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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm hoping to get some nutrition advice. Basically, I've hit a wall weight my weight/BF%. I am not trying to be an elite athlete, but the best that I can, given the constraints that I have. I compete in 5k's, triathlons, and hopefully a TT or two this summer, but only against myself.

Age: 26
Sex: M
History: MTB'd extensively from ages 13-15, mostly XC, at 235lbs pre knee/back injuries. Been training for a triathlon for approx. 1.5 years after being in the worst shape of my life (300lbs). Planned to compete last September but an ankle surgery ended that hope. Now the tri I'll be competing in is in June. I have no concerns of finishing it, and am fairly close to my weight/bf% goals but have hit the wall.

Current Weight: 258-261 (depending on water intake/hydration level)
Goal Weight: 250 for the tri, ultimately, whatever I can maintain comfortably.

Current BF% (According to my scale): 32.6%

Goal BF% (According to the scale): 25%

Starting BF%: 39.7%

Typical Food for the day:

Breakfast:
1 Egg + 3/4 cup egg whites, scrambled with Olive Oil.
1 container 0% fat Greek Yogurt + 1/4 cup Granola (approx 120 calories worth)
1 Banana
(on the weekend, its no yogurt and Granola, and instead, a small potato)
16oz black coffee or green tea

Snack:
1-2 Apple(s)

Lunch:
Multi-grain Pita (60cals)
Hummus
Turkey or chicken breast, 4-6oz
Goat cheese
Greens

Salad with olive oil and vinegar

Snack:
4oz Chicken/Turkey

Dinner:
4oz Buffalo steak
1-2c Broccoli or other fiber-rich green
1/2 serving brown rice pasta


I try to run a 600-900calorie deficit per day (according to trainingpeaks.com). The closer I get to 900 calorie, the longer it takes me to recover.

Workout schedule is typically something like this:
Sunday: 1-2hours cardio (typically a brick or full length tri workout, 25min of plyometrics, 50-55min bike and 40-45 min run)
Monday: Off, 30min walk
Tuesday: 40-60min run (about as long as I can run without risking injury)
Wednesday: 25 minute swim, 30 minute run OR 60-80minute bike ride
Thursday: Strength training/cross training (this usually involves some intervals, running or cycling or both)
Friday: off, 30 min walk
Saturday: 1hr bike ride

For the endurance efforts (anything over 1hr) I try to keep my HR averaging around 150. For runs, my HR is typically 160-170, the bike rides my HR averages around 135. RHR is 48. Unfortunately, this is all that fits in my schedule, time wise.

Anything glaringly obvious that needs to or could be changed? I've been medically tested for just about everything recently and found to be in excellent general health. I'm kind of a numbers geek and, even though I know my calorie levels and especially bf% numbers probably aren't exact (I do weigh my foods, every meal, but even that has its flaws), they give me some kind of trending patterns to follow.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the book

EDIT to add: I will eat more on days I exercise, typically in the form of lean protein (fish, chicken, turkey, buffalo, or an egg-white based protein powder mixed with almond or goat milk and fruit), but above is an example of my "base" food intake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
pretender said:
Obviously your numbers are wrong, because if you were truly running a caloric deficit you'd be losing weight.

Well, yeah, the issue is that if I eat less, I start to show the signs of eating less (fatigue, lack of recovery, always tired, weight gain, etc). I can eat more and not gain weight, as well. So far, using the plan above, I've lost 42lbs, almost 30 of it since Jan 1 since adopting this eating plan as strictly as I did. I also keep my BMR in mind and lower my intake as my weight decreases.

Hence the help needed, I guess.
 

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skyphix said:
Well, yeah, the issue is that if I eat less, I start to show the signs of eating less (fatigue, lack of recovery, always tired, weight gain, etc). I can eat more and not gain weight, as well. So far, using the plan above, I've lost 42lbs, almost 30 of it since Jan 1 since adopting this eating plan as strictly as I did. I also keep my BMR in mind and lower my intake as my weight decreases.

Hence the help needed, I guess.
Maybe it's time to focus on the quality of your calories and workouts. If you simply track your daily weight, it will keep you honest without having to write down every single thing you put in your mouth.

Here are a couple books I like:

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the book suggestions.

I was just wondering where I was eating low quality calories.

(as a side note, I do take my daily weight and am often confused by losing weight when I eat crappier food than I eat daily, even though I feel worse on those days).
 

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I wouldnt worry so much about your daily weight. Also, it looks like you consume about as much meat in 24 hours as I do in a month. You could play with a bit more carbs- brown rice, etc, during the day and see how that helps your energy while you are on deficit.

You look like you are doing almost everything right- your weight loss has been ~2lbs per week since january, if you find yourself at a plateau, try going longer on sunday and running a small or no deficit that day. That way you get in a great workout and refuel yourself properly.

