Strength Monday 03/26/12 (w/ Bonus Befuddlement)

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In my quest for lean superhero-ness, I’m following the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program. Twice a week, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy and crank through a mini-metcon.

What is happening?!

I feel like I’m supposed to have answers for you guys about nutrition and training, but right now, I have only questions and frustration to share. My experience over the last few months (and really, the last two years) is a reminder that we are all an experiment of one (n=1!). The paleo lifestyle and training recommendations are merely a framework to get started. If you’re one of those people that can follow the blueprint and see success, YAY! If you’re a special, special snowflake like me, read on…

I’ve been struggling… with my attitude, with my eating patterns, with my training routine.

It’s not surprising, really. When I started The Healing Experiment, I knew it was going to be a little bit like walking up to the 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle you spent weeks putting together at your grandma’s house, then kicking it up in the air just to watch how all pieces would fly and land. Right now, I’m in part of the arc where all the pieces are still in the air — and it feels just as one would expect: uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and unsteady.

My energy is all over the place. My torso, face, and upper arms are chubbier than they’ve been in a few years. And at this point, I’ve reached the limits of my knowledge, so I’m turning to another professional: Dr. Lane Sebring. He was a presenter at PaleoFX, and I’m hoping his clinical experience and paleo philosophy can help unravel why I’m not improving, despite my (mostly) excellent habits.

But confession time: my attitude has been so craptastic that my habits have been slipping, too. Most of the time, I don’t drink alcohol, and sugar isn’t much of a temptation, but since around November, I’ve been enjoying a glass or two of Prosecco just about every other week, and dark chocolate has become an “every few days” treat. Neither of those behaviors is terribly unhealthy, but they’re not the way to get lean, either. Honestly, I’m not sure what to do with my training at this point, either. As you know from these posts, I’ve been lifting heavy faithfully for almost three months with very little visible results. I’m getting stronger, but haven’t seen an associated fat loss.

This makes me grumpy.

Yes, I would continue to lift weights anyway because I like to do it, and I know it’s beneficial for longevity and good health. But you guys, Vanity and I would really like to see some sexy results. So the experiment continues. I’ll let you know what happens with Dr. Sebring; my appointment is next Monday. Between now and then, I’m going to eat clean, sleep eight hours every night, lift heavy things, meditate, practice yoga, and run from zombies. What else can I do?

5:00 elliptical
2 X [10 squats, 10 pushups, 10 rotations]
PVC work:
slow squats
slow good mornings
shoulder mobility


70% of max = 3 reps @ 115#
80% of max = 3 reps @ 135#
90% of max = max reps @150#. I did 7.

Overhead Press:
70% of max = 3 reps @ 60#
80% of max = 3 reps @ 65#
90% of max = max reps @ 70#. I did 3. [These were tough. I wanted to get to 5 reps, but barely made the 3rd. My right shoulder is definitely healed but now it’s weak. Grrrrrr.]


2 rounds:

400m run
1-arm snatch, 5R/5L, 20# dumbbell
10 burpees
My time: about 10:00


Did you workout today? How is YOUR attitude?

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  • Beth says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Interesting post because I JUST had the same discussion last week – I work with dieticians and I was bitching that I am ‘perfect’, but I’ll be damned if the scale will budge. They are SO against Paleo, but agreed to work with me within this framework.

    As a “jump start” they suggested I have one full week of eating nothing but protein and veggies – NO nuts. (We figured out this is my down fall, when I want sugar or a treat I reach for nuts and obviously too many).

    After this week (I started today and am encouraging hubby to join me) we will have 30 grams of carbs added per meal.

    I am also going to up my cardio – get back on the running bandwagon in addition to my spin classes. I always lift so I’m good there.

    Hope this helps a little. Probably nothing you don’t already know, but it was helpful for me to hear it from an outside myself source.

  • Kelly says:

    Wow! I am in the EXACT same place you are. I have been doing Starting Strength for the past 12 weeks, I missed but one workout due to illness, and while I’m getting stronger and have moments of feeling like a badass, the visible fat loss I hoped to see has not happened.

    Can’t wait to hear how it goes with Dr. Sebring! Maybe he has the key!

