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Emily Mattes
01-30-2009, 07:52 AM
So my goal is to get down to 155 by mid-May. With that in mind, for the past eight weeks I have been eating mostly low-carb Paleo, with once or twice weekly cheats. I've been eating 1800-2000 calories a day, ~180g/day protein, and 60g/day of carbs or less. Everything else is fat.

I do Olympic lifting 4-5 times a week, and add in a short, heavy metcon 2-3 times a week.

Things have been going well, but I've hit a few snags and need help.

I started at 187, was at 174 last Thursday, then went on vacation from Friday-Sunday and even after a week of returning to my diet I'm still at 179. I figured any water bloat from increasing my carbohydrate intake would have come off by now--there's no way I put on four "true" pounds, right?

Added to this frustration is that I started a squat cycle this week and it's tearing me up. I'm quite a bit hungrier, and am not sure if I should be upping the calories or carbs or both. I'm worried about stalling my fat loss, but I'm also worried about killing my performance or shutting down my metabolism from eating too little.

Could someone offer any suggestions or guidance on where to go with my diet? More carbs? More calories? Leave it here? Not worry about the four pounds?

Duke McCall
01-30-2009, 08:10 AM
A few thoughts. You probably could increase your protein intake a bit (by my calculations you are between 35% and 40%). I would not increase the carbs. I also would not decrease your calorie intake. In fact, if needed to maintain energy levels, you may want to increase it a bit (without a better idea of your calorie expenditure, it is kind of hard to assess how big your calorie deficit is, but in my book persistent fatigue is a good sign you are running too low).

I would not worry about the four pounds. Body weight fluctuates significantly from week to week, day to day, and morning to night. There can be many different causes. I would maintain a long term view and continue to celebrate the progress you have made so far.

Keep up the good work!

Mike ODonnell
01-30-2009, 09:03 AM
Fasted AM workouts always work for me and many other. Doing metcons+additional slower steady stuff....like walking or something. Add some coffee before and you will be fueled to go. Cycle your carbs too....like doing 2 days at 30g, 2 days at 60g and repeat....that will help.

Jay Cohen
01-30-2009, 03:46 PM
Mike and Duke nailed it.
Good luck.

Jay

Dave Van Skike
01-30-2009, 04:00 PM
I hang between 205 and 220, the amount of calories you're talking about is what I do to lose fat. This is works if I cut out all conditioning work except for finishers and hit the slow and low activity, mostly walking...lots of walking, with a weight vest, maybe ride the bike to work.

I'd say drop the kcal and the metcon both for about two weeks and see how you do. if you're too gassed to train at all after that, i'd slowly feed in only enough extra calories to allow you to train at a conssitent level, but don't expect to make big progress, maintain strenght and work on your skills but if you are cutting fat, keep that as the focus. chase one rabbit at a time.


but I could be full of it... I should be an even 200 but prefer strength and beer over leanness.

George Mounce
01-30-2009, 04:17 PM
I second Mike, fasting AM workouts sheds the body weight for me.

Allen Yeh
01-30-2009, 04:57 PM
Heck I can fluctuate up to 5+ pounds per day depending on the circumstances....

I'm leaning towards more longer slow activities like the NEPA walks advocated by the V-diet. When I went to Disney for a week in November I lost more than 5 pounds despite not having trained for a week+ and not eating the best of things on a daily basis. It was a ton of walking, I'm somewhat curious as to how many total miles I must have put in that week. FWIW I've always been someone who gained weight rather fast and easily rather than one of those people that lose weight without trying.

Patrick Yeung
01-30-2009, 05:03 PM
Yeah, if you think you can hack it, maybe IFing might be for you. Doing the 12-6 eating window, if it fits your schedule, would let you work out fasted and starving. I walk into the gym and I feel like I want to rip those weights apart when im like that.

Cycling carbs like Mike said would work if IF were not youre thing.

1800-2000 calories a day seems way too low to me though. Its cool if youre trying to cut fat real quick, but how long have you been doing it for? Youve got to be so tired. I think you should cycle your carbs and increase your fat intake. Make sure everything youre already eating is whole fat, and add like say...

Coconut milk warmed up with coco powder with some fish oil caps.
That sucker is loaded with calories, and tastes damn good. Days I feel tired, I just down one of these before I go to bed and im burnin up the next day.

By the way, if you dont mind, why 155? Numbers shouldnt really be of a concern, cept maybe your 1RM squat.

Allen Yeh
01-30-2009, 05:05 PM
Eric Cressey notes something about NEPA in his latest article at T-nation:

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/what_i_learned_in_2008

Emily Mattes
01-30-2009, 06:33 PM
I've been reading a lot at Body Recomposition, and Lyle McDonald recommends protein pre- and post-workout and carbs post-workout to dieting athletes in order to preserve muscle mass. He also recommends higher carb levels (using his calculations I should be getting 80-100g) for strength/power athletes. Should I listen to that? Do the fasted workouts? Do fasted NEPA in the morning and then eat for my main workout at night?

