What is the most important to you? Being strong or being lean.
Of course we want both, and ideally we will all get more muscular, stronger and leaner.
But knowing what is MOST important to you is still key because it helps make the best choices with your training and diet.
So if you could only have ONE:
Carry plenty of fat but be strong
Be lean and defined but not that strong
Which one could you best live with, which one is more appealing to you.
If being strong is a lot more important than being lean, by all means stop the fat loss effort and try to get stronger.
But if you really want to be lean, abandoning when it's starting to get though will NEVER get you lean.
You went up to 27% body fat because you were inactive.
Then you started training again and dropped down to 19%... Trust me dropping from 27 to 19% is EASY if you went from NO training to training... so chances are that to get to 19% you did not have to make many sacrifices and it was fairly easy at first.
Now you reach a point where you have to work for it and maybe sacrifice foods you like. But that what getting lean is about.
I'd like to tell you that everybody can get lean without pain, sacrifices, discipline and effort. But it would be a lie. YES there are some who easily get lean without much effort. But most of us aren't like that.
To go from 27 to 19% only required to start training again and maybe eat a little better... not difficult.
To go from 19 to 12 you will have to work a lot harder. Do cardio, maybe conditioning work like famer's walks and sprints, cut out junks from your diet, reducing your carbs and fats, etc. It will be harder work... on some days you will have a hard time not eating the crap food you crave... but that's how it is for most people.
To get from 12 down to 9-10%, even if it's only 3% will be much harder than it was to drop down to 12%.
And if you chose to go down even lower, down to 6-7% then on some days you will actually feel like you are losing your mind
Sadly there is no easy way to get lean, if you are are not someone who is naturally lean. Getting lean is SIMPLE: eat a caloric deficit, reduce carbs and keep them only around your workouts, make your diet mostly veggies and fish/chicken, do cardio, lift hard... SIMPLE.... but it's hard and its why you don't see that many people getting lean.
So I ask my question again: what is most important to you? Because if getting lean is REALLY important to you, it WILL require sacrifices and effort, it WILL get frustrating at times and it IS a long term process... if you stop dieting as soon as you stall for some time you will never reach your goal.