3

votes

Stubborn belly fat, and am i eating too few calories?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM

I'll begin with my "specs": Edit: I am male. I am 30 years old I am 5'9" I began doing paleo about 2 years ago My weight then was about 209 pounds and now it is 165 pounds. I've stayed at this plateau for about 6 months. The most annoying is the belly fat which seems to be unwilling to go away.

I've done intermittent fasting for 3 weeks,leangains style(eat for 8 hours and fast for 16), every day.

I do high intensity training for about 40 minutes every week(2 days).

On non-workout days i eat around 1700-1900 calories and on workout days i eat about 2100-2300 calories.

Edit: I eat mostly meat, some tubers, dairy, vegetables, limited fruit. I DON'T eat grains and legumes, sugar, etc. Could i be eating too few calories?

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on February 25, 2013
at 04:29 PM

Settle down fellas. Just pointing out the obvious. Even he admits he is too skinny. And I maintain in order to lose stubborn fight you likely have to eat more to build muscle to displace fat.. or do a Lyle McDonald inspired protein starve-fest. –

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on February 25, 2013
at 04:28 PM

Settle down fellas. Just pointing out the obvious. Even he admits he is too skinny. And I maintain in order to lose stubborn fight you likely have to eat more to build muscle to displace fat.. or do a Lyle McDonald inspired protein starve-fest.

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on February 25, 2013
at 04:27 PM

Settle down fellas. Just pointing out the obvious. Even he admits he is too skinny. And I maintain in order to lose stubborn fight you likely have to eat more to build muscle to displace fat.. or do a Lyle McDonald inspired protein starve-fest.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on February 23, 2013
at 02:50 AM

@SwedishMeatloaf sounds like you could add some muscle to that frame

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 21, 2013
at 03:08 PM

Thanks for the support :) I don't think i could go as low as 1200 calories though. I get to hungry and think about food all the time when i go under 1500 ;)

892d177f50b16f118152219229870e4e

(776)

on February 21, 2013
at 01:34 PM

Daz,the last part of my comment was not meant for you but the person above. Sorry for the confusion.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on February 21, 2013
at 01:25 PM

@daz I read it as hiit originally, maybe it's been edited since or maybe I was hallucinating/made the oversight. In any case, if it is 'high intensity exericse' that is done for twenty minutes at a time for 2 days a week, this reinforces the need to train harder and smarter; stubborn fat won't shift from doing 40 minutes a week of 'high intensity exercise' (whether it's this or other sort of stuff en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_intensity_training . This stuff is probably great for maintaining weight or losing some, but perhaps not as effective in helping one get down to a very lean state, if that

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on February 21, 2013
at 01:22 PM

@daz I read it as hiit originally, maybe it's been edited or since or maybe I was hallucinating. In any case, if it is only 'high intentisty exericse' that is done for twenty minutes at a time for 2 days a week, this reinforces the need to train harder and smarter; stubborn fat won't shift from doing 40 minutes a week of 'high intensity exercise' (whether it's this or othersort of stuff http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_intensity_training ...

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 21, 2013
at 11:24 AM

I would go crazy if i ate that little! I would think of food all the time. I love food! ;)

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 21, 2013
at 11:22 AM

I'm NOT trying to lose weight. Im trying to lose fat! Belly fat! I actually think i'm too skinny everywhere but the belly which looks ridiculous sometimes :P lol

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 07:39 AM

were your comments to me Higgs, you lost me if they were. i never inferred that his weight was a problem. 135 lb for bruce lee sounds about right (after a quick google check). & if you can believe wiki, he may have gone as high as 160 lb. & his height seems to be around 5'8" or just under.

892d177f50b16f118152219229870e4e

(776)

on February 21, 2013
at 05:14 AM

No ectomorph will be anywhere near 165 pounds at 5'9. Bruce Lee was what,135 lbs ? Also a huge WTF at trying to make this dude's weight seem like a problem.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:55 AM

maybe he's full on Ectomorph, think bruce lee, edward norton, (brad pitt?) http://www.directlyfitness.com/2012/3-body-types-explained-ectomorph-mesomorph-endomorph/ it's a possibility...

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:53 AM

maybe he's full on Ectomorph, think bruce lee, brad pitt, edward norton, http://www.directlyfitness.com/2012/3-body-types-explained-ectomorph-mesomorph-endomorph/ it's a possibility...

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:43 AM

...he actually says he does hit, not hiit (one less i for interval)...

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:42 AM

he actually he says he does hit, not hiit (one less i for interval)...

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on February 20, 2013
at 07:29 PM

even 20 minutes isn't HIIT. HIIT done right is usually less than 5, more like 2-3 min.

