1

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Need Some Help with Altering Body Composition

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 07, 2012 at 3:18 PM

I am 5'3", about 125 pound female, with a muscular build. I am hoping to decrease my body fat % through my lifestyle of primal eating and exercise.

I have been eating paleo (with the exception of greek yogurt and cottage cheese) for a few months, but I have not had much fat loss. What can I do to be sure that I am losing fat while increasing my strength?

I tend to have my calorie intake around 1800/day before exercise, with <100 carbs/day, at least 115g protein and Paleo fats to fill in the void of calories.

954837b1c93a2792e95008d94f262c53

(187)

on March 07, 2012
at 07:36 PM

I am 19. And dance (ballet/modern) for about 4 hrs 5 days/wk. plus brisk walking for about 3.5hrs/wk and some resistance training...does that offer better insight?

954837b1c93a2792e95008d94f262c53

(187)

on March 07, 2012
at 07:32 PM

Answers to the questions: I became Paleo because I wanted to feel good about the way I was eating and I feel fresh when I eat this way! And I have no (nor had) health issues. I am a ballet/modern dancer and dance for about 4-5 hours 5 days/wk and go on brisk 30-60 min. walks at least 3 days/wk. As for resistance training, I do what I can with my own body weight and resistance bands (currently living abroad with no access to weights/other equipment) I mean that I consume 1800 calories (that's not after my deficit from exercise) I sleep at least 7.5 hrs a night and have low stress levels.

Db3d22185b9841eeb91589edb5263b02

(70)

on March 07, 2012
at 06:59 PM

Interesting. I'm in the same boat, 5'2", 128lbs, 26% body fat. I eat between 1300-1600 calories a day. Less than 100g of carbs (actually, previously less than 50, but I've been upping them lately to try something new), about 100g of protein a day, and I cannot lose body fat to save my life. At this point, I'm sort of working on just trying to accept this is my body type.

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6 Answers

2
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on March 07, 2012
at 03:43 PM

I think we would need some additional information before answering your question. Maybe answer these questions:

What brought you to Paleo, meaning did you have existing health issues or was it simply to lose weight and get healthier?

What is you exercise habits (type of activities, duration, and amount)?

What do you mean by 1800 calories/day BEFORE exercise?

What are your sleep habits and stress like?

Also, you have to realize that even in a perfect envirnment and with perfect nutrition, it's difficult to decrease bodyfat and increase strength. I would focus on decreasing the bodyfat and changing your body composition and once you hit your goal and can maintain that, then focus on strength.

954837b1c93a2792e95008d94f262c53

(187)

on March 07, 2012
at 07:32 PM

Answers to the questions: I became Paleo because I wanted to feel good about the way I was eating and I feel fresh when I eat this way! And I have no (nor had) health issues. I am a ballet/modern dancer and dance for about 4-5 hours 5 days/wk and go on brisk 30-60 min. walks at least 3 days/wk. As for resistance training, I do what I can with my own body weight and resistance bands (currently living abroad with no access to weights/other equipment) I mean that I consume 1800 calories (that's not after my deficit from exercise) I sleep at least 7.5 hrs a night and have low stress levels.

1
0d3873eb2dd0447baf06139e75c10252

(600)

on March 08, 2012
at 04:26 AM

I am in a similar boat as well...I eat mostly paleo with the occasional greek yogurt, dark chocolate and a little wine from time to time. I eat about 1800 calories and end up around 120g of carbs per day if you average out a month or so. But my intake varies somewhat from day to day. I'm 21 and have an active job as well as engaging in sport or weight training most days. I too was a dancer for many years.

I'm stuck at 20% body fat, down from 26% when I started trying to cut fat. Initially I went with the calories in/calories out approach (although with a protein emphasis) and that was largely responsible for the fat that I did lose and the muscle I gained (about 8 pounds). I started trying to up my fat and lower my carbs because the constant hunger was driving me insane, and that is how I stumbled on paleo about 3 months ago....

But my fat % has not budged since then. I put 2 more pounds of muscle, but I can't seem to lean out. I track my micronutrients pretty closely, eat mostly whole foods and do the bone broth thing. I suppose I could try lowering my carbs more, but the whole idea of eating this way is it is supposed to be easy and intuitive and it's been a battle to get them as low as I have.

If paleo is about optimal gene expression, I wonder if women are even meant to lean out past 18% or so (and what a dancer might consider optimal can be far lower than that).

Anyone have thoughts on if paleo eating can take a woman to being 'cut' without severe carb restrictions?

1
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 07, 2012
at 03:40 PM

This is a tough one, considering you sound pretty darn healthy as is.

You don't mention your age, which will effect overall daily needs, nor exercise style/routine, which will gravely effect overall needs. So, I hate to say it, but you probably want to drop the overall Calorie consumption down somewhat -- if there's actually fat to lose.

I would talk to a trainer or nutritionist -- they will likely be able to assess your needs (both activity and food) to help you reach your goals; a trained specialist observing you in real life is going to be better than an internet guesstimate.

Last, please be sure your goals are reasonable!

954837b1c93a2792e95008d94f262c53

(187)

on March 07, 2012
at 07:36 PM

I am 19. And dance (ballet/modern) for about 4 hrs 5 days/wk. plus brisk walking for about 3.5hrs/wk and some resistance training...does that offer better insight?

0
9a86fa04b1a69b788e379093c7b83ef5

(402)

on March 08, 2012
at 03:01 AM

Maybe try upping your carbs. some people lean out with more carbs. throw in a sweet potato or two. see how you feel and if your body changes at all.

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on March 08, 2012
at 02:55 AM

Agree that you ought to have your body fat percentage checked. Are you menstruating?

Assuming that all is well here are my suggestions:

First you need to optimize nutrition.

How is your Vitamin D level? Zinc? Magnesium?

Are you eating organ meats & bone broth/gelatin?

How's your digestion?

Until your nutrient stores are replete your body may have a hard time dropping fat.

Once you have this dialed in, which may take another 3-6 months, then you need to create a calorie deficit. The easiest way to do this is to drop your fat intake a bit, keeping your carbs & protein constant.

I am doing this now, after 15 months lacto-Paleo and seeing my body fat decrease nicely. 1/2" off my waist in 4 days.

0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 08, 2012
at 02:54 AM

I agree with greymouser that you would benefit from a professional evaluation.

With the amount of muscle you're carrying with all that dancing, I'm not sure your estimate of your body fat is accurate. I am 5'4" and I weighed about 135 with very little body fat when I was into endurance bicycling. Muscle is really VERY heavy.

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