Need Help Losing Pounds and Leaning Out

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 23, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Stats: Female 33 yrs old 5'5" 141 lbs

Activities: CrossFit with a focus on Strength 3 days a week Details: Strength training 3 days a week with a WOD 2-3 times a week Days in the gym lately: 4-5

I need some advice.

This month, I hired a nutrition coach to help me with my goal, which is leaning out. (Our communication is via the internet/long distance.)

I enter all of my food into a weblog, so I have my breakdown and percentages for all of last week:

Protien: 29% Fat: 48% Carbs: 21% Alcohol: 2%

Meats: mostly chicken and eggs Veggies: I have upped the veggies Fruits: dried fruit Weaknesses/snacks: dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, and wine (wine/once a week)

I feel like I am eating too much protien...and since the coaching, I feel like I have actually gained weight...I have increased the protien and the veggies

Help! All ideas are welcome:D



on April 23, 2012
at 11:21 PM

I'm curious to see what kind of answers you get. I am very similar in size/lifestyle/eating habits.



on April 23, 2012
at 11:02 PM

Chicken makes me fat, as do nuts and wine. I never eat dried fruit. When I don't eat those, I just stay lean. 5'5" 116 lbs, active female.



on April 23, 2012
at 10:00 PM

I posted an answer below but I'd comment that I'd recommend eating more carbohydrate and less fat. For someone as active as you, especially with strength training in the mix, I'd say something like 50% of calories from clean carbs might make you feel and look better.

  • 973a2fb47a2f810645f52d8c47b9d840

    asked by

  • Views
  • Last Activity
    1425D AGO
Frontpage book

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

6 Answers


on April 23, 2012
at 10:45 PM

It's important to really know what your goals are here. If you're In the gym 5x a week and doing CrossFit metcons 3x a week (as a part of that), leaning out may be going against your current training. In order to perform optimally, you're going to need to carry around more body fat then you otherwise would if the aesthetic was your ONLY goal. You didn't mention in your post if you are trying to lean out by losing five pounds, or 20. What is your specific goal, and why is it your goal? Are you trying to maximize your performance, or are you trying to achieve a certain look? Both goals are valid, but they require different means to an end.

If it's just five pounds, then cut down on the metcons. Focus on strength and power. The metcons are going to demand that you eat a lot more carbohydrates (generally). How is your sleep? Recovery time? Is the rest of your life stressful in any way? All of these other factors need to be addressed as well. Tweaking minor dietary points will do nothing if there are other factors that are completely wacky.

Other than that, I agree with the other posts, cut out the dried fruit, that's not doing you any favors whatsoever. Nuts probably aren't, either.

But examine your goals here, and figure out exactly what you want and why you want it. Without that piece of the puzzle, the rest of us can only speculate.


on April 23, 2012
at 09:54 PM

You are 5'5 141 and you lift heavy... what do you want to weigh? Is it your weight on the scale you don't like? Or do you actually have visible fat to lose? Your stats sound good for a heavy lifter. Since you are asking for opinions, I would cut out the dried fruit completely and some of the nuts from your snacks and go for a fresh spinach salad with fresh berries in it or even an apple or a piece of real fruit.
Dried fruit packs the pounds on for me. It is just condensed carbs. Not a good option for cutting. Let me know what works. I know it is a constant learning process for me :)

Good Luck



on April 23, 2012
at 09:58 PM

You're only going to lose weight by expending more energy than you're taking in. You may not realize it when you do it but if you start to lose weight it is because you are expending more energy than you are taking in.

The easiest thing to do if you want to lose weight is to eat only food you prepare. Weigh and measure everything you eat and track your intake. Once you know how much energy you're taking in for a week, a month, etc then you can tinker around and try a week or two with a few hundred calories less and watch your body slowly shed some weight. Keep other variables constant so do the same workouts through this time.

Then it'll be really simple to just eat a little more if you wanna shed some pounds or, say, if you're going to start some mass gain plan or something you'll be readily able to start eating more in order to build more muscle, recover better, etc.

Course I'd recommend keeping all the food through all this clean and paleo but many do it with grains.


on January 24, 2013
at 05:28 PM

I am a nutrition/fitness consultant and I agree with a lot of what folks are saying. However, 5x a week for CF is too much to lean. Your body is probably stressed out and holding onto fat because you are exercising so much. What if you did 3x/week CF and 2-3 days gentle walking or yoga? That might calm down your CNS and allow your body to release stored fat.

Also, wine, dried fruit and chocolate could be irritating your gut. How do you feel after you eat it? Burpy? Rumbly? If your gut health is not optimal, you will not lean out either. Most fat loss begins in the gut. It might be a good idea to work with a nutritionist or naturopath to make sure your gut and hormones are all balanced.

Hope that helps!! Kim



on April 24, 2012
at 12:58 PM

Few counter-questions just for the sake of knowing and to help you a bit better...

What are your total calories?

(if you are under 1300, for your activity levels, I would be concerned you are under-eating. If you are over 1800, for your height and weight, I would be concerned you may be over eating.)

Would you consider eating more ruminant (beef/lamb) meat?

(Chicken is quite high in O6 PUFA, whereas beef/lamb that is grassfed is quite low in PUFA's across the board)

Finally, are you measuring your hips and waist to see if there is an improvement instead of relying on the scale?

(Folks who strength train tend to not lose pounds per se, but inches. Consider the size difference of 2 pounds of muscle (about the size of my fist) vs. a pound of fat (about the size of my head))

And personally, I think your macros are spot on. I have recently started timing my protein a little differently due to this study and that has helped me push through my last stall. For two days after my saturday training days (my longest training session) I bump my protein up about 10% compared to the rest of the week.



on April 24, 2012
at 12:36 PM

I'm not familiar with CrossFit, but it sounds like you are doing awful lot of intense exercise. Have you considered the possibility you are overtraining? More is not necessarily better. Overtraining can cause muscle loss and fat gain.

Also, you could experiment with Intermittent Fasting (IF). Mark Sisson had a good series on IF recently on his blog.

Chicken is high in omega 6 PUFAs, and so are nuts. It sounds like omega 6 PUFAs could be making up a large proportion of your fat intake, which is definitely not a good thing. You can estimate your omega 3 / 6 intake in cronometer.com.

Everyone is different, but personally I would up the fats, especially since you feel you are eating too much protein. But make sure they are good fats. (Common paleo wisdom is that saturated is best, followed by monounsaturated. Polyunsaturated is bad.)

Answer Question

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