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Old 01-17-2013, 12:52 AM   #1
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I thought I would post some progress (hope the attachment works).... I know it is always hard to see progress when it is a matter of 10 - 20lbs, but I hope it is a bit noticeable.

The first picture is me after years of starvation diets (which took on different forms) and tons of chronic cardio..... the first picture was hard work!!

I wish I had a side view, my belly protrudes over the bathing suit bottom. The bathing suit bottom looks like a tight rubber band. I was still so bloated and puffy. I was absolutely miserable and battled depression - I felt like a failure because I wasn't "smart enough" or "disciplined enough" to get to a normal BMI. It was a daily battle to not steadily gain.

I took the progress picture yesterday. This is me: no longer starving myself with low-cal diets! I'm eating fat, doing moderate weight training, light cardio and I'm happy! (pretty sure I fixed some nutrient deficiencies in the process!). My weight is stable, and slowly tending downward! Still, the best part : I'm not hungry ALL.THE.TIME.

According to conventional wisdom, these photos should be swapped - the fat I'm eating now should be making me fat!

I don't focus on losing anymore - instead, I'd like to try to make my thighs a bit more proportionate to my upper half. I don't think my pear shape is so healthy, like all the "media" doctors claim. I seem to be slowly balancing out my figure.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:02 AM   #2
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Wow, what a difference. I don't have pictures of me when I was in the obese BMI range because I avoided cameras. However I do have photo of me when I was still somewhat in the yoyo dieting phase and I composed a picture of what I looked like then compared to now. However in my case I have switched to a low carb diet to try to maintain the body I have now. I should have really gone low carb before and saved myself years of grief, but I didn't know.


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Old 01-17-2013, 05:09 AM   #3
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I'm just curious, how tall are you?
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:20 AM   #4
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You both look fabulous! How have you guys done it? What are you eating? I've been low carb since late 2004 and it seems that now I am on the bounce back up. I've lowered protein and upped fat, somewhat, still fearful, but OMG how do I get back there?
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:30 AM   #5
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Punkin: You look great! Thanks for sharing. If I were you, I'd want to maintain my body too!!

I almost 5'9". How tall are you?

I carry all the weight in my thighs and butt - but it is starting to balance out the more I workout. I still carry extra skin on my inner thighs and upper arms from being very obese as a child.

I'm getting ready to fly to America to visit my sick Father. I'm planning on going through pics while I'm there - I'll probably steal a few pics of me when I was morbidly obese..... one pic I can really remember - I was in my sisters wedding and they couldn't find a dress to fit me. I had to have one specially made. I was so mortified as a teenager.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:41 AM   #6
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Bernsy: Thanks! Besides eating more fat and less protein, I don't have a lot of tips.... I try to find other markers of health besides the scale to guide me: exercise, energy, whether or not I am experiencing blood sugar crashes, my general mood, how often I experience hunger .....

I'm certainly not perfect. I still tend to overdue coffee and green tea.

I have noticed lately that I've been getting "hunger signals" when my body really wants salt. So, a few salty pickles did the trick.

Punkin: I also wish I would've known about low-carb as a teen, I think I could have saved myself from a lot of damage if I had. Oh well, I suppose we both really appreciate low-carb now since we know our other option.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:10 AM   #7
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I just wanted to say that I love seeing progress pics, and you guys look amazing!!

By the way, if there are other progress pic junkies here like me, I recommend checking out the Keto subreddit. I guess I can't link to it here, but maybe searching on google for "Reddit keto" would do it. There's another subreddit there called "theketodiet" that branched off from the original "keto" recently, but it was just due to moderator drama. I don't see a substantial difference in content or purpose between the two, and you can see awesome progress pics on both subreddits. There can be very useful and interesting information posted there, but two things to keep in mind are the fact that the community is all about general "keto" rather than "nutritional ketosis" specifically, and the overall spirit of Reddit seems to be less friendly and inviting than this message board. I never post there, but I browse those particular subreddits daily for the progress pics and occasional gem of advice or scientific article link. (If there was a way to filter out the boring "food porn" posts, I would do it! "Look at what I ate for breakfast today!!" kind of thing.)

I hope this information helps someone to feel more encouraged and inspired!
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:28 AM   #8
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That's why, your height gives the illusion of being more "pear" shaped than I am in a photo (i'm 5'3). I store ALL my fat in my butt and thighs. I am still an "A" cup regardless of how much fat I put on. To reduce the look, it is basically just losing BF until it starts to melt away from your butt and thighs, you end up looking really lean on top, but that is basically how you recomp the "pear" shape. In my opinion it is the most difficult body to reshape. I heard, although I can't speak from experience yet, that the extra skin goes away in time when your body gives up on receiving extra fat to store there. So you can lose the fat, but it takes longer for the skin to rebuild itself. I've never stayed at my goal weight for longer than a year, in the past so I have no idea if it is true.

