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What am I doing wrong?


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Update: My weight today 90.5Kg, BF% around 25-35, exactly the same as 2 weeks ago.


This past week the workouts were insanely hard, and while I enjoy lifting heavy, it's very demotivating at the same time because no matter how hard I try I can't seem to get leaner.


Logging all the data was an interesting exercise, these last 2 weeks made me realize I wasn't going outside the protocol I initially set for myself, it's just that the protocol itself doesn't work. So fuck it, I'll start eating like a normal person again and take it down a notch with the weights, I'm sure I'm not going to improve my looks, but at least I'm not going to be miserable.


Sorry to say this, and don't take it the wrong way, but the replies here were fruitless to me. I came here asking for advice but the thread turned into a physiology lecture. Sure, it's interesting to know how your body works (or how it's supposed to work anyway) but the fact remains that I still don't know what else should I try now.


Unless you have a medical condition your body is not working any different to anyone elses. Weigh and log the food you are eating, and the drinks, all of it. If you aren't losing weight you need to cut out food, unless you have some sort of rare condition.

You may not like logging and counting calories but its surely better than just giving in and remaining in the dark?

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Logging all the data was an interesting exercise, these last 2 weeks made me realize I wasn't going outside the protocol I initially set for myself, it's just that the protocol itself doesn't work.

What exactly do you mean by that?


As far as the thread goes I agree, the discussion drifted away from helping you to something entirely different, but the reason for that is that your question basically was answered by JPrev within the first 4 replies of this thread. You logged your food but refused to count calories, which is the one and only thing that you were told matters in the end and makes the difference between losing weight and maintaining. Now going back to "eating normal again" and lowering the weights sounds like a cop-out and I don't get it. What is it that makes calorie counting such an issue for you, especially considering it's both the thing you haven't tried AND the thing everyone tells you will lead to success?


As Dradis has said, unless you are some freak of nature, your body works just like any other body. It certainly will have its unique kinks and inner workings, but the basic foundation of how things work will be the same except for very rare, special cases. Maybe you do indeed need an extremely low caloric intake compared to someone else your size and weight because your metabolism just is that slow. Maybe you need a different approach, kickstarting your metabolism first because you've been in too steep of a deficit (below BMR) for too long. Nobody knows and nobody can answer those things and subsequently nobody can help you unless you provide the data. And if you honestly believe that you're not losing weight despite demonstrably being in a large caloric deficit for weeks or months, then you should visit a doctor to see if there is an underlying reason that makes you the one in a million so many think they are but very few actually are.



Also, with the almost complete absence of carbs, except for what little you get from the lettuce and those oats, it's no wonder that you feel like shit during your workouts. I could hardly lift myself off the couch with that intake, let alone a weight.

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How about a glass of purgatory with a splash of heaven?

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Update: My weight today 90.5Kg, BF% around 25-35, exactly the same as 2 weeks ago.


This past week the workouts were insanely hard, and while I enjoy lifting heavy, it's very demotivating at the same time because no matter how hard I try I can't seem to get leaner.



You need some real data. Count calories, weigh yourself, and take tape measurements to get a better body fat measurement that "25-35%". With that big of spread in the measurement how would you expect to see changes in ONLY TWO WEEKS? How are you measuring your bodyfat anyways?

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Sorry for the part I played in taking your thread off topic.


Disil and Dradus are partially right. You’re body does work like most other people’s. Just like most everyone’s body would do, yours has slowed it’s metabolism down because of a steep long-term steep calorie deficit.


The missing part of this equation is that you’ve been eating like a bird for months. A tiny little bird that lifts big weight. The fact that you’ve been eating like this for 3 months? That's impressive from a commitment and will-power standpoint alone! And the numbers you're putting together in the gym are impressive for how little you're fueling your workouts.


Here’s part of the reason I missed it before as a Yank… When we measure our food in weight we do it in ounces rather than metric. We measure macronutrients (protein, carb, fat) in metric. So when you said 120g of tuna I thought you meant 120g of protein from tuna. That’s why I asked earlier in the thread whether it was 120g of tuna or protein you were talking about. But 120g of tuna is only about 30g of protein.


