Diet frustration

Frustration is where I’m at right now.


I haven’t been losing. I’ve been eating an unpleasant, unsatisfying diet. Not that CarbNite Solution is a shitty program, but rather I’ve got to force myself to eat particular things, and mostly not eat a lot of particular things. And the shit is getting old.

I could deal with it if I was seeing progress, but I’m not.

I was, but even then it was an unsteady progress.

I know my strength will go down. I know I’ll lose a bit of muscle mass. And I can live with that, if I also see myself losing the flab.

But I’m not.

One thing may have been a reduction in activity, due to my ankle injury. Thankfully that’s healing pretty well (probably a few more weeks before I’m ready to really get back to working hard with it), and I am ramping things up. And finding things like kettlebell swings I hope will be helping me too. I’m going to keep working my way up with those and try to jack up the intensity even further. I hate slow “steady state” cardio, so it’s gotta be HIIT-style stuff. I’ll get there. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I didn’t get this gut overnight either.

I know all of this. I’m dedicated to shedding this flab, and I won’t give up even tho I’m frustrated as hell.

But when things aren’t working, you can’t keep doing the same thing. You have to change something.

Right now the best I can think of? I’m eating too much. I overestimated what I needed and/or started eating too much because I was trying to follow the vague protocols outlined in these dietary programs, but I just need to adjust it more downwards for me. I sit behind a computer all day, I’m getting older, etc. and so I probably need more adjustment.

I did a little math. I may not remember the exact numbers here, but you should get the point.

A popular CarbNite thing to do is have morning coffee with cream. The intent of the cream gives you fat, but also helps you stave off hunger. I am not a coffee drinker, but I started drinking it just because of the protocol. I also was having a steady stream of breakfast as 6 scrambled eggs and 2-3 of these Purnell’s Old Folks Sausage. I mean, gotta have fat, right? Well, in doing this I discovered a few things: 1. overall my macros profile did seem to be about right for the whole day, but it was very front-loaded on the fat (as you can see); 2. that’s a lot of fat.

Here’s where it started to dawn on me.

One of those sausage patties? like 110 calories. 10g of fat, 4g protein. Multiply that by 3. The cream? I don’t recall the exact values I was using, but there was like 5-10g of fat in the cream I was using. And the eggs…. 30g fat. When you do the math, sure that gets the fat I’m supposedly supposed to get, but it’s still a lot of calories.

I made a small change. I went to 1 sausage patty, skip the coffee, and now have 3 whole eggs and 3 whites. That dropped me like 450 calories right there!

Now granted, fat is important to consume on keto-style diets. But the problem I keep reading is, no one tells you how much. It’s all rather vague (probably good from a liability and legal standpoint; but not so useful to the dieter). But look right there. I bought into the “eat fat” and boom… that’s a damn lot of fat. Because in many respects, calories in calories out still matters.

So this is what I’m doing, cleaning things up. It’s too soon to say if it’s made any difference, but it’s the change I’m making.

I think another thing I have to accept is something I read from Paul Carter. That you just have to accept you will be hungry. Deal with it. So many of the “low/no-carb” guys talk about eating to control hunger, but I think given my past history, that may have been part of the mistake. I just have to deal with being hungry at times.

But to help me further?

I got the MyFitnessPal app and am going to track all my eating with it. I’m not really thrilled to do it. It feels weird, wrong, unnatural. I should just eat, not keep tedious records of all my eating. But, if it’s going to help. if it’s going to keep me on track, and ensure I don’t slowly creep up, things don’t creep in, and that I just keep things managed well…. that’s good. And if it also helps me remember to keep adjusting downwards as I drop weight well, that’s good too.

So, this is what I will try now and see where it gets me.

Fingers crossed.

25 thoughts on “Diet frustration

  1. I’m glad to hear your ankle is healing up! Diet advice … Is dreadful to say the least. What you are doing though is spot on, tedious, but spot on: Experimenting with what works best for you and keeping a log. Big picture – It gets better, especially when you can go back over your notes and pinpoint exactly where you made some improvements and when things went into a ditch. Take care!

