T Nation

Discouraged-Gaining Weight

I am slightly discouraged. I have been back in the gym for four weeks. Last week I weighed on friday morning after working out, was 235.

This week, same time, after using the restroom I weighed 239. I went up 4 lbs in one week?

My diet is clean from what I can tell. I prepared all my meals on saturday with my girlfriend. I am carb sensative so the meals included chicken salad, parmesan spinach, and low carb lasagna ( using dreamfields pasta noodles, beef cheese etc.).

My daily routine is getting up early, small protien shake prior to hitting the gym. Work out for between an hour and hour and a half. Cardio at least 3xweekly on eliptical machine.

Diet would consist of 3-4 protien shakes daily, cottage cheese, chicken salad, pamersan spinach, low carb lasagna. I would eat small portions, 6 times daily.

Any suggestions? My main goal is to loose this weight while trying my best to keep what I have. Its just discouraging to see the scales jump that quickly.

Losing weight is more difficult for some than other, maybe you need to scour your diet for some hidden carbs – sugar alcohols can halt weight loss, for example.

Don’t believe the “Only 2g of IMPACT carbs!” bullshit you see on for example many EAS low-carb stuff.

Also make sure your body gets what it needs to shed fat, ie plenty of water, plenty of omega-3.

When I lost the most weight I was doing something similar to you – I was running (alternating between running, sprinting and walking) 4-5km 4x per week, as well as doing pushups, pullups, dips, and some curling and crushing (was working out at home, with minimal equipment).

My diet was low-carb, high protein (I took the direction of just setting a goal of 300g of protein per day, and trying to reach it, and found out that I’d get so FULL I had no room for anything else – so I was automatically avoiding all carbs, and as much fat as possible).

I was supplementing with multivitamins (I prefer the NOW EcoGreen Multi), B-complex, a few capsules of omega-3 / fishoil, and 4-5g of CLA per day.

For some time I thought the EAS low-carb protein bars were smart (as they were tasty, and only 2g IMPACT carbs, and helped me towards my goal of 300g protein) … but they stunted my progress big time!

Hope this helps…!

If you’re just starting out in the gym lifting weights, then you will experience newbie gains like crazy. This means that in all likelihood, those 4 lbs were probably muscle/water. A 4 lb fluctuation isn’t very much.

If you’re lifting with good intensity and at proper rep ranges, you can expect the weight to stay close to the same (even go up), while your body composition will shift to less fat and more muscle.

Keep in mind muscle weighs a lot more than fat. I’m skinnier than both of my roommates but weigh more than them because I have muscle, while their bulk comes from their flab. Don’t get discouraged, it take s time to reach goals.

Just focus on lifting with drive and intensity, researching different diets and lifting styles, and staying active. Stay away from scales for a while. In the words of Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver)-“You’re only as healthy as you feel”

Good point, and I have known this but figured with the extra time in the gym lifting and cardio, the extra sugar alcohols woudln’t be an issue - guess I was wrong.

Could you give me an example of what your diet was during your low carb fat loss period? I feel good at this point, and I am sure part of this is battling against a slow metabolism.

I have been a low carb dieter for a long time, 80% - 90% of the time, so my body has adjusted to this. But, during most of that phase I was eating very lightly ( never felt hungry) and all I did was cycle. So I am sure I lost muscle too.

I am not a stranger to the gym, I have gone through cycles of lifting and not lifting… about 3 years ago I hit it hard for about 6 months, and then fell off again. This time I plan on making it a liftstyle change, so I am fine with the fact that its going to take time.

Its just discouraging to see the scale move up, when I was doing cardio only and eating little it was going down - along with muscle mass as well… by that was still motivational to me to see the drop.

[quote]steinnes wrote:
Losing weight is more difficult for some than other, maybe you need to scour your diet for some hidden carbs – sugar alcohols can halt weight loss, for example.

Don’t believe the “Only 2g of IMPACT carbs!” bullshit you see on for example many EAS low-carb stuff.

Also make sure your body gets what it needs to shed fat, ie plenty of water, plenty of omega-3.

When I lost the most weight I was doing something similar to you – I was running (alternating between running, sprinting and walking) 4-5km 4x per week, as well as doing pushups, pullups, dips, and some curling and crushing (was working out at home, with minimal equipment).

My diet was low-carb, high protein (I took the direction of just setting a goal of 300g of protein per day, and trying to reach it, and found out that I’d get so FULL I had no room for anything else – so I was automatically avoiding all carbs, and as much fat as possible).

