Looking for diet / weight-loss advice...

  • justinatx

    Posts: 4

    Feb 27, 2012 12:53 AM GMT
    I’m mostly looking for input on my diet. I’ve been aiming for a calorie deficit of about 1500 kcals / day since the beginning of November. Aside from holidays, etc., I track everything that I eat and have lost about 30 pounds (I currently weight 205, yay me). I started seriously working out mid-Janurary (well, as seriously as I can). I’ve had some decent strength gains, but I haven’t noticed much increase in muscle mass and my weight loss has stalled. After reading about it on these forums earlier this month, I’m more or less following the leangains intermittent fasting protocol. Eating less is not an option – I’m considering eating more on my weight-training days. I’m hesitant to eat more overall since I’m still carrying considerably more fat than I would like.

    I’m basing my overall workout plan on the periodization scheme outlined in my old weight training manual from a college course, but with a routine of exercises I like (with the available equipment). I’m currently doing low-intensity with a high number of reps (1 set of 10 at a light weight for warm-up, 1 set of 10 with an intermediate weight, and 3 sets of ten at my target weight). I will be moving to higher weight/fewer reps. This is my routine:

    Monday (~45 mins):
    Superset: Pullup / Neutral-grip Chest Press
    Superset: Cable Row / Chest Press
    Dumbbell Goodmorning
    Superset: Machine Chest Fly / Reverse Fly

    Wednesday (~45 mins):
    Superset: Chinup / DB Overhead Press
    Dumbbell deadlift
    Superset: Incline Bicep Curl / Triceps DB Kickback
    Superset: Arnold Shoulder Press / Hammer Curl

    Friday (~ 1 hr):
    Superset: Neutral-grip Chinup / DB Goblet Squat
    Single-leg RDL
    Superset: Forward Lunge / Reverse Lunge

    I do 45 minutes of cardio on Tuesday and Thursday. On the weekend I do yoga (varies) and try to do something active outside.

    Thoughts? Advice? Sorry this is so freakin’ long…
  • Jerebear

    Posts: 329

    Feb 27, 2012 2:38 AM GMT
    1500 calories a day is too low IMO, especially on lifting days. If you arent eating enough, lifting is like trying to use your car without any gas, you are wasting your time.

    Before you consider all the "do-this"s and "don't do that"s in the diet and exercise information you are going to read/hear, ask yourself if you are willing to do it forever, because the only plans that work are the ones that work long-term.

    The particulars of sets/reps/routines dont matter that much. As long as you are working your whole body (and it seems like you are) and you are progressing in some way with each workout (best by going up in weight, second best by going up in reps, lastly by going up in volume).
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    Feb 27, 2012 12:40 PM GMT
    Agreed, you need more than 1500 cals. If your body goes into starvation mode you will neither lose weight nor gain muscle. Make sure it's quality protein (no cold cuts and sweet protein bars), plenty of green veggies, and healthy fat. I once tried a fat free diet and my weight fluctuated uncontollably and my mood became a roller coaster on a mission od distruction. Keep starches to a MINIMUM, and rely on quality stardh. Avoid anything sweet. Your workout looks fine.
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    Feb 27, 2012 12:59 PM GMT
    Some people go to school for years to learn the science of diet and nutrition. These people are registered dietitians. My suggestion is to consult one rather than finding advice on forums from non-professionals who don't know myth from fact.

    You can't lose weight from doing exercise. That's my free advice for the day.
  • Jerebear

    Posts: 329

    Feb 27, 2012 2:24 PM GMT
    bluey2223 saidSome people go to school for years to learn the science of diet and nutrition. These people are registered dietitians.


    True. Actual science > junk internet sciencish stuff.

    There are also other people who have gone to the school of hard knocks. Its not a bad idea to consult with them either...and its free.
  • justinatx

    Posts: 4

    Feb 27, 2012 4:16 PM GMT
    Thanks for the input guys!

    Yes, it would be great to consult a dietitian, have a personal trainer, and a get yoga instructor to give me private instruction – but that is not my financial reality. Plus, I value the opinion of people who have personally had success.