So just to make sure you're aware of this, when people talk about eating grams of protein, they're talking about grams of actual protein, not grams of the food itself. So 120g of tuna has about 30g of protein. If you're trying to get 120g of actual protein, you need to eat the whole can of tuna (480g).


So you’ve been eating around 600 calories per day!


Most healthy diet guidelines put 1200 cal/day as the minimum for healthy fat loss. And that's the bare minimum. That's the point at which, for most people, metabolism really starts to slow down rapidly to meet the new level of restricted available energy. And you're getting half that. For 3 months!  And on your workout days your workout and its afterburn are placing an even greater demand on your body's energy needs that are beyond what your shakes are providing. So you’re at an even larger deficit.


You hear people talk about basal metabolic rate - which is the term that describes how much energy you use in a normal day with minimum exertion. When you cut your caloric intake your BMR falls over time. How fast this happens varies from person to person. Eventually your BMR slows down enough to match your new energy intake, or you would die.


Many studies have shown that the more you cut your caloric intake, the faster your BMR falls. The larger deficit you're in from working out, the faster it falls. You've been at a HUGE deficit for a long time. Please forgive the bold type, but this is important.


I’m really hoping that D&D are misinterpreting the numbers like I did. Because you don’t have to be a freak of nature for your metabolism to slow down. You have to be human. If it didn’t slow down you would die. The worst thing you can do is to lower your intake when you’re eating 600 calories a day.


This long-term extreme deficit has slowed your metabolism a ton. You need to get that back on track before you’re going to see any more fat loss. It’s really important to include that food doesn't just provide energy for moving and lifting stuff. It provides all sorts of nutrients that are the building blocks of every structure of your body. The energy for every process in your body. You’ve been giving your body far too little for far too long and you need to start feeding yourself again before you start having some significant issues. It will probably take some time to bring your metabolism up to healthy levels. You won’t just be able to cheat for a few days and go right back to trying to lose weight. Most likely you’re looking at over a month. Maybe 2. You’re probably going to put a few pounds back on in the process... Not a big deal. They’ll come back off when you change your eating strategy back to fat loss.


You should really consider a whole food type diet that maximizes nutrient density to start to replenish what you’ve been missing. Think tons of veg, healthy meats, fats and carbs. Different types of paleo are great approaches to maximizing nutrient density.


So your assessment that you need to eat more is pretty much spot-on.


The other part of the good news is that you will probably see some solid gains in the gym over the next month. Though I’m of the mind that you should probably concentrate  more on just getting your metabolism back in to an overall healthy state before emphasizing performance, size gain, or fat loss too much.


Again, I’m sorry for the part I played in derailing your thread.

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That's the point though. To an extent it looks like 600 calories a day which would be horrendously little, but the devil is in the details. The tuna is the sunflower variant which typically clocks in at ~280 per can, so that's ~560 eating those alone. Yeah nevermind. He's buying smaller cans I just realized. Meal A theoretically should be around 320-450, depending on how much oil is used, which size the eggs are, whether/how the salad is dressed etc. I've got no clue what that oat thing even is let alone its calories, same for the other shake.


Very, very roughly ballparked, the non workout day cals seem to be around 900-1100 and his workout day cals around the same + calories from two shakes and oats so uhm..1200-1400 maybe? But none of this is worth anything since I didn't buy, weigh or labelcheck any of that and also don't know things that might've been omitted/forgotten. Hell, some people put mayo all over tuna and don't even think about accounting for that. :D


Then we've got that Saturday cheat meal which could range from a day at maintenance to offsetting a lot of the deficit made throughout the week. And I still don't get how, when starting this regime, there wasn't like an immediate 5, 10 or 15 lbs drop before things halted. How did you eat immediately before you started this schedule Spendius?



