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farflight

reducing body fat percentage

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Hullo all.

 

Weighed myself the other day, 206.4 (down a pound from last weigh in), still 21.6% body fat :mad-new:.

 

I'm wondering if there is a good way to actually target body fat (other than slow and steady). I've been on this lifestyle change for about 5 years now and am still thrilled with the progress I've made thus far. 

 

I've maintained roughly the same eating habits for the past year or so (since the last time myfitnesspal stole calories away from me...still mad about that). I've been doing strength training (the "beginner's" bodyweight (now dumbell) circuit since around late September '16). I started tracking the amounts and such here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-HLwfvnIQTByiQnw7WjKWxbQ0oOZlQeKoOVoW58-POE/edit?usp=sharing.

 

I don't know how to link (or if it's even possible) to share my food diary from fitness pal, but generally my weekdays look about like this:

 

Breakfast: Smoothie 280 cal (half avocado, .25-.5 cup frozen fruit, scoop protein powder, almond milk, handful spinach, water (if its too thick)

Lunch: half cup greek yogurt, tablespoon jelly, medium apple (prefer honeycrisp but lately has been gala), 1 oz cheese, leftover veggies (from dinner: often steamed or sauteed), and left over protein source (varies with what I ate for dinner

Dinner: varies with what I cook

 

Looking at the "nutrition" on fitness pal, my calories by meal appear to be: Breakfast 24%; Lunch 24%; Dinner 36%, Snacks 16% (using last week as data set)

 

Any insights are appreciated!! 

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PaulG   

Calorie deficit is the name of the game, it's simple as that. You drop calories, you drop bodyfat. You can do it slowly or you can go aggro.

 

Typically, people in the 15%+ range benefit from going slowly cuz they've got a fair amount to lose. (Most tape formulas also underestimate, so most of them are likely more like 20%+.) Once you get into the teens -- especially low teens -- cutting for a long time starts to make you truly feel like crap, and it's easier to go hard and fast for a couple weeks, then take a break.

 

There are lots of little tweaks that purport to work at a hormonal level to make you burn fat more efficiently -- intermittent fasting, ketogenic diets -- but they have tiny effects at best.

 

It's hard to give more detailed info, as you haven't mentioned what you feel you're lacking. Is the loss not going fast enough? (You didn't mention when the last weigh-in was.)

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Thank you for the response paul!

 

It sounds like a little more info is in order:

Sep 11; 206.4 /  21.6%

Aug 27; 207.6 / 21.6%

Jul 30; 209.6 / 21.6%

Jul 25; 213 / 21.6%

Jul 7; 215 / 23.2%

Jun 24; 212.4 / 23.8%

Jun 1; 214.2 / 23.8%

(Highest body fat) March 14; 217.8 / 24.1%

 

I can pull more data points off the fitbit if needed. I've only been measuring body fat since March via a scale with body fat monitoring (I know there are huge issues with measuring body fat with electric impedance methods, but it is the best I got right now). I'll often get an "Errrh" message when stepping on the scale in the morning. I've found that if I dampen my feet with a little water, I'm able to get a body fat reading (southern boy with shoe leather as the bottom of my feet).

 

I guess my big fear is that while I am dropping weight, it seems to be that I'm losing equal amounts of muscle mass while losing what body fat I do manage to lose (assuming I have a sound understanding of percentages).

 

I am pretty much always in a slight calorie deficit, or does body fat % just drop slower than weight? I guess I'm just fearful of losing lean muscle. 

 

I did forget to mention that after the full body circuit, I run for about 10 minutes (unless I get a runners stitch) on my gym days. On off days I try to practice that "active rest" concept and do a bunch of stuff around the house (not sitting on the couch) or walking/wrestling with the dog.

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PaulG   

Okay, that's a fair worry. Your weight is going down but your BF% is hanging in place.

 

First, if you are losing weight -- especially that slowly -- you're losing fat. And if you're resistance training to that degree you're likely not losing much muscle, if any. So don't worry too much about losing muscle.

 

Second, it looks like you're hitting the limitations of your current BF% measurement method. Bio-impedance scales are indeed notoriously inaccurate, because they can fluctuate considerably depending on how much water weight you're carrying at any given time.

 

I think what you're experiencing is a combination of a couple factors.

 

Water retention: This gets more common the leaner you get, and it's why people who are dieting while lean complain about the number on the scale stalling. Basically, as you lose fat, your body starts to retain water to "replace" it. It's odd and no one knows the exact mechanism for it, but it usually causes a stall, where the scale will read roughly the same number for a week or two (bio impedance readings also stall). This is usually where people start freaking out, asking why they're stalling, whether their body has gone into starvation mode, etc.

 

If you stick to your fat loss plan, eventually your body drops the water weight and suddenly you see a big drop in the scale, up to 6-7 lbs sometimes. Lo and behold, you've been losing fat that whole time. I think this is partially what you're experiencing.

 

My best advice for this kind of issue is to start using a tape measure. Unlike bio scales, waist measurements aren't very vulnerable to water retention nonsense and will still show fat loss even when the scale stalls. They're very valuable when you start to get lean: often, when the scale stalls, all you need to do is check if your waist measurement is still going down. As long as it's going down, you're still losing fat.

 

My favorite tape measure is this one. 

 

TDEE Lowering: A simple reality of weight loss is the leaner you get, the lower your TDEE gets. I'm not sure what weight you were at when you set your current calorie goal, but if it was >10 lbs ago, it might be time to find out what your current TDEE is now and set a new goal, possibly a lower one.

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I'm familiar with the idea of TDEE (not sure what it stands for, but I'm guessing its "it takes less to keep myself alive/move around so I don't need to eat as much").

 

I remember when fitnesspal first took away about 500 cals, almost threw my phone out the window.

 

I'll start trying to record tape measurements, pretty sure fitnesspal has a spot for that in their app. FYI, the link for your tape measure links back to this forum post thread.

 

On an unrelated note, I see you posting all over the forums, thanks for your involvement and sharing your story/experiences!

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PaulG   
1 hour ago, farflight said:

I'm familiar with the idea of TDEE (not sure what it stands for, but I'm guessing its "it takes less to keep myself alive/move around so I don't need to eat as much").

 

Yup, stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. Basically, it's how many calories you burn doing everything you do throughout your day: driving to work, gaming, walking around your office, etc.

 

Theoretically, if someone eats exactly their TDEE every day, they will neither gain nor lose fat.

 

1 hour ago, farflight said:

I remember when fitnesspal first took away about 500 cals, almost threw my phone out the window.

 

The ragequit: a feeling we all face...

 

y2haw0a37jb4.gif

 

 

1 hour ago, farflight said:

I'll start trying to record tape measurements, pretty sure fitnesspal has a spot for that in their app. FYI, the link for your tape measure links back to this forum post thread.

 

Sorry about that, fixed the link.

 

1 hour ago, farflight said:

On an unrelated note, I see you posting all over the forums, thanks for your involvement and sharing your story/experiences!

 

Thanks!

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