T Nation

Can't Lose Fat


#1

I was hoping there would be one person on this forum that would take the time to read this and REALLY try to help me.

I have been overweight for quite some time. Over the past 3 years I have tried multiple programs/diets with no success, (and YES, I did give each of them time to work...) I understand these things do take time...

Before I list everything that I've tried let me explain:

I am not afraid to work hard in the gym, I do not eat crap, I'm a natural athlete and overall pretty muscular. I'm 25 years old, and it kills me that I have wasted YEARS trying to lean out, while it takes others a mere few months to lose weight...

When I see images of relatively non-active women who claim "I lost 38 lbs in 4 months!" with just diet I want to throw up...Seriously, I only need to lose 15-20 lbs...but I never make any progress...

But let me repeat: I WORK HARD IN THE GYM... I RUN 5ks...I CrossFit (when I feel like it, I only drank 1/2 the cool-aid)...I LOVE LIFTING for God's sake....in the words of Ronda "I AM NOT A DO-NOTHING B***H...

So to get to the point, I would LOVE if someone could just point me in the right direction...

My stats:
Height: 5'2
Weight: 163 (I know this sounds terrible)
Starting BF% was 32.9...now I'm at 29%

Things I've tried:
Running 6 miles 4-5 days a week while starving myself (no need to comment on this one)

CrossFit with strict Paleo (could also be considered starving myself)

Push/Pull/Legs/Core "Comp" prep with Macros...(Cal: 1800) (Carbs 170) (Prot:157) (Fats:55) (Fiber20-30)...with a trainer who I saw once a week, the other days were doing the workouts on my own.

CrossFit with Macros-A: Cal: 1,680 - 1,960____Pro: 141-171g____Fat: 37-43g____Carbs: 189-220
...(in fairness, I did this for 20 weeks (followed it to the T) and saw a 3% decrease in body fat...but I didnt lose any weight...AND even worse, I was 'supposed' to have lost 2 lbs a week with this... so we decided to switch up my numbers, at which point the trainer who wrote them initially went MIA.... so I recalculated them myself (blindly) as below...

CrossFit with Macros-B: (Calories: 1800) (Protein: 163g) (Fat: 64g ) (Carbs: 144)

Then after a few months switched to:

Just Running 5ks, 4x a week while just eating what felt 'right' and 'smart' (and I dont mean a million quest bars, though I do like those)...but I was driving myself nuts with counting numbers with no results... to be honest, this FELT good, but again, who knows if this is ideal?

Recently I went back to my push/pull/legs bit with the last set of Macros...I noticed a bit more definition in my arms (delts!)...but thats it...no fat loss really... also, no cardio during this...

I was JUST about to attempt the Waterbury method with Macros as follows: Cals: 1,600___ Carbs: 140___Fats: 44___Proteins:160 .... but then I saw the "Hard Body Training For Women" article https://www.T-Nation.com/workouts/hard-body-training-for-women ... WHICH ONE DO I CHOOSE?

At this point I'm confused, and before anyone blames CF, or bad trainers at Retro, or the boyfriend/brother/guyfriend who thinks he knows what he's talking about...I've also read a lot of articles on here that just seem to add to the 'do's and don'ts' ....the problem is the overlap...

Some say cardio is bad, it will destroy your muscles. Other programs, like the Waterbury I'm about to begin, allow it for 20 mins every other day.

Same with diets. Some sources say you can lose weight while just dieting...others stress the importance of lifting heavy.

Some say cutting calories will make you gain weight...is a 1600 caloric intake going to backfire on me and make me gain weight?!?! Others say 'reverse' dieting (cals: 1900s-2000s) helped them lean out...

One person told me that form isn't THAT important, that I should just DO it...and another says "well if your form isn't correct its a waste of a workout'

WTF...HOW IS ANYONE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT TO DO?

To be honest, I've developed a lot of emotional issues because of this. Anyone with weight issues understands...but now I have serious anxiety anytime someone recommends a new program because every time it doesn't work, its an emotional tail-spin.

Please dont let me slip through the cracks. I'm one of your own!!! I'm not lazy and I WANT THIS I'm just feeling very confused and mislead right now... there's just TOO much information.

Please help!

_ Bunny


#2

The first thing that popped out to me is that you said you were:
5’2" 162 lbs at 29% body fat

Also, you mentioned you dropped 4% body fat from 32.9%.

