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Old 04-03-2011, 05:10 PM   #1
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Default trying to burn fat not gain muscle

For some reason, I haven't been able to figure out how to burn more fat and gain less muscle.

I have been eating 1400-1600 calories a day and exercising 5 days a week (1 hour cardio usually jogging and stair climbing and 45 minutes heavy lifting, /squats/planks/lunges/lifts/crunches). I regularly do interval training as I was told it improves cardiovascular functioning and burns fat.

I got to 204 in December/January, but in mid January I shot up to 212 again and my weight wasn't moving.I was getting hungrier and hungrier. Needless to say there were days that month where I binged like crazy, however, curiously I didn't gain. I stayed at 212/209.

A friend told me to take a week off from exercise and just maintain calories, which I did. I finally dropped to 197. I managed to stay between 199 and 197 through February and March however, this month (April) I crept back up to 204. People say I look thinner and I notice that my clothing feels more loose, in certain areas, but it appears that my calves, my butt and shoulders have gotten bulky and I am still bulky looking. I want to be THIN not muscular.

Anyone have any suggestions on what to do to become svelte and lose weight, but not bulk up and gain muscle? My weight loss is slow and it appears that I have an easier time doing lifting and building muscle than becoming svelte.

Thanks in advance
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:22 PM   #2
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don't worry once you get rid of a certain amount of fat your body won't want to gain muscle on reduced calories. if you really don't wanna to gain muscle even though it makes you look thinner and keeps your metabolism up then maybe you could cut on the heavy lifting and just do more reps at lower weights once or twice a week to maintain what you have.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:28 PM   #3
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I'm wondering how accurate your intake is? Do you measure or weigh your food? Maybe you can post a couple days of your food log so we can take a look and possibly trouble shoot?

If you've been lifting heavy since you were 300lbs and you're genetically inclinded it could be that you're quite muscular at this point - how much can you lift? Can you deadlift 300lbs or what do you mean by heavy?

All those weight flucuations you're talking about are surely water balance - not fat or muscle. There is no way you could have those big flucuations with anything but water.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:13 AM   #4
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I'm wondering how accurate your intake is? Do you measure or weigh your food? Maybe you can post a couple days of your food log so we can take a look and possibly trouble shoot?

If you've been lifting heavy since you were 300lbs and you're genetically inclinded it could be that you're quite muscular at this point - how much can you lift? Can you deadlift 300lbs or what do you mean by heavy?

All those weight flucuations you're talking about are surely water balance - not fat or muscle. There is no way you could have those big flucuations with anything but water.
Im pretty anal about calorie counting. I don't eat out and I actually tally splenda, which is included on their website as being ~3 calories per packet. I weigh and measure everything, and have two sets of measuring spoons, one for work so I can measure the milk that goes in my coffee at work.

For breakfast I usually have two slices of whole wheat toast from Trader Joes
with their blue berry fruit spread(30 cals a table spoon, I use one for each slice). I eat two eggs with that and 2 ounces of turkey slices from trader joes which is 50 calories.

For lunch I have 3-4 ounces of some type of protein, either fish or chicken If its Salmon I do 3 ounces, if its Tilapia I do 4 ounces, since I know certain species of fish are more calorie dense than others. I eat two cups of "my vegetable of the day" which can be anything from zucchini to broccoli. I avoid corn, peas, beets and carrots since they seem to raise my GI like crazy. I drink a ton of coffee and I count those too, including the quarter cup or two table spoons of skim milk I put in each cup. I am approximately 3-4 cups.
I eat a snack which is usually Fage yogurt with a fruit, usually a pear or an apple or an orange.Never a banana or Mango or Papaya since they are also high GI for me.

For dinner its 2 ounces of protien a half cup of beans and a cup of vegetables of some sort. For dinner I actually add a teaspoon of olive oil 60 cals to get in some oils. I also do CLA and an Omega three. The CLA label says 30 cals and the Omega says 5 per tablet.

