T Nation

Experienced Diet Advice Needed

I wanted to lose some fat, so I started the following CTs rules in his “Refined Physique Transformation” article, and I did ok. I was losing about 1 lb/week, with increasing strength, but I felt that I wasnt really making much progress in body recomposition.

After about 8 weeks (tracking every calorie), I decided I was going to carb cycle with 2 high days, 2 medium days, 3 low days. Well, this isnt working out so well now. I am crashing pretty hard anytime I take carbs in, and experience the “no carb” crash on my low days, and I just dont have the intensity in the gym that I used to. Do you ever get used to this, and not have the swings that I do?

My ultimate goal is body composition. I am around 15% BF right now, 5’11", 192 lbs and I am happy with my strength and size, I just want to look better by cutting the fat. I will pursue more muscle later, but I want to cut the fat now (at least some). What do you guys think is the fastest way for me to get to 10% or so? Is 1 lb/week acceptable? Should I be losing more than that?

In all honesty, I am probably going back to low carb. But, I figured there are some vets around here that have some personal experience and advice to give, so I am willing to listen. I am not sure if the 1 lb/week was due to cutting the carbs, or just cutting my cals in general. Basically, I didnt feel like I was doing anything “special” by not eating carbs, but now I am having a hard time with them. Will this pass?

Also, I find that to stay under 30g carbs per day, I really cant eat any type of fruit. This is probably the single most thing I miss when I low carb, I love fruit. Anybody have any experience getting lean and keeping fruit in their diet?

You didn’t really pose a specific question.

When it comes to diet, the most important factor is calories. Reducing your calories will reduce your weight. The next most helpful thing would be to eliminate carbs as you have talked about, and replace them with fats, which your body will eventually learn to convert to energy in the absence of carbs.

It is not possible to maintain a low carb diet and continue to eat large amounts of fruit, as it is a complete contradiction. Fruits contain sugars, and sugars are carbs. Try limiting your fruit consumption only to breakfast and see how that works out for you.

Do some more research and comeback with some more specific questions. There are plenty of insightful threads that discuss this and other related topics.

I guess I am just frustrated. I have spent 8 weeks tracking my diet, eating 2500 cals on training days, 2000 cals on non training days, and I havent really seen much if any change. I expect in 8 weeks I would see something, especially being this strict.

I guess I am asking others to talk about their fat loss experience, what they did, what worked for them, what didnt.

I read all the articles, I know what they say, but that doesnt always translate into what is actually working for the majority of people on this forum.

Am I wrong to expect to see some change in 8 weeks? I literally tracked every cal in Microsoft Excel, stayed under 30g carbs per day except for carb ups, and trained my ass off.

Obviously what your doing isn’t working, or your not sticking to you plan. 2500 cals for someone that is 5’11" 190 is ridiculously low, thus it is hard for me to imagine that you are not loosing weight if you are sticking to that, and/or are eating healthy foods.

Personally, what worked for me was cutting out all carbs except for veggies, and fruits peri workout. I rely mostly on meat and vegetables for my meals, and mix in moderate amounts of fats as well.

If you are strictly adhering to your diet, and sticking with great foods choices, then your training regiment is the culprit and must be absolutely horrible.

Ultimately, I find it hard to believe that someone with your stats and your calorie intake isn’t losing weight if they are following a great diet and busting their ass in the gym (6 days a week, 1 hr per day). Maybe you just need to recalibrate your understanding of diet and training.

Yes, I find it hard to believe too. That is the point of this thread, for me to try and find out where to go from here. I was thinking there must have been others who have experienced the same problems I am encountering and could give some advice on how to overcome, change diets, etc…

Here is a snapshot of a typical day for me when I was doing it, maybe my idea of foods were horrible. I was following food choices based on the Anabolic Diet. This was a 2000 cal, non training day.

I did not track veggies, but stuck to cucumbers, lettuces, spinach, asparagus, and onions. I ate them between some meals, and with some meals, just didnt track them per CT’s advice.

All of my food everyday basically came from:

EVOO
Natural Peanut Butter (NPB in my spreadsheet)
Eggs
Different types of beef
Turkey
Chicken
Cheese (colby jack, fatty with little carbs)
Almonds
Grow!
Metabolic Drive
Bacon with breakfast

If you look at the bottom of the spreadsheet, you can see some extra tabs. I made a tab for everyday, and tracked everything. If you still dont believe me, I can just send you the entire spreadsheet.

I train according to CT’s principles in his “Destroying Fat Fast” article. 3 days heavy, 2 days Lactic Acid Training, alactic work after one of my heavy days.

I am no beginner, but I am no expert either. My lifts are:

Squat - 305 X 3
Dead - 355 X 3
Bench - 265 X 3

I dont know my 1 rep max, but those are the numbers I use on my last set for the respective day. I train hard, and feel great with the progress I have made in the gym, I just cant seem to figure out the body composition thing.

