T Nation

I Don't Know What I'm Doing Wrong


I’ve been a long time observer of these forums, but have never posted. This is my first post, so please take it easy on me:

I’m a 24-year-old, 5’7" female with 30% body fat (measured at my local gym using calipers) and I am trying desperately to lose weight - more importantly, I want to reduce my body fat % and ‘looking’ lean is more important to me than the number on the scale.

I have tracked my food intake for 4 years now (I’ve always been calorie conscious, even as a young teenager), but stopped in early 2011 due to a death in the family (I fell of track and regained some of the weight I had lost in the previous months), only to resume my weight-loss efforts this summer.

Even with my ‘calorie conscious’ habits, the ONLY time I have ever lost more than a pound or two in my adult life was back in 2010 when I severely restricted my calories. At that time I wasn’t taking part in any sort of exercise whatsoever, and I was living an extremely sedentary life (40+ hrs/week desk job).

Here are my stats from back in 2010 when I was actually losing weight (back then I was writing everything in a journal and only tracked my calorie intake):

As I mentioned above, I discontinued recording my food intake and let my diet spiral out of control in early 2011 due to a death in the family. As a result, I shot back up to around 150 pounds. Scared that I was well on my way to being 169 pounds again (my heaviest weight of all time) I resumed watching my diet and started to track my intake using an online calorie tracker which counts macros along with my calorie intake.

In addition to recording my diet again, I decided to start exercising. For the past 1.5 months I have been following TurboFire (an intense cardio conditioning program that includes cardio kickboxing, HIIT workouts, and strength training) for 3 days a week, as well as lifting circuit weights (3 days a week). I have been tracking my calorie burns using a polar heart-rate monitor.

Here are my stats for the past couple of months:

Even with the added exercise and watching my diet I don’t seem to be losing any weight, and to top it off, I had my body fat measured again at my local gym this morning and it’s still at 30%!! I feel better, but I don’t ‘look’ any different.

I measure and weigh out everything I put in my mouth. I don’t snack mindlessly throughout the day, and I certainly don’t ‘skip’ logging meals because I’m ashamed of what I ate that day. My food diary is completely honest to the best of my abilities and I drink 4 nalgene bottles of water a day (128 oz) but regardless, I’m not experiencing any progress.

I guess my question is, what am I doing wrong??? Is my only hope for losing weight again to drop back down to eating 1000 calories a day on average??

I’m so lost and confused. I don’t know what to do…

Please help.

Right off the top of my head I’d say you are probably not eating enough calories and with the wrong macro nutrients—carb, protein combintaion. I’d struggle to find anyone who has that low of a caloric intake for as long as you have and have a healthy metabolism. :{

Its remarkable you tracked your cals so much. I think you might need to give a chat to a nutritionist and see what they have to say. Also I’d get your blood tested if you can…I dunno…your cals just seem far to low.

What kind of training do you do?

I was thinking the same thing but wanted to see what others said. I too would up my cals for several weeks or so, maybe even a couple of months so that your body can reset itself.
Good luck!

Well, first and foremost, WHAT are you eating?
Just because the macros, numbers, and proportions might be right, the actually FOOD might be wrong.
Give us an idea of what is going into your mouth.
Also, I am curious as to what you actually look like at roughly 140 pounds, 5 foot 7 inches, and 30% BF.
And if you actually are doing the intense cardio that you claim to be, then you are probably not eating enough.



I’m with mel on this one. What you’re eating is every bit as important as the calories that are being eaten. Also, in my experience with weight loss, your macros are WAY off. On average, just taking a look at that last screenshot, your macros break down to 23/48/29% (c/f/p). You’re getting the majority of your calories from fat (not a bad thing) but your protein and carb intake are almost on par. If you’re trying to lean out, you need to give your body more of what it needs (natural protein) and less of the excess (fat/carbs).

You need to play around with the macros and find out what your body responds to.

Take a look at the past two months.

I have increased my calories to 1700+ a day and I’m still not losing.

