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Please help my poor girlfriend.

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  • Please help my poor girlfriend.

    Ok, my poor girlfriend is at her wits end and understandably so. She has been fighting the last 10-15 pounds of body fat for 3 years now. She has literally tried everything. After reading the PB book we were very excited to get started because it seemed like the fix for her problem. Five, people I know started the diet in January. My girlfriend and I, my brother and his girlfriend and another friend. The diet has work unbelievably for everyone except my girlfriend. We have all lost a lot of fat but she still remains the exact same. She's pretty upset. Below is a description of her lifestyle written by her. If there is anything you can suggest to help, PLEASE do. Maybe she needs a supplement? I don't know. I promise she is not cheating.

    Bio: 24 year old female, 5'5", 134lbs, roughly 17-21% BF measured using bioelectrical conductance.
    Somatotype: mesomorph (large muscles, think soccer player / boxer / gymnast build) with excess fat concentrated around my lower abdomen/back and buttocks (typical female) - these are my problem areas that give me the most frustration.

    Diet: 90% primal since December. As a student I can't afford organic or grass fed meats but the diet as a whole is primal foods. Only 2 caveats: I use 2 tbsp of half&half in my coffee and protein shakes (sometimes coconut milk) and each Sunday (once a week) I treat my good efforts with frozen yogurt and surgary toppings after dinner. I eat 3-4x per day or only when I get hungry. Calories range 1200-1800 per day. Alcohol intake is limited to a glass of red wine occassionally. I have also tried intermitent fasting. Prior to PB I ate very clean, low carb and watched calorie intake.

    Exercise: currently I train 3 days per week in either Muay Thai, Boxing, MMA, or physical conditioning (think P90x on crack) for 1 hour at a time. I run, bike and swim (move slow) on other days as part of triathlon maintenance training. I take one day off. Previously I trained in triathlon 6 days per week. I did some heavy strength training during that time.

    Hormonal: Blood tests last year showed normal thyroid function, normal hormone profile except for an extremely low estrogen which has been corrected by oral contraceptives.


  • #2
    Sounds like she may already be at her optimal weight. Check out for information on that. Also, because she's so close to her goal weight already, she may not lose much at this point. The body's tendency is to hold on to fat, and if she's a mesomorph that's probably exacerbated due to body type. If she does lose any more, it'll probably be around a quarter-pound a week, tops.
    Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

    Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is:

    Ditch the scale!:

    My Success Story:


    • #3
      She sounds perfect to me!!! Why exactly does she feel she needs to lose more? Also how is she feeling eating primal?
      The more I see the less I know for sure.
      -John Lennon


      • #4
        I agree with Griff. sometimes we have a goal for what we want from our body that isn't in agreement with where our body wants to be. 17-21% body fat is pretty darned good for a healthy woman. When i was at my best weight, working out a lot and lots of muscle, I was 135 at 5'7"... I've never been below that as an adult.

        Just out of curiosity... what were the numbers for thyroid. Not saying this is an issue... but being told "normal" isn't always correct. I was told that for 5 years as my thyroid got worse and worse until it finally jumped out of the lab range... but it was never "normal" and it went up steadily... just a thought.
        sigpic "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


        • #5
          I wanna look like/be like that! Seriously, though, below about 17% bodyfat women stop menstruating. That's not a good thing.

          Some other random thoughts - how much fat is she eating? How did her body originally react to the birth control pills? Taking those sometimes makes it harder to loose weight for some women.


          • #6
            She does sound pretty good as-is! But, I totally understand the desire to get seriously lean.

            Some thoughts:

            *Cortisol. Is she under a lot of mental, emotional, and/or physical stress?

            *How "slow" is that "moving slowly"? Although it sounds like she's quite fit for triathlon competition, the effort involved in staying so may be causing her body to hang onto fat. Is down-shifting to lots of long walks/bike rides plus 1-2 sprint/interval sessions and 2 heavy lifting sessions per week an option? This may not be necessary, of course -- level of effort is relative and as I said, it sounds like she's pretty fit for this level of activity, so it may not be too much in her case.

