T Nation

Need some diet help!

Hey guys I need some diet help here. I have been dieting since the beggining of april and have virtually nothing to show for it. Normally I have done well on low carb/ketogenic diets but I have slowly added more carbs over the years and done well on that too. So this time around I set out to try the dont diet. I started out at roughly 226 and 9.3% b.f. The calorie amount I came up with, having a fairly active lifestyle, was roughly 3500 calories a day. So, I did the dont diet and I got down to about 218 at roughly 8.5-8.8% bf, allowing myself one cheat meal a week. This happened after about 2.5 weeks. I have been stuck there since. I was doing a workout which consisted of about 12 sets a workout and at 4-6 reps per set. Then I changed over to about 8-10 after 2 weeks, and after that back to lower reps again. I am now currently in week 3 of meltdown training and doing HIIT along with it. After not losing anymore I cut back one carb/protein meal on nonworkout days. This had no effect. I then cut back to one on nonworkout days and still no effect. I also lowered the calories to under 3000 each day and nothing. The only change I have noticed is that I look a bit leaner and my waist has gone down about 1/3". Other than that my weight won’t go any lower and my neither will my bodyfat. In fact I fluctuate between 220.5 and 218 each day. I am taking MD6 about 3-4 daily. Plus since starting meltdown I have done morning only androsol. I even cut back my cheat meals to once every two weeks. I mean I used to do the anabolic diet w/o stagnating w/ a whole weekend of eating crap. I just don’t get it. What am I doing wrong? Should I cut calories back more? Should I take some T2-pro and metabolic thyrolean, (could it be my thyroid acting up only after 2.5 weeks)? I was down to about 6.7% in early march after a fat fast but I went on vacation and couldn’t eat properly so I gained some back. I don’t know why I can’t lose the fat? Maybe I’m making very slow progress? I mean I was definitely getting stronger during the low rep phases. Perhaps I am slowly gaining a bit of muscle and losing fat at the same time, but it is way too slow. Any suggestions would be appreciated on what I can do to solve this problem? I hope this made sense as I am typing this from work and don’t want to be seen doing it.

Please, I need some help.
This dieting w/o results is really starting to annoy me.

First of all, you’re at 8% BF and performing the Meltdown program? I wouldn’t recommend the Meltdown program for a already low amount of BF. And it sounds like you are “trying to hard” and in the “more is better” frame of mind. I would stop weighing yourself everyday - and look into a program like 5x5 or even EDT.

What is the current training cycle like? Do you have any rest days? Also, relax. ;-)

In response to your needing help with dieting… First of all, the 8-10 rep thing-it won’t work. Second of all, what are you trying to get your body to do? Feed off it’s reserves, so basically you have to starve yourself. That’s about as plain put as I can say it. You do want a cheat day, becausue your body will adapt itself to a lower cal diet. Kinda like firls saying “I don’t know why I’m not getting any thinner…I never eat.” Your body will adapt to anything given that has been exposed to a long enough stimulus. By the way, that’s exactly what building muscle is in the gym. About that work-out for the so-called mass training, give it a rest. Try some giant sets and an occasional circuit type training to get your heart rate up instead of trying to be the strongest man in the gym. You’ll feel a lot better, trust me. One more thing for the guys who don’t know. Protein isn’t just protein, to build muscle you have to have a protein that has all off the essential ammino acids. Your body has this all or none outlook on that issue. Meat, eggs, milk, have the whole ammino acid profile, but if you are a vegatarian you have to combine different vegatables. That means if you are just drinking whey protein that isn’t all of what you need. Ya’ll be good

You ARENT doing enough. Thinking you are doing too much when you consume 3000 cal/day, with workouts consisting of 12 sets per workout is incorrect. Your body only ‘holds’ on to fat under EXTREME conditions. Sorry buddy, you aint in that place. Simply put, you must expend more energy.
At 3k/day you have PLENTY of ‘wiggle’ room to lower calories.
Participate in activities that allow you to burn more calories
These activities must not be of the kind that ‘tax’ your recouperative abilities. In the gym that means REDUCE eccentric portion of lift(its more for mass building anyhow), Push SHORT of failure. VARY as many exercises as possible. Training this way will allow you ~100 sets per week without burning out.
Although its not popular on this board at the moment, light cardio does have some pros that HIIT doesnt. Its less taxing on your nervous system, allowing you to do more. (Note: All you HIITer go easy when flaming me.)
Outside the gym participate often and regularly in LEISURE game/play requiring light to modest intensity. ~ Best of luck and keep us posted :slight_smile:

Okay, one more thing: Have you kept a food log/journal? If so, I’d examine it and see if there is anything that you’re missing or are not considering. And if you haven’t (begun a food log): start now.

