HELP! Day 21 and nothing to show for it!!!

  • Hi guys,

    I really need some motivation and encouragement, that this plan will work! I have just reached day 21, and I have felt no change at all. Clothes are still relatively the same fit, scales even went up (I'm up 200gms from day one weight).

    Has anyone else experienced this slow start, and then still seen amazing end results? Admittedly I don't have a lot of weight to lose, started around 22.5% body fat (just on the bmi scales - so maybe not completely accurate!). I'm 149 pds and 5"6, but always been a little muscular.

    I have stuck to the plan 110% and hit all my 10's in the gym... and just thought I would see at least something by the third week.

    I hope someone can maybe provide some examples if they experienced the same thing....

    Thanks guys!!!



  • Marian,

    Congratulations on three weeks!

    I would encourage you to stick to the plan for all 12 weeks. I know there are many here with the same experience as I in that my biggest and best changes came in the last few weeks. Everyone is a little different but one thing is universal: Those that stick to the BFL plan by the book for all 12 weeks are transformed inside and out!

    Three weeks is a great foundation. You know yourself and the BFL plan a little better. Time to kick it up a notch and see how far you can go! You are capable of more than you think you are!

    Eat cleaner. Lift heavier. Run further.


  • Mazjaz - you are where I am at. For us in that low BF% but not GREAT BF5 - I believe it takes 110% clean eating and 12 on the WO scale. Is that possible? yes...but it takes a heck of alot of dedication if you want that in short time.

    I personally have lost give or take only 15# throughout 5 challenges. I sit at 152# today. I have been at 148# recently. (oh that hurts to say that - I am such a scale freak!) I have been 167# too. I have gotten rid of some pants, yet have been able to stay in some and just look better in them.I guess it depends where your weight is. (mine is in my legs)

    My point is - does BFL work? absolutely it does. works differently for everyone I see. If you have several fat pounds to lose, you will see that fall off. If you want toning or shape, suck it up and persist.

    I know that I am stronger, fitter, firmer and faster than before. I look better in my clothes and not in my clothes - apparently....

    Your body is in shock and trying to regroup. It will take a few weeks for it to "listen" and for that paper towel to fall off where YOU want it too....not where it will fall off according to your body type and composition...make sense?

    Keep at it deserve it!

  • Here is a little more support in a different format from a Champion - BFLMike Harris....


    1. Weight gain the first two to three weeks in spite of eating less and exercising is quite common, especially among scale-watching females.

    The gain is usually a combination of bowel content weight from a higher than you are used to fiber content in your diet, plus some water retention that comes from a combination of dietary changes and rigorous exercise.

    As you know, water weight is easy to both gain and lose, so just keep drinking plenty of pure water, up to a gallon a day, and you’ll soon see some adjustments there. In the meantime, stay off your scales and weigh just weekly at the same day of the week and same time of day. Don’t get hung up on the fat percentage function of your scales. It is essentially worthless!

    2. To determine portion sizes for you and your mate, read page 73 of the eating for life book (which is what I assume you have) and it will tell you a bit, but don’t ever assume that a "serving size" in the book is the same thing as a portion size. You should probably be eating about 40% of each recipe you cook, and your mate 60% because all the recipes are a split between what a man and a woman need to maintain. So, if you are eating half of the recipe, one portion size, you will likely gain weight rather than lose it, and he will lose weight rather rapidly.

    3. Keep in mind that changes in women take time and even though you think you may have gained some muscle already, I doubt that has happened in just two weeks. Keep at it and don’t add extra cardio or extra training. Be reasonable on free day, see what happens beginning about week 8, and you’ll do fine. If you would like to see a document that has the transformation stories of many ladies who wrote them on this guestbook, drop me a note and ask for the lady success document. Most of these ladies reported that they were just about ready to quit around 6 or so because they hadn’t seen any changes, and about week 8 things began to really change. Some even call it the 8 week miracle. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but reading it will keep you going I think. I need your email address to attach the document to, so if you are skittish about sharing your address, just go to the website where you can read the document online!


    Here’s a little inspiration for those of you who are worried about not seeing any changes in your body so far. It’s what’s called the "Paper Towel Theory"

    Let’s assume you go out and buy two rolls of paper towels, each with only 84 paper towels on it (one for each day of the challenge).

    You put one aside, and keep it for future reference (your "before" picture).