My calories were based on my own experience. After 4 weeks, I found about 2800 cals to be my maintenance. That might sound low, but I am a full time college student (engineering, at that), so my ass sits behind desks solving problems all day, other than training. I scheduled my diet to be in a 3500 cal deficit per week, and did some light cardio a few days a week later in my diet, thinking that might help.

So, I was in a 3500 cal deficit, and lost about 1 lb/week, which calculates properly. My problem here is, I dont know where to go from here. I dont think I can drop my cals much more, and I wouldnt know where to add more training.

WC7, you say 2500 cals/day is ridiculously low, what do you suggest? Using the provided equations on this forum and measurements I had taken from a BodPod (not sure about how people feel on this), my maintenance came in right around 3400 cals. That is where I started, and dropped to 2800, and still had not lost any weight over the course of a four weeks. Once I dropped below 2800, I started losing weight weekly.

www.nutritiondata.com

Start with the “Daily Needs Calculator” tool and then work around the rest of the site. The tools there are very beneficial, and the data on specific foods is second to none. Maybe the problem is that your eating to little now, and your metabolism is simply slowing down because it is not receiving what it should be.

Obviously what your doing now isn’t working, and if you truly are following a healthy diet and lifting regiment, than there may be something more serious that a doctor might be able to diagnose.

Sorry, I do not get it. You were losing 1 lb per week for 8 weeks with increasing strength and you were not happy? 1 lb per week is the weight loss that is usually considered about the safe (in terms of muscle loss) upper limit for a somewhat lean individual. And from personal experience: If I am steadily losing 1 lb per week at around 15% BF, I am extremely happy.

What do you mean “I wasnt really making much progress in body recomposition”? I find it hard to believe that you lost 8 pounds and did not see a considerable change in leaness. I can only imagine you underestimated the amount of weight to lose to get to the leaness you want. Most people (myself included) do this the first time they diet down.

Have you done BF caliper measurements? While you may not be able to accurately determine your BF, they are valuable for objectively tracking changes of BF.

Well, like I said, I am doing OK with this diet, but 1 lb/week with the effort I am putting in seems a little slow. From my body fat measurement, I was able to calculate my lean mass, along with my fat mass, and calculated I needed 16 lbs fat loss to get down to about 10%. At 1 lb/week, that is another four months of dieting.

And that might just be what it takes, however I get frustrated when I watch others makes much faster progress. I would really like to lose 2 lbs/week, or close to that, because that would put me at my target body fat % in half the time.

I actually have taken pictures every Tuesday since I started, no noticeable change from the 199 lbs I started at and the 191 lbs I am at now.

I would love to go to a doctor, but I need to find one that cares enough to help me.

[quote]smithers584 wrote:
Well, like I said, I am doing OK with this diet, but 1 lb/week with the effort I am putting in seems a little slow. From my body fat measurement, I was able to calculate my lean mass, along with my fat mass, and calculated I needed 16 lbs fat loss to get down to about 10%. At 1 lb/week, that is another four months of dieting.
[/quote]

Well, actually it would be just another 11 weeks or about 2 months. If you are 15% at 192 lbs, you need to lose about 10.6 lbs to get to 10% ( 192 - (192 x 0.85)/0.9 ).

You would be in shape just in time for summer.

If you want to lose 2 lbs per week, you will have to further reduce calories, most likely below 2’000 calories even on training days. You would have to do something more extreme like the V-diet, the Get Shredded Diet, the Rapid Fat Loss Diet, …

However, I would not do this unless your weight loss stalls. To make 2 more months of dieting more easy, maybe replace “Destroying Fat” with something less brutal. I am not sure the lactic acid workouts are worth the pain.

I would like to see them. Anyway, the next 10 lbs should definitely result in some noticable change.

Honestly, I do not think losing weight at “only” 1 lb per week with calories at 2’000 - 2’500 even if doing “Destroying Fat” indicates a health problem.

Chris - If you think you can help by looking at my progress pics, I can email you some. I have made before and after comparision photos in paint, but I can only find the first 6 weeks worth of pictures, I am not sure where the other two are.

You will understand what I mean when I say I dont see any difference if you see the pics. I would rather not post them on the site though. If you think you can make helpful recommendations, then pm me with your email address.

You are right about the numbers, I was using the wrong data. I had my buddy do a skin fold test with calipers, and I also used a BodPod to determine my BF. Skin fold said 15%, BodPod said 19%. I spoke with some people who felt the BodPod ran about 5% higher than skinfolds and hydrostatic, so I went with the skinfold number. However, I used the data from my BodPod measurements on accident to calculate my fat loss left, so that is were my error came in.

[quote]chris666 wrote:

However, I would not do this unless your weight loss stalls. To make 2 more months of dieting more easy, maybe replace “Destroying Fat” with something less brutal. I am not sure the lactic acid workouts are worth the pain.

