T Nation

Impossible Weight Loss


I have been trying to lose weight for about a year now. Without success.
I was on a strict diet for three months, worked out five to six times a week lifting heavy weights and doing cardio… I did everything everybody says is the right thing to do concerning nutrition and working out. No results. I even tried out T3 and Clen and additionallz to that I had a caloric deficit. Nothing.
(I’m still doing all the good stuff but I’m not that hard on myself right now because of lacking motivation)

I even stopped taking the pill.

The only results I had over time was that I lost like 2 pounds to gain them again overnight without changing anything. After these 3 months of hard dieting I had finally lost around 10 pounds with this excruciating plan… To gain them all again after 2 weeks!!! And really: I didn’t do anything!

What I realize, is that most of the extra pounds are water. Diuretics do not affect my body either. Sometimes, when it really gets bad, I can even feel how my limbs are filling themselves with water.

This is all so frustrating!!!

So, do you have an idea what I can do to finally lose all the water/weight? I would be so very thankful!
Even the doctors (note the plural) don’t know an answer and tell me that I will just have to live with that.

Here my stats: female, 5’7’’, 156 pounds.
About 1 1/2 years ago I gained 15 pounds (in 3 months eating badly, hardly working out at all).
I’ve been working out for 6 years.


how many calories do you average per day?
breakdown protien ,fats ,carbs
what do you do for your work outs,as in sets ,reps ,rest times is it a structured program
what cardio do you do


Average of calories: about 1500
I tried max. 20 carbs, 140 protein, 95 fat
I tried low fat, about 170 protein, 50 carbs
I tried 100 carbs, 150 protein, 50 fat

Sun chest/back
Mon glutes/abs
Tue shoulder
Wed quads/abs
Thur bi-/tricep

And sometimes I would add another cardio session in the mornings up to 3 times a week for 30min.

One plan was 4 sets of 25 to 30 reps with 30 min. HIIT training afterwards
After that I switched to 3 sets of 20, 45 min. Cardio (pulse rate 103)

Rest times between sets: about 1 Min.
Structured plan…

My cardio is on a spinning bike (I have a heelspur too, so Doc told me not to do anything else)


In order to drop actual fat, you absolutely have to be in a consistent calorie deficit. You probably need to measure and log every single calorie you consume each day for several weeks, being completely honest with yourself, i.e., unrecorded BLTs (bites, licks and tastes add up), as does something like a heaping tablespoon versus a recorded tablespoon of condiments, fats/oils and added sugars.

Self-reported food intakes are oftentimes grossly inaccurate. I’d recommend logging every single calorie, honestly, for several weeks, even if means having to more closely measure your foods, and make sure that your targeted caloric deficit isn’t set too high relative to your activity levels and resting metabolic rate.


I did all that. For 3 months. Every day. Every single gram of anything I ate.
No results.


If you’re tracking meticulously and still not losing fat at 1500 calories/day, you may have to drop calories even slightly further and/or bump up light physical activity, e.g., 30 minute extra walks 3-4 days/week. However, 1500 calories/day is roughly 10 x BW, which normally will elicit fat loss. I know these are “poverty macros,” and some men, especially, don’t know how tough it is to eat so little to have to lose weight. The hormonal influences with the female body are beyond my expertise, but I certainly think that plays a role in differences like this too.

Of course, the old caveat “don’t just go by scale weight” applies here too. I can always assess fat loss by the mirror and the fit of my clothes. I don’t pay a lot of attention to scale weight, and when I do weight myself once every 10 days or so, I choose the same time and day of the week, first thing in the morning, always before eating or drinking anything and right after a morning pee.

You’re already fairly lean, i.e., you don’t have 40-50 lbs to lose, and you’re talking about those last “few” aesthetic pounds for the most part, and those are oftentimes the most difficult to get rid of. I weigh about 192-195 lbs and I’ve had to drop calories pretty low, i.e., sub-1900, to get into the mid-180s.


Thanks for sharing your experiences.
I tossed the scale, too and I measured myself by my pants and shirts - still no difference. I have like 2 sets of clothes: one for my fatter and one for my leaner days. Right now I have some pants which I can`t even pull higher than mid-thigh.

The problem is really not the calorie intake and/or workout but it´s the water I´m collecting - like a camel! Just yesterday I was 4 pounds lighter than today!!! And my weight keeps going up up up!


I believe things are very different for women, largely due to hormones, so I can sympathize. I do believe Lyle McDonald is presently working on something tailored towards specific fat loss strategies just for women, which addresses some of these specific issues.