So I am confused here. You are falling in the average range of body fat for women, which is around 25-31%, AND you have dropped 4%. So, you are not fat and you have made progress. Why do you feel so lost?

Why do you feel like you are lost and falling through the cracks? Is it because you are 162 lbs? Who gives a shit? I know very little about you. However, at 5’2" and 162 lbs and 29% body fat perhaps you just are not built like whatever skinny model or female long muscled lean crossfit athlete is. Okay, great. Have you seen the other female athletes in the world that don’t look like these women and are very sexy, strong, and athletic?

My point is, at your body stats, I would think you have a lot of muscle and are a very strong lifter (or at least would have the potential).

I would also be willing to bet that if your goal is to drop more body fat, you can do it. You seem to have read a lot of different articles and such, that is great. I think you could get to 25% BF on your own doing the right things and being healthy in the process. However, that body weight number, don’t let that warp your mind on how you look and your own athleticism.

I am sure someone will help you with more specifics. However, this is just something I noticed on reading your post. Best of luck.


#3

[quote]Bunny7676 wrote:
Over the past 3 years I have tried multiple programs/diets with no success[/quote]
I disagree…

[quote]CrossFit with Macros-A
…(in fairness, I did this for 20 weeks (followed it to the T) and saw a 3% decrease in body fat…but I didnt lose any weight[/quote]
That was progress. Losing measurable bodyfat without a change in bodyweight is sometimes called a “recomp”. If you were to drop 10 pounds of fat while building 10 pounds of muscle over the course of 8 weeks (an exaggerated example), the scale would end up reading the same, but your body would look seriously different.

Again, a visual improvement in definition means fat was lost and/or muscle was built.

I think you need to get very specific about your goals. Do you want the scale to read a lower number? That’s weight loss and it is very easy. Or do you want to improve your physique? That’s about fat loss and building muscle. It’s not easy, but it’s also not complicated.

It totally doesn’t matter what you choose. They’ve both worked for many people.

You’re definitely dealing with information overload, on top of a having just a vague set of expectations. After today, stop reading training and nutrition articles for the next 12 weeks. In that time, put your head down and stick to one training, nutrition, and supplement plan designed to work towards your specific goals.

Trial and error. It kinda sucks on one hand, but it’s what every lifter has gone through. You said you’ve been going through it for three years so far, but I’m saying you’ve found some stuff that worked for you in that time.

Based on the results you already reported, it looks like you do well with “big” workouts (push/pull/legs or pretty much full body training) without doing a ton of very long distance/long duration cardio and while eating for performance (a not-low carb diet). Those two pieces of info alone should help you sort things out moving forward.

I would say, though, it’s worth getting a full physical with bloodwork just to make 100% sure you’re healthy and don’t have any sneaky underlying issues (PCOS or anything).


#4

There are so many aspects to my confusion, I’m thankful you took the time to really break it down…

I think I’m definitely looking to improve my physique…so gain muscle and lose fat… scale can stay at 162 as long as I dont look like 162 …if that makes sense…

No articles for the next 12 weeks. Done.

Your bit about the bloodwork and overall health. That’s something thats always there in the back of my mind…the ‘is it something else’ ??

Overall this made me feel a lot better. Especially knowing that trial and error is more common than I thought…

If both the Waterbury and Hard Body For Women programs have been successful then that I’ll switch over and start fresh.

Again, thanks for this reply!


#5

Thank you!! Feeling very encouraged now!!

Going to try my best!


#6

Most important thing by far is Total Energy Output vs Calorie intake. In other words: exercise more, eat less.

Your “Macros-B” above look totally good. ((Calories: 1800) (Protein: 163g) (Fat: 64g ) (Carbs: 144))

Eat like that, trying to get as much fiber as possible (veggies), measuring accurately (most people underestimate), lift heavy and hard, and do cardio on off days. Do not worry at all about losing muscle. With a well-balanced diet like that, the more work you do, the more fat you’ll lose. So just train as hard as you can given schedule / other variables and be consistent with diet and check the scale once / week. (also, as you lose weight, titrate calories/macros down).


#7

Record your body measurements. It helps give an idea of fat loss/muscle growth when the scale doesn’t change. Don’t get caught up in those numbers either. You can’t target fat loss in a specific area and as long as you see progress overall, that’s what matters.


#8

Rely on the tape measure not scale weight.

Get your thyroid levels checked.