    • Exactly. I understand the value of logs… but it just doesn’t feel right for eating.

      But I’m sure it’ll make a positive difference. I know where I want to be, and I’m going to get there!

      Thanx for the support!

  2. Over the past … year? I have been on a plan to shed weight as well. I lost (before the holidays- gained about 20 back, and have lost 10 of that again) about 70 Lbs, and got down to a weight and fitness level I had not seen since the early 90s. I’m not sure what the CarbNite plan is, but I’m betting it is pretty close to what I’ve been on.

    The trick I learned was water. I drink a boatload of water with lime juice in it. I mean something like 250ounces of water a day. It keeps you full, and helps flush stuff out. If you want to email me, I’ll give you details.

    • Wow! That’s great!

      CarbNite is essentially an ultra-low-carb diet. Keto-style. Strive for 0 carbs in a day (tho you tend to get up to 30g of carbs just because few things are carbless), hence “ultra-low”.

      I drink a lot of water in a day, tho not that much. I fear I’d live in the bathroom if I drank that much. 😉

  3. i followed the atkins diet and lost over 45 lbs on it and what you’ve said of this diet seems somewhat similar. but the secret to atkins success is the initial 1-4 weeks of starving the body for carbs which puts you into ketosis which burns fat. there is no limit to the fat you can eat but a 20g limit on carbs which is damm near impossible so it took me 4 weeks to get into ketosis judged by the pee-on-a-stick method.

    but once you’ve reached this point you are truly burning off fat. and you need to drink water and do reasonable exercise (i don’t really count weight lifting as ‘reasonable’ [g] but i’m sure it elevates your heart rate and metabolism at least as well as walking, which is all i did) to help burn the fat.

    and at this point the atkins diet outperforms medical opinions and warnings about eating fat since (and this is my opinion of how it works) every ounce of fat you eat is immediately burned for energy instead of carbs. this lowers your cholesterol and triglycerides and a1c glucose levels if you’re diabetic. my bad stuff on the lab went down by 3 figures when this stage kicked in–the doctor was amazed! and this is what keeps all that artery clogging stuff from being deadly–you burn it before it gets there. what a concept! hardly anyone in medicine gets this for some reason even though it all sounds straightforward and logical to me.

    but here’s the real secret and why the atkins diet puts no restrictions on the amount of steak and eggs and butter you eat: when you get past the initial stage you just can’t eat that much because the protein fills you up so quickly. just try pigging out on butter by itself for example. you’ll get full and even disgusted after just a few teaspoons. i think this is why this part of it works so well. when i was truly churning along in atkins, just an egg and a slice of bacon would make me feel full. and sure, some of this is due to the fact you get bored with eating protein nearly exclusively although you can have salads with unlimited full-fat dressing which is a real saving aspect.

    but once you are in the groove you can start adding back carbs about 10-20g per week while monitoring closely because those suckers are addictive and if you’re not careful you’ll find yourself unbalancing the ratio and all those fats will become harmful again if you’re not burning them as soon as you eat them.

    anyway, just thought i’d respond to your specific complaint that the amount of food you quoted as eating would have been unthinkably excessive when i was on atkins diet. and the cream is fine, but caffeine stimulates appetite although it also kicks up the metabolism, so it might be a wash. i never restricted my coffee/tea intake and with eating all the protein i never felt hungry.


    • I wonder if I should try the “pee on a stick” to see if I’m actually in ketosis or not. I would like to think so, after being so ultra low carb for about 2 months now!

      All signs point to such diets being solid for dropping fat, and doing so fairly rapidly. So why I’m not basically means I’m doing something wrong (or something weird is wrong with me). I’m going to see what monitoring my intake does for me, because it seems to at least be the most likely suspect for now. I mean… for the most part I sit at a desk all day, and calories in calories out still matters (I don’t care what diet you’re on… consume a truckload of lard and you will not burn it all off). So…. we’ll see.

