Old Forum Fat and confused

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Stephanos

First Post
I am so confused. I'm 45 years old and my doctor says I need to lose fat (he specifically said "You are too fat") and get my blood sugar down. He's got me on blood pressure medicine but says that the excess belly fat is driving the BP up. It's down around 120/80 now with the medicine.

I have started doing a lot of research on this topic and I am really confused. Everybody seems to say something different. One guy says do plyometrics, cardio, stretch bands and yoga for 90 days and you'll be as lean as a greyhound and another guy says do barbell lifts and walking and yet another guy says do something else. Research on diet was just as confusing. One plan is almost all carbs and vegetables, another is almost all protein, and yet another plan is to not eat during the day and just eat at night. Almost everybody says that the other plans can't possibly work...

What works? I am so confused by all of this conflicting info and I don't know what to do. My doc says I'm cleared for exercise "for now" but made it real clear I gotta lose at least 30-40 lbs of fat and get my blood sugar down or I'm looking at serious health problems down the road. My wife just had our first son a couple of years ago and we got another one on the way and I'm getting real worried I won't be around to see them grow up.

I thought about trying kettlebells but I a friend of mine says kettlebell training is great for guys who are already in good shape but they are too light to make you strong and you don't use them long enough to burn fat and that a guy my age has no business messing around with them.

What's the truth? Has anybody here actually lost a lot of fat (<30 lbs) on kettlebells? Can they work for someone who spends 10 hours a day in front of a computer and can't even jog? I'm 45 years old, 5'5" and 198 lbs, without much muscle. Will kettlebells work for me?

What about diet? There are so many plans out there I can't make sense of them all.

I don't care how long it takes to lose the fat. I just want to be lean, get my BP and blood sugar down, and see my kids grow up.

 

 
 

The Scientist

Level 3 Valued Member
Steve,

Part of the confusion with training is this: if your goal is just to lose weight, any form of intense training will do. It just happens that kettlebells are an excellent way to give you an intense workout while also doing many other good things for you, like increasing strength, mobility, etc... I think Pavel's Simple and Sinister plus as much moderate paced walking as you have time for would be a great start. Barbells are great if you enjoy the heavy weight and intensity (I do), but you don't necessarily need them for health and general fitness.

As far as diet goes, I can claim expertise here. My doctorate is in cell biology, and much of my research has involved lipid metabolism. The details can get complicated, but the basic rules are simple:

1. Eat things that look like real food: meat, fish, eggs, fruit (in moderation), vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some tubers like squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes for carbs. Avoid things that don't look like real food: anything processed and wrapped in plastic, breads and pastas, candy, soda, etc...

2. Ketosis is not necessary for most people, but keep the carbs down. Roughly 100 grams each day is a good starting target. You don't need to keep track all the time, but do it for a while to get an idea of where you are at.

3. Eat until you are satisfied (not stuffed), and don't starve yourself. Semi-starvation diets just reduce metabolic rate and lead to hunger cravings and eventual compensation by over-eating later.
 

The Scientist

Level 3 Valued Member
One more thing from your post: you said that you spend 10 hours in front of a computer. You likely can't get around most of that, but moving just a little more will help. Get up from your computer and go for a walk (stairs are even better) every 20-30 minutes, or as often as you can.Just pretend like you are going somewhere with a purpose and nobody will think anything of it. It will make a big difference to your metabolic rate, and your postural heath. Even just standing up, resituating, and sitting back down is better than nothing.
 

Rickard

Level 4 Valued Member
These here are awesome questions and pretty much why everyone comes to Dan John for help it seems. He is truly the king of these kind of confused questions.

 

I'll help the best I can. Training doesn't help you loose fat, diet does. 90% diet, 10% training. What diet? Pick one. They all probably work to some extent (People has lost weight from doing them...) I prefer something lower in carbs during the week then carbing up during the weekend. Keeping grains to a minimum. Makes me feel good, I also take a bit of omega 3 and protein powder and some basic vitamins and minerals.

Here in lies the shocker. Most diet wants you to eat clean, to cut the crap out. When I say this EVERYONE knows what I mean. It is lowest common denominator in all diets and your first pit stop.

As for training. I've done my fair bit of kettlebells and at the moment I'm mainly doing barbell work. Kettlebells get you strong. Barbells get you strong. I'd say the best starting point, here comes experiende and POV, is kettlebells. Read this:

http://www.strongfirst.com/everything-is-a-nail/

And I would recommend Simple and Sinister. There is a big ad here for it on the page so quite hard to miss.

 

Best of luck mate!
 

