When I Grow Up, I want to Be a Unicorn

That’s awesome!

Is that the birthing cave?

No, it is a rock formation in Moab. I have hiked Birthing Cave though, it’s awesome. But I am highly biased toward red rock.

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I’ve never seen it in person but I saw some pictures of I recently and it kinda looked like that. Moab has been my favorite trip ever

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The resemblance is uncanny. I didn’t even realize it until you pointed it out, happy photo accident!

This. It’s in my back yard. I am incredibly spoiled. Glad you have had the privelage of visiting, everyone needs to once.

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KBS, 35#
100M skierg

Power Clean from Hang
8 x 3 x 105
Barbell Row
3 x 4 x 105

3 x 4 x 195

3 x 4 x 135

Front Rack Carry
4 x 60sec, 60#

The deadlifts felt great! I realized after that I did the math wrong and they were supposed to be heavier… Oops. Bench was tough, but it was mentally awesome to bench a plate.

Some meal prep:
Za’atar beef and cauliflower rice skillet
Teriyaki beef stirfry
Chicken fajitas

Put my 25# sandbag in a pack
Walked 1/2 mile to the park
8 rounds:
10 Front squats (with the bag)
4 assisted pullups
Walked 1/2 mile back

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Done as a circuit

5 x 5 x175
Dips (assisted)
5 x 8
Power Clean from Hang
5 x 5 x 105
Pull ups
2 - 2 - 1 - 1 -1 (These are supposed to be 8 reps, but that’s not possible for me yet. I do as many as I can then finish the 8 with inverted rows)

I like this circuit day. Keeps everything moving along. I feel like the cleans should add weight to the cleans, but I am really bad at catching the weight on my shoulders instead of collarbone, so… I need to get that form worked out.

Warning, incoming… Rant? More putting some thoughts/goals/confusion down.

Like many of you can agree with, I am constantly amazed with how weird weight loss is. Last week I had been rocking my calories, staying on point. Good food choices. My daily steps were down a bit, but it was made up for with weekend hikes. I weighed myself before the weekend trip, (Friday instead of the normal Sunday weigh in) and I was up 2lbs. Weighed myself again today (I kept the trip eating under way more control than normal, but still, vacation) and I am up another 1lb. Progress had been going well until now. Hopefully things start coming back down on the normal Sunday weigh in. I added 3 days of morning walking so far this week, trying to rein it in. Currently at 1500cals, so I could drop those a bit too. 3.5 weeks to go.

For reference, I was at 163.2 12/15. 155.8 2/20. I am 5’4". Today I was 158.8. Also, the meal prep pics is food for lunch and dinner, for my husband and I, for the week. I am not eating all of that myself! No snacks between meals. Ultimately though, the number shows I am truly not in a deficit.

There are days I wonder if the more food, more volume approach would be better for me. But I am worried my weight will sky rocket doing that. Sometimes I consider hiring a coach.

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Are you weighing yourself daily and first thing in the morning? Weight fluctuates for everyone, moreso for women due to hormonal changes/water retention… Getting the timing of the weighing down as consistently as possible helps eliminate some of that deviation. I weigh myself first thing in the morning, right after morning peeps, and I do it daily.
A good note here is to not pay attention to weight changes day-by-day because they WILL be inconsistent and demotivating. Weigh yourself daily and do weekly averages - this number should be gradually going downwards. More frequent weigh-ins gives more data points thus giving a better average.

What are your macro goals (if you’re not doing macros, are you getting enough protein)? Are you weighing your food raw? How long have you been in your cut? Total weight lost so far?

I meant to say the same thing that @SvenG said: eat more + increasing volume (aka G-Flux, Articles here: G-Flux | G-Flux Redux). These articles are older, but its exactly what you’re talking about; to save you the read, if your maintenance is 2000cal, you would do better to increase your workload to need 3000cal and increase food intake to 2500cal - generating a 500cal deficit while eating more.

Another good read that might help: Female Muscle: 6 Things You Must Know

I know everyone’s different, but this approach worked wonders for me: I ditched the scales (food and body) last June, started working more and working harder, began eating for performance, and never looked back.

They’re a bit stale (and I’m a bit fluffier now, given my training of late), but here are some progress photos from June-December of last year.

Maybe that approach would help get you where you want to be as well?

Edit: I lived in Utah for awhile back in the early 2000s. Your photos remind me of what I’m missing! But keep 'em coming—it’s gorgeous country out there.

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Little bit jealous over here, that looks awesome.

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Writing as someone of more or less the same height as you:

My weight does not fluctuate very much, but I can gain around two pounds depending on the time of the month. I don’t think in your case that a three-pound swing in that timeframe is worrisome. Sure, if you are in a deficit, you might not be in as big of one as you think, but I wouldn’t count it out based on a couple measurements.

How many steps do you take? You seem pretty active, so I am surprised that you are not in a deficit. Anecdotally, I find that accumulating a lot of steps regardless of my training goals affords me more food. The unfortunate curse of being a kinda short woman. This can easily lead one down a dangerous path of course, which I do not want to encourage.