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on February 20, 2013
at 06:48 PM

I just noticed that you are 165 pounds. Seriously dude? Why are you trying to lose more weight? Eat. Add muscle. Repeat.

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 20, 2013
at 06:14 PM

It's 40 minutes total every week. So 20 minutes each time. Right now im trying a reverse pyramid routine so i rest 2 minutes between sets and excercises. 6 months ago i was at 176 pounds, but by adding back starches like potatoe and rice i dropped to 165 pounds. Probably due to the satiety and thereby reducing calories.

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 20, 2013
at 06:00 PM

I eat too little fish but i supplement with omega-3. I also take 2000 IU of vitamin d3

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 20, 2013
at 03:45 PM

Testing ftw. Just got a spectracell micronutrient test, excited to get the result.

68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on February 20, 2013
at 02:06 PM

Do you ever eat fish? O3 or vit D supplements?

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 20, 2013
at 01:31 PM

I edited the post. I am male. I eat mostly meat, some tubers, dairy, vegetables, limited fruit. I DON'T eat grains and legumes, sugar, etc.

Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on February 20, 2013
at 01:21 PM

What do you eat?

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:17 PM

are you male or female?

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13 Answers

best answer

6
Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

on February 20, 2013
at 02:12 PM

Stubborn belly fat might relate to cortisol issues or insulin resistance. Regular 'IFing' can be hard on the adrenals and it's possible this is holding you back. As you've only started that recently though it may not be likely (I'm not sure about the IR). Regardless, it is widely affirmed that the last bit of belly fat is the hardest to shift (and takes the longest time to do so.

I think you should train smarter. I doubt what you do is 'true' hiit if you can work for 40 minutes at a time. HIIT involes putting in maximal efforts that can only be sustained for concentrated periods. My advice is to try some shorter shaper workouts like those involving 'tabata sprints', while also integrating heavy weight sessions. Time most food around workouts and be patient.

PS I read that someone people break through 'plateaus' by adopting a relatively higher carb diet. You could consider trying this, while continuing to time most food intake around exercise.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on February 21, 2013
at 01:22 PM

@daz I read it as hiit originally, maybe it's been edited or since or maybe I was hallucinating. In any case, if it is only 'high intentisty exericse' that is done for twenty minutes at a time for 2 days a week, this reinforces the need to train harder and smarter; stubborn fat won't shift from doing 40 minutes a week of 'high intensity exercise' (whether it's this or othersort of stuff http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_intensity_training ...

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:43 AM

...he actually says he does hit, not hiit (one less i for interval)...

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on February 20, 2013
at 07:29 PM

even 20 minutes isn't HIIT. HIIT done right is usually less than 5, more like 2-3 min.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:42 AM

he actually he says he does hit, not hiit (one less i for interval)...

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 20, 2013
at 06:14 PM

It's 40 minutes total every week. So 20 minutes each time. Right now im trying a reverse pyramid routine so i rest 2 minutes between sets and excercises. 6 months ago i was at 176 pounds, but by adding back starches like potatoe and rice i dropped to 165 pounds. Probably due to the satiety and thereby reducing calories.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on February 21, 2013
at 01:25 PM

@daz I read it as hiit originally, maybe it's been edited since or maybe I was hallucinating/made the oversight. In any case, if it is 'high intensity exericse' that is done for twenty minutes at a time for 2 days a week, this reinforces the need to train harder and smarter; stubborn fat won't shift from doing 40 minutes a week of 'high intensity exercise' (whether it's this or other sort of stuff en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_intensity_training . This stuff is probably great for maintaining weight or losing some, but perhaps not as effective in helping one get down to a very lean state, if that

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on February 25, 2013
at 04:27 PM

Settle down fellas. Just pointing out the obvious. Even he admits he is too skinny. And I maintain in order to lose stubborn fight you likely have to eat more to build muscle to displace fat.. or do a Lyle McDonald inspired protein starve-fest.

