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Big boy needs advice on weight loss, weight training, and Diet

Old 07-16-12, 08:57 PM
  #1  
heavyp
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Big boy needs advice on weight loss, weight training, and Diet

Folks, I got fat over the last few years due to various factors. I became over weight, out of shape, and very weak.

I started cycling again and made a lot of gains with endurance and speed. I also weight train because I enjoy it and I feel it makes cycling more enjoyable (lots of core work). I have made some good gains with the strength training as well.

I am struggling with the weight loss piece of the puzzle. Over 4 months, i only lost about 6 pounds. I am 242 now but really should be 200!

I lift weight 2-3x a week intensely for 1-1.5 hrs. I cycle once a week for 40 miles. And i swim once a week for and 1hr.

All of this activity makes me insanely hungry at times and i have trouble controlling my food intake. To lose weight, i try to eat at a 1000 calorie deficit a day...but this usually makes me feel ill, especially after hard lifting days. I then end up food binging

Should i just allow myself to eatmore to keep up the exercise, or maybe i should cut the intensity of the exercise to better control the eating...or should i just htfu and starve and be cranky all the time?
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Old 07-16-12, 08:59 PM
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Oh...my goals are to be healthy, feel good and look good.

I am not trying to win the TdF or a gold medal in power lifting. I am just a regular joe.
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Old 07-16-12, 09:05 PM
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1000 cal/day deficit is a lot. No wonder you are hungry. I find that 500 cal/day is about as much as I can cope with. That's 1 lb/week. Yes it's slow.

Try changing when you eat in order to deal with hunger rather than eating more. Eating smaller meals more frequently keeps me from getting hungry as much when I am trying to lose weight.

40 miles a week is not much. You'll get better quicker if you ride more. Weight lifting and swimming won't make you a better cyclist, although they can be enjoyable on their own. Weight lifting as practiced by a lot of guys in my gym doesn't burn a lot of calories... too much rest between sets, and too much talking.
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Old 07-16-12, 09:21 PM
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Kudo's to you for trying to get healthier. You've made a start. All diets and starving yourself are bogus, that just makes you hungrier and craving. If I was you would try to cycle another time during the week, maybe just 10 or 20 miles. Can you walk during your lunch break?
Eating healthy low carb diet, high fiber foods, and lean meat, works for me. I've lost 12 pounds this summer.
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Old 07-16-12, 10:27 PM
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I think you need to increase the amount of aerobic activity that you do. Just my two cents.
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Old 07-17-12, 05:17 AM
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What does your daily diet look like?

How often are you binging?

What do you eat when you binge?
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Old 07-17-12, 06:25 AM
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First, find out if you have problems metabolizing sugar. If you do, the traditional advice to eat a high carb, low fat (HCLF) diet are probably exactly the wrong thing for you. You can easily test yourself for around $20, by buying a glucose monitor with some included test strips at your drugstore. On a typical day, measure your fasting glucose. Then eat a breakfast that has a fair amount of carbs, e.g. oatmeal with fruit. Test yourself at 1 hour and then at 2 hours. If your glucose levels top 140 at any point, then it's an indication that you may have a problem with too many carbs in your diet.

This is not the case with everyone, but it is the case with a significant percentage of the population, and an even bigger portion of overweight and obese people. If you fall into this group, eating the traditional HCLF diet will probably be a never ending exercise in futility. There are tons of books on low carb, high fat diets, but this is one of the best I've read. The last 40 years of HCLF nutrition information has been a huge experiment, largely supported by poor science. If you're interested in a detailed history of how we came to this point, here's a good video on the subject.

I also agree that a 1,000 calorie a day deficit is very high. Especially if you are doing 4 to 6 hours of strength training per week, you risk using your muscles as a source of fuel. It took you years to put on the weight; you have to live with the fact that it will take you years to take it off. Moreover, you can't sustain that sort of deficit for very long. The key to "diet" is transforming the way you eat from a short term "fix" to a lifelong way of eating.

With that in mind, you have to remember that expecially if you have problems metabolizing carbs, it's no longer a simple "calories in-calories out" measurement. The sugar that your body can't metabolize will be stored as fat, and the sugar "highs", followed by the "lows" will cause you to be hungrier all the time.

You have to do your own research. There's lots and lots of crap out there (and I freely admit that HCLF advocates consider my opinion crap). There's also a huge financial incentive for our current USDA policies, which have enriched the coffers of Cargill, ConAgra, PepsiCo, and the rest of the agribusiness giants.

