I work out. I eat healthy. I diet. Yet I still have the bulge, the fat rolls, the big thighs, the weight… or some other thing that I don’t like!
First, you are a bit different than others, so not one reason fits all. Not all calorie-burning methods or diets affects all of us the same way.
The following are the most common reasons my clients don’t lose weight. You may have heard them before, but you’ll want to really look closely at them, pay attention to the details and truly be honest with yourself.
Machines miscalculate calories burned
Wrong form, type and/or intensity of workouts
Lack of sleep or lack of post workout rest
High-sugar energy drinks or “sports foods”
Rewards, treats, and cheat days
Here we go….!
CALORIES: Lots of people think they’re keeping track of how much they eat but when they’re forced to count them, they discover they’re really not aware of or don’t know how to calculate those calories accurately. Or, they hate to do it.
You may not recognize that you are eating more than you think. You might forget about the nibbles between meals or even during a meal. 5-calories here, 15 calories there do add up! And yes, they can keep you from losing weight.
The fix: Keep a good old-fashioned journal. Just quickly jot down what you eat, look up the calories and track it during the day. Don’t make a big damn deal about it. Just quickly do it. It takes no time and your body and weight-loss goals are worth the minute it takes. You don’t have to be embarrassed either. It’s your body, your health, your success. Nobody really cares anyway! You’ll find more people are into themselves and they only reflect their insecurities.
Or keep track of your calories using an easy app. Soon you’ll get so good at it that you guess the calories quickly and pretty spot on.
EATING “HEALTHY”:” I try to eat healthy! Great, but even if you do, if you more “healthy” food than your body needs, clean, healthy or not, you’ll gain weight. Or, you won’t lose weight.
I beg you to eat real sugar instead of sugar substitute, very little refined sugar, NO PROCESSED meaning enriched, partially hydrogenated, fractionated and hydrogenated. You’ll want to avoid foods that have corn sweetener, corn syrup, and corn syrup solids. Please, read the label.
CARDIO MACHINES MISCALCULATING CALORIE BURN: Cardio machines and online calorie calculators tend to overestimate how many calories your workout has burned. Then if you eat thinking that you’ve burned 600 CALORIES! or whatever, you may be eating more than you need because you think you can. Also, the better shape you’re in, the better your body uses less energy, so you burn fewer calories. A fitness tracker that uses heart rate can help accurately track your burn.
WRONG FORM, TYPE AND/OR INTENSITY OF WORKOUTS: I so often see people texting and looking at – I dunno – YouTube while on a cardio machine, or in between sets when doing weights. Really? GET GOING! MOVE! You don’t have to go crazy or too hard for you, but focus on your body, the way it feels from the inside out. When doing cardio, go a little faster for a minute, then moderate, then UBER FAST, then moderate, the somewhat brisk, then slow etc.… or try an ultimate really fast sprints (bike, treadmill, elliptical etc.). It’s called HIIT. High Intensity INTERVAL Training. Don’t just stay at one speed, incline and intensity. When doing weights, go from muscle to muscle. Unless you’re going (super) heavy and need to rest, you don’t need to rest completely, just rest that one particular muscle by exercising another muscle, then go back and forth. For example: Glutes/weighted squats, then do bicep curls, then squats, then curls. This keeps up your heartrate, albeit not so much that you’re out of breath, but your heartrate is elevated, and even it’s only slightly up, it’s continuously up and that exhausts your body, you get more into your workout and you ultimately burn more calories.
UNDEREATING: You want to give your body enough fuel to workout, to function, and not to think you are fasting or dieting, even though you might be. Yes, to lose weight/body fat, you need to deficit calories from your basal metabolic rate. But, you have to eat enough to keep up your metabolism. If your body detects it’s undernourished, it will slow down your caloric burn so that you’ll survive. A good personal trainer who has studied nutrition, or a dietician can help you figure out your calorie count.
LACK OF SLEEP OR LACK OF POST WORKOUT REST
Your body produces a hormone called ghrelin when you sleep. If you don’t sleep enough, you may not produce it and you feel tired. Then, you may mistake feeling hungry for needing sleep.
The long explanation is this: Ghrelin tells your brain when you need to eat, when it should stop burning calories and when it should store energy as fat. Ghrelin levels drop while sleeping because you don’t need as much energy to actually sleep. If you don't sleep enough you end up with too much ghrelin in their system, so your body thinks it's hungry and it needs more calories, and it stops burning those calories because it thinks there's a shortage.
Post workout rest: Your muscles need to recuperate after resistance training, and your entire body needs to recuperate after workouts. Over doing it can raise the levels of a stress hormone cortisol, which impedes fat-burn, especially around the midsection.
If you treat yourself daily, or a lot because you think you earned it through your workouts or through your dieting, then you risk eating and drinking more your body needs, which sabotages all the good work you’re doing. Forego the latte, the extra glass of wine, just one cookie—okay two! It’s just a dinner roll. That said… “CHEAT DAYS” Care so bogus. How about eating what you like every day, just don’t overeat? I see so many clients do so well all week, then go to town on the weekend and they wonder why they can’t lose weight. After hashing it out, we realize that they’re either, binging, ingesting an entire day’s worth of calories in one sitting, or get on a roll they just can’t stop because they’ve been depriving themselves all week! That’s my take. You do what works. But that’s the key!! Do what works! Binging doesn’t work. And don’t use food as a trophy. A treat turns into a mindset. Why use chocolate as a decadent thing? How about enjoying just a bit when you want, just don’t over do it. Fold it into your calorie count.
One last thing… I go by Body fat percentage, not weight. How about kicking your scale under the bed and having your body fat taken? Then check it about once every other month? You know how your clothes feel on you, and your mirror doesn’t lie!
Lastly - (I know, I lied with one last thing) - don’t obsess. Be on it, monitor yourself, try to analyze these things honestly, then just enjoy your food and your workouts! Consistency is key!