2
D342e276aebe1ce6666f22821f5f2f91

on February 21, 2013
at 01:04 PM

Once again I come to a conclusion that no one can answer this question because no one knows what to do about it. Meatloaf, most people see your weight as almost ideal considering age and height so they question your desire to lose more weight. As you very appropriately noticed, you are not trying to lose weight but fat -- I think most people and especially so called "doctors" in the media confuse these terms -- when I tell someone I think I have too much fat they look at me like I am crazy -- I am 5'11" at a steady 163-165 with body fat % of 8.6. However, I face exactly the same problem you do - I can't lose fat around my belly. I've been paleo for the last 4 years and exercise 5 days a week. It used to be 3 day weight lifting and 2 days of running (5-6 miles). Nothing seems to help. And like you I had a question of calorie consumption. I did mention in earlier post that I usually eat 1,200 calories a day and do IF once a week for the last 8 months. Personally, I don't think we need more calories than that (of course depending on what you eat, don't throw rocks at me!) and all that 2,000+ is baloney. Google the history of this number -- it was developed in Germany in late 1930 for the male soldier in the battle field. That's it -- young German soldier during war had to consume 2,500 calories to be battle ready. FDA later used the German study and applied it to all of us for some reason. Not going into discussion of a difference between an active 18-year old 6'5" dude and a 50-year old couch potato - FDA still recommends the same calorie amount to both. I've read a few memoirs of people in the medical field and those who lived to over 90 described their food consumption as very limited. Some where paleo-like, others did eat grains but everybody were against junk food and high-calorie. So I am not planning to eat more.

I feel great, have tons of energy and haven't been sick for the last 3 years, not even a cold - no complaints there and I think that's all because of paleo. However, I do have one problem -- still can't see 6 pack. It's more like a 3 pack with 2 definite squares on top and one big square below. I don't know what I am doing wrong and I wasn't able to find a good answer. So, unfortunately I can't recommend you anything and hope you have more luck here. I started swimming twice a week and it somehow feels right -- after one swim last week I got on the scale and was amazed to see 160 but it's mostly water as I was back to 163 the next day. However, I think swimming may help a little so I will continue doing that.

Again, sorry for this long answer without answering your question. But hopefully it will make you feel better knowing that there are people who know what you are trying to achieve. Most important, don't give up and good luck!

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 21, 2013
at 03:08 PM

Thanks for the support :) I don't think i could go as low as 1200 calories though. I get to hungry and think about food all the time when i go under 1500 ;)

2
06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

on February 20, 2013
at 06:43 PM

Too few calories. I am a female and eat your workout day calories on rest days. You can't be scared to consume more.. I know people have been beaten silly with this idea that you must limit to be lean, but really it is a bunch of shit. You need to eat to support your activity level. Your body cannot lean out/recomp/drop fat if you are not giving it adequate fuel.. it is going to hold the hell!

Google REE, figure out what that is.. I would imagine for a man your size and age it is somewhere around 2200.. then add the activity multiplier. If you want to recomp eat AT that number on workout days and then drop 500 on rest days. I would say that you are under-eating by 500+ calories a day. Also, it is sometimes handy to cut added fat and up carbs.

Under-eating may allow you to lose weight in the short term, but in the long term you will be all jacked up. Hormonally speaking you will do yourself a great disservice. Do you have a history of dieting? Could you already be hormonally jacked?

892d177f50b16f118152219229870e4e

(776)

on February 21, 2013
at 01:34 PM

Daz,the last part of my comment was not meant for you but the person above. Sorry for the confusion.

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 21, 2013
at 11:22 AM

I'm NOT trying to lose weight. Im trying to lose fat! Belly fat! I actually think i'm too skinny everywhere but the belly which looks ridiculous sometimes :P lol

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 07:39 AM

were your comments to me Higgs, you lost me if they were. i never inferred that his weight was a problem. 135 lb for bruce lee sounds about right (after a quick google check). & if you can believe wiki, he may have gone as high as 160 lb. & his height seems to be around 5'8" or just under.

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on February 20, 2013
at 06:48 PM

I just noticed that you are 165 pounds. Seriously dude? Why are you trying to lose more weight? Eat. Add muscle. Repeat.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:55 AM

maybe he's full on Ectomorph, think bruce lee, edward norton, (brad pitt?) http://www.directlyfitness.com/2012/3-body-types-explained-ectomorph-mesomorph-endomorph/ it's a possibility...

892d177f50b16f118152219229870e4e

(776)

on February 21, 2013
at 05:14 AM

No ectomorph will be anywhere near 165 pounds at 5'9. Bruce Lee was what,135 lbs ? Also a huge WTF at trying to make this dude's weight seem like a problem.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:53 AM

maybe he's full on Ectomorph, think bruce lee, brad pitt, edward norton, http://www.directlyfitness.com/2012/3-body-types-explained-ectomorph-mesomorph-endomorph/ it's a possibility...

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on February 25, 2013
at 04:29 PM

Settle down fellas. Just pointing out the obvious. Even he admits he is too skinny. And I maintain in order to lose stubborn fight you likely have to eat more to build muscle to displace fat.. or do a Lyle McDonald inspired protein starve-fest. –

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on February 23, 2013
at 02:50 AM

@SwedishMeatloaf sounds like you could add some muscle to that frame

2
Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on February 20, 2013
at 02:18 PM

Reduce the muscle meat. Focus on oily fish, organ meat and seafood. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables. Supplement with coconut oil.

