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Thread: How do you know when to stop losing? page

  1. #1
    trekfan's Avatar
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    How do you know when to stop losing?

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    That's the question that's been on my mind the last few weeks. My goal for the last three months or so has been to get down to 14% Body Fat, improve my strength through training, and continue to lose weight. Ive done that with some consistency and now I'm sitting at 138, 15% body fat (thereabouts) and my strength has improved a bit (can now do half a pullup as opposed to none when I began).

    The original reason for the goal of 14% body fat was to get rid of the last remaining of the gut... which is still hanging around. It's (in my opinion and the opinion of others) likely loose skin from my dramatic weight loss over the last 11 months (down 128 pounds). It bugs me visually but three months ago it was worse... it's not much better since then but it's better.

    At any rate, it's now getting to the point where I'm wondering if losing more weight is really needed right now. I stand at about 5 feet, 7 and half inches (5'8 rounded) and sitting at 138 I feel is just a bit too low for me. Dropping down to 15% body fat initially thrilled me but I've been reconsidering whether it's really right for me.

    Getting down to that 15% body fat didn't take a lot of work. I ate my one big meal of the day and I did some moderate exercise, nothing hardcore, and I got there. It's not so much the work that bugs me as the need for it now that I know that 14% isn't going to get rid of the gut-it'll still have that saggy, loose skin hanging there for the world to see and it'll be like that for the immediate future.

    Today was especially eye opening as I'm at the beach for the week and I threw on my swimsuit and was shocked to see myself in the mirror. I took some pics as reference (despite the fact I feel it's a total douche move on my part to take pictures of myself in the mirror in my swimsuit, a visual reference is necessary for this question IMO).





    I don't think I look that bad off... I think more work needs to be done as far as strength building goes (which I plan on doing) but what concerns me is how my bones show-my ribs, my collar bone particularly-and how it just looks...off. Not "oh my god he needs medical treatment" off but "hmm... that might concern me" off.

    I'm pleased to be this thin, don't get me wrong. It's great wearing small/medium shirts and size 30 (need some smaller ones but they'll do) pants/jeans. I mean, the swimsuit I'm in I had to buy in the teenage boys section...

    That's also part of my concern though. I'm 23 and I get mistake for 16 at most. I have a 15 year old brother whom I get mistaken for despite me being nearly 9 years his senior.

    Long story short, am I at the point where I should just stop losing weight? I feel I'm close to that point but 14% body fat was my goal and I hate to leave that goal just hanging out there, unachieved.

    Follow up question; if I am at the point where I should stop, how do I achieve maintenance? I've been eating to lose weight for so long now I don't know what type of adjustments I should aim for to maintain what I've done.

    As always, any and all comments are welcome. Thanks in advance.
    Went Primal July 25th, 2011.

    Current Age: 25

    Total Loss: 126 lbs

    Starting Stats: Weighed 266 lbs, Body Fat 37.6% (100 lbs), BMI 40.9

    Current Stats: Weight 140 lbs, Body Fat 15.2% (21.1 lbs), BMI 21.2

    Current Goals: Get a stronger core through Pilates and continue being as Primal as I can be.

    My Weight Loss Notes Now on a blog page. It starts with "My Weight Loss: Introduction." Available to the public, share with friends if you'd like!

  2. #2
    namelesswonder's Avatar
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    I don't think you need to lose any more fat, definitely time to start strength training! You may find that the loose skin becomes less noticeable and tightens up as you add on some muscle, as well as just giving it more time. I don't think it would be unhealthy for you to get to a lower body fat %, but if you think of the type of folks that usuall strive for that percentage, they are generally doing strength-training so there's plenty of muscle to show off. I also don't think, at your height, that it would be at all bad if you put on some more body fat along with the muscle. Focus on how you feel, from here, and ditch the scale for a while. You've got at least 30 lbs of fat to add back on before you would really need to worry about being too fat. Add back in a meal everyday, or eat 3 if you are hungry/able and start adding in some carbs with your exercise.

    Congratulations on your progress so far, 128 lbs is no small feat!
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  3. #3
    Paleobird's Avatar
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    "Current Goals: Focusing on Strength Training, want to cut my Body Fat down to 14%, and continue to lose weight."

