5 Reasons your not losing weight

“Fitness is like marriage….You can’t cheat on it and expect it to work.” 

—Bonnie Pfiester, trainer/motivational fitness speaker

Why Weight Loss

In today’s society, a person’s weight has become more about physical appearance rather than one of the many ways to maintain optimal health and reduce the risk of chronic illness.  This has caused a spur of unhealthy, drastic, and sometimes even dangerous “diet” and weight loss “techniques”.

With the correlation between maintaining a healthy weight and overall health on the back burner, weight loss has turned into a money-making industry. Too often we see the promotion of products, services, programs, etc. which most of the time are not backed by any kind of science or offer true health benefits!  Eliminating entire food groups for no medical reason, starvation caloric restrictions not enough to sustain general bodily functions, nonregulated “miracle” weight loss pills, the list goes on…

Let’s look at the primary reasons why you should maintain a healthy weight…

 

Healthy Weight Means…

Lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases including heart attack.

Lowering the risk of having a stroke.

Lowering the risk of developing many different cancers.

Lowering the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Lowering the risk of developing painful Gallstones.

Lowering the risk of early mortality.

Lowering the risk of developing high blood pressure.

and MORE!

Almost anyone will tell you they “need” to lose weight but, have you ever stopped to ask them why?… It’s important to understand why you should strive to maintain a healthy weight by researching how weight affects the body.

It’s time to redirect people from being so concerned with their “pant size” and start being concerned with what’s going on on the inside!

For now, let’s go over 5 reasons why you may not be losing weight!

#1 Caloric Surplus

We hear a lot of negative talk about calories, or counting calories, but at the end of the day, calories MATTER!

There are programs and diet plans which are based around masking calorie counting but truth is, it’s just that, a mask.  Example: “IIFYM” or If It Fits Your Macros; simply counts macros vs calories but, the calorie calculation generates the maco count. 

A caloric surplus is almost always the number one reason why a person is gaining or not losing weight.  The issue is:

#1. Most people don’t understand just how many calories they are consuming per day.

#2. Most people don’t understand just how many calories they should be consuming per day.

You may think you’re consuming a low or fair amount of calories but, for how long and, are you accurately measuring or, just guessing?

The candid truth is…we eat a lot more than we actually need (that’s just science!).  Every person has a BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate which in short means, how much energy (or calories) your body needs to function for your approx. activity level.  Unfortunately today, one plate at your favorite restaurant can equal your total recommended caloric intake for the day!  Oversized portions, along with added sugars, fats, and oils in almost every dish, make it very easy for Americans to far exceed their energy requirements.

PRO TIP

Focus on how many calories you should be consuming for your energy requirements; NOT the typical “American” oversized portions at every meal.

PRO TIP

Start a detailed food journal even if just for a week. Start to understand just how many calories you are consuming over than what you’re body actually needs!

PRO TIP

It’s perfectly ok to enjoy a large fancy meal…so long as it’s on occasion vs every day.  On days where you do indulge, try to expend more calories through exercise/activity. 

#2 Lack of Fiber

There’s a reason MyPlate and the latest Dietary Guidelines for adults suggest 1/2 your plate be filled with fruits and veggies!

With fast and processed food seemingly always within reach, lack of fiber can really slow your system down.  Hamburger buns, white sandwich wraps,  bagels, pasta bowls, and so on, are all examples of simple carbohydrates.  All of these refined grain foods contain very little fiber; not to mention little nutrients!

Try this exercise:

Step 1. Consume your normal meal containing large amounts of refined grains. Examples: Fast food hamburger meals, pasta alfredo bowl, bagel breakfast sandwich, etc.

Step 2. Think about how much you were able to eat, your portion size, and how the meal made you feel overall (effect to your body, etc.)

Now on the same or following day…

Step 3. Consume a meal where you make 1/2 your plate vegetables, 1/4 complex carbohydrates, and 1/8 lean protein. Examples: Grilled chicken, broccoli, seasoned brown rice. Or, Boiled salmon over a large bed of mixed salad/vegetables and quinoa.

Step 4. Think about how much you were able to eat, your portion size, and how the meal made you feel overall (effect to your body, etc.)

Step 5. Now compare the two meal “results”. The second meal contained a healthy amount of fiber and nutrients whereas, the first meal did not. You likely were not able to eat nearly as much when consuming foods with high fiber.