You are way ahead of the game, just being on a LC diet. Because for some people it is the key to controlling appetite. For example in my "after" photo, I was still on a HC diet then, but exercising like a maniac and cutting calories. But the problem is that if you want to keep that body, you have to continue to exercise like a maniac and deal with painful hunger pains. It is awful and no way to live. So that is what brought me here, I want that body, but don't want to live that way.

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:40 AM   #9
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What I was doing from august 2006 to august 2012 was basically exercising like a maniac and just trying to follow a reasonable but HC diet. In 2006 I was still eating foods containing sugar, but my diet was generally low fat. In 2012 I had probably tripled the amount of exercise I was doing and cut calories drastically to lose body fat. I was doing a lot of high protein, high carb, low fat meals. But I was counting calories accurately so that I could lose body fat. BUT. Even though I did that and it worked it was no fun. I had to deal with horrible hunger pains and constantly resisting the urge to binge. Then when I tried to reduce the exercise to maintain the body I have achieved, it became almost impossible. Even though I was eating the right amount of calories I started gaining weight, and still had horrible hunger pains and bingeing urges. This didn't seem right because I was eating at maintenance and still was fighting the urge to overeat. That is when I knew something was seriously wrong.

Now I have switched to low carb, moderate protein, high fat. I still do track my calories though because I am experimenting with the ratio of macros to make sure that I am not over-eating. I am basically following phase 2 of the atkins diet and playing around with the protein to get the right ratio. I think the next step for me is to find my "carb tolerance" but I don't know how to do that, because I don't have the book yet. I have it on order.

I never went as low as the induction phase 1 though, I didn't know if I had to. But I might have to go back to that level and work up to phase 2. There is a possibility I am severely carb "intolerant." I thought I would try playing with the protein levels first and see how that goes.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:53 AM   #10
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Ladies, you both look fantastic.

As for that pear stuff, from a guy's perspective, if you are shaped like a woman then we are seriously very satisfied. Unless your guy is a workout dork or a shallow idiot he never thinks OMG she is pear shaped.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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Fantastic pics. Success stories like these are so inspiring!
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:50 AM   #12
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Ladies, you both look fantastic.

As for that pear stuff, from a guy's perspective, if you are shaped like a woman then we are seriously very satisfied. Unless your guy is a workout dork or a shallow idiot he never thinks OMG she is pear shaped.
Thanks, but I thought society preferred when the fat is on the top part of the woman, as opposed to the bottom! ....ie the reason why female bodybuilders get implants.

I just hope our success stories can help others. I remember how I hated being made fun of when I was a kid for being overweight, when other children my age were not. I still remember being put in the "fat" tent when I went away to girl scouts. There were about 8 of us out of a whole camp of about 64, 12 year old girls. Imagine what that does to one's self esteem.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:06 AM   #13
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Men <> society

Attractiveness is a state of mind.

Your success and your willingness to share it does help others. I remember getting so psyched up looking at the before/after pics when I was first getting started. I still get a charge out of seeing and reading about other people kicking butt.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:02 AM   #14
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reddarin: Thanks for your support!!

Luckily, I have a great husband that has loved me through thick and thin - literally! He has never once said anything about my weight.... I think his father trained him very well. The only "change" he ever encouraged me to make was to quit smoking - and, as he was an ex-smoker, he never pushed it on me. Instead, he kept insisting that we do sports together everyday, which eventually made me want to give up smoking on my own!

I don't have a problem with "pear-shapes". I love my pear shape and have never "missed" having breasts... my only problem is that I seem to store too much fat in my thighs - which I attribute to my childhood obesity. Also, since I have a sedentary job, my top half has been neglected most of my life. I'm simply trying to healthily balance out the bottom and the top - if that makes sense!

UnstrungHarp: thanks for the site info. I did spend a few minutes looking through it. I saw a few male weight loss transformation that were out of this world! The ketogenic diet really seems to work for men. Men seem to be more able than women to turn to their fat stores for energy.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:57 AM   #15
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Punkin: The success story on Marksdailyapple yesterday sounds a lot like you! Did you read it?
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:08 AM   #16
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Unna, Punkin... your stunning before/after pics have brought a very long term lurker out of hiding! So inspiring, you both look wonderful.

