T Nation

Has Extreme Fat Loss Ruined My Body?


Before anyone says anything, I have read and read and read, all day on this forum. I read the Christian Thibaudeau articles, and I've been reading Chad Waterbury's "Huge in a Hurry" ... a lot of what I've read on here is centered on gaining muscle, which I want to do, but I don't want to gain a ton of muscle weight either. I have sort of weird story, and fact is I think I fucked myself up pretty bad by making some serious mistakes with my weightloss...

I used to weigh over 425 pounds and over the last 16 months I've cut that down to 207lbs. The problem is, as I now understand, that I stupidly did this all through calorie deficit and cardio, cardio, cardio. Very little weight training.

So, ok.. i screwed up. I get it. I accept it. Now I just want to do the best I can to fix it, and I honestly just don't know where to begin. I haven't had it measured, but I'm sure I've got probably 30% body fat. Dunno how much is loose skin. I know I could have this assessed if I join a gym and get a trainer, but none of the trainers have glowing recommendations at the nearby gyms and I've heard so many nightmare stories about trainers anyway... I'd rather keep those hundreds of dollars. My company has a pretty well fully equipped gym with a lot of free weights, benches and such. The only thing it doesn't have are cable stations. So I have a gym at my disposal, which is why I can say I haven't joined a gym with a straight face and still post this here.

Anyway... I don't want to bulk up with a lot of muscle necessarily. At least not right now. I just want to get lean. Look tighter. Fitter. I'm not under the delusion that I should be going after a "shredded" look right now, but ultimately I'd like a nice, cut look. Someday. Eventually.

I'm dedicated to correcting my lifestyle. I've remained focused and determined for over a year toward it... the problem is I just did it wrong. Now I want to bring that same focus and dedication to doing it right and getting results.

But where do I start? What can I expect? If I increase my caloric intake in protein to build the muscle mass I want, can I expect a big weight gain in the short term before burning off more of the fat? If I know my DEE and deduct about 20% from that as Thibaudeau suggests for a fat loss goal it's a little over 2410 caloriesâ??should I just jump in and start consuming that much now, or should I gradually increase my caloric intake from the deficit I've been eating at (1000 to 1500/day)?

Any pointers, advice, hints .. anything at all. I promise I will always be respectful and receptive to anything you guys can offer. And even if you're rude, I'll just bite my tongue. I'm not here to waste anyone's time or pick fights or pretend I know a lot because I've read a lot. I just really want to change the way I look. I want to go to the beach and take my shirt off without being embarrassed that, even after losing half my body weight, I'm flabby.


Holy hell dude... don't belittle losing 200lbs!
Congratulations, you have more balls then most people around here for sure.

Someone who knows what they're talking about will be in here shortly to give you some advice, but I don't think you screwed yourself over as bad as you think personally... you're now like most of the guys on this forum, at least.


Hey man, congratulations for sure on the weight loss! That is outstanding. I don't have any experience on losing a generous amount of body fat, as I've always been at the other dreaded end of the picture-- more than anything I just wanted to congratulate you and tell you good luck with your endeavors.

One thing I can tell you is if you follow a good diet plan and a good strength training program, with persistance you will get to your goal! Just stay focused and don't give up.

Someone with more experience on this will post up soon. Awesome job pal!


Mate, I did the same thing. 200kg (400lbs) down ot 90kg (198lbs) in 12 months and have yo-yod up to about 120kg and down again to about 105kg.

It's about 5 years after that started and I've been hitting the weights and now I'm about 105kg probably close to 10%BF. I would say other people probably know the science but I've done it and think that I can offer some advice.

I'd say that it's going to be a learning process, and no matter what you've heard you haven't broken anything, it's just a little damaged and so can therefore be fixed with proper diet, exercise and time. The time is probably going to be much less than you think.

I would advise just picking a program and doing it for a few months (12 weeks). Something basic like 5x5 where you're hitting solid, compound movements. Pick a calorie input and correct every couple of weeks given the weight you've gained or lost. It's really all about correction over time, basically pick a start point and then alter your path as you learn more.

You don't need any cable stations :slightly_smiling: Just free weights.

So yeah, I've been there, done that. My advice is to pick something and just do it. I'd reccomend a program like 5x5 (it's what I did) and a low carb approach to your food but don't make anything too complex. Weight every week or two and correct calorie intake every 2-4 weeks.

Good luck.


Hey man I just wanna say that you need to step back and realized that you SAVED YOUR LIFE. I am a beginner as well and it is nice to have my faith restored in humanity when I see morbidly obese people make changes. Anyways, just do a search for "Starting strength." It is a good beginners program and it uses basic movements.


mate congrats on the massive change. what you need is a complete change in your habits, something you can stick to (which you've proved you can do already). I'm a big fan of precision nutrition and their "10 habits".
1. Eat every 2-3 hours.
Are you doing this â?? no matter what? Now, you donâ??t need to eat a full meal every 2-3 hours but you do need to eat 6-8 meals and snacks that conform to the other rules below.