  • Suzanne H says:

    I hope you’re able to get some answers and a course of action. I’m going through something similar and have been pretty frustrated. I started seeing a holistic MD and hope that I’ll see some results soon.

    I’m curious, did you ever get tested for Hashimoto’s? Also, have you tried Armour thyroid medication? Does your doctor test for Free T3 and Free T4 as well as TSH? Have you been tested for adrenal fatigue?

  • Rachel Dixon says:

    Thank you for this! I’ve been having a very similar experience.

    Feeling very fulfilled with my paleo life (or my paleo-lite life, as it has become), but Big-V Vanity has been knocking on my door, too.

    I don’t like it when she asks questions like “Why are we doing this again? This is a lot of hard work!” Most of the time I have the right answers, but some days (like yesterday), I can get a bit nihilistic about the whole thing.

    Yoga teaches me that all feelings (especially during wicked poses) are temporary. I hope this one is too.

  • Linda says:

    First of all: You are freakin’ GORGEOUS!!! What do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it what is really there…a vibrant, beautiful, and extremely cool woman with loads of style? I think we all should go by how we feel physically with regards to food and activity. Listen to your body – it knows what works. Where we need to get better is on acceptance and self-love. Treat yourself like your own best friend. I’ve been working on this idea now for over a year and it is slowly, slowly starting to kick in. Good luck on your mission! We are all rooting for you (and each other)!

    • Mel says:

      Linda, you are very kind. Thanks for the compliments. Here’s the thing: I love my body and what it can do. What concerns me is that I’m doing everything “right” and gaining weight, which seems to indicate that everything isn’t “right.”

      Also, I have a closet of clothes that are thisclose to not fitting. Definitely seems like something weird is up…

      But to be clear, I’m not judging myself harshly or dissecting body parts. I FELT better and looked better two years ago — wondering why my habits seems to be reversing my progress.

      • Linda says:

        ahhh…now I get it. That IS frustrating. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Dr. Sebring will help you figure it all out. Hang in there. 🙂

  • Emma says:

    I thought I remember you saying that you took synthroid for your thyroid??? If so, two things. I agree that taking Armour is better than taking synthroid, so that might be something for you to look into if you haven’t already.

    And, have you been tested for Hashimoto? If not, please do so. If you have an auto-immune condition, your diet probably needs revamping. Robb Wolf lays out a auto-immune diet that is specific to those who have auto-immunity issues. The goal is to figure out which foods in particular are triggering your auto-immune response, which takes time and commitment. Either, or both of these things, could be the reason the fat is not budging. Some people also remove all nuts and seeds during their elimination phase. (scroll down some; there are two sections on autoimmunity)

  • Tami C. says:

    A few weeks ago I was in the same state: unhappy with my weight, grumpy, and worrying that I’ll never get where I want to be.

    Then I really, REALLY thought about it. If I’m eating as well as I possibly can, sleeping as well as I possibly can, and my workouts are sane and I enjoy them, then what more can I do? If I’m doing all of those things, why worry about the outcome? I’ve already changed the things I can so I just decided to let it go and have faith. Maybe I’ll never look like a fitness model (ok, probably not, but anything is possible) but it doesn’t do me any good to worry about it.

    Since I had that epiphany, my attitude turned around 180 degrees.

    Mel, you are awesome, and lots of people (and cats, and a few border collies you’ve never even met) love you and admire you. Do the best you can and learn to let the rest go. Have faith.

  • Sara M says:

    It’s funny you mentioned the zombies. I downloaded the app after your review a few weeks ago. So fun, but I keep getting caught when it’s time to sprint. lol, more motivation I guess 🙂

  • Holly says:

    Aw man, I just know exactly how this feels. I have no good advice, maybe just a bit of commiseration about the frustration that is the n=1 experience. Sometimes I just want to HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT. But you know what, if I did, I’d probably move onto something else new and then have to figure that all out too. 🙂

    I’m excited to hear about your experiences with Dr. Sebring and am crossing my fingers for you with this whole experiment. It’s so hard to do the work and then not get a tangible result that looks how you would like it to look. Good luck, girl!

