Strength Training and Diet

I finally signed up for the gym, I plan on making an appointment with one of the staff memebers there to help make me a workout plan to help me lose some inches since I gained so much weight in the last year. For 2018, I want to lose some inches, forget that stupid number on the scale, be able to feel better about myself, and get the results I been wanting since high school. I'm tired of doing so much cardio, because even doing an hour a day is still making me insanely hungry, so I plan on doing it lighter and focus more on strength training. My goal is to slim down my thighs, trim some fat off my back, arms, and stomach, but my problem is still calories. I want to be able to find a deficit that works for me so I don't have the urge to overeat. I want to be able to not have cheat meals or days for a little while and I was seeing how did you start your weight loss/strength training journey? I'm basically trying to stay sane and still enjoy life but I want to find a meal plan/deficit that will work for me and could use some tips on how I can find that right amount. It's just so much to take in and it's kinda stressing me out. I been struggling with my weight for years and it's gotten to the point where I can't take it anymore and I finally decided to make a change by signing up for the gym and trying something new. I want to make this as a lifestyle where I can stay in shape all year round and feel good about myself but when it comes to nutrition, that's always a struggle for me. Even though I'm studying to be a dietitian, I struggle to find that balance and right amount for myself in order to reach my goals.
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Replies

  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    Have you tried eating at a deficit before?
  • Silentpadna
    Silentpadna Posts: 1,305 Member
    edited January 2018
    Even though you mentioned not concentrating on the scale (good!), it would still help to know your stats. Generally you will see changes in your body quicker with strength training being the main component. If you have a lot of fat to lose, you'll still need to be in a deficit (which is why your stats: i.e. height/weight/age are important), but if it's long term, keep a moderate deficit and lift heavy. You have to stress, recover, adapt in order to make changes.

    Limited cardio is ok for conditioning, especially if it's HIIT, but deficit and strength are king.

    [Edit: sometimes people way overdo cardio, and there are a couple of potential problems with it: 1 - it can take energy away from building or maintaining muscle and 2 - it builds up cortisol (which a deficit does as well), which is a stress hormone. If you drive your deficit higher more cortisol is released - which fights to slow down your metabolism. Note: this is NOT starvation mode. Cardio is not bad, per se. It does burn energy, and it does increase endurance. It does not help build muscle in any way, so that means that when you lose a bunch of weight, if you are using energy to fuel the cardio, you will burn muscle and fat while in a deficit.]
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,653 Member
    edited January 2018
    Your post makes is sound like you've tried logging, tracking, calorie deficit, etc in the past. Assuming that's the case...
    • How complete would you say your logging is/was? i.e. - do/did you log everything you ate/drank?
    • How accurate would you say your logging is/was? Did you weigh/measure what you ate/drank?
    • How long did you log for?

    For most people, there is an adjustment period where you just have to grind through the cravings and the desire to eat more or different or whatever. Basic things like maintaining a reasonable intake (i.e. nto having too large of a deficit) and a reasonably balanced diet help most people, but beyond that there are a number of tricks and crutches that might work based on where exactly your struggles come from.
  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    If you eat too little, and end up overeating/cheating, you know that you have to eat more. If you're gaining weight, you know that you have to eat less. Now that you're starting a new exercise regimen, your needs may be a little different, so you have to monitor your weight and your food intake diligently, and over time, and adjust so that you hit that balance. You have to find that balance through trial and error.

    You can play around with macro splits and meal plans, but even with the perfect plan, you will still feel hungry between meals, and you will still have cravings for treats. But that's okay. Cravings can be annoying, but they aren't dangerous. My general nutritional advice is to make sure you get enough protein, fat, fiber and water, "five a day", eat food you like, and get variety. Additional advice is moderate exercise (could you be overdoing it?), enough sleep and rest, stress management, and doing something difficult, something fun, and something just crazy, every day.
  • I track everything I consume. I weigh everything out when I'm trying to diet. I always stick to 1500 calories but now I'm not so sure
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,653 Member
    edited January 2018
    ok... 1500 calories... how big of a deficit does that give you? If it's fairly large you could eat a bit more and see if that helps with the hunger/cravings/need to cheat.

