Help a newb- stalling on lifts and maybe fat loss?

LazyFoodie Posts: 217 Member
Hi! Thanks for the great info in this group- I've been lurking on here for a few weeks. I haven't been on a weight loss stall but I am stalled out on my weight lifting and I am not seeing any evidence of actual fat loss so I'm wondering if there is something I should tweak with my diet and/or my workout. Sorry this is so long, feel free to glance through and read only what you need.

Provide your stats (height/weight/age/bodyfat% if you know it/etc) - 5'4/145ish/29/ over 30%?

What's your current gross intake of calories, on average?
1/5/15 to 1/11/15: about 1560 cals ( accurate): avg weight for the week was 154.8lbs
1/12/15 to 1/18/15: about 1650 cals ( accurate): 149.9 lbs
1/19/15 to 1/25/15: about 1950 cals (two guess meals): 148.8lbs
1/26/15 to 2/1/15: about 1850 (two guess meals): 148.6 lbs
2/2/15 to 2/8/15: about 1725 cals (one guess meal): 147 lbs
2/9/15 to 2/15/15: about 2350 cals (two guess meals plus ate some food during the week with no nutritional info : 146.1 lbs
2/16/15 to 2/22/15: about 2500 cals (three guess meals): 145.9lbs
2/21/15 to 2/27/15: about 1875 cals (two guess meals): 145.3lbs
Today I saw a new lightest weight- 142 (Avg will likely come out to less than 144 this week)

I've been eating more the past three weeks but my actual calories are probably a bit less than what I have logged because I've been going out to places where it is just really hard to estimate calories. Since my weight is still crawling downwards, I probably didn't actually eat an avg of 2350 or 2500 cals for those two weeks.

What's your current average intake of protein, carbs, and fats, in grams? (GRAMS, not percent!)

About 120g protein, 40g fat, and rest in carbs on weekdays.
On weekends everything is over by a lot so the average is more but I don't know how much more. I had 150g of protein as my goal but changed to 120g a while ago because I wanted more carbs.

Do you use a food scale and measure everything?
Yes unless I am eating a meal out. I usually eat out two or three times on weekends and estimate calories then. I always try to overestimate and often come out with 2,000+ calorie meals.

Do you track all of your intake, daily? (Everything?) All except spices, soy sauce and wasabi and up to 3 pieces of sugarless gum each day. I think my diary is open. Basically all my weekday entries are very accurate or a tiny big over actual consumed because I tend to round up. But weekends meals are often guesstimates.

Do you take cheat days or days off? I eat 1200-1500 cals on weekdays to save up for big weekend meals. I log as best as I can those meals.

How much weight have you lost so far and over what time period?

Started in October 2014 at around 170lbs. Went down to a weekly averaged out weight of 151.7 by December 14, 2014 for loss of about 18.3lbs.

Took a break from all logging and went a little crazy with holiday drinking and eating from 12/15/14 to 1/4/15. Continued to do Stronglifts during this time but did not do my normal cardio workouts. Did not weigh myself daily during this time so not sure how my weight fluctuated.

Went back to logging and exercising as normal as before the break on 1/5/15. Info after the break is above.

Describe your activity (exercise and non exercise) and did you change that activity withing the last couple of months?

I started doing Stronglifts on 10/15/14. I do it 3 times a week without any accessory work (MWF). On lifting days, I climb stairs afterwards for about 30 minutes ( I set a number of flights goal on the machine rather than time so time varies depends on how fast I go for the day). I've been doing 110 flights of stairs as calculated by the machine.
On Tuesdays, I do just the stairs for about 50 mins to an hour (always 200 or more flights).
On Thursdays, I rest or swim or do elliptical. If I rest I will eat less and walk enough to get 10K steps.

I have a desk job so I'm pretty sedentary during the day but I wear an activity tracker and will go for a walk some time during the day so I have at least 10,000 steps (this includes whatever steps it gives me at the gym, not in addition to). So usually on Tuesdays, I have about 8K just from the gym.