Good luck and congratulations on taking the first steps!
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Old 07-17-12, 07:20 AM
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If you have a smartphone, download the My Fitness Pal app. It is very good and has helped DH & I a LOT in the last year. You really will benefit from keep a food journal (My Fitness Pal qualifies), and it is easy to use.
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Old 07-17-12, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by heavyp View Post
Folks, I got fat over the last few years due to various factors. I became over weight, out of shape, and very weak.

I started cycling again and made a lot of gains with endurance and speed. I also weight train because I enjoy it and I feel it makes cycling more enjoyable (lots of core work). I have made some good gains with the strength training as well.

I am struggling with the weight loss piece of the puzzle. Over 4 months, i only lost about 6 pounds. I am 242 now but really should be 200!

I lift weight 2-3x a week intensely for 1-1.5 hrs. I cycle once a week for 40 miles. And i swim once a week for and 1hr.

All of this activity makes me insanely hungry at times and i have trouble controlling my food intake. To lose weight, i try to eat at a 1000 calorie deficit a day...but this usually makes me feel ill, especially after hard lifting days. I then end up food binging

Should i just allow myself to eatmore to keep up the exercise, or maybe i should cut the intensity of the exercise to better control the eating...or should i just htfu and starve and be cranky all the time?

Try to do some more aerobic/cardiovascular exercise during the week. I know its hard, but it should (hopefully) make your loss more pronounced. I second what people have said about figuring out what keeps you fuller, longer. Calories are important to be aware of, but simply reducing caloric intake without evaluating the nutritional value of your food is a waste of time. Get the most value out of each thing you eat! I journal to keep my eating in check--with a history of eating disorders, I need a record and some sort of accountability not to slip back into old habits (obesity and overeating is now technically defined as an eating disorder, on par with anorexia and bulimia).

Also, sometimes the most significant leaps forward in your health won't be noticeable on a scale, but rather in your pant size, your endurance, and your doctor's visits. Your body fat percentage should be dropping, along with your blood pressure and other important measures. Losing inches can often be more rewarding than losing pounds.

My mother is celebrating her second year of weight loss: she lost 130lbs and has kept going through exercise and diet. It has changed her life. We exercise together now, and it is amazing. Her actual pound loss has slowed, but her pant size keeps dropping and she can walk more miles each week.

I hope you find the support you are looking for here, any questions or concerns feel free to PM me.
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Old 07-17-12, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by heavyp View Post
I lift weight 2-3x a week intensely for 1-1.5 hrs. I cycle once a week for 40 miles. And i swim once a week for and 1hr.
Once a week for 40 miles... meh. Try to get on the bike and ride at least 10-15 miles every day that you're not doing other workouts.

Don't eat food, drink water. You've already got enough food. Leave some for the rest of us. (Don't worry, I have the same problem.)
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-17-12, 08:01 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by vic303 View Post
If you have a smartphone, download the My Fitness Pal app. It is very good and has helped DH & I a LOT in the last year. You really will benefit from keep a food journal (My Fitness Pal qualifies), and it is easy to use.
Another plug for My Fitness Pal. The food journal in My Fitness Pal helped me (1) realize how many calories I was consuming and (2) become more conscious of the nutrition content of those calories. I had plateaued after losing about 16 pounds, but I'm now back to losing 1-2 pounds a week based on a better balance of eating and exercising.
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Old 07-17-12, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
1000 cal/day deficit is a lot. No wonder you are hungry. I find that 500 cal/day is about as much as I can cope with. That's 1 lb/week. Yes it's slow.

Try changing when you eat in order to deal with hunger rather than eating more. Eating smaller meals more frequently keeps me from getting hungry as much when I am trying to lose weight.

40 miles a week is not much. You'll get better quicker if you ride more. Weight lifting and swimming won't make you a better cyclist, although they can be enjoyable on their own. Weight lifting as practiced by a lot of guys in my gym doesn't burn a lot of calories... too much rest between sets, and too much talking.
I echo that. The best way to do this is to work with a trainer so that you'll be able to get counsel on not only the strength training but also on the nutrition part. On the days you work out, you definitely shouldn't be giving yourself a 1,000 calorie deficit because that will cause you to lose muscle, not gain it. If anything, you should be having a recovery shake right after you work out.

