Need sound advice on my situation, struggling all around

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 21, 2013 at 7:29 AM

So, I need some sound advice on what and how to do what I want to accomplish, because I'm lost and confused. First, the basics: I am Male, 5'11" and about 177-180lbs. This post is a bit long but covers most of what I want to share and I will add as necessary. I'm asking for real help, because the stress and depression just keeps getting worse.

I had a pretty normal childhood, played sports, was in good shape. My parents decided to move and being only a teen and getting older into my 20's, I ended up gaining a lot of weight and ended up at my biggest at about 300lbs. It was stress of the move, losing friends, being picked on, becoming an introvert, eating my feelings away. In 2010, I decided to lose weight and ultimately it happened because I was unemployed at the time and was fed up at who I was and kept wanting to be thin. Well, January 2010 to October 2010 I lost 130lbs. through a strict portion control system of 900-1100 calories a day and a lot of calisthenics through an MMA type of gym to help lose the weight. Well, I got down to 170lbs., maybe a bit less, but that was weight loss. In December of 2010 I was introduced to CrossFit and have been doing it ever since, usually 5-6 times a week.

I went from morbidly obese to thin and then transitioned into building lean muscle. The problem I am facing is several and one has to do with loose skin and the love handles, among other things.

Since losing all the weight, I have been scared to gain weight again and have dealing with a bit of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. My BMR for calories is about 2000, while my activity level would bring it to about 3000 calories, if not slightly over. I know I haven't been consuming that amount of calories consistently day to day so my body is constantly in a calorie deficit, and that's been since starting CrossFit. Imagine gaining lean mass, but not where I actually should be because I expend more calories than I consume. I have somewhat of (what I think) an emaciated look only where my abdomen area is more slightly sunken in and a more pronounced chest, but I think it's just cause I have a larger ribcage/chest. I hit a plateau long ago and simply because I don't get enough calories.

Because of a calorie deficit, I would think my "love handles" and skin would go away, but it's stubborn and hasn't gone away, even as much as I CrossFit. I know I haven't been adding more muscle on because of the deficit.

What do I do to lose the love handles, the skin, and just eat more? I don't know how to do this without stressing, working my ass off, and constantly checking myself (BDD)...?

I have been eating much cleaner as of December 11th, 2012 doing Paleo and still going (I do have diet Arizona Green Tea and/or Diet Energy Drink occasionally), and even before, would eat healthy even if I had grains and dairy, and admittedly would have the crappy junk food. I have been looking at this website frequently and just think doing a Keto diet would help, but there's so much information about "this and that", I'm absolutely confused and lost on what I should do. Typically, to boost my calorie intake my food profile has changed over to being high fats (coconut oil, almonds, olive oil, avocado), moderate protein (fattier ground beef, pork, chicken, eggs), and low carb (Yams, veggies, minimal amount of fruit). I eat high fat and moderate protein with yam, go to CrossFit, and then have protein post-WOD and sometimes I don't even do carbs because I just don't know what to do for sure. Or even, what to eat if it's late at night to be healthy.

I would say on approximate I have around 100 grams of fat a day, maybe a bit less, maybe a bit more, don't count protein but eat a lot, and about 50-100 grams of carbs (mostly a combo of Yams and some other veggie like Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots).

I am trying to stay Paleo, but have a limited budget and don't know how to start making a better change for myself. 2 years of CrossFit and getting a bit stronger but not tons like others have just frustrates me beyond belief. I'm not looking to get fat through eating more calories/dirty bulking, I just want to be lean, loose these dang love handles and skin in general. Like I mentioned, I am doing lots of nuts/coconut products and protein and minimal carb to help bring those calories up, but don't know if that is going to make me fat. I look in the mirror and see my face seeming fuller and stress I am getting fat again, but when I got fat, I didn't care how the process worked exactly, I just got fat.

Sorry for this long post, I am, I just don't know what to do anymore. I REALLY could use the help, it would mean a lot.

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3 Answers


on February 04, 2013
at 11:43 AM

If you're confused about how to go about ketosis, I found Asprey's Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting to be a very easy to follow program. You don't need to buy his products. I source everything without his brand. If you're interested say so and I'll post some links. Otherwise I won't clutter your thread.

As far as the dysmorphic issues, I'd suggest talking to someone. It's not healthy and you're not going to reach satisfaction with your physical until you talk it out, regardless of your accomplishments.

For example... instead of being so worried that you'll relapse, you should be enjoying your success. That's a near miraculous turn around. Congratulations on that, and good luck with your further goals. I'd say you're up for just about any challenge given your track record.


on January 21, 2013
at 11:11 AM

Get a glucose meter and check your blood sugar when you wake up. I suspect high bg and IR. Believe it or not, you don't have to eat carbs to get high blood sugar. Being hypo caloric is OK to lose weight but only to a point. If you are under 100 g of carbs and only 100g of fat AND exercising, that's too low. You will have hormone imbalances. ie depression. Try starting every morning with a salad with 4 tbls of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Go keto. Read The art and science of low carb living

Study The Rosedale program



on February 04, 2013
at 01:07 PM

I've found that it can be quite difficult to lose the last bit of belly fat even when one has extremely low body fat elsewhere (e.g. when your face is so thin people think you are anorexic, where you can see the striations of the muscles on your chest, shoulder and thighs clearly etc.). Since going low carb paleo I've found my body composition or fat distribution has improved somewhat, so my face appears fuller and more muscular while the rest of me appears leaner. If the fat you want to lose is concentrated around your abdomen you might want to focus on some stress-reduction techniques. One thing that I did notice make a difference to my belly fat is long, low-moderate intensity cardio. I generally believe that high intensity exercise is the important thing for health, weight loss and recomposition, but seemingly this long-slow cardio did some good (maybe through burning more calories than intense work, maybe through stress/cortisol modulation, maybe through appetite suppression, who knows...). In any case, that would feed into my suggestion for exercise in general, which would be for more intense exercise than crossfit (short bursts of HIIT and/or weights in particular) plus longer, lower intensity stuff than crossfit. It may be that crossfit is the best thing for you to fit into your life in practice though, so weigh up the pros and cons.

If you have issues with depression etc then getting plentiful good omega 3, magnesium, b vitamins and anything else related to it should be a priority.

Impossible to judge whether you would do better eating more calories, less calories, more fat or less fat and more carbs: I think you'll just have to experiment.

There are lots of tricks/hacks that might reduce body fat some more. Intermittent fasting or eating within a limited window of time might help. Taking some creatine to go along with the more intense exercise and raise testosterone levels might help. Blandifying your diet might also be a good move. Don't pay too much attention to the hierarchy: for example, if you're low carb, it seems particularly unlikely that there's any reason to avoid adding oil to meal and instead 'eating it on the side.' For me, the last three steps (presented as the most extreme) are obvious, low cost things that almost everyone should do, conversely.

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