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Helpful ReplyMy first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz)

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vitaminX
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2015/02/18 16:39:24 (permalink)
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My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz)

I started at about 245lbs, my estimate at the time was 24% BF (based on pictures comparison), my height is 6'0.
 
I started cutting in mid-october.  I'll just say I can't really count calories because I don't have scales to weigh anything, so mostly I'm estimating everything, which could be wildly inaccurate.  At first I just took the drastic steps of cutting as much fat and carbs as I possibly could tolerate, while keeping my protein to at least 1g/lb
 
Basically I lost a lot of strength and weight pretty quickly, I'm down from benching around 310lb to 260 or so.   I lost about 30lb within 2 months, but since mid-january I've only lost 5lbs.  My weight is still going down about a pound a week, but I don't think my BF% is coming down.
To try and mitigate the strength losses I'm training heavy 4 times a week and hiit cardio 3 or 4 times.  Fortunately my back and legs didn't really get weaker, only my chest/arms/shoulders.  I lost 45lbs but now I do 45lb weighted chins for the same rep range.
 
I did an online calculator based on a few measurements and it comes out to about 14%bf (i tried several different ones)
I can see abs if I tighten them, but only faintly if I don't.
 
I don't see why my fat loss has slowed so much I'm not even close to 10% yet.
For example a normal day I eat 2 protein shakes, 2 meals and possibly a snack of fruit or oats (depends if I have a craving)
For the last few months the meal is either meat/fish with a tiny amount of carbs or no carbs at all, and that's it.  No sugary drinks, and the meat isn't covered in sauce or anything.  
My estimates put my calorie count regularly at below 2000 (even allowing for massive miscalculation I have to be in deficit, surely those meals aren't 1000 calories each)
 
Any advice for this?  I basically lost morale and just started injecting carbs back into my meals.  I now eat a large bowl of rice with both meals.  I definitely feel better but if I wasn't losing weight before I sure wont be now.
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berserker
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/19 10:27:33 (permalink)
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Stop estimating and buy some scales... you can pick them up for a fiver.
 
Post up what you are actually eating, doesn't sound like you're eating enough potentially.
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billy2shots
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/19 10:59:59 (permalink)
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Throw in a diet break once in a while. 1 week of eating at maintenance or slightly over.

As above get some scales and do it accurately.

Your still losing 1lb a week so what's the issue? You don't think its fat because you probably over estimated your muscle mass.
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stinking_dylan
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/19 11:41:59 (permalink)
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To echo what the others have said, get some scales.
 
Then, I would stop dieting for a week or so, just to get your metabolism back to normal.  This is a useful tool whilst dieting for long periods.  You won't gain any weight and may find your BF will come down.
 
You sound like your not eating enough cals.

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vitaminX
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 02:15:59 (permalink)
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billy2shots


Your still losing 1lb a week so what's the issue? You don't think its fat because you probably over estimated your muscle mass.



I just feel I'm losing weight but not getting any leaner.  I still look the same in all the typical stubborn areas (lower chest, lower abs, lower back).
 
What kind of scales do you guys use?  And do you weight food before or after cooking it?  The weight of rice for example changes drastically
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billy2shots
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 07:19:19 (permalink)
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Weigh before cooking.
Just pick up a half decent set of digital scales that can be zeroed.

As long as your training hard and getting the required protein you should be ok. Consider the diet break though as it will serve you well from time to time.
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WhiteSnake
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 08:00:17 (permalink)
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vitaminX
I started at about 245lbs, my estimate at the time was 24% BF (based on pictures comparison), my height is 6'0.
 
I started cutting in mid-october.  I'll just say I can't really count calories because I don't have scales to weigh anything, so mostly I'm estimating everything, which could be wildly inaccurate.  At first I just took the drastic steps of cutting as much fat and carbs as I possibly could tolerate, while keeping my protein to at least 1g/lb
 
Basically I lost a lot of strength and weight pretty quickly, I'm down from benching around 310lb to 260 or so.   I lost about 30lb within 2 months, but since mid-january I've only lost 5lbs.  My weight is still going down about a pound a week, but I don't think my BF% is coming down.
To try and mitigate the strength losses I'm training heavy 4 times a week and hiit cardio 3 or 4 times.  Fortunately my back and legs didn't really get weaker, only my chest/arms/shoulders.  I lost 45lbs but now I do 45lb weighted chins for the same rep range.
 
I did an online calculator based on a few measurements and it comes out to about 14%bf (i tried several different ones)
I can see abs if I tighten them, but only faintly if I don't.
 