All in all and after going through the data a few more times it certainly looks more like you've been eating way less than you should be and certainly not enough carbs, especially from fruits and vegetables. According to the usual calcs, your BMR should be around 1650-1700 with a TDEE of shortly above 2000 if you're pretty sedentary. The really important thing though is that no matter which way you goes from here, counting still would be incredibly beneficial to not only know where you're at, but where to go and how to go about that. If the idea is to be at maintenance for 1-2 months and then proceed into a more humane 25% deficit, you should have at least somewhat of an idea what amounts of food those numbers represent. Without counting, you might not eat at maintenance, but 4-700 above it and gain unnecessary weight, or stay 4-700 below and still hurt from eating not enough - same with the deficit later on. I mean you even asked: "Should I weigh my food and count every calorie?" And the answer was and is a resounding yes.



Also, while I'm at it, I started at a similar point as you did during my first (of two) weight loss journeys (see signature). At 26, 5'7'' and 87.7kg, went to 68kg then back up to 83 after quitting smoking and replacing it with food and beer. My second attempt started at 84 and ended successfully at around 63 and I've been hovering through bulking and cutting between 67 and 61 without ever seriously running the chance of gaining much actual fat back. The important part: I lost most of the weight the second time on an average intake of 1900-2000 calories. That means I had some days where I went as low as 1100, but also days where I ended up at 2500. Many days were in the 1800-2000 range, so basically I was at maintenance, but then did exercise which made for the actual caloric deficit. This is a much more sensible approach when you've got a lot to lose than cutting as severe as you seem to be doing. That's how you'd go about things when you're already lean as hell and want to quickly drop a couple % of bodyfat in a few weeks, but even then you'd still eat above 1000 calories, especially on workout days. In your case though, you're looking at 6-12 months of constant weight loss, depending on all sorts of circumstances. I get the notion of wanting to get there as quickly as possible, but everything has its limits, so just accept that it'll take a bit, enjoy the much better energy levels, especially in the gym, enjoy the added amount of food (and taste) in your life and use the opportunity to get familar with food labels, a digital scale and all that jazz. It's one of those overlooked but incredibly helpful life skills, just like cooking.


/rant end

How about a glass of purgatory with a splash of heaven?

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Thanks for your replies:



This post is a summary of a week following my regime http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/54759-what-am-i-doing-wrong/?p=1243659 which I've been doing for 3.5 months. The only differences between each week are: 1) the weight I use in my lifts (which I increment slowly), and 2) the cheat meal I decide to take on saturday. I lost 2kg the first 2 weeks (2 out of 14 weeks as of today), which I attribute to water loss thanks to sodium decrease. I weigh myself every other day, I know weight alone is not a good measurement that's why I mention my BF% approximate, I don't know exactly how much it is, I can only guess from googling pictures of other people. Nevertheless, eating as little as I do, and working out as hard as I do (hey, maybe I'm a pansy and the workouts don't look hard to anyone else, but to me they are ridiculously challenging) I expected to see more significant progress.


Before trying this diet, and since a long time ago I've eaten considerably healthy. For instance, on a regular day I'd drink anything else than water, or I'd never eat stuff like rice, bread, pasta, I don't even like milk, and I find most fruits too sweet for my taste, and I hate sugar, my carbs usually are low-GI, like veggies or lentils. Of course this is on a regular day, if I go out with friends or on a date I'd be less restrictive, I don't want to be "that guy", who cant have a beer or won't share a pizza, however, as of now I've restricted myself to do this just once a week, and with lots of moderation on my part. So the reasoning behind my current protocol was to reduce carbs even further, as I said, I already was eating healthy and I had no idea what else could I change.



People said in posts before that maybe some calories were sneaking in and that maybe I was overlooking some stuff, which I believe I wasn't.

The reason was reluctant to do calorie counting is because the way I see it, that would be more appropriate for guys around 10%BF not fat old me.