I simply had to bite the bullet and post because Una- I seem to have the same start weight, goal and height as you! I'm a definite pear also- so your after picture (am I right in thinking that the after shot is you at 155-160?) is really so encouraging for me. Something to aim for!

Since we share similar stats, I was wondering what your protein intake was whilst you were losing weight? I've pretty much figured out that less than 20g carbs works for me, and i'm happy with the concept of filling up remaining calories with fat, but struggle to decide what a good protein level is. All the calculators online give such different answers! Does 60-65g sound too low? I do very little excercise at the moment.

Oh, and although I've sort of directed the question at Unna, anyone's input would be very welcome! Thanks and congrats again ladies!
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:20 AM   #17
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Yes, almost the same story. She had a clue there that the atkins diet worked for her. Some people need a LC diet to lose weight, while as others need a LF diet to lose weight. What I think gets missed might be in trying to go back to a HC diet after using LC to lose weight.

There was another post on the main carb lobby that I responded to about low carb and working out. The thing is that we are told as a society to "exercise" to lose weight. And while it is true that for most people exercise does help them lose weight. Of course, look what I achieved above. But for some people, with a certain type of genetics it can be a deadly trap. Because when it comes to weight maintenance, you'll end up in trouble because you have to keep exercising to maintain the body. That is ok if you want to be a marathon runner running 50 miles a week, but not if you want to return to a life that just contains a little bit of moderate exercise, which is what I wanted. I also found that how my body responded to exercise was much like upping the "ante." My body kept asking for more food than I was burning through exercise. I don't even understand the mechanisms behind it but I was (am) definitely hyperinsulinemic. All I know is that the result was that I kept exercising more and more and more. It became harder and harder to avoid the "fat."

In her case she is lucky in that she can continue to run marathons, I might not be able to, it sounds like she never had a weight problem, she was more of a normal weight but didn't like the body she had. And it sounds like running didn't make her gain weight where as in my case it did. I saw pictures of myself after I started running and I was fatter than I was before taking up running, so how does exercise make one thinner? Now back then I didn't restrict what I was eating or count calories, but I do know from memory that I definitely ate back twice the calories I burned. I remember eating two peanut butter and jam sandwiches after a run. Probably about 750cal. Jogging for me probably burns 350cal an hour.

For me I think the answer is to get my calories down to a normal amount, and then reduce the exercise to a realistic amount. And make sure I am exercising for fun and not for losing weight or fear of getting fat. I have the added problem that I believe I have destroyed my metabolism through poor diet and over-exercising. I have the genetic factor as well, which has definitely contributed to the problem. Even though I am on LC now, I am still hyperinsulinemic. I don't know if I was always have that (ie. just my genetics), or if it is just because my metabolism is so damaged and it will take time to repair. I am so sensitive to carbs, and the protein is causing an issue as well. Hopefully I can repair my metabolism so that I can live what I feel is a normal life
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:56 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Saffy View Post
Unna, Punkin... your stunning before/after pics have brought a very long term lurker out of hiding! So inspiring, you both look wonderful.

I simply had to bite the bullet and post because Una- I seem to have the same start weight, goal and height as you! I'm a definite pear also- so your after picture (am I right in thinking that the after shot is you at 155-160?) is really so encouraging for me. Something to aim for!

Since we share similar stats, I was wondering what your protein intake was whilst you were losing weight? I've pretty much figured out that less than 20g carbs works for me, and i'm happy with the concept of filling up remaining calories with fat, but struggle to decide what a good protein level is. All the calculators online give such different answers! Does 60-65g sound too low? I do very little excercise at the moment.

Oh, and although I've sort of directed the question at Unna, anyone's input would be very welcome! Thanks and congrats again ladies!
Hi Saffy

I'd go with Dr. Phinney. He's been doing LC research and clinical work for decades.

If you are going to exercise regularly and want to sculpt your body fat to exactness then The Art And Science Of Low Carb Performance (I have not read it) is the book you need to get. That book has a formula that is based on desired body fat % for calculating your protein level.

I think that formula results in about 1.1g/kg to 2.0g/kg of ideal weight. But you need to know what you want for body fat and some way to measure your BF% (I think). It also, apparently, encourages frequently poking your finger to measure blood ketone levels.

Short of that, Dr. Phinney recommends 1.5g/kg to 2.0g/kg protein for ideal weight.

For you the formula is (155/2.2)*1.5 and (155/2.2)*2.0 which results in a range of 105g to 140g daily.

