T Nation

Should I change my diet? a bit long

Hi,

Just looking for a bit of advice…

I am looking to loose some fat and so I thought I would try a few things.

I started out at 81kg at 28%bf (tantia scales). I know these are not accurate but I get consistent readings.

For the past 2 weeks I have been on a low carb hypo-caloric diet of between 1500-1700 cals a day.

I workout on alternate days keeping volume low and generally train 3x5 at 80-90% using mostly compound movements.

The other days I cycle about 15-20kms at an acerage speed of 20km/hr.

Just checked weight and bf and very dissapointed with the result.

80 kg’s with 27% bf ( took 3 readings).

This seems like a lot of work and sacrifice for a fairly small net result.

My gut feeling is that this diet is not working too well for me due to a couple of reasons.

  1. too low calories - I am used to eating less so wonder if I have gone into “starvation mode”

  2. Only 3 meals a day - no post workout nutrition. Instinct suggests that 6 smaller meals a day would be better.

Am I just being too impatient? I would sumbitt a food log but the post would be a mile long.

Any advice appreciated.

You’ve got the right idea with 6 or so meals a day. What are you PRO, CHO, and FATS %? Your post workout meal is very important and should contain the majority of your carbs for the day especially if you are trying to lose fat. By eating six meals a day (between 300-400 calories) You will: Preserve muscle, increase metabolism(thermogenesis from the breakdown of food), and best of all not be so damn hungry while dieting. Watch what kind of carbs you are consuming. Are then slow digesting(veggies) or fast(white bread). Aim for Low GI carbs. A good rule when going to the supermarket is to keep out of the isles and shop from the perimeter. I hope this helps a little?!

I agree with your first reason and STRONGLY agree with your second. I was in a similiar situation and found that upping calories from 1800 to 2100 helped with motivation and energy levels. And using a homemade PWO shake simillar to surge helped tremendously.

What’s really strange here is you should have lost more weight immediately if your carbs are low enough. I usually drop 6-7 lbs in the first 3 days do to glycogen depletion and the fact that my body doesn’t seem to hold any excess water when lo-carbing. Perhaps you can wait another week and see what happens and then add 1 high-calorie day every 3-4 days. I guess you could either keep it low-carb or add a nice couple of carb meals around your workout…

Hahaa… that was fantastic. “Shop from the perimeter”. How true. All the natural foods are at the perimeter of my grocer; the only thing I get from the middle area is canned tuna and bags of frozen veggies.

Thanks for all the response…another long one :slight_smile:

My diet in is something like this.

breakfast:

250gms of low fat yoghurt + 1 tblspoon each of round flax seed,sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds.

1 black coffee

2 fish oil tabs.

Or 3 eggs + 150 gms of veges (tomatoes, mushrooms etc)

Lunch:

Leafy salad with 165-200gms of lean meat or chicken breast.
50 gms nuts

Dinner:

160-200gms of lean meat with leafy green salad or 200gms veges.

1 piece of fruit like a mango or other stone fruit.

I drink about 3 litres of filtered water a day.

Things I don’t eat are - sugar, rice, pasta, white bread, anything processed.

So I’m eating pretty well, should be pretty well hyrdated.

This on the surface appears to have the semblance of a good healthy plan for fat loss.

What’s the missing piece of the puzzle guys?

Hey, there, Bow. If you give me your weight, I’ll run the numbers and make P/C/F recommendations for you.

Fershure, absolutely, no bout adoubt it, you need a minimum of 6 meals a day.

PWO nutrition needs to be optimized.

I know you gave me a speed at which you do your cardio, but is there any way you can translate it into percent of max heart rate?

One other thing, I’d like to know is how active you are out of the gym; i.e., are you sedentary or “active.”

You’re already doing a lot of good things. You’re obviously disciplined and willing to work for your results. Let’s take it up a notch.

In the meantime, do me a favor and read up on T-Dawg 2.0.

Hi Tampa-Terry.

Okay here we go… current weight is 81kg or 178 lbs.

I am mostly sedentary (desk job) during the day but try to get out for a lunchtime ride or lunchtime work in addition to my normal reigime.

I have no Heart rate monitor so this is a guess as far as my cylcing goes. I would think I am spending longer most periods riding at 60-85% with bursts of hill climbing as I am road cycling around a hilly area. I am fairly knackered at the end though so that may be a fair indication. I could be running out of fuel however due to the low caloric intake though.

