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  1. #1
    Registered User jrm72's Avatar
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    Unusually Slow Progress - why?!

    Hello everyone,

    Short version - I am about a month into trying to get into/back into shape, and progress is very very slow. I am eating clean, working out often, cardio and moving about, but either gaining or only losing a lb or so. Its very disheartening

    Longer Version with context - I'm 38, 5ft 9 and have spent the majority of my life heavy (I'd put myself now at about 25-30% body fat). About 12 years ago, I lost around 60lbs in ten months, kept it off for a while, went back up, back down, back up again. I haven't lifted properly in about 10 years since I stopped playing football (American for clarity though I hate to call it that). I've also had an underactive thyroid for about 8-10 years, which I am medicated for and stable, and have lost significant weight once before since the diagnosis

    About a month ago, I decided that this was my last shot to get into proper good shape, the sub 12% BF area. So I've been the most disciplined ever in getting into shape. And... have gotten nowhere. When I've lost weight before, its usually fallen off me 3-4lbs a week for at least the first 20lbs, with less effort than I'm putting in now. This time I lost the usual 8lbs of water weight in first week, then its slowly crept back up, plateaued, add a lb.

    Here are some stats:

    Diet - 1,600kcals per day, consisting of 180-200g Protein, 80-120g carbs, 30-45g fat. No junk, no processed, no alcohol - typical dinner 200g baked chicken breast, 100g cooked brown rice, 100g steamed broccoli, 15g crunchy peanut butter
    Training - 4 day lifting split with compound lifting, progressive overload, always last set to failure. I am getting stronger in the gym but failure is still at fairly low weight (say 135lbs Squat 4 sets of 5 for example). At my peak in 2013 I would be 5x5 240lbs.
    Cardio - 3 days a week jogging for 25mins. Building up to 3miles per jog before Christmas, then building to 6miles post christmas. Also do 10,000 steps most days
    Fitbit - says I average burning 3,000kcals a day
    Supplements - Creatine (loaded in week 2 now maintenance 5g per day), Whey Protein, Basic multivitamin with cod liver oil

    Weigh-in progression:
    17th Oct 226lbs
    24th Oct 218.9lbs
    31st Oct 220lbs
    7th Nov 221.7lbs
    15th Nov 220.1lbs

    I am lost - is it water weight from the creatine? Constipation from high protein? Too many calories? Too much protein? Metabolism shot at my age? Is it my vasectomy killing my testosterone? Anti-depressants causing weight to stick around. No idea!!

    Any advice much appreciated!

    James
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  2. #2
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call any progress after only one month of trying to get into shape "unusually slow".
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  3. #3
    Registered User jrm72's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    I wouldn't call any progress after only one month of trying to get into shape "unusually slow".
    Unusually slow based on the speed of fat loss, with less activity, than previously...
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jrm72 View Post
    Unusually slow based on the speed of fat loss, with less activity, than previously...
    My point was that if you've spent the majority of your life heavy, lost weight 12 years ago, gone up & down in weight & never kept it off, it's a result of expecting quick results & not sticking with things for the long run. The mental aspect, consistency & discipline will be just as important to reach your goals as whatever you're doing at any given point of time.

    You lost 6 lbs in one month. That's hardly "disheartening". It's moving towards your end result, regardless of how fast you've lost weight before. The goal shouldn't be to lose weight quickly, it should be to do it in a sustainable fashion so it stays off, while developing good nutrition/training habits that you stick with for the long run.

    Hope that gives you a different perspective on the same set of facts you list above. If your weight continues to stay the same, lower your calorie intake a bit, rinse & repeat.
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  5. #5
    Registered User jrm72's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    My point was that if you've spent the majority of your life heavy, lost weight 12 years ago, gone up & down in weight & never kept it off, it's a result of expecting quick results & not sticking with things for the long run. The mental aspect, consistency & discipline will be just as important to reach your goals as whatever you're doing at any given point of time.

    You lost 6 lbs in one month. That's hardly "disheartening". It's moving towards your end result, regardless of how fast you've lost weight before. The goal shouldn't be to lose weight quickly, it should be to do it in a sustainable fashion so it stays off, while developing good nutrition/training habits that you stick with for the long run.