Try HOT-ROX pre wokout


#9

I would agree with what has been said above.

You really do need to get your thyroid checked. If you are having this much trouble losing weight it’s at least worth the time to have it checked out.

Lift hard and do cardio on your off days. It honestly doesn’t matter what program you do as long you follow those two principles.

Eat well. Plan B looks fine.

The one exception that I have to the above statements is that I would not titrate your calories down as you lose weight. Just keep the calories the same until you completely stop losing weight or start putting it back on. There is no need to change if what you are doing is working and continuing to lower the calories is just going to make it harder on you, make you feel worse, and potentially make you miserable.


#10

Hey Bunny7676, I know that it can be incredibly frustrating to not see the results that you deserve after all of the hard work that you put into it.

However, Chris is right. If your goal is weight loss and only weight loss then it is it is very easy. It’s primarily your diet, especially your daily caloric intake that will determine your bodyweight and body composition (basically your body’s ratio of its overall lean mass to it’s overall fat mass). Sure, exercise is also an important factor for weight loss.

Starving yourself for weeks is likely to compromise your health because when starving for that long your body will breakdown too much protein and you will be depleted of all of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function and survive.

VLCD (900 or less calorie diets) definitely work for losing an immense amount of bodyfat. However, consuming such a minimal amount calories would put you at risk for health complications. Therefore, VLCDs MUST be consistently medically-supervised. http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/12/15/very.low.calorie.diets/

Otherwise, you can slowly and gradually cut back your daily calories by 250 each week and losing 1-2 lbs. per week on average, which is much safer for your body overall’s health compared to doing any VLCDs.

It can be done. Trust me, I’ve done several years of research and studying on fitness/nutrition and have even taken a class on physiology: diet and exercise (which counted as college credit) and a 9-month long course on personal training from a certified CSCS instructor of NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning). I took both of those courses at UCLA as an undergrad there.

Also, I have always been very lean. Though, during most of my early adolescence I was very close to being underweight until I was 15 and a half when I actually did become definitely underweight for about a month. This is all because I didn’t eat enough food. After that crazy month, I finally became hungry and started eating alot more food than I ever had before. Eventually, I had gained more weight and became thicker than I ever had before without becoming overweight (not just because I was still naturally growing). I know this isn’t really the same as your problem because mine was obviously the opposite of trying to lose fat. However, the point I am trying to make is that again, your diet, especially your daily caloric intake, will always the primary factor that determines your bodyweight and body composition.


#11

[quote]Bull_Scientist wrote:
However, Chris is right.[/quote]
L… O… L… Um, thanks for cosigning.

Bull, there’s no way to say this other than to simply say: Don’t ever give anyone on this site advice about anything related to training, nutrition, or seeing results.

This girl does not need any info you have to offer. If she took your post at face value, she might actually be influenced by the words you wrote without knowing who actually offered the advice. Trying to list your resume of theory-based book learning is laughably deceptive.

The fact that you have the balls to think you’re in any position to help others when you’ve been overthinking your own progress for, literally, years on end is an absolute travesty and sums up absolutely everything that’s wrong with Internet-based fitness discussions.


#12

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]Bull_Scientist wrote:
However, Chris is right.[/quote]
L… O… L… Um, thanks for cosigning.

Bull, there’s no way to say this other than to simply say: Don’t ever give anyone on this site advice about anything related to training, nutrition, or seeing results.

This girl does not need any info you have to offer. If she took your post at face value, she might actually be influenced by the words you wrote without knowing who actually offered the advice. Trying to list your resume of theory-based book learning is laughably deceptive.

The fact that you have the balls to think you’re in any position to help others when you’ve been overthinking your own progress for, literally, years on end is an absolute travesty and sums up absolutely everything that’s wrong with Internet-based fitness discussions.
[/quote]

Chris, you’re 100% right on this. I’ve got bits of paper to prove it too.


#13

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

Bull, there’s no way to say this other than to simply say: Don’t ever give anyone on this site advice about anything related to training, nutrition, or seeing results.

[/quote]

Thank you. If you didn’t say it, I was going to.


#14

Guys, It’s been so many months since I last posted on this site. Also, not only have you not even seen what I look like now, but you have no idea how much knowledge I’ve gained on fitness/nutrition over the years.

Are u telling me that those who hardly ever ask questions on here about training, nutrition, or seeing results are allowed to give advice?