            *BUT, it sounds like an awful lot to do on 1,200 - 1,800 calories! I'm smaller than she is (5'3" and 122 lbs) and maintain quite easily on 2,200 cals/day. Her body may be in "famine mode" and clinging to all it can. Again, a very personal thing but something to consider.

            *Is her fat intake sufficient for energy? Say, at least 50% of her daily intake, while still getting sufficient protein and carbs? Start with protein at .5-1g per lb of LBW and desired quantiy of carbs per Mark's carb curve, then fill in the rest of energy requirements with fat.

            Tough one...will keep thinking...
            Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm!

            Latest post: Stop Being Stupid


            • #7
              Sounds like a good body composition to me, too, but if she's really desperate to lose the weight, she might have to cut all dairy, ditch the weekly "rewards" and eat with less frequency, maybe 2 bigger meals. Is that worth it to her?
              You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


              • #8
                Can you have her post a typical day's worth of meals?

                And I agree with Barbey - I know when I'm training my hardest, my weight kind of spikes. PX90 on crack sounds a little ... not slow.


                • #9
                  I think her weight sounds fine, but if she feels she still has too much visceral fat, maybe something metabolic is at play. Here is a link to a list of thyroid tests she should have (and I bet they didn't give her!)

                  I'd bet that those "rewards" are more than her body can deal with and are affecting her insulin and hormones.

                  Also, adrenal cortisol testing is important (24-hour saliva test) because if she's making too much cortisol, that will = belly fat and sabotage her efforts. As far as the estrogen thing goes, the contraceptive will likely make her estrogen dominant over time, which can also = lbs (and cellulite and increased cancer risk!!)
                  She should find a Dr. who uses saliva hormone testing and natural hormones (but, honestly, low estrogen is almost always secondary to adrenal issues, as are many thyroid issues, interestingly enough).


                  • #10
                    Ahh, yes. I missed the frozen yogurt with sugary toppings. That could actually be quite a significant factor, especially if it's bumping her carbs up a lot. If she's trying to stay in ketosis, that's almost certainly moving her out. How much frozen yogurt, with what and how much topping? ANY is probably too much, especially on a frequent basis (more than once or twice a month) when trying to get super-lean.
                    Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm!

                    Latest post: Stop Being Stupid


                    • #11
                      Each person is different. Food allergies, leaky gut, stressed out adrenals, are all issues that normal MD's don't really test for and basically get missed! My leaky gut now affects EVERY aspect of why I wasn't losing weight. My colon, my lack of passed stools, the increase of bacteria in my blood, new food allergens due to the LGS stressed out my liver, my bile isn't flowing right, which affects my hormones, which, let's face it, affect metabolism and weight loss. She needs a full analysis. I had one done in a clinic with reflexology. It wasn't bupkis either, he nailed my health issues to a T and I am now healing my body (homeostasis), while losing weight.


                      • #12
                        i think she sounds at her goal weight and she should be happy to be there!!!!!! embrace it mentally and usually the last pounds will come off if they want to. i bet lots of people on this forum would die to look like your girlfriend
                        Get on my Level


                        • #13
                          What kind of protein shake is this, and is it on a daily basis? Some protein shakes are total crap with tons of sugar.


                          • #14
                            Hey thanks everybody for your responses. Her and I are going to read through this tonight. Let me address the yogurt question and one more important fact.

                            1. The weekly yogurt treat is more like a binge. It's frozen yogurt with brownies, oreo's, chocolate chips, chocolate syrup, cheesecake bits etc. Probably two cups total of the above. I thought that once a week wouldn't have that much of an effect? I may be very wrong.

                            2. Since starting the PB diet she hasn't had her period. It's going on 4 months now.

                            I'm going to look into the thyroid tests. Thank you!


                            • #15
                              Let me answer a few more of your questions.

                              She is in med school and understandably gets mentally stressed. Her AM cortisol has tested high in the past.

                              I would imagine her slow activities could be a little slower. But slow for her may be fast for most because she is very fit.

                              I don't know about the fat intake. I'll go over the carb curve and fat intake with her tonight.

                              Thanks again for your help. I answered the yogurt question in another response. I also thought it was necessary to mention that she has not gotten her period since starting the PB diet.