3

votes

Hack my plateau!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 26, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Hey guys,

I'm a 25 yo male, been straight VLC paleo for the past 8 weeks, started at 330 lbs and am currently stuck at 300. I've been at 300 for the past ~3 weeks or so. Here is a rundown of what I eat on a daily basis + my supplementation:

Breakfast: Venti iced coffee with a splash of half / half

Lunch: "Street meat" (Gyro meat + cubed chicken from a street cart in NYC) over vegetables, which I rarely touch. It's a decent amount of meat and definitely satiating. I would estimate the equivalent of 2-3 strips of gyro meat and the equivalent of a chicken breast - its all cooked on a griddle with sliced onions and "white sauce" (mayonnaise + vinegar) is added on top after its cooked.

Afternoon: Venti iced coffee with a splash of half / half

Dinner: Chipotle salad bowl, with very little lettuce. 2 servings of chicken, 1 serving of steak, hot salsa and cheese. 2 servings of sour cream and one serving of guacamole on the side. (I dip pieces of meat in the sour cream until it runs out, and then start dipping in the guac....scrape out the rest with a spoon and look like a crazy man at work haha)

Supplementation: 5000 IU of Vitamin D-3 (NOW brand gel caps) in the morning, and a multivitamin (NOW brand ADAM for men)

About 2-3x a week I'm not even hungry at lunch, and don't get the lunch I described above. For dinner, the only changeup is either lamb or chicken kebabs or a gyro meat platter with full-fat yogurt sauce (it has diced cucumber in it).

I have not yet begun exercising, and spend almost all of my day cranking away at a desk in front of a computer. I do walk to the subway (about .5 mi) every morning, and walk about 1/3 of a mi to work from the subway stop as well. I also live in a 5th floor walkup, and do that hike minimum once a day.

The weight was coming off very quickly, but now has essentially stopped...any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Chris - I'm looking to start doing this as soon as I wrap up with the current job - very bad hours right now (finance) but the next one will be much better. Love to cook, so I can't wait

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on May 28, 2011
at 06:31 PM

i was offering hack advice not doctor advice. i don't think it is ludicrious to suggest a person who has hit a plateau after skipping meals all day to try eating. something like 10% of your metabolism is digestion and if you don't eat you are doing much digestion.

Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on May 27, 2011
at 06:25 PM

Cook on the weekends. Hire a personal chef if you can afford it. Do anything to prepare your own food. You will never be able to avoid omega 6 oils if you eat food out all the time.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Absolutely. If you don't cook your own food all the time at least for a week or a month you simply have no idea of your caloric intake. Step one: cok

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:15 PM

Never heard of thermogenic effect from fatty foods. Protein, yes. But it is so small that you should not even consider it. Negative calories and all that stuff - pure junk. Don't believe it for a second. Eating more rather than less FOR A PERSON in your situation based on the belief that protein is thermogenic is ludicrous.

Bb1ba0d71083ceaecd3a3b405a977454

(891)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:54 PM

I know that job pressures are a pain. I think once you start preparing your own (especially since you like to cook), it will be easy to work it into your daily rotation. Small investments like this will pay big dividends later. Keep us posted.

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Hmmm...I could try, but honestly my appetite has gone down to about zero...I already feel weird eating when I do, its not even because I'm "hungry" but because its lunchtime....I've had an entire day go by when I didn't realize I hadn't eaten and it was already after 9pm...any advice on stuff that I can eat regardless of appetite level?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:15 PM

+1 for clearly explaining what you eat/do every day.