Also, where did you guys get your undergrad degrees from? I bet that some of you guys never graduated from college or even went to college at all, compared to me who has a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and is currently a grad student in the healthcare field at LLU.


#15

[quote]Bull_Scientist wrote:
Guys, It’s been so many months since I last posted on this site. Also, not only have you not even seen what I look like now, but you have no idea how much knowledge I’ve gained on fitness/nutrition over the years.
[/quote]

You literally posted this two days ago

[quote]Bull_Scientist wrote:
Overall, I have only gained about 15 lbs. of total body weight including, by my estimation and judgment, about 10-12 lbs. of lean mass and 3-5 lbs. of fat.
[/quote]

…and now you’re an expert because you took a class or two?

I’d venture that there are a handful of guys on this site who have taken zero formal training of any kind, and made more progress in their first six months after picking up a barbell than you have made in those 2 years of consistent training that you are so proud of.


#16

[quote]Bull_Scientist wrote:
Also, where did you guys get your undergrad degrees from? I bet that some of you guys never graduated from college or even went to college at all, compared to me who has a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and is currently a grad school in the healthcare field at LLU.[/quote]

The fact that you think this is relevant to the discussion at hand really illustrates the problem with your entire attitude.

A college degree is a valuable thing. It opens many doors for you moving forward. However, it does not entitle you to anything; it only proves that you have jumped through the necessary hoops receive your piece of paper. Congratulations. Now you will get to spend the rest of your life actually doing things. You will start working, and the people you work with do not care where your degree is from if you can’t actually GET THINGS DONE.

People that look really good on paper who cannot execute in the real world (whether in business, sales, the research lab, wherever) will get found out, usually very quickly, and summarily dismissed.

That UCLA degree may get you a job someday. The results that you produce at that job will determine whether you actually keep the job.


#17

“You literally posted this two days ago…”

Haha. You know what I mean. It’s been so long since I last posted on this site regularly.

Having both college and grad school education has become so much more relevant these days than it ever has before. Practically speaking, anyone who wants to become considerably successful these days now needs to have at least a grad degree for something highly marketable such as a job in the medical and healthcare industry, which is what I am currently going for.

As arrogant as this may sound, I do think that I am entitled to give my opinion considering the fact that most people throughout the world (including about 66% people in the U.S.) don’t even earn a bachelor’s degree. Plus, taking the two above mentioned courses that I took at a very prestigious university does count.

Btw, here are relatively current pics of me http://imgur.com/VEanf5v and http://imgur.com/tJAGUgl

I’ll post some better pics of mine.

I know I still have a long way to go, but I am certainly much more fit and stronger than the vast majority of people throughout the entire world.


#18

[quote]Bull_Scientist wrote:
“You literally posted this two days ago…”

Haha. You know what I mean. It’s been so long since I last posted on this site regularly.
[/quote]

No, you missed the point. It wasn’t trying to catch you on a grammatical technicality. It’s that two days ago you posted a question in which you said that a) you were still running a beginner program, b) were not happy with your progress, and c) gave specific numbers showing WHY you were unhappy with your progress. Yeah, we can see that you’ve gained so much knowledge in your time away that you still post a question asking if it’s time to switch to Madcow. Heavens.


#19

[quote]Bull_Scientist wrote:
Guys, It’s been so many months since I last posted on this site. Also, not only have you not even seen what I look like now, but you have no idea how much knowledge I’ve gained on fitness/nutrition over the years.

Are u telling me that those who hardly ever ask questions on here about training, nutrition, or seeing results are allowed to give advice? [/quote]

You’ve already made your attitude clear. Advising the less experienced isn’t about showing off how much you’ve learned. It’s about helping them to discover a hobby that brings us so much happiness by teaching them to do it the right way. A big part of that is humility because you’re not helping anyone by “teaching” them things you don’t understand all that well. That’s just ego.

Respect is earned, not given. The posters who know their shit (without needing to prove it to anyone) and help people because they like helping people start their training journeys get my respect. The posters who try to sound smart for online validation do not.


#20

For what it’s worth, although I still believe it is entirely irrelevant to a thread about strength-training progress, I also suspect that the answer to this postulation…

“I bet that some of you guys never graduated from college or even went to college at all, compared to me who has a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and is currently a grad student in the healthcare field at LLU.”

…would very much surprise you. This website seems to have a bunch of gym rats that are smarter than the average bear.