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Dealing with a Weight Loss Plateau

Well I know this is probably a standard question but I did a search and couldn’t come up with what I was looking for. I have been reading tmag articles on here for years and they have been very helpful but I think I have reached a point that I need to ask a personal question

So I used to be very fit, ate correctly and hit the gym regularly. Always stayed around 6’0" 190lbs with a lower % of body fat but never achieved a nice six pack, always had that little bit left to loose. I then fell off the wagon about 3 years ago and gained a lot of weight. At this point I pretty much quit working out and went on the golden arch diet.

At my peak I was 230lbs and had lost a lot of strength. Over a year ago now, I had had enough and decided to focus on loosing the weight and getting back in shape. I started to eat correctly, still higher in carbs than I should have been but I got decent results. I dropped 30lbs before ever starting to lift.

For the last year I have been focused, my diet is very controlled and getting to the gym is a priority. So I have about doubled in about every lift; Bench started at 135 and is now 245 with reps of 8, my squat was 145, now is 225 with reps of 8 and so on. I have put on a good amount of mass, thank god for muscle memory and nicely lost more weight.

So I decided its time to focus on losing this last bit, I have focused on keeping my protein intake up while pushing my carbs down. So here is my basic stats for my diet.

2000-2200 calories
150-200g protien
50g carbs

All meat is lean meat, either chicken breast, fish, pork, or a lean steak. I get all of my carbs from veggies or some fruit post workout. I make sure to keep a food log and keep track of all my nutrients and percentages.

My workout
Day 1 - Push day(upper body)
Day 2 - Complexes for 30 min
Day 3 - Pull day(upper body)
Day 4 - Interval runs
Day 5 - Leg Day
Day 6 - Hill runs
Day 7 - Off

At first I lost weight but have since plateaued. In the first 2 weeks I lost weight quickly which I expected but it has slowed and now I have seen very little in my last week. I am now at 4 weeks and have lost about 5lbs. So I am now 185, I am worried that continuing on this diet could cause me to loose more LBM than needed? I recently read the article on carb cycling, what are peoples opinions?

My final goal is around 175 with keeping muscle loss to a minimum. I understand weight isn’t a good quantity to look at but I don’t have anything to measure body fat %.

I looked at the V-diet but I don’t like the idea of a liquid diet because I worry that it will just be a yo-yo in the long run and I am looking for a permanent change.

At this point I am looking pretty lean in the arms, legs and chest but once again I am just stuck with a small amount of fat covering my mid-section, while everything else is looking nice. I want for the first time in my life to reach my final goal, because this is the point I have been stuck at before.

I am willing to do what it takes but any guidance would be great.

are you willing to create a caloric deficit by increasing your activity level? Maybe some HIIT?

Or how about forgetting cutting weight and bulking with clean proteins and fats and lifting as heavy as you can stand it?

Other than that, all I can say that hasnt already been said is, train HARD, and eat CLEAN.

Well 2000-2200 is on the higher side I usually only reach 2200 on a hard lift day, on cardio days I am usually closer to 1900 max. I assumed that 2000 would already put me at a deficit, but I could be wrong. How low should I be? I know I can be around 1700 and still fill comfortable(not starving), but I was worried that it maybe to low.

I recently added complexes because of a recent article on here and have seen that it kicks my butt every time. I was just running miles upon miles on my cardio days. I reached a point where I never felt worked after a long run.

During my weight days I always focus on limiting rest periods, so I keep my heart rate up. I am always pushing my limits, if I don’t push myself every time I feel the workout is a waste.

Oh realized I forgot to include my age.

I am 24

You might want to take a break for a bit if you’ve been dieting for a long time.

I want to point out that you bench more than you squat. Thats like… blasphemy.

Also, I want to point out that the difference between your current diet and the V-Diet is MAYBE a couple-hundred calories. So unless you’re suffering some moderate cognitive dissonance, you should also be somewhat concerned about yo-yo dieting on your current course of eating.

Chimera’s point above is good, but if what you say is correct, that you’ve only been doing this four weeks, it doesn’t necessarily apply. I assume when you say this is week 4, that five weeks ago, you were eating about 1000 kcals more, likely a bunch more carbs, lifting with awesome intensity but doing more gym-work and less road-work.

If you started with fresh adrenals and a moderate-to-well rested body, a much higher caloric intake, and for some reason you still aren’t seeing results, do less work and get more sleep. Fat loss isn’t linear, and for some reason that I don’t understand, it correlates well with recovery. Sometimes when cutting I wake up on saturday mornings after finally a full 8-10 hours of sleep to notice I lost a quarter-inch on my waist. One night. I recommend doing less work (but keeping the intensity high) because… sometimes you just do too much, and your body shuts down. I don’t think this is adrenal fatigue or overtraining, but it halts your results all the same. In your case, I’d combine my upper-body workouts, and use the free day in the middle of the week to INTENTIONALLY REST. Work more intensely on those other days to earn that rest, but take that day and watch television while you eat your broccoli, and get to sleep early.

If five weeks ago you just decided to start going more hardcore, but were already on a fairly restrictive diet, you probably need to take a break. A way I’ve found to do this inteliigently is to stay on your current eating plan (lots of protein, lots of fats, low carbs) and add 250kcals of fat and protein/day/week. So your average daily diet for week Off1 has an extra 10g of fat and 40g of protein, Off2 has an extra 25g fat and 60g of protein or whatever the numbers come out to be compared with your base week (base week = current diet). You keep adding 250 kcal/day/week until you come out at maintenance. You know it’s maintenance when you start gaining fat. I’ll explain how to measure fat gain later.

The point is, you come off slowly. And then, you spend about a week, maybe two at maintenance, and then drop back into your diet. The whole cycle takes 4/5 weeks, usually, unless you went really insane with your cut. Do your conditioning work, but don’t push it. Do push your lifting (you might gain some strength during this time). When you go back to dieting, diet intelligently.