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 04:28 PM

Haha of course! I took a sip of an iced coffee that they made for me a few weeks ago at SBUX, and they had accidentally put syrup in it...could feel it INSTANTLY and got sweaty etc...no sugar allowed here

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 04:27 PM

On a good night I get 7 hours of sleep, but its generally 5-6 hours a night. I feel best on about 6 hours of sleep. My next job will allow me alot more free time / sleep time...but I have to tough this out in the interim. I'm significantly down from the amount of coffee I drank while on the SAD (sometimes 4 or 5 venti iced coffees a day, plus supplementary cups of the garbage coffee they brew on my floor)....trying to get it down to just one, as I no longer het the afternoon carb-crash being VLC

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 04:25 PM

I work in finance, so cooking for myself is pretty much out of the question (a good day has me getting in at 8am and leaving after 11pm...oftentimes its 2am or later...)...although my next job will have much better hours. I actually love to cook and hate that I'm not able to...especially with summer essentially already here I would be grilling kebabs every day haha

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on May 26, 2011
at 03:44 PM

Good job on your life change! Be sure the tabasco sauce doesn't have sugar (obv).

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on May 26, 2011
at 02:47 PM

Lots of good advice in this thread, but this one is the best by far. And the hardest to implement for most people. =(

6e4b38a97f74c32c4d12977acf7cba35

(0)

on May 26, 2011
at 02:29 PM

whoa, that's a lot of caffeine! How are you sleeping? Lack of sleep will affect your weight loss too. Cut back on the caffeine...slowly is best.

6e4b38a97f74c32c4d12977acf7cba35

(0)

on May 26, 2011
at 02:25 PM

I agree! Cook your own food and eat more veggies! remove dairy and any sauces or salad dressings you didn't make yourself.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:57 PM

hahahahah... you wrote almsot the exact thing i did!

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:55 PM

"Arizona State University report that the amount of vitamin C in the blood stream is directly related to fat oxidation - the body's ability to use fat as a fuel source - during both exercise and at rest." - http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/04/06/17140.aspx One of a thousand studies showing Vit C needed for fat oxidation. 2 grams a day is a good place to start, you should see results with that.

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 01:43 PM

Rose - will definitely switch over to the heavy whipping cream at SBUX - I think I just have to ask them for it (its behind the counter, not out on the little sugar / fat paradise island with napkins, straws, etc). I can definitely just throw tabasco or some other sauce on the meat from the cart - and there's no pita, no need to worry. The meat is laid over a bed of (cheap / crappy) lettuce, which I don't eat. I do eat the onions mixed in the meat though - I love me some onions. Thanks for the response!

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 01:40 PM

Alex - I'm 5'11. I'm restricted (for religious reasons) from eating pork, so I might have to find a new restaurant since the steak / chicken at Chipotle is cooked in soybean oil. On the 2-3 days a week that I don't eat lunch, I am essentially IFing (with the exception of the coffee / unsweetend iced tea) from the previous day's dinner until dinner that day...does the coffee count against an IF? I'm avoiding exercise for now solely because of time constraints, which should ease up in the coming weeks. I definitely want to get back in the gym. Thanks for the response!

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 01:01 PM

Bill - I'm sorry I forgot to mention, I am drinking unsweetened iced tea and water at my desk all day. I go through minimum 10 cups or so a day, evenly split between water and iced tea Any links that I can check out re: Vitamin C?

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11 Answers

4
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on May 26, 2011
at 01:57 PM

If at all possible, START COOKING YOUR OWN FOOD. I really can't stress that enough. i love nyc street carts as much as the next guy, but the gyro meat seems awfully processed to me but i could be wrong. if cooking isn't an option for you right now, instead of getting the gyro meat, find the carts like they have around chinatown and other places in the city where they sale chicken breast and beef skewers that are grilled and minimally processed. also, forgo any sauces on your meat. since you're eating cafo meat and not eating wild caught oily fish, you may want to also look into supplement omega 3 because inflammation may also be impeding your progress. good luck.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on May 26, 2011
at 02:47 PM

Lots of good advice in this thread, but this one is the best by far. And the hardest to implement for most people. =(

Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on May 27, 2011
at 06:25 PM

Cook on the weekends. Hire a personal chef if you can afford it. Do anything to prepare your own food. You will never be able to avoid omega 6 oils if you eat food out all the time.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Absolutely. If you don't cook your own food all the time at least for a week or a month you simply have no idea of your caloric intake. Step one: cok

6e4b38a97f74c32c4d12977acf7cba35

(0)

on May 26, 2011
at 02:25 PM

I agree! Cook your own food and eat more veggies! remove dairy and any sauces or salad dressings you didn't make yourself.

