“I need to eats lots of meat, right?”
When Sharon and I are asked what kind of diet we follow, and we explain that we are on a low carb diet along the lines of the Paleo way of eating, that is the general statement we get. Along those lines, when I read about low carb studies cited in publications, they all have people eat more meat or other such protein sources to replace the carbs people take out of the diet.
In other words, replace carbs with protein.
That is not what we mean. Yes, there are some meals that need to be replaced with higher protein counterparts, such as breakfast and snacks. For example, most people will eat things like hot cereal, granola, or pancakes for breakfast, and yes, these meals are very high in carbohydrates and need to be replaced with higher protein and good fat items such as eggs, vegetables, and avocados. Snacks typically are just as bad. Chips, fruit, candy, and sodas are common. The better options are nuts, cheese, jerky, and the like. Just making these changes will go a long way to better health and fat loss.
As for lunch and dinner, we recommend that you cut out the carbohydrates such as bread, rice, or pasta, but we do not recommend you increase your portion of meat. Keep the meat portion the same. Why? Because you simply do not need that much food. We are taught that we need big portions of everything to feel satisfied, but it is simply not true. By cutting out the carbohydrates, you will feel satisfied with less total calories.
Personally, I do not view the Paleo or Atkins diet as a high protein diet. They are simply low carb diets, and in my opinion, more in line with how we should eat for better health.
Gregg…. in one of your articles you mentioned your brother-in-law needing to lose weight, and said that exercise would slow down the weight loss (for an initial period of time) – after awhile he then started working out ?? Please explain that??
Hi Lisa. Thank you for commenting. I am confused. I cannot find the article I wrote about my brother in law, so I cannot comment on what I wrote. Can you send me the link? You can send it to email@example.com. I will respond to what I wrote and your question relating to it.
The Blog post was called “The Shift”, dated Jan 15th…. excerpted below:
“My brother in-law lost over 60 pounds of fat over the last 8 months. I have to give kudos to him, for he had a real challenge with controlling his weight. He would typically work nights, then he would come home to a houseful of kids. Bad eating habits formed, along with no exercise routine for several years. I always knew he would have a real hard time to make the change. I often wondered if he would be able to make the shift. He did. He used a structured supervised program that would not let him exercise. The goal was to lose weight, and exercise can slow the rate of weight loss down. Now he is at the point where he can add exercise to his program. His motivation? To improve his blood profile, and like my sister, to be able to be around to play with the grand kids.”
Thanks so much for clarifying!
Ah. I remember now. That was not my view. It was the view of the practitioner he was working with that believed that weight loss would slow down if he exercised. This may or may not be true. If weight loss does slow down from exercising, it would have to do with gaining some muscle along with the loss of fat. However, gaining muscle is a slower process than people realize. When I work with someone who has a lot of fat to lose, I expect the scale weight to go down even though we are doing a strength training program.
After several months, weight loss will slow down because there would be more muscle.
If my brother in law worked with me, I would have had him do a strength training program and change his diet at the same time. Body composition would be much improved that way.
Thanks so much for that info… I was thoroughly confused.
If you don’t mind, I have one other question – is it possible to eat too little, where the low food intake impairs the weight loss? I’m 5’7′ and had gotten to 207 after the holidays. I had a complete brain “SHIFT” and finally got my psyche resolved to making a change. I have cut out diet soda, sugar (except in my coffee creamer), almost all breads and pastas, and am eating mostly fruits and veggies, eggs, some chicken, and a protein shake after I work out. I get healthy fats from almonds, peanut butter and virgin olive oil…. I’m also drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day and getting plenty of rest. I WAS doing a strength training workout with lower weights and higher reps, but changed to your method about 1 week ago (3 workouts). I have only lost 6 pounds in 3 weeks – I would have thought more weight would have come off just with the major changes in my dieting?? Then adding on the workouts would be a bonus… ? And I thought the more you have to lose, the faster the weight comes off in the beginning?? So back to my original question, now that you know more details – do you think I need to increase my food intake? (I would guess I’m taking in between 1200-1500 calories a day.) Thanks for any advice….
I’m glad I could help. I understand the confusion it created, and I apologize. I need to get in there and edit that statement for more clarity.