I've been doing strength training for about 18 months and can tell you that you'll be exhausted after a hard workout if you don't refuel properly after. Add to that, you won't be gaining the benefits you should. You do want to be concerned about what you eat, but you need a diet that fits what you're trying to achieve.
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Old 07-17-12, 09:17 AM
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I also enjoy lifting. I wear a heart rate monitor and start the next set as soon as my heart rate drops to 100. If I'm out of shape, I'll make that 110, because it takes too long to reach 100. That saves time and makes the workout somewhat aerobic. I make sure I've eaten something 2-3 hours before a workout, either bike or weights, and then have some sort of carb/protein recovery drink immediately after. I sip a sports drink during the workout so my blood sugar doesn't drop out. I never allow myself to get starving hungry. I like to workout right after work, before dinner.
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Old 07-17-12, 10:12 AM
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Honestly it sounds like you are overdoing it. Heavy lifting, lots of cardio, and a HUGE calorie deficit. Pick only two.
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Old 07-17-12, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
Honestly it sounds like you are overdoing it. Heavy lifting, lots of cardio, and a HUGE calorie deficit. Pick only two.
+1
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Old 07-17-12, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by heavyp View Post
I started cycling again and made a lot of gains with endurance and speed. I also weight train because I enjoy it and I feel it makes cycling more enjoyable (lots of core work). I have made some good gains with the strength training as well.
Dropping 40-60lbs will make cycling more enjoyable. I would ease off or eliminate the weight training for a while and start riding every day. Try and burn at least 1000 Cals/day cycling and use that to create your caloric deficit. Also, as others have mentioned, carefully track everything you eat. This will help you maintain the deficit and will provide some additional motivation when you are looking at an extra portion.
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Old 07-17-12, 07:36 PM
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Folks, thank you everyone for your time and thoughts, I am genuimely encouraged.

Yes, i got myfitnesspal on the droid and it works great.
I will try to increase the cardio a bit...thanks to those for pointing out my routine may he a bit unbalanced.

Finally, I will make sure i dont eat junk and that everything i eat is of high value.
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Old 07-20-12, 09:43 PM
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Another thought. If you're covered by health insurance from work, they will more than likely approve you to see a nutritionist (you may need a doctor's referral). I didn't do much research but thought that I was eating correctly. I found out that much of what I thought was good for me wasn't. The nutritionist suggested a diet, actually got me eating smaller portions but more meals per day and suggested myfitnesspal.com (as stated above, an excellent tool).

It's only been a few weeks but I feel great and my clothes are fitting much better. I refuse to weigh myself until my next appointment but I'm confident that the numbers will be very positive.
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Old 07-21-12, 11:19 PM
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i have six days set aside that i eat healthy. and one day set aside usually saturdays where i have a cheat day so its all burritos, Chinese food, ice cream stuff like that. if i do get say pizza i reduce the amount of sauce that goes on it. Chinese on it i ask for the sauce on the side so during the cheat day its still reduced but, still good. during the week i take in alot of carbs, raw vegetables, fruit, nuts stuff like that. i also eat alot of fish but in 12 to 16oz servings but, i do ride alot of that off too. any pork or beef is the same way. i also eat pasta and rice but i eat around a cup serving size. i hope i was of some help to you and its awesome that you have a goal and are going through with it so good job man
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Old 07-22-12, 10:35 AM
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Despite what TV "reality" shows would have you believe, exercising like a madman while maintaining a huge caloric deficit is very counterproductive. Focus on improving the quality of what you eat and a well designed program of resistance training (builds muscle which in turn burns calories), cardiovascular exercise (improves heart, lung and other body functions as well as burning calories), and rest (this is where all the real improvement actually takes place). Rest/sleep is every bit as important as resistance and cardiovascular exercise. Overtraining is defined as placing stress on the body that exceeds its capacity to recover, it will tear you down rather than build you up.

