I should have called it the calorie "hypothesis" -- that's how pervaive the dogma is -- I called it a "theory" when the evidence isn't there. I feel obligated to post again since I brought up Gary Taubes. He is very good on debunking calories, but his low-carb solution is also a wee bit simplistic.
Here is a an interview with Paul Jaminet, co-author of The Perfect Health Diet:
I'm sure you know all this already, but the exercise you're doing helps prevent the further buildup of uric acid in the body, and the cleaner diet removes it more quickly. So you're halfway there already. Not bad.
Regardless of whether calorie counting is the "best" way to lose weight, it's easy and it works. A tip I learned from reading one of Dan John's book (ironically, a book about GAINING weight) was to make only one change to your life/diet/activity level per week.
The theory is that folks who change their entire lifestyle at once often don't stick with it. Small, incremental changes appear much more effective over time. For example:
Week 1: Drink recommended amount of water
Week 2: Eat breakfast (most people don't)
Week 3: Find your basal metabolic rate and calculate total energy expenditure (you can google the formula(s) for this). That's roughly the number of calories you'll burn in a day. Subtract 500 from that each day and you'll lose about a pound per week from your diet alone. Apply this to your diet.
Week 4: etc...
I've used this over and over with people, and the only ones who failed to lose fat were those who refused to eat less than they burned. With you working out, I doubt that'll be a problem. Over time, you can gradually refine your diet, research related concepts, and develop a greater understanding of how the body uses fuel and what fuels produce the greatest benefit. All calories are definitely NOT created equal, and there is a great deal more to being healthy than simple numbers. But for the first few months, don't sweat it.
I've have the experience that many people have that you can count calories and lose weight. If you want to do that I'd suggest going to http://www.myfitnesspal.com. The website will calculate your calorie budget and it has a convenient smartphone app for when you are out. I went down from 187 to 155 by doing this last fall
The thing is, now I'm back up to 163. I'd like to say that is all kettle bell muscle, but I'd be lying to myself. I'm definitely less lean than I was. I'm now giving intermittent fasting a try and can tell I'm a little leaner. My belt size has gone down and I look a little leaner.
In "The Warrior Diet" the author says a lot of things that I question, but there is one thing that he says that I like. He makes it clear that it's a lifestyle more than a diet. I think that for something to work going forward it has to be maintainable and while I can changer my "feeding window" for life, I just don't think I can enter every calorie into my phone for the rest of my life.
@Mike, +1 for the "Honey Badger Diet". I'm picturing the little fella tear the head off a snake and laughing.
@Chris, Thanks for the info. I did not know the intense (for me) interval type training helped with uric acid.
The diet weirdness continues... I am using an iPad calorie app that figures out what you need to lose. For my weight, 1700 cals was supposed to take 2 lbs off a week. I dropped from 230 to 218 lbs It was doing more than than till I switched from doing 10 x 10 swings, 1 minute rest between to doing today 13 x 20 swings on the minute.
I've now been at 218 lbs for three weeks. I'm actually eating 1500 cals a day now, not because I'm trying hard, but because I'm pretty much not that hungry. The exercise is somehow suppressing my appetite.
I think my metabolism is cooking. I'm sleeping without covers or a sheet and burning hot.
My belt size is smaller. My shirts are not bulging out as far. My wife says I look thinner.
But that @+&#! scale isn't budging.
I know in "theory" I'm not supposed to be able to build muscle much while on calories restriction. But I'm starting to think that's exactly what's happening. There's just no way I can only be eating 1500 calories a day, progressively increasing intensity and be cannibalizing my own muscle mass. My performance would be degrading.
The MOST difficult diet change I made wasn't the calories. It was I stopped grazing. Now I eat breakfast and nothing till noon. At noon, three times a week I do my swings. On those days, I'm not hungry then for another 2 hours. So I eat lunch at 1:30 or 2pm. Then around 5:30 - 6pm dinner. Before bed around 9:30 I have a spoon of nut butter.