    First of all, congrats on an amazing transformation. 128 lbs lost. That's like a whole second person you were carrying around. Well done.

    Yes, I think your focus should shift at this point from losing weight to strength training. You might even add some pounds on the scale as you add some muscle to your frame. Don't freak out about that. Your body is going to need some time to adjust to your new weight and "settle in" here. It was my experience after losing 65 lbs that once I settled in, maintaining the new setpoint becomes pretty easy. You are also young enough that your skin will catch up with the rest of you and shrink to fit. Just give it time. You have a little loose skin around the waistline but that is =/=being overweight.

    Grok on!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekfan View Post
    That's the question that's been on my mind the last few weeks. My goal for the last three months or so has been to get down to 14% Body Fat, improve my strength through training, and continue to lose weight. Ive done that with some consistency and now I'm sitting at 138, 15% body fat (thereabouts) and my strength has improved a bit (can now do half a pullup as opposed to none when I began).

    The original reason for the goal of 14% body fat was to get rid of the last remaining of the gut... which is still hanging around. It's (in my opinion and the opinion of others) likely loose skin from my dramatic weight loss over the last 11 months (down 128 pounds). It bugs me visually but three months ago it was worse... it's not much better since then but it's better.

    At any rate, it's now getting to the point where I'm wondering if losing more weight is really needed right now. I stand at about 5 feet, 7 and half inches (5'8 rounded) and sitting at 138 I feel is just a bit too low for me. Dropping down to 15% body fat initially thrilled me but I've been reconsidering whether it's really right for me.

    Getting down to that 15% body fat didn't take a lot of work. I ate my one big meal of the day and I did some moderate exercise, nothing hardcore, and I got there. It's not so much the work that bugs me as the need for it now that I know that 14% isn't going to get rid of the gut-it'll still have that saggy, loose skin hanging there for the world to see and it'll be like that for the immediate future.

    Today was especially eye opening as I'm at the beach for the week and I threw on my swimsuit and was shocked to see myself in the mirror. I took some pics as reference (despite the fact I feel it's a total douche move on my part to take pictures of myself in the mirror in my swimsuit, a visual reference is necessary for this question IMO).





    I don't think I look that bad off... I think more work needs to be done as far as strength building goes (which I plan on doing) but what concerns me is how my bones show-my ribs, my collar bone particularly-and how it just looks...off. Not "oh my god he needs medical treatment" off but "hmm... that might concern me" off.

    I'm pleased to be this thin, don't get me wrong. It's great wearing small/medium shirts and size 30 (need some smaller ones but they'll do) pants/jeans. I mean, the swimsuit I'm in I had to buy in the teenage boys section...

    That's also part of my concern though. I'm 23 and I get mistake for 16 at most. I have a 15 year old brother whom I get mistaken for despite me being nearly 9 years his senior.

    Long story short, am I at the point where I should just stop losing weight? I feel I'm close to that point but 14% body fat was my goal and I hate to leave that goal just hanging out there, unachieved.

    Follow up question; if I am at the point where I should stop, how do I achieve maintenance? I've been eating to lose weight for so long now I don't know what type of adjustments I should aim for to maintain what I've done.

    As always, any and all comments are welcome. Thanks in advance.
    Man I don't want to sound rude or anything, I really want to help you.
    But I think you should really consider doing some hormonal analysis. You look much too young for your age, you seem to have no masculine pilosity whatsoever, and your lack of muscle mass could be another important sign of this. I know we're not all equally gifted in terms of body composition without supra normal muscle building, but... You deserve more than this naturally, and you shouldn't be like that.

    You really look like you never had a real puberty and a full growth.
    I'm 5 years younger than you and I look much older despite the fact I'm healing from a very recent hypogonadism...
    Young self-caring Paleo-eater from France.
    (So please forgive the strange way I tend to express myself in your beautiful language )

  5. #5
    paleo-bunny's Avatar
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    I vote for focusing on building up your abdominal muscles to take up some of the slack with the loose skin in that area - which isn't very noticeable because your skin is shrinking to fit as paleobird says. I don't spot any loose skin anywhere else.