On the nutrition side, stop thinking of food as the enemy and start thinking of it as fuel and raw material for growth. To lose excess fat (notice I said fat, not weight) you do need a caloric deficit, but a 500-750 calorie deficit 5 days a week is more reasonable. On two days a week (preferably not consecutive) plan your heaviest workouts such as your long ride or other intense training and shoot for a caloric neutral. These are growth days but don't confuse them with the "bulk and cut" of outdated bodybuilding methodology. Your goal is to fuel and intense workout without bonking, not to bulk up. Never, ever say "DIET" but rather make permanent changes to your nutritional habits that include portion control to maintain ideal body composition. By the same token, there is no such thing as a "cheat meal" or a "cheat day", anything you eat has positives and negatives and must be taken into context with the overall nutrition plan. If you have a piece of chocolate cake at your kid's birthday party, consider it to be a portion of your fat and simple carbohydrates for the day and adjust accordingly rather than flagellate yourself for "screwing up" and making drastic changes trying to undo the deed.
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Old 07-22-12, 11:42 AM
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Congrats on the decision to get in shape and drop lbs. Don't kid yourself, healthy and sustained weight-loss will take: Time, Discipline, Hard work and to back off on the eating.

1) Try to not run more than a 250-350 cal deficit per day, going beyond this will make you weak, increase risk to get sick and you'll be hungry.
2) Start riding more, aim for 2-3x per week and at least 15-20 miles per time. Try to mix it up with jogging or long walks 1-2 x per week (aim for 1hr each).
3) For food: drop any sugared drinks (make water the only fluid you drink), drop all fried foods (no more fries or deep fried chicken) and be honest with your calorie counts. Up your fruit and nut intake and drop the sweets. As for your 20 mile rides, water is all you need (energy bars etc. only really needed for >50+ mile rides)

If you follow above, you will see a profound effect after 2-4 months. Good luck!
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Old 08-22-12, 01:50 PM
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cut your weight training down to 40 minutes twice a week. add walking or running.
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Old 08-23-12, 06:40 AM
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You've already done it, but just wanted to add my voice to the My Fitness Pal app. Food journaling makes a huge impact when you have to account for what you eat. Something that has worked for me that not everyone can do - I plan a nutritious, balanced meal for breakfast (1 egg, 45g egg whites, 1/2 oz cheese, red onion slices, sliced tomatoes (300g or so) and a piece of fruit) and lunch (50g quick oats, 20g raisins, 20g dried cranberries, apple, cinnamon to taste) and eat that same meal Monday thru Friday. I've been eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch for years. Knowing that I don't have to plan what i'm going to have and knowing that what I am having is within my calorie budget makes my life easier and I don't obsess about food. I also have a morning snack (plain, ff greek yogurt and piece of fruit) and an afternoon snack (either cut up veggies or piece of fruit). Weekends I usually am going to a long run or ride in the mornings so I'll have toast with a nut butter and honey and a banana.

Also, weigh everything on a food scale. Don't trust measuring spoons and measuring cups. Get a good quality digital food scale and use it diligently. I like my Oxo brand but I'm sure there are many good ones.

I second the opinion on seeing a nutritionist/registered dietitian as well. You can find one through your local hospital and many times insurance will cover the visits. If insurance doesn't cover it, the consultation shouldn't be that expensive and you only need a few visits. My RD also has a really cool scale that makes the visit worth while - its a Tanita body analysis scale, it sends an electrical impulse through your body and gives a readout of your body weight broken down into muscle, fat, water and bone - and as close an estimate of your BMR (basal metabolic rate, what you burn if you lay in bed all day) as possible without a really complicated analysis (or autopsy - in which case your BMR is 0! ha)

I've had a bit of experience in this area as well - when I started this journey many years ago I was 300 or so pounds, today I'm right around half that. I applaud your efforts and encourage you to take it slow and steady, make lifestyle, life time changes that you can easily stick with for the long term.
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Old 08-23-12, 08:24 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by heavyp View Post

All of this activity makes me insanely hungry at times and i have trouble controlling my food intake. To lose weight, i try to eat at a 1000 calorie deficit a day...but this usually makes me feel ill, especially after hard lifting days. I then end up food binging

If your calorie deficit is 1000 on a normal day, then on a heavy lifting day it's way more than that! It seems like that would be hard for the body to take and would drive you to binge. I agree with the people above that the calorie deficit is too ambitious.

Other people have suggested reducing weight training- that might be ok, but I know for me, I really like lifting, so I'm a lot more motivated to do it than running or cardio. So it's also good to consider what you'll be able to keep up in the long run.

I also lift in a way that is for overall fitness and strengh, not for body building. So I do supersets and lots of compound movements, sweat a lot and get out of breath.
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Old 08-23-12, 11:33 AM
  #25  
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OP,

How do you know that your eating at a 1000 calorie deficit every day? How are you coming up with the numbers?
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