I was supplementing with multivitamins (I prefer the NOW EcoGreen Multi), B-complex, a few capsules of omega-3 / fishoil, and 4-5g of CLA per day.

For some time I thought the EAS low-carb protein bars were smart (as they were tasty, and only 2g IMPACT carbs, and helped me towards my goal of 300g protein) … but they stunted my progress big time!

Hope this helps…![/quote]

[quote]designinme wrote:
Good point, and I have known this but figured with the extra time in the gym lifting and cardio, the extra sugar alcohols woudln’t be an issue - guess I was wrong.

Could you give me an example of what your diet was during your low carb fat loss period? I feel good at this point, and I am sure part of this is battling against a slow metabolism.

I have been a low carb dieter for a long time, 80% - 90% of the time, so my body has adjusted to this. But, during most of that phase I was eating very lightly ( never felt hungry) and all I did was cycle. So I am sure I lost muscle too.

I am not a stranger to the gym, I have gone through cycles of lifting and not lifting… about 3 years ago I hit it hard for about 6 months, and then fell off again. This time I plan on making it a liftstyle change, so I am fine with the fact that its going to take time.

Its just discouraging to see the scale move up, when I was doing cardio only and eating little it was going down - along with muscle mass as well… by that was still motivational to me to see the drop.

steinnes wrote:
Losing weight is more difficult for some than other, maybe you need to scour your diet for some hidden carbs – sugar alcohols can halt weight loss, for example.

Don’t believe the “Only 2g of IMPACT carbs!” bullshit you see on for example many EAS low-carb stuff.

Also make sure your body gets what it needs to shed fat, ie plenty of water, plenty of omega-3.

When I lost the most weight I was doing something similar to you – I was running (alternating between running, sprinting and walking) 4-5km 4x per week, as well as doing pushups, pullups, dips, and some curling and crushing (was working out at home, with minimal equipment).

My diet was low-carb, high protein (I took the direction of just setting a goal of 300g of protein per day, and trying to reach it, and found out that I’d get so FULL I had no room for anything else – so I was automatically avoiding all carbs, and as much fat as possible).

I was supplementing with multivitamins (I prefer the NOW EcoGreen Multi), B-complex, a few capsules of omega-3 / fishoil, and 4-5g of CLA per day.

For some time I thought the EAS low-carb protein bars were smart (as they were tasty, and only 2g IMPACT carbs, and helped me towards my goal of 300g protein) … but they stunted my progress big time!

Hope this helps…!

[/quote]

I’m a newb to strength training. I started out doing the low-carb “South Beach” Diet. The problem was that it never told you to keep an eye on calories, just eat. So ate and was never hungry. I was quite satisfied, in fact.

Then, the first weigh-in came at a workplace “Biggest Loser” contest. I had lost 16 pounds in ONE WEEK. Needless to say, I was scared shitless that I had done some damage and immediately looked for a reason why. I logged my calories on FitDay and have been slowly bringing my caloric intake back up to about 2500 (I’m 5’10" and 250).

I also workout 3x/week. My body immediately gained 5lbs, most of which I think was my body coming back from starvation.

The only thing I noticed in your post was that you are drinking a lot of your proteins. Perhaps your body is reacting to your intake of fast proteins. Maybe a switch to lean slower protein sources (chicken, tuna) will help. I keep my liquid protein intake to a PWO shake and eat whole proteins throughout the rest of the day.

Hang in there and don’t get discouraged! You are doing something good for your body…the results will come.

It was around two years ago, but I guess I could try and mention what I was eating quite a lot of.

I would eat a lot of a protein rich dairy products, especially an icelandic favorite, skyr, which is like curdled milk or something (really high in protein).

For snacks I would eat cheese, this previously mentioned dairy product, cherry tomatoes, raw broccoli.

I would eat lots of chicken and beef. Ommelettes, bacon and eggs even. But completely stay away from anything high in carbohydrates basically.

I went from about 97-98kg (of guesstimated 20-21% bf) to around 90kg in 2 months, with a very positive increase in body composition – I still think pushups/pullups are some of the best exercises available, due to the visibly increased muscle mass.

Since then I’ve never gotten completely lean (still have a little adipose layer) but upped my weight to around 95kg, with moderate increases in strength. Right now I’m at a slump, almost no weight training for around 2 months (moving to another country, and a bunch of other bad excuses) but found a new gym here, starting there next week, and tightening up my diet again.