    The other one represents you (I’ll call your paper towel you "Ed"). The core represents the lean Ed. The towels represent the fat that is covering the lean Ed. For sake of argument, let’s say that Ed wants to lose 21 pounds of fat, so (84/21) each sheet represents a quarter-pound of fat lost. Let’s also assume that Ed loses his fat equally during each day of the challenge.

    Each day during the first week, you tear a sheet off of Ed, representing the fat he has lost for the day. Next, you put Ed next to the full roll ("Big Al") for comparison. No noticeable difference!!! Even at the end of the week! This can’t be working for me!

    But, being a good Ed, you continue to follow Body-for-LIFE. At the end of weeks two and three, you continue to compare Ed to Big Al, and still notice very little difference. That stinkin’ Bill Phillips MUST be a liar!

    But Ed is determined! He works hard! Hitting his 10’s…eating his 6 daily meals. Three more weeks go by, the sheets peeling off day after day, before Ed gets up the courage to stand next to Big Al again. Holy Myoplex! Ed is skinny! OK, not skinny, but less huge!!!

    By the end of the 12-week Body-for-LIFE program, Ed is down to his lean dream, or somewhere near it. Ed is happy. We are happy. Big Al – well he’s not so happy.

    The lesson to be learned is that fat, like paper towels, comes off in sheets. When you are heavy, you are big around. And when you are big around, that fat is spread over a MUCH larger area – just like that outside towel sheet. The closer you get to the lean you, the more each lost pound of fat shows, because it is spread over a smaller area.

    While the outside sheet may only cover 1 layer of the roll, the inside sheet may go around 4 times. That last sheet looks like it gives you 4 times the results of the first sheet, but in reality, the results are the same – your perception is just different! And you’ll never see the inside, if you aren’t patient while the outside is coming off!

    Seems so logical when you read it like this!

    This article and other great stuff on!

  • Legs.... thank you so much for your encouragment! I am sitting around 150# at the moment (actually have gone up on the scales from day one!!!) I too am a scales freak... but reading all the posts on this forum over the past few weeks, I decided to use all my willpower to keep off that damn thing until mid-way at least as I know they are not an indicator of what is happening with my body. My ultimate goal would be to go down at least 1-2 dress sizes.... which I know is achievable as I did it last year on my own (exercised like a freak and lost 6kg in 13 weeks, plus just watched what i ate). Funny - like you I also hold weight in my legs, so really want to tone up and stop all the "jiggly" bits. I am determined to keep at it and give it my all.... as I want to know when I get to the end, that there wasn't one more thing I could have done better....

    I will put some photos up on my profile soon, of day one and day 21.... I can't see any difference, but I will keep taking the photos and measurements and I am sure I will start to see something soon!


  • Keep at it pretty lady....just think of yourself as a roast. ( I KNOW!!  but listen...) you may have marbly fat stores just sitting and being all kinds of comfy in that lower half. It is going to take time - maybe more time than you think to get that firmness in them that you want - HOWEVER in the process, watch those arms buff out and those abs break out hard. You will change as a whole. Trust me ... I believe and have seen and continue to see results. Not fabulous life changing put me in a magazine results - but results relative to what I put out. Make sense?

    Eat clean and work out dirty. Its worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

  • Hi Mazjaz,

    Today I begin day 19 on my first BFL challenge. I don't use scales (what's the point they don't tell you how you feel in your own skin!) so have no idea how much I weigh. I am using my clothes as a measure how I'm progressing, and over the past week am noticing silly little changes. For example, before I started my face was bloated - now its starting to slim down. You couldn't see my clavicles unless I flexed - now they are starting to appear. My hips are starting to look narrower and my waist is a bit smaller. There is no six pack, my arms are still wobbly and I still have the dreaded cellulite, but I'm only just wrapping up week 3! Water is a massive thing for me. A a brit I love to drink tea, but I am now drinking 3-5 litres of water a day, I would definitely recommend that!

    Don't be discouraged. The Champions before and after photos can be very intoxicating. But you need to remember, that was THEIR challenge, not yours. I am seeing these little changes, so I know its working. I might get the beach bod of my dreams on day 84, but so what if I don't? I will be in a far better place physically and mentally than I was 12 weeks before.

    Good things happen to those who wait!

    Keep it up!


