Reader email questions and concerns: diet and fat loss

Josh,

First off congrats on the new position, if I lived closer to Boston I’d be working with you.

On another note, I’m starting to get a little frustrated in seeing minimal results. I bought a scale that also measures body fat and hydration %’s and I’ve been watching the body fat reading intently. I have gone from hovering around 200lbs to 192-196 but the body fat has remained stagnant at around 21.x% (which is borderline high, I know).

I really have been trying to watch what I eat and alcohol intake, especially on weekends and I just thought the weight would come off a little quicker based on the workout program I was doing for about 4 weeks before I started using yours, which I like a lot better by the way. How much of a drastic change in diet is needed to shed this gut, or is it something I’m doing wrong at the gym?

Thanks!

You are echoing a lot of the same concerns as many other men. Due to
relativity and something called neuromuscular adaptation, the biggest
changes happen in the first 4-8 weeks when beginning a program. The point
is that the body is too good at adapting to the stresses we are placing on
it (training/reduced calories, etc). So, over time whatever we were doing
is no longer enough to keep the body changing, unfortunantly.

Body fat scale- Remember that this is a calculation and an estimate. Body
fat is best measured with calipers (pinch) and the only real way to get it
would require a pool for hydrostatic weighing. Body fat % is a great
health indicator however it is very difficult to measure, so don’t sweat
it too much. It is also a percentage so the numbers won’t change like
weight would and the lighter you get the less it changes!

Expectations- We are all different when it comes time for the body to
change. Some lose weight faster, some can’t put on weight, some always
seem to stay the same! We battle genetics. We have to keep in mind that
the body doesn’t like to lose weight. I always tell people that it is more
important to consistently lose weight than it is to lose large amounts of
weight quickly. Aim for .5-1lb a week, but get it done week after week.
You will be less likely to put the weight back on.

Drastic change in diet- Depends on your patience! Small changes add up.
Remember that 3,500 calories is 1 lb of fat. So displacing 500 calories
with either diet or exercise per day will produce losing 1lb a week. Diet
is the key though. Keep an eye on those weekends. If you really get
frustrated I recommend hiring me as your nutrition consultant and I’ll
take the worry and doubt out of dieting. As long as you feel like you’re
busting ass in the gym you are not doing anything wrong.

-Josh

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