The important thing there is to use the formula for your ideal weight not intermediate goal weight(s). As long as the weight is reasonably close to correct you'll be okay. I mean, 10 or 20 pounds one side or the other won't matter much. So if you believe, as I do, that the height weight charts are skewed low then 20 pounds higher than what they say isn't a big deal protein-wise.

If you have been eating well under 105g then you might expect to stall or gain a little for a few weeks or as much as 8 weeks before you begin to lose because your body will be rebuilding lost lean body mass which will/might mask the fat you are losing during that time.

At 60 to 65 grams you were eating .85 to .92 grams for 155. 65/(155/2.2) and 60/(155/2.2).

Read the intro to our thread for some good information: High Fat NK 80/15/5 - January Version

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Old 01-19-2013, 08:09 AM   #19
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By the way, even if your protein was in an acceptable range you could still be in a position of having to regain LBM if you were following a very low calorie plan.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:18 AM   #20
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By the way, even if your protein was in an acceptable range you could still be in a position of having to regain LBM if you were following a very low calorie plan.
Thanks for the tips, i'll go and check out those books and the thread- should keep me occupied for the weekend!
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:30 AM   #21
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Just wanted to second that it is a fantastic book!!

It's a short and very informative read. High yield!

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Old 01-19-2013, 09:35 AM   #22
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The Art And Science Of Low Carb Living book is also available. It is geared towards high information consumers and healthcare professionals. So some parts are interesting but not particularly applicable for the end user.

If you get either or both books I highly recommend getting the physical book not the kindle version. I have the kindle version of the Living book and I found it to be very annoying not to be able to flip back and forth between pages or make notes easily in the margins.

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Old 01-19-2013, 09:51 AM   #23
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Are there any cases where the person has to go below the recommended amount. For example for me my range is supposed to be 72g to 95g. And I am really struggling with the lower end of my range. I feel better when my protein goes below 72g, closer to 60g. I am worried that if I eat that little protein I am going to start losing LBM and I don't want that. What do you recommend? Should I just keep my protein low for a few weeks and see how it goes and then try to bring it up. It is the insulin spikes after meals I am having trouble with and sometimes carb cravings, although that has diminished significantly. Our carb cupboard no longer has a lock on it
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:02 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Punkin View Post
Are there any cases where the person has to go below the recommended amount. For example for me my range is supposed to be 72g to 95g. And I am really struggling with the lower end of my range. I feel better when my protein goes below 72g, closer to 60g. I am worried that if I eat that little protein I am going to start losing LBM and I don't want that. What do you recommend? Should I just keep my protein low for a few weeks and see how it goes and then try to bring it up. It is the insulin spikes after meals I am having trouble with and sometimes carb cravings, although that has diminished significantly. Our carb cupboard no longer has a lock on it
My range from the Performance book calculation is 70-116g and I am testing my blood ketones. I do much better staying in ketosis in the 60-70g protein range than when I go over 70. Eating this way I have also gained LBM as recorded on multiple hydrostatic body composition tests.

I think that if you're going to do this experiment it might be good to get some testing done to ensure that you're not losing LBM. I guess there is some evidence that ketosis is more protective of LBM than other types of diets so it may be that less protein is needed, but it's also hugely individual.

The Performance book is actually a great reference for anyone who's trying to individualize their macronutrients to get and stay in nutritional ketosis.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:50 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Punkin View Post
Are there any cases where the person has to go below the recommended amount. For example for me my range is supposed to be 72g to 95g. And I am really struggling with the lower end of my range. I feel better when my protein goes below 72g, closer to 60g. I am worried that if I eat that little protein I am going to start losing LBM and I don't want that. What do you recommend? Should I just keep my protein low for a few weeks and see how it goes and then try to bring it up. It is the insulin spikes after meals I am having trouble with and sometimes carb cravings, although that has diminished significantly. Our carb cupboard no longer has a lock on it
It is guesswork without testing.

So, I have a few observations about going lower. Some people eat lower than the 1.5-2.0 range and do not lose LBM. Phinney/Volek's Performance book formula results in a lower range depending on the other variables which indicates that it is safe if you are well informed about what you are doing.

Phinney also said that he believe .8/kg was too low for LC. That would imply that over .8/kg is probably going to be LBM sparing. At 60-65 you are over the floor.

Losing weight, generally speaking, means losing LBM too. LC loses the least amount of LBM. With adequate protein the give and take of LBM is effectively neutralized.

But the implication is that even if you go to 60g and lose some LBM it isn't going to be as much as if you were eating some other way. That is to say, if you have to go lower like that for your individual case then regaining the LBM is as simple as increasing protein at some point. The only caveat is to take care not to go super low on protein because there are few if any outward symptoms of excessive LBM loss until you end up in the ambulance.