Will check out TDawg - the reason I am using this one is a friend of mine had really good results though he was in worse shape than I am now (97 kg’s and 34%bf). Lost something like 15kg’s in 3 months…

Hey Bow,

Just doing the maths:
81 kg at 28% BF = 22.68 kg of fat
80 kg at 27% BF = 21.6 kg of fat

So in two weeks you dropped 1.08. Approximately 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of fat.

That?s not bad, that?s about 0.5 kg or 1 pound a week. Which is what the HOT-ROX Transformation Plan recommends? —

?“Slow but steady” fat loss, by which I mean rates of up to about one pound per week, may on the other hand be continued as long as appropriate. This can be the best approach for many people.??

Bow, I identify with your situation. I’m dieting and losing 1-2 pounds per week (of fat). I’m working hard and deprived of all my favorite foods. Then, one week I lost no fat and lost a pound of LBM. Not good! For me, calories too low cranks my metabolism down and fat loss grinds to a halt. Also, it looks like you are cycling for 1 hour per day “other days” which is about every other day? You mentioned feeling pretty tired afterwards. For me, that much cardio eats away at my muscle mass. I’ve noticed that if I feel too tired after working out, my fat loss results are not as good. Too catabolic, I guess.

When I lost a little LBM and no fat, I added some Surge and started losing fat again.

Oh one thing I need to add is I am in Australia so no Biotest suupplements are available.

Is any low-carb whey protein power a good substitute for surge?

Okay, T-Bow. Let’s have some fun running the numbers.

At 178 pounds & 28% BF, you have 128 pounds of LBM. To start with, you need to eat enough protein to protect that LBM while dieting. As a general rule, I start off by recommending 1.5g per pound of LBM. So here’s the first number you need to write down and memorize.

Daily Protein Requirements = 192g per day.

If your goal really is to drop BF (vs. dropping scale weight, which means you don’t care whether the weight lost is muscle or fat), then you absolutely, positively need to eat in a way that protects LBM. That means eating a MINIMUM of 6 meals a day. I’d recommend eating every 3 hours. It’s not a case of eating more, but taking what you eat and dividing it into more (smaller) meals.

Rule #1: Protein every meal. Protein requirements per meal are 32g. Example, a can of tuna is roughly 32g. 5 ounces of chicken and lean ground beef will run roughly 30g. Get a nutritional desk reference or use fitday.com to plan your meals. And keep a food log, fershure. So many times we think we’re eating so little, but when we add up all the numbers, we’re shocked. A handful of nuts, a taste of this or a bite of that adds up fast!

Fat requirements are based once again on LBM. Only this time plan on .4 to .5g of fat x LBM. I’m going to split the difference. So here’s the second number you need to write down and memorize:

Daily Fat Requirements = 60g per day.

Since T-Dawg 2.0 is a favorite of mine (gets people great results without feeling hungry or deprived), I’m going to start out by recommending 70g of carbs on days you don’t work out (i.e., lift weights; cardio doesn’t “count”) and 100g of carbs on days you do work out.

But here’s the deal. The reason you get extra carbs is so that you can optimize your PWO nutrition. Part of that 100g of carbs you get is going to be 49g of carbs in your Surge. This is a must if you want to work out and maintain your LBM. It’s the single most important supplement I take (that and fish oil).

So let’s see, to recap, we’re talking:

  • 6 meals
  • Protein every meal
  • Either P+F or P+C meals (you’ve read John Berardi’s articles, right?)
  • PWO nutrition (Surge)

So let’s talk about sources.

Protein

Fish, scallops, shrimp, salmon, tuna (fresh or canned), chicken breasts without the skin, steak, lamb, lean ground beef, eggs, protein powder.

Fat

Raw (not roasted) nuts, olive oil, saturated fat (found in meat & eggs), flaxseed or flaxseed oil, fish oil, Udo’s Choice blend.

Carbs

As a general rule, since your carb intake is going to be low, I’d recommend that you draw only from green veggie sources. Avoid your starchier carbs; oatmeal, rice, sweet potatoes, etc. Avoid carrots, beets, corn and peas, too, as they tend to be higher in sugar.

As far as working out goes, limit lifting weights to no more than 1 hour per session and no more than 3 or 4 days per week.

Andersons is right about the type and amount of cardio you’re doing being catabolic. You really need to invest in a heart rate monitor. Mine cost about $49. There’s nothing wrong with daily cardio, but it either has to be short & sweet (<20 minutes) if it’s intense, like HIIT, or it needs to be of low-to-moderate intensity (70-75% of MHR) if you like longer sessions (45 minutes to one hour). I have a feeling the biking you do is more intense than you realize.