[/quote]

Heres the thing, I love training. The workouts are brutal, but I am the type that is very strong willed and when the going gets tough, I get tougher. The hard part is following the diet for 8 weeks, losing weight, and not really seeing much change in my body. Thats dissapointing and makes me want to try something else. When I dont see a change in my body composition, it makes me think either I am losing muscle and fat, or I just have way too much fat and wont see any change for a while.

[quote]smithers584 wrote:

[quote]chris666 wrote:

However, I would not do this unless your weight loss stalls. To make 2 more months of dieting more easy, maybe replace “Destroying Fat” with something less brutal. I am not sure the lactic acid workouts are worth the pain.

[/quote]

Heres the thing, I love training. The workouts are brutal, but I am the type that is very strong willed and when the going gets tough, I get tougher. The hard part is following the diet for 8 weeks, losing weight, and not really seeing much change in my body. Thats dissapointing and makes me want to try something else. When I dont see a change in my body composition, it makes me think either I am losing muscle and fat, or I just have way too much fat and wont see any change for a while. [/quote]

If the skinfolds are going down and you are keeping your strength, I would not worry about muscle loss.

With your numbers and your height you should look quite lean at 180 lbs and I would not diet down any further.

Here is a quick pic I just took. This is the only one I am not embarassed to show, but I am starting to question if I even have enough muscle to look good when I cut down. I carry most of my fat on my front side, so that is why I dont feel like I am making progress. My scale weight right now (using my home scale) is 191 lbs.

I dont know how to pose, and I suck even worse when it comes to taking pictures, but this is just natural light.

Again, I appreciate everyones input. I dont have friends that enjoy training, so they wouldnt even know where to give me advice or how to critique my physique.

You look fairly thick for only weighing 192. As far as Dieting goes, everyone responds differently to different diets which I know is obvious but its the truth. For me If I want to tighten things up I will low carb it. maybe 30 grams for breakfast and 50 grams pwo. Bottom line is, if you can go low carb it will give you results as long as your in an energy deficit. I haven’t ever tried Carb cycling but Experts like Shelby Starns seem to use that with most of his clients and he is one of the best in the biz. as the diet progresses you just cut down on your high days then medium days untill your low carb on all days. Hope that helps a little.

Dave - Thanks for the compliment. What kind of results do you get from low carbing, as far as pounds lost per week, or however you track it? I know everyone is different, thats what I am trying to find out in this thread, what everyone else is doing, and what kind of progress they are seeing.

My only issue with carb cycling is that on high days, I feel a little lethargic from the carbs, and on low days, I feel the usual “no carb fog” that people feel. Does this ever go away with carb cycling? From reading someting CT wrote, he made it sound like every low carb day would be hell during carb cycling.

I know once I broke through the first 5-6 days low carb, I felt great. I would rather just low carb again if I am going to feel like crap on low days using the carb cycling approach.

-I think you are doing just fine bro. Esp. if you are trying to maintain your size or even gain any if that is your goal. My only thoughts were a bit of water retention…but I doubt it. Drink plenty of water and get in about 35g of fiber per day. And you probably already know this…good luck! ; P

[quote]smithers584 wrote:
My calories were based on my own experience. After 4 weeks, I found about 2800 cals to be my maintenance. That might sound low, but I am a full time college student (engineering, at that), so my ass sits behind desks solving problems all day, other than training. I scheduled my diet to be in a 3500 cal deficit per week, and did some light cardio a few days a week later in my diet, thinking that might help.

[/quote]

Do more cardio. You want to lose weight, combine your resistance training with some High Intesity Cardio sessions, use Tabata protocols, or some Crossfit workouts. You can expect miracles from simply dieting and lifting…plus how are you lifting? Are you cruising around the gym spending 2 minutes between sets or are you busting your ass doing supersets, compounds sets, and alternating muscle groups? I apolgize if this is mentioned in the previous article you mentioned, I can’t seem to find that link.

v/r

Gremlin

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I guess I expected something extra by going the low carb route, and just kind of ended up dissappointed with my average weight loss. For 1 lb/week, going low carb just wasnt worth it.

I have been reading a lot of articles by Shelby Starnes lately, I think I am going to attempt his version of carb cycling. Basically, it will look like this:

Sunday - High Carb - Heavy Legs, no cardio - 2800 cals, 430g of carbs, 200g of protein, 30g fat

Monday - Low Carb - fasted cardio - 2000 cals, 140g carbs, 240g of protein, 55g of fat

Tuesday - Moderate Carb - Heavy Shoulders/Arms, cardio after - 2400 cals, 260g of carbs, 240g of pro,45g fat

Wednesday -Low Carb - fasted cardio

Thursday - High Carb - Heavy Back/Chest, no cardio

Friday - Moderate Day - Core work, cardio after

Saturday - Low Carb - fasted cardio

All the macros were calculated using some guildlines Shelby had giving out in some articles. High days are seperated to help with insulin sensitivity and set on my hardest training days (legs are my week point).

Any thoughts or suggestions?