Nonetheless, I'm willing to admit I'm no expert and that I know nothing. Because my meals have been always the same, and I've been very consistent (http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/54759-what-am-i-doing-wrong/?p=1243659) here comes the acclaimed calorie counting:


Non-workout day = 3 eggs + 220gr of tuna + lettuce = 3*91 + 198*220/100 + 0 = 708.6 calories

Workout day = non-workout day + 150gr of whey protein + 30gr of oats + 8gr omega3 fish oil = 708.6 + 98*150/25 + 372*30/100 = 1408.2 calories

Saturday = 3 eggs + 110gr of tuna + lettuce + a little indulgence = 3*91 + 198*110/100 + 0 + 800(guesstimating) = 1290.8 calories


Average = (NWD*3 + WD*3 + SAT)/7 = 1091.6 calories


Should I really cutoff more? I think I'm eating too little TBH, however, I never starved or felt cravings. The only downside was the challenging workouts at the gym and the monotony, honestly I would've gone like this for a whole years if I saw good progress, but since it wasn't the case, why should I :S?




I honestly don't feel comfortable cutting out more, I think I'm eating too little as of now. I've already done data collection here: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/54759-what-am-i-doing-wrong/?p=1243659



I honestly think the only gain I've accomplished is psychological endurance. I haven't made any real gains on strength, before starting my diet I decided to reduce the weight on my lifts to compensate for the reduction in carbs, for instance, 6 months ago I could lift more and with less effort, the workouts weren't THAT much challenging back then. I've lost 2Kg ok, but that was the first 2 weeks, my clothes feel the same, and my big belly looks the same as 2 months ago (I took pictures).



EDIT: Typo

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I know you're probably trying to catch up with all the stuff we're posting while you wrote your reply so I keep this one short:


Quick tip, using decimals saves you the hassle of dividing by 100 constantly. As far as which to chose, I always use decimals for the weight and keep the calories the way they are. As an example, for the tuna you'd count 2.2*198 instead of 220*190/100. Takes a little getting used to but is a huge time saver. Also, lettuce does have some calories, about 15 per 100g but ranges depending on type.


Averaging 1100cal at 90kg certainly is too few and you definitely should eat more. Now that we got those numbers we can say that pretty much with certainty.

How about a glass of purgatory with a splash of heaven?

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Oh I just refreshed and saw new posts :P



Ever since I can remember I've been a fatty, throughout my life I've learned to eat relatively little and avoid unhealthy stuff just to maintain my weight, for instance, I can't remember the last time I drank a soda, or put sugar in a coffee. The difference between how I eat now and before is that I restricted carbs even further (not knowing what else to do) as I mentioned, I've always stuck in the low-GI side of the spectrum, with the possible exceptions when hanging out with friends.



You have no idea how though it was for me last week at the gym. Last friday tears came out of my eyes right after finishing my deadlifts (I shit you not), it was ridiculously tough... 

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Ooooh, that makes a lot of sense. Going from an already low cal plan to this obviously wouldn't set off some kind of huge initial weight loss. This is further reinforced by you doing resistance training, which will do much more to change your body composition rather than your weight compared to more typical, pure cardio approaches. That's also why taking measurements other than bodyweight is so crucial. Literal measurements can be of good use, as do progress pictures and bodyfat checks (more to note progress and not to pinpoint exact bodyfat numbers).


Well, you pretty much know what to do now I'd say. Continue being aware of your food and count what you eat, try to eat at your real maintenance level for a good while, I'd say 1 month or more and with real maintenance I mean your TDEE including exercise, which at your size could mean that you should eat upwards of 2500cal on workout days and 2000 on non-workout days. I'd also strongly encourage you to increase carb intake in general and fruit intake in particular. Don't worry much about low-GI or restricting carbs, just let the math at the end of your calculations do the restriction for you. In the end this will provide you with more freedom than you have now, as you can eat a lot more and varied foods, as long as you stay within the ranges you choose for yourself. Also, obviously respect certain problem foods and keep them more as cheat meals than promoting them to regular meals. Soda still is not a good idea, so are fried foods and so on. Simply try getting most of your calories from "real" food and see how your body reacts to that amound and quality of food, especially in the gym.

How about a glass of purgatory with a splash of heaven?

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One point I'd like to make.

If you can get a hard on you don't have significant slowing of your metabolism. Sex drive is one of the first things that goes (reproducing = calorie expensive), ability to perform isn't too much further behind.

