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need a better fat loss plan

Hey Everyone,

I have posted a few similar topics before concerning this subject, but i have seem to have reached a brick wall in terms of what to do.

I have been trying to help my girlfriend lose weight for the past few months. She is 135lbs 4’11" and 30%bf. Her goal is weight loss, some muscle gain would be nice, but fat loss is the main objective here, and if some muscle gets lost to its ok.

I had her on the T-dawg Diet for the months of Janruary and February. After those two months she had not lost much weight four or five pounds at the most. We decided to take a break for the time being and reevaluate what we were doing. She had her thyroid tested, but everything looks normal. She was keeping a good food log while on the T-dawg, and on paper everything looked right. She was lifting three times a week and doing cardio.

I am kind of at a loss for what to do right now. One thing i was thinking is that perhaps her body needs more of a jump start to get fat loss going. The T-Dawg seems to be a diet for someone who wants to shed a small amount of fat while keep as much muscle as possible. That could be a good option down the road, but right now a large of amount of fat loss is the key.

Can anyone help me out with some parameters for a more effective fat loss program? I have been reading T-mag for a while, and thought i knew a fair amount about this kind of stuff. But putting into practice on someone else has been suprisingly tough.


If she will do it, the “Fat Fast” will strip the fat off her. I’m doing it right now, and I’ve lost about 11 pounds in almost a week and a half (I’m shedding the fat so quick, I think I might stop this after only two weeks). If you are not familiar with the fat fast, you can do a search on t-mag and learn all about it, but basically one just lives on flax oil, whey protein, and metamucil for a while. I am not sure how much muscle I have lost, but my strength is only down a tiny bit, and I am a lot more ripped. I would also try to get her to work out as hard as possible while she is on the diet, as I doubt she would be prone to working out too hard, and she is not worried about loosing muscle.

5lbs on a tiny person like that isn’t too bad at all.
put it in perspective and thats like me losing 10 lbs in two months. hey i’d be happy!
The key to a situation like this is make lifestyle changes and the results will come. What you are looking for is the start of a Yo-Yo diet. Not good.
I would say continue with what you are doing, & make sure she has perfomance goals, meaning: not just goin thru the motions at the gym, but actually trying to beat previous distances for cardio and increase load when weight training. This is key for this type of situation. Stop focusing on the end goal and concentrate on the baby steps that will get you there.
i hope this helps

How many calories is she eating right now? Do you have an estimate of what her maintenance is? She may need to cut calories a little. I know after 3 weeks that I usually have to drop my calories a little to keep the fat loss going.

Also, what kinds of foods is she eating for her carbs, fats, and protein?

This is a lot of questions but we really need to know more before we can give you better advice.

Here is her nutrition breakdown:

Her diet requiements are:

Cal/day 1698
Protien 135 gr/day
workout day 100 gr
non-work 70 gr

I’ll lay out one of her workout days using the Cal/Pr/Carb/Fat template that T-mag suggests.

Workout Day sample

Kashi and 1% milk



7oz chicken

2/3 cup veggies


hamburger-no bun


3.5oz Pork chop



I would suggest dropping the Kashi crap and replace that with some good green veggies throughout the day.

The fiber will be a big help along with the added nutrients.


Also supplementing with fish oils can be a big help.

I also agree with Whetu on the 4 lbs issue. This is a long haul not a roller coaster.

Another thing I have found that works for some is to add a day or two of even lower cals followed by 1 day of upping cals beck to maint. So say her maint is 2500 and you drop them down to 2000 for monday - thursday, then friday and saturday you drop down to 1500, followed sunday with a day @ maint. of 2500, then begin cycle again. This has worked great for me, gives the metabolism a quick boost and the trainee a short mental break. Even going above maint on sunday can be of benefit. Go for say 2750 k/cals.

Just a few options.


The diet layout that tones posted was early on, and we have modified it greatly since then. actually, that was one of my worst days, bc i had problem with something.

anyway, the problem is, is it doesnt feel like a long process or that im getting anywhere. I would be fine with loosing 1 lb or a 1/2lb consistently each week. However, I was roller costering. After I dropped an initial 3 lbs from just going on the diet, i would loose a pound, then gain it back, loose 1, gain 2. I know that the scale is not everything, and I havent relied solely on that. I’ve hardly dropped any body fat and my measurements have pretty much stayed the same.