    Or, you could go by feel...

    Are you losing weight? Yes. Do you feel good, have good energy? Yes. Keep doing what you're doing.
    Are you losing weight? Yes. Do you feel good, have good energy? No. Eat a bit more.
    Are you losing weight? No. Do you feel good, have good energy? Yes. Eat a bit less
    Are you losing weight? No. Do you feel good, have good energy? No. Something doesn't add up... need more info.
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    I track everything I consume. I weigh everything out when I'm trying to diet. I always stick to 1500 calories but now I'm not so sure

    Without knowing your height, current weight and goal weight it's hard to say, but 1500 sounds like a good starting point for most women. If you are losing too fast or are overly hungry, adjust to higher calories. If you are losing too slowly or not at all, adjust to lower calories.

    Or, put your stats into MFP and start with what they suggest. Adjust if necessary.
  • I'm 5'2, I weigh 135 (a year ago I was 114 which was the last time I weighed myself and now I feel disgusted in myself). My goal is to get back around that weight but it feels so hard to stay on a diet. I eat a lot of protein, fruits, and vegetables but my biggest issue is sugary carbs. I been eating whole foods to try to suppress those cravings but I still find it difficult. I cut out processed foods but sometimes I do crave a protein bar or halo top when my sweet tooth kicks in but I try to avoid those things by consuming fruit. I also feel so bloated and I hold onto so much water that I feel like it is fat sometimes. My biggest insecurity is my thighs and stomach and all I do is cardio and kinda restrict certain foods. I just wish I could stop the cravings. I try diet pills to kill the cravings but they only seem to work for a week. My typical day includes avocados, egg beaters, tomatoes, apples, spinach, fat free cheese, fiber tortillas or the 40 calorie a slice bread, multivitamins, lettuce, shrimp or 99% fat free ground turkey, broccoli, cauliflower rice, other fruits, sometimes protein bars/chips/cookies or powder for protein banana pancakes, salmon or tilapia, occasionally potatos, sometimes 100 bag of popcorn, halo top, Atkin bars/treats, or vitatop muffin tops, but I been avoiding those things. These are like the only foods I been consuming. Kinda boring when I been eating the same thing for years. The foods I always crave are things like chocolate, donuts, apple fritters, and club sandwiches. Mostly sugary carbs and I tend to have a huge appetite and can consume a lot which isn't good when ur trying to diet. I try to eat the same foods everyday to stay full but once I finish my workout, I don't eat anymore after that and that's when I have the cravings. I like to go to bed on a empty stomach so I can wake up feeling flat and less bloated but I struggle to change that up. For the last few weeks I been trying low carb, but that doesn't seem to work for me.
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    Why not save a few calories for one of those treats you listed a few times a week? A healthy diet does not have to be 100% "healthy foods".

    Strength training is probably a good fit for you. You aren't overweight now so working on body composition is probably a good thing.
  • I guess it's habits where I feel like my diet can't include treats or foods I enjoy in order to get the results I want. Like I feel like I can't have any of those unhealthy treats and have to substitute. I also seem to have little patience and feel like I can't relax. I feel anxious and feel like I need to keep pushing myself. I feel like I have to do strength training and cardio everyday because I feel guilty if I don't workout and I just don't like all the water retention and bloat. I hate undereating and overtraining but I guess I'm just tired how I look and feel and just want to improve my looks asap. I know once I start strength training, I'm going to b in pain. Idk where to go from that point. Would I stil be able to do cardio? How long to I have to take breaks in between workout days? I'm new to all this and haven't got a clue. I don't want to walk into a gym feeling awkward and not know how to do things. I do plan on going today and talking to the staff about what can I do. I guess I'm just ready for the fat to melt off off my thighs, back, and stomach asap, feel like my diet has to be strict, and have to do a lot of exercise and trying to find some way to keep myself busy bc I tend to get very bored when I'm trying to diet. I start back school in 2 weeks and I told myself yesterday that today will b the start of my journey. No more excuses because I reached my breaking point.
  • mathjulz
    mathjulz Posts: 5,526 Member
    Here is the threat that I mentioned. It's pages and pages, but there are also lots of fabulous examples! http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/977538/halp-heavy-lifting-made-me-supah-bulky#latest

  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    Oh my, you need to step back and take a deep breath.

