.
on September 16, 2012
at 10:58 PM
80% Paleo looks like what?
Because 80% Paleo with chocolate and cheese good absolutely do ya goood.
Paleo plus toast? You are done. It ain't workin', well not for most. You mentioned Oats. Not a fan. To make grains edible as Carly mentioned, you have to do some crazy stuff and they still just taste like cardboard. If you wouldn't eat 'em without tons of spices, sauces, etc... your body probably doesn't really want 'em.
Hints: Watch the nuts, easy to over do. Some will say go VLC etc...I'd say keep some evening yam/tater/white rice but you probably don't need huge amounts. Skip the starch on days you aren't riding. The evening is important. Fat cells are insulin insensitive at night. Workout during the day, make room for some muscle glycogen and then hit your carbs in the evening after you workout. If you have belly fat get rid of fruit and sugar or all sorts, it's not helpin'.
Lift some weights even if only a full body strength circuit 1x a week. Better hip strength and better quad strength will give you a lot more power on the bike. Deadlifts will help build your back and give you better back support while riding.
You might try the Paleo Diet for athletes by Cordain since it is focused at cyclists and runners.
Mark Sisson pushes LC and VLC too much for my taste. I'd also hit something like Robbwolf.com, he's a little more macro agnostic.
on September 16, 2012
at 06:00 PM
People are different in how they adapt to a paleo diet, but it is a fairly common experience to feel worse before better. This is often a reaction to detox (which you may not experience if you're eating pretty clean already) or an adjustment to a major change in macronutrients (which you don't necessarily have to change).
What are you eating now?
Changes you should definitely make:
Use coconut oil, butter, ghee, expeller-pressed olive oil, or animals fats instead of canola/vegetable oils.
Avoid preservatives/additives/lab produced ingredients like the plague.
Cut added sugar out of your diet and focus on healthy carbs. Personally, I think a some grains can be a part of a healthy diet. That is not a popular belief here. I soak, sprout, and/or ferment my grains to reduce anti-nutrients and make them more nourishing. I eat teff, millet, and a little bit of rice. I'd be glad to share my thoughts on that if you want to continue including grains in your diet.