The body can't just slow your metabolism without consequences. Other signs are freezing in a warm room, chronic lethargy, and manic, all engrossing desire to eat.

Significant metabolism slowing is thrown around way too much. When it occurs you certainly aren't oblivious to what is going on.

currently maintaning

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don't panic!

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If it's not that, how is he stagnating at close to 200lbs and 5'7 and 25%-30% bodyfat while being in a 1000-1300 calorie deficit each day? Even if he vastly underestimated or wrongly calculated his calories, that can't possible make up such a huge difference. His thyroid test came back with normal results also, so what else could it be?

How about a glass of purgatory with a splash of heaven?

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If it's not that, how is he stagnating at close to 200lbs and 5'7 and 25%-30% bodyfat while being in a 1000-1300 calorie deficit each day? Even if he vastly underestimated or wrongly calculated his calories, that can't possible make up such a huge difference. His thyroid test came back with normal results also, so what else could it be?


This is what I've been trying to figure out all this time :@

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If it's not that, how is he stagnating at close to 200lbs and 5'7 and 25%-30% bodyfat while being in a 1000-1300 calorie deficit each day? Even if he vastly underestimated or wrongly calculated his calories, that can't possible make up such a huge difference. His thyroid test came back with normal results also, so what else could it be?

Actions have consequences, the body cannot magically become more calorie efficient; it is always running at pretty much peak calorie efficiency (one of those survival things that is standard practice in nature). To reduce its calorie needs, something has to give. Other signs include hair falling out. Poor skin. Basically the side effects of anorexia; those are the side effects of significant metabolism throttling.

There are A LOT of unaccounted for variables.

- Measuring solely with the scale. On top of that, what seems like poor recordkeeping.

- Returning to weight training?

- Creatine?

- Cheat meals.

- Poor to nonexistant real calorie tracking.

For one, I find it hard to believe that a male can actually maintain that intake level for a longer period of time. Especially when there are no reports of the severe mental and physical side effects that accompany it. Anyone that has experienced the power of starvation side effects understands that it flat out does not accidentally occur. At that intake level, "slip ups" are to be expected, even the most ironclad willpower will cave at times at that intake level. People that claim otherwise are liars or oblivious to their real intake.

And that last statement is the most likely problem here. Either he is cheating a lot more than he is letting on or eating more than he believes (probably both). Plus I suspect that he is experiencing firsthand the fact that the scale sucks when used as the sole measure of progress, especially in the absence of detailed trend tracking.

He claims to be doing pretty close to a PSMF and has been maintaining this for 3.5 months!?! Mosey on over to BB.com and read some logs of people doing PSMF's or attempting starvation diets; by about 2 weeks it becomes unbearable. Even doing proper refeeds and starting obese, by 4 weeks or so almost noone is capable of continuing it is simply too much to handle. People can claim special snowflake all they want, fact is all our bodies follow the same rules; hundreds of people have logs of legit diets similar to his claimed diet, NOONE fails to drop weight fast, everyone falls off the wagon in 2-4 weeks because it is physically unbearable. The longest I've ever seen a male maintain a self imposed ~1000 cal/day intake average is about 6 weeks.

currently maintaning

battle log challenges: 16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
follow me: myfitnesspal
don't panic!

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So pretty much what I initially pointed out then. The big thing really is how important data is and how a lack of it severely hampers the ability to find solutions for problems. And yeah, I wouldn't insinuate that he is lying, but it is correct that being honest, especially to yourself, is basically the most important thing when it comes to tracking food, calories, weight and measurements.

How about a glass of purgatory with a splash of heaven?

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*sigh* ok, seriously how do you guys track your foods? do you use an inertial spectrometer paired with an electron microscope? nevermind, you say I'm lying, fine by me, really, I know I'm not, maybe I should have posted a picture of EVERY MEAL I've had...

Since apparently I'm not to be trusted then, please, pleaaaaaaaaaase help me with these rather generic questions, I'll figure something out by myself and try it out, we close the thread and this will be the end of it. I'm also going to give my current understanding, and you'll know (hopefully) I'm not that lazy guy who asks on forums without investigating first, however there is a lot of information out there, and since I'm not an expert I don't know what to believe:



- How many calories should I've be eating daily?

