Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Call Me A Chump, But I Love My Lamb

Is there anything quite as lovely as waking up to a scale that declares that you have dropped yet more fat and are now sitting at your lowest weight for the year? Possibly for the decade? Love it! (And yet, full disclosure, I didn't actually get a huge rush of happy, it was just pleasant rather than 'meh' like most weigh-ins since May). Caloric restriction is working wonders, and this is only day four of sticking to the 1400-1800kcal range.

After last night's lamentable lamb chop chaos, I made sure I had a back-up plan when preparing this morning's breakfast: fried eggs and bacon! Thankfully, the lamb chump chop was delicious, so I scoffed the lot!

A short work day today - my last lesson was finished before lunchtime, so I took the opportunity to run some errands - return my flawed Vibrams (finally a replacement pair has been organised - I started the process of getting in touch with the manufacturer well over a month ago! Ridiculous, US-centric bastards, won't post outside of the US, have to go through local suppliers, blah blah... I won't get my replacement pair til after Thailand now, damnit - I wanted the Sprints to have during the holiday!), cancel my organic veggies for a few weeks, and, you know.. buy more lamb chops!

Meanwhile, big kudos to my organic veg lady, who runs a distinctly vegetarian-friendly shop - she asked me how the weekly veggie box was going, and I commented that we haven't been getting through it, despite only buying $20 worth of veg per week! She was incredulous, so I explained that I "wasn't eating veggies at the moment". "None at all?!" "No, I'm getting all my nutrition from good quality organic meat." "Oh, from across the road. My good friend travels from a distant suburb to buy meat there..." Wow! No eyebrow-raising, no subtle scoff, no nothing! And this isn't a woman who conceals her opinions very well! How nice to know open minds still exist in odd places.

Lunch: grilled up another little lamb chop once I arrived home - the photo didn't come out terribly well, but hopefully the two other photos will make it utterly clear what a grilled lamb chop looks like...

Dinner: I hadn't actually intended to consume the third chop (they came in a three-pack, so once it was opened, you know...) - I bought salmon fillets while running my errands, but it called to me... So I had both!

Also cooked up some veg for the boy, since it's becoming abundantly clear that unless I cook them, the veggies are all going to go to waste (unless he can use them as fingers to dip in cream cheese dip....):

Brussel sprouts and broccoli florets, steamed and then sautéed in butter. Looking at some of the butter-drenched sprout leaves certainly made my heart flutter... So I added some butter to my salmon fillet. :P Perfection!


Primal Mama said...

Hey there! I've been lurking around for awhile. Congrats on the success! I'm looking to lose 15-20 and have been "primal" for about 6 mo. (which includes some slips here and there, unfortunately...). It seems you have found a weight-loss "sweet spot". Do you find that cal. restriction is necessary in spite of eating very low carb?

Jezwyn said...

While I don't necessarily believe in the calorie balance theory where excess calories are always stored as fat, I do know that unless you are leaving a caloric deficit, your body has no reason to metabolise fat stores. So no matter what lifestyle you lead, you need to be giving your body a reason to burn fat. For the first week of carnivore part II I was eating meat ad libitum, and counting calories afterwards - seems my body (or at least my eyeballs) likes me to eat 2000-2200kcal per day. I wasn't losing any weight, and I wasn't in ketosis for long periods - I'd tend to notice the taste in my mouth only when waking, or before dinner (I skip lunch most days). When I cut calories, the weight started dropping immediately, beyond just the weight difference of food intake. Since I was already keto-adapted, it was a smooth transition into longer periods of fat burning, and I barely noticed until the scale made me think about it!

And speaking of ketosis - I ate dinner just under 5 hours ago, and my breath could cut down trees right now, but am I hungry in the slightest? Nope! Burning fat without starving? Awesome!

The bonus of caloric restriction in a low-carb way of eating is that due to the satiating effects of fat and protein, you are less likely to feel hungry as blood glucose is stabilised at a low level, and cravings are removed. Other than that, there is no fat-loss magic involved, as far as my research shows.

We do tend to eat less when we first switch to LC/VLC/ZC because the satiety of fat/protein-heavy foods helps prevent overeating, so we control calories 'spontaneously'. But personally, I can and have downed 150g of macadamia nuts when I'm not worried about fat loss - the bonus here is that I didn't put on any fat despite some skyrocketing intake figures! So caloric restriction = fat loss, but excess consumption does not necessarily mean fat gain, which is why I doubt the old calories in calories out argument, based on the science and my own anecdotal evidence.

I rarely feel hungry, unless I'm working particularly long days and routinely run more than 6 hours between meals. Even then, while I do feel hunger at that point, I do not notice any real dip in energy levels; thanks to keto-adaptation, my body is burning fat whenever it can, so it relies on that to keep me going. I reached ketosis when I was limiting my carbs to 20g per day, so ZC isn't necessary in that respect, but if I'm eating enough food to fuel my body without it needing to burn fat stores, my body then switches out of ketosis and it can be a struggle to get back to that point.

