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plr7855

Crossfit/Hunger/Increasing meals vs Gaining muscle mass

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I'm going to try to make this brief and to - the - point, for everyone's benefit :-)

 

I'm 5'4, 149lb, about 21% body fat.

 

Quick summary of my issues/goals pre-Whole30 (I'm only on day 5),

eating issues:

1) constantly hungry

2) constantly hungry

3) insane sugar cravings, over-indulgance

4) NIGHT bingeing <-- huge issue!

 

energy issues:

1) constant fatigue -- actually have a diagnosed "idiopathic hypersomnia" meaning im super tired and they don't know why)

2) major 3pm crashes

3)insane morning fatigue

 

I've read It Starts with Food and am confident that the Whole30 can help me with the above mentioned issues. 

 

This, however, is not about that... This is about trying to balance how much i'm eating, with my energy crashes/hunger, with my muscle gain from working out.

 

Here's more pre-question verbose explanations of myself... (post-50022-0-97965300-1406919806_thumb.j)

I've been doing CrossFit or ~2 years (love it), but have gained more muscle mass than I'd like. My goal has always been to tone, not grow. Yes i understand the way that muscle mass works, etc. I don't want to give up crossfit, but am less happy with my body than when I was eating low fat cottage cheese/turkey wraps, and hitting the normal-person gym. 

 

In response to this, I am doing two things.

 

1) Cutting weight, increasing reps. and oh well if that doesn't follow the WOD.

 

2) Looking at how I eat. I've been eating about 75% clean for 2 years.. I just eat a LOT, and feel hungry often... OH, and that other 25%? Ya. Candy bar every day-ish. sugar addicted.

 

Of course my muscles were growing.. because I was feeding them!

 

Here's my question.. really:

While my body is adjusting to being fat-adapted (how long does this take?) Will i expect to see weight GAIN? I'm eating a lot more proteins and fats than I'm used to, in an effort to curb my hunger. But I'm afraid that this will lead to more muscle mass, even if I am not lifting as heavy as I used to. I'd like to be able to eat only 3 meals a day but, on day 5 of Whole30, here is what I'm experiencing:

 

7:00am meal1 - 4 eggs, 3/4 avocado, bell peppers

11:30am meal2  - 1.5 portions protein, 2 cups veggies, 2 portions fat (coconut flakes or cashews yum)

2:00pm HUNGER - small meal - small protein, small veggies, small fats

4:00pm HUNGER, hating being hungry, hating life

4:30pm meal3 - 1.5 portions protein, 2 cups veggies, 2 portions fat

7:30pm hunger,  small protein, small fats

 

And lots of cups of tea in between to try and curb hunger.

 

Here's my question part 2... really:

So I know the philosophy is if you're hungry, eat more. However how do I balance this with trying to get my body to NOT need food every 2 hours, and also with me fears of gaining more muscle mass in the gym.

 

Thanks in advance :)

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Given your symptoms, it sounds to me like you're going to have an adjustment period during which you simply need to feed the machine! More than likely, if you can relax as much as possible into it and trust the process, your hunger should regulate and fat adaption should happen. In my experience, that took about two weeks.

As for your body comp concerns, if I were you I'd try to let them go for now. You seem to have a good handle on the template, so why not follow it, listen to your body, and focus on slaying the sugar dragon and binge monster and becoming fat adapted for the next 30 days? After that, see how you feel and then think about how best to tweak your food and workouts to get the body comp results you desire.

One thing at a time. Keep your expectations in check, and just think how amazing would it be if you could simply stop bingeing at night and eating a candy bar every day? That in and of itself would be a miracle, no?

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A few thoughts in no particular order.

 

Did you know that body builders, the people who want to grow big muscles, use lighter weights and more reps? They do. Seriously strong people who lift record level weights for their size are usually not the biggest people in the room. Go back to lifting heavy. You may find that your tone improves when you do. 

 

People who are around me for very long notice that I eat a lot. I don't know anyone who eats as much as I do. I frequently eat 5 times per day. Three main meals and a sweet potato as a snack before bed (a sweet potato per day helps me sleep better). And on the 5 days per week that I strength train, I eat a can of tuna immediately after my session. I usually eat 2 palm-size portions of protein at every meal and sometimes I go to 2.5 palm-size portions. I thought I must be gaining weight, but the scale at my doctor's office says I am 190 pounds. I won a fat loss competition at my old CrossFit gym in 2011 by getting down to 9 percent body fat. I weighed 185 pounds at the time and am more muscular today after years of strength training than I was then. Some of us just need to eat a lot. Our metabolism runs fast and it takes a lot to keep it humming. That said, it makes a big difference over time to not eat 25 percent crap. I lost 30 pounds of fat when I began my Whole30 journey. I dropped from 215 to 185 over a 15 month period. Actually, I am sure I lost more than 30 pounds of fat because I got a lot stronger over those 15 months, so I must have gained pounds of muscle. 