    Anyway, congratulations.
    F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

  6. #6
    Figlio di Moros's Avatar
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    You said you had 100 lbs of fat at 266, and no 20 lbs. at 138? If that's the case, you've already atrophied your muscles somewhat- I'd focus on rebuilding those. Yeah, you definately don't need to cut more weight, and building muscle would both help burn some remaining fat, as well as decrease fat proportions in relation to overall bodysize.

    Up the protein intake, and focus more on weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, and plyometrics.

  7. #7
    trekfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by namelesswonder View Post
    I don't think you need to lose any more fat, definitely time to start strength training! You may find that the loose skin becomes less noticeable and tightens up as you add on some muscle, as well as just giving it more time. I don't think it would be unhealthy for you to get to a lower body fat %, but if you think of the type of folks that usuall strive for that percentage, they are generally doing strength-training so there's plenty of muscle to show off. I also don't think, at your height, that it would be at all bad if you put on some more body fat along with the muscle. Focus on how you feel, from here, and ditch the scale for a while. You've got at least 30 lbs of fat to add back on before you would really need to worry about being too fat. Add back in a meal everyday, or eat 3 if you are hungry/able and start adding in some carbs with your exercise.

    Congratulations on your progress so far, 128 lbs is no small feat!
    Thanks! Yes, I actually ate two meals today (an early breakfast at 7AM and a 12:45PM lunch) and I feel quite good... despite initially thinking breakfast was going to be the meal of the day, I altered the plan at lunch to see what effects it might have on me. I'll try to ditch the scale but it's been my constant companion (for better or worse) for the last 11 months. Even here, on vacation at the beach, I have it with me-it helps keep me accountable but the numbers do scare me sometimes, I'll admit it. I'm continuing to work on my strength training, mostly bodyweight stuff, so we'll see if I can improve-at least from a visual standpoint-in the coming months.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    "Current Goals: Focusing on Strength Training, want to cut my Body Fat down to 14%, and continue to lose weight."

    First of all, congrats on an amazing transformation. 128 lbs lost. That's like a whole second person you were carrying around. Well done.

    Yes, I think your focus should shift at this point from losing weight to strength training. You might even add some pounds on the scale as you add some muscle to your frame. Don't freak out about that. Your body is going to need some time to adjust to your new weight and "settle in" here. It was my experience after losing 65 lbs that once I settled in, maintaining the new setpoint becomes pretty easy. You are also young enough that your skin will catch up with the rest of you and shrink to fit. Just give it time. You have a little loose skin around the waistline but that is =/=being overweight.

    Grok on!
    Thanks paleoobird! Yes, losing 128 pounds was basically another person. My 15 year old brother weighs 120, I have a few friends who are in the 105-113 range, so they've made that comparison before many a time, lol. The skin shrinking thing I know will take time, though I'd wish it'd hurry up already... it is the last remaining part of my former obese self so I'd like to see it gone sooner rather than later. I know that it doesn't equate to being unhealthy but it sure isn't appealing; then again, the giant gut that was there before most def was not appealing anyway. I'm glad to see that my weight will settle in at some point and stabilize... maintenance seems harder than losing from where I'm sitting at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daydreamer View Post
    Man I don't want to sound rude or anything, I really want to help you.
    But I think you should really consider doing some hormonal analysis. You look much too young for your age, you seem to have no masculine pilosity whatsoever, and your lack of muscle mass could be another important sign of this. I know we're not all equally gifted in terms of body composition without supra normal muscle building, but... You deserve more than this naturally, and you shouldn't be like that.

    You really look like you never had a real puberty and a full growth.
    I'm 5 years younger than you and I look much older despite the fact I'm healing from a very recent hypogonadism...
    Dude, no offense taken. I have had such thoughts and discussions with some close friends about why I look so damned young. I'm a quarter Japanese, and am the most Japanese out of all my siblings (three of them). My friends claim that the Asian in me is pretty concentrated despite me being only a quarter Japanese.

    I have wondered whether all that fat I was carrying around (from the third grade on) hampered my development and left me stunted in some way-it's absolutely infuriating to be mistaken for 16 when you're 23. My friends are all like "oh, you'll appreciate this later in life" but I'm not sure if I honestly will. It just annoys me.

    At any rate, I agree that I look way too young for my age. My 15 year old brother looks older than me... so does my 21 year old brother... my 12 year old sister, thankfully, does not (at least not yet)... So it's an issue. Whether it has to do with hormones or genetics or just years of being obese I'm not sure which.

