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Jasmine95

Feeling deflated... lost weight but left with stubborn belly fat.

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Hey!

 

So I started my fitness journey about a year and a half ago.. Had about a stone of excess fat everywhere. I joined a gym and started eating right and within 6 months i was very satisfied with my results. I had lost the majority of the weight from my mid section, which i was very happy about. I did this with a combination of strength training, hiit and cardio, along with doing poledancing for the past 5 years. I then decided i wanted to bulk and gain some muscle on my legs and bum, so I ate in a calorie surplus for 6 months gained some muscle and fat all over but still looked very proportionate.

 

Then covid hit.

 

Along comes coronovirus and the gym closes. I thought, what do i do now? I knew i needed to lose some weight, so I decided to start cycling to work 3-4 times a week. I also bought some free weights, a barbell which was about 40kg and carried on with weightraining with the small amount of equipment I had. I also started running and doing hiit workouts at home. Here's the problem. I think i was doing way too much excercise.. My periods stopped for 4 months... I did not think this was due to the excercise as i was eating a lot of food, and i had only lost about 7lbs.

 

The problem is, I lost it from everywhere but my belly. I also felt bloated a lot of the time.

 

Then the gym reopened.

 

I was super excited to get back to the gym and start weightlifting again. I ditched the cycling to work and low and behold, my period returned. I have lost a lot of fat from my legs, which i have never been able to achieve in my life, but i have a lower belly pooch that doesnt want to budge!

 

My dilemma is, I dont really know how to go about with losing the lower belly fat. If i eat in a surplus will i just gain more belly fat? I actually prefered the way my legs looked when they werent super slim. I feel like now I am just going to the gym without any purpose.. I am doing a mixture of strength and cardio/hiit but not really knowing what is going to happen with my body. I dont know how many calories to consume and i have never tracked macros. It was easier to lose weight the first time because i had a goal of weight loss and i did lose weight.. Now I feel abit stuck as i don't want to lose weight, just tone up. I should also mention that i have very strong defined abs, so I dont think i need to build the muscle. It's more about losing the fat.

Has anybody else been in a similar situation? Any help would be greatly appreciated. thankyou :)

 

Jasmine

 

 

 

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I think most everyone can identify with you in some way. Congratulations on obtaining your fitness goal!

 

A lot of our endeavors in health and fitness are highly individualized and based on so many factors such as interests and past injuries (to name a couple) and also chronic. What and how much are you doing now? How much did you do then? How consistent were/are you? Where are you now and where do you want to be? Have you traded intensity for volume? Have you done the reverse? Are you focused too much on cardio over strength?

 

What do you define as stubborn belly fat? Are you at 30% body fat? 15% body fat? These are quite different situations, but the commonality in both will primarily be nutrition and then how often we practice those good nutrition practices. Secondarily it'd be total body strength training (spot reduction is not a thing). 

 

The idea of bulking and cutting is not really needed, it's more of an excuse for people to stay fat for half a year. If you have a proper nutrition plan in place with appropriate quality and quantity and are consistent with it, you can lose body fat and build muscle at the same time. I've never really enjoyed the term "surplus." If your body is using it ... then it's not in surplus! First stabilize, then progress. How do you know how to get somewhere if you don't know where you are? This doesn't mean you need to count, but you should be consistent. Then make one change and see the result. Adapt as needed.

 

If you are feeling like you are in a rut, I'd say you'd need to find a new goal to work towards and then plan to accomplish that. Something like the 5 week challenges found here on NF. But personally I hate goals. What happens when you reach it? Either you get complacent (which sucks) or you set a new one (which is good). Instead, I try to identify a weakness within myself and work on to make that a strength of mine. I focus on my effort rather than any number. When I do that, I end up farther ahead than a goal would have led me to. And that is always a good thing.

 

Be better tomorrow than you are today.

 

You got this!

 

never give up never surrender - Galaxy Quest love this show...:) | Galaxy  quest quotes, Nerd life, Movie quotes

 

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On 9/2/2020 at 12:41 PM, Jasmine95 said:

I have lost a lot of fat from my legs, which i have never been able to achieve in my life, but i have a lower belly pooch that doesnt want to budge!

 

My dilemma is, I dont really know how to go about with losing the lower belly fat. If i eat in a surplus will i just gain more belly fat?

 

I dont know how many calories to consume and i have never tracked macros. It was easier to lose weight the first time because i had a goal of weight loss and i did lose weight.. Now I feel abit stuck as i don't want to lose weight, just tone up. I should also mention that i have very strong defined abs, so I dont think i need to build the muscle. It's more about losing the fat.

Hi Jasmine, welcome to the forum! Unfortunately, you can't spot-reduce fat; and lower abdomen fat is typically the hardest to lose, and first to come back. 

 

Right now, maybe a better idea would be to focus on performance in the gym (ie. track your weight lifting, rather than your bodyweight), and worry less about fat loss. If you recently experienced amenorrhea, I don't think that trying to intentionally lose weight or fat right now would be a great idea. As it happens, sometimes smaller/slower body composition changes can happen over time as you continue to focus on your workouts rather than specifically changing a part of your body. So maybe just continue on with your progress in the gym, and give your body a chance to chill out, and adapt/stabilise to it's new routine (after several major life/lifestyle changes in a short period of time).

 

In terms of how much to eat, you can start with a TDEE calculator (https://tdeecalculator.net/) as a general guideline, and then just see how things go from there; if you're hungry/cold all the time eat a bit more - if your pants start to get tighter, eat a bit less. I'd also suggest that if possible you aim for 1.6-2g of protein for every lb of bodyweight (https://examine.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-do-you-need/) which will favour muscle gain and potentially a small amount of fat loss. And a daily goal of 5-8 veg/fruit is also a nice thing to work towards, if possible.

 

You can also work on the quality/quantity of sleep (should ideally be 7-8+hrs/night), as well as stress management (stuff like gratitude journaling, meditation, walking outside, colouring books, etc. all help with that). That helps to maintain and improve overall health, as well as potentially reducing certain stress hormones which can signal to the body to store a bit of extra padding around the middle.

 

If the bloating or amenorrhea return, it may also be worth a quick checkup with your doctor, just to confirm there isn't anything else going on. :) Go slow, be safe, and don't forget to have fun with your workouts!

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