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Stagnant Fat Loss...related to caloric intake?

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  • Stagnant Fat Loss...related to caloric intake?

    I am a 5'4", 128lb female. Came to Primal Blueprint due to plateau'ing on CW diet/exercise. Started at ~140, got down to 135 with CW, then dropped to my current weight with PB (been doing for ~6-8 weeks). My question is, when I was doing CW, I was keeping my calories very low, about 1200-1300 a day. I've stuck around this level since switching to PB, and I'm just curious as to if this may be hindering my fat loss? I'm not seeing any change in body fat percentage (according to my body fat scale) and I wonder if I need to be eating more calories. My workouts usually consist of 2 strength sessions of 20-30 min per week, 2-3 longer, low intensity jogs (1+ hours), and a sprint day. I also play soccer and sometimes count that as my sprint workout for the week (playing outside mid you get some good sprinting in!). I do eat dairy in the form of cream (with berries, in scrambled eggs, butter, some cheese) and nuts. I've tried to reduce the dependence on nuts for snacks but I seem to crave them now that other snacks are not easily accessible. I'm definitely trying to keep to the macadamias and brazil nuts and eat sparingly, but sometimes they are all I can grab on the go.

    Any insights would be appreciated! Current body fat level seems to hang around 26-28%, and I'd like it to get down towards 20%.

  • #2
    Hey! Congrats on your success so far! First off, lots of people hit plateaus. The thing to keep in mind is that there are a TON of different tricks or "hacks" as Mark calls them to get to where you want to be. Personally, I was starting to see diminishing returns so I threw in an Intermittent Fast (IF) the other day. I really didn't expect to see results after just one IF but it certainly seemed to do the trick. I learned some stuff about Leptin resistance a little while ago and so started eating large protein rich meals in the mornings. We'll see how it goes the rest of the week. Here's a link to Mark's blog post on Plateaus/Stalling. I know a lot of people seem to look to nuts as the culprit in stalled fat loss but some of the folks with incredible body re-compositions on here consume nuts regularly, albeit mostly almonds. I guess what I'm trying to say is there's a ton of other things you might want to consider doing if you can't give up the nuts. I can personally attest to IF-ing and will hopefully be able to speak to the A.M. Protein breakfast in a few weeks. Hope some of those links help!


    • #3
      Great post nolineon. That's the best place to start, tailsK.

      It's all about experimenting to see what works best for you. Here's an idea on your calorie intake question. Try to ignore how many calories food contains and just eat whatever you want (within primal guidelines, of course) for a week. Eat when you're hungry, and stop when you're full, simple as that. At the end of a week plug everything you ate into FitDay or a similar tool and see what your calories were. Also evaluate how you feel and if you notice any weight loss. Since you're exercising well I'd recommend taking body measurements and relying on those instead of weight, though. Keep track of your progress and experiment to find what works for you. Personally I switch up something at the beginning of each month to see how it works.
      "Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." - Mark Twain


      • #4
        Biggest question: How are you feeling?

        Are you feeling fatigued, have dry skin, brittle nails, low body temperature, low blood pressue, hair loss?

        If you are, then your calorie restrictions are likely causing your metabolism to slow down, and may be to blame for your slower weight loss, and you should increase your calorie consumption.

        If not (and this fits, probably 95% of people facing difficulty loosing weight), your "stall" is probably not caused by consuming too few calories.

        People will say: "I feel GREAT on a primal diet, but my weight loss has slowed... it must have damaged my metabolism." I'm sorry but feeling "GREAT", and a damaged metabolism are completely contrary symptoms. If your ONLY sypmtom is slow weight loss, then there is nothing wrong with your metabolism.

        What is causing the stall? The simple fact that FAT loss is NOT linear. Hopefully I will not spark a calorie in vs. calorie out debate... but just for the purposes of illustration:

        There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat.

        If you are a 300 pound, six foot tall, 20 year old male, who excersises five days a week, you would need about 3,500 calories per day to MAINTAIN your weight.

        If this person completely STOPS all intake of all food, AND maintains their activity level, then the absolute MOST that he can expect to loose is one pound per day.

        You can see why people who start a low carb diet, and see very rapid initial water losses are setting their expectations too high for sustained loss.

        Using myself as an illustration: I had at least five years of completely uncontrolled eating. During that time, I gained about 75 pounds. I'm not talking about an occasional ice cream cone. Eating high sugar/high carb/high fat foods until my stomach HURT. DAILY. 90% of my meals were super-sized fast food meals (real coke), with a few hamburgers on the side to make sure I avoided the horrors of hunger.

        If I had been WATCHING my weight at the time, I would have been amazed that I was only averaging a gain of 1.25 pounds per MONTH. And, I am sure that I would have seen some months in which I LOST weight.

        But, that is the way it works with gaining weight. THat's the way it works with loosing weight.

        If I reverse the process, and eat a healthy, primal diet, without regards to the scales, over the weeks... months and years, the weight WILL come off. Some months I will loose a bunch of weight... some months I may gain... but the weight will come off.

        But, to do that, I have to make a committment that this is not a fast diet to shed a bunch of pounds quickly. This is a lifestyle change. I will be eating this way for the rest of my life. There is no rush to take the weight off really really fast, because, unlike my previous attempts at weight loss, there is no box of doughnuts waiting for me at the finish line.


        • #5
          I also recommend IF (I like the LeanSaloon blog--simple and direct.) I'm now about 22% bodyfat (and dropping) via IF.

          You aren't likely going to be leptin-resistant at that body fat level, BTW.
          Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
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          Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article


          • #6
            Have you read the Primal Blueprint? Have you seen this page on the site:

            The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve
            Positively Radical Pigeonholes are for Pigeons!