Patrick, the calories is something I'm concerned about. I've been doing OK, right up until this week when my squat cycle started and I've been hitting a wall. That's why I posted it--I'm having trouble trying to figure out an intake and macronutrient breakdown that's going to help me keep losing weight while not scuttling my weight training.

As for the weight goal, I'll admit it's kind of arbitrary. I've been poking on-and-off at losing weight for a while, and this is the first time it's really stuck. However, I made a very unwise bet involving that number so I feel compelled to aim for it even if ultimately after reaching it I decide I'm better off at a different weight.

Patrick Yeung
01-30-2009, 06:58 PM
Okay, fair enough. Just know, its hard to do two things at the same time. If you want to lose fat, youre not gonna be making much in strength gains. If you want to make strength gains, youre gonna put on fat.

You may need to just suck it up and know your squat will suffer till you can get to your weight, where youll be able to start lifting heavy again with the needed calories.

Derek Weaver
01-30-2009, 09:33 PM
Emily,
Why not give Lyle's recommendations a try?

At the least you may be able to help reset leptin and get things moving again.

Read his article series on body weight regulation when you get a chance.

Grissim Connery
01-31-2009, 12:14 AM
the most dramatic weight loss i ever had was back when i worked in the bulk section at wild oats supermarket. just moving bags of oats and boxes of nuts all day in addition to biking to and from work took the pounds off ridiculously fast. i was still working out and training bjj, but when this got thrown into the mix, i dropped about 30 pounds in 1 summer.

if you're body is falling apart, reevaluate your metcons.

if you've ever studied the keys semi starvation study, a lot of those guys went on diets around 1800 kcal a day. they ended up looking like holocaust victims. when i played with a diet around/lower than those numbers, i carried on well for a while. and then i would eventually cave in and have a ravenous binge. if i worry too much about dropping calories, then i end up thinking about food all day everyday. your own will power can only go so far before your body takes over. eat some more fat and protein if your body is telling you to do so.

if you desperately wanna be tiny, join a cross country team. i hate those gross kids.

Emily Mattes
01-31-2009, 05:34 AM
if you desperately wanna be tiny, join a cross country team.

God, no.

I know I'm not going to get as much out of this squat cycle as I could--it is unfortunate it is programmed into my training as I'm trying to cut. I'm just trying to make the best of it. So how's this sound: up the calories and protein and focus on pre- and post-workout nutrition for my weightlifting workouts. I'll add in some fasted walks in the morning, and will try upping the carbs 30g or so for a week or two and see where that gets me, cycling them down occasionally. Re-evaluate energy levels in about two weeks. I figure the only problem with this plan is increasing carbs and calories create confounding factors so it will be difficult to pinpoint which one is making the difference (if there is one) but I can always drop the carbs back for another week or two to see whether that's making the difference or not.

Gittit Shwartz
01-31-2009, 06:48 AM
That sounds like a plan... for gaining.

Seriously, why can't you drop the squat cycle if your goal is fat loss?

Grissim, the starvation diet subjects were on 1800 calories coming almost exclusively from carbs.

Mike ODonnell
01-31-2009, 07:32 AM
I've been reading a lot at Body Recomposition, and Lyle McDonald recommends protein pre- and post-workout and carbs post-workout to dieting athletes in order to preserve muscle mass. He also recommends higher carb levels (using his calculations I should be getting 80-100g) for strength/power athletes. Should I listen to that? Do the fasted workouts? Do fasted NEPA in the morning and then eat for my main workout at night?.

Pick one strategy and just do it for 2 weeks without thinking about anything else....see the results, see how you feel...try tweaking something if you want....make it a personal learning process and you'll never have weight problems again. Keep trying to find the "best" way with too much reading and not taking action...get nowhere and will drive you nuts.

Patrick Yeung
01-31-2009, 12:31 PM
That sounds like a plan... for gaining.

Seriously, why can't you drop the squat cycle if your goal is fat loss?

Grissim, the starvation diet subjects were on 1800 calories coming almost exclusively from carbs.

Second that.

Jane Michel
01-31-2009, 06:58 PM
I'm leaning towards more longer slow activities like the NEPA walks advocated by the V-diet. When I went to Disney for a week in November I lost more than 5 pounds despite not having trained for a week+ and not eating the best of things on a daily basis. It was a ton of walking, I'm somewhat curious as to how many total miles I must have put in that week. FWIW I've always been someone who gained weight rather fast and easily rather than one of those people that lose weight without trying.

+1 for NEPA walks. I drop weight when on a holiday overseas with little or no access to weights, clean food and heaps of walking.