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Nutrition Diet, supplements, weightloss, health & longevity

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Old 02-09-2005, 11:45 AM   #1
Mike Ryan
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Hi Everyone,

I have been following the discussions on this site for about two months and working into the WOD’s over the past month and I really enjoy both. I am somewhat of an information addict when it comes to exercise and nutrition and I have read countless views and tried more “programs” than I care to admit. I am hoping that Crossfit will succeed for me where others have failed. I like the concepts presented here about functionality and believe that this is really what I have been looking for all along.

My question has likely been asked many times, but I will ask for your advice anyway. First, some background info…I am 6’ and 280 lbs with 26% body fat (calculated using girth measurements, calipers, and body fat scale). Many of the theories I have subscribed to in the past suggest that based on my lean body mass of 207 lbs, I should consume about 2800 or more calories per day. This translates to 30 blocks of protein using the 40/30/30 zone guidelines. For reference, here is a web page that lists several ways to calculate caloric needs, with scaling for activity level.

http://www.fitren.com/res3art.cfm?compid=18&artid=46

Additionally, Dr. Sears web site suggests that I should consume 21-24 blocks of protein per day depending on activity level. This would be about 1960 - 2240 calories per day.

http://www.drsears.com/drsearspages/bodyfatcalmale.jsp

I notice that most individuals here eat at most 19 blocks of protein per day. For the past month, I have been eating three 4-block meals and two 2-block snacks (1456 cal / day) almost eliminating bread, pasta, rice and potato. I have found that I am generally tired and have little energy. I have also felt this way in the past when eating more calories, although it was balanced 50/30/20. I have also not noticed significant changes in body composition.

The question is; am I eating too little? If so, how should I balance my calories with the zone parameters and the demands of the WOD? Coach’s comment about “commitment spawns success” is right on the mark. I have committed to succeed; I just want to ensure that I have committed to the right methods on the diet side of the equation.

Thanks, Mike.
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Old 02-09-2005, 09:53 PM   #2
Robert Wolf
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Mike,

The base Zone will certainly be a caloric restricted endeavor for you. The thing Sears does not make clear in his books is that once you have dropped to below 10% body fat, which will happen remarkably quickly, you need to ratchet up the fat blocks significantly.

I think some of our larger athletes like Matt G run around 4000 calories on this Athletes Zone. This is still a bit less than might be expected, but like Coach has said, we are ok with the thermodynamic efficiency considering the health benefits of mild caloric restriction.

Robb
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:49 AM   #3
Mike Ryan
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Thanks for the reply Robb. I think I get the fat increase below 10% BF...The lean body mass requires a certain amount of protein to maintain itself, carbs go with protein and fat is used to reach the overall caloric requirements of the body?? This requires or leads to the body burning fat for energy versus burning carbohydrate.
I also understand the energy balance between calories consumed and calories burned, but I also know that this is not a simple as it appears because of the metabolism variable. I am not at all opposed to caloric restriction, but I don't want to go too low for my lean body mass and slow my metabolism to the point where it is detrimental to reducing body fat.

Based on this rationale, should I try the 21-24 blocks per day with no extra fat or is that too much to reduce body fat? I guess I am paranoid about getting it right so that I don't get discouraged by lack of results. Been there done that (too many times)

Mike.
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:52 AM   #4
Seth Drown
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Man, this is an extremely tricky issue that I have never seen anyone adequately address, though John Berardi tries really hard. I really wish I could find a reliable formula, but I doubt any formula can possibly take into account things like indvidual metabolism. Therefore, individual experimentation is key.

Another problem is that much fitness advice is written by people who have never had high bodyfat levels (Has John Berardi ever *not* seen his abs?), so it's hard to be sure that their advice will work for people who gain fat easily and are probably insulin resistant (myself included).

1456 cals/day sounds really low, though I think the good macronutrient ration of the zone will help counteract some of the harmful effects of extreme dieting. What concerns me is that you say you've been doing this for a month, but you havent' seen any changes *and* you feel weak and tired. That's a bad sign. Though it could be that you are still adapting to the diet, it could also mean that you've gone too extreme. If you can keep it up for another 2-4 weeks and you still haven't seen any changes and are still feeling bad, I think you may need to make some changes.

Of course, all of this assumes that you are in fact eating around 1456 cals every day and getting some exercise. You need to be sure about the former. It's very easy to deceive ourselves. Keep a food log.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is that your weight hasn't changed at all, so at least you aren't losing muscle. Try taking waist measurements as well. Honestly, you can't go much lower in calories, so increasing your exercise is about the only option remaining. Just do it gradually.

I say "about" your only option because there is still the option of adjusting macronutrient ratios, which Robb says not to do until you reach 10% bodyfat. But if you increase activity levels, and you still haven't made any gains in another month, I would certainly consider it.

