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Working on a Weight Loss Plan

Alex C

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Hey folks,

The end of college packed far more weight on my than I would prefer. Luckily, I'm rather motivated to take care of that.

I'm using the Lose It iPhone app to track calories in vs. exercise calories. I'm around 6'2" and started at 246 about a month ago. I dropped down to 232, but for the past two weeks I've been about stagnant with no significant changes.

Obviously, this was frustrating. As this is my first attempt at a real hearty lifestyle change (not diet) I needed to do a lot of research. I've pored through numerous old threads and learned some things. What I'd really like is some help and hopefully some validation that my new plans will send me in the correct direction. The goal here isn't some arbitrary weight point, but reaching a point where I'm happy with my body, don't feel like a lardass and have enough muscle mass to nicely fill out a suit.

My current calculated maintenance calorie load is about 3,100 calories per day. Lose It tells me to run 2,074 calories per day to lose two pounds a week. 1,000 calories off a day (or close to it) seems about right, so as it stands I'm willing to trust this app's numbers.

My first worry is that initially I assume that no matter what, less calories = more weight loss. For the weeks where I'd had issues, I would eat around 1,600 calories and burn 400-800 calories in the gym. After researching, I've heard numerous numbers tossed around about when your body kicks into starvation mode (1,200 calories or about half your maintenance, which for me is 1550) and it appears that the numbers I've had put me into starvation mode. My first question: when people quote these numbers for starvation mode are they talking only consumption or net calories after exercise? I would assume net calories after exercise, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Since I learned this, I've been upping my calories to the around 2,000 figure including any calories lost for exercise. Does this seem correct? My somewhat basic logic tells me that if your body needs 3,100 calories to survive and you tack on 800 calories of exercise, you would need 3,900 if you were to maintain weight. Minus the 1,000 per day for a two pound a week loss and it drops you at the idea that total net calories are the number that matters. Again, I could be wrong and I'm hoping for some sort of verification here.

Before really delving into the board, my previous exercise has been something to the tune of half an hour on an exercise bike, 15 minutes on an elliptical and 15 minutes on a treadmill. For weight training, I'd largely use machines and do a few compound motions (leg press, overhead press, lat pull down, row) with a few dumbbell exercises (hammer curls, deltoid lifts, the things where you bend sideways for obliques) and various isolated machine exercises. Long story short, I used every machine in the smallish gym and spent far too long there.

After readings around and picking up a copy of Starting Strength, it is my intent to switch mostly to compound barbell exercises with heavy weights, e.g. squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press, as my primary focus. I'll do this 2-3 times a week and do an hour on an elliptical on my off days/in the evenings if I lift in the morning. I figure this will give me better results and make me spend less time at the gym, which is certainly a plus.

I've already been doing protein shakes, but I'm now working at hitting a gram per pound while attempting to keep as close to 40/40/20 as possible (Lose It tracks calorie percentages as well, so this is easy to keep an eye on).

Basically, I'm hoping for verification that I was likely in starvation mode with my low net calories and that sticking to what I've laid out above should result in favorable results.

Any tips would be appreciated, and thanks in advance for dealing with the long post.
 

mundieTRAINS

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I don't know much about the starvation mode theory but I will say this : a very wise person once told me that the best way to lose weight by dieting (besides exercise obviously) was to eat 50-100 calories less per day than you normally would. That takes care of the yo-yo effect that the binge dieters experience.

I'm assuming you're a big boned, muscular guy to begin with so I think your best course of action is to lift heavy weights like you said. Why not take advantage of what nature gave you? Unless you want to look leaner than I would limit the lifting to just the basic, central nervous system inducing exercises like deadlift and squat and overhead press. Machines are only really useful for taking an already ripped body and working on the 'money muscles' like biceps. They won't really help you to get into shape.

I'm sure you've already researched it thoroughly so I won't try to preach on the virtues of certain exercises/routines. It's all available online, and it looks like you have a good resource there.

I've heard P90x is perfect for someone of your body type - you'll naturally be muscular you just need to lose the fat. Not as good for someone like me (6'2" 205lbs) trying to gain weight, but I might do it in the near future once I've reached 10 lbs over my goal.

