• Hi, I'm the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Our main, very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are listed, are posted HERE

    Purchases made through some of our links earn a commission for the forum and allow us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear and fashion.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

I Think I'm Becoming Skinny Fat... HELP!

wraith

Active Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
So I've been on a diet for about a year now. Clean eating and lifting, mainly, though recently I've added quite a bit of cardio. I've lost about 80 pounds, putting me at about 165 pounds on a rather large 5'10 frame. When I have a shirt on, I look pretty decent. My problem is when the shirt comes off. Flab... everywhere. Not just moderate amounts of flab, we're talking grab a handful wherever you go. No idea on actual body fat %. My BIA scale(I know, I know, unreliable) puts me at a low of ~22% if I measure late in the day. Measured in the morning immediately after waking up, it puts me at ~32%. I'm beginning to believe that the latter number may be closer to accurate than the former, which quite frankly scares the hell out of me after all of the work I've put into this.

Now, I have two options. I can continue to cut for another 15 pounds. If every one of those pounds is fat(basically impossible, I believe), then I will have cut 9% body fat. If I'm actually around 27%*(averaging the unreliable low and high from above because that's what I have to work with), that puts me at 18% fat... still not exactly fantastic, but better. I'll be at a measly 150 pounds, though, which seems... uh... low. And I'll still be a bit chubby at 18%, from what I understand. I'd still need to bulk, probably to 170 or so, and then cut again to 160ish.

On the other hand, I can attempt to gain... what? 15 pounds or so? 25 tops, heading all the way up to 190? Assuming I put on pure muscle, that would put me at 25% or 23.5% BF respectively. Then I can settle back into the cutting routine and see where it leads. This option is far more attractive than the continued cutting which is getting quite old. The idea of going from 1800-2000 clean calories a day to 3000-3200 clean calories a day is making my mouth water just sitting here.

What do you guys think? I'm getting mildly to very frustrated at this point, as the weight loss each week is quite difficult and, thanks to a daily workout, I'm constantly hungry despite the fact that I should be eating more than enough to maintain a respectable weight loss at 1800-2000 calories... Way hungrier than I was when I was(stupidly) eating less and exercising less.

If the answer is gaining, how much do I need to brace myself? I don't mind the scale increasing, but it's going to be truly heartbreaking if I need to watch my clothes get too small on me all over again. I haven't had a waist this small EVER in my teen or adult life. I've worked HARD to get to this point. Anyway, thanks for any guidance you can provide.

*Again, I'm fairly certain the BIA shit is a pile of crap. If it helps, I'm 35.5-36" at my absolute widest point on my midsection, compared to ~33.5-34" measured above my pelvis. I can take other measurements if necessary. I'm pinching about 2 inches on my thigh and an ungodly amount on my belly. I don't even want to talk about my chest.
 

why

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
9,733
Reaction score
407
If you're at the measurements you say you are, you can add quite a bit more muscle to your frame. Keep lifting and dieting...you'll eventually become decently cut, even if your body weight is low. You can add muscle later...just get rid of that fat first or you'll just look bulky.
 

greg_atlanta

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
876
Reaction score
0
Is it just loose skin? Do you have stretch marks? How old are you? Your skin recovers faster the younger you are.
 

wraith

Active Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
I'm 25. And yes, being overweight all of my life means that I do, unfortunately, have stretch marks around. I don't think it's just "loose skin," though. I think Why is probably right - I just need to suck it up, slog through this last bit of weight and go from there. I can't really imagine being lower than 150 on my frame, but maybe that's what it's going to take.
 

why

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
9,733
Reaction score
407
You won't be lower than 150. Eat 2000 calories/day and lift weights (HEAVY weights) every other day...you'll be fine. You'll probably get down to around 155lbs. and 5-8% body fat.

If you eat less you'll weigh less. Let the 2000 calories dictate your maximum size and let the workout guide your body toward having most of it as muscle.
 

wraith

Active Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Originally Posted by why
You won't be lower than 150. Eat 2000 calories/day and lift weights (HEAVY weights) every other day...you'll be fine. You'll probably get down to around 155lbs. and 5-8% body fat.

If you eat less you'll weigh less. Let the 2000 calories dictate your maximum size and let the workout guide your body toward having most of it as muscle.


If losing 10 pounds puts me at 5-8%, I'll be kind of shocked. It's mathematically impossible unless I'm way, way lower in BF than I think I am. Even if I'm currently 20% BF, going down 10 pounds should only yield a maximum reduction of 6% BF to put me at 14%.
 

dcg

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
4,117
Reaction score
512
I went through a similar situation about 8 years ago (went from 265 lbs to around 160), so I'll offer what advice I can.

What kind of scale are you using? 10% from night to morning seems an awfully big difference. I think I tend to be more in the range of a 3% change.

If I recall correctly, Tanita recommends you wait 3 hours after eating, waking, or hard exercise, and they also recommend measuring at the same time each day. This is difficult for me as I tend to eat every 2 hours or so from 7am to 9pm. As you said, it's not the most accurate measurement to begin with, and I'm using it more to track trends than anything else, so I tend to do mine in the morning, 15-30 minutes after I wake up. This gives me pretty much the highest reading I'd get throughout the day, as people tend to be somewhat dehydrated after a night's sleep which increases the bf reading.

It seems to me that it'd be difficult to be 5'10", 165 pounds, and have 32% body fat. I think you may be in better shape then you imagine.

I've been on a health kick for the past 6 months or so, and for a time I had reduced my calories down to around 1800 a day. For me at least, that's too low. I think if you're lifting, you should be above that. Lately I've upped my intake to 2300-2500 calorie a day and I haven't seen any weight gains, but I like the changes I've been seeing in the mirror.

