A bit of explanation is needed for this one...
I started to get serious about losing weight back in September of 2009. Started running & cutting calories. I started out at 235 - 240 lbs (I'm a male who is 5'6", by the way). By May of 2010, by chronic cardio and calorie cutting efforts alone, I was down to 171. Granted, my digestion was horrible and my food intake was horribly inaccurate for my activity level - at one point I was taking in a mere 1600 calories a day MAX while working out for 1.5 hours a day.
I got down to those last 10 lbs and could not shake them. Then something happened that I cannot explain to this day. From what I believe, my body had a nervous breakdown. I had been under a lot of physical and emotional stress and I feel as if my body "broke" - since then, I have not been able to have the same kind of lifestyle. Things that lead to the breakdown: had recently been dumped from a 3 year relationship and picked up bad habits again such as smoking, putting my body under extreme physical stress with calorie cutting and excessive exercise, not focusing on nutrient-dense foods, etc.
Since July of 2010, my weight has crept back up to 180 - 185, although I'm sure that some of it was regaining muscle that I had lost during my calorie cutting stint. I'm holding steady at about 15 - 16 percent body fat (and was the same percentage even when I weighed 171), but no matter what I do, I cannot lose these last 12 - 15 lbs.
I started paleo back in February of this year and it has done some wonderful things. However, I've noticed that "eating to satiety" for me is a problem, because I have a HUGE appetite. I've been able to curb it with plenty of veggies and I'm thankful I love them - although because of my love for them, it's hard for me to feel full while attempting keto or LC, even with plenty of fat in my diet. But it seems I've tried just about everything in the paleo handbook and nothing will shake the last 15.
I've tried: No-carb, VLC, LC, The Zone, IF, The Warrior Diet, Carb cycling, Cheat days, 3 big meals, 6 small meals, etc.
A couple other things to consider: I don't eat dairy or grains and practically no fruit (maybe a piece every few weeks). I stay away from starchy veggies, except for the occasional sweet potato, organic carrots (Bugs Bunny style), or pumpkin puree. I have been tested for high cortisol by an ASI assessment and it came back as me having slightly lower cortisol in the morning and around lunch, but nothing too abnormal. I'm not insulin resistant (as indicated by lab work). I don't have candida overgrowth (did a GI panel). I WAS tested as having low testosterone (read further down for why I believe that to be true). I do high intensity resistance training or sprints a couple days a week. I'm on my feet for more than 6 to 7 hours a day walking around (I work in retail).
So what could it be?? I've tried Dr. K's leptin resistant thing, and it just made me feel as if I was gaining weight.
Here's what I'm thinking, but I need some advice...while growing up, I took prescribed and injectable rHGH because I had a severe case of adolescent growth hormone deficiency. I took it from the age of 12 to approx. 18. I have been diagnosed with the adult form in the past few years (having very little naturally produced) and gave HGH therapy a shot from March until May of this year. I didn't really experience any perceived benefit from the growth hormone, and the swelling that was occurring worried me a bit. I don't know if I was on the right dosage, but I feel as if I should have been on a higher dosage. Would a "surge" of HGH cure my body out of the breakdown period that happened last summer? I know that HGH regulates all other hormones (correct?), so wouldn't it make sense to have this regulated first?
Overall, I'm not looking to give up this lifestyle. It has healed me of many things, especially compulsive overeating (which I struggled with for most of my adolescence), and I feel much better on it. I know that my workouts and healthy eating are benefitting me health-wise and that's why I continue to live this way. It's just so darn frustrating when you live an active lifestyle, with a solid nutrition basis, and yet there's still flab on your stomach, thighs, hips, caboose, etc. Not looking to lower my "weight" as much as I am trying to get rid of the fat. I like my short, muscular nature...just not the fluff covering it.
Help a guy out?! Or am I "broken" for good?
P.S. I know that fasting is very restorative for the body. Would a multiple day fast (say 3 - 5) jump start anything hormonally for me while preserving muscle mass (if I took BCAA's along with water during the fast)?
Ok that was a lot to digest but...
If you're looking to have more growth hormone I would recommend two things: Squats and raw whole milk. From what I've read squats are one of the best ways to increase HGH and drinking raw milk post workout will skyrocket that stuff. Lift heavy and ass-to-grass.
Now on the "eating to satiety" front I have the same issue. I generally can't eat "to satiety" because I don't think my body really understands what that is. If I weight and measure I can get a better feel for it and relax about everything. You might just have to really pay attention to portion control.
Sounds like you and my hubby are in the same boat. He was diagnosed with panhypopituitarism as a kid and had HGH and testosterone shots as an adolescent as well. He is also a similar height/weight as you and yes, those last 10-15 lbs have been extremely stubborn. He also experiences extreme hunger on low carb, unlike most people who seem to get full faster.
Anyway, we haven't been able to hack those last few pounds away completely, but we have found a few things that have helped. Vitamin D supplementation was KEY. It is totally worth it to get your levels tested and supplement appropriately. His endocrinologist actually brought this one up and it has made the biggest impact in terms of just overall wellbeing. For satiety, he eats around 100g carb a day - much lower than that and he's just hungry and snacky all the time. And he has recently started experimenting with IF, which looks promising for helping with weight. I bet exercise would help even more but we haven't found something sustainable and enjoyable yet that will fit into his schedule with respect to work and the baby.
Anyway, I know how frustrating these issues are and I hope you can find something that helps! Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have.
Sounds like your diet and workouts are on track so I would start looking at some other factors that may be coming into play.
Sleep- are you getting enough? Have you gone several weeks with no less than 8 hours per night. Based on the hunger issues, this is where I would look first. You may want to check out the book Lights Out.
Sunlight/vitamin D- a deficiency in vitamin d could mean significantly lower testosterone levels, among other things. Try getting outside several times a week and supplementing with vitamin d when you can't. Heres one study -http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21154195/
If you aren't lifting heavy with squats, deadlifts, pullups, presses, then that could definitely help with the body composition.
It might also be worth getting a nutrient deficiency test done. There may be some gaps in your diet that your missing.
I agree with Jake about portion control.
I tracked my maintenance calories for a week (which helped me later with portion control) & took the average & then reduced my intake by approx 300-500 cal/day--mostly fat calories. Tracking is boring, but worked for me short-term.
I did this for 6 weeks (while vlc to make it easier) and was finally able to lose my last 10.
Most folk who cut calories with CW cut too much & end up down-regulating their metabolism & feeling like crap.
As long as you keep moving you shouldn't lose muscle mass.
Now I use IF to maintain, but I needed to track calories briefly to get a handle on my portions.