I was kind of thinking that if i was doing something right i should at least be consistently loosing something, whether i’m smaller or not. this is a lifestyle change, even though im taking a break from it at the moment so we can fine tune something, im still eating the same foods, just not counting everything. I don’t expect to loose a lot of poundage in a small amount of time, but it seemed like I had gotten in a rut and wasn’t going anywhere, which became extrememely frustrating because i was working so hard at it.

here is a better sample of my diet on a workout day


flaxseed oil

cottage cheese


3.5 oz lean meat

sweet potatoe (my post workout carbs)

3.5 oz chicken

3.5 oz lean meat

2/3 cup veggies


3.5 oz chicken

protein stuff


so am i just resigned that it will take way longer than most to reach my goals just because i am small and it takes longer? or is there something more i can do?


The only thing that I see your diet is lacking is some monounsaturates(olive oil,almonds,etc.). You’re right though; you should be losing weight or inches. What does your training look like and what type of cardio are you doing? Also, does your diet look like this for 7 days a week and are you weighing your food?

Some of these questions might seem obvious but it’s hard to give advice when you don’t know exactly what the person is doing. Your calories seem low enough that you should be losing weight though. Actually inches is the best indicator of fat loss.

it roughly looks like this for 6 days, on saturday i take a mild free day. this may need modifying. i know in the second eddition they reduced it to a free meal.

i do have nuts and such frequently, just on that particular day, inadition to fish oil which i’ll have if im too low in calories.

workout wise, before i was doing 3 days a week, doing about 4 or 5 weight lifting excercises which i did 7 reps for 5 sets, plus 25 min of cardio.

what we’re thinking of changing it to, is 2 day of the above, plus two days of body pump (a new class that has started circulating which combines cardio, and strength training with weights targeting most of the main muscle groups) plus 1 or 2 days of extra cardio on the weekend. we were going before on the idea that lifting weights uses more energy in the creation of muscle, however i think our error was that i am not on a muscle building program, so i wasnt going to build much in the first place, hence our turn to more cardio.

again, i havent really been loosing inches either. over the two months, the most i got was 2 inches of my waist, but every other area stayed the same.

oh and i weigh and measure everything, and cardio wise i do different programs (strength, endurance, and interval) on the eliptical machines. unfortunately due to other medical problems i am unable to do spinning, which makes me sad bc i miss it, and aerobics bc it kills my shins from years of dancing. so the elipticals are the best thing i have to support my knee and shin problems.

I do not mean to tell you not to do cardio work, especialy, if you really like it, but I suspect a much heavier focus on weights will help your appearance more. I say this only because that is what works for me and the few people to whom I have given advice. Hit the weights hard, gain strength, jump start your metabolism, and the weight will go. Also, you might want to try shorter higher intensity cardio workouts, and mix up the rep ranges for the weight lifting (high reps on the leg press, eventually with heavy weight, should burn a lot of fat).

I have my daughter on this diet at the moment as she wants to drop a dress size for her wedding in August.
She is currently losing 1Lb per week and has just started her 4th week.
By my calculations,substituting your numbers for hers, i think you should be on 1120 Kcals and not 1480?
Re check your figures and see what happens.BTW my daughter has not started any gym training yet only speed walking EOD. She does not like to go to the gym but it will come if she stalls.
Hope this helps

I agree with floobado. You will probably get better results if you stick with all compound exercises and heavy weights during your workouts. It’s a myth that heavy weights will make a woman huge. More muscle usually makes it easier to lose the fat. Your diet actually looks pretty good.

You may have to play around with the calories a little.Your calories may be too low or too high. Something like Phil mentioned sounds like a good idea. You could go below 1,500 calories for a few days then bump it up to maintenance for a day or two. This seems to work better with me also. As you know, inches is a better indicator also. Your weight could be staying the same but you could be losing inches. This means that you’re losing fat and gaining muscle.

Usually when my diet is not going as planned, I have to take a step back and look at everything. You should be getting results at least every 2 weeks if you’re doing things right. If I’m not getting results, I usually tweak my diet or cardio until I get results. Also, too much cardio will burn up muscle so you have to be careful.