Right now I'm at 154 lbs. (6' tall). My tanita scale in the morning gives me a reading of about 12% on non-athlete mode, and maybe 6% on athlete mode (which I just check for shits and giggles every once in a while). I also have an Omron handheld monitor, which generally is around 6% regardless of whether I use athlete mode or not. That said, I've seen pictures of people at 6% body fat, and that's not me...I'd put myself more around 10% if I had to guess.

Things definitely get discouraging from time to time. The only answer is to keep at it. It takes time, and you go through long periods where you feel like you're not making progress. Even worse, you hop on the scale some days when you think you've been doing everything right, and all of a sudden the body fat number took a big jump up. Happens to everyone. Don't let it get you down.

Estimates I've seen indicate it's EXTREMELY RARE to gain more than 10 pounds of muscle in a 6 month period naturally. That's less than 2 pounds a month. I'd like to get myself up to 165 lbs, and I'm planning on doing it over a 6-8 month period.

If you're tired of cutting, I don't think it hurts to mix things up and try to put on some muscle. I don't know that you need to go all the way up to 3200 calories though...I'd try 2600 or so and see what happens.

I'm rambling all over the place, but hopefully some of this is helpful.
 

why

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
9,733
Reaction score
407
Originally Posted by wraith
If losing 10 pounds puts me at 5-8%, I'll be kind of shocked. It's mathematically impossible unless I'm way, way lower in BF than I think I am. Even if I'm currently 20% BF, going down 10 pounds should only yield a maximum reduction of 6% BF to put me at 14%.

No, its not mathematically impossible. Body fat percentage is a percentage of total mass. Increase your muscle mass by lifting heavy weights and keep your diet constant at 2000 calories per day with adequate (let's say 120g) of protein per day. Now your body adapts to the resistance by increasing muscle, and it adapts to the caloric deficit by reducing total body weight. Increased muscle with decreased weight lowers body fat percentage while keeping the overall weight high.

In strict numbers:

155lb. man with 8% bodyfat has 142.6lbs. of lean tissue (muscle, bone, etc.) with 12.4lbs. of fat

165lb. man (you) with 32% body fat has 112.2 lbs. of lean tissue and 52.8lbs. of fat

Keep your diet to 2000 calories per day, eat a good amount of protein (at least 120g per day, preferably from animal sources) and eat the majority of your calories around your workout (before and after). Now your body will have the nutrients to grow muscle and during non-exercising times it will be starved and will rely on burning fat.

LIFT HEAVY. Don't listen to bullshit about 'toning' and all that other crap. Take a big fucking weight, put it on the barbell, and fucking squat, press, and pull the thing all over the gym.

Bench press, military press, rows, and squats. BIG WEIGHTS.

Have fun.
 

wraith

Active Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
I'll start pushing myself a bit harder as far as lifting weight goes. I already do all of the exercises listed there, but I could probably progress faster if I pushed a bit harder. I also like the idea of eating the majority of calories on lifting days around lifting time.

I thought it was impossible to actually put on muscle with a caloric deficit. I've read that in just about a million places.
 

Viktri

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2007
Messages
1,131
Reaction score
5
Originally Posted by wraith
I'm 25. And yes, being overweight all of my life means that I do, unfortunately, have stretch marks around. I don't think it's just "loose skin," though. I think Why is probably right - I just need to suck it up, slog through this last bit of weight and go from there. I can't really imagine being lower than 150 on my frame, but maybe that's what it's going to take.

My friend is 5 10 or 5 11 and he is 120 pounds, skin and bone between 10-15% bf (can see top 4 abs, so probably closer to 11-12%).

He was playing badminton @ the school gym a few days ago and another friend of his commented that once he put on a small tshirt and shorts, he dissapeared (like in family guy where the girl is so thin once she turns sideways you can't see her).

You can be alot lower, but that doesn't mean you should want it.

You might want to be 160 at 5 11 of pure lean muscle and work from their depending on your goals.

Most sources say 6 pack definition can start at under 9.8% but the top 2 abs can show up as at high as 15%.
Anyone with 2 abs showing to 4 abs showing I'd say 10-15% is the best estimate I could give.
 

Fat-Elvis

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
337
Reaction score
0
If you're skinny-fat, you should focus on building muscle, not losing fat. Focus on resistance training and only do some HIIT for cardio, and eat enough, but not too much.
 

why

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
9,733
Reaction score
407
Originally Posted by wraith
I thought it was impossible to actually put on muscle with a caloric deficit. I've read that in just about a million places.

Stop reading and start doing.

It's not impossible. I did it for a long time while losing weight when I started working out. I can even do it pretty well at times now. It requires a ton of precision, but it's possible.
 

wraith

Active Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Originally Posted by why
Stop reading and start doing.

It's not impossible. I did it for a long time while losing weight when I started working out. I can even do it pretty well at times now. It requires a ton of precision, but it's possible.


Oh, I've been doing. I just stopped posting. I've been doing this for about a year now, so aside from a couple of tweaks(like eating the majority of my calories around my workout) not much is changing for me. The purpose of this thread was to make sure that I didn't need a drastic change in my routine.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

What Is The Best Value Shoe Brand For Money?

  • Meermin

    Votes: 32 15.6%
  • TLB Mallorca

    Votes: 34 16.6%
  • Cheaney

    Votes: 5 2.4%
  • Carmina

    Votes: 31 15.1%
  • Crockett & Jones

    Votes: 34 16.6%
  • Other

    Votes: 69 33.7%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
456,927
Messages
9,902,854
Members
206,461
Latest member
codygdavies
Top