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The Dreaded Stall - please help!

So I am in my sixth week of SCD and have hit a wall.

Although I have gotten good results so far (started at 227lbs on 2/13, weighed in at 208 on 3/17), I gained a pound last week, and have not lost anything since (209 since 3/17). It is just frustrating as I am working really hard at this and want so badly to see consistent results. I was hoping to get down to 200 by my birthday this Friday, which looked realistic when I weighed in on the 17th, but now it seems that ship has sailed. I do measure inches (am down since I started) and bf% with calipers (also down from 25% to about 19%).

Here is my diet/workout regimen -- please give me any advice tips that you think might help jumpstart fat loss:

Breakfast (w/in 30 mins of waking):

2 eggs scrambled

1/4 cup refried beans (with cayenne pepper)

Lots of spinach (at least 3/4 of a dinner plate, piled 1.5 inches high, with cayenne pepper)

2 slices organic turkey bacon

1 liter of water

Lunch

Mixed salad with spinach, two hard boiled eggs, diced chicked breast, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, jalapenos, 1/4 cup black beans, dash of balsamic vinegar and sometimes 1/4 of avocado

Dinner

Either 4-8oz. chicken breast (with cajun seasoning) or same size steak, with steamed broccoli/cauliflower (usually half a plate or so, with sriracha sauce)

Water consumption: at least 4X32 oz. bottles per day

I have stuck to this diet pretty much religiously, though admittedly have a tougher time on Saturdays & Sundays (i.e. don't drink as much water when I am not at work, sometimes wake up later etc.)

Saturday Free Feed days: I have been eating without thinking about it. I start the day off with a cup of coffee (none during the rest of the week) and the first few weeks did damage control, but have slacked on that the past few cheat days...

Workouts:

M, W, and F/S - 75 kettlebell swings with 25 pound weight, 10 myotatic crunches, 10 cat vomits, 10 glute raises. I have not incorporated any cardio yet a) because I hate cardio, b) because I have seen a bunch of places on this site where it says it can slow weight loss, and c) because I hate cardio.

So that is where I am at. What do you think? Apologies for the long post, and thanks in advance for any help/guidance/advice you may be able to give.

UPDATE:

Upped the protein to 40g in the am, and 30+ at other meals, plus another 1/4 cup of beans and dropped 3 pounds in the past two days. I still can't believe that eating MORE works, but I guess it does for me. This whole macronutrients thing is real. Thanks to all for your advice and support!

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The Best Answer

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Darling, take a deep breath.

It's frustrating when you can't meet your short-term goals =\

However, take a step back and recognize how awesome you've done. ;)

How are your tape and caliper measurements since the 17th? Those are what give your weight data context. Likely you're still losing fat while gaining muscle and that's not being represented when you step on the scale.

You've done splendid with the basic SCD, now it's time to kick it up a notch! D:

Here are my 2 cents:

- Sometimes all your body needs for a jumpstart is a change. Add 1/2 cup of beans a day and see what happens.

-add more protein to your breakfast. The 30 gram is a minimum. When I stalled, I bumped up my breakfast to 40-45 grams. Add another egg or more meat.

-While you're at it, add more protein to the other meals. I aim for 30 grams for all my other meals.

-Drink more water and green tea.

-Eat fats first. It blunts the insulin response. I eat my avocado, drink my Fat Coffee etc at the beginning of my meal.

-After your birthday (Which I assume is going to be a Cheat Day) consider going on a 10 day SCD/Cheat Day cycle. And/or do a Cheat meal or Cheat window of a limited time. I try to limit my cheat period to 4 hours.

-Do at least some of the Damage Control. I do the grapefruit juice/coffee combo, GLUT-4 exercises, 1 litre of Yerba Mate and lots of water. I also consume 4-5 tbsp of milled flax seed in pancakes, in yogurt and in my food. I find it helps move the food through my system. At the very least, up your water intake.

-What are your macronutrients looking like?

Are you geting 1-1.5 grams of protein for each lb of lean muscle mass.

According to Mark Sisson's Carb Curve, 50-100 grams of carbs is a good range for steady fat loss.

-Stress and sleep: Lack of sleep and excess cortisol from stress will impeded your progress.

