Let’s be honest, most of us consider starting a workout regimen for one reason, bikini season. If you’re constantly frustrated because you’re working hard and not seeing results, read this amazing article below that I’ve found, which can help shed some light on your difficulties. Good luck!
So you want to lose weight? It’s a commendable goal and the benefits are plenty (self-esteem, energy, quality of life, preventing disease, longevity, and lower health costs). With an epidemic of obesity, people are looking for ways to obtain or maintain a healthy weight, yet their goals are being hijacked. Many of the saboteurs are controllable and easy, yet they are elusive.
Here are 7 reasons you may be struggling with weight loss.
1.You’re not eating enough
It seems easy enough. Eat less and exercise more. In a vacuum you may be correct. The body is a finely tuned, intelligent machine though. When slashing calories be careful not to cut too many. Leaving too many calories on the plate can be as detrimental to weight loss as eating too much. When you decrease calories to low your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism crashes.
A sluggish metabolism is the quickest way to stop weight loss. What typically follows is frustration, starvation, lethargy, and even depression, resulting in a binge. Binging with a slow metabolism is a double whammy sure to lead to more fat accumulation. Try making subtle drops in calories between 200 and 500 calories per day, depending on your current intake.
We get it, calorie counting and tracking macro-nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) can be tedious. For those not accustomed to it, it can be intimidating and overwhelming. There are tools to help you. My Fitness Pal and Fat Secret are great smart phone apps with recipes, bar code scanners, and also interact with many of your favorite restaurant chains. Take a week to weigh and measure all of your foods so you get an idea of portion sizes and the macro-nutrients and calories each food contains. Most people severely over or under estimate the amount of food and calories they consume per day. You may surprise yourself.
Hold the BBQ sauce! Say no to ranch. Get dressings on the side. It may not seem like a big deal, but many of your favorite condiments pack 100-200 calories per serving (which can be as small as a tablespoon).
There are low calorie and calorie free options to choose from such as mustard and hot sauces you can use to enhance your foods. I frequently pack my own when dining out, and order my foods plain. It gives me the enjoyment of eating out, yet I can often times cut hundreds of calories. Even ketchup contains 15 calories (4 grams of sugar) per tbsp. That adds up in a hurry when you are using 2-3 servings a day over time.
- Drinking your calories
The fastest way to accrue calories with no satiation is to drink them. Liquids will not make you feel full. It’s double jeopardy because you will still eat enough calories to make you feel satisfied. Fruit juice, soft drinks, sports drinks, and alcohol will destroy your weight loss goals. Ditch them. If you must have them opt for sugar free or diet varieties and limit alcohol to 1-3 drinks per week. For many people this can create a major caloric deficit and cause a jump in weight loss alone.
- Too Much Cardio
It’s true, you must burn more calories than you are consuming to lose weight, and cardio is the fastest way to burn those calories for most. However, there is a point of diminishing returns for most. Spending hours and hours of cardio can be tedious and cause unfavorable metabolic adaptations. Your body adapts to cardiovascular/aerobic exercise quickly. If running for 20 minutes at 6 miles per hour burnt X amount of calories when you start it will eventually burn X-Y calories. One must continue to either increase intensity or duration to continue the weight loss benefits. As you can see, eventually you run out of energy or time.
- No strength Training
Your answer to the previous dilemma is weight training. Weight training produces a phenomenon called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). In a nutshell, this means that your metabolism is going to stay elevated after you exercise, so you continue burning calories even after you are done training. Sometimes metabolism stays elevated up to 72 hours after an intense weight training session. EPOC is the gift that keeps on giving (in terms of body fat reduction).
- Not planning ahead
Preparation is your biggest ally in the battle of the bulge. All the healthy eating and exercise in the world will not make up for that 3 day weekend getaway you plan on drinking pints or sucking down whip cream infused strawberry daiquiris, while devouring typical vacation fair. I’m not advocating abstinence from enjoying a drink or two, or even a couple of cheat meals, but not planning ahead typical means poor food choices for an entire day or weekend. Take a couple of days and some time to plan ahead.
Plan your “cheat” meals or meals out and adjust your calorie intake for the days before, after, and during those “cheat” meals. The aforementioned apps can help you to balance your caloric budget for the days preceding and following your get away. Also, plan ahead day to day and week to week. It’s hard to resist that office potluck, or the boss buying pizza. Knowing what you are going to feed yourself will help you eliminate those temptations. Not having healthy options, or a plan, to fall back on will lead to indulging in the things you’re trying to avoid. Failing to plan is planning to fail.