  1. Eat complete, lean protein each time you eat.
    Are you eating something that was an animal or comes from an animal â?? every time you feed yourself? If not, make the change. Note: If youâ??re a vegetarian, this rule still applies â?? you need complete protein and need to find non-animal sources.

  2. Eat vegetables every time you eat.
    Thatâ??s right, in addition to a complete, lean protein source, you need to eat some vegetables every time you eat (every 2-3 hours, right?). You can toss in a piece of fruit here and there as well. But donâ??t skip the veggies.

  3. Eat carbs only when you deserve to.
    strategies for success 6
    Well, not ALL carbs â?? eat fruits and veggies whenever you want. And if want to eat a carbohydrate thatâ??s not a fruit or a vegetable (this includes things like simple sugars, rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, etc), you can â?? but youâ??ll need to save it until after youâ??ve exercised. Yes, these often heavily processed grains are dietary staples in North America, but heart disease, diabetes and cancer are medical staples â?? and thereâ??s a relationship between the two!

To stop heading down the heart disease highway, reward yourself for a good workout with a good carbohydrate meal right after (your body best tolerates these carbohydrates after exercise). For the rest of the day, eat your lean protein and a delicious selection of fruits and veggies.

  1. Learn to love healthy fats.
    There are 3 types of fat â?? saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Forget about that old â??eating fat makes you fatâ?? maxim. Eating all three kinds of fat in a healthy balance (about equal parts of each) can dramatically improve your health, and even help you lose fat. Your saturated fat should come from your animal products and you can even toss in some butter or coconut oil for cooking. Your monounsaturated fat should come from mixed nuts, olives, and olive oil. And your polyunsaturated fat should from flaxseed oil, fish oil, and mixed nuts.

  2. Ditch the calorie containing drinks (including fruit juice).
    In fact, all of your drinks should come from non-calorie containing beverages. Fruit juice, alcoholic drinks, and sodas â?? these are all to be removed from your daily fare. Your best choices are water and green tea.

  3. Focus on whole foods.
    Most of your dietary intake should come from whole foods. There are a few times where supplement drinks and shakes are useful. But most of the time, youâ??ll do best with whole, largely unprocessed foods.

  4. Have 10% foods.
    I know you cringed at a few of the rules above. But hereâ??s the thing: 100% nutritional discipline is never required for optimal progress. The difference, in results, between 90% adherence to your nutrition program and 100% adherence is negligible. So you can allow yourself â??10% foodsâ?? â?? foods that break rules, but which youâ??ll allow yourself to eat (or drink, if itâ??s a beverage) 10% of the time. Just make sure you do the math and determine what 10% of the time really means. For example, if youâ??re eating 6 meals per day for 7 days of the week â?? thatâ??s 42 meals. 10% of 42 is about 4. Therefore youâ??re allowed to â??break the rulesâ?? on about 4 meals each week.
    strategies for success 7

  5. Develop food preparation strategies.
    The hardest part about eating well is making sure you can follow the 8 rules above consistently. And this is where preparation comes in. You might know what to eat, but if isnâ??t available, youâ??ll blow it when itâ??s time for a meal.

  6. Balance daily food choices with healthy variety.
    Letâ??s face it, when youâ??re busy during the week, youâ??re not going to be spending a ton of time whipping up gourmet meals. During these times youâ??re going to need a set of tasty, easy to make foods that you can eat day in and day out. However, once every day or a few times a week, you need to eat something different, something unique and tasty to stave off boredom and stagnation.

sorry thats so big, but i wasn't sure you would be able able to view it on the precision nutrition website if your not a member. good luck for the future though


Thank you, everyone, for such awesome words of encouragement. I truly appreciate it. And thanks, too, for the excellent advice. Again, it's appreciated. I've been reading more and more and am considering Waterbury's Body of Fire, but with Thibaudeau's low-carb nutrition guidelines. I'll be sure to post any progress or fallbacks I encounter along the way.


Wow buddy, congrats on the weight loss, as someone who constantly struggles with his own weight , I know how much hard work and dedication you must have put into it. Ive lost 40ish lb in the last 4 months, but I would love to know what you did for cardio and what your diet was. I have another 40 lb to go to reach my goal.



First off, congratulations on an outstanding achievement already! Going forward, I would continue to be careful with your diet, but not worry so about how you look, just focus on getting stronger. I would not worry so much about gaining a "ton of muscle" that is easier said than done. If you just focus on getting stronger and watch your diet the looks will take care of themselves.

Find a weight program that fits your needs and hit it hard for six months, then reevaluate. You can't go to far wrong with a program sponsored or endorsed by this site, like the ones you mentioned in your OP.

I would also pick up Wendler's e-book and give it a read, even if you don't choose the 5-3-1 program because it is a very motivational read and it is also informative. http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&pid=2976

Starting Strength is also very good.

I think some sort of body weight circuit or similar program would also be a good place to start getting in shape to lift. Google Steve Maxwell and check out his blog, he has some great body weight and mobility ideas.

The program choices are endless, just pick something and go.


Thanks for the links and suggestions jjackkrash. I appreciate it. I've been reading Steve Maxwell's stuff a lot today, too. I'll check out the section you mentioned in your PM, too. Thanks again!