Hope this helps.

this is yelowkiwi, i just didn’t feel like switching screenames.

anyway, i am not worried about getting huge, in fact i may be one of the few who would like it. i’m just trying to see how different things work. I wasn’t getting any results with lifting, i didn’t really feal like i was gaining any substantial muscle. When I was in high school I danced about 30 hrs a week bc i was in a company, and that has been the only time in my life that i was able to really eat whatever i wanted without much consequences, even with a slow metabolism. i have never been in as good a shape as when i was dancing, just cant afford it right now, but will be starting back up in the fall when i get a real job. this is what leads me to think perhaps more cardio would help for me, although i would love for weights to work, because like i said, i am one of the few women who would like to get at least a little big at some point.

Have you tried low-rep(less than 6 reps) training? I never got any results from whole workouts based on 10 or more reps. Have you ever tried a program consisting of squats, benches, rows, chin ups, good mornings and deadlifts with no or very little isolation work. I’m not saying that you haven’t but it’s just something to think about. It’s just most of the time that most women think they have to do more cardio to get lean but getting lean has a lot more to do with one’s diet and the muscle they carry. Don’t get me wrong. Cardio is important but it’s not the best way to get lean.

reading the t-dawg diet it says that if you are not getting the results you want after 3 weeks, drop the calories by 250 then try for 3 weeks, and if needed do it again, continually until you reach you goals. everyone is different and the formula is just to get you close. hope that helps

I agree with Jason on this one.

I would give a litttle lower rep scheme a try. Around the 6-8 range. If you can complete 8 reps for all the sets then move up weight next w/o. Once you have a good strength base set then the higher rep work can be cycled in and it will be of greater benefit do to the fact you will be moving more weight @ the higher reps.

The added muscle mass will have the effect of burning K/cals and making you solid and sexy also.

just a thought.


First of all, I think that losing 2 inches from your waist in 2 months is good progress. When I have dieted, I have measured body fat with calipers in multiple sites, and I found the fat doesn’t come always come off evenly. You may have lost more fat than you think, but just in the belly region.

But here are some other possibilities stalling your fat loss, based on my own experience:

  1. Macronutrients. It may be that T-dawg isn’t the most effective diet for you. I realize that it is a very popular diet around here, but it’s not my favorite for ME. I do better eating more carbs. I believe there are people who oxidize carbs better than they do fat (and vice versa), and I seem to be one of them. I have done really well on a Zone-type diet.

  2. Meal timing. I once was frustrated that my husband was dropping fat quickly, while I was stalled, on the same diet and workout plan (different # of Kcal, of course). I compared our logs and noticed that his meals were crammed close together early in the day, which is also our post-workout period. I wasn’t so good about eating on schedule in the morning, and then would cram my meals closer together late in the day. I was missing out on the post-workout window as well as the higher metabolic rate and insulin sensitivity in the morning. Once I got strict about my meal timing, with the same # of cals and same food choices, I started losing fat consistently, about 1.5 pounds per week.

Interestingly, Berardi’s recent articles also point out the importance of that 6-hour post-workout window. It’s hard to tell from the logs you posted, what foods you are eating when. Timing can be very important.

  1. Calories. It’s possible you need MORE. As a dancer, you may have quite a bit of metabolically active muscle to feed. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but every time I’ve dieted (3 or 4 times), I’ve found I had to adjust calories UP to maintain fat loss. The way I calculated mine was to track not only food, calories, and workouts, but also weekly weight and body fat measurements in an Excel spreadsheet. One sign you should consider increasing calories is if you initially lost more fat than you’re losing now. Another sign is if you lose muscle. For me, after dieting for several weeks, I started to lose muscle and maintain or even gain fat! So I increased my calories, and reversed the trend. I actually still have trouble believing it, but there are the records in Excel.

How have your cardio sessions increased in the last month? Are you logging these? I am a firm believer of performance goals in relation to cardio, because it works. Performance athletes aren’t fat are they. Force your body to adapt.
Whetu - the brown kiwi

Thanks everyone for the advice.

We have decided to start again on the T-dawg after a little lay off. Since she wasnt getting any results with 1525 cal per day we decided to subtract 250 as it says in the FAQ, which puts her at 1275 cal a day. We’ll see if this will work.

I am also getting her started in deadlifts, dips, chins, etc. More compound movements. Its tough with the dips and chins, cause she can’t even do one. With dips we start in the bottom position and i help her push up. With chins i figured we would start at the top postion, and she can slowly lower herself down over six or eight seconds.