I started eating Paleo and doing crossfit about 2 months ago and have been slowly losing weight - around a pound per week. At first I wasnt hungry at all after switching to Paleo, but have found my hunger slowly creeping back the last few weeks, but I think that Im eating enough so have been wary of eating any more - I dont want to stop losing weight as its going slow enough as it is!
My daily food intake consists of the following:
Crossfit workout 4-5 days/week - I dont eat before the class as Im not hungry.
After workout 8am ish - Protein shake with small amount of coconut milk and water, 3 eggs and cabbage scrambled in ghee
12pm - 3 chicken thighs, loads of veg - brocolli, cauliflower, zuchini, onion, sometimes some sweet potato
3pm - Tablespoon of each of almond flour, coconut flour, protein powder, some cocoa, cinnamon and coconut milk to mix.
7pm - 200g Fish/meat or chicken with more vegetables - cabbage/cauliflower/red pepper/tomatoes, or a Mexican salad with gaucamole
Once a week I usually have a cheat meal, but tend to always stay away from grains. I might have a glass or 2 of wine 1 day per week.
I also drink lots of water and about 3 green teas per day.
Does it look like Im eating too much, enough or not enough? Ive always listened to my body and eat when Im hungry, but Im cautious of being an excessive snacker on carbs in the last and gaining weight, so Im paranoid this will happen again!
FYI - Im a 29 year old woman and my body fat is around 17% but Im aiming to get to around 13%.
Thanks for your help!
Cut the whey protein, it's insulogenic, which means it's a signal to store glucose as fat. Eat meat instead. If you want something portable, bring beef jerky with you, or better yet pemmican.
If you're doing crossfit, you'll need a lot of calories. If you're eating too little your body will get highly adapted to keeping whatever it can.
Switch some of the chicken away for grassfed beef or bison or fish. That won't affect weight loss much by itself, but chicken is high in n6 PUFAs, but the grassfed beef or bison is high in CLA which helps with some fat loss.
You might be loosing more weight than you think, but gaining muscle, which won't show up on a scale. Get a fat loss scale instead, one that measures percentage of body fat, muscle, hydration and bone - but note that these things can be off by as much as 10-20%.
Also fat does weird things, it gets less dense and filled with water, so it holds the same space and weight for a long time, then almost overnight it just vanishes and you show 3-4lbs loss on a scale.
See this thread (especially the first answer). Getting to 13% bodyfat (a very, very low BF for a woman) is not something you'll likely do simply by eating paleo.
My suggestion is to stop worrying about your weight, eat enough to avoid hunger, and reduce your bodyfat % by increasing your lean body mass. See SuppVersity's recommendations for Anorexic Dad, Stanley Smith. Or check out Martin Berkhan's Leangains.
A side effect of exercise is hunger.
IMO, CrossFit 4-5 times a week is excessive. Check out the book "Body by Science" - they recommend one high-intensity workout per week. Recovery time is critical to muscle growth.
How about playing more often, instead of exercising per se? Indoor climbing is fun, for example.
Please consider whether 13% is really an appropriate goal from a long-term health perspective - that's lower than the body fat percentage of most female athletes. 17% is well within an appropriate body fat range for athletic females.
This is especially true if you have any possible intention of reproducing within the next few years.
I've noticed when people eat lots of protein, they get hungry a few hours after their last meal and I've blamed it on not being keto-adapted. Being keto-adapted is the best appetite suppressant I know of. And it helps you lose weight rapidly.
To become keto-adapted, you have to be able to quickly switch from sugar burn to fat burn. Right now, with your regular protein ingestion, you always have the ability to easily convert those amino acids into sugar. So you are still a sugar burner. Being primarily a sugar burner also slows weight loss.
Personally, I noticed that when I cut my carbs to less than 50 and went for 7-9 or even 10 hours between meals, I could feel when I was switching over to ketones and the fat just melted away. BTW, I rarely do any kind of intense exercise. Plus I'm old. And my mom and sister are overweight so I don't have any sort of super genetic endowment.
Below is a graph I posted with a blog I did to explain why carbs make us hungry and can contribute to fatigue especially on a low-nutrient diet. Absent the adrenal fatigue issue, the graph may apply to anyone consuming lots of protein because by doing so you are offering your body the opportunity to continue to burn sugar rather than fat for energy. Whether or not your body will do so probably depends in part on where you are in your hormone cycle, how much sleep you get, and other factors including congenitally preset genetic switches.
1) 4-5x per week crossfit (=sustained glycolitic activity) = carbohydrate above baseline (100g) NECESSARY if you do not want to run into endocrine problems... so if you insist on going "paleo" instead of just "eating reasonable and healthy" you add in some tubers with your first meal post workout to get up into the "at least 150-200g of carbs per day zone"
2) drinking a ton of liquid I just hope that you do not restrict salt, if you do, do not wonder that you feel like a wreck... (no carbs = already difficult to retain salt, heavy training = salt lass, tons of water = salt loss < no salt = blood sugar problems and "adrenal fatigue" rofl I love this term)
3) you eat a high protein, low fat almost no carb diet. that is not sustainable for someone with a decent degree of leanness. If you want low carbs, you need high fat moderate protein,... if you increase your carbs you still have to add some fat... where do you think your body is going to get its energy from? Not only is it (in the long run not possible) to run on protein alone (as an energy source) the gluconeogenic mashinery is fired by cortisol and cortisol + glucneogensis + low energy diet = muscle loss + fat gain
Women are NOT supposed to have 13% body fat -- you will become ill. Stop worrying about body fat percentage and just eat healthy. If you have body image disorder get help from a qualified professional.
Yeah, I would 3rd the call for more saturated fats. Personally Nicole I disagree with you when you suggest that your calories are "50% fats" at the moment, from a few bits of chicken skin and a teaspoon or two of ghee. You are eating large amounts of protein which is not an ideal long term fuel.
I think in order for you to feel healthier and less hungry, I would add in more butter, animal fat, coconut oil etc - saturated rather than polyunsaturated all the time from the chicken. But as others have mentioned, you are already lean, so no tweaks that remain within normal healthy limits are going to give you the arguably unhealthy results that it seems you may be after...
Could you be putting on muscle? Do you look and feel like you are getting thinner? Are you feeling healthier? If so, I would not worry too much about what the scales say.
Actually, 1lb/week sounds like a good rate of fat loss, if kept up steadily. You can lose a lot of water weight quickly in the first few days, but after that, fat has to be burned and this takes a little more time.
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