Stay focused and keep in mind that this stall is part of the process. You'll get passed this plateau!

BTW, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! :) :) :)

  • Member commented Mar 29th 2012:

    As always, Arctic, you are the best coach a guy could want. I appreciate the encouragement - very proud of what I have been able to accomplish thus far, just not fun to get all hope-filled and then see a gain. So as much as it seems crazy to me to eat MORE to lose more I will give it a shot (this am extra egg and more beans, ended up eating a bit over 40g) I will up the water intake on cheat day/weekends too. I need to do some more research on the whole macronutrients thing, but when I went to an online calculator, it seemed I am eating way under for carbs and fats. I sleep well but alas, with a baby on the way and everything else going on, stress is a huge factor in all of this. So thanks again, and with your help, someday I am going to look as awesome as you do!!

  • bigwoz commented Mar 29th 2012:

    Like theGru says Artichacker, you are the best coach around. I was feeling a bit disappointed in my results the past couple weeks so I came on here looking for some advice and updates from my "crew". I see theGru was having the same problems as I am. Your advice for increased beans, increased protein, and the stress -> cortisol -> impeded loss were most helpful.

    I will make these changes, plus I picked up some Yerba Mate last weekend.

    theGru: try my 12min routine with your 25 pounder. Search "Kettlebell complex from hell" on youtube. The guy is wearing an orange Flyers hoodie. we are doing great. Stalls are fine, because We are bulking up muscle. Just ask your wife :)

    My mini update: 263.4 - 230.6 = 32.8 in 11.5 weeks. 38 -> 34 inch pants. Gap, none the less!!!

  • bigwoz commented Mar 29th 2012:

    If we kept losing like we have been we would blow away with a strong breeze in another couple months... ;)

    I am already being told by co-workers that I shouldn't get TOO skinny.

    I HAVE NEVER heard that before.

    "Normal" people do not lose nearly as fast as we have...

  • Member commented Mar 30th 2012:

    I have had similar experiences. I had some custom suits made in thailand in December, that are now so small on me, a friend said "you look like you are wearing your dad's suit!". Pretty great feeling.

    I'll definitely be checking out that kettlebell workout (extra credit as I am a Flyers fan myself, and I wish you heartfelt condolences my brother if you are a Leafs or Habs fan BTW).

    So I increased the protein (to about 40g in the am, and 30+ at other meals) and beans slightly and was down to 206 this morning -- three pounds in two days. ARCTICHACKER is a genius!!!

  • Icandoit commented Mar 30th 2012:

    Happy Birthday! Arctichacker IS a genius. I grudgingly followed her (and Jake's) advice to eat more and it WORKED to get me off a bad stall! Unreal. I can't remember who on this site recommended the Gary Taubes book Why We Get Fat, but it's a great read if you want to understand why eating more protein and more fat works.

    Are you having an SCD breakfast on cheat day? It helps mitigate the damage. I always have more cheat food lined up than I can stuff in after that breakfast. I'm going to try some IF the day after cheat day and see if that helps speed up progress.

  • bigwoz commented Mar 30th 2012:

    Artichacker is a legend on here. I did the same as you, added protien and had beans at dinner again. Unofficially down a 2pounds in the last 2 days!

    I put my goal pants on before I went shopping and they were BIG and not flattering. My new 34's are actually getting a bit saggy in the "seat".

    My wife was able to "trade up" without leaving me!

    I am living near Van now so I am a Canucks fan, actually an Abbotsford Heat (Flames farm team) as well. I am ALLERGIC to the Leafs. Any self-respecting Canadian is ;)

    Tomorrow is the day of truth for me. Time to see if the stall has been lifted. Only 5.6 away from my original "best case scenario" goal!

    New goal is 15.6 away...

    You will understand when I post my before and "during" tomorrow.

    I am finally gonna do it! Be kind!

  • arctichacker commented Mar 30th 2012:

    Hey, I just babble away in my frosty corner. You guys have to actually DO the work.

    Have fun with with kettlebell workouts. If you want to maximize the effects, I would suggest timing to maximize the protein intake and build some muscle. I do mine 60-90 minutes after a protein heavy Second Lunch after work and within 30 minutes of my dinner. This way you move as much of the protein into your muscles.