I suspect that I could go back to eating 20g carb worth of veg, at the same calorie limit, and continue to lose fat, but I feel so much better on the all-meat diet that I have no real reason to switch just for the sake of it. I do feel great on generic 'Primal', but amazing on all-meat. No digestive issues, no water retention, etc.

Have you lost any weight whilst eating primal food? Have you tried caloric restriction?

Primal Mama said...

Thank you for such a complete answer, you've answered a lot of my questions and have a great blog. I've been wondering how to proceed with my last 5 kilos or so. I lost about 4.5 kg eating primal food without caloric restriction (although I gained 3 back during the summer holidays). I am now finding that I can eat pretty much any quantity of food I wish and maintain my weight(approx. 73 kilos). I must add that I am not always 100% compliant 100% of the time (I'd say that I am 90% primal). I too feel even better on a high fat, all meat diet and when I eat in such a manner find that I do not crave veggies or fruit whatsoever. I suppose some type of slight calorie restriction would be in order, or at least some journaling of my calories. Unfortunatly, I am awful at consistently keeping track. If you don't mind me asking, how kind of weight loss do you average per week and how much more do you plan to lose? Thanks again for the information!

Jezwyn said...

Great work, and thanks! Unless you were a low-carber already, a bunch of those 4.5kg would have been water weight, but a couple could have been fat loss too, probably suggesting, like me, you did spontaneously limit your intake of calories once the refined and starchy carbs were cut out of your diet (unless of course your records show you were chowing down on entire chooks three times a day, etc!). Apart from the satiety factor, I think it also takes us a while to work out that we can eat larger portions of meat than we have in the past since there's now the void that used to be filled by bread/rice/potatoes etc. The longer we stay primal, the larger our portions become, due to either hunger or just that realisation that we CAN physically eat more food! I reckon that's why people on low-carb diets tend to note their fat loss slowing or stalling - there might be other factors involved for individuals, but the rest of us who thought the fat loss was magic have slowly negated the original deficit.

I've actually been tracking my food on SparkPeople since early January, and I just checked my logs to test my theory - it's true! Back from Jan-March my caloric intake was all over the place, but rarely above 1900kcal. Some days I was even under 1000kcal, but I never noticed because I was only watching my carbs. It helps that we use kilojoules in Australia, so calories were meaningless to me for a long time. I'd love to know the day when I was first presented with an approximation of my BMR in calories - that would be the day that I realised I could (and should?) be eating more food. I certainly remember days where I would eat more food than I felt I needed to 'ensure my metabolism wouldn't crash'! I fear that far less now, but the fat loss I experienced in my first round as a carnivore confounds the calorie theory a bit - unless that loss was just water, which I can't rule out.

I haven't been chasing weight loss for the past few months - in May, life was too stressful with directing a school production, and since then I've been more interested in the health side of food and seeing what my maintenance range is. I've only refocussed on fat loss recently, limiting my caloric intake as of last Saturday. I had already shed quite a bit of water weight and had adapted to the all-meat diet once again, so I had a clear maintenance weight for this way of eating. Since Saturday, I've dropped over a kilogram. I'm now more than half a kilo lighter than my lightest weight, recorded at the end of Carnivore Part I, and maintained for a couple of weeks before I reintroduced my BCP for the first time since January, and suffered a 2kg upswing of what I assume was water retention. I shed most of that before/during Carnivore II, and now it's most certainly fat loss. I don't expect the loss to stay at this rate, of course! That would be awful!

I need to shed at least another 5kg of fat, and then reassess from there. I'm tall and have big bones, so it's really hard to gauge what my weight will be at an attractive body fat percentage. So I'm relying on the mirror at this point at least - if the muffin tops are gone, I'll know I'm there! I don't mind how long it takes really, as long as I get there. But I have decided that while I have my access to good meats, my kitchen scales, and my Internet access to track my foods, I will continue to watch the calorie count to further examine how that all works. I will be estimating things in Thailand, so we'll see how that goes. Hopefully my eye for portion sizes is getting better - I have always been crap at eye-balling dimensions and gauging weight, in all things!

I'm interested to hear how you go if you try restricting calories - just watch the OCD-factor! It's all in the name of science; gotta watch that we don't think of calories as too causative, there are always other elements involved. If I fould myself cutting back on my current calorie ceiling, I'd be hoping you guys can give my face a virtual slap to snap me out of it! :)

Primal Mama said...

You're probably right, most of the initial weight loss was water. I started out dairy, sugar and gluten-free and then proceeded to cut out all other grains. I've decided to limit my intake to between 1800-2000 (I'm sure I currently eat more cals) and then go from there. I do workout almost daily so I'm hoping I won't have to go much lower to lose. As for being OCD, I almost have to be, eyeballing, at least for now, is definitely not an option; I'd surely cheat:) Have a wonderful holiday!

Jezwyn said...

Thanks! That sounds like a perfect range if you're active - I look forward to your results!