-Physiojoe
 

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More fat, less carbs. Swap out most of your carb calories for fat calories, quality fats like egg yolks and fish oils and nut oils. Cheese and milk etc.

Remember where our species came from. Proteins in their almost natural state (e.g. with fat, and organs which have a lot of fat), produce raw, and very few refined carbs.

/ also: cut back on long / steady workouts, put more sprint / anaerobic / less than 5 minute intervals in your mix. Intense efforts kick in the hormone production.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys

PhysioJoe: Part of the reason for that is maintaining a carb/protein ratio that my wife needs (all weight loss isn't just calorie deficit, especially for some women).

Creaky: A lot of my carb calories are fruit (the kind with the skin not the kind out of a can), so I'll start switching my snacks to almonds or some tuna and swap out 1/2cup egg white with another full egg in the morning. Unfortunately, Dairy is off my list, and the options for goat-milk based stuff is limited around here to the milk itself and cheese.

Thanks again for the input and advice
 

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Weight loss rate

skyphix said:
Well, yeah, the issue is that if I eat less, I start to show the signs of eating less (fatigue, lack of recovery, always tired, weight gain, etc). I can eat more and not gain weight, as well. So far, using the plan above, I've lost 42lbs, almost 30 of it since Jan 1 since adopting this eating plan as strictly as I did. I also keep my BMR in mind and lower my intake as my weight decreases.

Hence the help needed, I guess.
If you have lost 30 lb of real weight this year, then you are just at the limit for rational weight loss (2 lb per week, which is 1000 calories per day deficit) and it's no surprise that if you try to lose weight faster, then you have problems. Stick with the plan. You can expect some plateaus, but as long as you're burning more than you're taking in, you will continue to lose weight. Also note that your body can swing a LOT of water weight from one day to the next depending on a number of factors, including how much salt is in your diet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Kerry

I'll try what Creaky said (both dietary and exercise), plus keep up what I've been doing caloric intake-wise, and stop worrying so much about the plateau. I have 9 weeks to the tri and 8lbs to lose to hit my goal weight. That means as long as I keep my current average rate of weight loss I'll be in easily.
 

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Dude, many thoughts came to mind.

First, you lost 30 pounds in less than FOUR MONTHS?! Your body is in shock. There is much going on in there that cannot realistically be discussed in this thread.

If this is working for you, good job.

Reduce the rice, increase the green veggies. This will increase the complexity of the carbs, which will increase digestion time and decrease the insulin response.

What do you drink?

What is your skin and hair like? Are they dry? Yes, there is a food reason for these questions.

PhysioJoe, your comment about the meat is interesting. He eats in a day what you do in a month. I eat at least 2x what he does daily.

I know when I run a 1000 Cal deficit, I am not able to recover. Do it a couple days in a row and I can barely function!

Overall, sounds like you are doing well.
 

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i like what creakyness said in regards to diet, but i'd say stick with lower intensity efforts that keep your body in a range for burning fat for fuel instead of having to switch to glycogen. Carbs will also cause the release of insulin which will tell your body to take up and store the carbs (good for replenishing glycogen stores, bad for getting rid of fat stores).
Your body doesn't store protein other than what it has used to build things, so any excess is usually going to end up in the toilet, this is very beneficial when trying to lose weight, since you can eat a quite a bit of the nice, filling protein without adding fat. Running a high protein diet can also help you maintain some muscle while running a calorie deficit. Your body can also use protein to meet the carbohydrate needs of your nervous system and other carb dependent systems through the release of ketones.

I would also aim for something like 6 small meals a day and nothing after like 6 pm. After dinner go for a short walk or something as well, even if you trained earlier in that day. If you get a big hunger craving, a low carb protein shake can help.

If you go with a lower carb diet your training will be force into a lower intensity. I don't think that's a bad thing since your goal should be some weight loss now and the performance benefits will come along nicely without carrying around the extra weight.
 

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In addition, and it's directly related to a lot of the comments, read the Paleo for Athlete's book by Cordain/Friel. High quality carbs (not as much high glycemic like rice/pasta/granola), healthy fat and protein. Add in some nuts and nut butter (maybe 2-3oz/day) instead of the granola and cheese.

I'd get rid of the dairy too, but that's just me ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Desnae: I drink water mostly, with Almond or Goats milk being second (in protein shakes), and Orange juice (also usually in protein shakes or home made electrolyte drinks). Skin/hair isn't dry at all. Slightly oily, if anything, but Im sure there is a food reason for that.

Marshall: Thanks - We always walk after dinner anyway, since we have 3 dogs. Typically its a 15-20 minute walk. I'm getting 5 meals a day now (occasionally 6, on longer or strength training days). Unfortunately, our schedule dictates when we eat and often its later than 6 (usually 8:30 - 9 with bedtime being 11pm, not ideal, I know).