Shooting for 160g protein, beyond that, things fall where they may within 1500cal.
Averaged out the last month from MFP:
125g Carbs, 70g fat, 143 protein - Looks like I am a little low in the protein, but not too bad.

I weigh meat raw. Measure everything else cooked. Been in the cut since Jan 2nd. Total weight down as of this morning? 4.4lbs.

How would one calculate that?
Both articles were a good read by the way, thank you!

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You did great with that approach! This is getting my gears turning for sure. I have learned to deal with the hunger, but I can only go so low on cals without negative effects. Plus… I have been trolling around the Training Logs and Tnation articles getting far too many program ideas. None of which go well with a cut of course!

Gladly! Every time I think I am going to move, I don’t. Everything I love is within a four hour drive. The adventure possibilities are endles!


The 3 pound swing being normal? That is good to know. I have never owned a scale until now. Honestly, probably not a great purchase.

I shoot for 10k steps a day. Hit it about 8 days out of 10. I have a desk job, so I have to get it by a morning walk and wandering around the office as much as I can while avoiding my boss.

Right? I get round so easily. All but me and one other person in my 9 person family is overweight or obese. What I have to look at from them is not great, I want to run from that very quickly.

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If you feel like you’ve stalled @jskrabac wrote a great post last year on what to do when your cut stalls that might be a useful read.

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Read it about a week ago and bookmarked! It’s awesome. Hence why I added more walking. Counting that as cardio. I’ll probably add some rowing during gym days too. I’d like to avoid cutting more calories for now.

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This averages to 1,702cal per day, so your deficit may not be as strong as you intended. Your protein is a tad low, but nothing too concerning.

There’s a few equations which can get you an estimate of your maintenance calories (Basal Metabolic Rate/ “BMR”), I used this BMR Calculator and lucked out but I can’t promise it will be super accurate for you.

The most accurate way to find your maintenance intake is to eat a regular week’s food, do a regular week of exercise and track both your weight and your calories/macros. Do this for 2 weeks, and if your weight doesn’t change - this is your BMR.

Or if you’re impatient like me, you can just calculate your BMR (with exercise adjustment!) and subtract 500 calories for your daily caloric intake to meet 1lb/wk weight loss. Continue weighing yourself daily and from week-to-week, you should see about 1lb weight loss - and you can adjust from there. It makes the math a bit trickier, but if you have the patience of a puppy (like me) it’ll get you on the path sooner.

It’s worth noting that long slow cuts can be pretty shitty for most people; it certainly was for me. I lost somewhere between 15-20lbs from early November to about the end of January, then the weight loss completely stopped while I was still in a 1000cal daily deficit. where this is important is that sometimes doing ‘diet phases’ helps a lot. This is the method I will be doing in another week or two after my maintenance phase is over: (MATADOR diet)

You’ll use two-week periods of aggressive dieting with a 30% deficit, followed by two weeks eating at maintenance calories. You’ll continue this two-on, two-off approach until you’re as lean as you want to be.

  • Weeks 1-2: Below-maintenance diet with 30% calorie deficit
  • Weeks 3-4: Maintenance calories
    Repeat as needed.

Dieting is tough, and weird, and sometimes makes no sense, but I find this method way more appealing so it doesn’t just feel like endless pain coupled with frustration. I can manage 2 week bursts on a strict cut way better than 3-4 months (who would’ve thought?).

I’ve also had success when cuts stall using the 5/2 diet for lifters.


I stopped weighing myself a couple months ago, and it has been good for me. I previously weighed myself religiously for several years. I have not intentionally lost weight using this strategy, but I can see myself never returning to using the scale unless I decide to compete it a weight class sport, and even then that’s only a maybe. That’s not to say that a scale is not useful, however.

A three-pound swing is very normal. That happens to me regardless of whether I gain, maintain, or lose weight. But even when I have lost weight in the past there is almost always a stubborn series of days where I don’t lose anything if at all, and then at the end of the week – usually after a refeed and in turn a good night’s sleep because deficits stress out my body like crazy, especially because I use more drastic rather than gradual approaches – there is a “woosh effect,” and the number on the scale reflects that. You might have weighed yourself on a “bad” day and internalized it as a failure to maintain a caloric deficit.

Gotcha, 10k steps are good. You could experiment with increasing them to see if that makes a difference. I don’t have a car and generally enjoy walking, but I can imagine that accumulating more steps takes more intentional effort in some situations.

I’m sorry to read that. My parents also did not model good relationships with exercise and food, so I can empathize.

I failed to do the maintenance calculation the right way before getting on the cut band wagon… Too late now! According to the calculator, I am basically where I should be. It came up with 1981c with 1-3 days exercise. With my desk job, I can’t say it’s more than that.

According to the above number, a 30% deficit would put me at 1387. I’ll see how this week goes on Sunday, but that isn’t much lower than where I am at now.

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I am liking this. I don’t take a lunch break at work, so it would be easy for me to skip that meal two days a week. If I am interpreting it correctly, it sounds like you can keep your training the same as well. For instance, doing 5/3/1 with this might be acceptable?

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