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Fat loss plan. Is higher protein or higher carbs better?


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Okay, I need help please guys and gals!

 

For some reason, I am finding it incredibly hard to lose fat from my body right now, which is not typical for me.

 

Coming from a past where I had a problem with overeating, I had gone into a recovery program in 1999, became abstinent, lost two stone, and maintained my ideal weight (about 119 lbs) and some nice muscle tone for around 8 to 10 years...

 

After that, I "fell off the wagon" again for a few years after losing both my parents, and at the same time I developed Fibromyalgia, so almost inevitably I gained a stone and a half (21 pounds).

 

I then went vegan in 2012 for compassionate reasons and while I certainly have yo-yo'ed up and down whilst being vegan, I'd say neither the weight losses nor the weight gains were attributable to being vegan per say, but more the quantity and quality of the foods I was eating (ie. I know it's perfectly possible to be very healthy as a vegan, or to be a junk food vegan, and I was the latter!).

 

More recently, I have implemented many changes in my activity and diet, similar to the ones that I did when I previously got into recovery, but this time it's not working out like it did before - something's different and I don't know what!

 

I reduced my food intake and increased my exercise, and at first I started to lose some, then the weight loss stopped inexplicably, now after a further drop in food intake (too many snacks previously) the last couple of weeks I am not just "maintaining" but starting to gain weight again...

 

Unfortunately, even if there may be a little muscle gain underneath (which I doubt there is much of), I know this couldn't account for all the weight increase, because my body size and muscle tone are the same (I'm very soft and squashy in the middle and although technically only "average" in size, my tummy protrudes to such an extent that I have recently been asked when my baby is due)!

 

 

Also, although my doctor is checking my Thyroid again, I highly doubt this is the cause as I've had several Thyroid tests during this entire period, with them all returning as normal.

 

MY CURRENT STATS:

 

I am 5'3" (159.5 cms) and around 139 pounds, with an extra 7 inches currently around my middle and 4 inches around my hips, and apparently I am carrying 42% body fat! I'm a natural Endo-Meso, so my body can easily go muscular or "squidgy", but not super lean like an Ecto...

 

I tend to do a lot of aerobic stuff (walking or cross training mostly), as my general everyday life is quite active and my upper arms and shoulders are (usually) quite toned anyway, I don't lift presently as I don't know how to do it without almost immediately becoming very muscular/bulky especially around the shoulders and thighs (I'll revisit that once I've got rid of my muffin top and four boobs and reassess the underlying structure I'm left with), so I only need a diet that is reasonable for a "slightly more than averagely active" person I reckon...

 

My typical diet consists of the following:

 

- Breakfast: A large bowel of oats and raisins with rice milk OR two pieces of toast with cashew butter and sugar free raspberry jam, with a glass of rice milk or juice ETC...

- Two bagels with "not cream cheese", some pretzels or popcorn, and a fruit & nut bar OR two pitta with vegetable spread, a bunch of raisins and some tortilla chips ETC...

- A large plate of vegan spaghetti bolgnese, OR a bean burger, peas and either 1 large/2 medium/3 small baked potatoes, with peas, OR stir fried vegetables and rice noodles ETC...

- I also don't eat refined sugars/chocolate/smoke/drink/have caffeine etc. and at the moment I don't eat snacks.

 

I was told there is too much carbs and not enough protein in my diet, but as I'm not lifting atm, I thought this was okay?

 

Obviously I need to swap in some more vegetables and fruit I think, but the carbs and protein ratio is the thing I'm confused about.

 

Any thoughts on what's sensible for someone like myself? Also, in time, if I start to do some resistance/lifting, how would I know how much to increase my intake of protein/carbs?

Edited by Sarah O'Toole
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Hi!

 

You're diet seems quite high in carbs indeed.

I woulld not worry too much about the ratios.

Just get more veggies, fruits, and proteins, and go for unprocessed carbs, that should put you in the right direction.

 

Breakfast: smoothie with soy milk (higher in protein than rice milk), with some green veg, fruits, and nut butter.

Looks disgusting, tastes delicious!

 

Lunch and dinner, your plate can be:

- half fresh, colourful veggies

- quarter protein (chickpeas, tofu, etc)

- quarter carbs (brown rice)

And a tbsp olive oil or so.

 

Snacks: 1-2 per day if you want, fruits + nuts for instance.

 

Increase carbs a bit on the days you train, around your session but especially after as it helps progress and recovery.

 

Training wise:

I'm surprised you get very muscular when you lift, as I understand you're a woman ?

 

Check the intensity of your cardio, walking is great but doesn't burn much calories.

Look into getting into high intensity training, a couple of session a week once you got used to it.

It's said to be great to burn fat.

 

Just to give you an idea, I do 2 sessions weights, 2 session high intensity (circuit with low weight or cardio), 1 free low intensity cardio.

 

Hope that helps and good luck!

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You're diet seems quite high in carbs indeed.

I woulld not worry too much about the ratios.

Just get more veggies, fruits, and proteins, and go for unprocessed carbs, that should put you in the right direction.