  • Alisha says:

    I’ve kinda just felt like I’ve been in a fog for a few months so I’m trying to just that feeling. I gave up coffee which seems to have helped and lightened up my training a bit. Today I did my first longish walk with a weighted vest. It was a nice change.

    I hope you and Dr. Sebring are able to come up with some clear answers; the most frustrating part for me is just not knowing why. Hang in there!

  • Heather says:

    Sorry to hear you are frustrated in this way. Interested to hear what Dr. Sebring comes up with (my not fully successful Paleo n=1 is in need of a biohack, too). What about Dr. Kruse’s Cold Thermogenesis (CT)? In his blog he describes it will turn on a pathway that bypasses the thyroid, whether a person has one or not. But maybe you already heard about that at PaleoFx. Good luck and thanks for sharing.

  • Mel says:

    I’ve got the ‘pudge’ back, too – how timely your post is! (and my boyfriend does, too; his Navy uniform is, ahem, tight, but I’ll just make him mad if I say anything)… I am so frustrated: I lost 15 lb, and most of it’s back. 🙁

    I’ve got my kitchen back, so I can cook again after 4 months (!!!). Today is corned beef + cabbage.

    I’m powerlifting now, which is still all kinds of hard and breath-sucking, but in a different way from Crossfit.

    I am hoping between lots of home cooking, taking my supplements from my homeopathist, and going very low carb (ie almost all veg) I’ll rebalance myself.

    And YES IT IS FRUSTRATING; thank you for acknowledging that. People can say I’m not fat all they want, but until I can look in the mirror and feel good in my clothes (which I *was* feeling great in…till the waistbands got tight), I will be teed off.

  • Clarissa says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Let us know if you figure out the answer to the insidious Paleo weight gain that seems to hit us women a year or two into eating Paleo/Primal. I’m right there with you! I’m starting a Whole 30 tomorrow to try and shed the 5-6 lbs that has crept on since January (where did it come from?!?) It seems like one bad night of sleep, or one square of dark chocolate suddenly are packing on lbs, when a year ago I’d still be steadily losing lbs with what I eat now. BTW, I love your writing style. You are seriously one talented and gorgeous woman. So glad I found your blog! (hat tip Richard Nikoley – Free the Animal)

    • Hannah says:

      Is gaining weight a year or so into eating paleo a known issue? I ask because I also gained 5 pounds since January and have been struggling to understand how/why.

      • Roz says:

        Matt Stone over at 180 degree health talks about this a lot — I equate it to the honeymoon has ended, but since it was so great at the start surely it will be great again.

        I noticed after 8 months of Paleo/primal (I still consume full fat dairy) that my hands and feet were always cold (this was at the tail end of summer, before fall) and my weight loss had plateaued with no change in diet/exercise habits. Something was off metabolically, and I had no idea what. My thyroid labs came back as ‘normal’, my insulin related bloodwork was all good, although not as good as it had been 3 months prior (what’s up with that?).

        A month ago, I decided maybe I had gone too low carb in my Paleo/primal framework, and that my body was defending itself from never-ending winter (after all, seasonally speaking low carb does seem to equate with winter) by going into preservation mode with a slow metabolism. Save the precious organs, remove heat from the extremities to do so. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in some constipation where there had never been any before. As an added bonus, here, have some muscle fatigue while climbing stairs — not out of breath, just really fatigued thighs after two flights.

        As n=1, I added in more sweet potato and fruit (raspberries and strawberries, with heavy cream or coconut milk) daily, the occasional bit of white rice (less than 1/4 cup cooked, maybe twice a week if that). And there are days when my hands and feet are quite toasty now, and I’m noticing less muscle fatigue climbing stairs…. but I’m absolutely terrified I’ll gain back the weight I lost or wreck my metabolism.

        • Emma says:

          I don’t do low carb because I worry about the reverse T3 effect, and your experience is valid as well. Having thyroid problems to begin with, I don’t want to do anything that will make my situation worse. For this reason, I focus on the removal of offending foods, not carb counts, although I do pay attention to how much I’m eating overall. When I do log my food, to see what my average is, I’m usually right around 80-100 grams a day, which I’m good with as long as I’m feeling good and losing weight.

