WHY YOU MAY NOT BE LOSING WEIGHT
By laceylee, Feb 8 2016 07:10PM
We are over one month into the New Year and I want to make sure you are still working towards your personal fitness/health goals!!! Although I hope everyone is working towards being healthy in every way, I want to specifically talk about weight loss. This is a goal many people have for themselves and the area that people will quickly wave that little white flag when they don’t see results. I want to ensure this does NOT happen!!
If you feel you have been busting your butt in your workouts and eating healthy yet you are not seeing ANY results in the weight loss department - keep reading. This blog is for you.
There is nothing more frustrating than not seeing the scale go down despite weeks of hard work. Before you throw in the towel- a couple things to remember: your baseline fitness, genetics, diet, specific training methods, gender and age all play a role in how your body responds. Weight loss results are not just measured by the number on the scale. In fact, the scale can be deceiving and I want to encourage you to focus on how you are feeling, how your clothes are fitting, etc. NOT just what the scale says.
When you are on a weight loss journey, the initial changes you notice and not necessarily the ones you want right away - but are just as important. After a month (or more) of exercising and eating right, you should be seeing/feeling one or all of the below changes:
1. More energy throughout the day
2. Sleeping better at night
3. More endurance and strength during your workout
4. Clothes are fitting differently (in a good way)
If you are noticing one or all of the above - then give yourself a pat on the back. You and your body are responding EXACTLY as it should be at this point. It’s just that dang number on the scale that has you frustrated. We will get to that. Keep reading.
When you start a new way of eating and exercising, you are burning more calories and fat BUT you are also building muscle, which weighs more than fat. This can prevent the scale from shifting initially. This is NOT a bad thing because building muscle fires up your metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day. The more muscles you have (don’t worry, I am not talking about bulking up), the more calories you burn at rest. Hence the reason, men burn more calories (can consume more) than women.
Now let’s talk about the number on the scale - which I hope you will not put sole focus on but I understand people want to see that number go down. If the number has not gone down, chances are you have made some extremely common and innocent mistakes in your quest to lose weight. This is NOT the time to give up but to re-evaluate what you have been doing for the past month (or more) and make some of the changes that are mentioned below. Making just one “adjustment” from the reasons below could make all the difference in getting that number to go down on the scale. Take any frustrations you may have and use that energy to prove to yourself that you can push past this and get your goals achieved!!
5 REASONS YOU MAY NOT BE LOSING WEIGHT
Have you ever heard someone say, “You can’t out-train a bad diet?” You can workout hours and hours every day but if you are not eating right, you will become frustrated and discouraged very quickly. The nutrition aspect is the most important part to a weight loss journey. In order to lose weight, you must burn MORE calories than you consume. If you find you are maintaining your weight, you simply are burning the same amount that you are consuming. Most people consume more calories throughout the day than they think. To ensure you are consuming the correct amount of calories YOU specifically need in order to lose weight, you first have to know how many calories you need in order to achieve that. In my blog, “The NO DIET Diet” (January 10th), I provided you the calculations to find this out. Once you know this number, the next step is to track what you eat throughout your day. This not only will get you mindful on what you consume but help you understand why/where/how you may have hit a roadblock in the weight loss department.
To help you understand the importance of calories when it comes to weight loss, let me explain some numbers. One pound equals 3500 calories. That may seem like a lot of calories but when you break it down throughout the week, that’s just 500 calories a day (for 7 days). If you can create a 500 calorie deficit in the calories you consume (number you calculate from above) versus the calories you burn, you should be able to lose 1 pound a week. All sounds great, right? It certainly can be, but consuming 500 EXTRA calories throughout the day can happen just as easy.
The biggest and most common place when extra calories are consumed is a little thing called THE WEEKEND. A weekend can undo all the hard work you put in throughout the week. Just having a handful of drinks over the course of the weekend can be the sole reason the scale is not going down. That’s not even counting higher calories/fat foods you eat when drinking. One alcoholic drink has at least 100 calories. That’s if we are just talking regular beer, wine, or a shot - not mixed/fruity drinks, speciality beers, etc. which have more calories to them.
Stress is a killer and it will manifest in the craziest ways. One way is it will not allow your body to drop weight. Experiencing stressful situations cause the body to undergo a variety of hormonal changes, including the release of adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol release under chronic stress can make weight loss difficult because of the high levels cortisol attack muscle mass, slowing metabolism due to the fact that muscle burns calories to simply exist. Also, unwanted cortisol results in the storage of fat mostly in the abdominal area for later energy use.
Lastly, the release of cortisol results in an increase of appetite…..and we all know how easy it is to reach for food when stressed. Even if you are not a “stress eater”, the stress alone will make it challenging to lose weight. Stress is almost unavoidable but finding ways to manage your stress is. This will be crucial not only to your sanity but to your weight loss efforts!
Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. Insufficient sleep impacts your hunger and fullness hormones, including two called ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin signals your brain that it is time to eat. When you are sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin. Leptin cues your brain to put the fork down. When you are not getting enough sleep, leptin levels plummet, signaling your brain to eat more food.
Put the two together, and it’s no wonder sleep deprivation leads to overeating and extra pounds.
When we are overtired, our brain's reward centers goes up, looking for something that feels good. This makes is MUCH harder to make healthy choices. Ask yourself why you are not getting sufficient sleep. Are you staying up too late? Are you stressed? Simply search “How to get a better night sleep?” and see the numerous tips.
4. DOING THE SAME WORKOUT ROUTINE
It’s easy to get (and stay) in our comfort zones when it comes to exercise. Just like anything we do in life, the more we do it, the easier it will become. Our workouts are not different. When you do the same routine for too long, your body gets used to the exercises, the speed, the weight you use, etc. which then leads to you not getting results. Since your body is “comfortable”, you begin burning fewer calories than when you first started even though you are doing the same amount of exercise. You simply are not challenging yourself anymore. Our body responds to change. Not only will you get bored doing the same thing over and over again but when you are no longer seeing/feeling results - you are more likely to stop. Constantly changing your routine to “confuse” your body is how our body responds best. By doing this and ensuring you are still challenging yourself, your body will have to work harder as it adjusts to the new activity which means you will burn more calories. You will never know if you can walk/run faster, lift a heavier weight, have a higher resistance on the elliptical, etc. if you don’t try. The beauty of it all is, you can always slow down, lighten the weight, etc. Some examples: Walking a little faster on the treadmill and/or walk on a higher incline. Do a different program and/or a higher resistance on the elliptical. Try a new fitness class. Do some lunges/squats every few minutes on your walk outside.