Allison: The granola I eat is whole-oat based (no wheat) and the Pita's I eat are Flax/Oat Pitas. The pasta being brown rice and not wheat pasta. Around 75% of my carbs come from both high and low GI fruit. What should I change there? I'm actually experimenting with making my own wheat-free Pita's and granola so I can control what goes into them. As for dairy, its all but gone for me, with the exception of the Yogurt, and I'm looking to switching to goat-based Yogurt. It also seems to help with my (somewhat troubled for other reasons) digestive system (no dairy at all and I have a lot more issues, so its a balance).

I'll try to add some almond butter somewhere in my diet, and as I said earlier swap some of the fruit for almonds (or a fruit/nut salad). I'll also check out that book and see what I can do to modify my diet.

Thanks again
 

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Why is this so hard for everyone. I decided to get in shape a year ago. I weighed 206 at 5'11". I lost 35lbs in 2 months. I now weigh 174. I put back on 3 lbs. I rode everyday. I at a very small breakfast, dry spinach salad with beets and quinoa for lunch and a tiny piece of salmon with brown rice for dinner. I did not feel any undo fatique, went from being fat to fit and have never looked back. Losing a lot of weight when you are overweight is easy. I would like to get to 165 now. The last 9 lbs. are the tough ones.

Just put in the work effort and cut out the calories.
 

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Sonomasnap said:
Why is this so hard for everyone. I decided to get in shape a year ago. I weighed 206 at 5'11". I lost 35lbs in 2 months. I now weigh 174. I put back on 3 lbs. I rode everyday. I at a very small breakfast, dry spinach salad with beets and quinoa for lunch and a tiny piece of salmon with brown rice for dinner. I did not feel any undo fatique, went from being fat to fit and have never looked back. Losing a lot of weight when you are overweight is easy. I would like to get to 165 now. The last 9 lbs. are the tough ones.

Just put in the work effort and cut out the calories.

I guess the rest of us are just idiots who can't figure it out. I'm glad you are superior enough to have had such success.
 

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Seriously when you are trying to lose the first X number of extra pounds how hard is it? Eat less, workout more. As Nike says, Just do it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sonomasnap said:
Seriously when you are trying to lose the first X number of extra pounds how hard is it? Eat less, workout more. As Nike says, Just do it!

If you'd read the thread, you'd see that that is basically how I got where I am. Now I'm wondering how I can get further, or how to further refine my diet, as I've stalled doing what you mentioned and am looking for a change/help.
 

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skyphix said:
If you'd read the thread, you'd see that that is basically how I got where I am. Now I'm wondering how I can get further, or how to further refine my diet, as I've stalled doing what you mentioned and am looking for a change/help.
How long have you stalled? Have you cheated on the diet in that time? Have you reduced training volume or intensity in that time?

Any other factors in life that could have caused a slow down in your weight loss rate?

Knowing what I know now, you're no longer running a net caloric deficit due to all the fat you're no longer carrying around. Cut back on the food by another 250-300 cal/day and see what happens. You could probably do this by turning your 2 current snacks into an apple in the morning and an orange (or some other piece of fruit) in the afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
SilasCL said:
How long have you stalled? Have you cheated on the diet in that time? Have you reduced training volume or intensity in that time?

Any other factors in life that could have caused a slow down in your weight loss rate?

Knowing what I know now, you're no longer running a net caloric deficit due to all the fat you're no longer carrying around. Cut back on the food by another 250-300 cal/day and see what happens. You could probably do this by turning your 2 current snacks into an apple in the morning and an orange (or some other piece of fruit) in the afternoon.
I've stalled for approximately 3 weeks now. In that time I've had a 5k (and set a PB) and kept up with the normal training regimen. One thing that I'm realizing is that I've been running on borderline dehydration as the temperatures creep up and I'm working out more and more outside in the sun. Also noticed that because I drink so much water and am a heavy sweater I wind up feeling dehydrated even when I drink enough water. Discovered this accidentally after my last workout with my personal trainer where I had had 32oz of water and still felt dehydrated. I ran in and grabbed a sports drink (oWater Sport, if anyone is looking for one that tastes good and doesn't have HFCS) and felt better almost immediately. Realized then that I hadn't been eating much salt and had only been drinking water while sweating heavily every single day.

When I started, my BMR calculated out to around 2500 calories a day. Now I work based on about 2250/day. I could cut that down to 2000/day and see what happens, but I find when I cut any more calories I wind up taking longer to recover after long days. I could drop the protein-snack in the afternoon for an apple, since my morning snack is always an apple (two if they are very small).

On average I eat between 1600 and 2100 calories a day, depending on my exercise. 1600 on off days, 2100 on the 2+ hour days.
 
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