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What if you haven't been undereating?
10-13-2014, 10:50 AM
Post: #1
What if you haven't been undereating?
Hi. I need to lose 30 lbs of fat. I gave up on dieting some time ago (years) and up until about 6 weeks ago have been eating over my maintenance calories. Before I started the program I spent 3 weeks in Italy likely eating far above my maintenance. I have been eating maintenance minus 15% for the last 6 weeks, lifting heavy with a trainer 2x a week, and either walking or doing intervals the other days. Nothing! I am tempted to lower my calories another 5%.

Thoughts?
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10-14-2014, 03:50 AM (This post was last modified: 10-14-2014 03:52 AM by AnitraSoto.)
Post: #2
RE: What if you haven't been undereating?
First off, welcome! So glad you have found us!

Finding that "sweet spot" for fat loss is often a little bit of a process, and can involve some trial and error. First of all, tell us a bit more about yourself... Give us your stats, exercise schedule and let us know how you went about figuring your TDEE/Maintenance calories, and we will try to help.

The lack of movement on the scale can be caused by a variety of things... First of all, if you have recently started strength training, there can be lots of changes going on inside your body that will not be reflected by that number on the scale dropping (although positive things are definitely happening inside).

Also, over-exercising can be seen by the body as a stress, resulting in slowed or stalled progress. Are you giving yourself one or two recovery days a week?

Another common problem is not tracking accurately... When eating at a small deficit, even being off by as little as a couple of hundred calories can make a big difference.

Sometimes, if all these things are on track, the issue may just be that you need a bit more time eating consistently at this level. If you have checked your numbers and are fairly confident that your TDEE calculations are correct, you are giving your body adequate rest and recovery time between workouts, and you are tracking accurately (and making good food selections), there is a good chance you just need to stay the course and give it some more time. Stay at your current 15% cut for a full 8 weeks, then take a one week TDEE "diet break" before returning to cut. At that time, you can re-evaluate and decide what level to try. You could certainly go to a 20% cut, just to "test the waters" and try to find that sweet spot, but you certainly don't want to start down that slippery slope of dropping calories. EM2WL does not generally recommend anything larger than a 15% cut, unless you have a large amount of weight to lose, but every body is different, and sometimes we have to experiment a bit to find out what works for us. Certainly, take a look a those other factors first and evaluate, and save that last option of taking a steeper deficit as a last resort...

Again, give us a bit more info, and we will be happy to try to troubleshoot...

Anitra Soto
Team EM2WL
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer
ISSA Certified Specialist in Senior Fitness

My EM2WL Journey: http://eatmore2weighless.com/never-too-old-anitra/
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10-14-2014, 10:32 AM
Post: #3
RE: What if you haven't been undereating?
Hi Anitra --

Thanks for your response! I am 52, 5' 4", 206 lbs. I have been casually weight training for years and years, but I just started training with a trainer last spring. I do a half hour workout with her twice a week. We do high weight low rep deadlifts on one day, and squats on the other day. We also do bench press and other upper body stuff. Sometimes I do a half hour of cardio after that. On non-gym days I either walk for an hour or do about 20 intense minutes of intervals, either running or at the track. There is usually one day each week that I don't do any of these. Sometimes 2 days!

I used the recommended calculator to get my numbers. With the 15% cut I am at 2000 calories a day. I do a baby version of carb cycling, one day at about 100 carbs and one day at about 200.

I suppose it's possible that I am not tracking accurately (it's hard with non-chain restaurant foods!). One thought was to set my goal a bit lower to allow for possibly-not-accurate tracking. I'll keep on keeping on and check back in another 2-4 weeks.

Thanks again!
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10-14-2014, 02:56 PM (This post was last modified: 10-14-2014 02:56 PM by AnitraSoto.)
Post: #4
RE: What if you haven't been undereating?
Well, it sounds like you are doing everything right, and have got your numbers figured out, so personally, I would just stay right where you are for another couple of weeks. Eat consistently at this level for a full 8 weeks and then re-evaluate.

If you are dining out a lot, then you may be under-judging those calories (it's so much harder to be accurate with restaurant food than when you are in control in your own kitchen..), so I don't think it would be unreasonable to drop down another 5% if you are not seeing any positive changes at 8 weeks with this 15% cut. Remember though, positive changes can be happening inside, and not be reflected on the scale. Your strength training needs fuel, and you don't want to short yourself there.

Great job being willing to take the time to figure things out and not rushing the process!

Anitra Soto
Team EM2WL
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer
ISSA Certified Specialist in Senior Fitness

My EM2WL Journey: http://eatmore2weighless.com/never-too-old-anitra/
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10-14-2014, 03:09 PM
Post: #5
RE: What if you haven't been undereating?
I don't eat out a ton, I make most of my food. But I tend to really over-think tracking, to the point where it drives me insane and then I stop doing it. So I have been trying to strike that balance.

I'll give it more time. Thanks again!
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10-15-2014, 04:06 AM
Post: #6
RE: What if you haven't been undereating?
what are you measurements like have they moved - do your clothes fit any better?
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10-15-2014, 10:59 AM
Post: #7
RE: What if you haven't been undereating?
(10-15-2014 04:06 AM)SarahWeb Wrote:  what are you measurements like have they moved - do your clothes fit any better?

Hi Sarah,

I do need to try on some pants and see. I'm afraid my arms have gotten bigger (tops are tighter) from all the bench pressing, push presses, etc. I am assuming/hoping that once the fat starts to come off that will resolve itself.

Thanks!
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10-15-2014, 11:42 AM
Post: #8
RE: What if you haven't been undereating?
There was a lot of fluid retention for me when i started lifting. After I started cutting, while lifting heavy, nothing seemed to happen for a good long while (like 6-8 weeks). Then things started going in the right direction. Worst case scenario is you are eating at maintenance, but with lifting, that would mean you are adding muscle.

I would follow Anitra's advice. Stay consistent with your cut for 2 months and then evaluate. And try and make the effort to track consistently, to weigh food with a digital scale (using measuring cups and spoons actually isn't all that accurate, though its more accurate than not measuring it all). I know it sucks but a half-arsed tracking effort really isn't going to help you dial in your numbers. Once you have a good idea of your TDEE and what that is foodwise for you, you might be able to loosen up on the tracking analness (sorry, couldn't think of a better word happy but in the beginning I personally think, why spin your wheels just guessing what you are doing.
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10-15-2014, 12:05 PM
Post: #9
RE: What if you haven't been undereating?
(10-15-2014 11:42 AM)emma Wrote:  There was a lot of fluid retention for me when i started lifting. After I started cutting, while lifting heavy, nothing seemed to happen for a good long while (like 6-8 weeks). Then things started going in the right direction. Worst case scenario is you are eating at maintenance, but with lifting, that would mean you are adding muscle.

I would follow Anitra's advice. Stay consistent with your cut for 2 months and then evaluate. And try and make the effort to track consistently, to weigh food with a digital scale (using measuring cups and spoons actually isn't all that accurate, though its more accurate than not measuring it all). I know it sucks but a half-arsed tracking effort really isn't going to help you dial in your numbers. Once you have a good idea of your TDEE and what that is foodwise for you, you might be able to loosen up on the tracking analness (sorry, couldn't think of a better word happy but in the beginning I personally think, why spin your wheels just guessing what you are doing.

Thanks, Emma! I do use a digital scale, I will try to be even more diligent with it.
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