Purpose of this is to reduce cortisol, reduce inflammation, alkalise the body to take a load off the immune system.

1
0abbec29fdcc092e969885ad70aa4c11

on February 21, 2013
at 01:24 AM

You are eating less than a reasonably active teenage girl. Just sayin'.

For the record I went from maintaining my weight at 2,200 kcal to maintaining my weight at 2,600 kcalor. My weight didn't change, my workouts didn't change. It is possible I fidget more, and it is possible that my RMR just increased because my body didn't think it was starving.

Find something you love, do it, get good at it, and eat to optimize performance. 5'9, 165...if you have significant bodyfat you have to also have some muscle atrophy. Go pick up something heavy.

1
Medium avatar

on February 21, 2013
at 12:37 AM

You're currently eating the number of calories for maintaining your new mass. If your desire is to go lower in fat mass, you'll need to eat fewer calories, be more active or increase LBM (in order of increasing difficulty).

Your diet seems reasonable unless you have gratuitous amounts of refined fat that you're cooking with. If everything is drenched in butter there is a disproportional amount of added energy for how must satiety it provides. If you pull all dairy out as someone suggested, you should try to eat a can of sardines every day to ensure that you don't have a negative calcium balance.

1
7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on February 20, 2013
at 11:00 PM

I've come to believe through observation that some of these things, like stubborn belly fat for instance, are genetic and there's not a lot that can be done about them after a certain point.

I've lost and gained weight a couple times in my life and no matter what my weight, diet make-up, work out routine, etc, I have always had more fat on my belly than anywhere else.

If I look at every male on the paternal side of my family before me, they ALL have fat bellies, period. There's not one exception I can find going back 2 generations. They are just like me. In pictures taken of them before the age of about 18 they are thin - just like I was. After this age progressively over time they all devlope the same body type as me. Some in Poland, some in the US.

So I accept my belly fat and move on. Go figure.

1
76026e8ef496039d5075440ff731aa0d

on February 20, 2013
at 10:21 PM

How much do you sleep?

All my training and meticulous food journaling meant next to nothing until I started getting close to 9 hours of sleep, consistently...when I did this, the weight didn't fly off, but all the hard work that I was doing finally began to show, not just in my abdominals, but my body as a whole...sleep is just soooo important when training and gets overlooked in day to day life.

I also found that maintaining my weight (muscle mass) was much easier the more sleep I was getting, so, I???d personally start there (sleep) and tweak my diet accordingly???

Hope this helps.

Truth.

1
3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on February 20, 2013
at 04:24 PM

One thing that helped me was to incorporate sprinting, heavier weights, and HIIT exercising into my exercise routine. The effect on my belly was very slow, but very real. I didn't lose a single pound last year, but I went from a size 36 to a 33 without altering my usual Paleo diet.

Since my exercise intensity increased, I spent less time in the gym as well, which is another benefit. I only do strength once a week now, and less than an hour, and I do sprinting type things (sometimes real sprints, sometimes HIIT on the eliptical, etc) maybe twice a week.

Other than that, take a slow relaxing walk everyday. That's a big help for lowering cortisol!

1
8f2d9842fdfec224a425c0f77c4ee34d

(1241)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:59 PM

Do you supplement with anything? It might a good idea to test for micronutrient deficiencies.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 20, 2013
at 03:45 PM

Testing ftw. Just got a spectracell micronutrient test, excited to get the result.

0
0b4326a4949718451a8571b82558dc10

on February 20, 2013
at 11:24 PM

I was a huge IFaster...I've found that a very small high fat/protein breakfast goes a long way for reducing cortisol. I've only been eating like this for about a week but my stomach seems to be getting tighter. I'm so close to a six pack I can smell it.

0
B76281713d31d84b01351964530ca841

(65)

on February 20, 2013
at 07:32 PM

Go 100% dairy free for at least 30 days and see what happens. Dairy commonly causes water retention and inflammation/elevated cortisl. Up your cals to make up for the lack of dairy but dont over complicate it and don't let anyone else over complicate it.

0
5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

on February 20, 2013
at 07:01 PM

Because of your relatively high weight loss your BMR may have lowered, so you may try fewer calories per day. I'd suggest 1200 Kcals.

05e260e5bc2acedf51dd24535e2060c9

on February 21, 2013
at 11:24 AM

I would go crazy if i ate that little! I would think of food all the time. I love food! ;)

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