  Disil suggested 2k-2.5k calories depending on the day. I think it's quite a lot TBH, I'm not really used to eat like that, however, I know nothing, I'd gladly try that if you guys see it fit. I'd say, according to conventional knowledge, 500cal below my BMR is the rule of thumb, however my metabolism is probably wrecked and I can't accurately approximate this number ATM.


- How many gr of protein should I take on workout and non-workut days?

  I'd say 1.5gr of protein per kg of lean body weight? I'ts just for maintaining muscle, but I'm not sure if I should have more protein in workout days or if it's irrelevant.


- What would be an optimal percentages of protein, carbs, and fats?

  Lots of different articles on this one, I'd say F:40% P:30% C:30%?


- How many meals should I have a day?

  Studies say it's irrelevant, conventional knowledge says 6 times a day. I'd say 3 times a day is ok?


- Am I eating too fast? is there any importance on how fast you eat?

  No clue, I guess I eat at normal speed, and I'm not sure this is even important.


- Is it better to eat less towards the evening, or is it irrelevant?

  No clue, all I've found is inconsistent on this one.


- Is there any specific food timing when taking workouts into account?

  So far I've been having a pre-shake with carbs 1.5 hours before, and just protein right after workouts. I think this is not so bad, correct me if I'm wrong.


- What kind of carbs should I be eating, also, would you consider using higher-GI carbs during pre/post workout window?

  I'm not a fan of sugar or sweet stuff, but according to what I've read, I should eat high-GI pre-workout, and low-GI post-workout, however I'm not confident on the accuracy of this, comments?


- Should I use whey, or should I get those calories from food instead? considering my goal is to lose fat, while retaining muscle as much as possible

  No idea, some people say to go full natural, some other say whey is natural enough.


- Cheat meal or not?

  Many sources say yes because it helps preventing the body going into starvation mode, but honestly I'm not sure on this one.



- Should I continue with strength training?

  The thing with strength training is that it focuses on improving your 1RM and not on the total work. I've forced myself to be at a 3x5 rep scheme, instead of moving into 1x5 for the previous reason, however, workouts get insanely difficult. Should I consider any other rep scheme that targets fat loss in a better way?


- Should I continue with progressive loading?

  No idea, maybe with a REALLY slow progression? I mention this because is impossible to keep schemes like 4x8 for too long while progressive loading.


- How hard should I train?

  Honestly I'd like a little break, last 3 weeks have been awful, last friday tears came out of my eyes while finishing my deadlifts, it was brutal. However, if you guys think I should be working hard I'll keep doing it.


- How many times should I train a week?

  I've ALWAYS trained 3x per week, I think is good for strength training. However, should I go more times? if so, how would the training change? no clue on this one.


- Should I add more cardio? should I continue doing cardio acceleration?

  I really like cardio acceleration because regular cardio is fucking boring and I hate it, this way I can get a steady 12-13mins of high intensity cardio in each workout. Do you think this is acceptable? should I do it more times a week? Side note, my left knee is delicate, I have no problem at all squatting heavy, but if I go for a jog twice a week I'll get pains. So far, my cardio is done on an elliptical machine, I think this is ok as far as I get my hear rate go high, is this reasonable?



- Supplements?

  I currently take just Omega3, mainly because of an old injury on my left knee, should I consider something else? remember just for fat loss and maintaining muscle.


- Should I consider cold showers or any other means to burn more calories?

  I read somewhere that swimmers burn a lot more calories because of heat transfer in water, is this something that can be exploited?


I'm currently a bit stressed, should I be worried?

  Some sources say cortisol is your enemy, some other say that a little stress is actually helpful. Should I consider some cortisol suppressant? (I'm just brainstorming here) 





Now that you mention it, my sex drive has indeed been low in the past months, I never gave it any thought until now, but it's not so bad that I can't get a hard on.



