Seeking advice re: Paleo and a return to form (cutting, toning)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Hi yall (sorry for the length, bear with me through the background info, my question is in the last paragraph)

18 months ago, when I was 22 and in the best shape of my life, I suffered a major shoulder injury. Fully tore out the labrum, big time surgery. My shoulder is now healed, but is pretty much wrecked, and has ruled out heavy overhead/bench weight lifting. I was seriously cut back then. Not huge at all (6' 1", no heavier than 180 lbs), but toned and very cut. I didn't even think about what I ate, just hit the gym, and got results.

Since that injury, my physical fitness (and appearance) have tanked, partially because I can't do too much bench work anymore because of my shoulder, but moreso because of my body chemistry being altered after the shoulder injury. Not sure how exactly, but my body is no longer attuned to staying cut and muscular like it once was. This has been confirmed (far more eloquently, and with evidence) by my chiropractic biophysics practitioner. 18 months after my injury/surgery, despite my best efforts, i don't look like I used to, and I'm not nearly as strong. I've barely lost actual weight (about 175 currently), but muscle has quite literally melted off of me. People who havent seen me in a year are shocked at how skinny I look in my arms and chest. Belly fat (a first for me) has arrived, and is covering my abs. I'm moving dangerously close to "skinny-fat." I'm pissed off.

I was eating strictly Paleo for a while, but after recovering from my surgery, I abandoned Paleo, because I decided that if people are telling me I'm looking skinny, that means I need to bulk. I went carb-loading and heavy-lifting for 3 months. It did nothing. I have seriously regressed and simultaneously failed to put on muscle and succeeded in putting on fat. The utter failure of that track has led me back to Paleo. Even when I was in great shape and cut, I was never heavy or huge (like I said, 6' 1", 180 lbs), so I probably should have realized that carbs and bulking are not the way back to my desired body type.

With this in mind, I'm going to start treating my body type like what it is: lean, slim, athletic, not bulky/stocky. I'm placing a primer on achieving low body fat and good lean muscle. I'm ready to get back to eating like I know I should be. I have 5 months left in this country before I move abroad for grad school, and I'm committed to following a proper Paleo diet, a lot of HIIT cardio work, weighted-ab work, and proper (free) weight lifting to see if I can lower my body fat and put back on the lean muscle I lost. Basically, my question is: What should I eat? No, I don't need a primer on what "is" and "isn't" Paleo. I've done all that. But within the Paleo framework, can the knowledgeable among you give me some advice on how much to eat, and of what? Basically, given the specific physical goals I just laid out, how should I eat? Thoughts on the fats/carbs balance (carbs from tubers of course)? Yes or no on nuts? Whole fruit? High fat meat cuts (bacon, etc.) vs. lean ones? Yknow, stuff like that. Additionally, if anyone has thoughts on how much I should be eating overall on a daily basis (and when), I would be interested, You can use whatever metric you want. Calories work, if you like that (though I know some of you don't).

A million thanks in advance for your support and advice. The PH community gets mad respect from me for its dedication, erudition, and passion. All comments, questions, and suggestions welcome.

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on December 28, 2011
at 06:02 PM

no help but i have similar problems a chiropractor told me unless he 'shifted me' at least twice a week i would have to deal with forever. it includes a twisted back, unaligned hips, long right leg, and a tilted shoulder. the worst aspect isnt strength, it is the inflammation, knee pain and digestion problems and related fluid flowing problems

fwiw, stick with maximizing and enhancing what you can do. also, like you describe i become skinny fat in record time all my weight moves from my arms/shoulders/legs to my stomach when i dont lift

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