I don't see why my fat loss has slowed so much I'm not even close to 10% yet.
For example a normal day I eat 2 protein shakes, 2 meals and possibly a snack of fruit or oats (depends if I have a craving)
For the last few months the meal is either meat/fish with a tiny amount of carbs or no carbs at all, and that's it.  No sugary drinks, and the meat isn't covered in sauce or anything.  
My estimates put my calorie count regularly at below 2000 (even allowing for massive miscalculation I have to be in deficit, surely those meals aren't 1000 calories each)
 
Any advice for this?  I basically lost morale and just started injecting carbs back into my meals.  I now eat a large bowl of rice with both meals.  I definitely feel better but if I wasn't losing weight before I sure wont be now.


My 2 pence worth....
You've just knocked out two macronutrients.
Yes lower your carbs down slowly but why also get your fats down to almost nothing too? That just leaves protein which on it's own isn't balanced nutrition.
You need to post up what you generally eat for others to give more detailed advice but you don't want both carbs and fats on the floor. I see you've brought carbs up. What about your fats? Low carbs and low fats isn't conducive to either fat loss or muscle retention.
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vitaminX
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 09:09:12 (permalink)
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I did post up what I generally eat, but I will go into more detail.
 2 protein shakes per day and 2 meals.
 The meals are meat or fish, usually chicken breast, lean pork or beef.  Cooked either grilled or sometimes with a small amount of oil and soy sauce.  The quantity of meat would be about 1.5x chicken breasts for the early meal (or equivalent pork/beef/fish) and 2x for the later meal, with green vegetables.  Sometimes I eat a small amount of carbs with the meal which would usually be sweet potato (usually half a large size sweet potato).  If I get cravings later at night I'll eat a few slices of watermelon or some oats with cold skimmed milk and raisins.
 
My plan was to cut calories as much as possible, and controlling carbs is the easiest way to do this for me.  Even accounting for massive underestimating I don't see how this diet is more than 2200kcal, for my size I should be on almost 3k just for maintenance.  And cutting fat was a result of much cleaner eating.   I get fats from meat and fish, do i really need to supplement fat into my diet in order to lose fat?  From what I've read it's far easier for your body to store dietary fat as bodyfat than to convert protein or carbs into fat.
 
 
post edited by vitaminX - 2015/02/20 09:14:19
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berserker
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 10:23:09 (permalink)
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As mentioned above, it doesn't sound like you're eating anywhere enough calories. Take a week off and eat more healthy carbs and fats and see what happens.
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vitaminX
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 11:56:05 (permalink)
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At this point I'm willing to try anything, and I'll literally eat whatever you guys tell me to eat, but can someone explain how eating more will help me lose weight?  For years I've been hearing people say weight loss is as simple as calories in vs calories out.  Is it that easy to slow down your metabolism to where you can eat 1000 calories less and barely be in a  deficit anymore?  Thanks, just trying to understand this.
post edited by vitaminX - 2015/02/20 11:57:22
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stinking_dylan
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 12:09:42 (permalink)☄ Helpfulby SeanR 2015/02/25 17:13:22
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vitaminX
From what I've read it's far easier for your body to store dietary fat as bodyfat than to convert protein or carbs into fat.

Nope, not true at all.  If anything, processed carbs are easier to turn into fat.
 
The problem with eating too little is that your body will always adapt to its environment.  Hence why it gets stronger when you lift progressively heavier weights.  By eating too little your body tries to survive on the low amount of calories.  It does this by adapting to not require so many calories, which means reducing your muscle tissue in order to reduce your metabolism.
 
To put it simply, think of your body like an intelligent car.  The engine is your muscles and the fuel tank is glycogen and fat.  A bigger engine requires more fuel to get from A to B, as do bigger muscles.  The last thing your body wants is to run out of fuel, so when presented with a famine situation, it tries to reduce the size of the engine (your muscles) and store as much fuel as it can (your fat supplies).
 
So, going too low on calories (especially protein) can cause you to loose muscle and retain fat.
 
Actually, Dr Christian Jessen had a show recently where two people competed to reduce BF%.  One went on a low pro diet (contrary to CJs advice) and increased their BF%.

Lifter, runner and founder of nuutrii, a free recipe analyses tool for athletes.
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vitaminX
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 12:29:29 (permalink)
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Well to summarize what I read, the gist was that it requires energy to convert carbs into fats, and even more energy to convert protein into fats.  So say for every 1 kcal of carbs, after the energy cost of converting it to fat you only have 60%  (example numbers) left to store as fat.  Whereas fat is already fat so your body can pretty much store if without expending any energy to convert it.
 
Anyway I'm guessing you could have 2 nutritionists here and they still wouldn't agree on everything...
Some people advocate low carb, other advocate low fat.  So I figured I'd reduce both.
 