Best of luck and keep us posted,
Seth



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Old 02-10-2005, 02:02 PM   #5
Mike Ryan
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Seth,

I actually had my BMR measured at a gym I was using a few years ago. They use a device called an indirect calorimeter that you breathe into. The company that makes it is

http://www.healthetech.com/

If this measurement is accurate, you can calculate your daily caloric requirements using their software. When I did the test, it correlated very well with the Katch-McArdle formula formula based on lean body mass. Of course, the LBM measurement has to be accurate too.

As for recording what you eat, I am right with you there. It is very easy in the beginning to miss a lot unless you write it down. I have been at this for a long time and I don't record what I eat any more. Perhaps I should get back to it. I still weigh almost everything though and am pretty confident about my intake. I will try tinkering with the number of zone blocks I eat and see where it gets me.

Thanks, Mike.
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Old 02-10-2005, 03:06 PM   #6
Seth Drown
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Mike,
That's an interesting link. I hadn't heard of that. Thanks for the info.

I find the easiest way to avoid keeping a food log is to eat exactly the same thing every day. Boring, but it works!

Seth
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Old 02-10-2005, 06:23 PM   #7
Marina Volpicelli
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I have gotten my BMR tested too, and a good thing since its MUCH lower than it should be given my weight and LBM. I am a 5'6 female, weighing 165, and with a BF of 25% (from a DEXA scan, pretty accurate) and my BMR was only 1350. It doesn't quite explain the weight gain I have been dealing with in the past year (30lbs), since I eat around 1800 and am very active (running 30-40mpw, xc skiing, ice hockey, a few WOD a week) but I definitely burn less 'being' than I thought, probably because I restricted calories too much last year. So I would be careful of going too low.

I used to maintain 150lbs on 2200 a day, then lost to 135 eating 1500 or so, but was a bit too thin, so ate a bit more, 1800, but then gained to 165 eating that, while marathon training. I probably should have dropped back down to 1500 when I saw what was happening, but I thought my metabolism might recover, and I could go back to 1800 meaning weight loss, not gain. But it didn't happen.

I want to try this CF-zone-diet, since I am hoping it will help my metabolism, but I am also wary of restricting too much, given what its done to me already. I already eat this style (all whole foods) but I am just now trying to get the macronutrients right. I was doing it before with a more runner-style macro - 60C-15P-25F or so. I am surprised that change would make such a big difference, but so many of you seem to do well on a low intake with the added protein. It is similar to what a lot of bodybuilders do as well, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised!
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Old 02-11-2005, 06:24 AM   #8
Larry Lindenman
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I was just talking to a friend about this. He is a cop and runs almost every day. He commented he saw a female fly past him, but she was overweight. My comment was that it had nothing to do with her exercise capacity, but was all diet. Females, more than males, fall for the "Grapefruit diet, lose 20 lbs in a week" stuff; usually found in Woman's World or some other great nutrition source. Most men just don't give a crap and eat anything they want, so I'm not women bashing! As a result of these very low calorie, low protein diets some women screw their metabolism and start chasing weight loss. They gain weight and severly restrict calories, lose weight, gain back more, and then severly restrict again.

I would recommend following the Zone diet too the letter. Protein needs a lot more energy to digest than simple carbs and a calorie is not a calorie. Do not count calories. Do not make weight or body fat goals. Make action goals:

1. By friday I will empty all junk food from my kitchen.

2. I will cook and refridge all of my lean protein on Sunday's

3. I will eat 5 zone meals a day, every day.

4. I will complete the WOD every day.

etc.

Focus on the proper actions and results will follow.
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:59 AM   #9
Mike Ryan
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I could lose weight just by throwing away the countless containers of ice cream in the freezer... My wife would cut off body parts as soon as her "friend" comes to town mext month and she finds it missing.

Mike.
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:59 AM   #10
Marina Volpicelli
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It is true that every women's magazine has a variation on a 1200-1500 calorie diet to try. I didn't do that, I just cut out junk food and ate more veggies, but I've never been a big meat eater so I never ate a lot of protein. I am trying that now (good thing I love fish!) I already eat all whole foods and due to being a celiac most processed things are off-limits anyway. I think my action goals are similar though, focusing more on lean protein (which for me will be eggs and fish) try to do more WOD's (limited due to equipment, but trying) but I actually prefer six meals a day, if that isn't an issue with the Zone? It seems based on my lean body mass I should be doing 14 blocks a day, do I have that figured right? (LBM = 20lbs)
If one is very active outside of the WOD (I play ice hockey, run six days a week, and xc ski on the weekends) should one do more than what the LBM allows?

Sorry, for hijacking the thread . . . . As an control engineer, I find it immensely frustrating that I have been able to increase my fitness so well but not my body composition (at least in the long-term) I am always looking for that missing variable that seems to screw everything up :-) This is the first site I have found where it looks like people have really found something that works, and works for a variety of body types.
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