 

Cool, I think that'll take the pressure off a lot - not having to worry about ratio so much as just the quality of food....

 

Breakfast: smoothie with soy milk (higher in protein than rice milk), with some green veg, fruits, and nut butter.

Looks disgusting, tastes delicious!

 

Lunch and dinner, your plate can be:

- half fresh, colourful veggies

- quarter protein (chickpeas, tofu, etc)

- quarter carbs (brown rice)

And a tbsp olive oil or so.

 

Snacks: 1-2 per day if you want, fruits + nuts for instance.

 

Increase carbs a bit on the days you train, around your session but especially after as it helps progress and recovery.

 

That seems easily do-able.

 

Training wise:

I'm surprised you get very muscular when you lift, as I understand you're a woman ?

 

It depends what you think I mean by "very muscular/bulky"... I don't necessarily mean like Robert for instance, but more like a similar size (esp in the shoulders and thighs) to Jehina Malik, without being as cut/as much definition. There was a time, after my first child (who's now 17 in a matter of weeks) where I used to lift/do weight resistance at the gym, and was only meaning to get tone and a bit of definition, and within a few weeks I ended up with seriously bulked up muscles - massive traps and thighs in particular! Apparently I was lifting the same weights as the men (and even more than some of them), but I honestly thought that was okay because it was just easy for me and I have to say I kind of liked the feeling of lifting them (it's the adrenalin surge and a kind of She-Ra; "I-am-invincible" sense, you know?), I just didn't like the appearance it gave me, because not only did I get bulky, but I didn't lose the ample bust and butt (not that I would have wanted to lose those) and it looked really mismatched imho... I know some women look really well like that, but it's just not for me iykwim? Like I said, I'm both Endo and Meso inclined... Anyway, I was told that for my body type and goals I should just be doing stuff like Yoga etc, but I find that boring...

 

Sometimes I wonder, if my body is somehow "meant" to be doing something more demanding than that as I usually want to do stuff like lifting heavy furniture around the house, jumping around and acting a fool with the kids, anything that means speed, jumping, or heavy lifting gets me excited (kinda anaerobic really when I think of it)... But I don't feel confident with how that stuff plays out on my figure... Even when I was a teenage girl and doing figure skating, I used to get bullied (yes, bullied) because my leg muscles were ridiculous! Maybe that's why I get self-conscious about it actually, hmmm...

 

One thought, I have at times in my life had high testosterone and low LH/FSH hormones (this has been looked into and no particular diagnosis has been made, just an offer of Oestrogen supps which I didn't want at all, so I've treated it with acupuncture, seed cycling and Evening Primrose at various points with varying degrees of success) so maybe that adds to it. Might be something to look into once I've got the body fat down.

 

Check the intensity of your cardio, walking is great but doesn't burn much calories.

Look into getting into high intensity training, a couple of session a week once you got used to it.

It's said to be great to burn fat.

 

Just to give you an idea, I do 2 sessions weights, 2 session high intensity (circuit with low weight or cardio), 1 free low intensity cardio.

 

Hope that helps and good luck!

 

Thanks, sounds more up my street... Although, to reassure you, I live in the most hilly place ever (okay maybe not the most hilly place ever but it's pretty hilly) so the walking does become very intense at points and in the past I have maintained a good weight and muscle tone with just walking... However, if the food changes combined with my current activities don't work, I'll look into a more structured plan.

 

Thanks so much!

 

Edited by Sarah O'Toole
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Glad I could help!

 

Wish I could get muscular as fast as you do ahah, I'm more the skinny runner type.

I'm crap with heavy weights and prefer low weight/high reps and circuit training.

All bodies are indeed different and so certain activities feel more 'natural' for some than others.

 

If you're goal is more to burn fat, maybe keep 1 easy weight session/week (or a circuit of exercices) to keep some tone and strength, and give priority to cardio training. Make sure you mix up intensity, activities, length etc to keep you motivated and interested.

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Sorry if I sounded like my head is up my arse. Now that I've read it back, somehow what I wrote about my body reads a bit conceited. That was not what I was meaning by it.

 

One question, once I've lost the fat I want to, should I adapt my diet to maintain my weight, or is the suggested guideline you gave more of a general healthy eating ideal which would prompt my body to "right-size" itself and then stabilise afterwards?

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Your post did not sound conceited I think

 

Anyway it's up to you to tweak your diet depending on the results you see and how you feel.

Take what I posted as ideas and suggestions, rather than a guideline.

It's hard to gain fat when eating plenty of vegs and fresh unprocessed food, so you can just keep on doing that to stay at the desired weight. You can also get more carbs and a bit of 'naughty' food if you feel weak or want some, then see how your body reacts.

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Ooooooooh... I just had a revealing conversation... After making an effort to make a really nice, balanced, nutritious dinner; my husband said during our meal (as I was shovelling the last mouthfuls into my gob); "sorry darlin', I can't finish this - there's too much for me" (he really liked it but the portion was too big)!

 

So evidently, I haven't reduced the amounts by quite as much as I ought to! LOL...

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