I read the book protein power, and it explained a lot to me in terms of the metabolism involved with fixing body composition, as it’s a diet book emphasizing on not just losing weight, but bettering blood lipid profiles, and increasing lean body mass.

I personally think that losing muscle mass while doing resistance training, and eating massive amounts of protein is almost impossible. Of course, if you do a lot of cardio you might end up burning enough muscles I don’t know.

My background is that in 2002 I lost around 20kg in 4-5 months by doing one extremely strict month of low carb, and then the rest by just staying away from most carbs.

At the time I wasn’t doing any resistance training really (fooled around the gym for a couple of months, but didn’t know shit, dropped out) … so I ended up at around 90kg, which is fine for my height (189cm) but still being flabby.

Right now I’m at the point where I look ok wearing clothes, even relatively tight clothes, but I need to maintain my weight while fixing body composition.

I suggest thinking about waist circumference a lot more than your weight. Focus on strength gains, the mirror, and waist circumference.

My waist went from 38" to 32" without any significant weight change, just a better body composition.

Ok, I have revised my plan slightly, and here is what I plan on doing. Any advice, please let me know.

Food - Going to stick to low carb, my body just can’t handle carbs well at all. I am cutting out the cottage cheese, and anything with sugar alcohols. I will limit protein shake consumption to two scoops following workout in the morning ( approx 40 grams ) with water. The rest of my protein will come from chicken, beef, eggs etc. with little to know carbs. Main source of carbs with be green veggies. 1 gallon of water daily is my goal.

Training - Will keep my workouts the same for now, lifting legs/shoulders - tri/chest back/bi 5 days a week. Cardio with be 3x a week for 30 mins, High intensity.

Will continue to use hot rocks, I like the way I feel on them. I WILL NOT measure myself with the scale for 1 month. Will only monitor body fat %, track measurements around the belly, waist, and legs/arms. Will track weekly.

Any other suggestions ideas? Thanks

[quote]designinme wrote:
Ok, I have revised my plan slightly, and here is what I plan on doing. Any advice, please let me know.

Food - Going to stick to low carb, my body just can’t handle carbs well at all. I am cutting out the cottage cheese, and anything with sugar alcohols. I will limit protein shake consumption to two scoops following workout in the morning ( approx 40 grams ) with water. The rest of my protein will come from chicken, beef, eggs etc. with little to know carbs. Main source of carbs with be green veggies. 1 gallon of water daily is my goal.

Training - Will keep my workouts the same for now, lifting legs/shoulders - tri/chest back/bi 5 days a week. Cardio with be 3x a week for 30 mins, High intensity.

Will continue to use hot rocks, I like the way I feel on them. I WILL NOT measure myself with the scale for 1 month. Will only monitor body fat %, track measurements around the belly, waist, and legs/arms. Will track weekly.

Any other suggestions ideas? Thanks[/quote]

A little more water. 1.5 to 2 gallons/day. Sounds good though!

Sounds good, don’t need to cut the cottage cheese completely, but the sugar alcohols yes.

Also you should be able to feel it on your breath when your body is burning fat at a good rate, because of the ketones in your blood stream.

Some breath mints (I prefer actually xylitol based mint chewing gum) come in handy then… but you should in the later part of the day feel your breath get “worse”, even a kind of faint taste of ammonia… hard to describe – not as bad as it sounds (maybe for other people… that’s where the mints come into play).

According to protein power, protein consumption is what will trigger increased glucagon production, and glucagon works to increase your blood sugar levels by burning whatever can be found, protein and of course some of that darn fat!

Whey protein shakes are a damn good asset to trigger this effect, if you are sticking to low carb for the day, you can by replacing your dinner for example with a protein shake, usually trigger this effect rather fast. I remember getting the “ketone breath” every night, perhaps an hour after my 45g whey dinner protein shake. Also if you’re not doing so already supplement your diet with some quality fiber – I prefer psyllium husk caps, pop a few of those with every protein shake.

In some senses I’d even suggest thinking you’re on a regular low carb diet during the first half of the day, while on the v-diet for the second half – but maybe someone here that knows better might put me in the place with this science.

I do however know (and forgot to mention in my earlier post) that I used whey protein a lot – dinner: whey protein shake… get hungry 2-3 hours after dinner? another whey protein shake, etc, etc… Find a variety that tastes good and this won’t be a problem (even a treat… I think a vanilla protein shake prepared with ice cold water is far better than a glass of milk for example), I personally have always wanted to try Metabolic Drive, as it’s probably more filling than pure whey, given it’s a mix of different proteins, for example micellar casein.