Weekends I just make sure I have over 10,000 steps. I try to walk whenever I can so I end up usually averaging about 15,000 steps unless it rains then I have 3-4K. It does not rain that often.

Restricted eating and workouts during the week and big meals and less time working out on the weekends work a lot better for my social life and sanity but I know it doesn't fuel my workouts the best so I am open to changing this up if you think it is absolutely necessary. I do not feel particularly run down or like I do not have enough energy for my workouts though.

How long have you been stalled and if it is not a complete stall please be very specific as to how much you have lost over the stalled period:

I started stalling on my lifts in late November/early December but was able to add some weight when I took my break from logging but around mid Jan started stalling on everything again. I do Stronglifts exactly as it says, except when I can add weight, I add in increments of 2.5lbs instead of 5lbs and I do not deload after 3 tries. I give myself 5 or 6 tries before I deload on a weight. Since mid-Jan. I have just been working on grinding out the same weights or deloading and going back... The Stronglifts App has told me to switch to 3x5 on OHP and maybe another lift but I have not done it yet...

I have also not seen any noticeable difference in the fit of my clothes or even in progress pictures since Jan. I measured my waist in early Jan. and was 33.5 inches around the belly button. I have periodically measured since then and have seen no decrease. This seems really odd to me. Did I somehow gain fat and lose lean mass since all I have seen is a decrease on the scale?

At this point, my primarily goal is to lose body fat %. Even if the scale didn't move, I'd be happy with an inch off the waist. I did not expect to be at this weight and still have such a high waist measurement. Using waist, weight and height calculators, I am obese at over 32% body fat. Ouch. I have read your waist should be less than half of your height so I am aiming for under 32 inches. That seems like such a daunting number given there's been no change in inches for the last 5-10lbs lost. When I started I thought I'd be happy at a healthy 140lbs but now it seems like I need to get under 130 or maybe 120 just to have a healthy waist measurement. While I am definitely not a pear (no hips at all), my belly doesn't protrude from the rest of my body or anything... My shape-big legs, straight from hips to chest, big shoulders. I thought I'd be less than 30% now. Sigh. Now I am just venting.

Being stronger and able to lift more is important to me but it is secondary to fat loss at this point. So if I am stalling on both fat loss and weights, I'd rather move the fat. Moving both would be great though.

Are you breastfeeding? No

Do you have thyroid issues/risks or PCOS? No thyroid issues and not diagnosed with PCOS but I think I have some of the symptoms. My doctor had me go on a pack of birth control in Dec that ended in Jan to regulate my cycle but it seemed to have the opposite effect and I haven't had a normal cycle since then. Saw a different doc and he did not seem concerned. I am to wait it out for a bit, but anyway my hormones might be a little out of whack.

So anyway, should I stay the course for a while and see what happens or should I change my diet/ workout?


  • SideSteel
    SideSteel Posts: 11,068 Member
    Why are you not deloading per the recommended method in SL?
  • LazyFoodie
    LazyFoodie Posts: 217 Member
    Usually I'm pretty close to actually getting it (reps of 4 instead of 5 in some sets) so I keep wanting to try it :/ Plus, its partly because I don't want to keep deloading and actually move backwards. I deload eventually but I try more than the recommended 3 times. I could be more strict with just sticking to 3 tries.

    I should probably be doing 3x5 by now on all the lifts too if I stuck to deload 3 times and go to 3x5 as recommended. I'm a bit afraid of switching to 3x5 because usually my first set or two are my worst even after warm ups.
  • jenglish712
    jenglish712 Posts: 497 Member
    Deloads feel like moving backwards at first, but they do help break through sticking points.

    I have also at times taken longer rests than SL tells you do (deviation, *gasp*). Especially if you are pretty low on carbs. TO me it is better to "cheat" on rest times
    and progress than be a slave to the 3 minute timer and hit a wall, especially on my third try at a weight.

