So I've lost 45 lbs. I'm 145 now but I still have a lot of body fat. My body fat percentage is about 30% (I know, it's high). How is it that I've lost 45 lbs (10 lbs from my ideal weight) and still have so much fat? Anyway, I'm looking to fix this problem. I figured I need to gain a lot more muscle (some fat may burn away doing that) and then once I gain that muscle, I can continue to reach my ideal weight. What's really frustrating is that I can feel the muscle changes (I'm gaining muscle) but it's underneath that stubborn layer of fat (especially in my abs and calves).
I don't want to get down to 135 lbs and still have 30% body fat. That just isn't right. Has anyone else gone through this? Did you change your workout routine, your diet? What do you suggest I do? I'm willing to try anything.
More info about me: I'm female, 24, 5'3". I keep most my weight in my thighs and butt. I am very skinny up top (almost bony). It took me 3-4 years to reach 190 lbs and about 8.5 months to get to 145 lbs. I do cardio and weight training each, twice a week.
Losing weight and losing fat are two different things.
When people try to lose weight on the scale, they often under-eat and then tack on tons of additional exercise. This ends up creating a huge calorie deficit which results in muscle loss. So the weight that ends up being lost is from muscle and not fat which results in a lower scale weight and a higher body fat %.
1) Start lifting free weights 3x per week on a full body program. Get off the machines. Full body exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges, various pressing exercises (bench press, military press, dips), and various pulling exercises (lat pulldowns, rows, weight assisted pull-ups) Use a weight that you can only do 8-10 times. Lifting heavy will not make you bulky. It will help to re-shape your body and drop inches. Full body exercises are also great for the core as well which means no extra ab work is needed.
2) Start eating more calories. I know this sounds counter-intuitive. However, chances are that you aren't taking in enough calories which will actually stall progress. It is best to keep your deficit small (300-500 calories under maintenance). This, combined with lifting and plenty of protein will help you to keep from losing muscle. Remember, the bare minimum for a woman who is sedentary, is 1200 calories per day. Since you are active, and based on your stats, your maintenance is around 2000 cals per day. So start taking in 1500-1700 per day. Make sure to get plenty of protein, along with whole grains (no white breads/pastas), fruits/vegetables, and healthy fats. Fat is an important part of your diet that can help promote fat loss. Mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated are best.
3) Work in some interval training a few times per week after lifting and do a few regular cardio days on non lifting days.
I am having exactly the same problem neltuneliel!
Vyper: I've been doing New Rules of Lifting for women since I started losing weight two years ago...still am very flabby :(
Have you looked at your profile picture recently? And compared it to older pictures in your gallery? You are looking amazing.
neltuneliel: Be patient. Give yourself some time. What you have done as far as losing weight is fabulous. Kudos to you!
elfkittie22: My goodness! From 253 to around 159. OMG! You are amazing.
You two epitomize what CC is all about. Great job by both of you.
Eventually, the flab will go. Stay the course. Good luck!
Thanks amethyst and shane. :) Sometimes I think we can all be a bit too critical of ourselves and need to take a step back and recognize our accomplishments. I needed that reminder!
Hey all! Thanks for responding. And Shane, thank you so much for the encouragement! Like Elfkittie said, we can be too critical of ourselves. Oooh, and you look incredible, Elfkittie! Awesome job on the weight loss :)
And vyperman, thank you for the advice. Today I signed up for some body specific weight/strength training classes at the local gym. I was introduced to free weights and honestly they are not as scary as I thought they would be! I took an abs and legs class today. Tomorrow I will take a back and chest class. Wish me luck!
Oh, and I'm trying really hard to up my calories. So I'll buy some protein drinks. Easy protein and calories there.
I'm 5'2".....120# and it shows 28% body fat. My best weight is 117#....115# is too small with me judging myself.
