T Nation

I'm just not losing..

Hi. Alright, what gives? I’m not losing another bloody pound. I started the year off at 283. Dieted down to 263 using low carbs with refeeds every so often (6-9 days)and no postWO carbs and then the weight loss stalled. Strength levels remained constant throughout. Recently I embarked on a lower calorie regiment to kickstart the weight loss. Basically, I’m following Cy Wilson’s Steroid Dieting article with fewer carbs and more fats, and the addition of low-dose T3. NOTHING. I’ve actually gained seven pounds in the 2.5 weeks I’ve been on it, presumably water retention from the androgens.
The point is this, I’m eating WAY below maintainance calories, still gaining weight, and getting stronger and bigger. WHAT GIVES, PEOPLE? I’m tracking everything I eat, and I’m under 2000kcal everyday. Really frustrated here, my body just isnt doing what it is supposed to, and I’m not used to that.

Are you familar with the hormone leptin and how it works? This is most likely why your fat loss sucks.

Thanks for the reply Joel. I have read about leptin before, but I dismissed it as technical minutia. You know, the kind of thing important to guys trying desperately to drop from 4% to 3% BF. Anyway, I’ve reread all I could and I’m still a little confused regarding practical ways to increase leptin levels (or leptin sensitivity). As I mentioned, I’ve been utilizing a refeed roughly every 6-9 days; any more frequently and they become seriously counterproductive to me. Any ideas?

Until recently I gained a lot when I tried to get rid of fat. To my surprise, I was gaining LBM easier while trying to loose fat than I did sometimes while really trying to put on the mass. Take a look in the mirror. Your 7 lbs of water might be 17 + in LBM with a consistent loss of fat along side it. You may not notice it but others will. If this is the case I’d count yourself lucky since you’ll gain even when cutting like myself. That fantastic “look good naked” situation will creep up on you faster than you planned, if this is true.

At the steroid dieting caloric intake, you just need to refeed more frequently than that. Leptin levels will crash within a few days due to the caloric intake. Remember, leptin is both mediated by your body fat levels, but even if you have higher levels of body fat you can still have drastically low leptin levels because circulating leptin is also a result of how much food you are eating.

Hi, Farnsworth. I can’t think of anything more frustrating than to be dieting strictly but make little to no progress (or worse, go in the other direction).

Could I ask you how much protein you’re getting per day and how many meals you’re eating? At 263 pounds I’m calculating that you need 395g of protein per day (1.5g/lb). That number, though, is more accurately calculated by using LBM instead of BW. But based on the number above, you’d need to be eating 9 meals x 45g each meal; i.e., every two hours. One of the benefits of doing so is the thermic effect of food. Another thing I like to recommend when someone hit’s a plateau is that they chew their protein versus drinking their protein. The body has to work harder to digest it; i.e., more calories expended.

From there, I’d look at the carbs you’re taking in. Could you list all carb sources for me? Some are complementary to fat loss, and others are less so.

But the biggest problem I see is that at sub-2,000 calories/day, if you’re getting in the amount of protein you’re supposed to (395), I don’t see that there’s much room left over for fat or for carbs. Protein alone is running you 1,580 calories per day.

Hang in there, Farnsworth. The most important thing is that you don’t give up, but that you keep experimenting, massaging, manipulating your diet until you learn what works for you. That’s what we’re here for. As I love to say, a lot of us are on the same journey and struggling with the same demons.

This problem is more common then many people realize but can usually be solved if you’re willing to explore enough and do enough. Here I see quite a few possibilities. Since you’re already refeeding once every 6-9 days and you say that any more frequently then that proves detrimental I would think leptin wouldn’t be the problem. Also the fact that you haven’t lost strength tends to rule that out but what you might be seeing as detrimental results from the refeeds might just be extra water retention from the glycogen storage coming from the carbohydrates. If you weren’t taking the t3 right now it would be easier to see if that’s the problem as the T3 itself will negate the low body temp and sluggish thyroid that often accompanies a lower carb diet. How were you feeling prior to beginning the use of the t3? How was your sex drive, energy level, food cravings etc. Something else I might mention is that low dose T3 may in fact do the opposite of what you’re intending it to do. If you’re only taking a low dose once per day you might be taking enough to compromise your thyroid function but not enough to get much stimulation to make up for that, especially since you’re a big guy. If you get periodic chills and cold hands and feet throughout the day and in the morning then this could very well be the case. I’d first like to see you get off the t3 and increase to a maintenance diet for a couple of weeks to establish a baseline. Measure your body temperature and make sure it’s above 97 in the morning and 98 throughout the day. Any lower then that and you won’t be losing much fat no matter what you do. Now if you think you got your diet dialed in correctly few people realize that the calorie counts on food labels and calorie charts have little to do with the caloric value of foods to any particular human being. Calorie counts for foods are obtained by burning the food in a bomb calorimeter and measuring the heat produced. A bomb calorimeter is not a human body! The values of four calories per gram for carbs and proteins, and 9 calories per gram for fats, are rought approximations made up almost 100 years ago. The caloric values of carbs, proteins, and fats, vary not only with particular foods that contain them and your dietary composition. They vary also with each person’s biochemical individuality which affects the digestibility and efficiency of the use of food by the body. Table sugar mixed with water, for example, provides more energy and puts on much more bodyfat than table sugar eaten by the spoonful. One study was done at the Colgan institute with 4 men and 2 women aged 23-40 whose weight and bf% were stable. For six weeks they reduced their usual lunch by 250 to 400 calories every day, and kept all other meals strictly at their usual levels. According to the american diet industry, that’s a sure fire prescription for losing weight. Over the 6 weeks, subjects reduced their caloric intake by a total of 8400 to 18900 calories. According to the calories in - calories out myth they should have lost substantial weight. At 3600 calories per lb they should have lost between 2.25 and 5.25 pounds. In fact, only one man and one woman lost any weight at all! The man 1.5 lbs and the woman .75 lbs. The other four lost nothing at all. IN your case it sounds like you’ve definitely discovered this as well. Through the effect of hormones the body will pretty much do what it wants to do but all hope is not lost. Likely it could be you’re just consuming lots of sensitive or intolerant foods. Try making out a list of all your commonly consumed foods and simply switch food sources. Often that is enough to get fat loss going again. Or it could be there’s just not enough stimulation in your life. I’ve often noticed a break-up, tragedy or divorce will melt the fat off anyone, whereas being stuck in the comfort zone without much change will tend to pile the fat on anyone. Are you taking anything that could make you melancholy like anti-depressants etc? Perhaps try switching up your workout schedule. Try first thing in the morning HIT cardio training if you haven’t. Any # of things to get your body charged again.