  4. Not that it matters to others, but what works for me . . . I eat what I want, but in moderation.

    Hit the gym 6 days a week (three cardio, three weights). Not to build muscle, but to retain strength and to be able to do stuff without running out of breath.

    Monitor my weight . . . if I go up a few pounds, eat less, do a bit more, until back down.

    Most important —>>> getting old means your body will change, and you won’t look like you did 10 years ago. Stay moderately fit, and realize it’s more important to enjoy life.

    • That’s the point I’m working to get to. It will be easier to monitor the weight and adjust diet once I’m down there. But right now? not so much…. or rather, I need to just get down then I can moderate again.

      But in the end you’re right — most important is to enjoy life. I don’t expect I’ll be all “ripped” and such, and that’s fine… I still want to enjoy my ice cream. 🙂 I just want to enjoy it without the tub out front, y’know?

      • Yeah, just remember a certain amount of tub comes with age regardless of what you do.

        I also read all the atkins stuff in the comments. Here’s my experience with it . . . everyone I know who has used it has successfully lost weight on it, are stoked about it, and rave about it . . . and every one of them gained back their weight.

        Now, my experience, like all the above, is anecdotal . . . maybe I just know people who don’t have what it takes, but then if it’s a matter of having what it takes, any diet will work.

        What I have seen work is counting calories, portion control, snacking, etc.

        I’m a small guy (5′ 8″ and a tad), and used to play RB 3-4 times a week for up to 4 hours at a clip (that’s competitive RB, A-level), but in 2012 I had my second rotator cuff surgery and quit the sport cold turkey, and by the end of 2012 (after 6 months of no exercise other than walking, and after one cruise) I was topping 190 (up from my normal 170 – which is still heavy for my height), even with moderating my food intake. In January of last year I started going to the gym, and for the first three months saw little or nothing in weight loss (even gained).

        Now I am at 175, probably more muscle than I’ve had at any point in my life (not ripped by any stretch of the imagination). My goal is not so much weight, as clothes. I can wear clothes I wore in the 90’s, and I’m maintaining my 34 waist (easier to pack, as well).

        No diets . . . there are days I “feel heavy” and I don’t eat as much (cut out a few snacks, or maybe substitute salad for the pasta), and there are days when i feel lean and I treat myself to Nutella and hawaiian bread (or cheese and salami, or cookies, etc. etc.).

        So, should I write a book, name my “diet”, guarantee a 15 lb weight loss and “keep it off!” and try to make some money by telling people what worked for me?

        I think you know when you overeat, just as you know when you diet. If you take a long term approach, and tell yourself that you have three years to drop X-amount of weight, it’s easier and healthier than going for the quick-weight-loss approach.

        Twenty five years from now I still want to be eating what I eat now, and weight about the same. That’s a goal I can live with, and have a decent chance of attaining without going on diets.

        Then again, ‘whatever works” is also an approach.

        • I refuse to believe that tub comes with age. I believe it can because our body tends to slow down before it tells us… or rather, that’s the way it tells us. We can’t get a “live stream” update on how fast our metabolism is, it will just change. But our eating habits won’t, or at least won’t keep pace. And so, body slows down, eating doesn’t, and so a little tub will come. But you can catch and change it, if you are motivated to.

          I mean, look at what I posted a few days ago: Tub may come with age, but it certainly doesn’t have to stay!

          You are right about the Atkins thing because the key factor is a willingness to change one’s lifestyle. Most people aren’t. They will suffer through, but it’s still suffering. Really, in many respects I’m not suffering. My diet is fundamentally the same — just no carbs. It has limited some of Wife’s agility in the kitchen when it comes to feeding me, but I will be back to eating “normally” once the tub is gone. But, at a more proper pace. That is, I’ll eat to bulk back up and work on mass-building (going to keep lifting heavy weights), but I don’t want to get all fat-ass again. In some respects, I think the “failure” of the past 2 months (and perhaps months to come) is just all a part of the long-term journey. It’s teaching me things, it’s helping me adjust and change my habits — which is really more key. And I’m willing and receptive to it all because I do want the life change. If I look back over the years, Wife and my dietary evolution has been probably 15 years of changing this and that. No more hydrgenated oils in the house at all, using einkorn flour, more organic stuff, buying our veggies from a local farmer, getting a whole grass-fed cow, etc.. So, things will change back, but smarter. I’ll still have my ice cream, just be a little more modest about it, or ensure I fit it in somehow (I dig the IIFYM concept).

