T Nation

Trying to lose fat

I know this always comes up but I have some questions that I can’t find the answers to. Whenever I go on a cutting cycle I drop weight pretty fast. It seems I drop scale weight but my bodyfat appears to be the same. My questions are 1)When it appears that your dropping scale weight and you’re bodyfat is the same what should I do? Increase calories? Decrease cardio? Different macronutrient profile? I am not trying to get lean quickly so I really don’t want to go on any kind of keto style diet. 2)What should be the most scale weight you want to lose a week? Any help would be appreciated.

Most of the initial weight lost in the 1st week or 2 is water weight associated with dropping glycogen stores and any initial fat loss. These loses must occur before serious fat loss can occur. Large “scale” losses won’t continue after the 1st couple weeks.

I have a “Maxim” (among a few!) that serves me well:


“Total calories determine whether or not you will gain or lose weight. Period. The macronutrient profile, and the “what, when and how” of what those macronutrients are, and how they are utilized, determines the makeup (fat or muscle) of that gain or loss”.


You are losing weight (so calories are “fine”).What you need to do is PROBABLY:

  1. Change your ratios AND make sure you are getting in sufficient, quality protein.
  2. Decrease your carbs, and favor low GI, high nutrient, fibrous carbs.
  3. Re-evaluate, re-evalute, re-evaluate!


    Hope this helps! It should at least be a start!

Need more details. Does the weight keep coming off without a change in body composition or is this just the first week? Are you measuring body composition? How much of a caloric deficit are you using? Anything like this would help immensely.

You haven’t given us many details, but I’ll voice an opinion anyway. I am, for the sake of argument, going to assume that you are male.
What may be happening with you is something that is quite common in the beginning stages of a fat loss diet.You metabolism is optimal for fat loss, as is your enzyme activity. For the first couple of weeks, you are actually losing bodyfat at a decent rate. The problem is, however, that you are losing INTRAMUSCULAR fat, and not much in the way of the fat that lies between the skin and the muscle, which is the subcutaneous fat. This occurs because intramuscular fat cells are predominately regulated by beta receptors, which, in basic terms, are “fat releasing receptors”. Any fat cell that has a greater beta receptor density will respond just as we want it to when dieting and release it’s lard content quite willingly. On the other hand, any fat cell that has a greater density of alpha receptors will be very stubborn. This also explains why we accumulate bodyfat in bulges and not evenly over the whole body. Fat is always lost most easily from the cells that are predominately beta regulated, then, once the fat from these cells has reached a certain point, fat is then released from cells which have a more even density of both beta and alpha receptors. Once these cells have reached a critically low point, only then will cells that are alpha dense be called upon to dump their load.
Theoretically, a person could have a massive bodyfat percentage and still look “cut” if most of the fat is intramuscular. On the flip side, someone could be at 5% but if all that fat is subcutaneous, then they will look smooth.
Many men find that they drop weight initially without looking more cut, this is especially true in the abdominal erea. They may drop several inches from there waist measurement yet the skinfold at the navel doesn’t change at all.
The solution in the short term is to just keep up the diet. Eventually, when the beta dense cells have given up most of their contents, you will lose fat from under the skin.There are ways of ridding yourself of those bastard alpha receptors, but that’s another story in itself.

Last time I tried lowering my bodyfat% I was at 180 pounds 13% BF (I’m 5"11" if that helps). I was on a diet of around 2000-2100 cals. a day with my carb intake of around 120G coming from oatmeal and fruit early in the day. I was doing cardio 4 times a week for 45min. and weight training 3 times a week. I lost around 15 pounds in the first month. I am not trying to lose too much weight cause I’m not that big of a guy. I’m just trying decrease my % of bodyfat.