 

Some of these adjustments take time. We hear from people who do everything right during their Whole30 and don't see the results they want for 8 weeks. 

 

I really like that you eat 4 eggs at breakfast. I think a big breakfast is critically important to how the day goes. It is almost impossible to make up for eating too light early in the day by eating heavier at night. The thing is that what really makes our body composition move in the right direction is to have our hormones working in their best rhythm. That requires starting the day with a solid breakfast and eating additional good meals every 4-6 hours thereafter. 

 

And then there is sleep. Good sleep of 8 or more hours is critically important to achieving good body composition. Poor sleep reflects poor hormonal adjustments and it is almost impossible to overcome inadequate sleep with food and exercise. 

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Also, I think especially for you, eating protein and a little fat before you workout (hb egg or two works nicely for most) and eating lean protein plus starchy carb (chicken breast or tuna packed in water plus baked plain sweet potato, for example) immediately after working out is going to be crucial.

And even if you do that, don't freak out if your workouts feel like ass for those two weeks your body is becoming fat adapted. Suck it up and take it easy if you need to and remember that if you stay the course it will. get. better.

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You remind me so much of me! I've gotten so much bigger since starting crossfit-- to the tune of 30 pounds of muscle bigger.  I'm at 19% body fat (measured a few days before I started my whole 30. I'm on day 16 now) but I feel huge. It's hard to no longer feel dainty in a sun dress.

 

Pre-whole30 I was also bingeing every few days and restricting in between.  I struggled with constant hunger.  I also have major energy issues.  Tired all the time, zonking out at work.

 

So far, I've focused my whole 30 on eating to the upper end of the meal template at every meal.  Every meal I eat until I'm FULL. I want to teach my body to trust it's signals and know that more food is coming.  If I were you, I wouldn't feel guilty about the snacks.  But I'd make lunch and dinner full meals. It seems like after breakfast all your meals are small- like snacks.  Eat until you're full 3 times a day, and if you need more, that's okay.  I may gain weight during my whole 30. But I'm hoping that nourishing my body and relearning my relationship with food will be more worthwhile.

 

I PR-ed my deadlift yesterday- 2 reps at 283.  I definitely couldn't do that without all the muscle I've gained! And ultimately I know I'm going to have to decide whether being strong is more important than being small.  To me, for now, it is.

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I'm no doctor, but I am a holistic nutritionist, so here is my two cents: your constant fatigue could be causing your extreme hunger, and may have something to do with blood sugar and/or adrenals.

 

Question: how is your stress level? (Personally, my normally-high metabolism goes THROUGH. THE. ROOF. when I'm stressed out, and also makes me much more tired.) Chronic stress taxes the adrenals, which often leads to fatigue, blood sugar fluctuations, and low thyroid (also a cause of fatigue and weight gain. If you think this is the case for you, I would suggest taking a break from Crossfit and doing more yoga or other less-intense forms of activity (again, personally, this has helped immensely: I was hooked on indoor cycling, and once I decided to take a break I actually lost weight and reduced stress and inflammation). 

 

As has been said, it does take a while to get your body to stop relying on sugar for fuel (I was exactly two weeks into my Whole30 before the constant lethargy gave way to steady energy). I'm going to guess that the "idiopathic hypersomnia" will improve with time as your body slowly releases its grip on refined carbs.

 

In the meantime, as Tom said, try eating more sweet potatoes. Very grounding food, and rich in "good" carbs (bonus: they help balance blood sugar!). Also maybe try getting your thyroid checked? Relaaaaaaax (I know, easier said than done!), and for now, give your body what it needs. Keep up with the protein + fat in addition to starchy veggies instead of refined carbs, sleep when you need to, and trust and respect your body. It DOES get better, trust me  :)

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You remind me so much of me! I've gotten so much bigger since starting crossfit-- to the tune of 30 pounds of muscle bigger.  I'm at 19% body fat (measured a few days before I started my whole 30. I'm on day 16 now) but I feel huge. It's hard to no longer feel dainty in a sun dress.

 

Pre-whole30 I was also bingeing every few days and restricting in between.  I struggled with constant hunger.  I also have major energy issues.  Tired all the time, zonking out at work.

 

So far, I've focused my whole 30 on eating to the upper end of the meal template at every meal.  Every meal I eat until I'm FULL. I want to teach my body to trust it's signals and know that more food is coming.  If I were you, I wouldn't feel guilty about the snacks.  But I'd make lunch and dinner full meals. It seems like after breakfast all your meals are small- like snacks.  Eat until you're full 3 times a day, and if you need more, that's okay.  I may gain weight during my whole 30. But I'm hoping that nourishing my body and relearning my relationship with food will be more worthwhile.