To answer your questions:
Do you need to increase your food intake. Let me offer some overall recommendations.
1.Cut out the sugar in your coffee creamer. Use stevia instead. Cut out your fruit as well. Why? Because sugar (in all of it’s forms) simply put, will trigger fat storage and makes it harder for your muscles to use fat for fuel.I will write a post about exactly how that happens soon.
2. Practice intermittent fasting. For 12 hours in a day, eat nothing. Then have your normal low carb, moderate protein, high fat meals. The reason is that we want to get your body to turn into a fat burning machine. For that to happen, your glycogen stores need to be depleted (yes, this is another topic I will write about more in depth later). Just understand that mini fasting helps with fat loss…and incorporate it into your life.
3. Your calories do seem a bit low, but I don’t want you to focus on that. Keep your carb intake very low and when you eat, eat until you are satisfied. Our bodies can self-regulate energy intake/expenditure and stay lean without counting calories. We just need to create the proper environment for that to happen.
4. I am very glad to hear you switched to the kind of strength training I recommend. You will see great results from training that way.
5. To comment on your 6 pound fat loss in 3 weeks…that’s fantastic! At that rate you will lose about 40 pounds in five months. You can’t ask for it to happen any faster than that.
6. Do have patience. I remember when I first started strength training the right way. I expected to have huge muscles in just a few months. I did not, but for some reason I did not get discouraged. I stuck with it (25 years later I’m still training hard), and within a couple of years my body looked really good…and it continued to improve for years. Same with my wife. She was skinny fat when I first started training her. Very slender but was 30% body fat and no tone or definition. It took about 6 months before her body made big changes.
People don’t realize how stubborn the body is. It is very difficult to put on muscle (both men and women want that to get the shape they want), and it takes pounding on the body over and over for many months to get it to change.
All in all it sounds like you are on the right track. Make the changes I recommend and give it time.
As they say, Rome was not built in a day…to which I add, nor is your body.
Thanks so much! I really do appreciate that you take the time to address your “followers”…. it means a lot to us!
For the intermittent fasting, does that need to be during waking hours when I’m up and about, or can it include sleeping hours? (I thought that we wake up and start burning the glycogen stores because we haven’t been eating for the previous 8/10/12 hours? And that’s why it’s optimal to work out in the morning before eating?? )
And when you say low carb, moderate protein and “high fat” meals – what do you suggest should be the source of the fat? (I’m not a big avocado fan…) And how much?
Presently, I’m only drinking a protein drink (with about 12g of protein) after workouts – should I have one every day??
To comment on strength training the way you suggest – I definitely feel that I’m accomplishing more with my workouts now…. I appreciate the science behind it – the fast twitch/slow twitch fibers, etc….. it makes sense to me, so it’s easier to follow the process.
About intermittent fasting. Yes, fasting while sleeping counts. Personally, I skip breakfast and don’t eat anything until around noon. From noon until bedtime is when I eat.
As far as “high fat” . Yes, avocados are great to eat, but it cold include other sources. Fatty meat such as chuck roast or pork can work well. You can also cook with butter or coconut oil to get your fats.
Additionally you can use olive oil on your salads (I suspect you do already).
As far as when you work out, I find that it does not matter. Workout when you can and when you are most motivated to do a hard workout. For how much fat to eat, there is no set amount. Just eat until you feel satisfied. Truth is, it does not take much to feel full. Problems with appetite control happens when you eat carbs. Combine carbs and fat and you can eat all day and not feel full. Keep the carbs out and you simply won’t eat as much…and the body will use the fat for fuel better.
As for the protein shake. I am indifferent as to whether you need it or not. I don’t drink protein shakes. I have not for over a year and my strength and energy levels have not suffered. As a matter of fact, I try not to eat anything after my workouts until I am hungry, and even then it is usually a handful of nuts. Once again, the glycogen stores are drained making it a peak time for fat burning.
If you feel you need the protein shake after your workout, go ahead and keep drinking it, but you do not need to drink them on your off workout days.
I like your program. And I took advice from you to lose weight. I lost 33 pounds of scale weight and I’ve earned an estimated 4 to 6 pounds muscle . Now all is well. I am so happy with my results