Heavy lifting for me right now is 30 pounds chest presses, 80 pound squat lifts, 125 pound leg presses, 20 pound arm raises, lunges holding 20 pounds, and all my abs are done using body weight.

I can agree that there may be water weight issues as I have fibroid issues and TERRIBLE periods, with bloating nausea and headaches.

what is bothering me is that I noticed that my calves have basically become hard rather than thin and long. My butt rather than becoming smaller and flatter looks more ball like and extended. my shoulders look wider and I am noticing a thickening of my neck.

I want that ballerina shape, not the square that I am beginning to resemble.
Im trying to figure out how to work out in a way to be more long and lithe rather than squat and rangy
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:20 AM   #5
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don't worry once you get rid of a certain amount of fat your body won't want to gain muscle on reduced calories. if you really don't wanna to gain muscle even though it makes you look thinner and keeps your metabolism up then maybe you could cut on the heavy lifting and just do more reps at lower weights once or twice a week to maintain what you have.
reducing calories has a way of making me feel faint and super tired. I am thinking, since I can't afford a nutritionist and my insurance won't pay for one that I am going to tweak my diet on my own until I can hit upon something. Right now I am considering eating the same amount of calories but just much lower carbs and more atkins like. I tend to feel better on protein and I notice the carbs especially the toast was beginning o affect me in a way where I would feel a spike then a plummet in energy. I am wondering if I have some PCOS metabolic thing going. I notice that since I have hit 200 my weight loss is EXTREMELY SLOW and I am tired all the time. I know diabetes runs in my family.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:28 AM   #6
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It may not be what you want to hear, but not every body can get to that "ballerina" look. I have a body that absolutely could not be that without resorting to unhealthy behaviors. I am just too muscular and athletic to get the long and lean look. So while you can definitely lose weight, you may have to reset your expectations a bit on what you'll look like at goal. I know it can be hard if you have a certain aesthetic in mind, but you will look beautiful at whatever shape is healthy for YOUR body, even if it's not exactly a "ballerina" shape.

That said, have you tried exercises like pilates or yoga? Both purport to help the muscles look "long and lean" by stretching them while strengthening. It can't hurt, right?
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:45 AM   #7
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I've been at my goal weight for 22 months and my calves are just starting to look normal. They were the last to go in the slimming process, and still not "slim", but better. I think the fact that I heavy lifted 333 pounds for years really piled on the muscle. They HAD to be strong to support my weight. Every time I stood up it was like doing 300 pound leg presses.

IMO the only thing that will help is time at a normal weight. Congrats on your loss.

Last edited by Lori Bell : 04-04-2011 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:53 AM   #8
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I've been at my goal weight for 22 months and my calves are just starting to look normal. They where the last to go in the slimming process, and still not "slim", but better. I think the fact that I heavy lifted 333 pounds for years really piled on the muscle. They HAD to be strong to support my weight. Every time I stood up it was like doing 300 pound leg presses.

IMO the only thing that will help is time at a normal weight. Congrats on your loss.
I currently look like a fridge. I also lift and am someone who tends to put on muscle fairly easily (college athlete, have lots of athletes on one side of the family, even one who qualified for the Olympics). However, I was at a healthy BMI for years and looked great then. Yeah, I definitely had the athlete build but looking back at pictures I also looked thin and was always complimented on my appearance.

Our BMI's aren't that far off and I can tell you it's really the fat that makes you look more squarish than lean. Once you get down to your goal even if you have a more athletic build you'll still look great.

As for why you're not dropping... I really can't say. I get that you can't afford a nutritionist but have you gone to your doctor to get a checkup. Can you get your thyroid checked or anything else? If you're really eating that few calories and exercising that much and the weight's not coming off it seems strange.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:31 AM   #9
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It's genetics and your height. At 5'4", your muscles will be bigger than mine at 5'almost 10". Possibly, as was already said, you need to adjust your goal. You can't be a ballerina size any more than I can be 5'4".

There's more to body fat than what is under the skin. Obese people have gained fat inside, too. Inside their body cavity, inside their organs! I saw proof of this at a museum display of real cadaver slices.