Breaking the psychological need to feed all day was tough. But I swear, about 4 days into it, I felt a switch in me go into fat burning mode. The hunger vanished. The afternoon crash vanished.
Anyway, that's where I'm at. Come hell or high water, I want to keep moving that progression up. I'm going to stay away from snacking all day. And I'm letting my hunger determine the calories up to 1700 cals.
I'm an absolute nOOb and appreciate everyone's input here.
For a little fun, this nutritionist shook up the diet world a year ago....
Robert - Congrats so far on your progress, regardless of your confusion, it's still great.
Here are some thoughts for you in no particular order:
according to a study I read years ago but cannot seem to find for a quote, 9-13 calories per pound of bodyweight is the sweet spot for weight/fat loss. 10 calories is about average - so you're way under here...
when you increase the intensity of your exercise, you should also increase your calories on those days to help recovery; drop them on the other days
stress is what your body adapts to - good or bad. Since you're not losing weight anymore, your body is not adapting - it's trying to survive - think Zach mentioned this - so there's too much stress on it right now between the low calories and the intense workouts
I think Mike G. mentioned this - but it's all about the hormones and managing your fat burning v. fat storing hormones - too much stress ramps up your fat storing hormones and shuts down the fat burning ones
Your belt size dropping is an indicator that you're dropping fat
Many people forget that it's not uncommon to gain weight when first starting to work out from increased blood plasma
If you've recently dropped from a high sodium to low sodium diet, you could be retaining water as your body figures out its water balance
So if I were you, I'd do the following:
Swing only 3 days per week.
Keep walking on the other days - not hard, just walk.
I agree with Connor - look into intermittent fasting (One of my clients just used one of my IF protocols to drop 40lbs in 60 days - so it's more than possible.)
Start there and see if that doesn't help move things along again...
Thanks Geoff. I'll put some more calories in the system on workout days.
Ha, "Survival" would describe what I'm feeling right now after moving from 12 to 13 swings today in the progression . Nor sure why it got me, but it mushed my legs pretty good the last three sets. 14 on Wed. will be joyous!
I'll definitely look into IF. Where do I go to see your IF protocols? Happy to pay, just new around here and don't know where to look. Shame waisting this hard work and not taking the lbs off.
@ Robert - Just go to leangains.com like others suggested. It's all free. You'll have to do some poking around but it's well worth the time and education you'll receive.
@James - No I don't. Just my notes I've taken over the years. I sell a product called "Kettlebell Express!" with the purpose of managing stress hormones. You can go to the sales page to get a rough idea of how some of the mechanisms work. (No need to buy the product unless of course you want to.)
Thanks, I bought a copy of "Kettlebell Express" last week. I'm looking forward to putting the programs into action.
I'm curious about the concept of stress hormone balance. I've read the book "Spark" about fitness and the brain. He has the idea that a moderate physical stress response "inoculates" us to stress and makes it easier for us to deal with adversity, but that chronic release of stress hormones results in negative effects on the brain (memory problems and less ability to regulate anxiety). He also suggests that chronic stress hormone release results in increased fat storage and that this is why marathon runners sometimes have a paradoxical gut.
It makes me think that the right dose of exercise might be important (e.g. less is more) in some situations. I guess that's the whole point of your Kettlebell Express book. I'm just always thirsty for more information.
"9-13 calories per pound of bodyweight is the sweet spot for weight/fat loss"
That's an awesome quote, applying that to myself @ 200 lbs. gives a range 0f 1,800-2,600 calories, which by most kcal counter thinking wouldn't work.
congrats on losing the inches. I think it's time to put your scale away for 2-3 weeks. Did you take measurements of the shoulders, chest, stomach (across the navel), waist, thigh and arm? If you do you will get more feedback if you re-measure and weigh yourself in a few weeks.