I eat HEALTHY. Very fresh, lots of chicken, ground beef, and steak, veggies, very little is processed.

Would a good macro intake be 20% carbs, 40% protein, and 40% fat?

Thank you all so much for your help.

Like I said, you have to see what works for your body. Give it a try for a month or two and see what happens.

Not that I’m arguing with you (as I completely agree that WHAT you eat matters just as much , if not more, than how many calories you eat), but if the composition of your food really makes that big of a difference rather than just the calorie content then how do you explain this?:


Just looking for thoughts and opinions :slight_smile:

Thanks again!! :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

get a shelby starnes book, or better yet hire him

Oh come on…I hope you were joking with the Twinkie Diet mention. I really do :{

Here’s another thought–you body fat percentage could be off. As in the way it was measured. Its not uncommon for it to be off up to 7% which is huge margin of error–so I’d go with how you look in the mirror vs a calculation of bf %.

I also don’t think you need to stress so much about pounds lost–if that is you main goal–and you are 5’7" 150. That’s not over wt for your height.

In reference to the twinkie diet:

  1. 800 caloric deficit.
  2. It’s a male doing the test. He has more LBM and his metabolism is different.
  3. That’s a good way to rail your insulin levels.
  4. What is that kind of diet doing to your system that you don’t know about?

Maybe you should stop obsessing over calories for a bit and really focus on the macros. A higher protein and lower carb/fat diet might be the answer. Either way continuing to repeat the same behavior while expecting different results isn’t just insane it’s silly. Finding nutritional and weight-loss success isn’t just about counting calories. It is also super important that our bodies are very efficient and amazing machines. Your body is constantly working to get back in balance and adapt to changes. You have followed a very similar approach to nutrition (as far as calories go) for quite some time. Thus, a change might be exactly what is needed to shock your metabolism back into gear. Pay less attention to calories while still focusing on portion control and eating every 2-3 hours. Limit your sugar and fat intake and try to stick to “good” fats by consuming animal fat, cooking with coconut oil and supplementing with fish and flax oils. Honestly, if that doesn’t work you might seriously consider getting your thyroid checked. Best of luck to you!

Might be a useful read, might not.

[quote]melanieamber12 wrote:
Just because the macros, numbers, and proportions might be right, the actually FOOD might be wrong.[/quote]

stop filling this girl’s head with nonsense. obviously it’s not gonna all be processed food from mcdonald’s when she’s trying to lose weight so she’s fine.

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
get a shelby starnes book, or better yet hire him[/quote]

This right here.

This is crazy. I am half your size and if I ate that many calories I would cry and disappear. This seems fake or sick.

I am an RD. Calipers are not a good tool for % BF, too many bias. (only bioimpedence with my clients.)

What is quite evident right now is that you have knocked down your metabolism. You will have to ramp up calories until 1800 for a long period of time to fix it. Macros: 40% Proteins, 30% fats and 30 % carbs are my 2 cents for you. If carbs are too low, you will not be able to give your 100% in the gym.

Carbs: quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, leafy and green vegetables, buckwheat, cauliflower, red pepper.
Fats: omega-3, avocado, olive oil, eggs, almond butter, walnuts, flaxseeds. No coconut oil for you.
Proteins (lean): fish, turkey, pork, bison, horse meat, black beans, almond milk, white eggs.

Probiotics to optimize your absorption.

Good luck

read up on intermittent fasting and try that,

lean gains is a good place to start.

Is your menstrual cycle regular?
Did you have your hormones checked?
Even if menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, it still might be a bit “off” (anovulatory cycles, lueal phase deficiency).

[quote]kikimice wrote:

What is quite evident right now is that you have knocked down your metabolism. You will have to ramp up calories until 1800 for a long period of time to fix it. Macros: 40% Proteins, 30% fats and 30 % carbs are my 2 cents for you. If carbs are too low, you will not be able to give your 100% in the gym.

Good luck[/quote]

Not always true, i know many people that can workout without any carbs in their diet including myself and do great. Is there a specific reason she should not consume coconut oil?