LONG POST COMIN’…Thanks for the input everyone. Lots of info and questions, I’ll try to address them all. First, let me give you some background, FWIW FYI ETC… skip down to the ******* to avoid this. I started out about 6 years ago @ about 340pounds, with no muscle to speak of. I dropped a ton of weight on a high-carb, lowfat diet - I dont know how much, I was quite afraid of scales then - and tons of cardio (mountain biking mostly). I got much smaller but looked like shit. Then I started lifting weights about 4.5 years ago. I started at 290 pounds, and over the next few years I packed on mass very easily, all the while dropping fat–it was quite thrilling. This slowed down, of course. Now flashback to the day after thanksgiving 2001. I was still 285-290, but leaner and much bigger, but still too fat. So I embarked on a fat-fast type of diet. The details of which I shared on this forum, it included some trenbolone. True to the diet’s name, I dropped a lot of fat, fast. After less than a month, I slowed down, just like now, and was advised to try low-dose t3 as per Bill Roberts (12.5mcg/day) and the fat loss thrived again. After 6 weeks total, I was down to under 255 and all was well. All of last year, it’s as if by body had a new “set-point.” Over the course of 8-9 months I bulked up to about 270 (no drugs), putting on very little fat despite bulking food. Anyway, my newfound hubris got the better of me; the holidays came, and 270 turned to a blubbery 285ish(283), and 283 became 263 as described in my first post. Now here we are @ a very watery 270 approx 16%. I want to get to 240.

Tampa Terry: I’m getting 350g protein per day, I used 230x1.5 to approximate LBM for 1400cal. Mostly from a gut-wrenching blend of whey-isolate, casein and egg white protein. Solid food is eaten maybe twice per day. I just can’t handle chewing. The rest is made up of flax oil, shy of 3 TB for approx 315 cals. I dont take in very little carbs aside from whats hidden in my protein, food, and fiber supps(pure psyllium, no malto). Then there is the refeed, which I try to schedule for after chest workout.

to Kelly Baggett: First, let me remind you that some of the water is likely from the considerable amount of androgens in my body. I’ve been on androgens and T3 for almost 3 weeks now. Before them, my sex drive was high, and energy was a little low. First week T3 dosage was a little too high, 25mcg, this made me feel sluggish, I cut back to 12.5 and after 4-5days I felt much better. Now energy is still a little low from the dieting, but I would call it within normal parameters. I will cycle off the T3 asap. As for swapping out foods, that was the first thing I did. Like all recovering fatasses, I have a killer diet pepsi addiction, and crystal light, too. I dropped them, and anything else like it, and replaced it with water. Then I cut deli meats and anything with a hint of dextrose etc. Now it’s my aforementioned protein powder, fresh unprocessed chicken, beef and occasional eggs. re workouts, this has been my first week on a much higher volume and intensity program, and I can’t wait till it warms up to bring out the sandbags, boulders and logs. I’m counting on the increased work at this point, as I’m quite frustrated with diet. As for brain drugs, I’m not on anything, and I feel pretty damned good. But you are right on about being comfortable and “stuck in a rut.” Maybe it’s time to break out the md6 and adipokinetx I’ve got in the drawer?
Thanks again guys, and I’ll make sure to keep you posted.

I dont know if you’ve been tracking body composition via calipers or anything but perhaps you’re using a highly aromotizable androgen and just experiencing much water retention even though you may be losing fat? This is not all that uncommon. If so then I would say that’s a good thing but if not then maybe the estrogen conversion is causing you to retain and/or accumulate fat as well. Are you using any anti- E’s?

Kelly: Interesting point about the estrogen causing fat gain. My nipples feel fine, so I hadn’t really considered it. I did a big refeed this weekend, and for this week, I won’t change anything, but will start nolvadex and report back on friday.

Here’s one thing to think about, one of the “old school” thoughts was while trying to lose large amounts of bodyfat, you should be feeding the weight you want to be . Without knowing bf%, height and so on its all guess work. I’d re-calculate Protein at LBW not total BW then add your fats and carbs.
Alsoyou should have a Dr. go over a blood test w/ you. That may shed some light on the stall.

good luck