Protein is mildly insulinogenic. You might be able to eat in the recommended range if you space out your protein during the day to minimize that reaction. Like 25/25/25.

I think you are correct about going a little low and increasing it as your body adjust. Abnormal insulin response to eating can be fixed with LC so that supports your idea.

When you eat a lot of protein (or fat) does it sit like a lump in your belly? Or maybe it feels like it is stuck just above your belly? Symptoms like that can mean that you have low stomach acid. You can find out real easy by taking some ACV diluted in water. If you feel 'better' then that was the problem.

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Old 01-19-2013, 12:03 PM   #26
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I'm a lurker too, but wanted to say I love the pics
They give me hope
Thanks for posting, you guys!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:37 PM   #27
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WOE: NK or LC
I may have caused the problem myself by trying to lose weight on a HC, HP diet will restricting the fats. What may be happening is that my body sees protein in the absence of carbs it thinks. "oh great, here is another source of glucose! I can break this down to fulfill my glucose needs." It could be that I just need to train my body to recognize fat as fuel. At least I am hoping that is the case, and once my body becomes used to using fat as fuel I can up the protein. I think I can still safely get over 60g a day without running into issues with insulin. Some days I have had success on a 60 - 70g range. One thing I have noticed is that I do best when the fat grams in a meal is at least equal to the total of protein/carbs. Low carb alone just doesn't do it for me yet.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:37 AM   #28
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WOE: NK
Start Date: 10/29/2012
unna and punkin you look amazing! If i looked like that I would consider myself at goal! Thanks for posting!
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:51 AM   #29
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Location: Germany
Posts: 294
Gallery: unna
Stats: 230/155-160/tone
WOE: Primal LCHF
Start Date: January 2012
Saffy: Hello! I'm glad my pics helped - it is always good to see someone with similar stats post a pic. In that picture I am about 158. In the before picture, if I remember correctly, I'm somewhere between 175-180. And that is before I started using weights as well. In the past, if I'm eating a high carb diet, I quickly drift to 175 - 185, even if I'm calorie counting and keeping them under 1800.

I remember seeing an interview with the soccer goalie Hope Solo. Do you know her? She is also about 5'8". She is SO lean, but what she does have is muscle. She said she is about 155.

For many of us women at this height and with medium builds, going below 150 really isn't even much of an option. One time when I was crazy and in my 20s (which undoubtedly led to my metabolic resistance and other health issues), I did an extremely low-cal diet and got down to 140. I didn't have any muscle and I just looked too thin. So, I think I should keep my goals somewhere between 150-165 and just work on body recomposition. This, funnily, still puts me toward the higher end of the BMI chart! But, I can't really imagine being 140 again.

I don't keep track of "exact protein grams" anymore. I just eat less than I was - sorry- I know that doesn't help you out! One day I did tally up my grams and found that I was around 70 - 80. When I started primal in January 2012, I'm pretty sure a normal day was between 120-150. I usually just eat a "deck of cards" of protein for each meal. The rest is fat and veggies. Of course, I also stay around 20g of carbs as well.

Last edited by unna; 01-22-2013 at 04:06 AM..
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:23 AM   #30
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 294
Gallery: unna
Stats: 230/155-160/tone
WOE: Primal LCHF
Start Date: January 2012
Punkin: Do you know if you are in ketosis yet?

This is just an idea: You may just want to stop controlling your body so much externally, and allow your body to control itself more internally. This may mean eating more fat calories and doing less exercise in general. Eat when you are hungry.

You do have an extremely low amount of body fat, which looks great, but could be leading to physiological problems. Many women with low body fat like yours start having problems with their periods and losing hair. Again, you look like an amazing fitness model, but it might be taking a toll on your adrenals. I'm just saying this because, from an evolutionary perspective, most women needed a higher reserve of body fat to accomodate future pregnancies.

If you keep upping healthy fats and worrying about proper nutrients - and not worry about the scale - you might find your body will start regulating itself around the weight you are.

I know you are really concerned about external, macronutrient control, down to the exact gram - but, maybe you just need to let your body have some of the control back.... maybe it will guide you toward the correct amount of fat and protein.

It is just a thought.

On the other hand, I don't know how long you've been low-carb. Letting your body have more control only seems to work if one has been low-carb for a longer period of time. We seem to become more in tune with our real cravings the longer we are low-carb.

Its tricky, and I know how it feels to be formerly very obese..... when listening to our bodies made us extremely unhealthy and unhappy .....
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