    What is your warm up routine? Like I do 25s, then 45s, then both a 25 and a 45, then add no more than 10 lbs a side until I hit working weight. Folks are different in what "warmed up" vs. starting to run out of gas feels like. Just curious since it sounds like you are not hitting your groove til the third set.
  • LazyFoodie
    LazyFoodie Posts: 217 Member
    I do the warm ups from the app. I generally do 2 to 3 min rests between sets. You are supposed to wait 5 mins if you fail before doing another set but I never take that long of a rest bc my gym is too crowded.
  • jenglish712
    jenglish712 Posts: 497 Member
    Never seen the warmup from the app. I do know folks are different, and it is not uncommon for ladies to need a more gradual warmup than men. One complaint of SL is that Mehdi gears it more towards men. SL is great as a beginner program because it is so prescriptive, and you don't have to decide things (reps, deloads, progression, etc) that you don't feel you know enough to decide. That being said, people are different.

    I'm just giving you my personal experience. Maybe one of the guys or gals that are more knowledgeable can give you some other advice from working with lots more folks, but it sounds like you are starting not warmed up enough.

  • LazyFoodie
    LazyFoodie Posts: 217 Member
    Thanks jenglish. I could try doing a bit more warmup sets.
  • _benjammin
    _benjammin Posts: 1,224 Member
    Besides warming up with the bar/weight on the bar, do some mobility warm-ups too. Especially for squats, I benefit tremendously with mobility warm-ups.
    Lower body:
  • Sarauk2sf
    Sarauk2sf Posts: 28,079 Member

    I realized that some of your questions had not been answered, so thought I would start addressing them in batches.
    I have also not seen any noticeable difference in the fit of my clothes or even in progress pictures since Jan. I measured my waist in early Jan. and was 33.5 inches around the belly button. I have periodically measured since then and have seen no decrease. This seems really odd to me. Did I somehow gain fat and lose lean mass since all I have seen is a decrease on the scale?"

    Scale weight changes can be masked by water weight fluctuations and measurement can also be imprecise as the tape can be in a different place as well as differing tautness (as well as water weight impacting some areas.

    What have your weight and measurements done since you first posted?

    And while I usually try to avoid making absolute statements about this type of thing - I can pretty much say with a very high degree of certainty that you will not have gained fat and lost lean mass.

    Also, apologies if I missed it, but when did you start lifting and did you start out with SL from the get go?
  • LazyFoodie
    LazyFoodie Posts: 217 Member
    Thanks Sara.

    I went on a crazy five day eating binge right after I posted from 3/4 to 3/8 and ended up giving up on tracking towards the end of it. Weight went up to 148 but I buckled down starting 3/9 again and weight went down to 141 yesterday morning so the fluctuation range is still trending downwards. My lightest when I posted on 3/4 was 142. When I tape measure, my waist measurement seems the same (33.5) but I'll be the first to admit there is probably some user error in position/ tightness of tape. My normal day to day jeans still feel the same. But a pair of shorts that felt pretty snug at 150-155ish lbs felt obviously looser when I wore it this weekend.

    I started doing Stronglifts in October 2014 (about 6 months ago) and did not have any experience lifting before then. My working weights for SL currently are: 142.5 lb squats, 67.5lb OHP, 175lb deadlifts, 87.5 lbs bench, 80lb rows. I was able to add weight on most of my lifts in the period starting towards the end of the 5 day eating binge and all last week. But I think the streak is over. I could only do 2 reps of the 175lb deadlifts this morning that I did 4 reps of last Wed. I noticed that eating a lot over the weekend does not do very much for my lifts but they start feeling really easy if I overeat for more than 3 or 4 days.

    Anyway, I guess my main question is, should I just stay the course and be patient? Or is there something I need to be changing? I worry most that my eating low calories during the week while I train and eating a lot over the weekend while I mostly rest is bad. But it fits with my lifestyle so well that I don't want to change it unless it is really a problem for fat loss/ muscle retention. I am ok with not progressing too much on strength for now as long as I am retaining my lean body mass.