Blog post by:

Michele Iannello

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Possibly a Plateau?

Hey guys, i'm new here, but i've been doing the Slow-carb diet for about 5 or 6 weeks now, and i am extremely strict. at first i still had one tiny piece of dark chocolate everyday but that was only for the first 2 weeks. I did ToughMudder at the end of march this year and was sitting at around 80 kg's when i did it. After it i had to stop running for a bit to give my knees a break because of problems.

My weight increased to approximately 83kg by the time a month had passed. By this time my dad had bought the 4hb book and i began it immediately. I slowly went down to a stable weight between 79.8 and 80.5, and have stayed at this weight since. My cheat days are horrendous, i hate myself after each binge haha but i always drink green tea and have probiotics during it as Tim Ferris outlines. I have green tea most non cheat days along with plenty of water.

Here is the next part though, i work out 6 days a week high intensity and do sprints once per week. It is part of my routine and i love working out, however i cannot seem to drop anymore weight, and im not seeing much improvement in the mirror. I am sitting at around 13.5% BF.

Can anyone recommend or give any tips to overcome this plateau or to continue the fat loss? i am not looking for extreme weight loss now, i just want to continue to get leaner.

cheers :)

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Well, in the book, Tim cites a case of a woman who was working out like six days a week(like you) doing lots of cardio and she overtrained herself and stalled her fat loss because of it. I would ease up on your exercises(I realize it is what you enjoy and a routine), but if you want to get leaner this has to be done otherwise, you should just be happy being at 13%.

I would recommend doing more weight training to build muscle as more muscle = more fat burning factories. I wouldn't say take out cardio altogether, but limit it to like 30-45m like 4 times a week at most. Tough, I know, but try it for a week and see if it helps get past that plateau. If it is still the same, then list us what you are eating per day and drinking. Maybe you can extend your slow carb weeks longer like 9 days instead of the usual 6?

Good Luck!

  • Michele Iannello commented Jul 2nd 2012:

    thanks! ill try cutting it down into more intense sessions 4 times per week and see how it goes :)

    i pretty much only eat eggs, egg whites, beans tuna and chicken, occasionally steak and plenty of vegetables

    ive recently cut out tomato so ill see how that helps, plus i have no more than half an avocado every two days, and almonds in moderation :)

  • Maria Rider commented Jul 2nd 2012:

    Sounds good, miannello. Keep us updated!

  • Chris Raphael commented Jul 2nd 2012:

    How do you know you're 13.5 percent body fat? BMI calculators can be horribly ineffective and calipers are not quite exact.

    By the way, 13 percent body fat falls into the category of an athletic body-fat percentage. Six highly-intense cardio sessions each week sounds like a lot--I like the recommendation to mix in some strength training.

    Also not convinced that cutting out the tomato and avocado is wise. It is possible you are vastly under-eating calorie-wise for your exercise demands, and when you do that, no matter how few sugars you consume, your metabolism can slow down. And your body gives out. Depending on the intensity of your workouts, you might want to try incorporating some whole grains and see how you do.

  • Michele Iannello commented Jul 6th 2012:

    okay thanks heaps for that

    and i think its been mixed up, i do 1 - 2 cardio sessions a week and 6 weight training sessions

    i wont completely cut out the avocado and tomato, but ive cut it out this week to see how it effects everything

    im also going to increase beans and legumes to up the carb intake and see how it goes :)

  • FlyingPig commented Jul 6th 2012:

    Start looking into Intermittent Fasting. A workout protocol à la Leangains may be better suited for you as you are already quite lean.

  • Tomhole commented Jul 6th 2012:

    Adding more carbs may be the exact opposite thing you want to do. Especially if your goal is to get lean. After you let your current experiments run their course, try reducing carbs to just what you get from a salad each day. And curb the exercise to 3-5 days a week and nothing that is intense (gets you producing cortisol).

    Working out a lot makes you hungrier which tells you to eat more. If you don't eat more, you're body eats itself (this is good if it eats your fat). But if you work out wrong (too intense, too much) your body will eat your muscles and organs instead of your fat. Or you feel like you are runs down or going to pass out. In weight loss mode, I recommend reducing exercise vs. increasing carbs / calories.

  • Chris Raphael commented Jul 7th 2012:

    Tomhole: I think one of the limits to 4HB is that it doesn't count on people doing a lot of cardio. If you're doing a lot of cardio and going on 4HB it's possible that you run too high of a calorie deficit for your body to burn fat. From previous posts I have seen people with diets of around 900-1000 calories a day--you know, the small meals of beans/chicken/broccoli/eggs --and then they go out and do a lot of cardio, which gives them maybe a net 500-700 cals a day and that's starvation mode. If you're going to do a lot of cardio, you may need a different diet. I also have my suspicions that 4HB, while perhaps being good for initial weight loss, is nutritious in the long run. A lot of the sample menus I have seen are ultra-low on potassium, calcium, etc.

  • Tomhole commented Jul 7th 2012:

    I just got a blood panel done with all the vitamin markers and I am not deficient in anything. I don't think anyone has ever said you will be vitamin deficient if you do SCD. That's a first.

  • Chris Raphael commented Jul 7th 2012:

    And then, when they're in starvation mode 6 days of the week, burning muscle and decreasing their BMR, there's a binge day under which fat gain could be accelerated. This is not true for everyone but I've read a lot of plateau stories where people were subsisting on 900 calories a day gross and then when you factor in the exercise...starvation mode.

    Recall also the diet is based on more or less a hack. The whole premise is to hack the human body through an extremely low GI diet 6 days of the week, strength training and then a binge day. In theory a low GI diet--and 4hb is radically low GI--should keep starvation mode away but I've read enough plateau stories to suspect this may not be the case.

  • Tomhole commented Jul 7th 2012:

    I'll bet you've read a lot more stories where folks aren't in starvation mode and losing weight like crazy and feeling a lot better. I don't consider myself starving. I eat all the time. But I get full quick because I don't eat high carb stuff. It takes a lot of SCD food to hit 2200 calories / day. I can't even eat that much.

    What's a better alternative?

  • Chris Raphael commented Jul 7th 2012:

    Well for this guy he's already at 13 perc. body fat and wants to go further...take a look at his pic, he's already in good shape and as I pointed out, 13 perc is an athletic bodyfat percentage. I think if he wants more and get into the ripped category, he may have to try something designed for bodybuilding or for athletes, esp. if he wants to workout so hard. Not certain if he's just trying to hit a number like 8 perc. or if he's just going for a more ripped look. I suggest he look around...cutting out a tomato a day ain't gonna do it. I realize thus is 4HB apostasy, but given his stats an avocado and a tomato can hardly be the difference between 13 perc. and 8 perc. bodyfat.

  • Michele Iannello commented Jul 7th 2012:

    haha i appreciate all the discussion guys, im only doing cardio once a week atm, and ive slightly upped the carbs in the morning only

    sitting at around 10% BF would be my ideal goal, i just want to have a lean ripped look without it being excessively vigorous to maintain

    Flyingpig, i have tried intermittent fasting after cheat day and it had differing results. i actually found that only fasting until late afternoon, compared to all day and thru to bed, had a better result


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Just keep up the hard work. It'll pay off in the long run. Pick up the book Chi Running. It might get you back into your jogging shoes. My left foot for 13% body fat.

  • Michele Iannello commented Jul 7th 2012:

    Dont worry mate you will get there eventually, i was 18kg heavier this time last year and that was way before discovering Tim Ferris and his genius, i only read the book just over 2 months ago

    And will do, ill give it a go for sure! :)

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