 

I PR-ed my deadlift yesterday- 2 reps at 283.  I definitely couldn't do that without all the muscle I've gained! And ultimately I know I'm going to have to decide whether being strong is more important than being small.  To me, for now, it is.

 

I love this! Thanks for the motivation :-) You are right about my small - frequent meals. Since I work out at the 7pm class, I struggle with what is the best time for "dinner". I do my pre-WO and post-WO snacks accordingly, but dinner i guess has to be 5pm, at work.

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A few thoughts in no particular order.

 

Did you know that body builders, the people who want to grow big muscles, use lighter weights and more reps? They do. Seriously strong people who lift record level weights for their size are usually not the biggest people in the room. Go back to lifting heavy. You may find that your tone improves when you do. 

 

People who are around me for very long notice that I eat a lot. I don't know anyone who eats as much as I do. I frequently eat 5 times per day. Three main meals and a sweet potato as a snack before bed (a sweet potato per day helps me sleep better). And on the 5 days per week that I strength train, I eat a can of tuna immediately after my session. I usually eat 2 palm-size portions of protein at every meal and sometimes I go to 2.5 palm-size portions. I thought I must be gaining weight, but the scale at my doctor's office says I am 190 pounds. I won a fat loss competition at my old CrossFit gym in 2011 by getting down to 9 percent body fat. I weighed 185 pounds at the time and am more muscular today after years of strength training than I was then. Some of us just need to eat a lot. Our metabolism runs fast and it takes a lot to keep it humming. That said, it makes a big difference over time to not eat 25 percent crap. I lost 30 pounds of fat when I began my Whole30 journey. I dropped from 215 to 185 over a 15 month period. Actually, I am sure I lost more than 30 pounds of fat because I got a lot stronger over those 15 months, so I must have gained pounds of muscle. 

 

Some of these adjustments take time. We hear from people who do everything right during their Whole30 and don't see the results they want for 8 weeks. 

 

I really like that you eat 4 eggs at breakfast. I think a big breakfast is critically important to how the day goes. It is almost impossible to make up for eating too light early in the day by eating heavier at night. The thing is that what really makes our body composition move in the right direction is to have our hormones working in their best rhythm. That requires starting the day with a solid breakfast and eating additional good meals every 4-6 hours thereafter. 

 

And then there is sleep. Good sleep of 8 or more hours is critically important to achieving good body composition. Poor sleep reflects poor hormonal adjustments and it is almost impossible to overcome inadequate sleep with food and exercise. 

Thanks Tom! This is all really helpful information. I guess the part in the book "eat three meals a day, and don't snack in between if you can help it" left me feeling guilty/incapable. As in, i SHOULD Be able to eat three meals a day with no snacks and that's it.  Thanks again!

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I usually work out at 5:30 or 7pm as well.  For the 5:30 I eat my pre-workout when I get off work and dinner after.  For the 7pm WOD I eat dinner at 5. And yeah, it's not ideal.  And then I make sure to have my post-workout meal.  Definitely try to not snack- you're probably not eating enough that way, which is why you're often hungry!

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I PR-ed my deadlift yesterday- 2 reps at 283.  I definitely couldn't do that without all the muscle I've gained! And ultimately I know I'm going to have to decide whether being strong is more important than being small.  To me, for now, it is.

 

Awesome PR! A pale shade of green here :) I agree that strong trumps little/dainty etc, though from your profile pic you look both!

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I love everything about this post because I feel like it sums up the story of my life right now.  I am starting my whole30 again tomorrow with my mom.  First, I want to be able to do her first one with her.  But second, I need to slay the sugar dragon and do better at meal planning so I'm not eating small bits of stuff all the time--eat actual real meals.  I do Crossfit 4-5 times a week, strength train (Olympic lifts with my coach) 3-4 times a week, and am an endurance junkie--run, cycle, etc.  

 

I eat a Paleo diet now, but I am horrible about meal timing, making sure I get enough carbs to support my training, and getting enough fats to keep me satiated.  I'm really hoping to tackle those issues this round.  

 

But, I totally understand where you are coming from--I feel like Crossfit and lifting have made me huge!  I've put on a good 5 lbs since starting but I have also gotten sooooo much stronger!  So I am trying to focus on that, repair my relationship with food (I have a bad history of ED), and then worry about my body composition.  

 

I really like what was said about toning it down as far as the heaviness of the workouts (for me the cycling and running) because I feel like those activities keep my chronically inflamed.  I am wondering if backing off the heavy cardio and substituting that with more walking and easy runs would help my Crossfit performance and not stress out my adrenals/cortisol so much???  I'd hate to have to give up CF or lifting.  It's my new passion!  

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