EDIT: Typo

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Note that I suggested 2000/2500 for about a month in order for you to be at maintenance. To lose weight I suggested to afterwards go into a much more moderate 25% deficit. 25% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) though, not BMR (basal metabolic rate). You've mixed up the two when you said 500 below your BMR because that's like...1000-1100. Basically, BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to exist. TDEE is your BMR plus every activity beyond existing, aka walking to the bathroom, lifting weights, tapping your foot, brushing your teeth etc.


Most everything else you asked you either have the right idea or it simply doesn't matter, much or at all. That goes for things like meal timing, which carbs or what kind of exercise. Bottom line is this: Calories in vs. calories out matter the most, ergo calorie counting is of the essence. Secondly and the part that really is missing in your elaborate post: Measurements. You only use your weight and very rough estimates of your bodyfat% via pictures. That's 1) not enough and 2) not reliable. Fortunately, for both those topics exist excellent articles by Waldo:


On calorie counting: http://strengthunbound.com/5-rules-calorie-count-like-pro/


On measuring and bodyfat: http://strengthunbound.com/measure-body-fat-easily-accurately-home/



My advice at this point is to read those two articles, maybe add this third one that is a bit more general: http://strengthunbound.com/how-to-become-a-weight-loss-success-story/ .


Then I would go as I suggested previously and ramp the calories up to maintenance level for a while. That can be two weeks, that can be a month or longer. The real goals of this are: Getting you familiar with calorie counting like a pro, finding/narrowing down your actual, real TDEE/maintenance calories, which is really helpful going forward. Also to give your metabolism a chance to normalize itself from whatever state it may be in right now and subsequently give you a much better overall feeling and better workouts and prepare you to go into a proper, but still acceptable deficit afterwards. Proper and acceptable to me is 25% below your TDEE, so if the 2000/2500 I ballparked were correct, you'd eat 1500/1875 calories on your non- and workout days.

I also wouldn't change anything about your workouts. That doesn't seem to be an issue whatsoever.



Edit: Maybe throw in a read of this article on metabolic damage: http://strengthunbound.com/metabolism-a-practical-guide-for-dieters/

Note though, that a lot he talks about in the article applies only to lean people.

How about a glass of purgatory with a splash of heaven?

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I think you need to start with the bigger picture. What is it that you want to accomplish? What will change when you accomplish those goals? What new goals will you set?

Subsisting entirely on eggs, tuna, lettuce, oatmeal, protein powder, and water is not a long term plan. It is not a medium term plan. That is the kind of crash diet you do to drop 5 lbs in the next week or so for a specific event, where outside of that you already have a dialed in diet and exercise regime. A diet like that only works when there is a defined end point and huge reward for meeting that goal.

That is not a "losing weight" diet. It fixes none of the problems that led to being overweight in the first place. Sure you can burn a bunch of willpower and lose some weight, but expect zero long term benefit as a rebound should be expected.

At the root of the problem is food, an inability to eat correctly, in-phase with one's lifestyle. A dramatic rapid fix solves nothing as it can't be maintained. Even elements of it can't be maintained.

Instead focus this willpower on learning to cook and commit to long term protein modified calorie counting. Not only will you be equipped with a great long term solution (the ability to prepare a wide array of great food for yourself), you will be educated on the whole gamut of food and its properties.

Chicks dig dudes that can cook healthy. I say this because the diet you are doing pretty much screams "I'm a single dude" and "I don't know how to cook". (Check out this site for a good source for good diet conscious recipes - http://www.skinnytaste.com/2008/03/recipe-index.html)

To a couple other questions:

- Meal timing is irrelevant. This includes relationship to workout, number of times a day, and time of day, and how fast you eat. It (relationship to workout and time of day) can slightly matter for some people doing very extreme protocols that are pretty maxed out otherwise, this doesn't apply to you and won't for a very long time.

- Carb GI doesn't matter unless you are diabetic or strongly pre-diabetic. Even then the effect is mainly to excessively tax your willpower, there is no direct bottom line correlation.

- Keep strength training and trying to get stronger, nothing will protect your muscle mass better.