          Because well.. that leads to your next point: you gotta have control. Counting calories SUCKS. But I am being dragged kicking and screaming into accepting that I have to do it. I’ll even be doing it when it comes time for me to bulk back up, so I “lean bulk”, if you will.

          I really don’t dig the “diet” thing either, because it never works. It must be a lifestyle change, which is what you’ve done. And thankfully, I’m fairly well there. If I can undo some past damage (e.g. shed the gut), things should work well going forward because yeah… lifestyle is there. Can’t shortcut this. Can’t really quick fix it either.

  5. in short form, i meant to say that if you’re doing atkins right, it’s nicely self-regulating. there’s no need to feel hungry on atkins since it ignores calories so if you do get hungry often then you need to look very closely to see if unnoticed carbs are sneaking in or if you’re having too many stimulants such as coffee or soda even if they’re sugar-free.


  6. Hsoi,

    I’m also trying to lose weight and have been struggling with low carb regimes. I’ve also cut out all soda (I’ve been drinking diet for years) and am now just drinking decaff coffee with cream.

    I’ve hit a plateau in my weight loss even after hitting ketosis.

    Not sure where to go from here.

    I guess this is not much help to the situation you find yourself in. Misery loves company…

    Oh, something I heard somewhere else…

    You lose weight at the table.
    You get fit in the gym.

    • That’s about right. Losing weight (or even gaining weight) is all about diet — what you eat and don’t eat.

      We’ll get there! If we plateau, if we regress, it just means we gotta step back, reassess, and try again. And yes, if all this doesn’t work out for me, I have given consideration to a diet coach. The Renaissance Periodization folks, Shelby Starnes, John Meadows, etc.. That too feels kinda weird, but damnit — I’m going to do this. Sometimes you can do things alone, teach yourself, etc. But sometimes you get further when you can have a teacher, coach, mentor, etc.. Someone that has the trained eye, can spot things you can’t (or at least, will do it in less time than you would yourself), and is there to ask questions, etc.. Maybe that’s an option for you?

  7. @disperser: you’ll have to log me as your single exception. [g]

    i’m 5’10 or so and i was 235 when i started atkins and got down to 190 in about a year. then i had an unrelated hospitalization which took about 20 more pounds off despite the idiots trying to feed me 3000+ calories/day which they had the nerve to call a ‘diabetic’ diet. hell, some of the single meals they hauled in were 2400 calories alone. that just proves my point of how out of touch the medical profession is on nutrition.

    today i’m at 160 and have been within 4-5% of that weight for about 3 years despite a nearly total sedentary lifestyle. i no longer follow strict atkins, but i use all the principles i learned doing the research on diets.


    • That’s great . . . I was just speaking of the people I know. The point was that anecdotes about this or that diet are usually geared toward saying to someone “just do this, and you’ll lose weight”, whereas the reality is more complicated.

      A lot more complicated. Trying to fit a given diet to your own life because it worked for someone else seems the wrong approach.

      I could, for instance, say I was 155 in my twenties, 165 in my thirties, and have been between 170 and 175 from my 40s to now (60), with the exception of two and six years ago because of injuries.

      How does that help anyone? People have to educate themselves both about the science of nutrition and about their own metabolism and lifestyle (I sit for roughly 10 hours a day – my eating habits would be much different if I were a logger).

      When I hear “diet” in the context of losing weight as opposed to nutrition, I hear a person that is looking for the easy way out. Sure, it may work for them. I mean, Madonna and Demi swear by the Moon diet, and it seems to be working for them. Isn’t it obvious it would work for everyone else as well?

