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Stuck at 23% body fat


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Good morning everybody.

 

I need your help. I started my journey about a year ago. And I've significantly improved. Lost a lot of fat and gained an amount of muscle I never dreamed of having. However, for a couple of months now, I've been stuck at 23% body fat. That number fluctuated over the months. One month I go down to 22 over the course of 2 months and the next month I go back up to 23 again. The upside was that I gained about a kilo and a half of muscle with that increase (which is pretty normal). Last month however, I've stagnated. No added muscle and no fat loss. In fact, I gained like half a kilo of fat. I don't know what's wrong and I'm at the end of my rope here.

 

These are my daily meals:

 

Breakfast: A banana. 2 boiled eggs mashed into a plate of cooked (no oil) fava beans and bell pepper slices. A cup of tea with milk (fat free). 

Lunch (before my workout which has become 1 hour of pure calisthenics. I used to lift weights, but stopped about a month ago because I had goals to be achieved through calisthenics):

A chicken breast (boned with skin and wing). A plate of veggies (bell peppers, broccoli, carrots). And a choice of either lentil soup, a bowl of rice (sometimes I have baby potato slices over them) or a small bowl of spaghetti. I mostly eat spaghetti.

Dinner: A chicken thigh and drumstick (boned with skin). Sometimes I have a cup of tea with milk (fat free).

Snack before bed: A protein shake of 2 scoops of whey protein, a tablespoon of peanut butter an fat free milk.

 

Sometimes, I like to switch it up. So, my day changes as my lunch changes.

So, if I decide to have a different lunch from the one above, I have a whole tilapia fish (cooked with oil and lemon). And a bowl of rice. And on that day, my dinner becomes 3 fried eggs and a cup of tea with fat free milk. That typically happens twice a week. Otherwise, my lunch and dinner can be some sort of beef/ribs and with dinner I have the same cup of tea.

 

I have the one free day where I eat the one heavy meal and a dessert and tea with fat free milk and and a teaspoon of honey. If I'm still hungry (which doesn't really happen), I will eat scrambled eggs with the tea.

 

I do occasionally take a teaspoon or 2 of Nutella, but I've since stopped. I don't smoke. I don't drink (except water of course).

 

That's all. Can you guys please help identify what I'm doing wrong? Because I don't feel like I'm eating too much. If anything, I feel I'm not eating enough. And if you can, please suggest foods/meals that I can eat because I'm starting to get tired of the things I'm eating. Thank you so much in advance.

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I'd recommend accurately tracking (i.e., with a food scale) your food for a few days to get a better idea of whether you're eating the right amount and getting enough protein for your goals. How exactly are you trying to change your body composition right now? Changing it through fat loss would require a calorie deficit while trying to maintain muscle, while gaining muscle requires a small surplus. Sometimes you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, but it's generally difficult unless you're a beginner at strength training, fairly overweight, or regaining lost muscle.

 

As far as what you can/can't eat - that depends entirely on your goals and preferences. Since strength training and gaining muscle are some of your goals, you probably want to make sure you get enough protein. The amount of calories you get from fat/carbs is more up to personal preference as long as you get the minimum amounts you need. To meet their macronutrient (carb/fat/protein) goals, some people prefer to each less calorically dense food so they can eat more food, while other people like to make room for things like desserts. Both approaches are completely valid. You may also want to adjust your diet due to health concerns (e.g., no sugar/processed carbs if you have insulin resistance or diabetes), any ethical concerns, and also just based on what foods taste good to you! If you are comfortable with tracking for a bit, it might help you see what meals match your goals and give you the confidence to venture further outside your current list of foods, which is quite restrictive. Off the top of my head, a very non-exhaustive list of foods that I don't see that might fit your goals are

  • Starchy carbs: oats, rice noodles, parsnips, sweet potato, squash, turnip
  • Fats: avocado, coconut milk, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds
  • Protein: salmon, other types of white fish, mackerel, tuna, beans (also have a lot of carbs), turkey, chicken or turkey mince, greek yogurt 
  • Veg: spinach, kale, Brussel sprouts, zucchini, eggplant, cabbage, lettuce, bok choi, mushrooms, celery, sweet peas... 
  • Fruit: berries, apples, oranges, peaches, watermelon, pomegranate, pears... 

Basic stir fries (pick a protein, pick an oil, pick a few types of veg), soups, and roasts are fairly easily to make and can be switched up with small modifications and different spices/herbs.

 

Besides food, how is your sleep and recovery? 1 hr of calisthenics every day is a lot - do you take any rest days? 

 

I took a look at the Inbody Analysis - it uses impedance to measure body fat percentage. These measurements can be impacted by things like hydration levels and water retention, so it may be difficult to accurately measure small changes: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/body-fat-percentage/ 

 

Periods of weight maintenance can be helpful, too, to focus on recovery and other fitness goals, especially after a long period of dieting. It might be helpful to spend a few months figuring out what eating at maintenance looks like for you and focusing on your calisthenics skills.

-:- THE LIONESS -:-

Challenge 2.1, 2.2

Supple Lioness Mobility

 

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