I struggle with the body fat many times but decided it's something that will happen when it happens. I like the way I look and will just go from there. I've never been smaller than 27% body fat when I was working out religiously. I have bad knees and can't run, but did zumba twice a week and weights. I was in great shape but still had body fat....not sure where it was though. lol
Keep eating healthy and working out....I had so much energy and felt great that maybe my scale is off a bit ? Not a concern any longer, not worth it when I know I"m healthy.
I lost my first 40lbs by April but I still had 33-32% body fat (see the comparison picture in my gallery. Since then, I've lost another 17lbs, BUT I have 24% body fat. It all comes from my running. I started the C25K program which I would run on a 5.7 mile loop. I use the program for the day and then afterward I run when I have my breath and walk to catch it again for the rest of the way around the loop.
I've been experienceing the same high body fat problem. I lost 56 pounds down from 210 since Oct 2010. People keep telling me I look good and that I don't need to lose a single pound more, but they can't see me naked! My body fat % is 34%. I feel and look much better than before, but I still have a lot of body fat to lose. I've stalled with my weight loss also. I'm hoping that adding in more weight training and changing my exercise plan a little will help me be able to come off conquerer! Good luck everyone!
Edit: changed Oct 2011 to Oct 2010
Original Post by magic3:
I've been experienceing the same high body fat problem. I lost 56 pounds down from 210 since Oct 2011. People keep telling me I look good and that I don't need to lose a single pound more, but they can't see me naked! My body fat % is 34%. I feel and look much better than before, but I still have a lot of body fat to lose. I've stalled with my weight loss also. I'm hoping that adding in more weight training and changing my exercise plan a little will help me be able to come off conquerer! Good luck everyone!
You mean Oct 2010 right? Oct 2011 isn't here yet
vyperman7 is absolutely right, maybe you have lost muscle mass, and that's why the fat is being so stubborn. Try doing this workout: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/lee-labrada-1 2-week-lean-body-trainer-intro.html, it has worked charms for me, and I just started week 5 of the program. I'm 4'9", and have a low functioning thyroid gland. My ideal weight is 115lb, but I'm 180lb now (I started at 187lb three months ago). I know I haven't lost lots of weight, but I have lost 7" from my waist and 1" from my thighs.
I think that the most important thing is to have fun while you do the whole losing weight thing, because it will likely make you less frustrated with the results, AND also setting up realistic goals. I'm really inspired by you right now, because you have managed to lose so much weight! I cheat a lot and that's why I don't get the same results, BUT even though I sometimes get frustrated, I remind myself that "it's all in the process", and try to keep having fun.
Original Post by amethystgirl:
Have you looked at your profile picture recently? And compared it to older pictures in your gallery? You are looking amazing.
elfkittie22: amethyistgirl is right. You look awesome. I look forward to the day I look like that.
Maybe it's a diet issue rather than an exercise issue? If too many of your calories are carbohydrates, your body will have a tough time letting go of fat, no matter how much you exercise.
Experiment with your diet. Try limiting carbs to 150-200 a day, and replace the carb calories with high-quality protein -- this is much easier if you're a meat eater. It's okay if food has some fat in it as long as you don't go overboard. Increase your intake of fibrous veggies, but skip the fruit and try to avoid corn. If you don't mind being new-agey, try eating your grains as unprocessed as possible, like quinoa and wheat berries (you cook those just like rice). Limiting carbs is tougher than it sounds, but try it for a month or two.
The good news is that when you get to your goal weight of 135, provided you don't lose any muscle, your body fat percentage will be about 24.5, which is a reasonable percentage. If when you get there you feel like slimming down even more, even 5 more pounds taking you to 130 you will be a body fat of just under 22%. I would say for now, get to your goal weight, see how you like your body, and if you still want to be leaner then keep going.