    • Emma says:

      I would be interested to hear more about this as well. I’ve been hearing more and more people say/admit this. When I was looking through some of the PaleoFX pictures that someone had posted on their blog, I noticed that one of the well-known paleo women (won’t say who as I don’t want to single her out and possibly embarrass her if she reads this blog, which I’m guessing she does) had obviously gained weight. Of course, I have no idea why she gained weight (although I will say that she is nowhere near menopause), but I couldn’t help but wonder if she’s another case out there of “women who have started gaining weight for no apparent reason after doing paleo for some time”.

      I like the honesty that is going on here with this issue. Thanks, Mel,and the others who shared that they are in the same boat, for your openness. I hope that all of us can find some answers through your honesty and openness. I know those of us who have not gone through this would really appreciate answers now so that we do not find ourselves in the same situation with no answers, ripping our hair out as well.

  • Juliet says:

    Hey Mel,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks, thought I don’t often comment, and I wanted to drop by and give you a word of support for this one. Dealing with a lack of results when you feel like you’re doing a great job is FRUSTRATING. And, if you’re anything like me, I turn to food for comfort when I feel out of control and it only makes my frustrations worse. It’s like a downward spiral.

    Some other commenters already said this, but, at least in my experience, the more I worry about shedding fat, the more fat I put on. Not making progress is a HUGE stressor and, being in the paleo-sphere I’m sure you know all about that.

    When I get sucked into a downward spiral I try to remind myself of a few things… We’re more than just a pants size or scale weight (wives, chefs, artists, writers, scientists, uncles, etc.). We’re capable of some pretty awesome feats. I mean really… 150×7 on deads and 70×3?!?!?! Thats freaking STRONG. (And no, I’m not just kissing your butt. I’m legit impressed.) And last, I like to think that I don’t want to look back on ‘now me’ as ‘future me’ and see someone who spent her time worrying “the small stuff” when I should have been living my life.

    I have really been enjoying your blog and think you are a beautiful, strong woman. We ALL hit rough patches and bumps in the road. I have full confidence you will overcome this one and that Dr. Sebring is going to help you rock the world’s socks off. <3 Best wishes.

  • pbo says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Please forgive me if you have already mentioned this, but one thing that seems obvious to me that you have not spoke about in the post are calories. In the end, calories matter. I know there are a lot of factors involved, but if you are not losing weight, you have to log your food in take too really see where you are at.

    For me paleo, was about resetting my relationship with food, so that I ate when i was hungry, and my body and mind were on the same page. No need to count and weight things. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way.

    I know for me I have to monitor my intake every so often if I am hitting a plateau or not seeing the results I want. Doing this and sticking too it for awhile I start seeing the lose.

    Having some dark chocolate or some alcohol once in awhile is fine… as long as its budgeted into your diet. However, just a few hundred calories (one serving of chocolate or drink) is enough to halt your weight loss if it puts your over.

    As for exercise are you doing any low intensity walking? If you are getting stronger, great, but you might still not be creating the deficit you need.

    Apologize again, if this has already been brought up in previous posts.

  • Iris says:

    Hi Mel,

    I don’t think I commented before, first I want to thank you for your site and the wonderful book. I stop by everyday to check whats new, and I have eaten Jicama for the first time after reading about it in you book (home fries, yumm).
    For me after about a year of loosing weight easily (well relatively speaking), I hit a plateau. What helped me was tracking my caloric consumption on fit day and make sure I eat well and keep the number not too low and not too high. Good luck and again, thanks!

    • pbo says:

      Iris, exactly the point I was making 🙂 It stinks to have to do, but you need to monitor if are not seeing the results you expect.

  • Mel says:

    Thank you, everyone, for your comments! I’m going to respond here en masse…

    To those of you also struggling with a plateau (or whatever you want to call it)… hang in there. At the very least, we are eating healthfully and moving our bodies. That is HUGE and important and not to be undervalued. The weight loss thing will get figured out somehow, but be brave and committed ’til then.