  • Mazjaz,

    Congratulations on completing the first three weeks of the program.  You have now developed positive habits that are going to carry you through the next 9 weeks.  I encourage you to make/renew the promise to yourself that you will follow the plan by the book for the whole 12 weeks, and then allow yourself to assess whether or not it works.  If you check and re-check every day, every week, every other week, etc, then you are making it more tempting to stop and do something else when the results aren't as visable as you want them to be yet.  As others have mentioned, the program has worked for so many, and many of these people did not see the big results until the last month, even two weeks.  Look at the before and after pictures when you have doubts and channel your energy into completing the challenge.  If after 12 weeks of giving it your all, you don't feel it worked as you had hoped, then you can try something else.  

    Best of luck to can do this!

    One Life, Live Accordingly

  • Don't be discouraged.  I couldn't see any changes in my beginning pics & my week 4 pics.  I didn't really see any significant changes until the last 4 weeks or so.  Hang in will come.  Have patience and keep doing what you are doing.  Good luck.

    "The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday!"

  • Mazjaz,

    Given your numbers, you'll slowly start losing weight if you consume 1600 or less calories a day, and continue to do an intense cardio workout 3X weekly, per the BFLguidelines.  Make sure you're sweating profusely by the end of the workout, and that your heart rate rose into the "working zone" for your age and fitness level for at least 10 minutes during the workout.  You may want to double check your calorie intake for a few of your past meals, as well as the portion size. To lose even faster, cut back to about 1450 (but no less) calories per day, which is close to the basal metabolic rate for a sedentary female of your size.  Once you've verified you're in good spot calorie wise, continue to eat those same size portions.  To take care of the fatty deposits on the upper legs and glutes I made sure my cardio would  involve those muscles intensely  - no sitting around on a bike.  Run intensely (sprint), or do elliptical at max rpm you can produce, always looking to "push up" on the next workout.



    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • The first three weeks is not an indication of your overall results. You can do this! Body-For-life works- be patient and you will yield fantastic results! Make sure you are training like a warrior. That simply means that you tap into that hungry desire for success. When you’re working out picture your transformation in your mind’s eye and push will all your might. Make yourself proud of your accomplishments and make every single workout count. Push fear aside and perform everything that you are intimated by; push-ups, pull-ups you name it-go for it!

    So are you a BFL warrior? Are you ready to walk through life like a warrior? Are you pushing yourself beyond your preconceived limits? I wish you luck and success on your journey. It will afford you a life time of happiness and pride. Check back in often.

    I’m rooting for you!


  • Hi marian,,, I would suggest you go to  scroll down to the ladies success document.. he was a body for life champ and mentor for many over the past years on the community board.. he unfortuanatly passed away in june from a sudden accident.. so sad,, he was such an icon.. anyhow. his blog has everything you need to know about body for life and what works and what doesn't.. highly recommend looking thru all blog posts.. best of luck  8 weeks is key for losing weight for women on this program..

    I did this program in 2008 had great success and mike was a big part of my success... my profile on is jnash

  • Thanks so much guys for all your words of encouragement, advice and knowledge. I am committed to sticking to this plan 100% and know that I will eventually see some noticable results, as my body is changing and adjusting. I do feel amazing mentally and so focussed and determined... more than I ever thought possible. I can even see this newly found attitude flow over into my personal and professional life, and people are saying how great I sound (on the phone when I speak to them) and some of my friends are already inspired by my new outlook to get their butts into gear and get fit and happy.

    I just posted my day one photos on my profile (that took some courage!). I know I am not technically overweight or look particularly "bad", but I want that firm, lean body that is healthy too.... my goal is to have ab definition and a good (small) firm booty!!! haha

    Will post week 4 photos up next week, as it will be interesting to see if there are any noticable results through other peoples eyes.


  • Your before picture looks awesome! I can only imagine what you will look like in the end. Power to you!

  • Awww... thanks Lori! I know I have started off at a fairly good point... so hopefully with see some amazing results!!!

    Quick question (on another topic).... do you know if it would make any difference whatsoever if once a week I am doing one of the workouts after work instead of first thing in the morning - mainly just a LB or UB (I always do the cardio first thing in a fasted state)... as sometimes due to my working hours I don't have time to do a weights session in the morning - but can do it in the evening. Do you think this will effect my result at all? I know I should have my last meal 2-3 hours before the workout.... and make sure I have protein and carbs for that meal.... any other suggestions? Or advice?