3
91219405abedbfd400ce00dea242a00f

(1044)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:21 PM

How tall are you? First thing is that the weight will probably never reach the same speed of coming off as it did in the first couple of weeks.

You definitely want to skip that white sauce. The mayo from those carts is probably made with highly processed oils (canola oil). The gyro meat is probably cooked in bad oil too, but I guess you have to pick your battles. You also may want to find out if the gyro meat is made with sugar, flour, etc. It may be packing a ton of hidden carbs that you wouldn't even suspect.

At Chipotle, all of the meat is cooked in soybean oil (which is bad for you) except for the Carnitas (pork), so that's what you should be eating there.

I would cut down on the dairy as well. When I hit my plateau at 238 (I'm currently 6'4, 232lbs, 23 years old) two weeks ago, I cut out all of the dairy in my life and have lost another 6lbs since. I don't exercise either as I'm currently preparing for board exams. If you're not willing to do that (though you really should try it), then at least switch the half-and-half to heavy cream and switch the 2 servings of sour cream to one. The lettuce is fine, I wouldn't worry about that.

Another thing you can try that seems to work for people to get over plateaus is Intermittent Fasting. Do a search on this site for that term and you'll find quite a bit of discussion on it.

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 01:40 PM

Alex - I'm 5'11. I'm restricted (for religious reasons) from eating pork, so I might have to find a new restaurant since the steak / chicken at Chipotle is cooked in soybean oil. On the 2-3 days a week that I don't eat lunch, I am essentially IFing (with the exception of the coffee / unsweetend iced tea) from the previous day's dinner until dinner that day...does the coffee count against an IF? I'm avoiding exercise for now solely because of time constraints, which should ease up in the coming weeks. I definitely want to get back in the gym. Thanks for the response!

2
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:51 PM

Well done on the first 30 pounds. Great start.

I back up the recommendation to cut the dairy, it's a potent growth promoter and you want the opposite to that right now! Cut it for 2 - 4 weeks and measure any differences.

Take the long way to the station, if you could at least get 30min walking before eating anything, you would really benefit, even if it doesn't add to the weight loss.

I think your omega 3/6 ratio is going to be way out of whack. Supplementing with fish oil will help the balance, as well as trying to cut down on the process meat you're currently consuming, which is no doubt being cooked in franken oils. Also remember that your stored body fat is likely to be high in omega 6, so as you burn it off fish oil supplementation will help with the n-3/n-6 ratio.

Do you like cooking? I would try and cook at least one meal a day, say dinner, so you know exactly what you're eating.

Hope that helps some. Good luck!

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 04:25 PM

I work in finance, so cooking for myself is pretty much out of the question (a good day has me getting in at 8am and leaving after 11pm...oftentimes its 2am or later...)...although my next job will have much better hours. I actually love to cook and hate that I'm not able to...especially with summer essentially already here I would be grilling kebabs every day haha

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:57 PM

hahahahah... you wrote almsot the exact thing i did!

1
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:36 PM

TTS, if you're getting your iced coffee at Starbuck's, they do have heavy whipping cream, and that's a better choice than half and half, IMO. Even though the carb count in half and half is similar according to the label, the HWC really is lower (http://www.carbohydrate-counter.org/dairy/search.php?cat=Cream&fg=0100). Half and half puts weight back on me really quick.

I also wonder about the mayonnaise, not for carb count, but for seed oil content. Those of us who are/were obese tend to overreact to foods that other people tolerate, even small amounts. That's how we get this way in the first place, lol. I don't know what else you could put on the gyros besides the white sauce. I eat my meat plain, but I know in the beginning that seems like such a dull option. Also, since it's gyros -- are you eating it on a pita or anything? You don't mention it, but if there's grain, it's gotta go (that probably goes without saying).