    To those of you who wisely recommended I look at calories… I agree 100%. I track in Fitday 5-6 days a week to keep an eye on it. Right now, I’m between 1300-1500 calories per day, with my macronutrients at about 40% fat/30% protein/30% carbs. I’ve been advised not to go very low carb because of my thyroid. And I was at about 50-60% fat last year — which didn’t make me leaner over the long haul. Clearly, I haven’t handed on the magic proportion of macronutrients yet. And I’m not sure exactly what my caloric intake should be, but I don’t want to go lower than 1300. That is dangerously close to diet territory, and that comes with a host of its own issues.

    Regarding exercise: I run 1-2X per week, lift weights 2X per week, do yoga 3X per week…

    I think that’s everything for now. Keep the comments coming!

  • Sonya says:

    PhotoCalorie is a neat app for iPhone to track portion sizes and all that jazz. By taking a photo of what you eat and guessing the portion sizes you can often be surprised at how we underestimate what actually goes in the body. You could even show the doc what you’ve been eating when you have your appointment!
    I’ve plateaued as well. Definitely due to stress from my job which I have let take over my being at certain points. Completely unhealthy but I also have come to recognize when these episodes of nearly going off the deep end with stress coiincide with periods of “loose” eating. I never veer into eating bread or pasta but I occasionally have white rice, dark chocolate, and red wine. Ok, I lie, I drink wine possibly one glass 4 nights per week. Ugh. I also use the excuse of getting too tired from work to go to the gym. Skipping the gym + stress + wine + dark chocolate = stall in progress.
    Thank you for this post. I’m inspired to give it my all once again and consult the experts if I’m not getting results like I expect.
    Good luck with your appointment and getting to the bottom of it all- I suspect your previous thyroid issues could be continuing to give you grief!

  • Emily says:

    Hey, I like you, think you’re pretty great and am rooting for the results that will make you happy!

  • XFit Mama says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I totally understand where you are coming from, and you have to do what is best for you to make you feel happy and comfortable.

    I’m not sure when you time your meals, or if you even time them at all, but maybe try eating every 3-3.5 hours? I know it is sort of against the Whole30 protocol, but maybe it’ll work. Also, have you tried eating more lean meats for awhile. I was irritated when my nutrition coach put chicken breast and white fish on the my meal plan, because I love steak and pork. But I realized that eating too much of a good thing wasn’t helping me meet my goal.

    Another idea would be carb cycling, more carbs on days you lift heavy, and less carbs on running/yoga days. I’m not sure how carb cycling would affect your thyroid issue though. Just throwing it out there.

    Just remember that we all know how to eat healthy thanks to all the Paleo resources out there, we just need to tweak it a bit to help us meet our personal goals.

    Thank you for sharing your highs and lows through this healing experiment. I’m rooting for you! <3

  • pbo says:

    You may not want to go lower, you might want to go a bit higher. You may have slowed down your metabolism by going too low.

    Obviously this where you tinker and the whole experiment thing comes to play, which you are in the process of going through.

    I would determine the amount of calories to maintain you current body weight (few calculations you can find online, some more specific and detailed then others).

    Here is what I would try once you got those numbers. Try going only 100-300 calories below that.

    Now I would go w/ two options. One you cycle high/lower carb days with your workouts. Days you workout, eat a bit more calories (maybe maintenance level, and up the carbs). The other option is every few weeks you eat at maintenance level. This way you body never worries that you are starving yourself. In both scenarios, calories for the week should put you in a deficit. (Also when I say lower carb, I would say nothing lower than 75 grams, and probably higher depending on how hard you workout).

    You may be at the point where you body is not sure what it is going to get and may have really slowed down to be safe. Definitely would not go too low, as your energy level, mood, etc will also suffer.

    • pbo says:

      Sorry if it wasn’t clear. Option two is everyday you eat at a deficit, but then every month or few weeks,you do a week of maintenance levels.

  • Loving this blog entry and the “Can I get an AMEN?!” responses, as I’m also going through a similar scenario. Went paleo last September and have gone from a size 14 to a 10, making me the smallest size I’ve ever been as an adult. Definitely great!

    But those nagging little numbers on the scale are the exact same as they were the last time I (conventionally) lost weight, and they’ve hovered there for the past 3 months. I’ve still lost some more inches (I should probably buy measuring tape and monitor that more closely rather than the scale), but it’s frustrating to be at the same weight!