      • i agree wholeheartedly and i never proselytize about diet although i do constantly complain how consistently wrong the medical profession is on the subject. i think the low carb approach is the only sensible approach to take if you’re diabetic and i would recommend such a diet to another diabetic. and i do acknowledge that the calorie counting or moderation method might work for some people–as you so rightly say, it depends on the individual metabolism. my suggestion to anyone considering a diet is to ignore hype and anecdotes and do a lot of research and then treat it as an experiment with your body as the laboratory and modify the diet as necessary to fit your particular needs. dogma is dangerous in religion and it’s dangerous in dieting. [g]


      • I think you really hit it here: “educate about your own metabolism”. I think most people just eat… they don’t really step back and study themselves. I know I never really did, but the past few years that I’ve really been into lifting again (for the umpteenth cycle in my life) I’ve paid a lot more attention to things. I have learned a lot, and I feel that some of the suffering I’m going through is precisely to help me learn some more. It sucks going through it, but I know a year from now I’ll look back and have gained a lot (mentally! hopefully not bodyweight!) from it all.

    • It’s really amazing how out of touch the medical world is. You start to really read up on stuff and find out that the “common knowledge” is just wrong, based upon very out-dated or flawed research, or things that weren’t researched or have any true founding in facts at all! It’s crazy!

      In a lot of regards, when it comes to eating right and leaning out, I look at the people that need this for serious reasons. Look at bodybuilders. Look how they eat. Granted, they take it to the extreme because of the nature of their sport, but look at what they do and what they do. They must be on to something, because it obviously works. yet, the mainstream ignores this for some reason. Odd….

  8. i didn’t mean to leave the impression that i count calories. i no longer believe the engineering approach to diet which claims that calories-in equals weight-on. i’m aware of calories, sure, but i don’t make a conscious effort to hit a number. of course i’m diabetic and my metabolism works differently than someone without it. for diabetics hsoi is exactly right–what you eat is much much more important than how much you eat.


  9. sausage is not healthy fat for you to be consuming. Fat is important but it should be in the form of nuts and avocados and olive oil etc, not pig fat. I know that many say go with it if it fits your macros but I think that is a failed system! Lean proteins, healthy fat and complex carbs and those in moderation.

    • IIFYM I think has much merit, but it cannot be used as an excuse to eat like crap.

      I think I just got caught up in the “eat fat! you must for this to work” aspect of things and I’ve been consuming too much overall. I still think there’s merit to “calories in, calories out” (to a degree, yes there’s more to it than that, but no question if you eat 2 tons of “good clean stuff” it still will make you fat), and in the end, I just gotta have more calories out than in. Right now all signs point to having equilibrium, hence plateau. So dropping some simple stuff to reduce the cals in should — should — help.

      We shall see. I’m doing some manipulations, and while tracking everything in MyFitnessPal is tedious and annoying well… we’ll see how it goes. If anything, I’m enough of a numbers and data geek that seeing everything is revealing enough. 🙂

      Oh question for you… when you did RP, would you say their diet plan was “complete, just less”? That is, was it keto? or did you still get a mix of protein, fat, AND carbs? but the overall caloric intake was just less than you needed in a day?

      • I felt like the diet plan was complete. It is all based around lean protein sources, healthy fat and complex carbs. Every meal had protein, healthy fat and veggies and then on days that I worked out there was other complex carbs added for recovery. I loved it because it was not based on calorie counting. I am sure that Nick calculated the calories to set the initial measurements but I didnt have to track them which is good for me because I despise counting calories.

        The balance of macros was perfect I guess because I wasnt ever that hungry. It isnt one of those diets that is anti carb. It is more about nutrient timing so you eat complex carbs when your body needs them most.

        They have some great videos out there are nutrition if you go to their youtube channel or find them on facebook and go down about two months.

        • It’s funny. I read a lot about such things like this… and then people go and make it all complicated so you throw your hands up in disgust.

          But after this posting, all this discussion, some other articles that then came up (spurred by something Paul Carter happened to post same-day on Facebook) well…. I’m starting to consider some other options.

          And what you write, it’s all in the same vein.

          So, this is good. Thanx!

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