Switching from body recomp to faster fat loss?

Answered on August 13, 2013
Created May 17, 2013 at 1:20 AM

Stats: 5'2" female, 187 lbs. Age low 40s. Have lost 175 lbs already on VLC (30-50g but I stopped that), want to lose 30-40 lbs more.

I've been in a plateau for over a year (within 10 pounds) and have tried all kinds of things to get past it with no luck. I added more carbs/calories, carb cycled, added weight lifting, refeeds a few times and more. I also take T4/T3 for my thyroid (Hashi's) but it doesn't change much. Sleep is good, adrenals are good. I took a diet break (maintenance levels) last fall after I figured out I had been pushing too hard and was having thyroid/adrenal issues. Gained 20 lbs but have re-lost 10 of that again.

12 weeks ago, I started a moderate carb diet to compliment my weight lifting, so closer to 33/33/33 in hopes of losing more fat while maintaining muscle. I had a hydrostatic weigh in before and after these 12 weeks and to my surprise, I weighed the same, gained 2 pounds of muscle, and lost 2 pounds of fat. So a recomp basically, though it was not my intention. From the weigh in, I know I have 115 lbs lean mass, 72 lbs fat. Tested RMR 1630 calories.

Thus, my question is how should I tweak my eating (and exercise) to lose more fat and just maintain muscle?

Less carbs? I eat around 100-150g a day (My thyroid issues improved dramatically at this carb level), mostly steel cut oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rice, squash, veggies, some fruit, yogurt, mostly chicken/turkey/eggs for protein (don't like fish). 1500-1800 calories a day (1800 on workout days). I drink mostly water and tea. I lift (moderate strength training, DBs and BBs) 3x a week for 45-60 mins, with some walking/metabolic circuits for cardio here and there (15-20 mins once or twice a week).

More calories? Tried up to 2000 but didn't lose either. Less calories? I am not sure I should go under my RMR of 1630, unless I do refeeds. I do try and change up my eating every now and then.

More cardio? I have arthritis that limits running/sprints but I can try and do more.

Keep doing what I am doing and eventually the muscle gains will result in more fat loss?

I'd like to lose at least 30 more pounds (of fat) if not more, especially on the hips where all this excess weight seems to be. My upper body has leaned out rather well, just the torso has issues still. A little loose skin but not nearly as bad as you'd think since I lost my weight slow (40 lbs a year). I've come so far and would just like to get a bit healthier and leaner.


on July 16, 2013
at 02:10 PM

Congrats on the weight you have already lost. Remember that it took years to get your body broken, and it will take years to slowly fix many of the underlying metabolic issues.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers



on August 13, 2013
at 07:40 PM

I've had great success with LeanGains protocol. I went -30% below TDEE on rest days, 100-200 cals below TDEE on training days. 2g of protein per bodyweight kg, 30g or so carbs on off-days, a lot on training days, balance coming from fat intake. Lifting 3 days a week. No cardio. Lost 25kg that way.

Leangains.com and rippedbody.jp have the program outlined nicely.



on August 13, 2013
at 07:16 PM

Mark sisson had a great quote I heard online somewhere. Something along the lines of a plateau after a huge weight loss like yours is like your body saying, "I like what you've done with the place." Like they said above your body took years to damage and will take years to fix. Be patient. Keep up the lifting but as for food recs I don't have any cuz I've yet to lose my last 10-20. 5'10" male at ~185 15% BF.


on July 30, 2013
at 05:14 PM

I would say try IF during the week. You could try a 8-10 hour eating window and fast the rest of the time and make sure not to eat too late. Try keeping your food basically the same but try having some fasting time in there. I would also recommend more fat, high quality grassfed raw organic butter, raw grass fed organic milk, raw organic coconut oil just to name a few.

Cheers! Jason


on May 17, 2013
at 12:27 PM

Have you tried eating more fat? I do better on red meat, beef or lamb, and keep chicken and turkey to 2-3 meals per week. I also like to IF by skipping breakfast most mornings. I just drink some coffee with lots of coconut milk. Too much carbs (beyond 1/2 cup serving per meal at each of my 2 meals per day would stall my weight loss). I'm 5'2", 116 lbs., late 40's female. I lost about 15 lbs this way, most of it was around my waist and torso. My goal now isn't necessarily weight loss but losing the last bit of flab around the waist so I don't get the muffin top when I wear jeans.

Answer Question

Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!