I understand your paradigm, and those who adhere to kcal counting. However, kcals are determined by burning substances in a bomb calorimeter, extrapolating those results to predict how a body processes substances is confounding, as you are experiencing. Geoff's quote on the range of kcals illustrates this further. We can't pick a target number and adhere to it everyday, every week, etc. and see a linear progression in results. Especially as our bodies are wired for survival, thus resistant to extreme changes placed on it (which is a huge reason we've survived if you think about it).
When I was obese I lost roughly a pound a day for 28 days while doing the lemonade diet (master cleanse). I was short sighted and didn't take accurate data so I can't say what was fat, lean mass, water weight, etc... Would I recommend this approach, or any extreme approach such as the HcG protocol to a friend or client? NOPE, because all these protocols clearly call for as little activity as possible, and I don't know of anyone that can reduce their external stress to a level that would make such an approach healthy. I figured this out the hard way as a few years after the huge weight drop I was going to do the cleanse again for 7-10 days, just to "take a quick ten pounds off" and wound up severely injuring my right lat or trap, resulting in almost no strength training for over 6 months.
I'd suggest the possibility of changing your paradigm to believe your body knows exactly what its doing and it's natural state is being lean and strong. This may sound far-fetched but if you do you'll focus on learning to be increasingly intuitive and give your body exactly what it needs nutritionally, rather than having to force it to change. When it's consistently getting everything it needs to thrive the weight comes off quickly. Why? Our natural, "normal" state is to be lean and strong, most (including myself) have unlearned our natural state to varying degrees by improperly moving, eating, feeling, and most importantly, thinking.
Given the metabolic conditions you said you have I would strongly advise finding a metabolic typing doctor/specialist in your area. Metabolic Typing ( Dr. Mercola has a version called nutritional type which he uses from metabolic typing) is the only system I've seen that uses methods to determine what foods are optimal for you, and in what quantity they should be ingested by looking at how you actually oxidize foods, which branch of y0ur nervous system is dominant, etc. "Miracles" happen once one starts eating optimal foods, and most conditions improve if not dissipate altogether. Ironically, IF and many other practices start occurring on their own once we're eating more intuitively.
I had a client lose 20 pounds in 3 months (she was overweight but by no means heavy) by simply eating for her metabolic type and engaging in Original Strength, FMS, etc. movements. No lifting due to a back injury, just practicing moving correctly.
Your commitment to yourself is awesome, I love when people reach their point where they become willing to do whatever it takes to change. Keep up the work, hope one of these thoughts assists in your process.
The thing about IF for me was that if I tried to have a high MetCon session while fasted, like high rep snatches or swings, I would bonk badly and just feel like crap. Being that the greatest benefits of interval training are seen after the exercise session, I figured it made more sense to have something in my gut before training and then do IF on off days or variety days. Just my experience and If doesn't require fasted training although it's an option.
Robert, I confess to not having followed this thread closely, but the IF program that's been around for a long time that I follow is called the Warrior Diet. I had the experience of being ridiculed, literally, for following it 10 years ago, and some of those same people are now practicing some form of IF.
I humbly recommend you start with the Warrior Diet book - I found it inspirational, much more of a lifestyle recommendation than a diet recommendation. The WD, nor the author's way of putting things, is going to be everyone's cup of tea, I realize, but it has worked for me for close to a decade, and I have used it to maintain my weight, lose weight, and even add some muscle to my frame. It's an approach you can live with easily for the rest of your life and, once you understand the principles, you'll realize that, like StrongFirst principles, there are many ways to implement them.
Thanks all for your IF recommendations. I've been reading the different perspectives. You've given me a lot of homework and some diet experiments to run.
Between the blood thinners (greens = bad) and the gout (lot's-o-protein = bad) I'll have to modify with either higher fat or higher carbs.
Interesting how much disagreement there is among the different perspectives. The 4 hour body has a slow carb that folks have used black beans on to lose 100lbs. Dr. Fuhrman says beans are one of the highest nutritiant loaded foods one can eat other than Kale. Yet "Bullet Proof" as them listed as evil responsible for all sorts of physical carnage.