You won’t be getting any more calories than you are right now (1700 on WO days and 1600 on non-lifting days), but getting enough protein, optimizing your PWO nutrition and backing off a bit on the cardio will all go to helping you preserve LBM, make sure the weight you lose is fat and improve your current energy levels.

BTW, please don’t use the Tanita to calculate BF percentages. The number it reports is greatly affected by levels of hydration. And when you cut carbs, your level of hydrations is very much affected. Even scale weight is not a perfect measure of your success at dropping BF.

As an example, I put one of my friends on a similar diet. For the whole month she lost 2 pounds, but she called me shrieking that she could get into a size 8 pair of jeans for the first time. Tremendous body composition changes (i.e., fat to lean ratio) even though there were only negligible changes in scale weight.

Okay, that about does it. Questions? Thoughts? Anyone else want to jump in with their thoughts?

T-Bow, if you ever taste/experience Surge, you’d probably go through all sorts of Hoola-Hoops to make it a part of your supplement regimen. It tastes so good (like angel food cake) that there are days I force myself to work out so that I can drink my Surge. There are suppliers in Australia. Just email Biotest Customer Service.

Other than that, read John Berardi’s article on solving the PWO puzzle and do a search on the forum. You can come close to approximating the formula . . . just not the taste.

Thanks for the really comprehensive answers. Much more than I expected from someone I have never met so thanks for that.

I’ll switch over to Tdawg 2.0 next week after I have done my shopping so I’ll do the usual charting etc for 2 weeks and post my results.

Reading JB’s articles now so I should be all geared up and ready to go with the new regime.

I know the tanita is not a very good way of measuring but I guess it’s my baseline. I get consistent results so I use that as a am I getting fatter,losing LBM or visa-versa. I have a set of fattrack II calipers and they say 14.5% but the mirror says otherwise.

I’d post a picture but that rash of before photos previously made me think. “do we really want to see another fat boy picture”.

If I have any further questions I’ll post em up or PM you if you don’t mind.

Once again thanks.

[quote]
saturated fat (found in meat & eggs)[/quote]

Just for the record, only 1/2 the fat in red meat is saturated and about 1/3 of the fat in an egg yolk is saturated. You’re not going to get much saturated fat this way.

Thanks, Thunder!

T-Bow, you can always listen to Thunder. He doesn’t talk a lot, but he’s pretty darn smart.

14% (give or take) ain’t fat. I’m sure you look great in clothes. It’s just the fact that you have high personal standards and want to take it up a notch. More power to you!

Repeating about the Tanita, I know it’s provided a baseline for you in the past, but carbs are stored in the muscle as glycogen in a rougly 3:1 ratio with water (i.e., 3 units of water for every unit of glycogen). Since you’re reducing carbs on a daily basis and reloading carbs once a week (according to T-Dawg, and I highly recommend that you do for numerous physiological and psychological reasons!), hydration levels are going to be thrown way out of whack.

Get friendly with your mirror and use it (or a pair of jeans you can’t get into) as a gauge. Re the Tanita, even one hard-core squat workout can throw the numbers way off. Use it if you must, but take the number it reports with a grain of salt.

Jason Norrcross wrote an article detailing how to use the tantia as a guide for progress. I think he had some posts here in the forum also.

(Sigh) Just re-read my reply. I must be asleep at the wheel (28% vs 14.5% mentioned in your latest post).

Either way, you’re going to start getting awfully darn happy with yourself as soon as you drop about 25 pounds of fat. You don’t have to get all the way there before you start liking the way you look.

BTW, I’d like to see you make putting on muscle a priority; it will speed up the process. Do a search on HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training) or ABBH (Chad Waterbury’s Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy). I’ve done both while dieting and loved 'em.

Yes, please, stay in touch and let me know how it goes.

Cool,

I take both fish oil and flax seed oil daily so that should have me covered for Fats along with meat,eggs etc?

I looked into surge and I don’t think it’s going to fit the budget at $100 AUD per kg.

Obviously it’s not going to be as good as surge but will a good whey protein powder in milk do the trick?

. . . will a good whey protein powder in milk do the trick?

No, no, no, no, no! I’m not at all a fan of galactose (a sugar found in milk). It can only be processed in the liver. If liver glycogen stores are full, galactose is converted to triglyceride and stored as subcutaneous fat. Not at all what you want when dieting.

Additionally, milk slows down the absorption of the protein and does not spike insulin optimally. Read the article on Surge and do a search of the forum. I don’t have a problem with your not purchasing it, but the milk is really going to work against your goals PWO.