Yeah, I know. Darn hormones… I was hoping to find somebody here who knows more about all this or has experience because I can´t believe that I´m the only female lifter with these issues…
And if so: Scientists, doctors - here I am! smiley:


Oh, and thanks for writing JR249


Sounds like you need to see a doc/endocrine specialist and get stuff like all you thyroid levels checked.
Also ask some questions in the pharma and t-replacement forums -pretty knowledgable guys there

Cutting for such a protracted period has probably hammered your metabolism -start off by trying the ‘eat more excercise more approach’ in this article. A lot of the sections about water weight blowups should ring true here…

Specifically I would add a large (clean) refeed meal every 5-6 days and get on a superior training template like these:


scale,tape measure,calipers,pictures,
all are tools used right can give alot of feedback of progress or lack of
weigh yourself every day learn how your body reacts on a daily basis learn the difference between water weight ,fat ,learn how your weight cycles “male, bigger than you different lifestyle my weight fluctuates about 8 pounds during the week” however my weekly average stays the same
pictures same place same light same pose ,the mind lies pics dont
calipers measure skin fold different places {same places each week}smaller skin fold lost fat{body weight stays same means you lost fat gained muscle}
tape measure measure different areas track, clothes strech, shrink,
all tools learn to use them

keep learning keep working sometimes takes time to figure out what works for you


You might have to change your time scale and expectations of change. It can take six months or possibly more for endocrine function to return to normal after taking the pill long term. There used to be a lot of stuff about that in the powerful women/Fahrenheit forums, but I haven’t looked at those for a long time. I do remember salmon and other iodine containing ocean fish being highly recommended for women wanting to restore metabolic function.

Realistically though, 90 days/3months is a drop in the bucket when it comes to life time and changing habits.


Looks like same situation happened to my wife, and we found the solution by chance, and it was very easy.

First, stressing yourself with tracking, logging, weighing, etc. elevates your cortisol levels that leads to water retention you experience. So, first step is to avoid any activity that will put huge stress (mentally). This will drop some water weight, and give you a relief from the stress. Your other hormones will start to regulate (dopamine, serotonin, leptin, etc.) and you mood will enhance.

Second, it is time to examine your nutrition plan. Three factors you must consider:

  1. Food type:
    Start by eliminating all crap food from your diet. Stick to healthy choices, and real solid food. Try to make all of your food in home, and make it as simple as possible. Don’t complicate it. T-Nation is full of easy healthy recipes that you can follow without any obstacles and can fit any situation. Below I will give you samples of which me and my wife use.

  2. Meal timing / macro timing
    You should know exactly when to eat each macronutrient. For example, simple carbs come after workout, complex carb in the morning and before workout, etc. This topic discusses in many articles on T-Nation, but generally, here are my guidelines which we follow (and successfully losing weight on it):

  • Don’t combine carbs and fats in a single meal
  • Within one hour after workout eat simple carbs, lots of vegetables, lean protein like chicken breast or fish
  • Breakfast should contain complex carbs and protein as well
  • lunch is consisted of lots of protein, vegetables and small amount of complex carbs (This is our pre-workout meal)
  • reduce you salt intake
  • eat fruits (bananas, oranges, apples, dates, mangos, etc.) to compensate for sugar craving.
  1. Training:
    Change you training totally, drop the cardio at all as it will elevate cortisol levels. Opt for good powerlifting program. My wife was on SL5x5 and now she is on Jim’s 5/3/1, both worked very well. Limit training to maximum of 4 days per week and no more than 45 minutes of training including warming up. You may add two days of conditioning (light conditioning like walking or complexes) but not more than 20 minutes. I prefer to avoid conditioning for the first month.

Finally, don’t weigh yourself daily. Set particular day of the week for the scale and measurements. I prefer it to be after last workout of the week, and take you figures once each week.

Another point that worth mentioning is the relationship between menstrual cycle and nutrition. I did long research regarding to this issue (I’m not physician so make your own research or consult a doctor) and came to the following which worked best for my wife:

During Luteal Phase: your body is very insulin resistant, so try to avoid high GI carbs as much as possible and depend of fats and protein

During Follicular Phase: your body is very sensitive to carbs, so introduce simple and high GI carbs, this will help you perform better in training, and will regulates your hormones.

During Ovulation Phase: your body starts to lose its sensitivity to carbs (turns to be insulin resistant) and starts to retain water, so reduce high GI carbs gradually as you reach your Luteal phase.

Final word, make a small deficit, don’t go to extremes and let your body to relax.

I hope I could help. If you have any question don’t hesitate to contact.


I don’t think you’re eating nearly enough. I put your height and weight (I don’t know your age, but I chose 30) into this energy expenditure calculator (http://www.health-calc.com/diet/energy-expenditure-advanced) and at 1,500 calories/day you aren’t even eating enough to maintain your basal metabolic rate, let alone recover properly from your workouts. Based on the activity level you described, you are very likely running a massive daily caloric deficit. In that environment and because you’re female, there is no way your body will allow you to lose appreciable weight (nor should it). That said, how do you feel day to day? Is your energy good? Are you sleeping well?


Hello everyone. Thanks for all your ideas.
Unfortunately I have to say that almost all of your tips showed me that I didn’t succeed in telling you that I’m not a newbie neither in nutrition nor in working out. So please spare me the “eat real food”, “cut cardio” and “take pictures” comments (a fat belly and ass is a fat belly and ass, don’t need no pictures for that!).
My problem is the WATER in my body.

Hanymamdouh: Thanks. I’m not tracking anymore and stress levels aren’t very high. Still nothing. But the plan with the carbs sounds good.

I’m seeing my doc again next week and maybe he found out something after my last blood tests…

Ertl: I’m 41. I feel and sleep good, and actually I ate 2000 a and my workout burned about 500…