What I really want to know is why would a large calorie deficit be less effective than a small calorie deficit.  If your body adapts to one, it can adapt to the other right?  That's the part I don't get.  How can eating more carbs and fats help my situation, I'm already getting enough protein.
post edited by vitaminX - 2015/02/20 12:36:03
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berserker
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 12:39:27 (permalink)
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Read the post above again.
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vitaminX
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 12:46:02 (permalink)
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If you don't want to spell it out to me you could link me to some articles or something, if you have any on hand.  I read the post but I have further questions.  Like can you possibly know if you eating TOO little?  Where's the cutoff point?  You have to be in deficit to lose weight, so with a small deficit you lose fat and your body doesn't adjust for that, but if you eat too little your body totally turns around and starts storing fat?  
Also dylan's post seems to be warning about low protein diets and I've not been on one.  
 
Would it be better for me to add in more carbs or more fats or both?  I ate about 1 cup of rice today and feel bloated.
 
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berserker
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 12:56:11 (permalink)☄ Helpfulby stinking_dylan 2015/02/25 18:13:41
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You need fats more than carbs. Fat increases testosterone, which builds muscle and burns fat.
 
You provide next to no info on your diet so we're having to make assumptions... it doesn't look high in protein for your size.
 
You have to remember that muscle takes a lot of energy for your body to keep, and your body will burn it off if you don't eat enough calories to keep it. Your body uses fat for fuel so it will hold on to it if your caloric intake is too low over a long period of time. Going low cal is fine but your body needs to refeed from time to time. Take the advice above and eat more cals for a while and see what happens.
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stinking_dylan
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 13:08:58 (permalink)
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To cut, you should be eating slightly below maintenance.  Going too low will cause you to loose muscle.  Personally, I don't go below 2000.  If I get to that point, then I spend one week at maintenance to increase my metabolism (you won't gain fat by doing this) then start decreasing again.
 
So, my personal opinion would be for you to eat at maintenance for a week and get your calculations correct.  Then start decreasing.  If you want to avoid loosing muscle then you have to take it slow.
 
And no, its not easier to store fat as fat.  You still need to break it down and re-construct it into a useable resource.  Carbs are easier to digest, particularly simple carbs, which can create a 'spike' of energy, whereas fat takes much longer to digest and provides a slow steady stream of fuel.  (that's an over simplified version )
 
Shameless plug here, but if you sign up at nuutrii.com you can create your meals as private recipes and get a full nutritional breakdown.  That way only you can see them (in your private section) and you can tinker with them as much as you like.

Lifter, runner and founder of nuutrii, a free recipe analyses tool for athletes.
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vitaminX
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 13:29:46 (permalink)
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Ok, thanks guys I will give it a go.
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WhiteSnake
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/20 19:52:09 (permalink)☄ Helpfulby SeanR 2015/02/25 17:21:22
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Nothing extra to add to the replies above really. Except to repeat a large deficit will result in more muscle than fat loss and therefore a slower metabolism and a decreased ability to burn body fat.

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chinaaki77
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/21 07:20:30 (permalink)
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VitaminX I've been there mate. I'm not as advanced as most on this board but through trial and error here's a couple things I've learnt that work for me..
Don't think about losing fat quickly. Instead of a 1 month goal have a 3 or 5 month goal and do it gradually.
As far as macros, like I said I'm not that advanced so for me calories remain king.
And myfitnesspal works a treat, if anything by giving you an idea how much cals you're eating when you don't have scales
post edited by chinaaki77 - 2015/02/21 07:21:35
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vitaminX
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Re: My first attempt at a cut and it's not exactly a success... (advice plz) 2015/02/23 14:35:07 (permalink)
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I got some scales and I BEFORE was eating like 1900 calories or something (based on what weighing I'm eating now minus most of the carbs).  
 
My BMR comes out at about 2000, TDEE is about 3000 (conservative estimate since I train 5 days minimum).
 
NOW I'm trying to fit into a 40/40/20 ratio for now and meet about 2460 calories.  That's what yourfitnesspal recommended to me to lose 0.5kg per week.
 
To be honest the amount of carbs I'm eating now is almost the same as when I was bulking.  And I bulked up pretty fast (40lbs in 4 months), that's why I'm pretty wary of eating this much.  I think the main difference is less fat and snack foods, if this is all it takes to lose weight I can do it easily.
 
For example today I ate: 
 
550g rice (weighed after cooking)
400g of fish
60g of oats with skimmed milk and raisins
1 cup of green vegetables.
 
supplements:
2 x protein shakes
3x omega 3 capsules
 
I'm a few grams over on carbs and a few under on protein, fats is almost exact.  Sodium below 2g, sugar 12g.
 
I feel like I'm eating a lot but... I used to eat 1200kcal just for breakfast when I was bulking, so my appetite must have adjusted a lot.
post edited by vitaminX - 2015/02/23 15:49:31
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