On 6/17/2014 I woke up and weighed… 156 lbs, that is my lowest weight since my junior year in HIGH SCHOOL when I weighed 155 lbs!!
I was diagnosed with diabetes 2/15/09, my highest recorded weight was 235 lbs in February 2008. I believe I weighed more than that before being diagnosed with diabetes in Feb 2009. Why ? Because I kept doing all the things I’d done to reach the 235 lb … I kept eating high carb, highly processed foods while remaining sedentary. I was so sedentary… I grew roots. :)
After my diabetes diagnosis my weight continued to decrease as I cranked the carbs lower and lower… and removed more of the inflammatory foods like grains, breads, milk, legumes and fiber rich cereals. (all of which are high carb as well)
In October 2009 I reached a new post high school low … 157.5 lbs. (See picture below)
I had accomplished my goal… I had become a lean and mean machine… once again. :)
But back then I didn’t want to be a 150 lb ‘fit guy’ … so I began to eat and drink more. I only consumed ‘low carb primal’ foods but when I gained weight I gained more fat than I wanted to. I’m sure I have gained muscle too due to my exercise.
For the next five years my weight typically remained in the mid 160 to mid 170 range.
In September of last year I weighed 161 lbs. Then I injured my shoulder and for about three months I did very little exercise except walking and occasional jogging and a little bike riding.
Add to that increased dairy (cream) consumption with increased alcohol consumption during the holidays … and that is a recipe for weight gain for me.
My weight gradually increased until January 9th when I woke up to 169.4 lbs … I didn’t want to creep back up so I decided to do what I know works for me… I went on a 30 day “Meats and Leafy Green Veggie Challenge“. I lost 8 to 9 lbs in those 30 days. I’ve been in a 159-164 lb range since March…until recently when I began sinking to the 156 lb level.
How did I lose weight exercising intensely almost everyday and NEVER going hungry??? … I’ll tell ya. :)
How to Lose Weight
For me… it’s very simple. Everything I will talk about will be in this framework, my meal plan.
1) Cut the carbs: I am typically in the 10-15 grams per day range … and not only do I lose weight, I THRIVE! :)
2) Cut the protein as well: Having said that many people do not get enough.
Most sources I read suggest .36 to 1. g of protein per body weight is acceptable. Based on this article by Mark Sisson, “How Much Protein Should You Be Eating“, .36 grams of protein per body weight pounds is acceptable for the sedentary and .8 grams of protein per pound is acceptable for ‘active’ people. He lists sources suggesting .9 to 1.4 grams of protein for ‘athletes’.
We need protein so make sure you get enough.
3) Add the FAT: Good healthy fats from animals or coconut oil. No margarine or vegetable oils. While in fat burning mode I am typically in the 80-85% range of calories from fat. I don’t measure daily, but I’ll measure for a couple of days or a week, making sure that the meals and frequency of those meals are typical for the ratio of fats, carbs and protein that I may be experimenting with.
I usually use MyFitnessPal or FitDay.com for measuring and recording.
4) Exercise Daily if Possible: For some exercising may be walking to the mail box, for others it may be going to the gym and lifting heavy. The key is to do what you can do comfortably today… and increasing the intensity when you can.
I try to lift heavy (3) days a week. Other days I ride my bicycle, run sprints at the park or perform various bodyweight and intense exercises like push ups, squats or burpees. Here’s a link to a page with various exercises almost anyone can do. Just start out slow (comfortable) and increase intensity when you can. :)
Note: Only eat when hungry and do not gorge. Stop when sated and then repeat… only eating when hungry. :)
I told you how I would eat to lose weight… Next I’ll talk about why I gain weight.
Weight (FAT) Gain
Over the five years since going ‘low carb primal’ my weight would typically go up in the fall and winter but would drop in the spring and summer. My typical weight range was the mid 160’s to the mid 170’s. There are many possible seasonal reasons for this including increased activity due to better weather and increased Vitamin D3 etc, but to me… it all boils down to these listed below. I say that because I exercise intensely all year and I supplement more with D3 in the winter.
The main reasons I gain fat / weight. Dairy consumption and alcohol combined with a high fat meal plan.
1) Dairy Consumption: I stopped drinking milk (pasteurized or not) due to the carbs, but I still ate cheese and drank heavy cream.
- Cream: Heavy cream truly is ‘the nectar of the gods’!! :) When I drank heavy cream, I often drank a cup a day. I have drank a quart of heavy cream in three days several times and once I drank 1/2 a day… it was so good!!! LOL. :)I have a heavy cream addiction… once I start, it’s difficult for me to stop!!One cup of Heavy Cream is approximately 821 calories … that’s a lot of calories that were an addition to my food consumption.
I’m not against cream, if you can drink it and still lose or maintain the weight you want… enjoy! I will occasionally still drink cream but it’s been several months since I have. I don’t have a grass fed source locally and I am not buying the grocery store brands of heavy cream.
- Cheese: – I still eat cheese occasionally, a few ounces a day when I eat it. I buy cheese about once a month. For me, cheese is not addictive, I love it but if I choose to do so, I can stop at eating an ounce or two or three.
- Butter: Ah… butter. I do love thee. :) I have consumed butter daily for YEARS! And will continue to do so. I’ve eaten and drank butter in my coffee throughout my weight gains and weight losses. I do not see it having a major impact in either. I do occasionally eat a stick of butter (I love it!) but I usually just put a little in my coffee or cook with it.
2) Alcohol – I enjoy alcohol especially in social settings. Since January when I started my recent weight loss regimen I’ve drank alcohol 5-6 times, or about once a month. I believe it is even MORE important for those of us eating a high fat, low carb meal plan to curtail alcohol consumption if you are wanting to lose weight.
Why? When you consume alcohol, I’ve read the body will ‘burn’ it first, attempting to rid the body of the toxin.
Why is that important? Fat consumed, especially with alcohol (or near alcohol consumption) will be added to fat stores. Once the alcohol is burned or used, then the body will use fat stores once again.
This post with sources is an excellent read. “The truth about alcohol, fat loss and muscle“, by Martin of Leangains.com. The science seems solid and my personal experience has backed this up.
Summary and Weight Gain Muscle
I showed you how I lost weight… and how I gained fat … all within the ‘low carb primal’ meal plan.
So now what?
Just like my decision in the fall of 2009 when I reached 157.5 … I don’t want to be a 150 pound ‘fit guy’. So once again I will attempt to gain muscle. This time, I’m loaded with my own personal experiences and I will do things just a little different. I’ll tweak the same meal plan I’ve followed for 5 years.
I am going to increase the protein slightly in the range of 120-150 grams per day. I’ll cut back on the fat… slightly.
Why? Because eating a high fat diet, I really struggle getting enough protein. This will be a ‘tweaking’, I’ll eat a little more lean protein. I’ll eat more fish, chicken and leaner cuts of beef.
Wishing you and yours much peace, happiness and… normal blood sugars. :)
PS – A couple of follow up points.
a) I have been weaning off of potato starch for months now and I quit totally last week. I quit to see what effect it would have on my blood sugars.
b) I didn’t mention my blood sugars in this post … but they have been normal… of course. :)