If you want to roll thick up on some seriously “cut” bodyfat, you are going to have to cut kcal to around 2200-2500 per day. When I am around 10% body fat or so, I cut calories to 2100 per day (mntc 3000+) for some time. I am not a fan of don’t diet, but hey, do what works for you brah.

Interesting…how much cardio are you doing? I agree with the above assesments that adding a bit of cardio, plus one or two interval or circuit-type training might up your heart rate a bit, burn a little fat. There’s also another important question here that one person hinted at but nobody’s asked – how active is your average day, apart from what you do in the gym? If you’re a desk jockey, or if your job entails just about anything other than direct labor, you might need to increase casual calorie-burning activities…taking the stairs whenever you can, playing some sports, doing some gardening, going antiquing…wait, I didn’t say that last thing…If you’re rushed, or you just feel rushed, I’ve found that by doing 5 minutes of intense activity (sprint/jog intervals, farmer’s walk) or 20 minutes of light stuff first thing in the morning, maybe once your first md6 dose kicks in, really works for me. It sort of starts your day off with a bang without making you exhausted. And if all else fails (if you haven’t tried this already) you might want to throw in some T2 or T2pro into the mix, or get into the habit of drinking green tea…a nice clean buzz that might also have some other indirect fat-burning effects. I also second the notion that your body might be rebelling a little bit, holding on to that last bit of fat to protect you from the oncoming famine.

P.S. – how’s your mood? If your friends and coworkers comment that you’re getting a bit snippy or if you have any signs of depression that can be a sign that your body is in shutdown mode regarding fat burning.

My training cycle right now is M,T,R,Sat, for meltdown. Tues, Fri, Sat for HIIT. I have tried to lower calories some. I average abut 2700-3000 calories a day. As far as a food log, I don’t keep a very detailed one. Basically I just figure out how many calories I have for each meal and the total for the day. During the meal I try to follow the massive eating meal combo guidelines.
I started off this diet doing a low rep scheme. I then changed to an 8-10 rep scheme, and them back to a low rep scheme. I threw in meltdown to hopefully get a jolt, as I have used it with success before. I figure there should be no harm to LBM w/ Meltdown as I am using moring only androsol.
One suggestion was to take calories down to 2200-2500, do you think I’d lose LBM if I did so?
Finally the last question I remember to respond to is, yes my mood has been crappy lately. But that did not begin until I started meltdown and HIIT. Before that I was fine. I think that mostly as a result of doing HIIT I have felt quite drained, but as I’ve adapted to it I feel much better.
As far as my activity levels outside of the gym I am fairly active. I work 2 jobs and go to school full time. One job is a computer job, where the other is one in which I am on my feet running back and forth all day.
I’m sorry if I seem a little frustrated. It is just I hate doing something, especially dieting, without obtaining any results from it. That is what I really love about dieting to begin with. It is not fun, but when you see the results over time you know it was worth it. So after cutting calories and cutting carbs, then adding more energy demanding routines, I just didn’t know what to do.
Maybe, I should cut calories more? Maybe do some regular cardio along with HIIT? Maybe I should go to a full blown ketogenic or at least t-dawg diet? Next week, I know will either be an off week from lifting or a change to a low rep range routine. Either way I plan on doing this routine for 2 weeks immediately after meltdown or right after a 1 week layoff. Then the plan was to bulk up for 2 weeks on mag-10, but I might postpone that if I am not any leaner by then.
Thanks for the replies, and keep 'em coming.

For Don’t diet to work you should be re-doing the formulas once a week as it says adjusting calories and macros as needed. You also changed a bunch of things at once. How the hell are you going to know what worked and what didn’t. Look at your logs I bet you are losing strenght… I would also bet you are not doing enough in the line of areobic/anerobic running etc… Checkout the winning formula part 2 by John B. It may help you may also be a person who doesn’t metabolize carbs very well.

