I've been primal for about 4 months and lost about 25 pounds in the first two months. After that I started getting into weight lifting, doing squats, deadlifts, presses and the like. While I've seen big changes in body composition, my weight has been stalled ever since I started lifting.
Normally I wouldn't care that the number on the scale isn't moving as long as I can see that I'm losing fat, but here's the rub. I might have a job opportunity that requires me to not exceed a maximum weight. I'm still about 20 pounds from this target weight, which I would have to lose over the next 2 or 3 months.
I'd really hate to give up lifting since I've grown to really enjoy it and I feel like it's a great way to burn fat (if not lose pounds). Do I really have to give up lifting (and muscle) in order to get down to my target? Any suggestions on how to lose weight and stay strong?
Start counting calories and aim for a deficit of approximately 500 calories per day. I know many paleohackers' are vehemently against counting calories, but for your situation it is what I would recommend.
You won't put on more weight if you're in calorie deficit. Continue lifting heavy and consider supplementing with BCAA's / leucine, I have heard Robb Wolf and John Welbourne in a podcast discuss that they've had great results with clients using leucine while eating a calorie deficit to maintain muscle mass.
Immerse yourself at leangains.com, Martin is all about increasing strength whilst cutting body fat.
With the right approach and diet it is certainly possible to drop your 20 pounds in 3 months, whilst maintaining your current strength - or somewhat improving it.
EDIT: - They're plenty of success stories on Martin's site, but here is a link to someone who followed his methods to drop 20 pounds in 3 months whilst increasing his lifts - http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=135766901&p=752479303&viewfull=1#post752479303
I'm in the Army and it sounds like you might not have all the information on the Army body fat standards. Are you going off the height/weight table when you said you're 20 pounds over? There is a tape test if you exceed that weight and if your body composition is under the allowable range for your age you're fine. You can check whether your within that standard on the tool below:
OMG THAT IS AWESOME PROGRESS!! Don't give up... plateaus are normal -- I lost 50 lbs but only after numerous plateaus which I found the best was 'shaking' things up -- eat less/eat more; more volume/less volume, more intensity/less intensity, cardio/no cardio, sleep more/relax more, etc. Shake it up. Don't fret.
At my DCF xfit gym, in 2008 Zuckerman told us he was almost out of the military (?Army) without the weight achievement, kinda like your situation. Here he is (and on the front pg of the blog he's the tall guy in glasses first in line jogging w/a wallball). He lost a TON OF WEIGHT, met all the military weight restrictions, and kept it off: http://www.diablocrossfit.com/archives/cat_rants_and_statements.php http://diablocrossfit.com/
It sounds like you are increasing volume and glycolytic activity. Personally I had marginally adrenal function then with ketotosis (intermitten fasting and/or VLC 20 grams/day carbs), it stalled my fat loss (by increase IR, insulin resistance) and worse it fatigued my adrenal function further.
Poliquin the most comprehensive carb guideline which I like which is based on glycolytic activity and # reps. Have you heard of him? He's paleo and trains Olympic and elite athletes by optimizing hormones. He is basically an integrative practitioner like the ones I often advocate for the best health. He's low carb paleo and balanced by exercise demands and strength/conditioning performance and gains (and to prevent adrenal burnout!!). Time is opportunities and $$$$. He's like Kruse and does this for a living. He fixes adrenals and I've been reading him for a while. You might like I think. The supps and testing are from paleo integrative nutri companies... fyi.
Points #8-10 I think will accelerate your gains and fat loss: Charles Poliquin Top 10 Carb Rules
(8) The Best Time to Load Up On Carbs is the First Ten Minutes Following Your Workout Insulin sensitivity is at its highest after a workout making this the critical time to take in carbs to maximize muscle mass gains. Originally, based on the research that was available at the time, I typically recommended two g/kg of bodyweight. Over the years, after being exposed to more research and discussing it with my colleagues, I have come to the conclusion that it should be a reflection of the training volume for the training session. The greater the number of reps per training unit, the greater the carbohydrate intake.
Of course, all reps are not equal. A squat or deadlift repetition is more demanding than a biceps curl or triceps extension rep. By the same token, three reps of slow tempo squats has a different caloric demand than three reps of the power clean. As a general rule, I would recommend the following carbohydrate intake based on training volume for a given workout: > * 12-72 reps per workout: 0.6 g/kg/lean body mass (lbm) > * 73-200 reps per workout: 0.8 g/kg/lbm > * 200-360 reps per workout: 1.0 g/kg/lbm > * 360-450 reps per workout: 1.2 g/kg/lbm
Take note that these recommendations are based on lean body mass, not your weight. To calculate lean body mass you need to know your lean mass percentage (or body fat percentage and subtract that number from 100). Then multiply this percent by your body mass and you’ll get your lean body mass.
Regarding the source of carbohydrates post-workout, I have experimented with various sources and I prefer fruit juices with a high glycemic index such as pineapple or grape to provide 15 to 20 percent of the carbs, with the rest of the carbs coming from carbohydrate powders. The powder should contain various types of maltodextrin and a minimal quantity of ribose. For variety, I use different types of juice such as a berry blend. You can also use any type of mushy fruit like bananas or peaches. For seriously underweight athletes, I may use more pineapple juice and/or corn flakes to drive the glycemic index upwards. Instead of using maltodextrin, you can also use desiccated honey. >
(9) Use Supplements That Promote Insulin Sensitivity with High-Carb Post-Workout Meals A number of supplements support glucose uptake and promote insulin sensitivity, including nutrients such as taurine, arginine, magnesium, and R-form alpha lipoic acid. Adding them to your post-workout meal will help send glucose to muscle cells instead of fat cells.
Indeed, a review from the journal Biological Trace Element Research reports that magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism, while influencing the activity of hormones that control blood glucose levels. Low magnesium can cause insulin resistance, which may result in the kidneys being unable to retain magnesium during episodes of hyperglycemia, creating a downward spiral of magnesium deficiency, fat gain, and subsequently diabetes.
Many herbs such as American ginseng, fenugreek, and bitter melon also facilitate glucose uptake by muscle cells. Research shows that adding fenugreek to a whole wheat bread will result in greater insulin sensitivity and more glucose uptake than consuming whole wheat bread without fenugreek. Similar results were evident when flax was added to a wheat chapatti, indicating flax may be a good addition as well.
(10) Add Protein to Your Post-Workout Carb Meal Protein is a critical part of post-workout nutrition because your muscles are primed for feeding and need amino acids for peak recovery. Essential amino acids (EAAs), particularly the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), have been shown to trigger protein synthesis and fat loss. Taking BCAAs will also allow you train harder and longer because the amino acids enhance fat oxidation and research shows that individuals with a higher BCAA intake in their diets have lower body weight and better body composition.
Taking as much as 40 grams of EAAs after heavy training results in an anabolic shift from muscle protein degradation to protein synthesis. I suggest using 15 grams of protein for every 50 lbs of bodyweight—you will increase glycogen storage by as much as 40 percent, and will boost release of the anabolic hormone, IGF-1.
Please keep us up dated with your discoveries. Good luck!