    I’m going to try eating about 1800 kcals on my weight training days this week and 1400 kcals every other day. I know that is minimal – I’ll re-evaluate at the end of the week.
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    Feb 27, 2012 4:25 PM GMT
    The thing I noticed about your post is that you told us how many calories you eat and then what your workouts looked like but nothing about the quality of food that you're eating. In my limited experience, weight loss is just as much about what you eat as about how much you eat. You can eat 1,500 calories of junk food and not lose any weight.

    What's worked for me is avoiding gluten, legumes, grains, dairy, added sugar and alcohol. Try to eat as much lean proteins, fibrous veggies, some fruit/nuts and healthy oils as possible. When I shop, I stay away from just about anything that comes in a bag, except beef jerky, and buy only from the produce aisles, meat counter, eggs and other things on the outside areas of the market.

    All that being said, losing 30lbs is a great achievement. You'll have some plateaus and pauses. Don't get frustrated. Keep up the good work.
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    Mar 14, 2012 6:55 PM GMT
    imasrxd saidThe thing I noticed about your post is that you told us how many calories you eat and then what your workouts looked like but nothing about the quality of food that you're eating. In my limited experience, weight loss is just as much about what you eat as about how much you eat. You can eat 1,500 calories of junk food and not lose any weight.

    What's worked for me is avoiding gluten, legumes, grains, dairy, added sugar and alcohol. Try to eat as much lean proteins, fibrous veggies, some fruit/nuts and healthy oils as possible. When I shop, I stay away from just about anything that comes in a bag, except beef jerky, and buy only from the produce aisles, meat counter, eggs and other things on the outside areas of the market.

    All that being said, losing 30lbs is a great achievement. You'll have some plateaus and pauses. Don't get frustrated. Keep up the good work.


    Actually yes, you can eat 1500 calories of junk food and lose weight. You'll lose more muscle too due to lack of protein. Hear of the candy bar diet? The cookie diet? Yea, you'll lose weight.

    If you stop eating altogether, you'll lose the most weight, but you'll also lose the most muscle and therefore compound the slow metabolism (not eating) with a slower metabolism (less muscle mass to speed it up). The trick is to eat to maintain your muscle and still cut calories. Don't plan on muscle gain at this point--you can still gain strength but not mass.
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    Mar 14, 2012 7:43 PM GMT
    If we are talking a calorie deficit of 1500 calories - you would have to be eating very little and burning quite a lot of calories during your workout.

    I do agree that the quality of food you're eating is a big role. You need to find the right balance of proteins, fats, carbs, veggies.

    I tend to bend heavy on the protein myself - but you will get lots of different advice about that. The reality is everyone's body is different. Do you have insurance? Sometimes you could get your doctor to refer you to a dietitian and your insurance could cover the expense - just to get you on track. If you are trying to figure it out on your own - you might start reading about the glycemic index.

  • justinatx

    Posts: 4

    Mar 16, 2012 9:49 PM GMT
    So, I’ve tried some exclusionary diets in the past (Atkins, etc.) and they did not make me feel good. I am currently focusing on limiting the total number of calories I consume while eating plenty of protein. Since I’m keeping my calories low and protein pretty high (aiming for about 200g), everything else is more or less crowded-out. I do not eat many starchy foods – most of those are green veg. I will eat something less healthy if I really want it. I’m trying to get most of my calories from “real” food (unprocessed meat, cottage cheese, fresh/frozen veg), but I do drink whey protein daily and eat some kashi bars for convenience. To keep my calories low – I’ve mostly eliminated alcohol.

    I did say I was aiming at a deficit of 1500 kcals, but on a sedentary day for me that could be very similar to eating 1500 kcals. Like I said in my second post, I’ve decided to eat more on the days I lift weights and less on the other days. I’ve been camping/vacationing the last week and haven’t been counting calories or lifting weights. Not sure what my plan will look like on Monday.
    I went to the gym today and damn it felt good.