Good luck! I had several long stalls on my way down (two of them around a year long). They're frustrating, and sometimes they seem to appear and disappear for unknown reasons, but often they can be hacked if you keep tweaking, and give the tweaks a little while to show results.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on May 26, 2011
at 03:44 PM

Good job on your life change! Be sure the tabasco sauce doesn't have sugar (obv).

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 04:28 PM

Haha of course! I took a sip of an iced coffee that they made for me a few weeks ago at SBUX, and they had accidentally put syrup in it...could feel it INSTANTLY and got sweaty etc...no sugar allowed here

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 01:43 PM

Rose - will definitely switch over to the heavy whipping cream at SBUX - I think I just have to ask them for it (its behind the counter, not out on the little sugar / fat paradise island with napkins, straws, etc). I can definitely just throw tabasco or some other sauce on the meat from the cart - and there's no pita, no need to worry. The meat is laid over a bed of (cheap / crappy) lettuce, which I don't eat. I do eat the onions mixed in the meat though - I love me some onions. Thanks for the response!

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on May 27, 2011
at 05:00 AM

Congratulations!!!

I would echo the walk. At least 30 min a day 5 days per week...

Also ditching the condiments....

It does hurt to eat vegetables. In particular the dark green ones...

0
B9053e173d69df9a9141c4e23c2de678

(90)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:03 PM

I also echo what has been said here, but have one caveat to the Fish Oil supplementation suggestion to help balance Omega 3 with stored Omega 6. I just read this today, as a matter of fact on Mark Sisson's wonderfully informative blog, Mark's Daily Apple. In diets that are high in carbs or sugar, fish oil can add a detrimental load to the liver. While what you've described here doesn't seem high carb or high sugar, if you're drinking more than a few alcoholic drinks a week, you'll want to check on the amount of fish oil you can supplement with and still be safe. Congratulations on the 30 pounds. It sounds like job/life might be sabotaging the exercise that could help kick this plateau to the curb more quickly. You might try some fast, but intense rotations. Jam in 20 minutes of high intensity a couple times a week, and you might be able to re-route the metabolism that seems happy hanging out where it is. Good luck!

0
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:21 PM

There is a thermogenic effect of eating protein and fat rich foods. You may want to experiment with eating more rather than less. You may find you lose more weight when you are eating and making your body work rather than skipping lunch or IFing.

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Hmmm...I could try, but honestly my appetite has gone down to about zero...I already feel weird eating when I do, its not even because I'm "hungry" but because its lunchtime....I've had an entire day go by when I didn't realize I hadn't eaten and it was already after 9pm...any advice on stuff that I can eat regardless of appetite level?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:15 PM

Never heard of thermogenic effect from fatty foods. Protein, yes. But it is so small that you should not even consider it. Negative calories and all that stuff - pure junk. Don't believe it for a second. Eating more rather than less FOR A PERSON in your situation based on the belief that protein is thermogenic is ludicrous.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on May 28, 2011
at 06:31 PM

i was offering hack advice not doctor advice. i don't think it is ludicrious to suggest a person who has hit a plateau after skipping meals all day to try eating. something like 10% of your metabolism is digestion and if you don't eat you are doing much digestion.

0
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on May 26, 2011
at 02:25 PM

Couple of things...

  1. Ditch the half/half for whole cream, or man up and drink it black! :-)

  2. At your size, I would venture about half (15 to as much as 20lbs) of your weightloss was water... especially since you've gone the VLC route. I started at around 400lbs and my first 8 weeks netted me over 45lbs lost (5-6lbs/week), then I moved towards 1-2lbs/week afterwards. That was a year ago and I've lost 35lbs additionally since.

That being said, a popular hack I remember from my CKD days was once you plateaued on a VLC/ZC diet, you carbed up for two days and put on about 5-8lbs of water weight... then you resumed the VLC/ZC and netted another 10lbs of loss (the water, plus a pound or two of actual weightloss) - this however is the epitome of "yo-yo" dieting and while it's fun to have a "carb day", it's not productive to the "lifestyle change" that you really need to consistently lose weight.