    As a reference point though, I was very much this way as a child-first and second grade I was pretty thin looking. It might just be my natural state but it was so long ago (and as a kid) I'm not sure whether to really accept it or not.
    Went Primal July 25th, 2011.

    Current Age: 25

    Total Loss: 126 lbs

    Starting Stats: Weighed 266 lbs, Body Fat 37.6% (100 lbs), BMI 40.9

    Current Stats: Weight 140 lbs, Body Fat 15.2% (21.1 lbs), BMI 21.2

    Current Goals: Get a stronger core through Pilates and continue being as Primal as I can be.

    My Weight Loss Notes Now on a blog page. It starts with "My Weight Loss: Introduction." Available to the public, share with friends if you'd like!

  8. #8
    trekfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paleo-bunny View Post
    I vote for focusing on building up your abdominal muscles to take up some of the slack with the loose skin in that area - which isn't very noticeable because your skin is shrinking to fit as paleobird says. I don't spot any loose skin anywhere else.

    Anyway, congratulations.
    Most of the loose skin is concentrated in my stomach area and my ass. Luckily, I don't go waltzing around in a speedo so my ass stays pretty out of sight. The stomach area is the big offender. I plan to continue my strength training and hopefully tighten things up. Thanks for the congrats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Figlio di Moros View Post
    You said you had 100 lbs of fat at 266, and no 20 lbs. at 138? If that's the case, you've already atrophied your muscles somewhat- I'd focus on rebuilding those. Yeah, you definately don't need to cut more weight, and building muscle would both help burn some remaining fat, as well as decrease fat proportions in relation to overall bodysize.

    Up the protein intake, and focus more on weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, and plyometrics.
    I have no doubt that I've lost some lean muscle mass in the transition from obese to... whatever I am now (lean? average? Not obese?). I feel like I was stronger in some areas at 266-like lifting stuff-than I am now at 138. However, in other areas-like pullups and chin ups-I can now actually do half a pullup (as opposed to none in my life before, especially during the three years of voluntarily gym class in high school) and some chin ups fairly easily. So, there's a definite trade off but overall I agree, more muscle mass is needed.
    Went Primal July 25th, 2011.

    Current Age: 25

    Total Loss: 126 lbs

    Starting Stats: Weighed 266 lbs, Body Fat 37.6% (100 lbs), BMI 40.9

    Current Stats: Weight 140 lbs, Body Fat 15.2% (21.1 lbs), BMI 21.2

    Current Goals: Get a stronger core through Pilates and continue being as Primal as I can be.

    My Weight Loss Notes Now on a blog page. It starts with "My Weight Loss: Introduction." Available to the public, share with friends if you'd like!

  9. #9
    KerryK's Avatar
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    What you've done is incredible and amazing! Congratulations. The recommendations for you to sensibly increase your nutrition by slowly increasing some good food and focusing on strength training also sounds spot on. But give it a while before you start analyzing your blood work, hormone levels, etc. Like Mark alluded to in today's blog post, we should all wait for our body to adjust to the new set point before we can get accurate results from our tests and I do feel it's our hormones and other levels besides cholesterol that need to settle down before we analyze them. Wow, I am so impressed with you. Luckily your skin will definitely tighten over time. If you can maintain and add some muscle, once you've settled into your new body and built some strength then plan on getting some comprehensive blood work done in 6-9 months and then figure out your next step. Some people still are growing at 23 so you might be surprised at further changes. My nieces are 1/2 Japanese so I hear you when you think that part of your genetic make up might affect your youthful appearance, but it does make one wonder if more is at play here. Perhaps your previous diet was filled with soy and other estrogen sources? Now that you've come so far and eat so cleanly, hopefully your body will keep mending itself.

    Again, what fabulous progress. I sure hope you keep posting your progress 'cause it's pretty inspiring (and I'm not even a young man HA!)

  10. #10
    Fernaldo's Avatar
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    Congrats on the weight loss dude. I would say switch over to strength training and start busting some ass. A constant calorie deficit gets old and is stressful on the body. The thing that keeps ringing in my head is the fact that you were 266. That being said, it might be easy to pack on some weight (muscle) as long as you don't go crazy. Maybe take up barbell training (if you haven't already).

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