I have been eating paleo diet for about sixth months and it has worked wonders for me! However i recently read an article about watching how many carbs you eat, and that the ultimate way to lean out and build muscle is to cut carbs, to maybe one piece of fruit or one potato a day, but still consuming carbs in secondary sources like veggies, and fats. So I started eating way more meat and cut out carbs.. But lately I've been having these episodes where I am starving by the end of the day...I end up eating 1000 calories at dinner time! I'm a 5'9 female weighing 135 or so.. And I am eating around 1800 calories a day and crossfitting 5 days a week.. Maybe I'm just depleted and my body is angry with me? Or is this mental and I'm stressing out or something? Or is it trying to do very low carb?
Any advice would be so appreciated ! Thank you!
While I'm not in favor of counting calories, you're clearly undereating.
Your basal metabolic rate is 1449kcals/day as per: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/
So that's what you'd burn off just to stay alive, in bed, comatose. To figure out your needs, you'd multiply this by your activity level, which sounds quite high due to crossfit 5x a week, so as per: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/harris-benedict-equation/ you'd multiply your BMR by 1.8 (or 1.9) to get about ~2600kcals/day.
So, you'd want to eat about 3 palm sided portions of meat per day, maybe slightly more if you're doing more resistance training than cardio, and the rest should be from fat and carbs. You'd probably need more carbs and less fat if you're doing a lot of cardio-like/endurance work, and the reverse if it's mostly resistance training.
Loren Cordain's book, Paleo for Athletes would be a good start to figure out what you need percentage wise. Meanwhile, here's a nice summary of that book for you: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/a-quick-guide-to-the-paleo-diet-for-athletes
If your crossfit coach didn't provide you with this info, it's a fail on their part, not yours. You might want to mention that to them so others don't bonk out.
I think causal factors are confused here. You have been eating paleo for 6 months -- I am assuming your crossfit days are therefore in the 5-9 months. You suggest that you are plateauing on your lifts, and are wondering whether it is dietary based.
My answer would be no. You are plateauing due to physics. When you start a new activity, your body is not used to doing it, and not used to activating certain muscles in certain ways. So the first 6 - 12 months of an exercise routine people tend to make huge gains. We believe that we are getting stronger -- in fact we are just teaching our bodies to use the muscle we have to do a new task (aside, yes there is some muscular development, but not on the order that people believe). At some point, we maximize our current muscular system. This is when genetics comes in. Some people will just continue on because their body responds to the stimuli to build more muscle. Some people have an asymptotic relationship.
Give it a couple of months -- stress your body on two of the five days per week, allow your body to heal on the other days. See how you respond.
Oh -- and keep the carbs up. no reason to eschew carbs. 100g per day is a good starting point, more as needed.
I can do that... I really dont want to count calories forever but I need to make sure I'm getting enough of my macros, but without overeating either. I have started to plateu on some of my lifts in crossfit, and I need to change something.. maybe just upping my calories and eating more fat will do it... thank you!! @JenniferB
I agree I hate counting calories as well! But I agree I probably do need more..
Thank you for posting about the book and summary! The summary seems more geared towards athletes who work out for long periods of time, whereas crossfit is very short spurts of high intensity... I'm wondering if that calorie about would be too high? Or if eating 50% carbs is necessary?
From what I've read, high fat diets and low carb are good for that lean build.. Which I have I just want to keep it up! Lol I also eat a ton of protein!
Any more thoughts? I really appreciate your feedback !
Your body needs ample time (weeks) to adapt to a very low carb lifestyle. The goal is not to cut out carb completely, you want to keep them below 100 grams per day the lower end of that spectrum will yield better results. In reality everyone is different so there is no set lower limit of how grams of carbs a person should eat but the general consensus among the low carb proponents seems to be less than 100g a day. The caveat is, however, a body does need time to adapt to the lower carb lifestyle. I've found increasing "healthy" fat consumption helps eating fats (high fat coconut milk, macadamia nuts, EVOO, coconut butter, avocado, grass fed butter, grass fed heavy cream) satiated with ample amount of calories in the form of fat during feeding times. You may want to check out the art and science of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide.
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