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on May 26, 2011
at 02:14 PM

Calorie counting and food weighing is a PITA but if you are eating roughly the same thing every day, you might count the calories once just to see where you are at. Mayo, sour cream, and guac can have 50-75 calories per tbsp. If you eat a bunch of that you might be adding 500+ calories to your day.

Gyro meat varies a lot in my experience, sometimes it is just meat, other times it is basically a big meatloaf, which could include bread crumbs and other fillers. You might try to find a better source of meat.

I think all of the sauces that you get at restaurants and street vendors are suspect, they will have bad oils, sugars, HCFS, preservatives, etc. If you are very insulin resistant, just a little bit of sugar in the condiment can spike your insulin for the meal.

One of my go-to meals on the run is to go to a salad bar, it sounds like you're in an urban area, maybe they have the places with the hot/cold salad bars. I get a salad with eggs, chicken/ham, blue cheese, a few crunchy vegetables such as red bell peppers, and dress it with oil and vinegar. Sometimes the oils are pretty bad so you may need to buy some real olive oil and keep it at your desk.

Try to walk at least 30 minutes a day. Good luck!

0
Bb1ba0d71083ceaecd3a3b405a977454

on May 26, 2011
at 02:14 PM

Good work on the first 30#!

I'll echo the responses before me; you need to shop for, prepare, and eat food that you choose, purchase and cook to remove the (un)known variables involved in eating meals out.

You can prepare things ahead of time (like cook a few pieces of chicken or steaks en masse) that can then easily either be sliced and tossed on top of a salad or stir fried or whatever. Same idea for veggies and greens; have a variety that you like to eat washed, cut and ready to eat raw or steam/sautee and eat.

It's not just about weight loss but about nourishing your body.

Bb1ba0d71083ceaecd3a3b405a977454

(891)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:54 PM

I know that job pressures are a pain. I think once you start preparing your own (especially since you like to cook), it will be easy to work it into your daily rotation. Small investments like this will pay big dividends later. Keep us posted.

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Chris - I'm looking to start doing this as soon as I wrap up with the current job - very bad hours right now (finance) but the next one will be much better. Love to cook, so I can't wait

0
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

on May 26, 2011
at 12:57 PM

Minimum Effective Dose Prescription:
1: Eat 30 grams of protein upon waking (before coffee). 2: Up your water intake until you are hydrated throughout the day. Your looking for your pee to not look like Caramel. You should be able to drink a gallon at least per day. 3: Add a gram or two of VIT C morning and before bed. (You body needs C for fat oxidation)

You should lose 5 lbs or so over the next 7 days.

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 01:01 PM

Bill - I'm sorry I forgot to mention, I am drinking unsweetened iced tea and water at my desk all day. I go through minimum 10 cups or so a day, evenly split between water and iced tea Any links that I can check out re: Vitamin C?

6e4b38a97f74c32c4d12977acf7cba35

(0)

on May 26, 2011
at 02:29 PM

whoa, that's a lot of caffeine! How are you sleeping? Lack of sleep will affect your weight loss too. Cut back on the caffeine...slowly is best.

0e08acfda572e00098d774ddaba9dbde

on May 26, 2011
at 04:27 PM

On a good night I get 7 hours of sleep, but its generally 5-6 hours a night. I feel best on about 6 hours of sleep. My next job will allow me alot more free time / sleep time...but I have to tough this out in the interim. I'm significantly down from the amount of coffee I drank while on the SAD (sometimes 4 or 5 venti iced coffees a day, plus supplementary cups of the garbage coffee they brew on my floor)....trying to get it down to just one, as I no longer het the afternoon carb-crash being VLC

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:55 PM

"Arizona State University report that the amount of vitamin C in the blood stream is directly related to fat oxidation - the body's ability to use fat as a fuel source - during both exercise and at rest." - http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/04/06/17140.aspx One of a thousand studies showing Vit C needed for fat oxidation. 2 grams a day is a good place to start, you should see results with that.

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