You are doing way to much. 3 days in the gym is plenty. Try 5x5 training, and then maybe throw in some light cardio on off days.

Some say I’m doing too little others say I’m doing too much. I don’t know which one to follow. As I said I will be cutting back a bit soon with a low rep probably 5-7 sets of 4-6 for each bodypart, plus I have an off week planned soon.
Were I to follow the winning formula I would be doing even more than I am now. As far as being carb intolerant, I know I am simply because I respond very well to ketogenic/low-carb diets. However, in the past year or so I have experimented with raising my carb intake and still saw great success. So I don’t know if carbs are the issue. I was recalculating my calories weekly, and I even lowered them some more. Not only that I cut out one carb meal first on off days then I cut out another one after a few weeks. I am confident that I will get stronger again when I do the low rep training again. With Meltdown I don’t even care about strength all I care about is trying to get every rep out that I can and making it through each set.

For now my plan is to cut back calories a bit starting next week. I will also perhaps add some regular cardio. I think I will make it an off week from lifting, but I’m not sure yet. Thus, my carbs will be less as I won’t be lifting at all.

I don’t think people realized how much you were doing, but now that you have clarified, people will see. CUT BACK YOUR TRAINING.

Steve chill. Let me teach you something Mike Mentzer taught me through his articles. When you are in a situation you are now, you dont know to go UP or DOWN. Thats because you picked up a “random” program that has placed you in the MIDDLE. Without going through all the painful details; THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.
* Return to maintainance calories
* Stop cardio & HIIT
* Limit weekly lifting to 3x40 minute sessions
Follow these recommendations for a week or two. Once you are “reset” adjust ONE of the following 3 elements of your training until you acheive desired effect
* Reduce calories by 300 cal per day
* Add 20 minutes per week of cardio or HIIT1/3
* Add 20 minutes of lifting per week
For each week you dont achieve BF% reduction select a NEW element to adjust. Once BF% start to drop keep doing what you are doing with NO ADJUSTMENTS. Obviously food choices matter, but I’m not going into that now. This is the simplest way to personalize your training without worrying that some magical formula out there isnt telling you to train too much or eat too little.~ Best of luck

If you’re going to drop calories, as Vain suggested, then definitely do the 5x5 program. You won’t lose LBM that way. Supplement with high intensity intervals of cardio (sprint, jump rope, etc) on off days.

Also the suggestion by Art to go back to maintenance calories, stopping cardio and limiting training to 3-days for a week or so, is sound. I'd do that - at least take a break first . Rethink your strategy - and also, I have been assuming you are at 8-9%BF, right? And that's pretty low - you're body could be spending some time adjusting to this BF%.

However, I wouldn't weight train more than 3-days a week - which is why something like 5x5 sounds like a good program for you. Hell, I'd even consider some sort of powerlifting routine. You know, do only the big primary lifts, three days a week. Why not? You're at a decent level of BF, might as well experiment. And then you can still supplement with the high intensity intervals of cardio (sprinting, jump rope, etc.).

Oh, and don't cut yourself short by thinking "I've done all this and haven't gained anything by it.." That's not true. You're learning what works for you. THAT'S what you've gained.

Thanks for the advice guys. I am definitely taking next week off from lifting. I will probably do a little cardio just to keep active but otherwise I will stay pretty inactive. I’ll pick my calories up a bit too, around maintenance or so.
Then after that I will resume training 3 or 4 times a week. I know you all said to do only 3 but I’m used to my 2 leg days. Like I said I’ll do something in the 4-6 rep range, maybe 5X5.
I guess 8-9% is rather lean but my 8-9% isn’t the same as others. Sure I got an OK 4 pack but I really hold a lot of weight around my lower abs and have some good sized love handles. Which is why I definitely want to get lower.
I definitely have learned from this experience. I suppose the most painful lessons are the ones you learn the most from. I’ll tell you one thing the don’t diet at the calories JB suggests or even a bit lower is a great maintenance diet for me. Thanks again for all the advice and helping me think things through by lending me some objective reasoning.