    Hope that gives you a different perspective on the same set of facts you list above. If your weight continues to stay the same, lower your calorie intake a bit, rinse & repeat.
    Thanks, appreciate it. Just abit anxious about it and didn't want to be making a stupid mistake and it costing me time. Just wanted reassurance that there is nothing crazy jumping out there
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  6. #6
    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    Concur with above that 6 pounds in a month is a fair/sustainable rate of loss. That being said on that low of a calorie level given your activity I would think you would be losing weight a bit faster, but there's lots of other factors that come into play.

    Bottom line though, if you want to increase your rate of loss you need to lower your calories and/or increase your activity level, no way around that.

    That all being said, my gut tells me your calorie deficit is not as big as you think it is, coupled with your calorie expenditure being lower than you think it is. I suspect you're eating closer to 2000-2100 cals, and burning maybe 2700-2800 on average.
    Last edited by xsquid99; 11-16-2022 at 08:44 PM.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.

    Don't be upset with the results you didn't get from the work you did not do.
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  7. #7
    joe joewattie's Avatar
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    Your frustration is palpable. You also come across as far more knowledgeable than me so all I have to offer is a few random shots.

    38 y/o is NOT the last shot. (I started at 73 :-)

    Recheck with doctor (regarding thyroid, etc.)? Things change.

    You’re looking for gratification (and I don’t blame you). Use multiple metrics. Photographs, chest/waist/etc. measurements, resting heart rate, blood pressure, how much you lift, etc. What you weigh doesn’t always tell the whole story. You may find pleasure elsewhere until the weight starts dropping.

    (My beginning BMI rated me as “chubby”. Two years later I haven’t lost a pound but I look, feel and perform better.)

    Gratification will come, instant gratification is elusive.

    Don’t compare yourself to your ten year best. Stick with last month. A 135 lb. squat is not great and it does not compare to 225. So what? How does it compare to four weeks ago? That’s where you look for gratification.

    You will experience “beginner gains”. Enjoy them. And, because you lifted before, you will experience a 2nd set of beginner gains better known as “muscle memory”. Enjoy them.

    Now, are you enjoying your workouts? Sooner or later some elements of your workouts should be “fun” or you won’t continue.

    Read the “Fierce 5” sticky under “Workout Programs”. I’m not saying do it or follow it, just read it. I liked it for its conversation and thoughts on “progressive overload”. I’m not using it but I am stealing from it for one of my lifts (I call it the “Fierce 1” :-) and it’s working. If squats are important to you then try it for that?

    (Actually squats could be important. It’s the big muscles that burn calories, both working them and maintaining them. And it’s the bigger muscles that are more likely to kick off that endorphin rush, sometimes known as “runners high”, which can make workouts “almost” fun.)

    Check back in from time to time. We want to know how you’re doing!

    Edit: I forgot to mention I agree with the previous posts;
    1 - Too soon.
    2 - 6 lbs. in one month IS decent.
    Last edited by joewattie; 11-19-2022 at 01:34 PM.
    joe Henry
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  8. #8
    on probation weiss1967's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jrm72 View Post
    Hello everyone,

    Weigh-in progression:
    17th Oct 226lbs
    24th Oct 218.9lbs
    31st Oct 220lbs
    7th Nov 221.7lbs
    15th Nov 220.1lbs

    I am lost - is it water weight from the creatine? Constipation from high protein? Too many calories? Too much protein? Metabolism shot at my age? Is it my vasectomy killing my testosterone? Anti-depressants causing weight to stick around. No idea!!

    Any advice much appreciated!

    James
    "metabolism shot at my age" - first I want to clarify, there is a lot of misleading information out there. Metabolism is a function of your daily activity. You move more- your metabolic rate goes up to compensate. There is not and cannot be any kind of "metabolic" fixes, unless you talk to someone trying to sell you something.

    Going through your breakdown on diet makes no sense. No one can verify what is your actually intake. Diet design is only a ballpark, from which you continually adjust.

    Weight loss, just like a muscle gain, is the most honest act. If progress is slow, it means that your calorific intake has been compensated by all other daily activity. No matter what you say you do in a gym, it is only 4-5 hours per week, maybe a 1000 calories altogether. Consider everything else, how you feel the remaining 163 hours in a week. When I am cutting, I am looking for a certain level of continuous discomfort and extra mental effort.
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  9. #9
    Registered User KieranB1996's Avatar
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    I'm only starting out but my mate is in a similar spot to me, he lost lots at the beginning but after about 5 months he started to lose less and less, now he's losing motivation
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  10. #10
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    Wish you good luck with your progress
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