 

PRO TIP

At each meal, make every plate 1/2 fruits or vegetables and eat these first!

PRO TIP

Try to eat primarily complex carbohydrates vs simple. Example: Quinoa, brown rice, whole oats, etc.  vs white pasta, bagels, bread, etc. 

PRO TIP

For snacking, try cut-up vegetables, carrying a piece of fruit, or raw nuts and seeds. 

#3 Your Ratio Is Off…

If counting calories is not for you so your goal is just to eat “healthier”, what does your food ratio look like?…

Is it 80% healthy/20% unhealthy…or, is it more like 10-20% healthy/80-90% unhealthy?

Eating one salad a day is not going to give you a lot of benefits; health or weightloss wise!

Nutrition is all about balance. You can most certainly enjoy the occasional ice cream cone, dessert sundae, supreme pizza, etc. but the keyword is, “occasional”.  You cannot eat these things every day. The more consistently you eat healthily, the more you can enjoy these spurges but, you can’t be eating 50% healthy/50% unhealthy every day and think your favorite cheesecake isn’t going to regress your progress.

Pick a time frame. Even if it’s just 24 hours, and monitor everything you’re eating (without changing your habits; no cheating!). At the end of the day, take a step back and review.

Most experts suggest taking nutrition day by day and aiming for 80-90% healthy and 10-20% less healthy. Taking it day by day helps to avoid making the mistake of thinking you’ve been eating healthy for such a long period of time; of course you deserve that chicken parm and cheesy garlic bread! When in reality…your healthy eating has not been very consistent at all.

 

PRO TIP

Food journal or plan your meals in advance. Make leftovers for your lunch or try meal prepping to keep you on track.

PRO TIP

If you feel like you’ve eaten mostly healthy all day but not the “greatest” and you’re at your favorite restaurant for dinner, try to balance your meal.

Example: Instead of ordering that plate of chicken parm and cheesy garlic bread, swop the bread for a nice side salad and ask the waiter to hold the cheese on the chicken parm.

You can also ask the waiter if there are any whole grain options or to put half your meal in a take out box before serving it.

#4 Stop Rewarding Yourself With Food

You lose weight by creating a caloric deficit; typically that’s accomplished by reducing daily calories and increasing caloric expenditure through exercise.  You can accomplish a deficit with solely a reduction in calories or, caloric expenditure through exercise, but most find it’s less difficult and wiser to use both avenues.

What you don’t want to do however is consume calories expended after every workout. This is also known as, rewarding yourself with food and it happens more often than you think!  Either, A. You eat “x” because you’re “going to work out extra hard later that day” or B. You eat “x” because you had a super intense workout and “deserve” it.

While sometimes this method is ok IF you’re consistent with a healthy eating style and caloric intake, it’s primarily for maintaining current weight and most people tend to abuse this logic!

If you’re going to have a little splurge, it’s a great idea to burn extra calories to rebalance everything out, however, make sure it’s the correct balance and, it’s not happening often!

Eating a large hamburger and french fries every other week after your intense workout is likely going to either cancel out your efforts so you maintain your weight or, cause you to potentially gain.

PRO TIP

If you feel hungry after your workouts, drink a large glass of water (18-24 oz). 

PRO TIP

If you spurge after a workout, write it down in your calendar or note it somewhere. This way, if you are considering another splurge, you can refer back to the last date. 

PRO TIP

If workouts are increasing your appetite, try increasing your water, lean protein, and vegetable intake. A lot of times, we are hungry because our body is craving water or protein to repair muscle tissue.

#5 Lack Of Time and/Or Consistency

If you’ve really done your homework (truly!), and you still don’t feel like you’re losing weight, get your calendar out and pay attention to your timeline and consistency patterns.

It’s a lot easier to gain weight. That doesn’t mean you can or should use that as an excuse! 1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories over your daily expenditure. If you go out to eat 3-4 times a week, that’s pretty easy to surpass if you’re not careful!

Weight loss takes time. To lose 1 lb a week, you need a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories.  Depending on your consistency and your metabolism, that can take a little more time than that you’d like.

Stay as consistent as possible. Set a reasonable timeline. And stay focused.

Once you lose the weight, 9 times out of 10 it will be easier to keep it off/maintain now that you better understand your body and what it takes to get the job done!

Have a Question?

Reach out today!