Most dudes store fat in the belly. So if you measure the belly/waist area, and it gets larger from week to week, you’re gaining fat (or you’re just bloated from eating food or have gas). Alternatively, if it gets smaller, you’re losing fat. It’s not as scientific as calipers, and it’s not as awesome as a DEXA scan, but if you practice at it and perform the same test under similar circumstances (Saturday morning, after pissing, but before downing water+HOT-ROX) it should be an accurate gauge of your progress. I use it.

[quote]renzema wrote:
Well I know this is probably a standard question but I did a search and couldn’t come up with what I was looking for. I have been reading tmag articles on here for years and they have been very helpful but I think I have reached a point that I need to ask a personal question

So I used to be very fit, ate correctly and hit the gym regularly. Always stayed around 6’0" 190lbs with a lower % of body fat but never achieved a nice six pack, always had that little bit left to loose. I then fell off the wagon about 3 years ago and gained a lot of weight. At this point I pretty much quit working out and went on the golden arch diet.

At my peak I was 230lbs and had lost a lot of strength. Over a year ago now, I had had enough and decided to focus on loosing the weight and getting back in shape. I started to eat correctly, still higher in carbs than I should have been but I got decent results. I dropped 30lbs before ever starting to lift.

For the last year I have been focused, my diet is very controlled and getting to the gym is a priority. So I have about doubled in about every lift; Bench started at 135 and is now 245 with reps of 8, my squat was 145, now is 225 with reps of 8 and so on. I have put on a good amount of mass, thank god for muscle memory and nicely lost more weight.

So I decided its time to focus on losing this last bit, I have focused on keeping my protein intake up while pushing my carbs down. So here is my basic stats for my diet.

2000-2200 calories
150-200g protien
50g carbs

All meat is lean meat, either chicken breast, fish, pork, or a lean steak. I get all of my carbs from veggies or some fruit post workout. I make sure to keep a food log and keep track of all my nutrients and percentages.

My workout
Day 1 - Push day(upper body)
Day 2 - Complexes for 30 min
Day 3 - Pull day(upper body)
Day 4 - Interval runs
Day 5 - Leg Day
Day 6 - Hill runs
Day 7 - Off

At first I lost weight but have since plateaued. In the first 2 weeks I lost weight quickly which I expected but it has slowed and now I have seen very little in my last week. I am now at 4 weeks and have lost about 5lbs. So I am now 185, I am worried that continuing on this diet could cause me to loose more LBM than needed? I recently read the article on carb cycling, what are peoples opinions?

My final goal is around 175 with keeping muscle loss to a minimum. I understand weight isn’t a good quantity to look at but I don’t have anything to measure body fat %.

I looked at the V-diet but I don’t like the idea of a liquid diet because I worry that it will just be a yo-yo in the long run and I am looking for a permanent change.

At this point I am looking pretty lean in the arms, legs and chest but once again I am just stuck with a small amount of fat covering my mid-section, while everything else is looking nice. I want for the first time in my life to reach my final goal, because this is the point I have been stuck at before.

I am willing to do what it takes but any guidance would be great.

[/quote]

Hey man,

My story is very similar to yours and I recently dieted down to my abs for the first time in my life so I understand what you’re going through totally.
I had a lot of support and whined constantly to guys on here like The Mighty Stu and Aplha and they were really patient with me and helped me out endlessly, so hopefully I can motivate you as well bro and encourage you to keep going.

First of all congrats on all your success so far, it’s really hard to diet down when you’re overweight but it’s even harder to get to that “almost there” stage and get stuck…
All the more experienced guys are right, you need to be honest about what you’re doing and address your diet but I’ll add in my 2 cents.

Hands down the BIGGEST key to all this that I learnt recently when I did my final cut down leading up to my “goal date”. (BTW if you don’t have a goal or a timeframe you should get one, it really helps).
I learnt that the key to success with fat loss when you’re getting lower in BF is constant tiny adjustments to what you’re doing.
Obviously you can make all the adjustments you want but if you’re diet isn’t solid and you’re not doing cardio then you can forget it.
Having said that what worked for me might not work for you exactly but here’s what I would do.

  • Add 20 mins of walking per day (This will add up to a few hundred cals per week)
  • Cycle carbs so you have high days on weak body parts and low days on strong body parts or days off.
  • Cut down your rest periods between exercises and use your rest time to either do abs or skip rope for a minute.
  • Tabata and complexes!!!
  • Drink tons of water and OD on fish oil caps.

Anyway, all these are just suggestions, the real key I personally think is using a combination of all these things together and implementing them over several weeks/months.
One combo of things is only going to be effective for a few weeks then you will be used to it, so if you start thinking like that you can train more intuitively…
Today do a complex at the end of your workout, tomorrow ride the steady bike, the next day to a tabata on the rowing machine etc, etc…

For me, this approach and the carb cycling got me where I wanted to be,
Also note, you might try cycling calories as well as carbs…
Stu kept tellling me to remember that your 500cal deficit can be spread over the week and not just per day, so you might have a high day, then make up for it by having a low day, again based on training needs/intensity…
Just don’t kid yourself or make excuses to eat over :slight_smile:

Most of all, stick with it man, you’re so close now but you’ve got to push through this little barrier and stay strong, I know it doesn’t seem like it but the results WILL COME!

[quote]chimera182 wrote:
You might want to take a break for a bit if you’ve been dieting for a long time.[/quote]

this. no seriously your body is likely in a full homeostasis response to all the weight you lost. it does not “want” to lose any more weight. take time off from dieting. OOOR ramp up your diet and increase cardio. those are the two optinos i would consider in your situation.