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Can't shift the weight

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 25, 2013 at 2:20 PM

I have been eating paleo for about a year and doing crossfit 4-5 times a week for about 9 months. Having given up wheat I have cured the chronic heartburn I have suffered with for the last 10 years. Food wise I let myself fall off the wagon occasionally when I eat out and enjoy a few fries with a steak but the rest of the time I am fairly strict. Until January I was still drinking regularly having a glass or two of wine or Gin and Tonic each evening and a few beers if i went out. I had thought this is what was probably holding me back on the weight loss, so since January I have only been drinking socially so now that is one maybe two nights a week. I feel great for having given up lots of empty calories and not missed it but I still haven't seen the weight come off.

I have a strong history of thyroid problems on my mothers side of the family but I have been tested several times but am 'within normal range' so my doctor is unprepared to treat me despite having some hypothyroid symptoms. I have recently started taking kelp and selenium as well as another supplement called thyroplex.

I have a large build and am an ex-rugby player weighing (consistently) about 107 kg. The Crossfit is definitely making me stronger. I am in much better shape than i was and my strength numbers have consistently gone up. Its possible that I am losing fat and gaining muscle and that is why my weight has stayed the same. I have bought one of those hand held battery powered body composition devices. I can't say I trust it but if its telling the truth my body fat is not going down.

My questions for you are:

  • Is there anything about what I have told you that could be acting as a block to weight loss or do you have any other thoughts on what could be holding me back?

  • Any recommendations on a reliable way to measure body fat that I can easily use myself at home?

  • Any other comments or thoughts on where I might be going wrong?

Many thanks.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on February 26, 2013
at 03:08 AM

again, Muscle Size not growth. Growth means more muscle which means stronger. Size (without growth) means more intramuscle fat and water

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on February 25, 2013
at 11:19 PM

Yeah sorry, that's what I meant. I meant to say that muscle growth isn't directly proportional to strength gains.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on February 25, 2013
at 05:25 PM

I think OmNomBacon meant that strength gains are not directly proportional to muscle size. So you can get bigger without getting stronger (Very hard to do) or stronger without getting bigger.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on February 25, 2013
at 05:18 PM

"Muscle growth isn't directly proportional to muscle growth..." What?

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3 Answers

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on February 25, 2013
at 03:59 PM

Is there anything about what I have told you that could be acting as a block to weight loss or do you have any other thoughts on what could be holding me back?

Yes. You are using a scale. Ditch it. Focus on how you feel, how you look in the mirror, and how your clothes fit. Those are much better references than the scale.

Any recommendations on a reliable way to measure body fat that I can easily use myself at home?

Calipers are better (and cheaper) than bioimpedance. When done correctly calipers can give you a good relative measure (i.e. the specific measure is off, but you can detect a trend up or down). But even better than that is a measuring tape around the belly.

I've done DEXA scans, and they can get very accurate -- but not worth the money.

1
C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

on February 25, 2013
at 03:33 PM

So you eat paleo, 4/5 times a week and are 107 kg. What's your height? What are your macros? This will sound odd but when you say your body fat and weight aren't decreasing but you feel yourself getting stronger, can you be more sepcific? Muscle growth isn't directly proportional to muscle growth but with that level of activity and a linear progression in strength, it's likely. So, you're scales aren't changing but say you are increasing muscle, slightly but increasing it nonetheless, it could be that your body is conducting it's own 'defragmentation', ie it's recomping your muscle to more efficient storage. Muscle is muscle + some fat. Perhaps you are increasing muscle but it's more efficiently packed, and so decreasing the fat within it, balancing out the scales. I am not sure how the battery powered body comp device works but it might just be measuring your subcutaneous fat, which, currently, hasn't changed.

Or you could just not be changing. How do your clothes fit? Best advice? Forget the scales, forget BF% devices (none accurately predict, only way really is to use a body denisty technique which requires submersion in water etc, very messy). Just keep doing what you are and take a picture of yourself now. In one month's time take another pic. Compare.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on February 25, 2013
at 05:25 PM

I think OmNomBacon meant that strength gains are not directly proportional to muscle size. So you can get bigger without getting stronger (Very hard to do) or stronger without getting bigger.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on February 25, 2013
at 05:18 PM

"Muscle growth isn't directly proportional to muscle growth..." What?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on February 26, 2013
at 03:08 AM

again, Muscle Size not growth. Growth means more muscle which means stronger. Size (without growth) means more intramuscle fat and water

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on February 25, 2013
at 11:19 PM

Yeah sorry, that's what I meant. I meant to say that muscle growth isn't directly proportional to strength gains.

0
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 25, 2013
at 02:44 PM

You could try some body fat callipers and ask a friend to measure you. The accuracy gets less as you get lower in body fat, but from what your composition sounds like, callipers should be a fairly good indicator.

Calculator: http://www.linear-software.com/online.html

Here is some information regarding alcohol, fat loss and muscle: http://www.leangains.com/2010/07/truth-about-alcohol-fat-loss-and-muscle.html

The best advice I can give you is to be consistent if you want a good rate of body recomposition.

If your hormone ratios (i.e. insulin/glucagon) are at useful levels (as the standard < 200g of carbs a day generally produces), and your overall health and muscle mass (lean body weight) is being maintained or better increasing due to nutrition, exercise and recovery, and you have reduced your calories to be below your expenditure, then you will lose body fat.

The more consistent you are with all this the quicker you should see results. I think the general 'primal' lifestyle will get you there without having to get intense with all the hypothyroid worries. If you can show that you have been consistent for a good number of months and still no difference then perhaps it is worth looking at the finer details.

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