I was in your same boat, until my trainer told me I should be getting in 50 minutes of very rigorous cardio in 3x a week. That simple increase really helped to get my metabolism and energy up enough that my 29% started to fall and is currently around 22%. I do a stairmaster for 15min on 5, rowing machine 1000m for time (broken up into ~1min 250m) then 30 min on an incline elipitcal at max incline and 20% max resitance. This workout 3x a week has made all the difference when added to my weight lifting and toning. Occasionally I throw in a pilates video if I have a ton of energy on Sunday, otherwise i rest.
Are you getting your body fat measured by a doctor or trainer? Home scales that claim to show body fat percentage can be WAY off. Perhaps you are at the right percentage and don't know it.
Also, definitely lay off some of the cardio and/or lower your calorie deficit if you are getting bony on top.
We can't help where/how we hold our weight, but you don't want to make yourself ill trying to achieve a body shape which isn't compatable with your actual body type.
I have not personally had that problem, but you remind me of last season of The Biggest Loser. One woman had been so inactive, and her body had atrophied so much that she was 60% body fat to start. I say this to encourage you - you have lost a lot of weight, so good job! Buy some weights, even if they are little 5lb-ers and use them. Muscle increase helps fat decrease, so you may find as you add muscle you will lose those last 10 pounds easily.
Oh, and by the way, is it possible your goal weight is not correct for your height? I know I am about 6 pounds away from my goal weight and I'm seeing I could easily lose another 15+ pounds instead. Just another thought.
Yes I meant 2010. Thanks for correcting me.
Today in the gym a man who hadn't seen me for awhile said "Hi Skinny!". He asked me if working out is worth it to maintain the pounds off. I told him it definitley is worth it. I've watched my heafty elderly neighbor lose toes and feet from getting Type 2 Diabetes. She's not having a fun life anymore.
A few years ago a well meaning friend told me I was of "cuddly proportions". That started my weightloss adventure and it has been an adventure! Now my husband describes me as "cuddly but leaner".
Thanks to everyone for the 'fat loss' advice.
I'm almost obsessed about finding out my true fat %. Has anyone tried the hydrodensitometry weighing to see if it is accurate? I'd like to know how much body fat I do indeed have so I can go from there with my fat-loss adventure. I may be too dissappointed though to know the real %.
Any advice about that anyone?
I am going to go with the lift heavy lift full body and lift 3 times a week vs endless steady state cardio - if you want to truly reshape and lose body fat.
Before I had the lung issue and foot injury I was lifting weights 3 times a week and doing an intense crossfit/ boot camp type class on non lifting days with one day of rest. I was dropping inches like mad. I had less body fat % than I did at my lightest weight 6 yrs ago at 20 lbs less. I was skinnier but shapelier.
I wasn't eating at a deficit every day but was losing inches. I quit all processed foods, all sugar except what is in fruits and veggies, quit all white food, rice, potatoes and such.
I think the eating a good diet of proteins, complex carbs and fat and working out hard and heavy has done the best to get me into better shape, lose fat and inches.
If your body has a large number of carbohydrates it uses them for energy because of hormones. Also if you have too much stress going on the same thing happens, but even if your carbohydrates are low as in a low calorie diet than your body uses muscle for the energy instead.
This stress can include your exercise if you push it hard too much of the time your body will not use the fat it'll use your muscle. I'd also like to know how you are measuring body fat % the scales are really bad. BodPod is accurate like the underwater method if you can get one. http://www.bodpod.com/products/overviewBodpod
They have a place where you can look up nearby BodPods and places may have deals for tests if you are interested. http://www.cosmed.com/locator
Here are a few posts on Chronic Cardio which is the type of cardio that can stress you too much if you aren't careful and get your body using muscle instead of fat.
Much of the problem with weight is hormone related.
Also search for Leptin on there and there are a few other really good articles.
If you really want to step up your game follow this.
Other really good resources are The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes
Much of what I've been talking about as far as stress and hormones causing weight issues is detailed in one of those books and also on jackkruse.com blogs. You should also read The Quilt and every other blog on there they are all pretty interesting.
There is a Leptin Reset thread on the marksdailyapple.com forums if you have questions about the Leptin Prescription