    Otherwise I’m super healthy and love love LOVE living paleo. I’m eating roughly 1200-1800cals a day, doing HIIT training several days a week and yoga or walking a couple days a week, but progress has definitely stalled. I hate to put value in numbers like that, but considering I’m getting married this summer also (and maybe have my sights set on my first bikini for the Italian honeymoon), I’d like to get things kicking again, and my January Whole 30 didn’t do too much.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you on this!

    • pbo says:

      1200 – 1800 is a big range when you are stalling and not sure why you are not losing any more weight.

      What is your average daily caloric deficit? If you are not getting the results you want you have to be really detailed here as estimating could be why you are not losing anymore weight.

      • I haven’t been monitoring my caloric intake or deficit as much just because that was something I quickly grew tired with when conventionally “dieting”. I’ve been focusing on staying active (since I sit 10 hours a day between my job and commute), sticking with my primal way of life (80/20 style) and intermittent fasting 1-3 times a week. My food composition is about 60% fats, 25% protein, 15% carbs, aiming for 50-100g of carbs a day.

        Although in my case at this plateau, keeping track of those numbers might be a good idea if I want to see further improvement.

  • Emily says:

    I suspect that Suzanne H and I are thinking along the same lines. I suggest looking into desiccated thyroid instead of synthetic stuff, and consider testing yourself for adrenal fatigue. Thyroid issues are poorly treated by endocrinologists. I wasn’t able to get a handle on my own until I found this website:

    Good luck! Sorry to hear that you are frustrated!

  • Emily says:

    PS: Emma’s comments too, I missed them the first time! Hashimoto’s is a possibility, and desiccated thyroid (Armour or I use Erfa thyroid) is tremendously better than synthetic stuff.

  • Ms Jane says:

    Hormones??? Worth getting the whole shebang tested. I’ve started menopause (I’m only 45) and it’s wreaked havoc with my weight. Just getting it under control now. I dunno. Hang in there xxx

  • Maria says:

    I started crossfit a year and a half ago. I have very mixed feelings about it. I love cross fit, I feel stronger. It beats going to the gym and doing the treadmill, again. It’s challenging…BUT. The one thing I’ve noticed is none of the women are cut-up (sculpted). Which is what I want, to be strong and look strong. So, I am very torn as to what to do next. Do I quit? Hire a personal trainer? After 1 1/2 years, am stronger, but my clothes don’t feel loser, and my weight is the same. Very frustrating.

  • Em says:

    Hey Melissa, I’m a Marine, avid fitter (combo of cross and seal if I can keep up with my husband) and now Paleo-you know my biggest downfall is that I will feel SO great and be on such an energy high that I will slip thinking I’m invinsible… Fatkid Sunday after Partykid Saturday had me itching all over with bumps?! Maybe you’ll find comfort in knowing this-not sure if you are the same, its almost like when I had to take allergy meds (pre paleo) I would have a few days of feeling great, not take them and then BAM I paid for it lol. Stay mentally strong-you are awesome, I love your site and your positive energy bleeds thru your words so here’s a fan saying, whatever you find that works for you I hope it comes soon and I hope your inner cavewoman gets balanced 🙂

  • Em says:

    p.s. sorry to double post and this is just a thought but sometimes if I’m feeling too bulky in the wrong places I’ll up my metcon (sweatcon) for a week or two… i.e. spend double what I would on the front and back end of a workout to kind of shock my muscles-you may already do or know this though but it definitely works for me and I’m wasnt born with barbie’s stature…

  • Lydia says:

    Oh baby. This all sucks so much.

    I hope you don’t have Hashimoto’s. I’ll cross every finger I have that your antibody count is super low. Because in my experience (of, yeah, n=1) even though Hashimoto’s is a diagnosis, it didn’t give me any answers.

    I’m glad to hear you’re getting tested for adrenal fatigue. And I hate to mention it, but we are of An Age…maybe you should get your female hormone panel checked, too.

    You’re in my thoughts.