    It sounds like you are just being way too hard on yourself. Fat won't melt off. It will be used for energy when you are in a calorie deficit. Making your deficit too large will likely not get you to goal any faster. More likely it will cause muscle loss and you'll be even more dissatisfied.

    You don't have to be in pain because you start strength training. Start at the beginning and work up. Maybe a personal trainer or a structured progressive program could be helpful. I've heard a lot of good things about StrongLifts 5x5 on here (but never personally tried it).

    You can do both cardio and strength training. Work out a reasonable schedule and stick to it. Over-exercising won't necessarily get you to goal faster. There's a good chance it will just prolong the process by causing injury or burnout.

    Choose a modest deficit since you don't have a lot of weight to loose. Concentrate on fat loss rather than just weight loss.
  • I apologize...it's just very stressful bc all my life I struggled and could never reach that certain goal no matter how hard I try. I never want to give up, and I want to find something that will work for me. I try to stay positive with it because I don't want to be anymore stressed out than I already am. I don't care for the number on the scale anymore, but I do feel rushed and need to hurry and lose inches. I feel even more insecure than I use to. I do want to get out of my comfort zone and try something new that could work. Guess I'm just afraid of continuing to mess up.
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    No need to apologize. Just realize that it won't be an overnight process. It takes time but you'll get there. Just don't be so overzealous that you burn out or injure yourself.

    Check out the post below for idea on strength training programs.

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    You might also reach out to some of the other posters on that thread for better advice on where to start and what to expect. Good luck!
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,653 Member
    Rather than being so focused on the goal/result, can you focus more on the process?
  • megs_1985
    megs_1985 Posts: 199 Member
    Why are you in a rush? That won’t be healthy and it will cause you to more likely fail and then gain more weight then you are now. I think recomp is your best option. Start doing weight training 3-5 times a week and doing at least 1 hour of vigorous cardio a week (you can do more if you like cardio). Eat a small deficit maybe 1700 since you don’t need to lose a lot. Keep up your protein so you can gain muscle. Take a step back and see the big picture. You’re being too hard on yourself.
  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    I track everything I consume. I weigh everything out when I'm trying to diet. I always stick to 1500 calories but now I'm not so sure
    You can't just try to diet, you have to make sure you're consistently in a calorie deficit, and to do that, you can't just track everything, you have to pick correct entries, and log the correct amounts, and hit your calorie target every day.
    I'm 5'2, I weigh 135 (a year ago I was 114 which was the last time I weighed myself and now I feel disgusted in myself). My goal is to get back around that weight but it feels so hard to stay on a diet. I eat a lot of protein, fruits, and vegetables but my biggest issue is sugary carbs. I been eating whole foods to try to suppress those cravings but I still find it difficult. I cut out processed foods but sometimes I do crave a protein bar or halo top when my sweet tooth kicks in but I try to avoid those things by consuming fruit.
    [...]
    kinda restrict certain foods. I just wish I could stop the cravings. I try diet pills to kill the cravings but they only seem to work for a week. My typical day includes avocados, egg beaters, tomatoes, apples, spinach, fat free cheese, fiber tortillas or the 40 calorie a slice bread, multivitamins, lettuce, shrimp or 99% fat free ground turkey, broccoli, cauliflower rice, other fruits, sometimes protein bars/chips/cookies or powder for protein banana pancakes, salmon or tilapia, occasionally potatos, sometimes 100 bag of popcorn, halo top, Atkin bars/treats, or vitatop muffin tops, but I been avoiding those things. These are like the only foods I been consuming. Kinda boring when I been eating the same thing for years. The foods I always crave are things like chocolate, donuts, apple fritters, and club sandwiches. Mostly sugary carbs and I tend to have a huge appetite and can consume a lot which isn't good when ur trying to diet. I try to eat the same foods everyday to stay full but once I finish my workout, I don't eat anymore after that and that's when I have the cravings.
    Don't go on a diet. Eat food you like, just make sure you're consistently in a calorie deficit. The diet you're describing sounds depressing, unbalanced (very little fat) and not much variety. If you're hungry a lot, it's no wonder - you're not getting in the range of nutrients only a balanced and varied diet can provide. "Processed food" doesn't mean much - the idea behind limiting it, was to help you get in a more nutritous and varied and balanced diet. If you crave something, you will crave it until you have it, and when you tell yourself you can't have it, you'll want it even more, and then you overeat when you can't stand the restriction anymore.