I know that 1600 calories is a tiny amount, however, what you listed is almost twice the amount of food I normally eat. I'm weird, tho. I eat like a bird. I concentrate on mostly protein as I lift weights and limit my carbs. I'm wondering then, is the amount of food you eat really only 1600 calories? Double check.

You seem to have a terrific amount of knowledge - way more than me - and I can understand your frustration.

Focus on the positive and keep on keeping on. You're doing great! I liked the comment about maintaining muscle 1-2 x a week weight training will do that. Muscle burns more than fat (higher metabolism) so please don't stop lifting.

Again, what you've listed, I think you're amazing.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:46 AM   #10
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Plans like 'Paleo' and 'Primal Blueprint' recommend cutting out grains and carbs and eating high portions of protein. People on this plan eat a high percentage of fat, the protein and a very low percentage of carbs, always under 200 g usually much less. The idea is that the body will burn fat for fuel instead of carbs and sugars. Exercising at low-moderate intensity frequently is recommended, and the very occasional solid sprint at max ability. (From primal Blueprint Fitness.)

I'm giving it a try for a month. I was curious because I always noticed that I lost weight best without carbs, but I stalled when I was very active. I'm at the two week mark - I've eaten fattier foods, eaten around 1800 - 2000 calories daily. It's scary territory. I've also lost a 4 pounds while being hardly active - a lot of walking and a few pushups and planks. It's an interesting experiment - I'm waiting for some kind of fallout...

I'd like to add that I never feel faint that reducing my carbohydrate intake has changed my appetite, changed the frequency with which i need to eat...
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:44 AM   #11
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what others have said is truez you may never get that ballerina lookz you are talking about girls that typically started classes including muscle stretching exercises at very young ages while their bodies were still pliable.

Your best chance is to focus your energies on things like pilates and yoga, start stretching every day. You can google dancer stretches or gymnastic stretchs to find ones that will lengthen your muscles.

I wasnt a dancer, but i was a gymnast for years as a child and early teen so took my fair share of dance classes, those girls all have a ton of muscle, they are like rocks, its not that you dont want to build muscle you just need to do the work to strecth the muscle so it has the long lean look
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:14 PM   #12
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The good news is that I can safely say you're not bulking up your muscles. The weights you are calling heavy are not even remotely heavy.

The bad news is that as people have mentioned you really can't do much about the general shape you have. Losing weight is going to make you a smaller version of what you see now.

My guess is that you're water is jumping all over the place due to water flucuations. As to why you're not losing on your current calories I really don't know. My suggestion would be to try going low carb for a while and see if that improves the situation.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:48 PM   #13
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Have you been measuring yourself? We have fat that is in our muscles and while you have excess fat, you may see bulk when really it is fat. Another option is that while parts of you are slimming down, the parts that are working on slimming down may appear to be bigger. It is an illusion though. Taking measurements can help you determine what is going on.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:40 PM   #14
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what others have said is truez you may never get that ballerina lookz you are talking about girls that typically started classes including muscle stretching exercises at very young ages while their bodies were still pliable.

Your best chance is to focus your energies on things like pilates and yoga, start stretching every day. You can google dancer stretches or gymnastic stretchs to find ones that will lengthen your muscles.

I wasnt a dancer, but i was a gymnast for years as a child and early teen so took my fair share of dance classes, those girls all have a ton of muscle, they are like rocks, its not that you dont want to build muscle you just need to do the work to strecth the muscle so it has the long lean look
It is a myth that you can lengthen your muscles. I know that yoga and pilates say their poses "lengthen" but that is just another word for "stretch". When you stretch a muscle, it goes back to it's original shape. FYI
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:56 PM   #15
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Have you been measuring yourself? We have fat that is in our muscles and while you have excess fat, you may see bulk when really it is fat. Another option is that while parts of you are slimming down, the parts that are working on slimming down may appear to be bigger. It is an illusion though. Taking measurements can help you determine what is going on.
Most excellent point!
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