  • Tom says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Is there a chance that you’re looking in the wrong place for an answer? When did you start to look into leaving your job and doing this site full time? A couple of months ago? Couldn’t such a drastic change in your life have provided enough of an upset to your schedule/life that you’ve begun craving something that’s familiar and comforting, like wine and chocolate? Haven’t you also been traveling more, which would just upset things even more and kick you out of your normal routines? It sounds as if part of the reason you’ve been feeling ‘off kilter’ is simply that you’ve not adjusted to your new routine yet. Give yourself a break and give it some time. Also, remember to take a ‘deload’ week in your lifting every 4th week or so, to avoid overtraining (something else that will have symptoms similar to what you’ve described here.) That means backing off on the Crossfit style workouts as well, which will also cut into your recovery time. An easy week and a little extra sleep may be all you need to get your mojo back to where it was. It couldn’t hoit!

  • Cate B says:

    Hola Melissa – question for you. I followed your healing experiment, which as a full time yoga enthusiast I was super stoked about for you(!), but I was wondering did the weight gain start during that time or before that time, which is part of what prompted you to do the healing experiment?

    • Mel says:

      Cate, the Healing Experiment was prompted by a slow weight gain over the course of a year or so… and since I started the Healing Experiment, I’ve puffed up a little faster. I was part of a group that was being “coached” by nutrition consultants to see if they could come up with a protocol for people like me. The results were inconclusive — everyone has had different experiences.

  • Punky says:

    I was a CrossFitter and became a top level competitive Powerlifter. I also struggled with weight and am well versed in Paleo/Zone and a true supporter. However, when lifting heavy weight you may need to look at the needs of your body a little closely. What I have learned is, and someone mentioned it, caloric intake is super important. Also timing your food to promote lean mass development can really help in your problem areas. It might be worth looking into concepts like the Anabolic Diet and diets that body building type sports have used over the years. From all this I am on a modified paleo-ish anabolic diet. Basically I eat paleo but I eat beans because I have to stay within a caloric range but still get carbs that help me lift a lot of weight. Paleo doesn’t get your insulin running very much and lean mass development is increased when your insulin carries around that HGH horomone so if you just eat paleo all the time and lift heavy I don’t think its the best plan.
    I also time my carbs around the optimal time to produce lean mass which is during recovery (the hours after a workout). Within 30 days of my diet I lost 4% body fat (in my problem areas) and gained 2lbs lean mass. I think caloric restriction is important and eating 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight if you are on a strength training cycle. I curious what your doc says…..

  • Cate B says:

    Ah, gotchya. I wish you luck in figuring all of this out! Although it might not change your body composition, detachment is a wonderful thing to practice for your mental/emotional composition while dealing with everything! It’s my number one meditation right now =)

  • Serena says:

    Sometimes, you just have to go back to the basics. Food. Throw away any guilt associated with eating non paleo foods. Workout – I get that strong is sexy but when I did heavy lifting, it did nothing for my body comp so I reverted to low weight high rep but not crossfit type workouts because I think it puts too much stress on my body. I’ve seen great results with 20 rep squats. Diet -play around with macros more…I say tweak every two weeks if you don’t see any changes. When my diet is on point, I’ve been able to lose weight on eating 10-12 calories per lb of body weight with a 40% C-30%P-30%F split and all my fat source if not from meat is from coconut oil.

    I hope it works out for you because I know what you’re going through.

  • Mel says:

    Again, thank you EVERYONE for your thoughtful comments and sharing your experiences. I’m delighted at this conversation because it perfectly illustrates my dilemma. You are all offering excellent advice — and it all contradicts each other. Should I eat more calories or less? Should I train harder or take it easier? Should I track every calorie and macronutrient, or just trust my appetite and body? It’s fascinating. I have no answers yet, but I hope my appointment with Dr. Sebring will at least suggest another track for my self experimentation.

  • De23 says:

    Late to the party here, but I wanted to throw in my support as well. I’m just in survival mode at present but I’ve been tracking my body fat % most days to try and get an idea of what affects me the most. So far it seems to be sleep, which I know you already have covered. So, I’m not as lean as I would like, but I can get my jollies listening to almost everyone I know complain about the horribly bad allergy season while my half-empty bottle of meds sits at home untouched. Yay for health!

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