Jeff

Level 6 Valued Member
Ask this lady what she thinks:

http://giryastrength.com/tracy.html

 

 
 

Phil12

Level 8 Valued Member
Your friend is wrong on all counts. Kettlebells are a great way to exercise both your heart and your muscles. One great benefit of strength training — you’ll retain all the muscle you have and yes, when you gain a bunch of weight, some of it is muscle — and then you can carry an extra 15 or 25 pounds with no health issues. They will also fix the hip mobility issues you have from that desk job. I recommend getting a copy of Simple & Sinister and a 16kg kettlebell. They are basically the perfect starting point for the overweight beginner; later on you may decide to branch out into barbell training or running or some such thing and that’s fine too, but it’s hard to beat having a gym with a handle that hits every point you need to work on right now.
 

JamesO

Level 4 Valued Member
I'll pitch my crew again.  Georgie Fear is an R.D. with two Ph.D's in nutrition that are ABD.  She was the nutritionist for Rutgers Athletics, she's certified in kettlebells, has one book out and two more in the works (look up the "Racing Weight Cookbook"), she and her husband Roland worked as coaches for Precision Nutrition, and they have a habit-based nutrition coaching program that tailors things specifically to what's doable for you rather than trying to make you fit into their confusing box of this or that.  It's a wonderful thing.

http://askgeorgie.com/about-coaching-services/
 

Jason Paul

Level 3 Valued Member
For one thing, the guy who said, "do plyometrics, cardio, stretch bands and yoga for 90 days and you’ll be as lean as a greyhound" is wrong. Especially regarding plyometrics. If you're overweight and untrained, don't start with plyometrics for Pete's sake.

I agree with The Scientist above about diet. A couple of places to start would be Mark's Daily Apple (active forum there), and the Perfect Health Diet. Perfect Health Diet is a cheesy name, but there's a lot of science behind it, and it's pretty much in line with what The Scientist posted above. Meat, eggs, fish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, veggies, some fruit, along with cooking in butter and coconut oil.

You might find it helpful to log your food into an app like My Fitness Pal or similar. Even just for a while to get an idea of what you're really taking in can help.

Once you have your day-to-day diet clean and you're seeing progress, you might look into intermittent fasting (Leangains, Eat Stop Eat, Fast5). Something to think about a little later if things slow down.

Regarding working out; kettlebells are a great place to start - and many can stay with them for a while. I really like them, and think they give the best bang for the buck as far as exercise equipment goes. I work out in my back yard, and they take up very little space in the house.

Of course, Simple and Sinister is a good place to start, and stick with for a while. It's got some great instruction for beginners, and it's a very simple program. Another option to look into is a swing program. Dan John has written a lot about high volume swings in the past year or so (here, his blog, the Dave Draper forum, and T-Nation). Being new though, start off slow. Tracy Reifkind is another name to check out for losing fat with swings, as is Bud Jeffries. I think they both lost over 100 pounds on swing programs.

Also, you're not doing too bad if you only need to lose 30-40 pounds. I know that sounds like a lot, but at least you're not 100+ pounds overweight.
 

MikeMoran

Level 5 Valued Member
1.) Do some form of resistance Exercise. I like KB's,BW and Karate myself.

2.) Track your food. Try it. Write down everything you are eating with the calorie count. I bet you will find you are eating a lot more than you need to. From there you can figure out what to cut and and eat better.

 
 

Stephanos

First Post
Thanks to all who replied so far. I have an old kettlebell I picked up a while back but never learned how to use. It says "16kg" on the side of it so I'm in luck as far as Phil's advice goes! I'm going to download Simple and Sinister off Amazon after dinner and get started with that.

Thanks for the link to Ms. Reifkind, Jeff. That is amazing.

Doc: It's good to hear from someone with some heavyweight credentials on the whole nutrition thing. You mention tubers but what about whole wheat pasta and oatmeal? Is that stuff bad for your blood sugar (and waistline)? A friend recommended Ezekiel bread. It's supposed to be a flourless bread. Do you know anything about it?

Thanks to all who responded so far.

- Steve
 

MikeMoran

Level 5 Valued Member
I would start with worrying about your total daily intake to start then figure out the better foods to eat although you can cut Refined Flour and High Fructose Corn Syrup right now.
 

dcb02a

Level 1 Valued Member
The beauty of S&S is that you don't have to put much further thought in your training and it allows you to put your energy into managing your diet. You may consider asking your doctor for a referral to a registered dietictian but not everyone can afford that. Roland Denzel has a very practical book called Man on Top that you can find on amazon for a reasonable price. The overarching theme is making changes that you feel comfortable with doing. Definitely start keeping a simple food log of what you eat so that you can go back and not any themes in your eating habits. Good luck with it!
 

The Scientist

Level 3 Valued Member
"You mention tubers but what about whole wheat pasta and oatmeal? Is that stuff bad for your blood sugar (and waistline)?"

If you are not gluten sensitive, small amounts of these things may be fine, but it is something you have to test out for yourself. I feel better without them, but the effect is not terribly strong. If you have the will power to do it, I would just cut it all for a while and see how you feel. Then you can add back in a few borderline items if you want later and see what happens.

