We’ve all been there; you start a new diet or exercise regime, and the weight starts to fall off. ‘This is simple,’ you think to yourself. ‘I can do this.’ Then comes the week where you don’t lose weight. Maybe you had a party, or family gathering. Maybe you ate too much ice-cream. Either way, that scale doesn’t shift. So you resolve to try harder next week, only nothing gets better. Then the scale creeps up, those clothes get a little tighter and before you know it, you’re back where you started. The reality is, just a few changes to your lifestyle can make a massive difference.
Alcohol is Empty Calories
Let’s start with the tough love. If you’re drinking more than a couple of glasses of wine, or a couple of beers in a week, then you’re sabotaging your weight loss. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. Every once in a while we all like to party, and that’s okay. An occasional blow-out isn’t the end of the world. But if you’re wondering why that weight won’t shift, it might be worth documenting your alcohol intake for the week and seeing how much is really going down. The same applies to fizzy drinks and fruit juices too. It’s all extra calories added to your daily intake.
A Weekend Binge Ruins All Your Hard Work
A lot of times I hear “I’ve been good all week, I deserve a treat,” and yes, you do. A treat is a good way to still have a little of what you love without going overboard. The problem comes when one treat- a slice of cake or a couple of glasses of wine- turns into an entire weekend of indulgence. Brunch, dinner out, takeaways, too much alcohol… it all adds up. If that sounds like you, you’re better to look at your weekly calorie intake; it might surprise you. Decide what treat you want on the weekend, have it, and move on. Want wine with dinner? Don’t have dessert. Want nachos? Don’t have a cooked breakfast the next day. A good mantra from the 2B Mindset Nutrition group I lead is “one bite to taste.” Steal a bite from other people’s plates (this will annoy them intensely but you’ll at least get a taste).
Want more information on 2B Mindset? Click here.
Clean Eating Has Its Limits
It’s not that hard to work out that we should be eating good, clean, foods to maximise weight loss. Keeping processed carbs (white bread, pasta etc), sugar, and junk food to a minimum is all well and good, but you can have too much of a good thing, as well. Keep in mind your portion sizes when eating, because it can make a massive difference. For example, half an avocado is around 130 calories and 12 grams of fat. Serve half that amount and you’re still getting all the taste and benefits of adding a healthy fat to your meal, but only 65 calories and 6 grams of fat. Hurrah!
You Forget To Plan
This one is key to success. Fail to plan, plan to fail. We’ve all heard it and you know what? It’s totally true. If you want to avoid ‘snackcidents’ or grabbing that take away after a long day at work, you need to plan your meals and snacks in advance. You also need to plan your week of exercise. What will you do, and when will you do it? Make time for yourself to succeed, even if that means working out early in the morning or getting that run in after work.
You’re Too Focused On Cardio
If you really want to lose weight, you need to focus on strength and resistance training, so that you build lean muscle. Muscle doesn’t weigh less than fat, but it does take up less space on your body, and lean muscle speeds up your metabolism, meaning you burn more calories throughout the day. Ideally, three of your five or more exercise sessions in a week should be focused on strength training.
Take a look at some great strength training at-home workouts here
You Lack Consistency
Choose a workout routine and diet plan and stick to it for a few weeks to see results. At first, your body won’t be sure what it’s supposed to be doing. It may well panic and try to protect itself by holding onto excess fat and fluid. This will pass, if you stick with the plan. If you quit, and try something new, then you put your body through all that unknown stress again. Our bodies will adapt and respond to the changes we make to our lifestyles, we just need to remember to give them time.
You’re Not Eating Enough
To lose weight, you need to eat at a moderate calorie deficit; ideally around 200 calories less than your body burns. That will lead to steady, sustainable weight loss. Eat too little, though, and your body will go into self-preservation mode. Basically, it thinks to itself “Hmm, I’m not sure when she’s gonna feed me next, so I’ll store all of this fat to use when I need it,” and wham, you stop losing weight. Enjoy plenty of good, clean, healthy food, and your body will thank you for it. Think of yourself as a steam train; it needs fuel to run efficiently.
You’re Too Stressed
A stressed out lifestyle leads to a rise in cortisol levels, which in turn, stops us from losing weight. It’s not always easy, but try to get a good nights sleep every night (7-9 hours), and do one thing every day to make you happy. Write a journal of positives; small reasons why your day was awesome. It might surprise you how much happiness can be found in the darkness, if we only remember to turn on the light. (Love Harry Potter!)
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