    The foods you mention that you crave have carbs and fat and even protein.
    I guess it's habits where I feel like my diet can't include treats or foods I enjoy in order to get the results I want. Like I feel like I can't have any of those unhealthy treats and have to substitute.
    You have to lose that attitude if you want to succeed. No foods are healthy or unhealthy, it's about dose and frequency and context.
    I also seem to have little patience and feel like I can't relax. I feel anxious and feel like I need to keep pushing myself. I feel like I have to do strength training and cardio everyday because I feel guilty if I don't workout and I just don't like all the water retention and bloat. I hate undereating and overtraining but I guess I'm just tired how I look and feel and just want to improve my looks asap.
    You have to learn to be more patient if you want to lose weight.
    I know once I start strength training, I'm going to b in pain. Idk where to go from that point. Would I stil be able to do cardio? How long to I have to take breaks in between workout days? I'm new to all this and haven't got a clue. I don't want to walk into a gym feeling awkward and not know how to do things. I do plan on going today and talking to the staff about what can I do.
    Yes, talk to the instructors. You're not supposed to be in pain. Or are you referring to soreness?
    I guess I'm just ready for the fat to melt off off my thighs, back, and stomach asap, feel like my diet has to be strict, and have to do a lot of exercise and trying to find some way to keep myself busy bc I tend to get very bored when I'm trying to diet. I start back school in 2 weeks and I told myself yesterday that today will b the start of my journey. No more excuses because I reached my breaking point.
    Fat can not melt off, especially when you don't have more to lose than you have. Your diet can't be strict, but sticking to your calorie target, has to be. Exercise isn't that effective for weight loss. You can't "try" to diet; eating less is something you either do or don't do.
    I apologize...it's just very stressful bc all my life I struggled and could never reach that certain goal no matter how hard I try. I never want to give up, and I want to find something that will work for me. I try to stay positive with it because I don't want to be anymore stressed out than I already am. I don't care for the number on the scale anymore, but I do feel rushed and need to hurry and lose inches. I feel even more insecure than I use to. I do want to get out of my comfort zone and try something new that could work. Guess I'm just afraid of continuing to mess up.
    Aiming for inches lost instead of weight, is probably not a good idea - you can't decide to lose weight, you can only decide to eat less, and if you eat less for long enough, you lose weight - weightloss when you aren't overweight is very difficult to measure, you need a long row of reliable data points over a long period - inches lost is even more difficult to pick up.

    You have to get rid of that stress and struggle. You do that by focusing on what you can do something about, and not thinking so much about what you can't directly do anything about. That is the challenge you are after, that is getting out of your comfort zone. Stressing and worrying and overexercising is exhausting, but you are used to that.
    Doing something new is always a bit scary. But you know it isn't dangerous. Maybe you are sad to let your familiar routine go? Self pity can be addictive, I can say that from personal experience.

    Staying positive is good if you do it right - but you are embracing stress and hopeless enedavours; having a sensible and realistic plan and following it, and then trusting the process, is positive thinking.