This question is part venting, part specific diet inquiries, and part bonus unrelated questions--bear with me.
I have been eating paleo for about 5 weeks now, though I was gluten- and dairy-free for about a year before that. Going gluten- and dairy-free cleared up all my daily allergies I used to have, though Im not sure which of the two was the culprit. I am male, 49, and my goals are general health and bodyfat loss. I started out at 232.5 pounds, and about 25% bodyfat. In the five weeks, I am down to 220 pound, at 23.9 % bodyfat. I am also doing P90x, in week nine. I know many will say it's overtraining, and I might agree, but it's an important commitment to me, and I at least want to finish out the next three weeks before I re-evaluate. I am eating fewer than 100 g of carb every day and about 65% of my calories are from fat. I have been, according to the stix, in "little-moderate" ketosis for about three weeks.
Here is the thing: I reached that 220 number on Feb. 1. Since then, the scale number has just circled all around that number. For example, two days ago I was 220. Yesterday, I was 219.5. Today I am 221.5. I know those are minor fluctuations, but it's been stuck, like a needle in a vinyl record, for nearly two weeks now. I don't know if I should start hacking and making changes, or trust that if I stay the course the weightloss will resume. I know there are some areas where I need to tighten up. I think that dairy is a problem for me. The only sources I have are some cream and ghee. I don't know if ghee should count as dairy or not? Here is my thinking as far as things I might 'clean up':
I have as a daily 'treat' some 88% chocolate. Not much, about and ounce, but I guess it should go.
In place of dairy, I am using almond milk. I like it, and it's not carby, but it does have some junk in it (though no sugar).
I have, a few times a week, a pre- or post-workout shake consisting of whey powder, almond milk, and coconut oil. Sometimes I add 1/4 cup of blueberries, but that is the only fruit I'm consuming.
I eat about two ounces of almonds daily, ones that I roast myself in ghee.
I can make those "tune-ups" and probably will, but at the same time, I don't think those things are terrible, and I don't want to get obsessive/perfectionist about this or it will eventually seem confining. Most of my diet consists now of eggs, bacon, bison, GF beef, wild salmon, coconut oil, almonds, some vegs (carrots, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach), and some fermented food (saurkraut, but not much). I am very frustrated by the stall, especially now that it has reached the two-week mark. My BF% is a little lower (just a bit), so that's some good news. I remain in ketosis, (according to breath and stix). I don't know if I should stay the course, or make the changes. Again, I want this to feel like something I can live with for the next thirty years, not some odd "diet" where Im eating coconut oil out of the jar. When I finish P90x, I will re-evaluate my approach to workouts. Okay, if you have staryed with me this long, here are the unrelated bonus questions:
I make my own ghee. My first batch was fine, second batch tastes fine, but it's kinda dry and crumbly. Some reason for that?
Does one have to attend a Crossfit gym to do Crossfit, or can it be done at a regular gym? Not sure that's my direction, just wondering.
I may have left something out, but that's all I can think of. Any help from you smart people is greatly appreciated. If I think of more, I will add it. Thanks in advance.
I hate to say this because I like P90X, I did 2.5x rounds of P90X, once I'm done losing all of the weight that I need to lose I'm going to go back and do another round because it is a fun program, but it is probably the P90X...frankly it is way too much to do the workouts on that program (for a lot of folks) and lose a lot of weight at the same time...you are asking too much of your body when you try to do this.
My personal experience with P90X is identical to yours. I lost about 10-15 lbs fairly quickly to 210 lbs, then stalled between 209 lbs and 215 lbs for the following 6 months or so.
Without a doubt, you probably are adding muscle and shedding some fat (my body comp definitely changed even when my weight loss stalled...people at work would say to me things like 'you are looking great, what are you doing?' etc even though the scale numbers hadn't moved in months).
Keep in mind: weight loss is driven by diet & lifestyle, exercise is a relatively minor element...too much exercise (which is a stressor) will result in a weight loss stall.
I broke my stall by:
-Going primal and reducing the amount of higher intensity exercise, but increasing the intensity of the exercise sessions and making sure I upped drastically the amount of low level exercise (for example: walk a few miles every day).
My advice to you is: Finish the current round of P90X, just so that you do not leave an unfinished thing behind you and take a personal victory lap.
-Switch over to Mark Sisson's work out program or some similar variant.
-Make sure you do plenty of walking along with the short but intense resistance and sprint training.
-Get plenty of sleep.
-Stay primal on the food. (I would cut out the whey, dairy, almonds and chocolate...if your goal is losing weight then be in the place where weight loss will happen---it isn't amongst things like chocolate, etc that weight loss happens). There will be time for chocolate later.
The weight should fall off.
I've lost about 100 lbs over 2 years (265 to 169 12/2008 to present). The last 45 or so were easier than the 1st 45 since that is when I went primal. The last 20 were easier than the first 80 since that is when I cut back on the exercise.
How are you measuring your bodyfat? I guess I'm wondering how accurate the number is. What about other measurements? You could be gaining muscle at the same time you're losing the fat, which would have a net effect of you getting smaller around the waist and so on. But it would play out as a stall in weight loss. Low-carbers (as in not specifically paleo) go through that sometimes too because they're actually losing bodyfat.
Could be a food sensitivity-related stall. You could try eliminating dairy for a couple weeks and see what that does. If no change, try eliminating nuts instead. You mention you eat onions, and those can mess with blood sugar in some people, so that's another possibility.
How's your sleep? Insufficient sleep can mess with fat loss.
I wouldn't stress about calories just yet. Your stomach's not a bomb calorimeter, and different foods have different effects in the body as pertain to weight loss and gain. You're doing a lot of hard training so the last thing you want to do is cut calories low enough that your body starts stressing and breaking itself down.
I don't do Crossfit but I've been to the website and they do have an option for doing the workouts at home if you already know the movements. So I'm guessing it's fine to do them in regular gyms as well.
Don't know about making ghee, haven't tried it yet...
What are you using to track/log your nutrient intake? Paleo is not a "weight loss" diet. It can help you reach optimum body fat, but it's not a quick diet and calories do count.
You've listed some of your "cheats" and I would bet you are eating more than 100g of carbs a day.
I think the single most important thing you can do is to weigh/measure and log every single bite of food you put in your mouth. Do it for about a week or so and you'll have a much more clear idea of what you are REALLY eating...It's eye opening for everyone who does it.
I've been on the Paleo diet for 5 weeks, with my week 6 weigh-in tomorrow. So for I've lost 26.4 lbs and dropped a pants size. I never would have imagined such progress in only 5 weeks. I can't wait to see what tomorrow weigh-in brings.
I think one of the reasons you are not seeing major changes and weight loss like some people do, is because you were already dairy and gluten free. Paleo was not a HUGE change for your body. I do not consider Paleo a weight loss diet. #1 it is a healthier way of eating. You are obviously tracking your food, how many calories are you eating? I know not everyone thinks it matters, but personally, I think if you were already eating fairly healthy you may need to reduce calories to lose weight. You may also want to try exercising fasted. I think it works wonders in kick starting weight loss.
Once you finish your P90X cycle and make some changes, don't make too many at once or you won't know what's working. Also, stick with each change for at least a month before you decide it's not working. Training fasted you could start right away, with three weeks left in the cycle that should give you a good idea if it's working or not. I consider "tightening up your food" one change, which could include reducing your calories, dropping the nuts or dropping the shakes, maybe dropping your carbs to under 50 on non workout days.
Crossfit can be done at a normal gym. I don't know anything about ghee.