Weight loss Is Hard
Everybody knows that. Sometimes you see, or hear about someone’s weight loss story and it feels like it shouldn’t be that hard. It is also frustrating to precisely watch what you eat, drink, how you exercise for weeks only to find out you made very little progress or no progress at all. I hear you, pal. Let’s not get too frustrated, and look at the most common reasons why you are not making the desired progress.
1. You are not eating enough or eating too much.
You need to look at a few factors to figure out how many calories you need to eat (unless you are going Keto, it is a bit different). If you cleaned up your diet, got rid of all the processed foods and drinks as well as sugar, grains and most dairy, you should be stressing more about WHAT you eat, not HOW MUCH you eat. Let’s be reasonable though, and align it with how active you are. Because if you sit at your work desk all day, or just walk your dog once a day for 20 minutes, you should stick close to your BMR (you can use this calculator to figure it out). If you are active, you should calculate your activity levels, and add them to BMR. There are plenty of them on the internet, I use this one.
Here is a caveat though. Under-eating can cause an opposite effect. This can lead your body to lower your basal metabolic rate (BMR), and to go into a conservation mode. You will burn less calories, and you will have less energy, making it difficulty to remain strong and focused. You might continue to lose weight by cutting calories, but it will be the wrong pounds, sapping your muscles and strength. The focus here is not to modify your dietary intake by more than 10-15% of your caloric total.
2. You are eating the wrong foods.
Macros do matter. I used to eat a donut for lunch, followed up by a good quart of coffee, and had a small carby dinner. Never was I skinny, and never did I look healthy. Depending on your goals (weight loss, maintenance, leaning out) and your levels of physical activities, you will need to adjust your macros. Eating a bunch of starchy and carb-loaded foods is not going to help you if you intend to lose weight rapidly. If you lift heavy, you will need more protein for muscle building and recovery, etc.
It is highly recommended you track what you eat for a month or two. There are many apps to use to track what you are eating. MyFitnessPal has a ginormous data base of food, and it is very easy to use, but many of the entries are user submitted, so they may not always be 100% accurate. The quality of food you eat matters. Avoid all the sugars, grains, legumes, and dairy. Not only you will feel better after quitting them, your body will thank you. Read labels for quality ingredients and serving size. It is easy not to notice some substances added to your foods (hello, HFCS!) or overlook the serving size. Stick to lean meats, veggies, healthy oils, and some fruits and nuts.
3. You are not getting enough water.
Yeah yeah yeah. You heard it so many times, it is annoying. Yet the truth is- especially if you are eating low carb – your body will need much more water. No, your nightly beer isn’t water. Put it down 🙂
Water helps your digestion, hydrates you, boosts your metabolic rate, and many more things. Tea, juice and coffee while containing water, are usually loaded with extra calories and can have a mild diuretic effect. A good starting goal is drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces a day, then you can modify your intake if it is too much or too little.
4.You are not exercising properly.
Are you a cardio queen? A gym junkie? Both, cardio and weightlifting have a significant role in weight loss. But too much or too little of either will affect your weight loss. It is important to note, that sometimes when working out, you might not lose pounds, but you could be losing inches. Tracking body size with some measuring tape, can alleviate some of these fears. Try working out for an hour a day. Come up with something you like; it does not always have to be performed at a gym. Go for a hike, swim in a lake, or bike around town. Bounce on trampoline, lift heavy things, go for a walk or run. On a weekly basis, combine cardio and some weights with other, less strenuous activities. The key here is a simple walk, or 30 minutes at the gym isn’t going to counteract 12-14 hours of couch sitting. Make your daily life more active, and then your gym time will be much more effective.
5. Your sleep routine is off.
You don’t need to hear me rambling about it…The more active you are, the more time your body need for recovery. Once I quit sugar, my insulin levels started to normalize, and I could not sleep for longer than 4 hours a day. I was an Energizer bunny, and my body was happy for a while. Once I added training to that…nope. 4 hours won’t cut it for me. Listen to your body, and do not cut down your sleep. There is a reason we spend a third of our lives in bed – to rejuvenate, recover, and start over the next morning. This allows your body to recover, and conquer the next day, with the right choices.
6. You have too much stress.
While most humans on the planet have some stress on a daily basis (some stress is actually good, and can drive us to do better), it is important not to let stress in while you are trying to focus on your health. Meditate (Headspace.com is great!), find a few moments for yourself, listen to some music, write things down, play with kids or your pets. You are on a mission to help and heal yourself. Nothing is more important right now. Stress is a vicious animal. It will try to slow your weight loss down.
7. You are losing inches not pounds (yet).
Isn’t it great though? You might still retain some water, your body might be taking it’s sweet time to adjust to the new routines, your hormones will be finding a new balance… Do not fret about those numbers on the scale! Measure yourself at the beginning (chest, waist line, hips, arms, thighs, neck). Or better, find a pair of old jeans you really would like to fit in. Once your reach your goal, reward yourself by wearing them on a hot date!
There are plenty more of small and big reasons why your weight loss program isn’t working for you (yet). I would love to answer any questions or help you out in any way I can. After all, it is my mission as well.
Stay tuned for more.