    Have a great weekend everybody! =D

  • hyperzx commented Apr 16th 2012:

    How often are you guys doing this kettle bell video? I figure it is pretty intense to start every day so I might just begin with 3-times a week. All your comments are insightful! I greatly appreciate this post.

    I've stalled now for 3 weeks so I think it is about time that I add some kettle bells to my SCD routine.

    I've been on the diet since January and gone from 198 to 180 but I can't seem to cross successfully this 180 mark (i am 5'9). My goal is very close (170-175lbs :)). I maintain 50-100g of Carbs a day and 45g of protein for breakfast (>120g of protein a day).

    Thank you all for adding all the notes!

All Answers

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I am following the 4-hour body plan with a few modifications. Reading your post, I think the problem is your diet. If you're serious about losing weight,you need to cut the amount of food you're consuming. Your breakfast alone is nearly enough food for the entire day. My diet consists of the following: Breakfast--two eggs scrambled Lunch: 2/3 cups of cottage cheese and a few pieces of beef jerky Dinner: A chicken breast with vegetables. I have lost over 20 pounds in just four weeks.

  • Graham commented Mar 29th 2012:

    I disagree with this, and really think you need up your own calories. The original poster would need about 2000 calories for maintenance and that's the ballpark that we all should be eating in. For yourself, depending on your weight it could be anywhere from 1500-2000 and your far from that. The intent of eating enough calories is so that our metabolism maintains it's correct pace and can process that and the weight that were looking to lose, if your shorting it you will enter a starvation mode and the body doesn't do anything to get rid of the fat anymore, it wants to keep it for the long run.

  • Charley commented Mar 29th 2012:

    I agree with Graham, the SC is not about reducing calories, it works in a different way. With your diet, Laura, I would expect a major jojo after you quit.

  • Pinky commented Mar 29th 2012:

    I agree Graham..I just started on mon today is thurs. I eat way more than I used to and lost 2 1/2 lbs! Simply following the 30 grams of protien each meal and following the recommended food list ...also never used to drink water now up to 1 to 2 liters per day....and never hungry !

  • Member commented Mar 29th 2012:

    Thanks all. Laura, while I appreciate your taking the time to respond, I think if I ate what you eat, I'd be dead of malnutrition in a week. Two eggs is only about 12-14 g protein, not nearly enough to hit 30g w/in 30 minutes of waking. As others have suggested, I will try to up the calories/protein and see how it goes. Best of luck to all!

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Can you total up your typical daily calories for us? I notice I eat way more than you and I'm 129 pounds, I wonder if not having enough calories could be slowing down your metabolism.

  • Member commented Mar 29th 2012:

    Thx Jake. I would say I eat in the ballpark of 1200-1400 calories a day, give or take. To be honest this is the first time I have really looked at it, and it does seem low. It worked so well for the first month or so that I never really questioned it, and I don't really get hungry like I used to before SCD, so I figured I was getting enough. Like others have suggested, I am going to try to up the protein at breakfast and other meals to see if that jumpstarts the ole' metabolism. Thanks again.

  • Graham commented Mar 30th 2012:

    Yeh you should be in the neighborhood of 2000, If you cheat day is coming up I would make sure that you get 3000 or so for the cheat followed by 2500 or so the following day of proper SC stuff. That is what reset things for me and I'm a pretty similar, 220/6" I'm now making sure I get 1800-2000 total calories and I'm actually getting hungry at the correct times and for the correct volumes.

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Hi Gru,

I'm afraid you expect too much. The first kilos melt away easily, but then it slows down. If you read through this place, after some weeks, most of us hit a plateau, or slow down weight loss.

You made amazing -20 lb -10kg in ONE MONTH. Rest and be thankful!

The weight loss won't be linear. So take a deep breath and expect 1, 2, 3 lb loss per week, and keep on going with your training routine. Sounds good, and I think, you will very soon see more results when measuring, than on the scale. Muscle mass is much heavier than fat. Look at youtube "fat vs muscle" and figure out how much power = muscle you gained.

I personally think the weight you gained is muscle.

  • Member commented Mar 29th 2012:

    Danke Charlie - that youtube fat v muscle video was an eye-opener. I appreciate the kind words of encouragement.

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