Another good app to test your changing abilities is the 20 chinups app, and its companion 100 pushups, 200 situps, etc. While I use these as my primary workouts (I'm moving back into compound exercises) you probably shouldn't. What they ARE really good for is for testing your strength/weight ratio. Doing 20 chinups in a row or 100 pushups is challenging for anyone, but it's impossible for someone who has disproportionate body parts or is overweight. You can do them on your off days from lifting.

The melatonin is starting to kick in and I"m not making much sense but if you want to PM me then feel free!

Best of luck
 

LanceW

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Google the Hacker's Diet. It covers all of the math to lose weight. Basically, keep your caloric intake below your expended calories and plateaus will eventually be passed.

Best of luck to you!
 

Alex C

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mundie: Thanks for the advice! I do have an abnormally large frame and some natural muscle. Even when I was sub-200 pounds, I still wore a 44-46 sport jacket just based on the size of my shoulders. I've been told however that p90x is only good if you're already in rather good shape and are just looking to keep it that way and make small gains. For me, as a relative novice, I think that might be too much. I've heard good things about "Insanity" for someone at my skill and fitness level, though.

Lance: Found they have a PDF, and downloaded it to review later. Thanks for the tip!

And the whole "eating like a normal human" seems to be working. The scale is tipping in the correct direction again.
 

fuji

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Going into starvation mode is not the best thing to do. If you do it wrong your body will go into starvation mode and store more fat. Fasting however is very good for cleansing the system and losing weight if done for more than 5 days.

When it comes to exercising, dont not use machines that isolate muscles they are terrible. use free weights which use a lot more muscle. i would do more plyometric exercises as it burns more calories. Cardio is not ideal if you wanting to lose weight, as cardio training actually breaks down muscle mass and muscle mass burn calories.

For food try cut as many simple sugars + anything ending in rose. As well as Aspartame which is a neuro-toxin. All many carbs as you can especially simple carbohydrates they contain no nutrition.

Best thing to do is eat 4-6 healthy meals a day so your metabolism is always active and you will burn more calories. if you like snacking. nuts, coconut, goji berries and cocoa nibs are really good. (raw cocoa nibs really high in anti-oxidants and will increase yo libido).
 

Lagrangian

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If you're getting solid progress, just keep on doing what you're doing - it's obviously working. Just keep lifting heavy, even when cutting and get your daily macros in.

e. meal frequency has no effect on TEF, so eating a million meals per day will not magically burn more calories. If it suits you, do it, if it doesn't by all means dont stress over it.
 

drrice

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Cutting the carbs I think will get you past that plateu.
 

dom999

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here are my 2 cents:

best weight loss method i think: small changes in your diet + 30-60 mins cardio training at least 5 times a week.
because of the small changes u will eat about 100-400 kcal less than usual (depends on your changes, a good thing is always: stop drinking coke etc and start drinking water or other 0kcal stuff, stop eating fast food, candy, maybe eat a little less than usal, but don't starve! i

also try to lose 1kg per week tops! 1kg should be 2 pounds i believe


thats how i lost about 15kg within 3-4 months, and now, 1 1/2 - 2 years later i still have the same weight and since 1. january im trying to lose weight again (i had operation and couldnt walk for a long time, and still i could hold my weight without exercises or a strict diet plan - and i gain weight very fast/easily)

the good thing about this plan is, that it is easier to hold your weight afterwards - most plans will end up with the yo-yo effect.

Also, if u want to build up some muscles, just add those exercises to your plan. depending on how much muscles u want, go to a gym or get a personal trainer, i dont know that much about gaining muscles, but i know that if you want to gain alot of muscles, u have to completely change your diet (low carbs, lots of proteins, maybe supplemtens like creatin after a while)

i know, its not a professional plan, but i think its an easy, effective way and should always be the first step. and nobody can tell you, that it wont work
 

Khayembii Communique

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Losing weight is easy, it's just slow:

1. Figure out your caloric maintenance level (just google for a calculator)
2. Subtract 500 from that number. This is your new daily calorie goal.
3. Figure out your macros. This will depend on your diet. I'm currently on a CKD, which has macros at 65% fat, 30% protein, <=5% net carbs.
4. Lift 3x a week. Get some cardio in if you want, but not necessary.

That's it.

To bulk, add 500 instead of subtracting.
 

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