- Walking is the best calorie burning exercise. While other exercises burn calories faster, none can be done with the volume and frequency possible with walking.

- Starvation mode as it is commonly bandied around is nonsense; there is truth to it, but it is an extreme state only reached by long term ED level dietary conditions. LIS, actions have consequences, when it is occurring your body certainly screams loudly that it is.

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currently maintaning

battle log challenges: 16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
follow me: myfitnesspal
don't panic!

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Chicks dig dudes that can cook healthy. I say this because the diet you are doing pretty much screams "I'm a single dude" and "I don't know how to cook".


Oh my god so true.

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Sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. Would you find it beneficial to start fresh? Start a new diet plan and workout plan? I would suggest just sticking to a certain calorie amount every day (say maybe 1500 to start) and then see if your weight go up or down and then you can adjust your daily calories up or down. <1200 seems low for a man working out that much. You want to get your body used to functioning and losing on a decent amount of calories so you are stuck starving your body forever (you can imagine how that might hurt your healthy). What I do is not follow a certain diet (paleo etc.) but I try to eat healthy foods (lean meats, vegetables, fruits, non fat dairy etc). that is high in protein, low in bad fats and sugar. I tend to eat a lot of the same things but it does vary every day. I would eat whatever foods you want (mostly the healthy carb and protein things) and just weight/measure them and log it in a calorie counter. Some variety may do your body good and it would provide you with more balanced nutrition. As for your workout you could try changing it up. Maybe alternate cardio and lifting days? Do weight training MWF and cardio TH, then you can do each for a longer amount of time. Also, if you are getting stronger the increase in muscle mass will affect your weight so maybe try measurements. 

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Thank you all for the replies,


I'm gonna do a reboot,  take it easy for a week, try to eat more and 'balanced' to start repairing my metabolism, and then hit the gym again. This time however, I'll keep a very tight record of my nutrition along with my gym log. So I'll be posting again when I come up with my new plan.

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Thank you all for the replies,

I'm gonna do a reboot, take it easy for a week, try to eat more and 'balanced' to start repairing my metabolism, and then hit the gym again. This time however, I'll keep a very tight record of my nutrition along with my gym log. So I'll be posting again when I come up with my new plan.

You don't need to "repair your metabolism." The advice telling you to do so was well-intentioned but incorrect.

The more I look at your posts the more I agree with Waldo. You clearly want to lose weight, but your aversion to calorie counting is screwing you hard.

Pro tip: bite the bullet. Refusing to count calories when you're so clearly in the dark about your food intake is tantamount to lying to yourself.

Just from a cursory look at your calorie roundup, I can see a bunch of obvious flaws. First of all, you didn't tally up any of your cooking oils. (Even though you LIST olive oil as a "spice," which it is not, it's a huge part of the caloric load of your meal.)

Second, you rounded your cheat meal to 800 calories, which is a bunch of BS. Ordered in a little Chinese on your chest day? That one meal, rice and chicken, is probably more like 1500 calories. Had a beer with it? 1700. It's easy to go off the rails simply by not knowing what's in your food, and even easier when you're not keeping track.

Mistakes like this are why everyone is telling you to track as you go. We've all seen people try to estimate their calories two weeks after the fact. It's bullshit every time. So don't fall for that trap.

And lastly, your tracking methods are clearly not working. Your saying you're "between 25-35% bodyfat" after two weeks proves that. You may not realize this, but that range captures everything from a man who's basically skinny with clothes on, and a man who's rapidly approaching obese. Probably 60% of the males in the world fall into this category. Get better tracking methods, learn to track bodyfat with a tape measure. When you can peg your bodyfat within a tenth of a percent, then you can evaluate whether you're seeing progress. Right now you know pretty much nothing about the state of your body. Change that.

I understand your frustration, we all started out in the dark too. But people here will not help you forever if you don't at least implement these basic changes. We all had to go through them, and anyone who's successfully lost a lot of weight will not consider them optional.

One last note: Waldo may have said a couple things you found impolite, but his advice was good. If you consider it more seriously, I think you'll have a good guide to actually losing that weight and keeping it off.

  • Like 3

Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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