 

"I would start with worrying about your total daily intake to start then figure out the better foods to eat although you can cut Refined Flour and High Fructose Corn Syrup right now."

Total caloric intake is very strongly driven by the endocrine system and central nervous systems regulation of appetite. The advice to "eat less and exercise more" fails most people who try it in the long-term, because you are fighting your brain's perception of nutrient homeostasis. However, if food quality is taken care of, this allows your brain and endocrine system to independently control appetite, and you should eat the right number of calories naturally. Just don't stuff yourself on purpose and don't cheat on food quality.
 

The Scientist

Level 3 Valued Member
"The overarching theme is making changes that you feel comfortable with doing."

I see the point here, but at some point, embracing the challenge of making a dramatic change can be a positive thing. Not everything in life has to be comfortable, and sometimes the most necessary changes are uncomfortable.
 

Annlee

Level 5 Valued Member
I'd offer a couple of points (60# weight loss, mostly the hard way), maintained over 8 years:

1. Protein first - protein is satiating, and the least likely to get turned into fat if you eat too much. And yes, you can eat too much - but it's hard. The third steak just doesn't look or taste as good as the first one ... :)

2. You want to burn fat, so you have to find the level of carbohydrates that lets you do that. My level isn't Pavel's, or Dan's, or Steve's, or yours. Yours is yours, and you will find it by keeping records and being patient. I personally prefer the app called CRON-O-Meter (https://cronometer.com/). It has a good food DB, you can add/create your own, and it's pretty easy to use. But keeping food records is vital. (FWIW - I broke my metabolism by oversubscribing for years to the "heart healthy whole grains" stuff when my personal genetics won't support it - so I'm probably forever low carb. That doesn't mean you must be - you might be, you might not.)

3. IF (Intermittent Fasting) is a huge help. That's easier to do when you get your required nutrients in the designated mealtimes. I used to eat on the clock - I HAD to. Now I have to remember to - I have a diet plan that works for me. Only took me a few years of refining my way into it.

4. Even with optimal nutrients, calories do matter. The kicker is, when you get the nutrients ... you aren't hungry any more. J. Stanton at http://gnolls.org has a great series on why we get hungry.

5. You can't out-exercise bad diet - but with a decent diet exercise will reshape that body. And KBs are terrific, starting with a simple (ha!) swing. As you get the hang of it, and go up in weight, as Pavel says, "That's when the magic happens."

6. You didn't get where you are today overnight - you won't get where you want to be overnight, either. But the journey starts today - and restarts every single day. That includes rest days, too - give your body a chance and it will repay you, with interest.

7. We're here when you need help.
 

Stephanos

First Post
OK, I got the Simple and Sinister book via Kindle and read up through the Program Minimum part. My 16 kg kettlebell was being used to press together glued plywood but I rescued it and dusted it off. I don't think I could do those moves with anything heavier right now anyway.

Am I reading this right that I am supposed to start off doing Swings and Get-ups each day (except on the occasional "rest" day)? Also, what does the author mean when he says that "Get-ups are limited to singles?" Does he mean one single get up at a time and then rest?

Thanks for the replies. I am excited about finally having some clarity on what to do.

- Steve
 

Stephanos

First Post
Annlee,

Thanks! Sixty pounds is an outstanding weight loss and the fact that you've kept if off for 8 years really gives you a lot of credibility! You're really the sort of person I've wanted to hear from: someone who was once fat like me and has got some street cred after burning it off and keeping it off.

The fasting really works, huh? I kept reading about that concept but it just seems like it flies in the face of everything I've heard about eating more rather than less often. I may try that after I get my diet cleaned up to the standards that The Scientist prescribed.

- Steve
 

Annlee

Level 5 Valued Member
Singles are "sets" of one. Where you will start with a set of 5 swings, done 10 times with rest periods between, you'll do 5 TGU one at a time, with rest between.

You'll need it. :)
 

Annlee

Level 5 Valued Member
And thanks for the props, but there are lots of success stories out there - and they aren't all alike.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/category/success-story-summaries/#axzz2yFg0nKRG
 

milored

Level 1 Valued Member
As stated above kettlebells will certainly help you with your goals. I haven't read S&S, but from what I know of it it will work provided you stick with it. In fact, there are plenty of great programs out there for body recomposition. The key is to select a program you are capable of doing technically and sticking to it. No program ADHD.

Being an older guy as are you, I can tell you the diet portion is what will make or break your success. There are also plenty of good templates out there for diet as well. Pick one, stick to it and keep as meticulous records of body measurements and food logging as possible. No matter how good your exercise program is, you can't out-snatch a doughnut-especially in your mid-40's. Record keeping will help you identify if you're on the right track and prevent you from wasting time on failed approaches.

The last bit of advice I'll offer is be patient.   I personally used ETK's rite of passage and a number of different diet approaches to lose 120 lbs over 2 years. It will take time and you will see progress and plateaus. Just be patient and walk whatever path works for you.
 
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